The difficulties of daily life
The population felt the constraints of a shortage economy: feeding and keeping themselves warm became an obsession.
German levies, smuggling to Belgium and the black market – prices were higher in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais due to the presence of so many occupying troops – made the rationing system ineffective.
The situation was particularly difficult for urban working-class families who had no garden in which to grow crops.
Women played a vital role in collective survival; the absence of a large number of men, who were held prisoner in Germany, meant that they had to take on ever growing important responsibilities in economic and social life.