In a country overrun by the German Army and with the added irritant of a sentry posted at every corner, there were bound to be many minor infractions of our food guarantees. As I have stated earlier, the Allied military authorities maintained an effective intelligence service in the occupied areas to watch over us, and constant and usually exaggerated reports of minor leakages of relief supplies went back to the British and French military departments. Those agencies were violently opposed to us from the start and made life miserable not only for us but for those in the British Foreign Office who were our steadfast friends.

Many of the supposed infractions were the doings of an extensive black-market which had sprung up in smuggled goods. This black- market drew its strength from the high prices of food outside the rationing systems in both Germany and Belgium, and its practitioners included nationals from Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Belgium, and even from England, the latter operating, by night, in craft across the Channel. The black-market sales were mostly to the Germans and were naturally encouraged by them. There were also sales to well-to-do Belgians. For the black-marketeers and smugglers, the favorite transportation routes to Germany were through the Dutch and Belgian canals.

Under pressure from both the Allies and Germans, the Northern neutrals were compelled to divide their meager surplus--mostly animal products--between the Allies and the Germans and, in the early


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An American Epic - Vol. 1
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