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The Rise and Demise of the Postwar Petroleum Order (Essay Sample)


This is a history paper describing the rise and fall of the postwar petroleum order

The rise and demise of the postwar petroleum order
The need to control the raw materials was the main reason that prompted and caused the resultant effect of the World War II. The need to control raw materials especially oil continued to be the source of power and policies during the cold war period by powerful nations. Before the beginning of the World War I, the United States started to convert its war machines from using coal to oil as fuel. The use of oil had a lot of advantages compared to coal because the oil machines were able to move at a higher speed and cover a wide distance in a short time. It was also easier to refuel the tankers and ships compared to using coal. Therefore, oil offered solution to the navy’s problem of taking over the Pacific Ocean. On the other hand coal from the western part of the United States was not suitable for the use in the marine steam engines. All the coal that United States was initially using came from wales and Appalachia and had to be shipped. However , oil was readily available in state of California which enabled the United States navy to reach across the pacific (Cordesman 32).
The innovation during the world war I such as submarines , tanks , motorized transport and airplanes were all powered by oil. Oil was also useful in the manufacturing of munitions and was further boosted by the breakthrough of scientists extraction of toluene from oil which is an essential ingredient of the TNT explosives . During the war the United States was able to supply over 80% of all the oil needs . Upon the entry of the U.S in to the war, it was able to provide and guard the tankers which transported oil to Europe. Therefore , he United States oil resources was able to supply energy to its allies in the war(Williamson and Daum 22).
The United States was the largest world oil producer in 1920 which led to the revolutionary of the economy and society. The demand for oil increased as the manufacturing of automobiles and others also rose. By the second world war , the energy consumption of the United States was very high but in other countries , it was only reserved for transportation and military especially in western Europe and japan. It was the distribution imbalance of world oil supplies, which had impact on the interwar balance of power. During this period only the united states and the soviet union had large oil reserves in their territories(Cordesman 35).
The British and the French had concession in the middle east which helped these two nations to acquire the required security and stability in the area that were producing oil and took over the control of the Mediterranean sea routes. The British and the French also depended on the northern hemisphere as their oil source but they had also to depend on the good will of the United States to be able to transport the oil across the Atlantic ocean safely. Germany and Japan had a hard time accessing the oil producing areas which left the countries dependent on foreign companies and therefore this made them vulnerable to economic and political pressure. In addition the Anglo- American power on the sea was a big threat to both German and Japan from accessing oil from the western hemisphere and the middle east(Yergin 44).
During the interwar period to 1940, the United States strengthened its oil production and positioned itself as the leading producer of oil around the world. It further discovered oil reserves in Oklahoma and many more fields in California. In 1930, the United States made a big stride by the discovery of the giant east Texas oil reserve which led to overproduction rather than scarcity during the great depression(Williamson and Daum 15).
The navy power and air force development enabled the United States to take over the access it the overseas oil producing areas specifically the gulf of Mexico and Caribbean. The open door policies allowed companies to have private cooperation’s which therefore helped the United States companies to have oil concessions from many oil producing countries such as Venezuela m Iraq, Bahrain, Kuwait ,Netherlands East Indies and Saudi Arabia(Yergin 48).
Oil was an important part of the origin of the World War II. This is because it was the driving fuel of the war machines. Germany having been locked out from the world oil source , Adolf Hitler decide to come up with the synthetic fuel industry. However , by 1940 Germany was able to access the Romanian oil exports but were not able to meet its demand and Hitler thought of taking control of the Caucasus oil field by invading the soviet union in 1941. This is also the reason that Japan also decided to attack the United States. This was aimed at covering the oil needs for the Japanese industries which had raised significantly. Japan was dependent on the united states oil exports and when it cut off the supply for Japan in 1941 forcing Japan to choose war and attacked the Pearl Harbor and many other U.S basses. All the weapons used in the Second World War were oil powered. Therefore, oil continued to be an important part of the war and was still used in the munitions manufacturing(Cordesman 39).
Then , the United States was entering into war with a large surplus of oil which enabled it not only to sufficiently fuel its oil needs but that of their allies. The United States has also an advanced technology in oil refinery which enabled it to have an added advantage for high performance airplanes engines. In the contrary, German and Japan were not able to access oil and this led to their defeat. The inability of Germany to take control of the Caucasus oil field and the many setbacks experienced in the northern Africa weakened their military ability during the war time. In addition, by 1944 German had empty war machines. The demand and importance for oil by the United States affected its policies towards the Latin America and the middle east and this enhanced its interest of the foreign oil(Caldwell and Muller 123).
The onset of petroleum world order came with the advance in technology led to the nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles but the oil powered forces still remained a pivotal part of the military to power the post war world. On the other hand , in each development of the generation weapons , there was a sharp consumption of oil than the previous ...
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