Dutch famine of 1944–45

The Dutch famine of 1944–45, known in the Netherlands as the Hongerwinter (literal translation: hunger winter), was a famine that took place in the German-occupied Netherlands, especially in the densely populated western provinces north of the great rivers, during the winter of 1944–45, near the end of World War II.

A German blockade cut off food and fuel shipments from farm towns. Some 4.5 million were affected and survived thanks to soup kitchens. Loe de Jong (1914–2005), author of The Kingdom of the Netherlands During World War II, estimated at least 22,000 deaths occurred due to the famine.[1] Another author estimated 18,000 deaths from the famine.[2][3] Most of the victims were reportedly elderly men.[4][5]

The famine was alleviated by the liberation of the provinces by the Allies in May 1945. Prior to that, bread baked from flour shipped in from Sweden, and the airlift of food by the Royal Air Force, the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the United States Army Air Forces – under an agreement with the Germans that if the Germans did not shoot at the mercy flights, the Allies would not bomb the German positions – helped to mitigate the famine. These were Operations Manna and Chowhound. Operation Faust also trucked in food to the province.

BC856 HUI-2050
Dutch children eating soup during the famine of 1944–45
Twee deelnemers aan de hongertochten tijdens de hongerwinter
Two Dutch women carrying food during the famine period

Causes

RodeKruisWinkelOorkonde
A letter of commemoration given to a grocer whose shop served as a Red Cross point giving out the "Swedish bread"
Operation Manna - Many Thanks In Tulips
Operation Manna – "Many Thanks" written in tulips, Holland, May 1945.

Towards the end of World War II, food supplies became increasingly scarce in the Netherlands. After the landing of the Allied Forces on D-Day, conditions grew increasingly bad in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands. The Allies were able to liberate the southern part of the country, but their liberation efforts came to an abrupt halt when Operation Market Garden, their attempt to gain control of the bridge across the Rhine at Arnhem, failed.

The seizure of the approaches to the port of Antwerp (the Battle of the Scheldt) was delayed due to Montgomery's preoccupation with Market Garden and trying to end the war quickly. After the national railways complied with the exiled Dutch government's appeal for a railway strike starting September 1944 to further the Allied liberation efforts, the German administration (under Wehrmachtbefehlshaber Friedrich Christiansen) retaliated by placing an embargo on all food transports to the western Netherlands. By the time the embargo was partially lifted in early November 1944, allowing restricted food transports over water, the unusually early and harsh winter had already set in. The canals froze over and became impassable for barges.

Food

British soldiers serving food to Dutch children at a St Nicholas Day party in Holland, 7 December 1944. B12555
British soldiers serving food to Dutch children at a St Nicholas Day party in Holland, 7 December 1944.
BC856 HUI-2004
Malnourished Dutch child in Hague

Food stocks in the cities in the western Netherlands rapidly ran out. The adult rations in cities such as Amsterdam dropped to below 1000 calories (4,200 kilojoules) a day by the end of November 1944 and to 580 calories in the west by the end of February 1945.[6] Over this Hongerwinter ("Hunger winter"), a number of factors combined to cause starvation in especially the large cities in the West of the Netherlands. The winter in the month of January 1945 itself was unusually harsh prohibiting transport by boat for roughly a month between early January 1945 and early February 1945. Also, the German army destroyed docks and bridges to flood the country and impede the Allied advance. Thirdly, Allied bombing made it extremely difficult to transport food in bulk, since Allied bombers could not distinguish German military and civilian shipments. As the south-eastern (the Maas valley) and the south-western part of the Netherlands (Walcheren and Beveland) became one of the main western battlefields, these conditions combined to make the transport of existing food stocks in large enough quantities nearly impossible.

