King's College London
Online Exhibitions
Feast, famine and physiology

Food as a weapon

four men and seated around a table with a horse standing near the tableGreek partisan fighter

Prisoners of war often faced meagre or starvation rations, not least during the war against Japan – and the health of survivors became a particular concern when camps were liberated and troops returned home.

Former East Asia POWs were officially allocated extra food rations once back home in the UK, to combat their severe malnourishment.  

Page of magazine text with advice on eating for veterans and recipes below'Every-day Meals for Repatriates' from Far East An article, 'Every-day Meals for Repatriates' in Companion Journal to "The Prisoner of War", 1945 shown here includes advice on 'starting gently' and recipes for prisoners returning from East Asia. 

Food was also used as a weapon of propaganda, not least in the hands of the Japanese who deployed the trope of the ‘greedy colonist’ to seek to foment anti-British unrest among local populations in British territory in East and South Asia.

In this exhibition


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