From the Baltic to the Mediterranean, from the Shannon to the Elbe, tractors, horse teams and the work-blackened fingers of peasant women were gathering in ,what looked like the biggest harvest since World War II. French hillsides teemed with blue and green grapes that sent the price of wine toppling. In Germany, cattle and hogs were plump and plentiful; in Scandinavia, furrows bulged with a splendid crop of potatoes. Everywhere, except in Switzerland, where the spring frosts were harsh, Western Europe's harvest waxed fat and mellow, promising its people that next winter none need starve.

Across the narrow seas, Britain's...

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