The areas affected were home to 4.5 million people. Butter disappeared after October 1944, shortly after railway transport to the western parts of the Netherlands had stopped in September due to the railway strike. The supply of vegetable fats dwindled to a minuscule seven-month supply of 1.3 liters per person. At first 100 grams of cheese were allotted every two weeks; the meat coupons became worthless. The bread ration had already dropped from 2,200 to 1,800 and then to 1,400 grams per week. Then it fell to 1,000 grams in October, and by April 1945 to 400 grams a week. Together with one kilogram of potatoes, this then formed the entire weekly ration. The black market increasingly ran out of food as well, and with the gas and electricity and heat turned off, everyone was very cold and very hungry.[7] In search of food, young strong people would walk for tens of kilometers to trade valuables for food at farms. Tulip bulbs and sugar beets were commonly consumed. Furniture and houses were dismantled to provide fuel for heating.

In the last months of 1944, in anticipation of the coming famine, tens of thousands of children were brought from the cities to rural areas where many remained until the end of the war. Deaths in the three big cities of the Western Netherlands (The Hague, Rotterdam, and Amsterdam) started in earnest in December 1944, reaching a peak in March 1945,[8] but remained very high in April and May 1945. In early summer 1945 the famine was brought quickly under control. From September 1944 until May 1945 the deaths of 18,000 Dutch people were attributed to malnutrition as the primary cause and in many more as a contributing factor.[6]

End of the famine

The Dutch Famine ended with the liberation by the Allies of the western Netherlands in May 1945. Shortly before that, some relief had come from "Swedish bread", which was baked in the Netherlands from flour shipped in from Sweden. Shortly after these shipments, the German occupiers allowed coordinated air drops of food over German-occupied Dutch territory by the Royal Air Force and Royal Canadian Air Force from 29 April to 7 May (Operation Manna), and by the U.S. Army Air Forces from 1 to 8 May (Operation Chowhound). The Germans agreed not to shoot at the planes flying the mercy missions, and the Allies agreed not to bomb German positions. Operation Faust also trucked in food to Rhenen beginning on 2 May, utilizing 200 vehicles. Rhenen was also occupied by the Germans

Legacy

The Dutch famine of 1944–45 was a rare case of a famine which took place in a modern, developed, and literate country, albeit one suffering under the privations of occupation and war. The well-documented experience has helped scientists to measure the effects of famine on human health.

The Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study, carried out by the departments of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Gynecology and Obstetrics and Internal Medicine of the Academic Medical Centre in Amsterdam, in collaboration with the MRC Environmental Epidemiology Unit of the University of Southampton in Britain, found that the children of pregnant women exposed to famine were more susceptible to diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, microalbuminuria and other health problems.[9]

Moreover, the children of the women who were pregnant during the famine were smaller, as expected. However, surprisingly, when these children grew up and had children those children were thought to also be smaller than average.[10] This data suggested that the famine experienced by the mothers caused some kind of epigenetic changes that were passed down to the next generation. Despite this, a subsequent study by the same author failed to find a correlation between maternal exposure to famine and birth weight of the next generation.[11]

The discovery of the cause of coeliac disease may also be partly attributed to the Dutch famine. With wheat in very short supply there was an improvement at a children's ward of coeliac patients. Stories tell of the first precious supplies of bread being given specifically to the (no longer) sick children, prompting an immediate relapse. Thus in the 1940s the Dutch paediatrician Dr. Willem Dicke[12] was able to corroborate his previously researched hypothesis that wheat intake was aggravating coeliac disease.[13] Later Dicke went on to prove his theory.

Audrey Hepburn spent her childhood in the Netherlands during the famine and despite her later wealth she had lifelong negative medical repercussions. She suffered from anemia, respiratory illnesses, and œdema as a result.[14]

Subsequent academic research on the children who were affected in the second trimester of their mother's pregnancy found an increased incidence of schizophrenia in these children.[15] Also increased among them were the rates of schizotypal personality and neurological defects.[16]

Some studies have suggested that epigenetic damage caused by the famine has caused increased morbidity in the grandchildren of Hongerwinter survivors.[17]

