Timothy C. Winegard / The First World Oil War / Pages: 412 / PDF
In his autobiographical account of the Chindit campaign in Burma in
1944, John Masters, the novelist and Gurkha officer, tells of his brigade’s
retreat after a bloody, close-quarter battle with the Japanese. A sergeant
announces that “this campaign is a disgrace.” Masters, exhausted and
sodden, stiffens. The sergeant explains that he is attacking not the conduct
of the battle but the reason for the war. Despite his shattered state,
and fortified by the offer of a cigarette, Masters engages the sergeant
in debate. A Communist party member before the war, the sergeant
believes that “the oil companies insisted on the reconquest of Burma
and bribed Churchill, Eden, and Attlee to commit troops to the job.” For
Masters, the war’s causes are more numerous and more complex. For
the sergeant, “he and I are lying under a wet blanket at map reference
227105, in the monsoon rain among our wounded,” in order “to save
the profits of the oil companies.”
The First World Oil War About
Oil is the source of wealth and economic opportunity. Oil is also the root source of global conflict, toxicity and economic disparity. When did oil become such a powerful commodity—during, and in the immediate aftermath of, the First World War.
In his groundbreaking book The First World Oil War, Timothy C. Winegard argues that beginning with the First World War, oil became the preeminent commodity to safeguard national security and promote domestic prosperity. For the first time in history, territory was specifically conquered to possess oil fields and resources; vital cogs in the continuation of the industrialized warfare of the Twentieth Century.
This original and pioneering study analyzes the evolution of oil as a catalyst for both war and diplomacy, and connects the events of the First World War to contemporary petroleum geo-politics and international aggression.