Oil a driving force behind Germany's attack on the USSR and Japan's attack on the USA

The balance of oil power in Europe and its environs before the war began was as follows. British oil companies had secured concessions in Qatar, Muscat and Oman. After fierce competition among the oil monopolies, five American companies owned more than half of the oil and gas prospects in the entire concessionary area (about 2.5 million sq.km) in the countries of the Middle East, as well as 12% of all presumed oil reserves and over 13% of oil production; French capital held over 6% of the concessionary area, over 9% of the explored reserves and over 6% of oil production. The rest was controlled by Anglo-Dutch capital.

Europe's main oil reserves were in the USSR, the Caucasus and Romania. There was a little oil in Poland, Hungary and Germany, but it was rather tokenistic. Hitler's plans were well known and he never concealed them. In this regard the words of Soviet historians on the causes of World War I come to mind, "Germany came to a table that had been laid, where there was no place for her, as all the places had already been taken by other imperialist powers!" Table not, by the time World War II began oil had been seized by the future allies, while Germany had only her own synthetic fuel and Romanian oil. Could Hitler's plans be realized without upsetting the European oil balance? The question is rhetorical.

The question why Germany attacked the USSR and why she did it before disposing finally of Great Britain is vital to the present day.

Let us first answer the first part of the question - why did Germany attack the USSR? The answer clarifies Hitler's moves in many ways.

There is now no doubt that the desire to capture Soviet oil and keep Romanian oil was one of the main components of Hitler's policy and defined considerably his European strategy. Germany's ally Japan was also taking into account the oil resources of Asia in devising its own policies.

As far back as in the 1930s Hitler said in confidential conversations with the president of the Danzig Senate, Hermann Rauschning, "We need an area to make us independent from any coalition in any political circumstances. In the east we need to own the territory up to the Caucasus and even Iran. In the west we need the French coast. We need Flanders and Holland. We particularly need Sweden. We must also become a colonial power. At least, we must become a sea power equal to England."

Baku oil "motifs" could be heard in Germany as early as 1938. In this regard D. Eichholtz writes, "Interesting observations were made in late 1938 in military and diplomatic circles in Berlin by the League of Nations Commissioner in Danzig, K.I. Burckhardt, from Switzerland. 'Ukraine and even Baku (!) were mentioned again and again, as if in passing, which I think rather bold from the geographical point of view.'"

In 1938-39 the top brass and major industrial capital, represented in the organization according to a "four-year plan", collaborated quite closely and coordinated their positions. The most important result of this cooperation was two voluminous secret memorandums:

"Germany's oil supply in war time", compiled by the Military Procurement and Arms Department of the Wehrmacht Supreme Command in April 1939.

"The use of warfare", the memo said, "is also the sole opportunity to use the oil deposits of former East Galicia, now part of Poland, which have not yet been touched by German economic and foreign policy. And finally, this is the only opportunity to occupy the largest oil-producing region of Europe, the Caucasus which is our foremost and most profitable aim". On the eve of World War II, 7 August, 1939, in a conversation with a British representative Goering said that "the Middle East is the natural economic sphere of Germany and is of vital importance for it".

In November 1940, as D. Eichholtz writes, Goering explained to the Wehrmacht generals, "Central Europe can be fed only by rich Ukrainian crops,"; Germany had to "break through to the Caucasus to occupy the oil regions, for large-scale air warfare against England and America is impossible without them". Goering, first of all, worked on tackling these two important objectives. On 27 March, 1941 the Continental Oil joint-stock company was established. Representatives of major German firms IG Farben, Deutsche Bank, Dresdner Bank, Wintershall AG, Deutsche Oil AG, Preussag, Brabag and others became its stockholders and sat on the Supervisory Board. The board was led by the director of IG Farben, E.R. Fischer, and the representative of the Reichsbank and Deutsche Bank, K. Blessing. The Supervisory Board consisted of the imperial minister of the economy, W. Funk (chairman), Foreign Ministry Secretary of State W. Keppler, Secretary of State of the Four-Year Plan organization, E. Neuman, the chief of the Wehrmacht Supreme Command's Military Procurement and Arms Department, General H. Tomas, and also industrialists K. Krauch (IG Farben and Four-Year Plan organization), H. Buetefisch (IG Farben), A. Rosterg (Wintershall AG), K. Schirner (Deutsche Oil AG), H. Wisselman (Preussag) and bank representatives H.I. Abs (Deutsche Bank), K. Rasche (Dresdner Bank), A. Rodewald (Imperial Credit Society) and H. Weltzin (Berlin Trade Company).

At the meeting on 27 March, 1941, E.R. Fischer spoke clearly about the plans of Continental Oil: "the main aim" of Continental Oil was the subjugation of the Persian Gulf region and "possibly other countries" to German influence. "The outcome of the war" will be key to the realization of these plans. German banks were also targeting the Caucasus and Middle East.