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ "Uitzending Gemist – Vroeger & Zo De hongerwinter – 1944" (video) (in Dutch). Retrieved 21 July 2012.
  2. ^ van der Zee, Henri A. (1998), The Hunger Winter: Occupied Holland 1944–1945, University of Nebraska Press, pp. 304–05.
  3. ^ Barnouw, David (1999), De hongerwinter, p. 52, ISBN 9789065504463
  4. ^ Banning, C. (1946), "Food Shortage and Public Health, First Half of 1945", Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 245 (The Netherlands during German Occupation (May 1946)): 93–110, doi:10.1177/000271624624500114, JSTOR 1024809
  5. ^ "Slachtoffers Hongerwinter in kaart gebracht". nos.nl (in Dutch).
  6. ^ a b Z. Stein, (1975). Famine and Human Development: The Dutch Hunger Winter of 1944–1945.
  7. ^ Banning (1946), p 93
  8. ^ The number of officially reported extra deaths in March 1945 in The Hague alone was 1,380; part of this number probably also included identified victims from Allied bombardments (550 deaths on March 2 (see Bombing of the Bezuidenhout) and German reprisals, on the other hand not all extra deaths were included in this number (in a bureaucracy there is no death without a(n identified) body).
  9. ^ Dutch Famine of 1944 (bibliography), HK: UST.
  10. ^ Painter, RC; Osmond, C; Gluckman, P; Hanson, M; Phillips, DI; Roseboom, TJ (September 2008). "Transgenerational effects of prenatal exposure to the Dutch famine on neonatal adiposity and health in later life". BJOG : An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. 115 (10): 1243–9. doi:10.1111/j.1471-0528.2008.01822.x. PMID 18715409.
  11. ^ Stein, AD; Lumey, LH (August 2000). "The relationship between maternal and offspring birth weights after maternal prenatal famine exposure: the Dutch Famine Birth Cohort Study". Hum. Biol. 72 (4): 641–54. PMID 11048791.
  12. ^ van Berge-Henegouwen, G; Mulder, C (1993). "Pioneer in the gluten free diet: Willem-Karel Dicke 1905–1962, over 50 years of gluten free diet" (PDF). Gut. 34 (11): 1473–5. doi:10.1136/gut.34.11.1473. PMC 1374403. PMID 8244125.
  13. ^ Dicke, WK (1950), Coeliakie: een onderzoek naar de nadelige invloed van sommige graansoorten op de lijder aan coeliakie (PhD thesis), Utrecht, NL: University of Utrecht.
  14. ^ Garner, Lesley (26 May 1991), "Lesley Garner meets the legendary actress as she prepares for this week's Unicef gala performance", The Sunday Telegraph, archived from the original on 17 January 2005.
  15. ^ Brown, AS; Susser, ES (November 2008). "Prenatal Nutritional Deficiency and Risk of Adult Schizophrenia". Schizophr Bull. 34 (6): 1054–63. doi:10.1093/schbul/sbn096. PMC 2632499. PMID 18682377.
  16. ^ Walker, Elaine E; Cicchetti, Dante (2003). Neurodevelopmental mechanisms in psychopathology. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. pp. 88–93. ISBN 978-0-521-00262-2.
  17. ^ Mukherjee, Siddhartha (2 May 2016). "Breakthroughs in Epigenetics". The New Yorker. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. A decade ago, when the grandchildren of men and women exposed to the famine were studied, they, too, were reported to have had higher rates of illness.

Bibliography

External links

Multimedia

  • CBC Archives – CBC Radio (22 April 1945) reporting on the famine in Apeldoorn and the inflation of food prices.
  • CBC Archives – CBC Radio (30 April 1945) reporting on the agreement to provide food to the Dutch.
Baggush Box

The Baggush Box was a British Army field fortification built in the Western Desert near Maaten Baggush, 35 miles (56 km) east of Mersa Matruh during the Western Desert Campaign of World War II.

Battle of Changsha (1941)

The Battle of Changsha (6 September – 8 October 1941) was Japan's second attempt at taking the city of Changsha, China, the capital of Hunan Province, as part of the Second Sino-Japanese War.

Battle of Changsha (1942)

The third Battle of Changsha (24 December 1941 – 15 January 1942) was the first major offensive in China by Imperial Japanese forces following the Japanese attack on the Western Allies.

