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Black Gold and BlackmailOil and Great Power Politics$
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Rosemary A. Kelanic

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748295

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748295.001.0001

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British Vulnerability and the Conquest of Mesopotamia

British Vulnerability and the Conquest of Mesopotamia

Chapter:
(p.80) 4 British Vulnerability and the Conquest of Mesopotamia
Source:
Black Gold and Blackmail
Author(s):

Rosemary A. Kelanic

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501748295.003.0005

This chapter discusses British oil policy before World War I. In the decade before World War I, the British government was becoming increasingly aware of the importance of oil for military power. But few officials anticipated that oil would become so indispensable to war that a country would be unable to prevail in a conflict without it. The chapter then analyzes Britain's choice to pursue a direct-control strategy in late 1918 by invading Mesopotamia. Dire vulnerability, underpinned by a yawning petroleum deficit and Britain's severe susceptibility to blockade as an island nation, spurred the government to accept the high costs and risks of securing oil with this most extreme strategy.

Keywords:   British oil policy, World War I, British government, oil, military power, direct-control strategy, Mesopotamia, petroleum deficit, Britain, blockade

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