Life was tough for ordinary British folk during WW2 and, as we’ve discussed before, much of the populace responded to a concerted effort from the German’s to bomb them into oblivion with an almost heroic level of indifference. One thing Britain’s couldn’t deal with though was a complete lack of bananas, an ultra scarce commodity people actively fought over.
A bizarre statement that requires some context so allow us to do just that and briefly touch upon rationing, which was in effect throughout most of WW2 as a direct response to Nazi Germany’s “fuck the UK” policy which saw them torpedo the everloving shit out of every supply boat destined for the country in an effort to starve the population into surrender. A bold gambit considering the kind of stuff British people are willing to eat.
For anyone curious about whether or not this would have worked, experiments conducted in secret discovered that even if the Nazis had succeeded in completely cutting Britain off from foreign aid, it probably wouldn’t have mattered. In fact, these experiments discovered that Britain could have easily produced enough food to keep the population fed and perhaps more important, healthy, indefinitely. The only noted downside of a potential diet of nothing but British-grown produce being that it resulted in people taking shits that were two and a half times bigger than usual. Really.
Fortunately for the British people things never got this dire and while morale boosting items like chocolate, butter and bacon were rationed, they were still able to be procured throughout the war. The same however cannot be said for bananas.
Now you’re probably curious about why specifically bananas were so hard to obtain and the answer is largely to do with the fact bananas had to be shipped in refrigerated ships, every single one of which was commandeered for the whole world wide war thing going on. As a result, bananas were virtually impossible to obtain for the entire duration of the war and for many years after it. Hell, bananas were reportedly so difficult to obtain that the queen would hand them out as gifts to people in hospital.
A side effect of bananas being so rare however is that many children grew up believing that they were a myth and when they were finally reintroduced to Britain as part of a post-war morale campaign, they had to be taught how to open them.
Speaking of which, while the British government made a concerted effort to ensure every child in the UK got a banana following the end of rationing as a treat, some parents were known to steal them for themselves. The most famous example of this being British author, Evelyn Waugh who, after learning that his wife had managed to secure a single banana for each of their children, ate them himself. As if that doesn’t sound like a big enough dick move, Waugh is also reported to have eaten the bananas (which remember represented the first sweet thing his children had likely seen in years) with cream and sugar (which was equally as rare) in front of his starving children. Understandably his children are said to have been somewhat annoyed by this and according to his son, he never fully forgave his father for being such a selfish, smug prick. Which, yeah, we get.