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Oil and the Great PowersBritain and Germany, 1914 to 1945$
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Anand Toprani

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198834601

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198834601.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 18 January 2022

The Allure of Independence

The Allure of Independence


(p.25) 1 The Allure of Independence
Oil and the Great Powers

Anand Toprani

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the origins of Britain’s postwar oil strategy, which aimed at making Britain independent of imports from other great powers, especially the United States. It begins by reviewing Whitehall’s increasing preoccupation with oil as a matter of national security before 1914, including the Royal Navy’s shift to oil and the government’s purchase of a majority of shares in the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. It then examines the British experience during and immediately after World War I, when officials began pursuing two of the key objectives of British strategy—securing British majority ownership of Shell and the oilfields of Mesopotamia. The chapter concludes with an assessment of how oil influenced Britain’s war aims in the Middle East and Anglo-American competition over the region’s oil.

Keywords:   Britain, oil, petroleum, strategy, World War I, history

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