3525 THE TWENTIETH CENTURY-THE GREAT WAR.
Every effort was made to stimulate the
smuggling of rubber past the blockade,
and many neutral vessels sought to fool
the British blockaders. False compartments and even false articles of various
kinds containing a rubber core were
resorted to. All sorts of substitutes for
rubber were evolved, but, of course, none
was wholly satisfactory. Many automobiles came to have solid tires; on others
the wheels contained an ingenious system of
coiled springs which would reduce the shock.
Copper, nickel, vanadium, chromium,
and anchromium were among the other
articles of which there was a shortage.
The available supply of such articles
was bought up in the neighboring neutral
countries, and every effort was made to
gather these articles at home. Copper,
bronze, and brass door knobs, bedsteads,
chandeliers, pots and pans, and even
church bells were carefully gathered from
all over Germany. The soldiers were
instructed to save the empty cartridge
cases and even to gather up the copper
fragments from exploded enemy shells.
The quest for copper became so great
that the copper roofs of many historic
buildings were torn off. Certain iron industries made large profits through supplying iron stove doors, chandeliers, pots and
pans, and other articles to take the place of
brass articles commandeered by the Government. In course of time the cartridge
cases came to be made in large measure
of soft iron instead of copper and brass.
Not only did the Germans experience
shortage of food but they were greatly
embarrassed by lack of clothing and foot
wear. The Central Powers did not produce
sufficient wool for their own needs, and
the Allied blockade ultimately cut off
practically the whole of the cotton imports.
Efforts were made to stimulate the production of cotton in Turkey but without
important results. Resort had to be made
more and more on the part of the civilian
population to wooden shoes, and, in summer, many of the adult population went
barefooted; in fact, they were exhorted