We associate the word “chocolate” with sweet, creamy deliciousness, but the experience of U.S. servicemen in World War II was rather different. Military chocolate rations, named D rations, were high in energy, compact, heat-resistant, and came in poison gas-proof packaging. They were also almost inedibly bitter, so hard that you often had to shave it off rather than bite it, and its effects on the digestive system earned it the nickname “Hitler’s secret weapon.” The taste, at least, was a deliberate choice. The chocolate was intended to serve as emergency rations, so it waws designed to be so unpleasant that the troops would only eat it in a real emergency.
Nazi Germany also had its own military chocolate. Scho-Ka-Kola was laced with caffeine and kola nuts, and was eaten by air, tank and submarine crews to stay awake on long missions.