Continental Oil showed its hand at the beginning of the war with the USSR. When the Germans seized the oil fields of the Northern Caucasus, though they had been ruined, Continental Oil established a special regime there which was maintained by units of the Wehrmacht and special units. Continental Oil began to finance reconstruction of the oil wells but following defeat at Stalingrad could not complete the work.

Germany's banking sector was involved too. The chairman of Deutsche Bank, H.J. Abs, welcomed Germany's attack on the USSR with unconcealed joy and emotionally congratulated his Finnish counterpart, banker R. von Viandt, on the first success for Germany and Finland in the struggle "against the main enemy of freedom and humanity" in the East. He sent similar congratulations to the Romanian head of state, Ion Antonescu. Later, without any emotion about "the main enemy of freedom and humanity", as better befits a banker, he proceeded to the specifics, "The Deutsche Bank leadership believes that broad prospects will open up in the Caucasus, the Near and Middle East to the German economy's oil industry when the war ends. This promises our bank considerable dividends."

In 1941-42 the entire German elite was occupied with the problem of seizing sources of oil in the USSR and Middle East. Goering, the Four-Year Plan organization, Continental Oil and concerns and banks grouped around it, the German military command, Foreign Ministry and intelligence agencies took an active part in preparations for an advance on the Middle East. "The Wehrmacht needed oil more than anything else, and that was the main cause of the march on Baku. 'If I have no oil, I will have to end the war,'", Hitler said to explain his order," writes Hennecke Kardel.

According to a report by GRU (General Intelligence Department), officer General Tupikov on 14 March, 1941, a German major he had recruited said the following, word-for-word, "We are changing our plan completely. We are heading for the East, to the USSR. We will take the USSR's bread, coal, oil." Marshall Zhukov writes about it in his memoirs.

Yevgenyev writes that in March 1941, GRU agent Corsican sent the following message from Berlin, "The chief of the Land Forces General Staff, Colonel-General Halder takes for granted the infallible success and lightning occupation by the German forces of the Soviet Union, first of all Ukraine where, according to Halder's calculations , successful operations can be sped up due to the good railway and highway system. HALDER BELIEVES THAT THE OCCUPATION OF BAKU AND ITS OIL FIELDS WILL BE EASY AND THAT THEY CAN BE QUICKLY RECONSTRUCTED AFTER THE END OF MILIARY ACTION (highlighted by the author). The Red Army will be unable to resist the German Blitzkrieg."

German Minister of Arms and the Military Industry Albert Speer said under interrogation in May 1945 that "THE DEMAND FOR OIL WAS UNDOUBTEDLY THE MAIN REASON FOR THE DECISION TO INVADE RUSSIA" (highlighted by the author).

Goering probably played a not insignificant role in encouraging Hitler to achieve his military and economic objectives. As head of the Reich Defence Cabinet Council, he demanded in November 1940 that the chief of the Wehrmacht Supreme Command's Military-Economic Department, General Tomas, draw up a report that demanded "the rapid occupation of the European part of Russia in connection with the worsening food situation in the Reich and its problems with raw materials". He particularly emphasized the need "to occupy unharmed Russia's valuable economic regions in Ukraine and sources of oil in the Caucasus".

What is known as Goering's green file "On the actions of the Hitlerite occupiers in the seized territory of the Soviet Union" contains the lines, "The basic industrial raw material is oil. Other than food supplies, all issues concerning oil production and transportation should take precedence. The Continental Oil joint-stock company will be established to carry out work in the oil regions, especially the Caucasus."

Canaris' military intelligence department also stated that victory was impossible without the rapid capture of the USSR's raw materials resources, and first of all Baku oil. The book Intelligence in the Evil War Years says, "Even in those restless hours for our country, we were looking for our enemy's weak points in order to turn events to our advantage. Count Nelidov, a former tsarist and White Army officer, an important double agent of the Abwehr and British intelligence, gave us valuable information. Nelidov took part in strategic war 'games' of the German General Staff in 1936-37, on the instructions of Canaris. Nelidov told us that the Germans would be able to defeat us only if the war lasted for two or three months. But if they did not take Leningrad, Moscow, Kiev, the Don basin, the Northern Caucasus and certainly Baku with its oil, within that time, the German invasion would be doomed to fail. The enormous number of tanks and motorized vehicles necessary for the Blitzkrieg could be effective only in a territory with a sufficiently developed road system and the Germans had no fuel reserves for a protracted war, especially not for the ships of the German fleet and in particular submarines."

Dashichev points out in his book Bankruptcy of the Strategy of German Fascism (volume II), that Field Marshall Keitel used the following premises in working out the operational-strategic plan of the war in the East:

the vast size of Russia's territory make its total occupation absolutely impossible;

to achieve victory in war against the USSR, it is enough to reach the most important operational-strategic line, Leningrad-Moscow-Stalingrad-Caucasus, which will render Russia incapable of military resistance as its army will be cut off from its vital bases, first of all, from oil.

