Today everyone understands the role of oil in the society. Oil was the main goal, and often, the main weapon in the wars of the twentieth century, especially during the Second World War.
It all started with the exacerbation of the relations between Japan and the United States, when President Roosevelt imposed an embargo on the supply of crude oil to Japan. This was a big blow to Japan, since in 1939-1940 the country was producing only some 2.7 million barrels of oil a year in its own fields. About a million barrels of oil were coming from the occupied Korea and Manchuria, the Soviet Union sold the same amount from the island of Sakhalin, and there was some mining in Taiwan. The production of synthetic fuels under the U.S. patent was negligible, and what was Japan to do if 80 percent of its oil was imported from Mexico and the U.S.?
U.S. analysts after the embargo decided that the next move will be an advance of the Empire to the south in Indonesia, and this was a severe miscalculation. However, by July 25th of 1941, that is, at the time of the imposition of the embargo by the United States, Japan had a two-year supply of peacetime fuel and one-year supply of military fuel. In addition, Japan negotiated with Mexico to sell prospective oil fields, and with the governments of the Netherlands in exile, the Japanese had a certain advantage. It lasted until December 7th of 1941, and in the morning of the 7th Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered the Second World War.
On its own, this operation from a military standpoint was a big mistake. The pilots suggested striking not only at the ships, but also the on-shore fuel tanks, but Admiral Nagumo decided that everything possible was done, and ordered to retreat. Meanwhile, these containers contained 4.5 million barrels of oil, a reserve that the Americans had been accumulating for 10 years. Damaged ships could be repaired, but the Americans did not have another ten years to resupply the fuel at Pearl Harbor. No wonder Admiral Nimitz later wrote that if the Japanese had destroyed them with a few guns of 50th gauge, the war would have dragged on for another two years. The American ships would not be able to effectively fight from California. However, none of the higher ranks of the Navy of Japan thought of this.
On February 14th of 1942, a battalion of Japanese paratroopers landed in Indonesia and seized two oil refineries, Shell and Standard. Soon, the Japanese reached the rich oil mines Balikpapan in Borneo. As a result, by May 1942 the Japanese finally achieved what Hitler failed to achieve in Europe - provided fuel for Japan's full independence. Now it was able to receive 18 million barrels of oil a year, which was enough for everything. However, the Americans soon hit back.
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