Did Hershey's Chocolate Play a Role in WWII?

Hershey’s Chocolate played a role in World War II with the company creating a special chocolate bar just for the US troops, as part of emergency rations to sustain the soldiers’ energy levels during combat. The US government requested that Hershey create a chocolate bar that would be able to provide quick nutrition to soldiers, while also being lightweight and able to withstand high temperatures. The chocolate company created an emergency ration bar, known as the “D-ration bar” that contained dark chocolate, as well as skim milk powder and oat flour. The recipe was so thick, it originally had to be molded by hand instead of in the Hershey factories, and soldiers had to slice it with knives to eat.

More about Hershey’s chocolate :

  • The founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company, Milton Hershey, actually first got his start in the sweets business by starting a caramel company in 1876 before moving onto chocolate in 1894.
  • During the Great Depression, Hershey’s Chocolate products remained so profitable that the company did not have to lay off any workers.
  • Hershey Kisses, the company’s bite-sized chocolates wrapped in foil, were not produced at all during WWII because of rationing of aluminum.
More Info: hersheys.com

Discussion Comments


From reading this article about chocolate and World War 2, I really don't see how the Hershey's provided nutrition to soldiers.

After all, isn't chocolate quite fattening, especially in numerous doses? On the other hand, taking into consideration that the "D-ration bar" contained dark chocolate, that's more understandable.

While some people don't like it due to the bitter taste, it has more benefits, because there's less sugar and artificial preservatives. Not to mention that dark chocolate lowers blood pressure. In a time as stressful as World War 2, the soldiers would need as little blood pressure as possible.


Reading the second bullet point, it's good to know that during the Great Depression, things weren't as hopeless as they seemed.

The fact that the company didn't even have to lay off any Hershey's Chocolate workers, doesn't just show the significance of chocolate, but more importantly, it really shows how chocolate became a staple in society.

Maybe people aren't as "dependent" on it anymore, but it's still loved by many. And even if you're not big on chocolate, we can all appreciate it in small doses.

In a way, it was something that people looked forward to, and even during a time as difficult as the Great Depression, the employers knew that they couldn't just end the production of chocolate, as the potential was right there.


Though I've learned quite a bit about World War 2, I'm surprised to read that Hershey's chocolate was somehow involved. It really shows you how candy can have a great history behind it.

While Hershey's Chocolate is simply something that to us, can best be described as generic supermarket candy bars, this was a special treat to soldiers everywhere, and even more so, it was supposed to help them out during their time of life and death.

Still, does anyone else besides me question how beneficial these candy bars truly were? While I'm sure that they did help to some extent, some further research in the things that soldiers did during World War 2, showed that there weren't as many benefits as it seems.

Using one example, during World War 2, pilots would eat bilberry so that it could help them to see in the dark. However, later research shows that this probably didn't help.

My point is that even though there probably some benefits to the chocolate, there needs to be more evidence as well. Does anyone else agree with me?

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