Happy Independence Day! Did you know that chocolate is partially responsible for securing our freedom? It's true!
Chocolate first came on the American military during World War I when the U.S. Army commissioned American chocolate manufacturers to provide 20 - 40 pound blocks of chocolate to bases in the field. The blocks were chopped up into smaller pieces and distributed to soldiers in Europe. By the end of the War, the American chocolate business was booming; returning soldiers had grown fond of chocolate and they now wanted more as civilians.
By World War II, the U.S. government officially recognized chocolate's role for the Allied Armed Forces. It allocated valuable shipping space for the importation of 2-ounce and 4-ounce chocolate ration bars, which would give many weary soldiers the strength to carry on with their duties. Specially formulated for 'survival', these chocolates bars weren't nearly as tasty as the chocolates we enjoy eating today.
The number of chocolate ration bars made (40.2 million D Ration bars, and 380 million Tropical Chocolate Bars designed to withstand the intense heat of the tropics and the desert) far exceeded what 10 million military personnel could have consumed. American soldiers were, in fact, sharing with their foreign allies, whether of military or civilian status. In fact, many European children during the 1944 liberation fondly remember American soldiers distributing chocolate bars upon their arrival.
Still today, the U.S. Army D-rations include three 4-ounce chocolate bars. Chocolate has even been taken into space as part of the diet of U.S. astronauts. This Fourth of July, be sure to give chocolate covered kisses to anyone who is serving or who has served in our Armed Forces!