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Oil and policy: New book by the German historian. Review of the book: Eichholtz D. Krieg um Oel: Ein Erdoelimperium als deutsches Kriegsziel (1938 1943). Leipzig: Leipziger Universitaetsverlag GmbH, 2006. 141 s.

Eichholtz D. Krieg um Oel: Ein Erdoelimperium als deutsches Kriegsziel (1938 - 1943). Leipzig: Leipziger Universitaetsverlag GmbH, 2006. - 141 s.



In 1859 in the State of Pennsylvania (USA) oil was for the first time found. According to the German researcher R. Karlsh, the new era in the history of mankind began (Karlsch R., Stockes G.Raymond. Faktor Oel: Die Mineraloelwirtschaft in Deutschland, 1859 - 1974. Muenchen, 2003. S. 9). Oil in the 20th century gained exclusive economic, internal political and geopolitical value. It is no wonder that the oil subject involves many researchers: historians, economists, political scientists, etc.

The "oil" literature published in different countries is very specific and diverse, it is possible to systematize it differently.

But otherwise, first of all, works about major oil concerns are allocated: about the American, British and Dutch oil giants (See, e.g.: Ferrier R.W. The History of the British Petroleum

Company.Cambridge, 1982.; Bamberg J. The History of the BritishPetroleum Company. V 2. The Anglo-Iranian Years 1928 - 1952. Cambridge, 1994; Howarth S. A Century in Oil: The Shell Transport and Trading Company. L., 1997). The researches focused on the history of separate firms are mostly descriptions of life of great people, scientists, engineers and businessmen who influenced development of oil industry, especially in a stage of its origin.

The big share is made also by the works devoted to development of oil economy of some certain country and disclosing interrelation between power policy and national security, between security with oil and products of its processing and foreign policy (Nash G.D. United States Oil Policy, 1890 - 1964. Pittsburgh, 1968; StoffM. Oil, War, and National Security. New Haven, 1980; Jones G. The State and the Emergence of the British Oil Industry. L.1981). The leading role of the Anglo-Saxon companies in the world from the moment of emergence of oil industry is indisputable therefore the majority of such works are devoted to oil economy of Great Britain and the USA.

The oil perspective of Germany remained unexplored long time. The fact is that the German historians avoided a subject of oil policy of national socialists, and not least because of lack of available sources. In early works only already studied measures of the government of the Third Reich were lit: providing the country with oil by means of development of own chemical and coal industry, attempt to receive own mineral oil, supply to Germany of oil from the countries of Eastern and Southeast Europe and also major international concerns, etc. However the full picture does not consist of these researches.

The research of the German historian Dietrich Eichcholtz "War for oil became attempt to recreate a truthful and comprehensive picture of providing Germany with oil during World War II. The oil empire - the military purpose of Germany, 1938 - 1943".

D. Aykhkholtts - one of authors of the collection "War Anatomy" published in the GDR in 1969. (War anatomy: New documents on a role of the German monopolistic capital in World War II. M, 1971). The collection contains documents on a role of the German monopolistic capital in war. Exposing "the dominating monopoly circles", the group of authors set the task "correctly to recreate the past, caring for the future" (War anatomy. Page 15).

Nearly four decades later, already in the unified Germany, new work of the scientist in which on the basis of new documents from the German archives, including archive of the German Foreign Ministry, the role of IS Farbenindustri AG, Deutsche Bank and G. Goering's concern in preparation of aggressive plans of the Third Reich reveals was published, the oil policy of national socialists is in details analyzed during war.

D. Aykhkholtts considers the oil problem in Germany from creation of "Grossraumvirtshaft" before defeat of the German army near Stalingrad (that is prior to fundamental change in World War II).

The book will make witticisms from eight chapters which divide all studied period into four stages: 1) anschluss of Austria and capture of Czechoslovakia; blitzkriegs in the West; 2) the period of "strange war" and the military operations in the Balkans; 3) implementation of the operation "Barbarossa" and 4) failure of "blitzkrieg".

