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German History in Documents and Images
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Free Children’s Food Program (1917)
The state of nutrition worsened during the course of the war in all belligerent countries. The German Reich was heavily dependent on food imports, which were stopped by the Allied blockade. Additionally, the domestic production of foodstuffs suffered a serious decline. The combination of these two factors led to a massive nutrition crisis, particularly for those living in cities. Charitable organizations started soup kitchens (Kriegsküchen, literally, “war kitchens”) to mitigate the greatest need. The photograph below depicts city children eating a free meal in a soup kitchen in 1917.