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We Fight for Oil (1928) + America Conquers Britain - A Record of Economic War (1930) - Ludwell Denny

We Fight for Oil (1928) + America Conquers Britain - A Record of Economic War (1930) - Ludwell Denny

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01/28/2013

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Ludwell Denny, We Fight for Oil
 
We Fight for Oil
 
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America conquers
 
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Ludwell Denny
 
We Fight for Oil
 
 It is even probable that the supremacy of nations may be determined by the possession of available petroleum and its products
.” —President Coolidge
 
Alfred A Knopf, 1928
 
A
MERICA
 
conquers 
B
RITAIN
A RECORD of ECONOMIC WAR
 
Alfred A Knopf, 1930
http://yamaguchy.netfirms.com/denny/denny_index.html5.4.2006 10:27:12
 
Ludwell Denny, We Fight for Oil, ch 1
We Fight for Oil
 
Ludwell Denny
 CHAPTER ONE
Concerning the Larger Anglo-American Conflict 
 A
HISTORY
of the oil war must wait. The war is not over. Contemporary records can be set downby observers in different countries. From many such incomplete reports future historians mayround out the story.Origins of the struggle have been studied by several men, most of them Europeans. Theydescribed the rivalry among the Powers over petroleum riches of Russia and the Near East in theperiod immediately following the Great War. No one, apparently, has attempted to bring therecord down to the present.Since 1925 the battle lines have shifted. The struggle for Russian resources has grown more bitter.Another Mosul dispute is in the making. The Mexican situation has completely changed. There arenew and more important fronts. In Venezuela and Colombia, Great Britain is manoeuvring forposition dangerously near the Panama Canal.The British Government is directly involved. It owns and directs the most aggressive company inthis international competition. While British companies help drain diminishing reserves of theUnited States, Great Britain excludes American companies from most of the petroleum lands of theEmpire.To meet the emergency the Washington Government exerts a “strong” policy. It formallychallenges British oil imperialism, protests nationalization laws of Mexico and other foreign fieldsand markets. Fearing a domestic shortage, Washington wants foreign reserves essential to thenation in peace and war. Subsoil supplies in the United States are sufficient theoretically for onlysix years at the present consumption rate, according to the Federal Oil Conservation Board.Anglo-American strife over foreign resources has become a major factor in international affairs.
The British perhaps have been more militant, because their need has been until now so much greater than ours. But in motive and in method there is little difference between the contending forces
.Oil diplomacy in London and Washington is determined by commercial and militaryconsiderations. It is hidden most of the time. Corporations do not reveal their secrets.Governments do not publish their army and navy war plans. But sometimes when hard pressed aSir Henri Deterding and a Standard Oil official try to gain public support by telling the worst abouteach other. Or a diplomatic note shows the close connexion between foreign policy andcommercial rivalry.Then one sees that this oil war is not important in itself. It is significant only as part of a largerstruggle for world mastery between two great economic empires. Seen alone it seems fantastic,impossible; against the background of the wider conflict it appears tragically inevitable. Therewould be no serious oil war had not America suddenly grown into an empire threatening Great
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Ludwell Denny, We Fight for Oil, ch 1
Britain’s long commercial and naval supremacy.Modern international power is economic. The nation which controls oil and other raw materials,foreign markets, and credits will rule the world.
Before the Great War the United States was a debtor nation, owing the world $5,000,000,000. By1927 the world owed the United States $25,600,000,000. Great Britain at the height of her poweras world banker had less than $20,000,000,000 of foreign investments. Foreign debts to the UnitedStates Government total more than $11,000,000,000. Foreign investments of Americans in 1927amounted to $14,500,000,000, and were increasing at a rate above $2,000,000,000, a year. Theworld is paying America an annual tribute, in dividends and interest alone, well over$1,000,000,000. The yearly American foreign trade turnover exceeds $9,000,000,000.
This economic power carries inevitable international responsibilities. Political isolation—ordainedby the fathers of the Republic as the basis of American foreign policy—ceased with the Spanish-American war and resulting territorial expansion overseas. “Isolation is no longer possible ordesirable,” President McKinley said. Later President Wilson for a time convinced a scepticalAmerica that: “We are participants whether we would or not in the life of the world. The interestsof all nations are ours also. We are partners with the rest. What effects mankind is inevitably ouraffair as well as the affair of the nations of Europe and Asia.” We could not keep out of the GreatWar. From that vast destruction of men and wealth, other Powers both victor and vanquishedemerged terribly weakened. The balance of international power moved westward toward America.The United States became an economic empire, circling seas and continents, penetrating the verycapitals of older empires. Now no major development can occur in any foreign country withouttouching some American interest.America apparently cannot stop the historic process which is extending her empire. She cannotescape the accompanying entanglements. With Europe poor from the war, with undevelopedcontinents opening to exploitation, America’s surplus wealth will continue to flow outward. Toprotect that wealth, American diplomacy follows. And sometimes American battleships.American entanglements abroad are only a matter of degree. In western Europe our politicalinfluence is exercised indirectly, as in the Dawes reparations system or in the credit embargo againstFrance. In eastern Europe and the Near East there are American financial advisers with almost asmuch authority as dictators. In Liberia, America rules in all but name. We share in China withother Powers control of tariffs and finance, maintain our own courts and army.In the Western Hemisphere, under a much-stretched Monroe Doctrine, our control is wider. TheCaribbean is an American lake. No Central American government can defy the will of Washingtonand live. Virtual American protectorates extend over Cuba and Panama. American marines occupyHaiti and Nicaragua. In 14 of the 20 Latin American republics, there is some form of fiscal,political, or military power wielded by the United States.There is also our territorial empire, acquired by purchase or conquest—the Philippines, Alaska,Hawaii, Guam, Porto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.But these territorial possessions and larger economic domains are not enough. We reach for more.
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