tv Lectures in History Food and War CSPAN May 27, 2018 12:00am-1:36am EDT
marines saw their first combat on the western front, and more than 10,000 americans died, wounded, or went missing in the area. watch world war i centennial, memorial day, starting at 9:00 a.m. eastern, on c-span's washington journal and on american history tv on c-span3. >> next, on lectures in history, american university professor johanna mendelson forman teaches a class on food and how disruptions in agricultural production and supply. whether by natural or man-made causes, can be a catalyst for war. she also plays of the role of food during world war ii and the berlin airlift. her class is about an hour and a half.
johanna: today, we are on week three of our conflict quizzing course and the topic we are going to discuss is what is on your screen. can food drive war? napoleon said, "an army marches on its stomach," and over the course of the next hour you will see a lot of examples of food and war. from ancient history to the present, and the implications of what food means in terms of conflict. from the very past to the civil war to the current conflicts that we see around the world. from this lesson today, these are the learning goals that i have set up. i think it is important for you to see there is a connection between what we have discussed in the last two classes and what we are going to talk about today. you're going to learn not only
about food, but you are going to learn about some of the war, laws of war, which are very much relevant today as we witness ongoing famine, and we will talk a little bit about the connection of that war in food supply, and you will see a very good video about war and food from the second world war. one of walt disney's propaganda films that many of you have not seen but my generation has seen and they are quite interesting. then, we are going to talk about interstate conflict, foods during world war i and world war intrastate conflicts, of which the american civil war, for example, and a lot of those interstate complex are going on today. -- intrastate conflict are going on today. as we talked about last week, we know that the 19 most conflict ridden countries are also the 19 poorest countries in the world,
and have never made any of the development goals. we are going to talk a lot about civilian population and the impact of war and the lack of food. as i say, the difference between victory or defeat is the ability to have access to food. that is a key point for you to remember and take away today. so, why don't we start with a happy topic like famine, not really a happy topic, but something you probably need to know. one thing, and we have talked about this before, is that there is a very close connection, as we say, between famine and the quality of government. how many of you have ever read in your other courses, anything by the indian economist? you are familiar with him. one of his most famous works and put his economics in the map was a book called poverty and hunger. he was one of the first
economists to prove that famine is not based on food shortages and famine is based on bad government. he goes through this this with a long history, particularly in in his native india, of the famine that the countries underwent as a result of the government or lack of governance, or the result of the colonial government. how many of you know one of the worst famines in the world of the 20th century was the bengal famine? that famine really killed thousands and thousands of people, and it was clearly the famine, not a food shortage, of the government not being able to be prepared. it was one of the triggers in pushing toward the end of colonial role in india after the second world war. the world peace foundation, a group up in boston, who has catalogued a lot of issues on war and peace, and they have done a bit of research on famine. since 1870, when there
ir studies begin in terms of documentation, they sent there have been 61 famines worldwide to the present, of which 100,000 people or more died. it is a stunning figure because 100,000 does not seem like a lot of people, but the definitions of famine are loose. today, we categorize famine by the number of people that die. it is 100,000 people dying is what makes something a famine. he said at least 105 million people have died of hunger since that time. the categorization of famine means you have more than 100,000 deaths, and today, it is 105 have a population of 7 billion million people who have died. we have a population of 7 billion people in the world, what does that mean?
what is interesting about all of the famines taken place across the world, the biggest killers resulted from political decisions. that is the point of a lot of discussion of famine and why we want to know a lot more about it. okay, so one of the things i want to point out is that there has been forced starvation of many different ethnic groups. there were one million armenians that died in the 20th century. stalin created a famine campaign holomdolor between 1932 and 1942. it was devastating. the nazis had something they called a hunger plan because they wanted to take over the ukraine and part of the soviet union. there were famines during the chinese war. the japanese inflicted starvation during world war ii on its enemies.
