Food, Drink and Hunger for World War I German Soldiers

  • Heather Merle Benbow


This chapter explores the importance of food, drink and hunger in interpersonal interactions for German soldiers in World War I. Benbow argues that food enables, shapes and disrupts interpersonal relationships during the conflict. Drawing on army newspapers, soldier memoirs, letters and censorship reports, Benbow observes how food drink could be a comforting, consoling element of the wartime experience. The experience of hunger and deprivation, however, threatened comradely bonds. Similarly, food and drink could poignantly evoke the connections between home and fighting fronts. However, dissatisfaction due to homefront hunger made soldiers question why they were fighting. While food frequently had the potential to forge and disrupt interpersonal connections, Benbow suggests, it also attained new and threatening meanings in the context of war.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heather Merle Benbow
    • 1
  1. 1.University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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