1 Department of Business and Politics, Copenhagen Business School
The German Food Crisis 1939–1945 and the Supplies from Denmark
The problem of limited food supplies left its mark on Germany and the Nazi regime during World War II. The Germans faced diminishing food rations and to a great extent had to rely on supplies from occupied Europe. To a small state like Denmark, with its precarious geo-political position, this turned out to be crucial. Thanks to its advanced agricultural production and fisheries and a generous German price policy, Germany was able to extract a maximum of food from Denmark without damaging the structure of Danish agricultural production. Deliveries culminated in 1943–1945, as Denmark supplied German big cities with 14% of their consumption of meat and pork and more than 20% of the Wehrmacht’s consumption, while Danish butter constituted nearly 9% of consumption in big cities and as much as one third of the Wehrmacht’s consumption during the same period. On this account, Denmark obtained a certain political freedom of action. In internal reports, German authorities in Copenhagen and in the Foreign Ministry repeatedly pointed to the fact that any attempt at changing the occupation regime in Denmark would rid Denmark of its democratically based government and jeopardize the abundant food supplies to Germany. The article argues that Danish food supplies to Germany provided the main reason why democratic Denmark was allowed to maintain its political system despite the German occupation.
Scandinavian Journal of History, 2013, Vol 38, Issue 4, p. 480-501