Thesis ID: CBB001560661

World War II and the Triumph of Industrialized Food (2012)


Backer, Kellen (Author)

Schatzberg, Eric M.
University of Wisconsin at Madison
Johnson, Susan L.

Publication Date: 2012
Edition Details: Advisors: Schatzberg, Eric; Susan L. Johnson
Physical Details: 269 pp.
Language: English

This dissertation examines how food systems in the United States changed because of World War II. It tracks the production, consumption, and regulation of food from the 1930s to the 1950s, showing how wartime changes strengthened industrialized food systems that remained in place long after the war ended. Over the course of World War II, an industry dedicated to producing processed foods developed alongside cultural discourses lauding processed foods. To supply soldiers and sailors stationed around the world required a food system that could distribute foods globally. To help build this system, new and existing regulatory bodies reshaped food production to solve particular wartime problems. Food consumption also changed, because the war disrupted daily life and people had limited options of what to eat. Many of the changes to the production and consumption of food did not end with the war; thus, World War II marks a watershed in U.S. food history. The decisions made during the war accelerated the development of a highly industrialized food system that would define American food for the second half of the twentieth century. Multiple actors, including regulators, businesses, and consumers, helped to create the food system that developed during the war. By viewing the roles of many different actors in food production, this dissertation highlights the mutually constitutive relationship between production and consumption. Examining these interchanges also shows how linking political, business, and economic histories to social and cultural histories can lead to richer historical narratives.


Description “Examines how food systems in the United States changed because of World War II.” Cited in ProQuest Diss. & Thes. (2012). ProQuest Doc. ID 1025743697.

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Authors & Contributors
Brassley, Paul
Creager, Angela N. H.
Drouard, Alain
Dunn, Elizabeth Cullen
Elmore, Bartow J.
Gaudillière, Jean-Paul
Endeavour: Review of the Progress of Science
Agricultural History
Annals of Science: The History of Science and Technology
Economic History Review
University of California Press
University of California, Santa Cruz
Berghahn Books
Franz Steiner Verlag
MIT Press
Food industry and trade
Food and foods
Food science; food technology
Public health
Sabin, Florence Rena
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
20th century, early
20th century, late
21st century
18th century
United States
Great Britain

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