German Propaganda Archive Calvin University


Background: The Nazi Party depended heavily on speakers to get its message across. Those speakers needed to be informed. The following is a translation of instructions to speakers in May 1943 explaining how to present a reduction in the meat ration to the public. This is particularly interesting, since it affected every German. It also reveals some of the specific morale problems Germany faced. For example, some people complained that slightly higher rations were given to those in areas subject to regular Allied bombing.

The source: Redner-Schnellinformation, Lieferung 58, 12 May 1943.

Reducing the Meat Ration

As newspapers have reported, the next rationing period that begins on 31 May will bring a reduction of 100 grams per person each week in the meat ration. This reduction applies to everyone, including those who perform heavy labor, overtime and night workers, young people, and children.

Because of the many rumors that have been circulating, this measure is widely anticipated by our people’s comrades. That makes explaining the need for the measure easier for propagandists and speakers. All propagandists must hold strictly to the following guidelines:

The extraordinarily harsh winter of 1941/42 brought temperatures lower than anyone in the Reich could remember. The cold was worse than in the two preceding hard winters. The led to an extraordinarily high loss of seed. All of the winter crop was lost, and stored potatoes suffered great losses, such that there were serious shortages in this area as well.

This situation forced us to withdraw nearly two million quintals [1 quintal = 100 kilograms] of grain intended for animal feed to guarantee food for the public. This forced a reduction in livestock, since the remaining feed was not sufficient to support the existing animal stock. This allowed us to increase the meat ration by reducing livestock levels to make up for the shortages in grain and potatoes (and also the shortage of vegetables as a result of the loss due to cold of vegetable seed).

The current seed stock gives us good reason to hope that we can make up for the losses of the hard winter of 1941/42. The new harvest begins in two months. Careful husbandry of resources ensures that this harvest will be successful. Furthermore, the supply of potatoes and vegetables at the markets over the past winter was better than at any time since the war began. Here, too, the results of this year’s harvest are assured. The meat ration must now be reduced to avoid reaching into the stocks necessary to maintain our meat supply. There will be sufficient supplies of grain and potatoes for the future. We can, therefore, avoid reducing livestock, which would otherwise lead to serious difficulties in future meat and fat supplies, while at the same time not endangering food supplies for the public by feeding grain and potatoes to livestock.

The supply of crop material for the people is fully assured and the dangers of the hard third war winter have been entirely alleviated.

The most important thing to make clear to our people’s comrades is that the necessary reduction of 100 grams a week of meat will assure them in the future that fats and agricultural products such as bread, potatoes, and vegetables will not have to be reduced, as is now happening because of the meat shortage.

We are especially happy that we can balance out the necessary reduction in the meat ration that result from natural causes by balancing it out with other important foodstuffs. For example, in the coming ration period the bread ration will be increased by 300 grams and the fat ration by 50 grams. Furthermore, there will be additional foodstuffs available in the coming four ration periods, and special distributions of cheese. Taking account of the home baking interests of our housewives, there will be a one-time supplement of 1 kilogram of sugar for the ration period beginning 31 May.

Those areas of the German homeland in areas subject to heavy bombing, in view of their extraordinary situation at the war front, will receive an additional 50 grams of meat and 150 grams of bread per week. This applies only to those areas.

Each German people’s comrades will understand, if he thinks about it, that this is a justified exception for those who experience at least two or three air raid warnings night after night, suffering serious attacks once a week or more, hundreds of whom lose part or all of their possessions. Speakers who encounter complaints about this measure should respond firmly. Such a small supplement is obviously justified given the accomplishments of men and women in the areas at risk of bombing who face conditions beyond all imagining. It is not, however, possible to extend such supplements to areas that are attacked only occasionally and at widely separated times, even if the results of the attacks that do occur are severe. This small improvement in rations is intended only for those in endangered areas who are constantly affected by loss of sleep that influences their health, and who suffer constant demands on their nerves. Say clearly that the extra rations are not a sort of consolation prize for the property damage suffered, but rather only a means of maintaining health.

Also make it clear to all of our people’s comrades these cuts in no way are a sign of a bad food supply within the Reich. Rather, this measure is intended to stabilize our food supply. One cannot speak of a crisis.

Our Jewish-plutocratic opponent is completely clear about that. A spokesman for the British Ministry of War Economics recently said that there is no hope that the Axis will collapse on the food supply front. There is not even the chance of a serious food shortages a result of the war in Germany or in the occupied regions.

England realizes that our far-sighted and well-prepared leadership has succeeded in destroying all enemy hopes that a blockade could decide the war by starving Germany.

In fact, the German people has no cause to worry. Since the coming summer will bring increased imports of fresh vegetables that will provide substitute food supplies, the reduction in the meat ration will not weigh heavily in the scales as long as our men and women have the good will to accept conditions and bear what this fateful battle has laid upon us. As we all know, this battle will end with the victory of German weapons and the triumph of Adolf Hitler’s superior and far-sighted leadership. Once Germany has finally won its freedom, all the shortages and privations of this time will be forgotten. All of our people’s comrades will be proud that their strong hearts and unbending wills withstood the burdens and that they did their part to win victory and a proud peace.

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