the largest famine on record in the world was mao's greatly forward. -- great leap forward. this is documented that there were at least 25 million people that died in china between 1958 and 1962. that is over a four-year period. one of the interesting things in that effort is that many people were sent to agricultural areas from urban areas. what the chinese did is they thought it was good to mix ground glass with soil. they thought it was a way to help improve production. millions of people died as a result of this kind of farming. there are novels dedicated to some of this to talk about the devastation in the agricultural system in china. it is for good reason that china today spends a lot of its money in search of agricultural markets, because to feed over one billion people, you need a lot of food.
despite the size of the country, technology and food production have not caught up with the population. now, famine has also been used as an instrument of genocide. this is something that we have known peripherally, but, the evolution of the declaration of famine or withholding food as part of war crime is also something for you to think about, especially in relationship to what is going on in a country like yemen today. how many of you know how many famines are there actively going on in the world today? any guess? with the exception of you, wilton, who took my other course. [laughter] there are four active famines , none, according to the world food program. a u.n. agency. the famines going on today are, as i mentioned, yemen, which is a tiny little country in the
gulf of yemen, which is at the crossroads between the middle east and africa. and it is a very complicated battle that is happening. that famine is happening as a result of the blockade of the poor by the saudi arabian surrogate militia and people are not getting food. it is a very devastating famine. it is an extremely poor country, very little land goes to agriculture. the united nations declared a famine. the other famine you know is quite obvious, syria. we will syria over the course of this lecture. since 2015, syria has been in a state of famine, precisely because of the conflict that is going on. and by the government of assad, who has deliberately stopped food from being grown or not
allowing food into certain sectors of the city. the other famine that we are seeing today is in the south sudan. the south sudan is probably the newest country in the united nations. if you remember, in the 21st century, it was partitioned between sudan, which is a very large country south of the sahara, and south sudan, which is ethnically separate, became an independent country. from the moment it became an independent country with all this and dreams it would be successful, has suffered two internal wars. the end result has been devastating famine, migration, and a tremendous number of deaths. especially the elderly and children.
finally, the last famine we are going to mention is nigeria. how many of you have heard of boko haram? oh good. boko haram, which is a militia group in the northeast of nigeria, has actually made it a policy of also creating starvation, not through stops stopping -- through crops from being grown, but by burning villages, burning animals, pushing people out of certain areas, and that part of nigeria is a rural part of the country. some of it arises from how the boko haram started. i will talk about that little later on the lecture. in 2008, there was to spike in prices. -- there was a global food spike in prices. and may not have touched you, because we live in such a
plentiful country, but that price spike was like a food atomic weapon in what it did to the global food economy. it actually turned those economies upside down. i will talk a little bit about it later, but, for example, in mexico -- mexico gets most of its corn from the united states. there is a complete dependency on mexico, whose main crop, food, tortillas, are made from corn comes from the united states. in 2008, there was a price spike, and one of the reasons there was a price spike in the united states -- how many of you remember the s ethanol surge? if a farmer could get five dollars a bushel instead of two dollars a bushel, five dollars for an ethanol plant and two dollars if he sold it to mexico, what would you take? that price hike caused riots in mexico, created devastation, because people cannot afford to
buy the basic grain for its food product. i give these as examples because one of the things that i think many people don't recognize is the volatility of food in the global market today is such that we are on a big food chain. what's we grow and what we don't grow has an impact on the other side of the world. that is because most countries today don't necessarily have to be food self-sufficient if they have other sources of trade, and may have different products they can barter. but, today, if you're outside of the food chain, and you have a lot of problems feeding your population. that's get back to starvation as a war crime. the laws of war until after world war ii did not prohibit starvation in pursuit of a military goal. that is interesting, and you have to remember that.
during the nuremberg trials -- do you know what these were? these were the war crime trials in which nazi leadership and civilians were tried in an international tribunal and a german field marshall went on trial. he was the commander of the siege of leningrad. there are lots of books and about this siege, but almost one million people died over two years of starvation. we can give you a list of books and movies about what happened to people in that city. you're going to ask, why leningrad? if you study a little bit about war in food, in the first world war, the ukraine was the bread basket and remained the bread basket of that part of what became the soviet union.
