First World War all about oil?

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The_Enigma
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First World War all about oil?

Post by The_Enigma » 30 Aug 2009 00:04

Ok am watching the 100 greatest comedians - an odd starting position for a history subject i grant you that - and they mention some guy called Rob Newman who ive never heard of, in the clips they show of him he makes the rather political point that the First World War started with the "invasion of Iraq". Thinking he was on about the latest "Gulf War" i checked out his wiki article that led to this article: Link
Firstly, he traces the history of nearly a century of Iraq policy. He tells the astonishing statistic that in the 95 years since oil was discovered in Iraq and a telegram was sent to the Glasgow office of Burma Oil saying “see psalm 104 verse 15 line 3” (“that He may bring forth out of the earth, oil, to make a cheerful countenance”) the United Kingdom has been at war with or occupying that particular country for 45 of them.

His contention that World War 1 should be taught in our schools as an invasion of Iraq seems outlandish at first but he is extremely convincing.

“I am sure many of you, like me, have never been entirely satisfied with the standard explanation we were given at secondary school for the causes and origins of WW1… the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand…I mean, NO ONE is that popular…The war breaks out, and remember it’s a war to defend plucky Belgian neutrality while the Belgians are pluckily defending Congolese rubber and ivory. The FIRST British regiment to be deployed in the First World War, the Dorset regiment, goes to….Basra, 1914, where it is joined by 51 other British divisions.

“Therefore I think we can conclude that had Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon fought by the Tigris or the Euphrates instead of the Somme we would never have heard of them.

‘They could have sent truckloads to the front, full of nothing but poets, if they had fought in Iraq during the first world war we would not know of a single man jack of them. There could even have been a First special poets battalion but had it fought in Iraq we would never have known of its existence, although…one can’t help feeling that the first special poets battalion would have been wiped out quite early on in the hostilities.”

One of the possible reasons for this was that just before WW1 the Germans were constructing the Berlin-Baghdad railway (part of which is now known as the Orient Express). This was at a time that the British and German Navies were switching from coal to oil. The British Navy at that time was probably the most powerful military force in the world so access (and denying access) to the newly discovered oil fields was vital. Also, the British government knew that people would simply not accept the Sarajevo to Basra replacement bus service.
Sounds aloud of crap to me and a person who needs to check a few facts on the Great War but anyone wanna chime in with an opinion on the above?

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Terry Duncan
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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by Terry Duncan » 30 Aug 2009 03:05

Your opinions is pretty sound, it would be reasonable with hindsight only, and even then fails when actions in the 1920s are considered.

chronos20th
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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by chronos20th » 30 Aug 2009 19:42

Unfortunately there is a powerful case for this view.

A major cause of the war was the construction of the Berlin to Bagdad Railway as it would have made trade with the Middle East independent of shipping and the shipping lanes Britain could control, but also ran near the O-I-L. Britain was most anxious to develop to Mosul oilfield as it was then known and exclude all rivals.

It's called RESOURCE DENIAL THEORY and is an important sub-theory of the Geopolitical Theory that so obsessed the British Liberal Imperialists of the time.
If you remember they controlled the government.

The British Government had from 1905 launched a major campaign to take control of the world's oil supplies as there was little oil within the British Empire.

8-) 8-) :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol: :D :D

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by The_Enigma » 30 Aug 2009 20:25

chronos20th wrote:Unfortunately there is a powerful case for this view.

A major cause of the war was the construction of the Berlin to Bagdad Railway as it would have made trade with the Middle East independent of shipping and the shipping lanes Britain could control, but also ran near the O-I-L. Britain was most anxious to develop to Mosul oilfield as it was then known and exclude all rivals.
So where does the Archduke being shot, the Russians siding with Serbia, the Germans backing Austria, the Austrians attacking Serbia, Germany attacking France via Blegium and the Brits getting involved - have to do with a railway, or even oilfields?

A flashpoint in the middle of the Balkans that set off a series of chain reactions the European governments seemed unable to control or calm down *waves arms about* appears to have little to do with middle eastern oil. If that was true, surely the Brits would have kept out of the European War and poured their money into building pipelines and stuff?
The British Government had from 1905 launched a major campaign to take control of the world's oil supplies as there was little oil within the British Empire.
If am not mistaken, Iraq and Kuwait were part of the Empire during this time were they not? Saudi was never invaded so one would assume they were in our good books. Had the oilfields in Burma been developed by this point? The US seemed to on pretty friendly terms during this period, had they developed their oilfields? (if am not mistaken by the 1930s they were our main provider of oil (not an ideal situation for self-reliance i know)

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by Mad Zeppelin » 30 Aug 2009 21:05

Oil was flowing in the Caucasus, Romania, Burma, the Dutch East Indies, Iran, Mexico, the USA, - since 1917 also in Venezuela.
It was generally thought that Mesopotamia would yield oil in the near future(the 'burning fields' near Kirkuk were known since the Middle Ages and the geographical facts showed that there was a huge similarity with adjacent Iran).
But actually, in 1914 neither Kuwait nor presentday Iraq already had oil wells. - Kirkuk was the first oil well to become operative - in 1927.

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by ljadw » 30 Aug 2009 21:46

Transporting oil by railway from Bagdad to Berlin ,Greece,Serbia and Roumania beying adversaries of Germany ? Btw:was the German navy using oil of coal,and if it was the former ,was there ever a shortage ,and from what source did Germany get her oil ?

