Oil & War How The Deadly Struggle for Fuel in World War II Meant Victory of Defeat

Oil & War How The Deadly Struggle for Fuel in World War II Meant Victory of Defeat
Oil & War How The Deadly Struggle for Fuel in World War II Meant Victory of Defeat
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A Marine Corps University Press reprint Oil & War: How the Deadly Struggle for Fuel in World War II Meant Victory or Defeat was written to appeal to historians, researchers, and warfighters alike. The world’s economy runs on oil. People steal for it. Nations kill for it. To win a war, the victor must have enough oil to fuel their tanks, ships, and planes.

One of the great untold stories of World War II is about the strategic decisions and combat for the control of enough oil so that the Axis powers could wage an aggressive war. Conversely, the Allied powers were determined to keep oil from the Axis. Oil & War, originally published in 1987, was the first book to explain this intricate dance of death from the view-points of both the Axis and Allied sides. Adolf Hitler began planning his grab for oil-producing lands in the 1930s; he also started building plants capable of producing synthetic fuels. The Japanese had their plans too. The Americans, English, and Australians had to counterpunch. They very nearly lost the war because they did not move quickly enough. The race was far closer than previously believed. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Novels and wargames based on the strategies for oil have captured the public’s attention. But here is the real story. This anecdotal narrative about the important role that oil played in World War II provides a view of the forces that controlled the greatest war in history—and a stunning analysis of the importance of oil in terms of world peace for years to come.

A resource complete with numerous historic photography, vital statistical graphs, offers a compelling study how the Allies and Axis nations dealt with the critical capacity and distribution of oil to keep the war machines in constant use often under extreme climatic and geographic conditions.

Table of Contents

Illustrations vii

Foreword to the 2021 Edition xi

Acknowledgments xxv

Glossary and Abbreviations xxvii

A Note on Conversions xxxi

1. The Eve of War 3

2. Blitzkrieg and Oil 19

3. Octane and the Battle of Britain 32

4. Russian Oil: The German Key 49

5. The Russian Campaign 67

6. Japan’s Search for Oil 87

7. Breaking the American Supply Line 105

8. Mideast Oil and the Mediterranean 128

9. Japan’s Oil Gains 147

10. America’s Fountain of Oil 169

11. Germany Bleeds for Oil: The Caucasus and Stalingrad 185

12. Command of the Pacific Sea-Lanes 197

13. The Defeat of Rommel 212

14. The Allied Oil Offensive 232

15. The Western Front 250

16. Final Destruction of Germany’s Fuel Sources 270

17. Germany’s Final Offensive and Collapse: From the Battle of the Bulge to V-E Day 288

18. Japan’s Sinking Fortunes 311

19. Oil in Future Wars 331 Editor’s Note 345

Appendix: Additional Tables 349

Selected Bibliography 361

Index 383


Historians, military researchers and individual seeking knowledge about the critical importance of natural resources.

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Marine Corps University Press
  • Goralski, Robert
Key Phrases:
  • Oil
  • Fuel
  • War II
  • Struggle
  • Victory
  • Defeat
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