As early as spring 1941 the Germans established a special department to organize the exploitation of the Baku oilfields, the Stab Westfalen. At a meeting in the Fuehrer's headquarters on 16 July, 1941, it was said that "the region of Baku… should become a German concession".

Martin Bormann notes in his memoirs, "The Fuehrer stresses further that 'the Volga colony' (reference to the autonomous republic of Germans in the Volga region that existed before the war and was liquidated by Stalin. - Author) is also to become a part of the Reich. Like the region of Baku it is to be made a German military colony."

"Germany can meet its demand for oil only on account of the Caucasus," the Wehrmacht Supreme Command said on 4 May, 1941.

A directive of Alfred Jodl on 21 August, 1941 said, "The foremost objective before winter is not taking Moscow but taking the Crimea, the industrial and coal regions on the Donets and depriving the Russians of the opportunity of getting oil from the Caucasus…"

The first secretary at the Soviet embassy in Germany in the pre-war years, Berezhkov, writes that the Turkish ambassador to Germany was constantly saying that Germany's future aggression would be linked with oil.

"Ambassador Gerede was a tall man with thick black brows and a heavy nose, always foppishly dressed. He treated us to fragrant Turkish coffee, so thick that a spoon would stand almost upright in it, rahat lakoum and a famous Izmir liquor. Gerede was amazingly talkative and most meetings with him would turn into monologues. In his study in the embassy there was a map of the Middle East, and his favourite subject was the analysis of possible options for German operations to take the oil regions in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.

"'Turkey', Gerede used to begin, 'has repeatedly said that it will never let the Germans pass through its territory. If Germany is going to do anything in this direction, we will resist. And they know that.' 'So, they have already made a proposal to you, haven't they?'

"'Oh, not at all! I never said that. They just know that we will not let them pass. But they badly need fuel for tanks, aircraft, submarines. Therefore they will have to land paratroopers to capture Mosul. And that requires bases - Greece, islands in the Aegean Sea, Egypt. If the Germans land in Iraq, Turkey will be pressured from two sides. It will be hard, very hard for us then.'

"'Do you mean Turkey will reach terms with Berlin in that case?'

"'I never said that. We do not want to quarrel with anyone. The English are our friends, the Germans are our friends. The English say that for the sake of taking the Caucasus the Germans are ready to demand our consent to their passage through the Caucasus. This is nonsense. You will not do that. Nor will they. You and Hitler have a nonaggression pact, and I know from authoritative sources that he means to follow it. Everything is clear here. And there is no point the Germans attacking us either. Believe me, now they are to focus on Egypt, help Mussolini occupy Greece and then they will land troops in Iraq.

"'These are their plans.'"

Naturally, Armenian Dekanazov described to Moscow as Turkish disinformation the Turkish oil connection in the future war, which the ambassador repeatedly talked about.

In May 1942 in his headquarters in East Prussia Hitler said, "The Caucasus takes an important place in our analyses owing to its role as a large oil source. If we want to get that oil we must take the Caucasus under the strictest supervision, otherwise this region fraught with blood vengeance and hostility between tribes will render its beneficial exploitation impossible."

A memo by A. Rosenberg On Reformation of the Caucasus drawn up in July 1942 says, "The interests of Germany lie in establishing strong positions throughout the Caucasus and thereby ensuring the safety of continental Europe, that is, providing a link with the Middle East. Only this link with sources of oil can make Germany and the whole of Europe independent of any coalition of sea powers in the future. The aim of our policy is our political and military domination in the Caucasus and in the countries bordering it to the south."

Certain circles in the USSR were well aware of the main aim of the fascists in the country. A leaflet issued by the Military Publishing House of the People's Commissariat for Defense of the USSR in Moscow in 1941, said, "Defeat the enemy in hand-to-hand fighting." "Hitler's robbers want to seize our land, our bread and our oil. They want to restore the power of the tsar and landlords in our country, to Germanify the free peoples of the Soviet Union and make them slaves of German princes and barons. This day will never come! Death to the fascist vipers!"

"Bread" was mentioned to improve the rhetoric; there was enough bread in the other European countries occupied by the Nazis! The main thing was oil!

These small but very informative excerpts show how much oil influenced Hitler's future plans.

Reading the above, you automatically ask yourself if there were profound analysts around Stalin to make clear to him the current situation, first of all, concerning oil, and you wonder what the Soviet embassy in Germany was doing , or, to put it another way, if he knew the oil situation, then did he take it into consideration in his decision-making? For what has been mentioned above is just a drop in the ocean of this subject and shows clearly that HITLER WOULD FIGHT FOR BIG OIL, ACCORDING TO HIS MAD PLANS. MUCH OF THE OIL in Europe then belonged to the USSR and Great Britain (Romanian oil was already in Hitler's hands). It was impossible to conquer Europe and go farther without access to the Caucasus and Persian Gulf, and it does not take a profound analyst to understand that. The problem should have been analyzed in the following way: either Hitler will reach the Persian Gulf from the Caucasus or the Caucasus from the Persian Gulf! Soviet propaganda has been saying for many years that the reason for Hitler's attack on the USSR was his hatred of Bolshevism and the Slavs, and this was the official line of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. None of the Soviet classic writers mentioned the oil factor in their novels about the war, unless in passing. Hitler did hate the Slavs and considered them to be subhuman or Untermenschen. But Hitler hated the Jewish people no less than the Slavs and wiped them out in all countries just for being Jewish. Hitler's hatred for the Soviet regime as such, which Soviet propaganda incessantly harped upon, is more dubious. Hitler realized full well that the system established by Stalin differed little different from his own.