the biggest fear in world war ii of the nazi government, was that they would not have enough food to feed their troops. so, when war plans were being made in germany, the war machine of the nazi government, one of the first main objectives was to seize those food supplies so that they could feed their army. a little-known factor that people do not recognize, that hitler had this policy, which translates to "living room." he was actually a science denier. he did not believe you could grow things more efficiently, that you could have modification of crops. so, in their theory, they decided they needed more land to grow food on. so, part of the nazi strategy of conquering these areas, was in addition to the principal goal of creating an aryan race and
eliminating cultures that were not part of this nazi philosophy, they also needed food, and it was very much a part of the whole strategy of world war ii. based on the tariffs they have faced in world war i, of a lack of food. there are lots of histories of world war i that describe this. the judges at nuremberg described what had happened there -- it was that the general's porters were extreme, but not a war crime, which was unusual given what has happened. something called the lieber code, which basically allowed starvation if it hastened military victory. that is something to consider, that starvation was included as a military tactic if it could be used to make this war shorter.
i don't think we will agree with it today, but i want to give you the history. let me tell you a little bit about the geneva conventions and we will go into the video. so, the geneva conventions, how many of you have studied this in other classes you have had? good. the geneva conventions are basically a codification of humanitarian law, all militaries of the world abide by it, countries sign the geneva conventions. they are the basic principles of how we treat civilians in war times. it is essential to understand those to understand the link of starvation. the history of the conventions are very old. the person who starts the red cross actually put them together after -- in the 19th century having seen the devastation of the wars in the late 19 century in europe.
the geneva conventions that we know today of 1949, which is four years after the world war ended, are series of laws and international protocols. it becomes the core of humanitarian law, and it is the body of international law that regulates the conduct of armed conflict, and it seeks to limit its affects. they specifically protect people who are not part of the hostilities. civilians, health workers, aid workers, are all protected under the geneva convention. how many know about neutrality? of genevanciples relief assumes people who are aid workers, or health workers, they are neutral and have no dog in that fight. they are people who are there as humanitarians. therefore, when you tend to the sick or wounded, or you are a prisoner of war, you are not
-- you are covered by the geneva conventions. protocol one, i want you to understand there are important particles that deal with interstate conflict, what we mentioned earlier, war between states. what is interesting in terms of starvation is protocol one says starvation of civilians of a method of warfare is prohibited, but they were reluctant to recognize famine as a war crime. but, that was in 1977 when they amended protocol one. today, famines are included in prosecutions of war crimes. in there is another thing 2001, what happened in the united states? >> 9/11. >> ok, you all remember that. you may have been very small, but you all knew about it. so, when we begin to describe what was described as the war on terror, we would go back to the bush-cheney doctrine.
what did that doctrine say? it basically said that innovations like the country of iraq, that demonstrations of starvation were said to have a promising future when the norm of liberal internationalism is violated. so, it was used in the war on terror as a something that could be done legitimately by the u.s., if in fact it helped end terrorism. i don't know if you will agree with that or not, and i think we distributed this article in the london review of books on our website, but, what it basically talks about is a review of policy about famines in international law. it is a very highly contested issue, particularly think we are seeing now.
