1919–1944: Meat Propaganda

  • Francesco BuscemiEmail author
Part of the Numanities - Arts and Humanities in Progress book series (NAHP, volume 5)


This chapter principally analyses meat in terms of its relations to ideology. Certainly, a right-wing vegetarianism existed, and is traceable in the Italian Regency of Fiume, Fascism and Nazism, three dictatorships that ruled in today’s Croatia, Italy and Germany respectively, and threatening the entire Europe. These dictatorships were also built on what I term ‘sacred vegetarianism’, a propagandistic meat abstention descending from old Oriental myths. Nonetheless, it must be said that Fascism and Nazism were adverse to the vegetarian associations in their countries, demonstrating that sacred vegetarianism was exclusively a matter of propaganda. Starting from studies that I have already published, the first part of this chapter summarizes what I have already found and interprets the result in cultural terms. What these dictatorships communicated, in fact, became part of the collective imaginary of these nations, and thus may be considered as part of cultural history. The second part of the chapter is, conversely, devoted to the way in which meat was ideologically represented in the US, and to scientific discoveries that encouraged meat consumption. Another issue analyzed is meat in WWII, from the points of view of both the soldiers at the front and the rest of the people at home. The short story is a tale about ideology and about how it splits communities into fighting factions.


  1. Benjamin, Walter. 2008. The work of art in the age of its technological reproducibility, and other writings on media. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Buscemi, Francesco. 2016. Edible lies: How Nazi propaganda represented meat to demonise the Jews. Media, War and Conflict 9 (2): 180–197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Buscemi, Francesco. To be published. From physical illness to social virtue: The Italian way to vegetarianism in the newspaper La Stampa from 1867 to the present. In Vegetarians’ Dilemma: Rethinking food choice throughout time, eds. Adam Shprintzen. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press.Google Scholar
  4. Buscemi Francesco. Under writing. The sin of eating meat: Fascism, Nazism and the construction of sacred vegetarianism.Google Scholar
  5. Capatti, Alberto. 2016. Vegetit: Le avanguardie vegetariane in Italia. Lucca: Cinquesensi.Google Scholar
  6. Ciment, James. 2007. The home front encyclopedia: United States, Britain and Canada in World War I and II. Santa Barbara (CA): ABC Clio.Google Scholar
  7. Comisso, Giovanni. 1924. Il porto dell’amore. Treviso: Stamperia di Antonio Vianello.Google Scholar
  8. Comisso, Giovanni. 1951. Le mie stagioni. Treviso: Edizioni di Treviso.Google Scholar
  9. Consolato, Sandro. 2006. Gicomo Boni: L’archeologo vate della Terza Roma. In Esoterismo e fascismo, ed. Gianfranco De Turris, 183–196. Roma: Edizioni Mediterranee.Google Scholar
  10. De Felice, Renzo. 1973. La Carta del carnaro nei testi di Alceste de Ambris e Gabriele D’Annunzio. Bologna: IL Mulino.Google Scholar
  11. Dickson, Paul. 2013. Words from the white house: Words and phrases coined or popularized by America’s presidents. New York: Walker and Company.Google Scholar
  12. Diebow, Hans. 1937. Der ewige Jude. Munich/Berlin: Zentralverlag der NSDAP/Franz Eher Verlag.Google Scholar
  13. Diebow, Hans. 1941. Die Juden in USA. Berlin: Franz Eher Verlag.Google Scholar
  14. Herf, Jeffrey. 2006. The Jewish enemy: Nazi propaganda during World War II and the holocaust. Harvard, MA: Harvard University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hiemer, Ernst. 1938. Der giftpilz. Nuremberg: Stürmer-Verlag.Google Scholar
  16. International Military Tribunal. 1945–1946. Trial of the major war criminals before the international military tribunal, Vol. 30. Nuremberg: 14 November 1945–1 October 1946.Google Scholar
  17. Keith, Lierre. 2013. Lierre Keith. In Earth at risk: Building a resistance movement to save the planet, ed. Derrick Jensen, and Lierre Keith, 143–172. Crescent City, CA: Flashpoint Press.Google Scholar
  18. Kumar, Neeraji, Christopher J. Boes, and Martin A. Samuels. 2006. Liver therapy in anemia: A motion picture by William P. Murphy. Blood 107: 4970.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Laqueur, Walter. 1990. The uses of history. In On bohemia: The code of the self-exiled, ed. C. Graña, and M. Graña, 111–117. New Brunswick, NJ and London: Transaction Publishers.Google Scholar
  20. Leeden, Michael. 1975. D’Annunzio a Fiume. Bari: Laterza.Google Scholar
  21. Meehan, Thomas, Charles Strouse, and Martin Chamin. 1977. Annie: Libretto/vocal book. New York: E.H. Morris and Co Publishing.Google Scholar
  22. Mouré, Kenneth. 2011. Réalités cruelles: State controls and the black market for food. In Food and war in twentieth century Europe, ed. I. Zweiniger-Bargielowska, R. Duffett, and A. Drouard, 169–182. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  23. Nobel Prize. 2017. The nobel prize in physiology or medicine 1934. Accessed 17 May 2017.
  24. Piper, CharlesV, and William J. Morse. 1923. The soybean. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  25. Salaris, Claudia. 2002. Alla festa della rivoluzione: Artisti e libertari con D’Annunzio a Fiume. Bologna: IL Mulino.Google Scholar
  26. Shurtleff, William, and Akiko Aoyagi. 2014. History of meat alternatives: 965 CE to 2014. Lafayette, CA: Soyinfo Center.Google Scholar
  27. The Times. 1940. A vital German supply: The magic bean. The Times, 7–8, 23 April.Google Scholar
  28. Thoms, Ulrike. 2011. The Innovative power of war: The army, food sciences and the food industry in Germany in the twentieth century. In Food and war in twentieth century Europe, ed. Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Rachel Duffett, and Alain Drouard, 247–261. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar
  29. Yoga. 1920. Primo quaderno dello Yoga. Yoga (unique issue). Fiume: Ed. Mino Somenzi—Città di Vita.Google Scholar
  30. Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Ina. 2011. Fair shares? The limits of food policy in Britain during the Second World War. In Food and war in twentieth century Europe, ed. Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, Rachel Duffett, and Alain Drouard, 125–138. Farnham: Ashgate.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of InsubriaComoItaly

Personalised recommendations