In introduction the author notes that Germany entered fight for oil at the beginning of the 20th century. Large banks under patronage of the kayzerovsky government ensured influence in "Tyurkish petroleum the companies", founded in 1912 and by that they got access to oil fields of the Ottoman Empire. The Baghdad railroad which construction began in 1903 (page 7) had to provide access to oil resources. With defeat in World War I Germany lost all the colonies and was forced to import oil from Anglo-Saxon powers. In 1934 Germany at consumption of mineral oil of 3.7 million tons. annually for 70% depended on import from which 75% went mainly from North America and Latin America. At the same time, as extent of motorization was low, and consumption remained at a low level: on the person it was 40 l. while in France - 85 l., in England-144 l., and in the USA - 609 l. (page 9). Meanwhile increase in import of oil was impossible because of limited currency resources. In such situation the governors of the Third Reich planned to begin war - war for oil.

Starting the main part of the book, the author begins it with the description of the situation which developed in 1938. In the summer the Sudeten crisis opened all insolvency of the previous concept of providing Germany with raw materials. Besides, experience of the Spanish and Abyssinian conflicts showed that it is necessary to modify urgently data on requirements of army for fuel, raw materials and other economic resources in case of war (page 9). It should be noted that an essential lack of work of D. Aykhkholtts is what is mentioned capture of Czechoslovakia casually though Czechoslovak industry filled up resource base of Wehrmacht. The Skoda plant which according to U. Churchill was the second most important industrial arsenal of Europe (U. Churchill fell into hands of Germans. World War II. In 6 t. T. 1. M, 1991. Page 151). Capture by Nazis of Austria gave the chance to IS Farben concern to absorb chemical trust Pulverfabrik, in Czechoslovakia - to appropriate "Aussiger Fereyn", the fourth largest company in Europe (War anatomy. Page 15). In general capture of Austria and Czechoslovakia gave the chance to the Third Reich considerably to accelerate the introduction in war, however, - and it is the key moment - situation with supply with fuel, taking into account growth of mechanization of armed forces, remained catastrophic.

In search of an exit from this situation G. Goering began reorganization of all management personnel with the German economy. Reorganization was resulted by some kind of group on distribution and planning of oil products which regularly organizes meetings in Karinkholla (page 10). Together with Karl Kraukh and Ernst Rudolf Fischer from IS Farbenindust-ri AG, and also it united all old competitors with Wilhelm Kepler and Alfred Bentts. Officials participated in meetings

The MFA and the Ministry of Economics, and from military - Georg Thomas and Fritze Fetzer. In 1938 they planned to bring synthetic production of fuel to 23.85 million tons. by 1942 (page 26). In fact by 1941 only 10 million tons were produced. (page 14). In spite of the fact that the group had unstructured, some kind of personal character, it managed to develop rough activity till 1942 - 1943. The share of a synthetic way of production of the fuel developed by "Farbenindustri's IS" as the main strategy of providing the Third Reich with raw materials was at that time very considerable. It corresponded to the concept of "Grossraumvirtshaft" which was developed by the German industrialists in the 1920th. But, unlike the period till 1938, now "influence" on Southeast and Eastern Europe was planned to be carried out by annexations. D. Aykhkholtts focuses attention on uncertainty and on rigid time frames of activity of the German strategists in this situation, tries to represent them by "the blinded revanchist and expansionist forces of the German imperialism" (page 12).