The offensive was originally intended to prevent Chinese forces from reinforcing the British Commonwealth forces engaged in Hong Kong. With the capture of Hong Kong on 25 December, however, it was decided to continue the offensive against Changsha in order to maximize the blow against the Chinese government.The offensive resulted in failure for the Japanese, as Chinese forces were able to lure them into a trap and encircle them. After suffering heavy casualties, Japanese forces were forced to carry out a general retreat.

Devil's gardens

The Devil's gardens was the name given by Erwin Rommel, commander of the German Afrika Korps during World War II, to the defensive entanglements of land mines and barbed wire protecting Axis defensive positions during the Second Battle of El Alamein in late 1942. The defences stretch from the Mediterranean coast to the Qattara Depression.

During the 'break-in' phase of the British attack, the commander of the Eighth Army, Lieutenant General Bernard Montgomery planned for engineers supporting the infantry brigades of 2nd New Zealand Division to clear lanes through the minefields, along which attacking formations would pass into the Axis positions. Engineers using hand tools were supplemented by Scorpion tanks equipped with rotating flails to explode anti-vehicle mines. The Scorpions did not work well and manual methods of clearing had to be employed, which would have been more difficult, had the minefields not been sown with more anti-personnel mines.An estimated 3 million mines were laid before the battle, most of which remain and are becoming more unstable as the years pass and injuring people who use the area.

Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union

There were two waves of the Finnish prisoners of war in the Soviet Union during World War II: POWs during the Winter War and the Continuation War.

France during World War II

The following are articles about the topic of France during World War II:

Maginot Line and Alpine Line of fortifications and defences along the borders with Germany and Italy

Phoney War, or drôle de guerre ("strange war"), the period of little military activity between the defeat of Poland in October 1939 and April 1940.

Anglo-French Supreme War Council set up to organize a joint Entente Cordiale strategy against Germany

The Battle of France, in which the German victory led to the fall of the Third Republic in May and June 1940.

Free France (La France Libre) the government-in-exile in London and provisional government over unoccupied and liberated territories, and the forces under its control (Forces françaises libres or FFL), fighting on the Allies' side after the Appeal of 18 June of its leader, General de Gaulle.

French Liberation Army (Armée française de la Libération) formed on 1 August 1943 by the merger of the FFL and all other Free French units, principally the Army of Africa

French Forces of the Interior (Forces françaises de l'intérieur) elements of the Resistance loyal to London and under its operational military command

Free French Air Force

Free French Naval Forces

Vichy France, the rump state established in June 1940 under Marshal Philippe Pétain in the non-occupied Zone libre, officially neutral and independent until invaded by the Axis and the Allies in November 1942

Vichy French Air Force

Scuttling of the French fleet in Toulon

Axis occupation of France:

German occupation of France during World War II - 1940-1944 in the northern zones, and 1942-1944 in the southern zone

French Resistance and the National Council of the Resistance which coordinated the various groups that made up the resistance

Service du travail obligatoire - the provision of French citizens as forced labour in Germany

The Holocaust in France

Italian occupation of France during World War II - limited to border areas 1940-1942, almost all Rhône left-bank territory 1942-1943

Japanese and Thai occupation of French Indochina - beginning with the Japanese invasion in September 1940 and with the Franco-Thai War which started in October 1940

Liberation of France

Operation Overlord - the invasion of northern France by the western Allies in June 1944

Operation Dragoon - the invasion of southern France by the western Allies in August 1944

Liberation of Paris - the freeing of the French capital in August 1944

Allied advance from Paris to the Rhine - advance (as the right flank of the western front) into Alsace-Lorraine in 1944

Western Allied invasion of Germany - invasion (as the right flank of the western front) of Baden-Württemberg in 1945

Invasion of the Kuril Islands

The Invasion of the Kuril Islands (Russian: Курильская десантная операция "Kuril Islands Landing Operation") was the World War II Soviet military operation to capture the Kuril Islands from Japan in 1945. The invasion was part of the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation, and was decided on when plans to land on Hokkaido were abandoned. The successful military operations of the Red Army at Mudanjiang and during the Invasion of South Sakhalin created the necessary prerequisites for invasion of the Kuril Islands.

List of World War II weapons

World War II saw rapid technological innovation in response to the needs of the various combatants. Many different weapons systems evolved as a result.