Here is an excerpt from a conversation between Goering and the USSR ambassador to Germany, Dekanazov quoted by I. Bunich: "Goering became animated, 'Indeed, what separates us, as a matter of fact? Just a different interpretation of the notion of "socialism". We are for national socialism and you for international socialism. You are for the total nationalization of the economy and commerce, while we prefer them mixed. But my dear ambassador, I assure you, and you will see in the course of time, that it is we who are right, not you. There is no such thing as internationalism in the world.' The kinship of the two systems was perfectly demonstrated by Romm in his documentary Common Fascism. Besides, Hitler had respect for Stalin and rated him much more highly than Roosevelt or Churchill. Raymond Cartier writes, '"In our days", Hitler says, "there are three statesmen: Mussolini, Stalin and I." He distinguished two more categories amongst those selected, "Mussolini is the weakest, as he could not tackle the reactionary opposition of the royal house and the church. Only Stalin and I are absolute masters of our decisions and can face the future." Love and hatred cannot be the only reasons for such global decisions as war. Hitler's attitude towards the English was not bad, he said they were Aryan like the Germans, but this did not stop him from launching war against England and mercilessly bombing English towns. Moreover, Hitler first used FAU missiles against the civilians of England."


In his book Mein Kampf Hitler clearly set out his "Eastern policy"; he combined racial theory with anti-Semitism and his thesis on "Lebensraum". In November 1939 he made his position clear, "Today, we can speak of racial struggle. Today, we struggle for oil deposits, for rubber, land etc." Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, a four-year plan executive, was even clearer on Eastern policy. He declared that THE WAR IS A MEANS OF ECONOMIC ENRICHMENT AND A WAY TO TURN GERMANY INTO "THE FIRST POWER IN THE WORLD". "Getting as much food and oil for Germany - this is the basic economic goal of the campaign," said the Guidelines on Economic Management of the Lands to be Occupied which Goering approved in June 1941. Goering repeatedly said that he was ready to sacrifice the lives of tens of millions of people without hesitation if "we can extract from this country what we need". This found its expression in a speech by Himmler in 1941, "If 10,000 Russian women die of exhaustion building anti-tank ditches, it would interest me only because they were digging ditches for Germany." In line with this "philosophy" millions of Soviet civilians behind the frontline were sent to Germany as slave labour.

Hitler's philosophy in brief, with all its inhuman views, can be seen in Russia, p.22, "But Hitler was driven to the East not only by the oil of the Caucasus, the black soil of Ukraine and manganese of Nikopol. This land was inhabited by the Slavs, representatives of an 'inferior, degenerative, slave race' who had been assimilating with the Mongols for centuries. Moreover, their very political system, Bolshevism, was the fruit of a Jewish plot. "Any cooperation with Russia is beyond discussion", he wrote in 1932, for "this Slav-Tartar body has a Jewish head".

Those remarks by Hitler and his associates contained enough information to foresee his aggressive actions. The question arises in this regard - WERE THESE ACTIONS AND STATEMENTS BY SENIOR OFFICIALS WHO DETERMINED GERMAN POLICY NOT ENOUGH TO FORECAST WHAT HITLER WOULD DO?

In this respect, the role of the German embassy in the USSR and of the USSR embassy in Germany was of great importance in the pre-war years. Much depended on their work and first of all on their informing their home states on the intentions of their host country. Military historians are unanimous that the German ambassador to the USSR, Count Schulenburg, was opposed to the war against the USSR and, aware of the situation in Berlin, did not keep his opinion secret. History knows of an unprecedented case, when German Ambassador Schulenburg informed the Soviet ambassador to Germany, Dekanozov when the latter was visiting Moscow in May 1941, that in the next few weeks Germany was to attack the Soviet Union without announcing war. His later actions also proved his opposition to Hitler's plans for the USSR - he was executed for his part in one of the conspiracies against Hitler.

So, the position of the German ambassador, Count Schulenburg, was clear and straightforward, while many questions remain for the Soviet ambassador to Germany. I. Bunich writes, "Rare as it is in diplomatic practice, the intelligence network in Germany was headed by the ambassador, Vladimir Dekanozov himself, a professional intelligence agent who had been heading intelligence (the Foreign Department) at the NKVD (People's Commissariat of Internal Affairs) for a long time. In Berlin, he headed and coordinated the work of both intelligence branches, the NKVD and the GRU (General Intelligence Department).

