Home Fires Burning: Food, Politics, and Everyday Life in World War I Berlin [NOOK Book]

Overview

Challenging assumptions about the separation of high politics and everyday life, Belinda Davis uncovers the important influence of the broad civilian populace--particularly poorer women--on German domestic and even military policy during World War I.

As Britain's wartime blockade of goods to Central Europe increasingly squeezed the German food supply, public protests led by "women of little means" broke out in the streets of Berlin and other ...
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Home Fires Burning: Food, Politics, and Everyday Life in World War I Berlin

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Overview

Challenging assumptions about the separation of high politics and everyday life, Belinda Davis uncovers the important influence of the broad civilian populace--particularly poorer women--on German domestic and even military policy during World War I.

As Britain's wartime blockade of goods to Central Europe increasingly squeezed the German food supply, public protests led by "women of little means" broke out in the streets of Berlin and other German cities. These "street scenes" riveted public attention and drew urban populations together across class lines to make formidable, apparently unified demands on the German state. Imperial authorities responded in unprecedented fashion in the interests of beleaguered consumers, interceding actively in food distribution and production. But officials' actions were far more effective in legitimating popular demands than in defending the state's right to rule. In the end, says Davis, this dynamic fundamentally reformulated relations between state and society and contributed to the state's downfall in 1918. Shedding new light on the Wilhelmine government, German subjects' role as political actors, and the influence of the war on the home front on the Weimar state and society, Home Fires Burning helps rewrite the political history of World War I Germany.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Davis's sensitivity both to the material and symbolic dimensions of these women's life-world makes this a rich and rewarding study.

American Historical Review

"A valuable contribution to our understanding of World War I .

Journal of Interdisciplinary History

[Davis] opens up our understanding of women's agency and influence—and political agency more broadly—to give us a story that has not yet been told.

Women's Review of Books

This welcome book provides much food for thought.

Choice

Focusing on female agency, Davis transforms traditional views of the interaction between state and society.

Bonnie S. Anderson, author of Joyous Greetings: The First International Women's Movement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807860618
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/24/2000
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 368
  • Sales rank: 1,185,768
  • File size: 6 MB

Meet the Author

Belinda J. Davis is associate professor of history at Rutgers University.
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Table of Contents

Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction
1 Germany from Peace to War
2 Bread, Cake, and Just Deserts
3 Women of Lesser Means
4 Battles over Butter
5 One View of How Politics Worked in World War I Berlin
6 A Food Dictatorship
7 Soup, Stew, and Eating German
8 Food for the Weak, Food for the Strong
9 The End of Faith
10 Germany from War to Peace?
Conclusion Notes Bibliography Index

Illustrations

Caricature of Berlin policeman in Wilhelmine Germany Bread line, 1915
"Don't get excited, Mr. Secretary"
Franz Stassen postcard, 1915
"The Inner Enemy"
"'Care of Youth'"
Women digging a subway line, 1915
"Her Majesty, the Saleswoman"
"They promise you cards"
Children fill the streets for a stew cannon
"Those in possession of milk cards will be taken care of first!"
State weapons factory, 1916
Fantasy postcard, 1917
Searching through garbage for heating fuel, 1917
"The Nightmare of the War Profiteer"
Police bring suspects for questioning about hoarding and reselling
"It's a sham, so I can hoard eggs and butter"
Butchering a horse cadaver in the street, 1918
Munitions workers strike, 1918
Demonstration of revolutionary workers and soldiers, 1918
German Democratic Party election poster, 1919

Maps

Greater Berlin, 1914-1918
Butter Riots, 14-16 October 1915

Figures

2.1 Grain and Potato Harvests, 1914-1918
2.2 Population by Sex, City of Berlin, 1913-1918
3.1 Average Cost of Food per Month, 1914 and 1915
7.1 Capacity and Use of Public Kitchens in Greater Berlin, October 1918
7.2 Capacity and Use of Public Kitchens in Germany, October 1918
8.1 Daily Delivery of Milk to Berlin, Prewar-1920
8.2 Wages of Unskilled Workers as a Percentage of 1914 Wages, 1914-1918
8.3 Rations as a Percentage of Peacetime Consumption, 1916-1918
8.4 Rationed and Average Actually Received Food in Germany, Winter 1916-1917
8.5 Civilian and Military Mortality Rates, 1914-1918
9.1 Black Market Prices in Greater Berlin, Prewar-1918
9.2 Monthly Worker Expenditures for Food, 1914-1918
10.1 Convictions of Women for Crimes in Germany, 1913-1920

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