Among the many problem
s associated with World War I
were shortages of raw materials
. These caused strong restrictions to be placed on the supply
and distribution of essential goods
, hours of sale
, maximum lengths of dresses and the types of meat
that could be sold in restaurant
s on certain days. Two-hundred-and-fifty-eight laws
relating to this had been introduced by the end of 1916. The main reason Germany had shortages was that much of the nation's industrial
and agricultural production
depended on import
s of raw materials. British naval
blockades made it almost impossible to import materials even when Germany could find overseas
suppliers. Resultingly, such necessities as copper
and many of the minerals
needed for steel
production were in short supply. The people who suffered most from the scarcity of raw materials were the civilian
s at home. Army
needs were catered to before the public's
, which drove millions of families to the brink of starvation
. The quality of all consumer
goods such as textiles
deteriorated, leading to poverty
Another impact of World War I in Germany, linked to the shortage of essentials, was the decline in health
of schoolchildren. In one school 17 per cent of children's nutritional status was deemed unsatisfactory in 1918, compared to 11 per cent two years earlier. In another school, the figure rose more dramatically from 5 per cent to 16 per cent in the same period. Whereas, in 1916, the proportion of children
displaying signs of anaemia
was one third, by December 1918 it had risen to one half. Tuberculosis
was also becoming more prevalent.
into the army was traditional
and more-or-less accepted in Germany, the large casualty
rate and pace at which men were being conscripted resulted in a shortage of labour
on the home front
. Forced labour from occupied countries had limited success, and so the German government
passed a law that said all German men aged 17 to 60 were liable to be called up for labour service. Later, the Hindenburg
programme promoted the concept of "total war," which saw all men, women, juveniles, disabled servicemen and prisoners of war
being mobilised for labour, universities
and training colleges
closing down and work being undertaken on Sundays
Civilians faced severe hardships in the period of 1916 to 1917. The transport
system broke down, causing food
distributions to also degenerate. Workers became outraged with the continual lowering of income
and increases in prices and working hours. Universal compulsory service by men and women aged 16 to 59, passed by the end of 1916, did not help the civilians, and so numerous strikes broke out. The over-burdened German economy
had become too much for the people to put up with.
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