By Lynne Taylor
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Additional info for Between Resistance and Collaboration: Popular Protest in Northern France, 1940–45
The only special category in use was that of underground miner, who was allocated 50 per cent more bread and 45 per cent more meat than the ordinary consumer. Indeed, the work of the underground miner was extremely arduous and required a much augmented caloric intake, but so did other occupations. One cannot argue that the extra rations were allocated to underground miners merely on the basis of need; if so, other heavy labourers also should have received extra rations. Rather, the miners’ special treatment reflected the importance which the Germans placed on coal production.
The industrial sector had already been brought under effective control through the Warenstellen, and so required no further attention. On the other hand, the change in the war’s nature meant that the consumer sector had important ramifications for the industrial sector’s exploitation. Inefficiencies in any part of the economy decreased the amount the Germans could extract. Furthermore, now that the Germans were there for the long haul, the problems which had been developing in the consumer sector could no longer be ignored, for they threatened the peace of the region.
The average inflation rate, then, for the basic ration basket of goods selected (see Appendix B) was 107 per cent over the course of four years, or 20 per cent per annum, at a time when prices ostensibly were frozen at their May 1939 level. The price of other (non-food) goods climbed just as drastically. 5 per cent over the four years, gas by 37 per cent and electricity by 45 per cent. The rise in the price of clothing was astronomical. A man’s wool suit increased in price from just under 600f to almost 1,500f by the end of the occupation, a gain of 242 per cent.
Between Resistance and Collaboration: Popular Protest in Northern France, 1940–45 by Lynne Taylor