Chapter 2 narrates about how situation with fuel thanks to an anschluss of Austria and what production was brought by "blitzkriegs" in Poland and in Western Europe (page 22) was improved. To fall of 1939 the situation with fuel was that that Germany could count only on "blitzkrieg". Since September, 1939, oil became the major purpose, as well as means of warfare (page 15). D. Aykhkholtts writes: "The German military and politicians, economists and oil experts counted on operation of profitable oil fields in Poland. They were already prepared for it when attacked the country on September 1, 1939. Directly troops of Yug army were followed "By the oil commission of an alition" in the direction of oil fields which were in the southeast of Poland" (page 18) The fact that the German specialists in oil and geologists prepared for conquest of Galicia in advance, it is possible to conclude from Goering's speech on September 9 delivered when the German troops went through Krakow and quickly moved in the direction of fields. "We will study everything that Poland can give us to us, - he said. - Especially natural resources which Poles used only for 10%. We will use all resources for 100%" (page 18). All oil economy in the occupied territory of Poland was reorganized into two oil firms ("VeBYep Erdoelgewinnungs-GmbH" and "Grossdeutsche 8sMsYai AG"), that is all oil sector of the Polish economy existing before gain was completely reconstructed (page 20). D. Aykhkholtts refers to the first technical and economic report given at the end of October, 1939 according to which level of production of oil in the first year of occupation made 130 - 140 thousand tons. This extortionate production especially amplified in 1942 - 1943 when "the Caucasian project" (page 20) failed. Besides, reserves of fuel and oil in warehouses of oil refineries in Rotterdam, Antwerp, La Rochel (about 1 million tons. in France and 500 thousand tons. in Holland) were completely spent during the campaign in the West (page 23).

Ways what Nazi Germany in the absence of currency provided positive oil balance are analyzed in the chapter 3. On wasps -

Of new sources D. Aykhkholtts tells Nova, as well as how effectively German imperialism managed to place to itself at service the Romanian oil industry according to the idea which nourished and Farben" in the late twenties preached "IS. (We will note at the same time that the German historian oddly lost sight, having never mentioned, the germanoromanian economic agreement of March 23, 1939, and it, in fact, corresponded to "Kraukh's plan" about the device of economy of the countries of Southeast Europe for needs of Germany.) From the beginning of war of delivery from Romania became the only source of fuel for Germany. The dependence on the Romanian oil especially was dangerous to Germany that oil sources in Romania were in hands of foreign concessionaires, first of all British and French. At the end of 1938 oil was extracted there by 56 oil companies. Investments of 10.7 billion leu were distributed as follows: about 45% - the British, French, Belgian and Dutch capital, and 43% - Romanian. The rest fell to the share American (9%), Italian (3%) and German (0.2%) of the capital (page 26).

D. Aykhkholtts emphasizes that, despite the massive pressure upon the Romanian government and also upon attempts to appropriate the oil companies, the strategists of the Third Reich did not manage to increase oil supply even after the conclusion of the oil pact with Romania of May 27, 1940. Only after change of the Romanian government in September, 1940 when in power there was a marshal Antonesku, the Germans managed to achieve an opportunity to influence production of oil. But injurious operation of oil fields by the foreign companies, reduction of prospecting and drilling operations led to the fact that oil production in Romania was sharply reduced and stocks in warehouses did not increase by means of political pressure, by methods of strengthening of operation (page 26) the Author notes that he was 1941 year of the maximum consumption of oil products and the most volume export of oil from Romania to Germany (then Romania became "the German gas station"): from 5, 6 million tons. oil extracted then in Romania, export to Germany made nearly 3 million tons. (page 36). However looks of heads of the Third Reich were attracted more and stronger by the Caucasian oil which was planned to be won within 3-4 months: they once again relied on "blitzkrieg".

In the fourth and fifth chapters D. Aykhkholtts describes a stalemate with fuel and strategy change by summer of 1940. Gradually "Farben" was reoriented by IS on Continentale Ol AG. The Nazi management sought to turn "Conti Ol" into the global player in the world oil market, comparable on value with such oil giants as "Shell" or "Standard Oil" (page 46). The German monopolies and banks saw the beginning of creation of the German oil empire in "Conti Ol". Continentale Ol AG had to include all oil production in Romania, Austria, Hungary and in the Caucasus. As envisioned by strategists, the operation "Barbarossa" had to provide fast access to the Caucasian oil. The remarkable party of a research of D. Aykhkholtts is introduction to a scientific turn of new documents on activity of "Conti Ol"

(page 51-64) and related Middle Eastern purposes of Nazi Germany (page 67-98). In military circles the plan Barbarossa was considered at first as continuation of "blitzkrieg" against France and then as economic war of extermination.