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by chronos20th » 30 Aug 2009 22:02

I said RESOURCE DENIAL THEORY.

Unlike many posters on here British policymkers grasped geopolitical considerations and were determined to prevent the Mosul oilfield falling to the control of rival Powers, thought the B to B railway an enormous threat, and plotted to gain control of the world's oil supplies.

8-) 8-) :roll: :roll: :lol: :lol: :P :P

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by The_Enigma » 30 Aug 2009 22:11

Do you want to elaborate a little bit? How does that have anything to do with getting involved in the First World War or the war being about middle eastern oil?

Has other posters have pointed out Germany wasnt really connected to the Middle East regardless of any trainlines due to rivial countries being in the way. The UK could have easily denied oil to Germany without getting into a war. :?

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by Terry Duncan » 31 Aug 2009 02:08

I said RESOURCE DENIAL THEORY.

Unlike many posters on here British policymkers grasped geopolitical considerations and were determined to prevent the Mosul oilfield falling to the control of rival Powers, thought the B to B railway an enormous threat, and plotted to gain control of the world's oil supplies.
Perhaps it was all really about stealing the uranium resources in Germanys African colonies? After all, everyone knew it was to be really important in about forty years. Oil is similar, they were all plotting to control areas with undiscovered oil reserves, but then curiously failed to do anything about it after the war, including creating new nations on top of some of the more lucrative oil fields. Hindsight is wonderful, even idiots can try to use it.
Do you want to elaborate a little bit? How does that have anything to do with getting involved in the First World War or the war being about middle eastern oil?

Has other posters have pointed out Germany wasnt really connected to the Middle East regardless of any trainlines due to rivial countries being in the way. The UK could have easily denied oil to Germany without getting into a war.
Enigma,

You will probably get all manner of strange conspiricy ideas put forwards, all without anything to substantiate them - this just proves how sectret the plans were though - maybe even the one where the US decided to back the Entente long before 1914 and kept this secret from all but a few select individuals who took their nations to war because they were certain of this promise of US backing. All very dramatic and all very far fetched.

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by Mad Zeppelin » 31 Aug 2009 19:52

Right, conspiracy theories: Here we go... (I love conspiracy theories)

Neither the escape of SMS Goeben and Breslau nor the seizure of Ottoman Ships Reshadje and Sultan Osman were mistakes made by the British, which would unintendedly drive the Ottoman Empire into the arms of the Central Powers.
No, this was of course done arbitrarily by the British, because it would have been very difficult to break up and disseminate an Ottoman Empire allied to the Entente.
Thus, every gadget in the British trick box was set in motion in order to drive the Turks into the arms of the Centrals - with the fine prospect of already in 1916 being able to sketch how the game should be sliced and distributed to the victors. With - who would have suspected? - all the expected oil of Mesopotamia and Arabia coming under British control.

Talk about the real reasons of the Great War. Forget the petty slaughter in Northern France and daft poor li'l Belgium, here are vision and foresight... Here are true imperialists at work!

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by The_Enigma » 31 Aug 2009 20:27

Mad Zeppelin wrote:Right, conspiracy theories: Here we go... (I love conspiracy theories)

Neither the escape of SMS Goeben and Breslau nor the seizure of Ottoman Ships Reshadje and Sultan Osman were mistakes made by the British, which would unintendedly drive the Ottoman Empire into the arms of the Central Powers.
No, this was of course done arbitrarily by the British, because it would have been very difficult to break up and disseminate an Ottoman Empire allied to the Entente.
Thus, every gadget in the British trick box was set in motion in order to drive the Turks into the arms of the Centrals - with the fine prospect of already in 1916 being able to sketch how the game should be sliced and distributed to the victors. With - who would have suspected? - all the expected oil of Mesopotamia and Arabia coming under British control.

Talk about the real reasons of the Great War. Forget the petty slaughter in Northern France and daft poor li'l Belgium, here are vision and foresight... Here are true imperialists at work!
Am preety sure we had the same gameplan for America but didnt plan on loosing all our cash mid-century but we had to scrap that idea. :lol:

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by Mad Zeppelin » 31 Aug 2009 20:38

You bet on it. It's all the fault of that moron Churchill, who thought that waging war was much more fun than making money (in that, by the way, he was quite the mirror image of Adolf H., who tendered the same opinion. - only that Adolf H. would have made peace with Britain without W.C. and have concentrated on Russia). - But that, of course, was part of the British conspiracy to bring the USA in confrontation with the USSR...

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by chronos20th » 04 Sep 2009 22:10

Am preety sure we had the same gameplan for America but didnt plan on loosing all our cash mid-century but we had to scrap that idea.
Not pretty sure, was a certainty.

This was The Roundtable's plan for America, to bring it back into financial union with the British Empire.
Lord Milner as the trustee of rhe Rhodes Fund sent three agents to America for this reason with large funds.
The reason The Roundtable was formed to reestablish Britain as World Hegemon.

8-) 8-) :P :P :lol: :lol:

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by South » 05 Sep 2009 11:37

Good morning Ljadw and all,

The formally named Berlin to Bagdad RR was actually planned to extend to Basra.

The BB RR with spur to Basra would have been a competitor to the Suez Canal.



Warm regards,

Bob

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Re: First World War all about oil?

Post by Attrition » 10 Sep 2009 10:39

Apropos 'Resource Denial Theory', why would Britain bother to occupy areas with natural resources to implement it? All they'd have to do was buy it like they did contraband heading towards Germany during the war. Much cheaper than all that messy intervention.

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