C. Paul Vincent - The politics of hunger
In his study of the Allied blockade of 1915-1919, Vincent examines the rationale and impact of this first large-scale use of food as a weapon in the twentieth century. Vincent demonstrates that the collapse of the German war effort was induced as much by prolonged hunger as by military reversal. Under blockade since 1915, the starving Germans were, by 1918, in a state of growing anarchy. Remarkably, however, the armistice ending hostilities specifically required the continuation of the blockade until such time as German signatures had been affixed to a peace treaty.
The Politics of Hunger reveals a wide variety of motivation for allied behavior from November, 1918 through July 1919. Emotional. economic, pragmatic, and political considerations combined, however, to produce a dangerously short-sighted policy prolonging an already tragic action. In his account of the impact of the blockade, Vincent draws upon a wealth of primary sources, including personal memoirs and diaries to document the prolonged malnutrition and its immediate consequences - increases in the incidence of such diseases as rickets, scabies, and tuberculosis, and a particularly devastating impact upon infants and children. Further, he speculates on the sinister. longterm legacy ofenforced hunger - a generation suffering disproportionately from physical and psychological deformity. While The Politics of Hunger provides insight into the formation of Allied policy and the roles of individual Allied leaders in shaping and implementing that policy, this study’s major conclusions address the impact and wisdom of that policy. The maintenance of the hunger blockade, Vincent argues, was an ill-advised and unjust action which contributed to the radicalization of postwar Germany, the collapse of the Weimar Republic, and the eventual rise of National Socialism.
C. Paul Vincent received his PhD. from the University of Colorado at Boulder. He has taught at Franklin and Marshall College and is currently the library director at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire.
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