The ring that finally found its way home after nearly 70 years. David Cox, an American pilot, traded it for some food while he was a prisoner of war in Germany. Courtesy of Norwood McDowell hide caption

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As a prisoner of war, Sub Lieut. John Pryor encrypted information and requests for supplies in letters sent from a German camp to his family in Cornwall. Plymouth University hide caption

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U.S. soldiers receive refreshments, including doughnuts, from an American Red Cross clubmobile in London. Soldiers today still resent a Red Cross move to charge for doughnuts. Library of Congress hide caption

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Planet Money

The Cost Of Free Doughnuts: 70 Years Of Regret

When the Red Cross began charging soldiers for snacks during World War II, it learned a painful lesson in the economics of free stuff.

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The names of Jeffrey Katz's family members are depicted on "stumbling stones" in Lembeck, Germany. His relatives owned a home on the property near the stones, before they were evicted in 1942. Jeffrey Katz/NPR hide caption

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May 7, 1945: In Frankfurt, Germany, Allied commanders including British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery, U.S. Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Soviet Marshal Gregori Zhukov and others celebrate the German surrender. AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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