so, when i want to show you is this really well-made video by walt disney. if you remember, the disney company during world war ii was very engaged with the united states government in preparing films that were used in movie theaters as part of propaganda. it is not necessarily negative propaganda. if you like disney cartoons, you will like this. ♪ >> the whole world is aflame. all the peoples of united nations are fighting the enemies of freedom. in many lands, countries are laid waste by ruthless hordes, farms, cattle, and crops have been destroyed. ruin, destitution, hunger stalks the helpless victims of the
cruel aggressor. but, in the darkest hour, comes a light of hope. a light that can and will grow stronger. it is the hope of american agriculture. abundant,nds are greater even than the areas of norway, spain, portugal, france , great britain, yugoslavia, and greece. spread over this vast land already the farmers, their wives and children, 30 million, quite -- twice as many as the axis has soldiers. grim farmers with sleeves rolled up. these embattled farmers are armed, their weapons are the of farmf forces machinery, combines, divisions of corn, and all these machines kept in repair by farmers and their sons under the stress of
war. the farmer with his wheat crop this year, 52,800,000,000 pounds of wheat. if all this week -- this wheat was made into flour, there would be enough to snow under the entire german panzer army. looks to me like another russian winter. all of this flower has been baked into bread, there would be enough to build and egyptian pyramid. suppose this flower had been made into spaghetti, look at the sweater you could knit, just enough for old mother earth. grown intothis were bushels it would make a bridge from london to the black sea. that hangs right over your head, adolph. soybeans, grounded into flour, it would make a loaf that would fill red square in moscow.
potatoes, 30 billion pounds, just about twice as high as the rock of gibraltar. some potatoes. here we have the matterhorn in switzerland, and this year's crop of tomatoes, 1,800,000,000 pounds. vegetables, all kinds of them, would be enough to cover the wall of china. one billion bushels of them. yes, and we are producing vitamins and from the concentrates enough to bowl over the axis nation. that was vitamin x, boys, just to mark the spot. if all the fruit were made into one enormous pie, it would measure 25 miles in diameter. my, what a time of pie thrower could have with that. milk, 125 billion pounds of it. if all this blows over niagara
falls in a steady stream, it would generate enough electricity to light up enough for every factory in new york for one hour. and we would still have enough left over to give all children free milk with school lunches. and if made into jesus, it would make a piece -- made into ceeese, it would make a pie this size of the moon. this is how much it would take to broil the 30,000 pounds of meat americans are producing. these fats and oils would outweigh 100 super dreadnoughts. she would block out all of berlin. american hens are busy too, playing 50 billion eggs. in one fried egg, it would cover the entire united states and canada. don't forget we have enough
bacon to go around it. here come the pigs. 100 million strong. two pigs for every person in great britain and ireland combined. who is afraid of the big bad wol f? not the farmer of the united states. ships turned out by working men and women night and day, through dark oceans were submarines lurks, ships guarded by aircraft, more and more of them. ships loaded with the fires of war. ships loaded with food for freedom, delivered to all who fight for the freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, freedom from fear. under this insignia, is ship food will win the war. johanna: sorry for cutting off the music, but we have to go on. how did you like that?
>> i have a question. johanna: sure. >> so, why would they play the video if during the wartime people were asked to sanction their own personal food? or people were limited to how much food they could buy in stores and at the same time they were concurrently playing with videos, saying we have so much food to americans? johanna: that's an excellent question. rationing was part of the approach that the both united states and countries in europe had. you just asked the right question. this is actually the united states ration book. this belonged to my husband when he was a baby. this is the book. it has his name on it. he obviously didn't need a lot of rations, because i still have the tickets. this was something that was
given to every civilian, and it was for different types of food. the things that were rationed eggs.ugar, coffee meat, the united states had food. i was going to go back on the centrality of food -- we had, based on what you have seen in the film, obviously, disney likes to over blow things, a tremendous amount of food was being produced in the united states. don't forget, what was being produced in the united states at the beginning of the 1940's -- we did not enter the war until after pearl harbor in 1941, but in anited states had been tremendous economic downturn. don't forget, the great depression had been going on since the stock market crash in 1929. the country has been living on a very limited existence. i think i have statistics about how many people were rejected from the military draft because of malnutrition.
