Wartime is a crisis not only because men and women are being sent into a warzone where untold numbers may be killed, but also because resources diverted to the war effort mean privation and shortages for the folks back home.

Those who were left had to make sacrifices too, in ways they might never have imagined. So with that in mind, here are some of the conservation measures made during wartime that really hurt. While the United States did not have to resort to food rationing during WWI, Americans were encouraged to conserve food as best they could. Americans were told to “Eat more Fish, they feed themselves” and leave nothing on their plates after a meal, waste nothing was the mantra.  In the countries of Europe however, the shortages were much more severe and were done for some of the oddest reasons you could imagine.

Alcohol Production and Consumption

I know, right?!

When the US entered the chaotic scene of World War I, Yale economist Irving Fisher pointed out that the barley used in brewing beer could instead be used in baking bread for the American soldiers. He was seconded by others who said that alcohol was not a necessity but rather was a luxury that also hindered the wartime factory workers from performing at their best (You know, no one returns to work on a Monday morning with full-on energy when they partied hard the night before.) The proposition succeeded, so in 1917 until 1918, everything related to alcohol was limited— sale of alcohol, especially around military bases and munitions plants, and the allocation of grain to the beer brewers. And it wasn’t just the US. Russia might have had the most drastic move in prohibiting alcohol by banning the sale of vodka, as well as its production. The order lasted way long after the war until 1925.

“‘Cultural Revolution’ on a bottle of alcohol” slogan against alcohol consumption in Russia. (pointhistory.com)

Britain also tried to sober up their people too by limiting pub hours and prohibiting purchasing drinks for other patrons, even King George V decided to set a personal example, giving up liquor consumption for the entirety of the war, and so the order went:

 “by the King’s command, no wines, spirits, or beer will be consumed in any of His Majesty’s houses after today.”

Prime Minister Asquith, who was known to be a heavy drinker, refused to refrain from alcohol, but other than him, other political figures followed the example.

White House Sheep

“Who needs lawnmowers when you can have sheep?”