"The NKVD residency was led by the second secretary at the embassy Amayak Kobulov, brother of Beria's notorious deputy Bogdan Kobulov.

"The Gestapo did not actually interfere in the actions of the Soviet residency which the Moscow embassy had evolved into. On the contrary, it poured disinformation onto Stalin's intelligence officers.

"The ambassador himself, Vladimir Dekanozov, an ethnic Armenian, mixed in Nazi high society and most often dealt with Reichsmarschall Goering who used to receive the Soviet ambassador at his estate, Karinhall, furnished with medieval magnificence. In the spacious study the walls of which were covered with pictures by Renaissance masters, the small and frail Dekanozov in his three-piece suit and the dignified Goering in the Reichsmarschall uniform designed especially for him, would hold an unhurried conversation.


"Dekanozov told Goering that he had always personally supported not only a political alliance between the USSR and Germany, but also a military one. We would become completely invincible in a military alliance, he said (that is what Stalin was to tell his daughter after the war, word for word - the author). It is hard even to imagine what could have happened if the military potential of the USSR and Germany had merged in a single military union! Isn't this what Kaiser Wilhelm dreamed of?

"MEANWHILE, THE IDEAS DEKANOZOV GLEANED FROM HIS CONVERSATIONS WITH GOERING AND OTHER NAZI LEADERS AND SENT TO MOSCOW IN SECRET DISPATCHES FOUND A READY RESPONSE IN STALIN'S HEART (marked by the author). Having launched a campaign of great Russian chauvinism in the USSR (with anti-Semitism an indispensable component), Stalin himself was being torn apart by his own national inferiority complex.

"On 20 March, 1941 Stalin convened a special meeting to discuss the information gained which was contradictory both in content and trend.

"The meeting was attended by Timoshenko, Zhukov, Shaposhnikov, Beria and Molotov, and GRU chief General Golikov, the chief of the Foreign Intelligence Department of the newly established NKGB (the former NKVD Foreign Department) General Fitin and his new director Merkulov were summoned to give reports.

"Taking the floor, General Fitin reported that the NKGB had at its disposal a record of a conversation between our ambassador Comrade Dekanozov and Walter Schellenberg, the head of foreign intelligence in the SS-SD system. The conversation had taken place at a reception where Comrade Dekanozov had been invited not as the ambassador of the USSR, but as a veteran of the NKVD and All-Russian Extraordinary Commission (known by its Russian initials as the Cheka).

"The atmosphere at the reception was relaxed and friendly, warmed by champagne and liqueurs. Dekanozov took the opportunity to ask Schellenberg about the rumours of a Barbarossa plan, allegedly drawn up for the invasion of the USSR. Schellenberg burst out laughing, complimented the Soviet intelligence service and admitted the existence of the plan. Moreover, the plan had been drawn up by his department without consulting the military.

"The element of surprise is very important in the invasion of England. Let the English think we have changed our plans and relax a little.

"We have already tossed this plan to the Americans, as we are sure that they will tell the English about it." Then he wagged his finger at Dekanozov and said, "We also know something of your operation Thunder but do not take it seriously." Quite an informative extract!

It is common knowledge that Molotov heard with dignity the announcement of the German ambassador to the USSR, Schulenberg, on the declaration of war against the USSR. When Ribbentrop made the same declaration to the USSR ambassador to Germany, Dekanozov, the latter responded by insulting Ribbentrop instead of clearing up issues concerning the fate of thousands of Soviet citizens, Soviet ships in German ports and much else besides. "This is impudent, wanton aggression. May you live to repent your plundering assault on the Soviet Union, you will pay dearly for it."

He did this deliberately so that Berezhkov, who witnessed the scene, could tell Moscow that Dekanozov had behaved with dignity. Brandishing his fists after the fight…

A Chekist, Sudoplatov, who had known Dekanozov for many years, described him as follows, "In December 1938 Beria officially took the helm of the NKVD, and Dekanozov became the new head of the Foreign Department. He had experience of work in the Azerbaijan GPU under Beria (those bloody years are well remembered in Azerbaijan - Author) as a supply agent. Later Dekanozov was the People's Commissar of Food Industry in Georgia where he gained notoriety for his unrestrained love of luxury. Reporting to him, I, as the acting chief of department, explained some of the specifics of our covert activity in Western Europe, the USA and China. But Dekanozov did not hear me out and ordered me to chase up the belongings of the runaway Orlov that had been sent from Barcelona to Moscow. I was to fetch them to his study as he wanted to have a look at them himself." Skilful intelligence agent Oleg Gordievsky and Christopher Andrew write the following about Dekanozov in their book KGB Intelligence Operations from Lenin to Gorbachev.

