CPB in world history: ‘The battle of the potato beetles’

Related imageIn the summer of 1950, during the early days of the Cold War, the farmers in then communist East Germany were told by their government that American planes were dropping Colorado potato beetles over their potato fields to try and sabotage their crops. Farmers reportedly saw low flying American planes constantly dropping something from the air, and shortly after the farmers would notice large numbers of new beetles in their potato fields. Propaganda posters appeared all over the country, warning of this threat by the imperialist West, who supposedly wanted to destroy East German farmers’ harvests. Potatoes were a staple of the German diet at the time, and this matter was taken very seriously by farmers and the government alike. But was this the truth.. or just a Cold War rumour? In collaboration with Germany’s Memory of the Nation Association, Lucy Burns of the BBC investigates for the history programme Witness. You can listen to this fascinating account here (9 minutes audio)