Berlin-Baghdad Railroad Map
Map of nearly completed Berlin-Baghdad Railroad that would have enabled Germany to ship tank cars of crude from the oil-rich province around Mosul had war not broken out. The rail line ran through lands controlled by the German-Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany's ally Turkey, which then controlled what would become Iraq after the Great War of 1914-1918. Not inconsequentially, it would have also outflanked the British and French-controlled Suez Canal, through which Britain's own supply of oil from Iran flowed by ship.

Robert Newman's History of Oil

British comedian Robert Newman's humorously insightful perspectives on oil and how the world became addicted.

By EV World

Did you know that World War One actually started because of Iraqi oil?

That's right... or at least that's comedian Robert Newman's take on history, which would appear to be supported by the oft-ignored footnotes of history. In fact, some of the first British troops to see battle was during the campaign to capture Basra, Iraq in November, 1914.

According to Newman, it wasn't because of the assassination of Arch Duke Ferdinand that World War One began. Instead, it was the geopolitical and economic threat to the British Empire posed by Austro-Hungarian-Turkish alliance, the symbol of which was the Berlin-Baghdad Railway -- subsequently known as the famous "Orient Express" after it was taken over by the French and the British. [See also my blog Mister Churchill's Battleships].

If you doubt Newman's premise, do a quick Google search for "Berlin Baghdad Plan". Actually, I did it for you. Below the video is one description of the plan from The Geography of the Great War.

According to this scheme the Middle-Europe project was to be extended so as to include southwestern Asia. Asia Minor just south of the Black Sea is held by Turkey, and to the south and southeast of that region are a number of weak Mohammedan states somewhat under the control of Turkey. Through a close alliance with Turkey, Germany secured valuable rights in this entire area, including the right to plant colonies, develop trade, and build railways. An especially important feature in the plan was the building of a railroad all the way from Constantinople to Bagdad, more than a thousand miles distant, on the Tigris River. This river flows through the famous country of Mesopotamia and to the Persian Gulf. This road would, of course, be connected with the road from Berlin to Constantinople, so that Berlin, and even Hamburg, would be directly connected by rail with Bagdad; hence the name, the " Berlin-to-Bagdad Plan." The right for its construction was obtained from Turkey by Germany in 1902-1903. Figure 5 (see below) shows how nearly completed this railroad was in January, 1918.

Curious, isn't it how Germany wasn't allowed to finish the line, which was supposed to run right through the middle of the oil-rich city of Mosul, bypassing the British and French-controlled Suez Canal.

Newman's quasi-documentary-stand-up comedy routine touches all the hot-buttons: Iraq, Iran, petro-dollar warfare, peak oil, the fabled hydrogen economy, and even zinc-air fuel cell cars.

He has done his homework, apparently reading Matthew Simmons' "Twilight in the Desert," Richard Heinberg's "The Party is Over", and William Clark's Petrodollar Warfare.. He may even have stumbled across this web site, but that's only speculation on our part.

The point is, Newman hits all the right chords -- or raw nerves -- on why America and British forces invaded Iraq and it isn't because it was one of the world's leading exporters of dates. It's well worth the 45-minutes it takes to watch. History should always be this much fun and... honest.

Times Article Viewed: 19751
Published: 19-Feb-2007


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