"When Beria came to Moscow in July 1938 as Yezhov's future successor, his Georgian 'shield bearer' Vladimir Dekanozov became the new chief of the Foreign Department. A little more than a meter and a half tall, with a small birdlike nose and several locks of black hair covering his visible baldness, Dekanozov had a peculiar appearance. However, the numerous death sentences he had easily signed in the early 1920s in the Caucasus had gained him the reputation of the 'Baku executioner' (indeed he did distinguished himself in Baku - the archives contain the names of thousands of people tortured by him, mainly Azerbaijani. Lithuania also remembers well his dreadful deeds - Author), later confirmed by his bloody action during the Great Terror as deputy chairman of the Council of People's Commissars of Georgia. Dekanozov had no experience in international affairs and became the first head of the Foreign Department who had never been outside the Soviet Union. But he was destined to play a no less significant role in Soviet foreign policy than any of his more experienced predecessors. In two years he advanced to the post of deputy people's commissar of foreign affairs and then became the ambassador in Berlin…

"On 12 November, 1940 Molotov, Dekanozov and Beria's deputy, Vsevolod Merkulov, arrived in Berlin to conduct talks on the division of spheres of interests of the USSR and Germany. Dekanozov's experience in international affairs was restricted to his 'capture' of Lithuania, nevertheless he proved to be the most skilful 'traveler' of the three, as neither Molotov nor Merkulov had ever been abroad before. In the course of the talks Stalin declared Dekanozov's appointment as ambassador to Germany, and a month later, on 18 December, Hitler signed the notorious guideline No 21, Plan Barbarossa which ordered the completion of preparations for the blitz defeat of Soviet Russia by 15 May, 1941.

"The very next day, the Fuehrer received the new ambassador Dekanozov for the first time. Hitler was deliberately hearty at the meeting and even took care that the sickly Dekanozov be accompanied by two hefty bodyguards whose heavy frames stressed the physical defects of the Soviet envoy. The first of all former heads of the Foreign Department to have been appointed ambassador, Dekanozov appeared to be the right man in the right place, as a matter of fact, and at that very time when the Soviet Union needed quality intelligence information from Germany as never before. Dekanozov, nevertheless, clearly lacked the qualities of Trilisser, Artuzov or at even Slutsky. HIS PRAGMATIC STALINISM, SUSPICIOUS FEAR OF OMNIPRESENT "CONSPIRACIES" AND ACTUAL IGNORANCE OF THE INTERNATIONAL SITUATION MADE HIM COMPLICIT IN PERHAPS THE MOST CRUSHING DEFEAT OF SOVIET INTELLIGENCE (highlighted by the author)."

Two very different people, Sudoplatov who remained loyal to the KGB and the USSR despite the injustice he suffered, and Gordievsky who ran away to the West, share the same opinion of Dekanozov!

Semen Ratkin gives the following description of another key official at the Soviet embassy in Germany at that time, Amayak Kobulov. "Since 5 September, 1939, the head of the residency in Berlin has been Amayak Kobulov, inexperienced in intelligence, quarrelsome and pettifogging but with his own high-ranking patron in his brother Bogdan, a very close associate of Beria."

It is useful to mention here that Amayak Nazaretyan, the head of Stalin's secretariat, often chose for Stalin staff from the Transcaucasus for senior positions in Moscow such as Dekanozov and Kobulov. Only four people could use the more intimate form of address, thou, to Stalin - Molotov, Ordzhonikidze, Voroshilov and Nazaretyan and called him Koba.

The Soviet military attach?, General Purkayev, also enjoyed his time in Germany in those anxious years.

"I remember," Felix Chuyev writes, "the Germans pulling a stunt with the Soviet military attach? General Purkayev in Germany. Air Chief Marshal A.E. Golovanov told us about it. Purkayev was photographed from all angles with a female German spy who also worked as a maid. Nothing original from either side, as old as the hills!

"The Germans managed, though, to show the photos to Purkayev in an attempt to persuade him to cooperate. But the Soviet attach? recollected his courage, flew back to Moscow and - what the heck! - told Stalin everything. The latter paused for thought, looked at the general and gave up on the incident with a wave of his pipe."

Even these descriptions of the embassy, its work, the ambassador, the head of the residency and the military attach? show that all their work was directed at "finding a ready response in Stalin's heart", as Bunich writes, and they did find it. Any military historian describing the work of the Soviet embassy in Germany in those years writes about it. But they did not forget their own interests! The embassy did its best to please Stalin,- they carried out his policy of of appeasing Hitler, and at the same time they took great care of themselves.

The embassy conducted no serious technical and economic research about Hitler's plans for the USSR, and was in no position to do so.

According to Radzinskiy, in his customary fashion Stalin said to Dekanozov in Molotov's cabinet, "A duckling knows water in the egg, and you are an old hand. You assured me in personal conversations that no attack was to be expected before 1942… how could you… you disappointed me!" He gave him a scolding, but as he often did with his most loyal associates gave him a promotion rather than arresting him! Major General Tupikov, the Soviet military attach? in Germany, had a principled position at that time; bypassing Dekanozov, he reported to Moscow, to Beria, that Hitler was to attack the USSR with three armies, for Moscow, Leningrad and Kiev. For that, Beria dubbed him "dumb Tupikov", playing on the Russian word for stupid "tupoy".