Note: This list does not consist of all weapons used by all countries in World War II.

List of military awards and decorations of World War II

Military awards of World War II were presented by most of the combatants.

The following is from the article World War II, removed from that article for clarity, and represents an incomplete list of some of the awards.

Operation Cottage

Operation Cottage was a tactical maneuver which completed the Aleutian Islands campaign. On August 15, 1943, Allied military forces landed on Kiska Island, which had been occupied by Japanese forces since June 1942.

The Japanese, however, had secretly abandoned the island two weeks prior, and so the Allied landings were unopposed. Allied forces suffered over 313 casualties in total during the operation, due to stray Japanese landmines and booby traps, friendly fire incidents, and vehicle accidents.

Operation Keelhaul

Operation Keelhaul was a forced repatriation of former Soviet Armed Forces POWs of Germany to the Soviet Union, carried out in Northern Italy by British and American forces between 14 August 1946 and 9 May 1947.

Operation Starvation

Operation Starvation was a naval mining operation conducted in World War II by the United States Army Air Forces, in which vital water routes and ports of Japan were mined from the air in order to disrupt enemy shipping.

Quisling

"Quisling" (; Norwegian pronunciation: [²kvɪslɪŋ]) is a term originating in Norway, which is used in Scandinavian languages and in English for a person who collaborates with an enemy occupying force – or more generally as a synonym for traitor. The word originates from the surname of the Norwegian war-time leader Vidkun Quisling, who headed a domestic Nazi collaborationist regime during World War II.

Ranks of the Imperial Japanese Navy

The following graphs present the rank insignia of the Imperial Japanese Navy from its establishment in 1868 to its defeat during World War II in 1945. These designs were used from 1931 onwards.

Ruzagayura famine

The Ruzagayura famine was a major famine which occurred in the Belgian mandate of Ruanda-Urundi (modern-day Rwanda and Burundi) during World War II. It led to a large number of deaths and a huge population migration out of the territory and into the neighboring Belgian Congo and surrounding areas. The famine is considered to have begun in October 1943 and ended in December 1944.The principal cause of the famine was several prolonged periods of drought in the region in early 1943. However, the problem was exacerbated by attempts of the colonial authorities to send agricultural produce to the Belgian Congo, as part of the Allied war effort, in World War II.The colonial administration, together with Christian missionaries, began to transport food to a supply point in Usumbura. The Rwandan king, Mutara III Rudahigwa, sent aid to the affected region.By the time the famine ended in December 1944, between 36,000 and 50,000 people (between one-fifth and one-third of the total regional population) died of hunger in the territory.

Several hundred thousand people emigrated away from Ruanda-Urundi, most to the Belgian Congo but also to British Uganda. The migration also served to create further political instability in the areas affected by the mass influx of Rwandans.

Surviving U.S. veterans of World War II

There were 16,112,566 members of the United States Armed Forces during World War II. There were 291,557 battle deaths, 113,842 other deaths in service (non-theater), and 670,846 non-mortal woundings. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, around 496,777 American veterans from the war were estimated to still be alive in September 2018.

World War II cryptography

Cryptography was used extensively during World War II, with a plethora of code and cipher systems fielded by the nations involved. In addition, the theoretical and practical aspects of cryptanalysis, or codebreaking, was much advanced.

Probably the most important codebreaking event of the war was the successful decryption by the Allies of the German "Enigma" Cipher. The first complete break into Enigma was accomplished by Poland around 1932; the techniques and insights used were passed to the French and British Allies just before the outbreak of the war in 1939. They were substantially improved by British efforts at the Bletchley Park research station during the war. Decryption of the Enigma Cipher allowed the Allies to read important parts of German radio traffic on important networks and was an invaluable source of military intelligence throughout the war. Intelligence from this source (and other high level sources, including the Fish ciphers) was eventually called Ultra.A similar break into the most secure Japanese diplomatic cipher, designated Purple by the US Army Signals Intelligence Service, started before the US entered the war. Product from this source was called Magic.

Theaters
General
aspects
Participants
Timeline
Other
aspects

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.