The shortage of food led to tension in the annex. Discuss.

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By 1944, Germany was losing the war and so desperate for food that it was importing all it could from conquered territories likes the Netherlands to feed its own people and supply its armies. This left most of the population of the Netherlands in a state of near starvation. The...

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By 1944, Germany was losing the war and so desperate for food that it was importing all it could from conquered territories likes the Netherlands to feed its own people and supply its armies. This left most of the population of the Netherlands in a state of near starvation. The families in the annex, isolated as they were from society, may not have fully understood the magnitude of the problem. They would become angry at the people supplying them food for bringing so little, despite the fact that their sponsors were feeding the hideaways at sacrifice to themselves.

Food being so fundamental a human need, lack of food tends to make people irritable and fearful to begin with, and the fact that one person in the annex, Peter's father, was stealing food meant to be equally shared brought tensions to a high point, destroying trust in the group. This is an example of the alterity or otherness of the World War II period: most of us have grown up in societies abundant in food, making fear of starvation difficult to understand.

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In the Annex, many reasons existed for the constant tension.  One of the most difficult reasons was the shortage of food.  Food was controlled with ration cards which were very difficult to obtain, and the number of people hiding in the Annex added to the problem.  People such as the butcher who would save bits of meat to give to those in hiding were often arrested, and the supply of food became even more scarce. 

What really added to the tension in the Annex was that some of their precious food was disappearing in the night. Everyone was so hungry that disappearing food was a desperate thing.  At first, rats and mice were blamed for the missing food.  Then one night, Peter's father was caught stealing food, and the group almost came apart.  Anne's father calmed down the situation, but because others were so hungry also, the tension of so little food remained. 

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