Crude Oil, and how it defined the outcome of 2ndWW


I feel the topic of oil needs a special episode. I found it fascinating how Toprani and TIK come to the conclusion that Germany really lost control of the outcome of the war not in 41’ Barbarossa, or 42’Stalingrad, but back in 40’, when the British would not capitulate, and the subsequent British blockade, creates an immediate oil crisis for the Third Reich.

Also, I hope when summer 41’ Barbarossa comes to fruition, Indy goes into serious detail on the planning of operation Barbarossa, and how Chief of Staff Halder literally changes the operations main strategic goal from capturing the grain in Ukraine, and the oil fields of the Caucuses, to trying to beat the Soviets by taking Moscow.

So by understanding the importance of taking the resources and oil from Russia, I get a totally different take on how Hitler conducted himself during the Russia campaign. The traditional view, if Hitler would just listen to his generals, the outcome for Germany would have been different. However, it seems Hitler knew better than his generals, b/c he understands the importance of taking Russia’s natural resources, and not just it’s largest cities. This objective alone is hard enough as is, so throw on top of it the time crunch of Germany’s dwindling supply of fuel, it seems maddening to me of why they go to Leningrad and Moscow at all? Why not throw everything you have into southern Russia and the Caucuses? If the Germans did this, then maybe the outcome is different.

I highly recommend both sources below on this topic. TIK always does great work, and Toprani’s lecture is very good stuff as well.

Best regards


I also think that crude oil should have an episode dedicaded to it’s importance just for the fact that it was the “blood of the mighty german war machine”. It was also covered in the ressource war episodes of the series “extra history” on the extra credits yt channel.


Daniel Yergin’s “The Prize” is a superb book about the history of oil and is well worth reading.
The Germans were heavily reliant on synthetic oil produced from coal by the Fischer-Tropsch process, however these plants are large and not possible to put underground. So they were easy targets for Allied bombers. Arguably the second most significant benefit of the Anglo-American strategic bombing campaign were when they targeted the synthetic oil plants, which ground the Germans to a halt.

(The first significant benefit was forcing the Luftwaffe to redeploy fighters from the Eastern front to defend Germany, but that’s off-topic).

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