during the 1930's, americans suffered. what this film was showing, and in all propaganda movies, you see that, the united states was coming back. the war for the united states former was a good thing because there was incentives to invest and incentives to grow. obviously the food that was grown was used to feed the troops in europe, and to help our allies as well in providing them with food. the british had a tremendous problem with food. there were all kind of campaigns. if you ever go to visit the cabinet war rooms in london, you may when you take your year in europe. you will see the rationing was devastating. there was no citrus fruits, no imported food. people lived on very meager existences. and the combat it we became the breadbasket for
europe. european agriculture was devastated. when you start innovating other countries, people are no longer going to be able to grow food. areasountries in farm were not capable of providing food, growth, or infrastructure needed to bring food to market because they could not operate on roads. they would be blocked off by fighting. france suffered tremendously as a result of this. in fact, as i mentioned, the nazi plans to take over the ukraine was real. i mentioned the other issue that affected the way people managed the food. i have shown you the war ration booklet which i think is a good example. there are not many around. but, what is amazing is what the americans did after the second world war, as well. that is, how many of you know about the berlin airlift? i had to go back and look up a lot of things.
i have seen temple half airstrip in berlin, because it is not in the center of the city, it is near the free university of berlin. what happened after the second world war is that stalin went back on his word after the armistice. he decided he would partition germany and try to get a large section of the city of berlin under soviet control. one of the ways he was going to do that was with the food blockade. he managed to do that and, as a result, supplies that were not coming to the rest of the city, had to be airlifted in. it is one of the unintended crises as the cold war began. it was the problem of food supply. when the soviets blockaded berlin and they blockaded the rail access -- people were not flying food into berlin, most came in by train.
first of all, there was not very much. it wound up where the u.s. and are in were flying over 8000 tons of food into berlin between 1948 in june and 1949 in may. here is another problem to think about. most of the united states planes were no longer in europe. they were outside of the european theater he does -- because the war was over. it's meant a whole move to move airplanes back and, in the beginning, it was the british air force that did the initial lift. then, we started pulling in our own planes and that is how we have all of these bases in europe. that is another history. the american military government in germany decided people needed a 1900 calorie diet, which is still pretty low. it meant they had to have daily totals of 646 tons of wheat, 100
-- 125 tons of cereal, 64 tons of fact, 109 tons of fish. 180 tons of dried potatoes, sugar, i have this list and it goes on and on. it took 1534 tons to sustain over 2 million people in berlin. then, they needed almost 3500 tons of coal --this was a day, to heat and power the city. you can imagine what it was like going on in germany after the war. people fighting over food because there wasn't enough of it. there were all these -- it was also a revolution in aircrafts because they were being outfitted to be able to carry all of this stuff. a lot of this fight, by the way in germany, that the soviets launched, had to do with creating a stable currency in germany.
we always talk at the beginning about food and governance, the destabilization of the german currency that took place during the second world war was one of the main things that had to be changed if the economy was going to start in germany again. what revitalized it was the stability of the deutsche mark introduced by the united states allied governments and reviving our culture. that is a little bit of the immediate postwar. we're going to talk about food in the post-cold war. i want to go over a few things you might find interesting as historical anecdotes. we have talked about american soldiers being the best fit -- fed during world war ii. this is because we were the only country involved in the war that experienced an agricultural and
economic boom. we were able to meet the needs during world war ii of 11.5 million servicemen and women who were working in the war effort. yes, we had rationing, but its impact was much less. in addition to having this food to feed people, food became an important unifier in the second world war, in the united states because everybody sacrificed. in answer to your question, about the food, what people did have in common, was that they were sacrificing. they had sacrificed during the depression, and now they were sacrificing during world war ii. it was a general sacrifice. people felt it was a good thing because of what we were fighting for. so, when you see the abundance, you have to put it in context of the overall effort to combat a
fascist takeover of the world. that is my response to your question. getting back to the great depression, which i just referenced. in 1933, the height of the depression, the united states had 15 million people unemployed. hunger was the norm. by 1941, i was telling you when the draft started, to how did -- two out of every five men were considered unfit to serve because they were malnourished. poor health and malnourishment became a national security issue. because, if you do not have people that could serve and participate, you were not able to raise an army, which is what the united states had to do. so, on the upside, if there was ever an upside to war, world war ii lifted america out of a dead depression, and it also created
an exit to the lack of food people had and a tremendous investment in farming. that is why, often, people refer to world war ii as the good war, not because of what happened because that was devastating, but, it was a good war in the economic sense for the united states. as you will learn over history, a lot of wars are good in an economic sense for the united states. i want to talk about how the lessons of military food actually apply to what you eat. we had readings in one book, how many of you remember the book i'm talking about? that book called "the comment -- the combat ready kitchen," is interesting because she as a journalist and researcher traced back role that the u.s. military had as a source for innovation in food that you eat.
