DBQ Essay: The Turnip Winter Of 1916-1917

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The ‘Turnip Winter’ of 1916-1917 occurred within Germany and was a major Homefront complication within WWI. In Germany, potatoes were the main source of food which became problematic in 1916, as a decrease in temperature before the harvest, coinciding with the seizing of one million horses by the army caused the potato crops to become inedible; as the farm equipment needed was unusable, as farming horses were seized, and unsuitable weather prevailed. Furthermore, German trade was halted by the British Naval Blockade, preventing the imperative importation of goods and specifically food, causing the food stock to diminish. Evidently, the turnip harvest was successful, but unfortunately minute in comparison to the starving population of Germany. …show more content…

At the beginning of the War, food was plentiful and delectable, as evident in Source D, and saw little decline in quality or price. However, additional men joining the war caused an immediate need for continuous food, inevitably causing the prices of bread, sugar and meat to increase steadily. During 1915, Britain relied upon importing goods, with 80% of wheat, 40% of meat, and predominantly all sugar being imported. Furthermore, ‘U’ boat attacks on British trade routes, coinciding with limited British farming caused products of wheat, sugar and meat to become exponentially harder to purchase, as depicted with the lack of bread basket in Source D (1915). 1916 saw these hardships increase drastically, with it being evaluated that only six weeks worth of wheat was left, causing bread to begin being made from turnip and potato, alongside a lack of wine, and fruit, as depicted in Source D. Additionally, fresh food declined, causing canned goods containing vegetables, meat and fish to become prevalent. Furthermore, within 1917, the poorer citizens began to suffer from malnutrition due to a lack of potatoes, meat, dairy, bread and sugar, while higher class citizens began to struggle with the decline in luxuries, but decided to “stick it out”, as evident in Source D. Additionally, 1918 saw the implementation of rationing, causing the estimated 4 weeks of food left to last extensively longer, but saw ration …show more content…

In your answer, consider the perspectives provided by both the sources and the reliability of each.

Source B is a primary source which highlights the perspective of the patriarchal British Government during WWI, in 1917. Due to the photo originating from the British government, it was possibly used as propaganda in order to entice more women into the work force, as the source depicts a woman working in a munitions factory, thus conveying her helping Britain which women were not capable of doing beforehand.

The source is unreliable for a historian studying the role of women in Britain during WWI, as it is extremely limited in scope and content, depicting only one woman’s job, thus ignoring all other jobs completed by women during WWI. Furthermore, the British government most likely produced this image for public consumption; to be a form of propaganda, however it lacks bias due to it being a photo. Additionally, the source is extremely limited in perspective, as it is deprived of the perspective evident within a written

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