Escalating Crisis: Austria-Hungary?s Food Chains in the First World War
Sprache des Vortragstitels:
Fourth International Convention on Food History and Food Studies
Sprache des Tagungstitel:
In the wartime food crisis of the Habsburg Empire, several problems along the food chain culminated. First of all, there was a material crisis with respect to the scarcity of agricultural products, especially in the Austrian lands of the Dual Monarchy. Moreover, there was a social crisis with respect to distributional conflicts at macro-, meso- and micro-levels. Finally, there was a symbolic crisis with respect to the de-legitimization of the public order in the minds of victimized consumers. Given that human nutrition is based upon animal and plant nutrition, the erosion of these food chains became decisive for the crisis of the imperial food regime. The ?anthropocentric? diversion of resources from plants and animals to humans led to a nutritional vicious circle that escalated the food crisis. The intersection of society and environment became crucial along the food chain: in the domain of production, the nutrients for crops and livestock were in undersupply due to the mobilization of farm resources for the war effort; in the domain of distribution, supra-regional food chains eroded due to conflicts on the allocation of scarce resources for human, animal and plant nutrition; and in the domain of consumption, human bodies were epidemically infected by tuberculosis bacteria due to chronic undernutrition. With regard to the imperial food regime, the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy had begun to dissolve long before its legal dissolution in 1918.