everything from the chips that you like, to some of the canned cheese dip that you get in the eagles nest. isot of the processed food the result of research done by the u.s. military. ii, we entered world war there were only 300,000 people serving. war,e time we got into the there were 1.1 million. ist the research on food did it became a serious part of military development. food is located -- when you talk about where does it lie in the military, how many of you have heard of a quartermaster? the quartermaster's office is the office taking care of provision of military. the quartermaster, at the beginning of world war ii, is only one person based in chicago with only a couple of employees.
it was very clear that one person with a couple of employees and a couple of tin cans was not going to hack it when it came to food for the military. what started as a little operation at the university of chicago, a lot of people that worked with the quartermaster, came out of the university and said there was a very clever person who decided when he was quartermaster to start bringing in all of the big food companies to work with the military. for all of you who have read carl samberg's pomes, -- poems, the center of food production, slaughtering meet, not today, we are a globalized economy. the engagement of all of the food companies with the military was clever. we might be able to say that is the start of the military-industrial complex because they started to work with the private sector. as the war got on and people were planning more and more, the military food, first, i think
the c rations and a rations were hard to carry, in cans, soldiers did not want to eat them. often it was pretty horrible food. some say one of the c rations was like an indian food which is dried beef with berries. many people would not eat it. it was the problem of rotting. a lot of the food sent out to the military arrived rotting. there was a real push or science -- there was a real push for science and technology to come in and figure out a way to provide preserved food that's tasty, had high nutritional value to support people in the field. that is really where the laboratories started working. the massachusetts institute of technology was the center of a lot of food research. there is where we begin to get some of the most important
innovations about food safety and food sanitation. most food research today for the u.s. military takes place in massachusetts. if i'm not mistaken, ulysses s. grant was the native tanner and came from that town. massachusetts was an industrial state at the time. the investment the government made was important because the origins of junk food came out of that lab. what the military needed, and what they got, was portability of food, food safety, and making food palatable. that is something i want you to remember as you start to think about food, but i want to to understand that this is the evolution of what you are hearing about. now, conflict in food is something that this whole course
is about. i want to begin to tell you about some of the ways that it has impacted food in the post-cold war. in an article that you read for this class called "buying peace, one feast at a time" there is a terrific writer and if you did not get to the reading, i strongly recommend it because the author has been one of the journalists who bravely, gold -- bravely chronicled the war. she took to something i did not know about. was a way that dictators used to celebrate and hold banquets. many middleional in eastern customs to have this big
a symbol of becomes something larger. cinema,ent feast of the which was a mass public banquet, is usually served by aching, it wasn't food really, it was propaganda. it was an edible reminder of who buttered your bread. the first meal that is documented on these tablets, how many of you have seen the cuneiform tablets? the syrian tablets with writing on them. there was a recipe for hummus on them because a date back to the ninth century bc. these tablets were very important for culinary historians. there was a dictator, the syrian king, a brutal king, and, in his empire which expanded to parts of iraq, turkey, lebanon, egypt,
iran, he held this feast. people said this is a massive housewarming party for his palace. he is considered the master food propagandist. a collected seeds. he left these clay tablets describing these. he listed every tree he found when he marched his troops. at this housewarming banquet he held, he invited 69,000 guests from all corners of his empire. you can imagine how long it took for him to get there. while there is no surviving guest list, many of these diners, according to legend, dined under severed heads. because, if they did not come,
they would find their other friends on polls. -- with their heads on poles. it was a mandatory banquets, and on the tablet that was left describing this event, they served 2200 head of cattle, 1000 stags and gazelles, 34,000 birds, 10,000 eggs, 10,000 tiny 10,000 tinyh, kangaroos, 300 jars of oils, 100 pistachio cones, 11,000 jars of other food. he wanted his guests to be healthy and happy. he understood something, this king, about empire. i say this only because when we talk about empire, we talk about the dominant countries. one of the things we find is the way he tried to make citizens swear loyalty by giving them
