Blockade before bread : allied relief for Nazi Europe, 1939-1945 / by Meredith Hindley.
This study provides the first analysis of Allied relief policy for Nazi-occupied territories—and by extension Allied humanitarian policy—during the Second World War. When the war began, Britain implemented an economic warfare campaign that sought to prevent Germany from importing any goods that would fuel the Nazi war machine. Food and clothing, the building blocks of relief programs, were included in the ban. In order for relief goods to pass Britain's blockade against Germany, humanitarian organizations had to prove to Britain, and later the United States, that the goods would not aid the German war effort. Consequently, from the being of the war, a fundamental contradiction existed between Allied strategy and the humanitarian impulse. How the Allies negotiated that contradiction while pursuing victory is the subject of this study.Over the course of the war, relief programs were allowed for political reasons or when conditions became so inhumane as to demand action. As a result of having to address the relief issue, a decision-making rubric for responding to humanitarian crises was in place long before the Allies had knowledge of the Final Solution. The existence of such a policy reinforces the need to see Allied response to the Holocaust as grounded in decisions regarding the conduct of the war. The study also shows an unprecedented critique of Allied strategy by the British and American people. Mass movements in favor of relief developed in both countries that forced British and American officials to justify the conduct of the war.
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