Those who went overseas fighting for our freedoms that we love had to give up quite a bit. They had to leave their family, friends, some gave the ultimate sacrifice, and they also often had to deal with different foods, also known as MREs or Meals Ready to Eat, which was the standard meal for soldiers who were overseas fighting during World War II. Candy has been around since the early civilizations, but the history of candy in war is an interesting read.
The history of candy in war helped to create one of the most popular candies out on the market today, and it was only thanks to the soldiers that it even got to be a mainstay for the public market. In 1941, M&Ms were created in New Jersey, during World War II. M&Ms have a hard candy coating, making them a great addition to the MREs that soldiers were given overseas, and they were specifically created for that use. They were durable in warm climates, which was important, given that the soldiers needed foods that could survive the different climates they were being sent to. Once the war was over, and the soldiers came back from their deployments, they were missing some of their favorite treats. Because of this, in 1947, M&Ms began being produced for the masses, and all the soldiers who returned home were able to get one of their favorite treats again.
M&Ms are a favorite, but they are not the only candy that had history in war. In fact, in 1917, during World War I, Goldenberg Candy Company created the Goldenberg's Peanut Chews specifically for the soldiers fighting. While these weren't necessarily considered a candy, they were a high-protein option that gave soldiers energy, while fitting in with the rations that were in place. In 1921, they expanded and offered this candy in retail settings for the public to consume as well.
Hershey also got in on supporting the troops by creating a special chocolate bar, called the D Bar. This candy was high in calories, as well as having a high melting point, and was designed as a survival ration for soldiers. Not only was it designed for soldiers, but they wrapped it in wax paper, so it wouldn't be affected by poisonous gas, and they also made it bittersweet to ensure that soldiers wouldn't eat it too quickly.
The history of candy in war stretches a variety of wars, as well as a variety of eras. In some of these cases, the candies were specifically created for soldiers who would be overseas, showing the American pride that we are known for. While it may seem like a small thing to those fighting, having a taste of home in their rations would have helped them to stay grounded and connected to their home, even when they were miles away.