food. the athenians did this as well in greece. loyalty to a country was defined where the wheat and olives grew. spreading these crops in the cultivation was evidence. let's fast-forward to wikileaks. how many of you know about wikileaks? some figures when it comes to war. the embassy in paris during the bush administration, bush 2, sent a table that said they were willing to help start a military style -- this is the exact trade war, against european countries who opposed genetically modified crops, because the u.s. grows them. many european countries rejected
our agricultural projects because of gmos. this table, which was written in 2007, was written by the ambassador named craig stapleton. he was a business partner of the former president bush. that is why he became ambassador. he wanted to penalize european union countries, in particular countries that did not support the use of gmo crops. this even got us into trouble with our british allies. the prince of wales is a great gmo advocate. what it reminds us of is you can start wars around food and grains by how you modify and cultivate. it focuses on a lot of the worst culprits in this area. and we not about gmo's, will get into the issue of technology and food in another session.
but, i want to point out it is important to realize that people still think about food when they think about strategy. even in 2007, they were thinking about the military campaign to go against countries that rejected this. in syria, a company which has tremendous famine today, there was a notorious person famous of his gluttony and generosity. he was the governor of greater syria, and during ramadan, he would set up 40 tables every day, loaded with food. the message was clear. my greed is your gain. i say this because in this article about food and peace, it ultimately showed how leaders from medieval times to prehistoric -- not prehistoric , but to ancient times,
pre-christian times, all used food as a way to get people to be loyal to them. there is an interesting example from the 11th century in egypt, where, during ramadan, egyptians made sculptures out of sugar. sugar was hard to come by, and one of the things that happened was that -- this was of course in the late middle ages -- europeans were so taken by these sculptures that they wanted to have them in their own countries. an emissary of king henry the sixth had these sculptures re-created. you know the word subtleties? that is what they called these sugar sculptures and where they had sent people to learn to make them.
all of this goes to show there is an exuberant display of culinary skills for serious political purposes. it is also a symbol of wealth and power, and deep pockets with long arms. a british monarchy, divided by a civil war and crowning a king of eight, needed legitimacy. as a result, they made a giant sugar sculpture of the king, all made of sugar and it contained a message that said, don't even think about messing with me. and a time where we don't have youtube or instagram, these were describes -- described and had comparable effects on enemies. in the middle east today, going to the conflicts we are talking about, wheat subsidies are still
the source of flour. we know that subsidies are not necessarily a good thing, but one of the most important deals of the day in the middle east, whatever it is, you'll always have bread. during the cold war, arab leaders like the military leader of egypt who started a war down down the sewer canal. he subsidized bread to ensure obedience. independence on the state. one of the ways you control society, manage society, is if you have the money and can influence society, you have to subsidize it. other middle eastern autocracy -- autocracies have done the same thing. saddam hussein, the leader of iraq, received billions of dollars worth of surplus
american wheat to grants and loans. -- through grants and loans. this is the time we had a very interesting relationship before we started to hate them. we love them because of military relations. we offered iraq food as a tool when iran andnces iraq were having a war. this is a lesson in any dictatorship in war, the weak became so pervasive that it was described as a democracy of bread. just as a lesson in any dictatorship, the weak point of democracy of bread is that sooner or later, people want real democracy. what we find is in the arab culture, while bread is basics, if you do not have it, you have nothing. if you are helpless and can't afford it, the assumption is it
