6 x 9 paperback
424 pages
PDF download

Oil & War

How the Deadly Struggle for Fuel in World War II Meant Victory or Defeat, reprint edition 
Robert Goralski and Russell W. Freeburg, with a new foreword by Admiral James G. Foggo III, USN (Ret)

DOI: 10.56686/9780160953613

The world’s economy runs on oil. People steal for it. Nations kill for it. To win a war, the victor must have enough oil to fuel their tanks, ships, and planes. One of the great untold stories of World War II is about the strategic decisions and combat for the control of enough oil so that the Axis powers could wage an aggressive war. Conversely, the Allied powers were determined to keep oil from the Axis. Oil & War, originally published in 1987, was the first book to explain this intricate dance of death from the view-points of both the Axis and Allied sides. Adolf Hitler began planning his grab for oil-producing lands in the 1930s; he also started building plants capable of producing synthetic fuels. The Japanese had their plans too. The Americans, English, and Australians had to counterpunch. They very nearly lost the war because they did not move quickly enough. The race was far closer than previously believed. Truth is stranger than fiction. Novels and wargames based on the strategies for oil have captured the public’s attention. But here is the real story. This anecdotal narrative about the important role that oil played in World War II provides a view of the forces that controlled the greatest war in history—and a stunning analysis of the importance of oil in terms of world peace for years to come.

The late NBC News correspondent Robert Goralski saw service with the U.S. Navy in the Pacific during World War II. He later covered the Korean and Vietnam conflicts as a journalist. He is the author of the World War II Almanac and wrote and lectured on military affairs and energy. He died in 1988 in McLean, Virginia.


Russell W. Freeburg served in the European theater with the U.S. Army in World War II. He fought with the Eighth Armored Division in the Ardennes, Rhineland, and Central Europe campaigns. After the war, he became a journalist and was the Washington bureau chief and managing editor of the Chicago Tribune.


1.  The Eve of War 
2.  Blitzkrieg and Oil 
3.  Octane and the Battle of Britain 
4.  Russian Oil: The German Key 
5.  The Russian Campaign 
6.  Japan’s Search for Oil 
7.  Breaking the American Supply Line 
8.  Mideast Oil and the Mediterranean 
9.  Japan’s Oil Gains 
10. America’s Fountain of Oil 
11. Germany Bleeds for Oil: The Caucasus and Stalingrad 
12. Command of the Pacific Sea-Lanes 
13. The Defeat of Rommel
14. The Allied Oil Offensive
15. The Western Front
16. Final Destruction of Germany’s Fuel Sources
17. Germany’s Final Offensive and Collapse: From the Battle of the Bulge to V-E Day 
18. Japan’s Sinking Fortunes 
19. Oil in Future Wars

Editor’s Note 
Appendix: Additional Tables 
Selected Bibliography