As an example of the systematic approach to gathering information, the story is often told of a journalist in the early 20th century who lost all his money playing cards and, to pay back his debt, decided to sell to the foreign intelligence service a map showing the location of military units with the names and posts of their command. Of course, counterintelligence arrested the amateur spy but when the information he possessed was shown to the General Staff they were shocked at its accuracy. In the process of the inquiry the journalist pleaded guilty and to prove his repentance shared his method of learning "state secrets". He turned out to have read local newspapers on his trips to the regions and took a special interest in the society columns, "In district town X the commander of the 17th Hussar regiment quartered here, Colonel V., the chief of the regimental staff Colonel M. attended the wedding ceremony of Lieutenant K. and so on and so forth."

If the Soviet embassy in Germany, like that amateur spy, had tracked which ranks in the German leadership had talked about oil and in what locations, how they had imagined the realization of their plans, if they had watched which oil organizations, under whose auspices and how many had been established in Germany, if they had shown an interest in the investment projects of the leading German financial structures , if they had known the dynamics of the balance of oil in Germany, in brief, if they had kept track of everything to do with oil not only in Germany but in Europe, they would have come to a certain conclusion on Hitler's intentions towards the USSR. For all the above and much else besides were already known by that time!

What Zorge alone had done in Japan, the USSR embassy in Germany, the biggest in Europe, staffed with experienced professional intelligence officers, did not, or did not want, to do. Zorge calculated the exact date of Germany's attack on the USSR by listening to the conversations in the German embassy in Japan and reported this to Moscow.

Unlike the Soviet embassy in Germany, Zorge could also work out the where Japan would target its main strike - south-east Asia, not the USSR, as many thought. According to Zorge's report, Ribbentrop demanded that the German embassy use all means to persuad the Japanese to break their neutrality treaty with the Soviet Union, concluded three months before the German invasion. "Do whatever you like," Ribbentrop wrote, "but the Japanese must begin war against Russia… The earlier, the better. We still hope that we will shake hands with the Japanese on the Trans-Siberian Railroad before winter comes."

"It is common knowledge that Zorge got access to the Prime Minister Fumimaro Konoye's closest advisors and learned the precise date of Germany's planned attack on the Soviet Union. But Stalin ignored his report. Being paranoid and suspicious, he thought Zorge was a double agent. Stalin said about Zorge, "There is one of us, who has already acquired plants and brothels in Japan and deigned to report the date of the German invasion - 22 June. Shall we believe him?"

"Nonetheless, Stalin believed him when the latter reported later that Japan had decided not to invade the USSR in 1941 but to go to South Asia, closer to oil. That allowed Stalin to transfer Siberian divisions to Moscow," the 72-year-old master of Japanese cinema, Masahiro Shinoda, director of the film Zorge the Spy, told Itogi correspondent Oleg Sulkin. Zorge understood that Japan needed oil in order to take part in dividing up the world. And he understood oil, as he was born in Baku.

Zorge realized that it was much more difficult and less profitable to construct an oil industry in Siberia in temperatures of minus 40 degrees and produce heavy sulfurous oil than to develop the existing oilfields with light oil, similar to Baku's, in the resort conditions of south-east Asia.

Zorge knew that Japan had tankers, while it would take several thousand trucks just to get Siberian oil to the tankers (an oil pipeline hundreds of kilometers long across frozen ground was out of question in those years) and, ultimately, almost as much energy to transport the oil as the oil itself could provide.

Zorge watched the uniforms of the Japanese army, and when the troops put on summer uniform he concluded that Japan was not to begin war against the USSR and took on the great responsibility of reporting his conclusions to the Centre. Zorge did not speculate and always sent true information to the Centre, which is why Stalin called him a "German spy". Dekanozov reported to Moscow what Stalin wanted to hear and Stalin appreciated him for a time. Unlike the staff of the Soviet embassy in Germany, Zorge was a handsome, clever intelligence officer, a playboy, and not a NKVD agent with lots of complexes!

Charles Whiton wrote in his book The World's Greatest Intelligence Agents, "Richard Zorge is with good reason called the greatest intelligence officer of World War II… The information he sent to the Soviets in 1941 helped them hold their capital and probably was of paramount importance in the Red Army victory on the banks of the Volga."

Here it is pertinent to note that even the Nazis admired the activity of the son of Baku, Richard Zorge.

"Schellenberg admired, for instance, the information received from Zorge in May 1941 on the course of secret negotiations between Tokyo and Washington, first of all his report that Japan would in no circumstances break the non-aggression pact with Moscow and enter the war against the USSR on Hitler's side. Romanticist and playboy, a brilliant journalist and dashing motorcyclist, Richard Zorge was born in Baku on 22 September, 1895, in the family of a German engineer Adolph Zorge who had come to work in the Azerbaijan oilfields. Though Zorge Senior belonged to the German bourgeoisie, his father took part in the revolutionary movement and was a close friend of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels," Vasiliy Golovnin writes.