The chapter 6 is devoted to reflections concerning the strategy of planned group of G. Goering since the beginning of 1941 when the shortage of oil became catastrophic. For illumination of this question D. Aykhkholtts used new sources (page 83). The interconnected representations (about the Caucasus and Iraq) merged in the strategy of "the Caucasian pincers". Through the Caucasus and Kirkuk in the east and through North Africa in the west of army of Germany and its allies had to begin approach to the English positions in the Suez Canal. Providing the British with oil had to be blocked, and all oil had to pass to Germany. So, blow through the periphery it was planned to force to the knees the world empire (page 84).

The chapter 7 is devoted to repeated attempt of conquest of the Caucasus after defeat near Moscow. In 1942, attempts to renew "the Caucasian pincers" when the German plans proceeded from defeat in the battle of Moscow and the course of military operations in North Africa in a situation when situation with fuel sharply worsened became. Only oil defined situation on fronts now, and everything that did not serve replenishment of warehouses as oil was deleted from plans. Resources began to be used mainly for construction of oil storages. The author notes that defeat of the German army near Stalingrad predetermined crash of the German "oil empire" (page 100).

The subsequent course of "war for oil" is covered in the chapter 8: the second blow to Rostov and to the Caucasus, conquest of Maykop and approach to Grozny, calculations and real oil production on the Soviet fields, defeat under El-Alameyn in July, 1942 and retreat from the Caucasus after defeat near Stalingrad. Further its results and practical value are summarized: "a big game" was finished, on the agenda there was a question of production of synthetic combustible (page 121) again. The idea of easy gaining all the fact that the world imperialism created for years and mainly peacefully the idea of transformation of Germany into the world oil empire came to grief.

D. Aykhkholtts draws a clear and bright picture of interests, historical persons, the purposes and events. Places oil policy in a framework of a military-economic context. The most important result sounds already in the title: others oil fields were important, perhaps even the most important, German military purpose. If till summer of 1940 thought of Romania and of synthetic production, then after - it is exclusive about mineral oil. A strategy which combined battle marches in various directions and capture of sources of oil was developed. Continentale Ol AG was considered as the German player like Esso or Royal Dutch Shell. Under a screen of chemical industry and German bank various oil interests, not only state interests of the Third Reich, but also private disappeared in this company. Military defeat prevented realization of these interests.

D. Aykhkholtts's research is relevant not only in the scientific plan, but also political because is of interest from positions of a modern oil situation in the world. Germany turns into the leader in Europe again, but she still receives oil from the outside. The American researcher R. S-syuli argues on ways of providing Germany with the resources during the interwar period offered by the head of the economic headquarters of Germany in days of World War I Walter Ratenau. Being one of ideologists of the German imperialism, W. Ratenau developed the theory of "organizational capitalism". He saw an exit from the situation with raw materials in Germany in creation of the strong state (what became Hitlerite Germany) focused on gaining resources. After the Rappalsky conference in 1922 Ratenau got up on a position of cooperation with the USSR on the basis of mutually advantageous agreements (R. Sesyuli of Farbenindustri's IS. M, 1948. Page 63). Thus, either gains, or mutually advantageous partnership with the USSR could solve raw and fuel problems. A follower of policy of mutually advantageous partnership within Russia - the European Union was the former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Today the government of Germany headed by the new chancellor Angela Merkel solves the same problem again. And from in what way Germany will begin to try to obtain access to oil sources in the 21st century, world politics, the relations between the European countries will depend in many respects.

E.V. Gekht

Davis Morgan
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