16 FEBRUARY 1940, Page 6

Everything reliable that I hear about the condition of Germany

serves as warning against facile assumptions of an early collapse of civilian morale. The food situation is, of course, bad, and the cold spell, with its effect on trans- port, makes it temporarily worse. But for months or years before the war the Government had been building up huge reserves of tinned goods, principally, it appears, tinned ham, which will keep the country going a long time in case of need. Ersatz foods, moreover, such as artificial coffee, while they form a considerable part of the dietary, are by no means entirely a war-expedient. Some of them have been in use since the last war, and the population, or rather its poorer sections, is perfectly familiar with them. They form no new hardship.