Harry St John Philby (*1885) is a British diplomat with strong links to the Middle East and a friend of Jawaharlai Nehru, the future Prime Minister of India. His first marriage is to a British woman, later he has an Arab wife. He converts and becomes the Sheikh Abdullah. After long-time services also at the British secret intelligence service, it comes to a breach with his native country and St John Philby becomes, although still in its services, a special confidant and counsellor of Ibn Saud during the establishment of Saudi Arabia. Basically he played the role of a double agent, used his knowledge of British sensitivities to help Ibn Saud as the one to preserve order in the Arab world to the throne.
St John Philby is similarly influential when the American Standard Oil of Florida strives for a concession in the newly established country. This country is in a bad condition because of the 1933 global economic crisis, and it gets even less pilgrims to the holy city of Mecca to complain about. Here, an agreement for 60 years can be of help. However, there are strong reservations about the dominant power in the region - Great Britain, so that it is concluded with an American company.
It's more than just a business deal. At that time, closeness to the United States guarantees Saudi Arabia a relative independence. America in turn can later use military bases and corresponding ports in this country and act from there as a future superpower. In return for the enormous revenues, a part of the money flows back again through weapon deliveries. Overall, the cooperation is so successful that Saudi Arabia will later rise to the world's most important oil producer.
After 1933, World War II is slowly looming. Germany is arming, lost however its concessions. The fuel needs can be covered only very insufficiently with Romanian sources. From 1922, the desperately dependant on foreign currencies Soviet Union steps in, which - until the invasion there in 1941 - promises a good supply base. The company IG Farben promises Hitler to fill the in the event of war still existing gaps with synthetic oil made from (brown) coal.
Even today, it is astonishing how many supporters Hitlers had in large scale industries, also abroad. There are not only Ford and Detering (Shell). Also other companies, for example some sections of American big industries seem to help in any way they can. Next to Ford, also Opel will sell until far into the turmoil of war cars to Germany, even a model truck that must be constructed also by Mercedes.
It is similar with deliveries in the fuel sector. For the liquefaction of coal, one needs ethyl. It is manufactured by DuPont in the USA before the war. How convenient that there are special connections regarding the markets and the developments between DuPont and IG Farben. Also Standard Oil helps out with deliveries at least until the outbreak of war. Thus, the intermediate product of the Allies becomes the indispensable resource for the bombings in England.
The British, on the other hand, have difficulties to get hold of their concessionary reserves, at least in the first two years of the war, when German U-boats can successfully attack the convoys with tankers and the Americans cannot be convinced to increase protection of such transports. So Britain, after the fall of France for the moment the only remaining opponent of Hitler, would have been almost cut off from vital supplies.
There are quite a few opinions that in World War II the oil or the pursuit thereof was decisive for the outcome of the war. If Hitler had directly targeted Moscow at the beginning of his Eastern Campaign and had not the sources in the Caucasus in view, he probably would have won. However, this is a statement that is purely to emphasize the power of oil and absolutely not also a wishful thinking of the author. A (western) world under the thumb of such a terror regime can be only imagined as horrible. 08/12