is not available. it is this lack of food subsidy that helped trigger some of the movement in the arab springs. in 2008, there was a price hike of food and this was one of the things that happened. so, a little bit more about other things that you might not know about of the food in war. i have lots of details about famine, and i don't want to know if we go into all of those facts, but, i do want to tell you -- by the way, the bengal famine had 3 million dead, and there was a vietnamese famine in 1943 and 1944 which killed civilians. in world war ii, 20 million people died of starvation or malnutrition or associated diseases. that is compared to 19.5 million
terry -- million military deaths. the impact of food in conflict is not trivial. that drovefood germany and japan into conflict. the way we responded, you have japan wanted to reduce dependency on the u.s. it explains the expansions in europe and japan in efforts to take over china. happenshe things that the world modernizes, and people's incomes rise, there is a change in eating patterns. do you think we eat today like we ate 100 years ago? no. we will talk next week about the role that immigrants coming to the u.s. have -- had in the way
we changed our diet. in many ways, we had a grain-based diet that was rich in milk. that has increased only recently. who have diverted grain in the u.s. today from our own stomachs to animal stomachs. do you know most of the grain we produce now goes to feed animals? not to feed ourselves. that is a big problem as we look forward. 30% of the world's green cop go -- grain crops go to be the livestock around the world. it is also one of the big sources of contention, because particularly as regions of the world, like africa, urbanized, people have shifted from cassava flour to rice. the number one grain eaten around the world is rice, not wheat. also, you should be aware of that. we have talked about what will
happen to the world's population if there is a food crisis. let me give you more information about one factoid i think is interesting about food and starvation before we go on. when the not these did their -- when the nasties -- when the did theiren the nazis calculations about how many calories it would take to start people, they actually deemed that polish jews were given 184 calories a day. that would particularly guarantee to death. particularly in the warsaw ghetto. and the majority of 100,000 jews that died, died of starvation. the population outside of the ghetto, the non-jewish population, was allocated 845 calories. people had to find other sources of food. if you watched movies about the second world war, you will find that -- by the way, there was also a pattern to start the
-- starve the mentally ill, and food at concentration camps always fell below 1200 calories a day which is recommended as a minimum. one of the things that is interesting and depressing is that the nazis found starvation too slow. it takes a long time to die by starvation. as they were discovering this, that is when there was a decision to use faster methods to kill people. that meant some executions, -- that meant summary executions, lining up people and shooting them, ultimately, the concentration camps that used gas chambers to efficiently kill people in a way which allowed for mass death in these different camps. it is not a pretty picture, and it is tragically something that
does not stop, but people were forced to work longer days. and the soviet union after the war had to keep production going. -- had to keep food production going. this is what some people called genocide. how many of you have heard the term genocide? the killing of population. what is interesting about this, and what happens from this situation is that when people -- when a country decides to kill its population, think of it this way, we talk about human capital today. when a country deliberately decides to kill a population, true in china and the soviet union, it means it does not value the worth of the human being. that people are disposable.
i think one of the greatest changes we have seen in the course of the late 20th century into this century is that, while starvation and famine is still taking place, they are no longer the policy of getting rid of people of countries. people are not disposable. that is a really important shift we have seen. in addition to food being more available, we also have this shift in the mentality that people should not be put down because they could not work anymore. did you have a question? graphics would -- >> would you say that the mentally ill are subjected to systematic starvation. i didn't know if you knew anything about if that still continued.
in eastern europe, they struggled with young children with disabilities went through systematic starvation through orphanages. it is very common there. johanna: it certainly adds to -- after the berlin wall and eastern europe opening. many humanitarian groups who went through these types of openings, it was clear and discovered exactly, what you said, infants are being starved. children who had mental challenges and were put in these institutions and they were dying. there has been a lot of reform in the area. it is not 100%. it certainly exists in many poor countries. it gets back to the first point we raised. when you have these kinds of problems, this is a governance problem.