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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: 24 January 2022

From Crisis to Opportunity

From Crisis to Opportunity


(p.199) 7 From Crisis to Opportunity
Oil and the Great Powers

Anand Toprani

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a reassessment of Germany’s oil strategy during World War II. Fuel consumption during Germany’s early campaigns (1939–40) was lower than expected, but the swift victory over France left the Third Reich in a quandary. Before the war, Europe had imported two-thirds of its petroleum consumption. Germany’s prewar efforts had only aimed to make it self-sufficient—the Third Reich could not hope, however, to replace the supplies other European nations had imported from overseas. German planners concluded that unless Germany took control of the oil resources of either the Soviet Union or the Middle East, fuel shortages would soon derail the entire war effort. This looming energy crisis in Europe strengthened Hitler’s ideological and strategic conviction that Germany should risk a two-front war in 1941 by attacking the Soviet Union before the United States could intervene.

Keywords:   Germany, National Socialism, oil, petroleum, strategy, history, World War II

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