While Hitler began the war against the USSR with the direct intention of seizing Baku's oil, according to many authors and first of all Suvorov, Hitler had a horror of Stalin beginning military action first and occupying the Romanian oilfields. This prompted him to strike the USSR. Hitler wanted to solve two problems in that way, to defend Romania and occupy Baku, that is, to find a complete solution of the oil question for Germany. The German government attached great importance to oil supplies from Romania. On 26 March, 1941 the German Supreme Command issued the order "On the defence of Romania's oil-bearing region" which noted that the region was "vital for the conduct of the war by Germany". The instruction entrusted protection of the oil region to strong security forces that would keep close contact with countersabotage forces.Besides, "mobile strike forces (in some cases motorized ones) should be deployed in the region in the event of an airborne attack."

B. Rezun made a realistic assessment of the influence of the oil factor on the policy of the leading powers in the pre-war years. The former colonel of General Intelligence Department of the USSR Defense Ministry, who deserted to the West in 1978, he wrote several books under the pen-name of V. Suvorov, each of which became a bestseller. In the novels Ice-breaker and M-Day, based on documents, he drew up a fine model for Stalin's occupation of Romania, the oil Mecca of Europe at that time. His reasoning is logical and, what is very important, not contradictory in the web of sentences and ideas. You can agree or disagree with Suvorov, but the oil component is developed quite logically in his work.

Suvorov writes that the Soviet airborne corps had quite strong artillery and even squadrons of light amphibious tanks. These units were formed close enough to the borders that they could be sent to enemy territory without extra redeployment against Romania, and also against Czechoslovakia or Austria to sever oil arteries from Romania to Germany.

The Danube Flotilla presented a fatal threat to Germany in the offensive war; the troops had only to go 130 km upstream to have the strategic bridge of Chernovaty in the sights of their guns, which would mean cutting off the oil supply from Ploiesti to the port of Constante, 200 km farther upstream, and the whole German machine would come to a halt just because its tanks, aircraft and warships had no fuel.

Stalin gives the reason for taking Bessarabia in June 1940 in his telegram to the commander of the Southern Front, army General I. Tyulenev on 7 July, 1940. Stalin demands that Bessarabia be held at any cost, "we need this area as an initial beachhead for the organization of the assault". Hitler had already struck his unexpected blow but Stalin did not even think of defence, his main concern was the organization of the attack from Bessarabia. There were few blunders in Stalin's career. One of the few, the gravest one, was the capture of Bessarabia in 1940. He should have either occupied it and gone farther to Ploesti, which would have meant the defeat of Germany, or should have waited for Hitler to land in Britain and then occupied Bessarabia and the whole of Romania, which would have also been the end of the Thousand Year Reich.

On 19 January, 1941, six months before the invasion of the USSR, Hitler told Mussolini, "Earlier Russia could not pose any danger to us all, as it was unable to threaten us. Now, in the age of aviation, Romanian oilfields can be turned into smouldering ruins by an air strike from Russia or the Mediterranean, while the very existence of the Axis powers depends on those oilfields." The occupation of the Crimea also had a connection with Romanian oil. Possession of the Crimea was of strategic significance. Hitler was right to call it an unsinkable Soviet aircraft carrier that threatened Romanian oil.

John Toland reports the following conversation between Hitler and Molotov in Germany: "You provided security to Romania which is causing you discontent," the Soviet minister said straight from the hip, referring to Germany's recent provision of guarantees over the new borders of Romania. "Isn't it directed at us?" It is considered incorrect to corner an opponent in diplomacy. "It is directed at anyone who will attack Romania," Hitler responded harshly and interrupted the meeting quickly, claiming a possible British air raid again.

By asking that question Molotov incidentally touched a raw nerve for Hitler, Romanian oil, and intensified his suspicions concerning Stalin's intentions.

"Despite the agreements, the Soviet Union made use of the Germany army's march to the west and annexed Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania as well as Bessarabia in the south, thereby jeopardizing the German oil supply from Romania. The next month Molotov, who knew well of Hitler's weakness for England, came to Berlin and presented the new, direct demands of the USSR over its interests in Finland and Romania, on sending Soviet troops to Bulgaria and establishing strong points in the Dardanelles. Hitler saw that the threat was growing to the oil supplies from Romania, vital to the continuation of the war, and was scared. He did not believe his eyes. The Soviet-German mutual understanding that had lasted for a year was over. We can be sure that after Molotov left Berlin the plan, Hitler stopped thinking about Operation Sea-Lion and became obsessed with the plan of attack on the Soviet Union, Operation Barbarossa," Henneke Kardel says.

On 18 May, 1942 Hitler said at the dinner table, "If we had not managed to make the Russians settle for just Bessarabia when they invaded Romania, if they had taken Romanian oil deposits then, they would have choked us this spring at the latest." Like a mirror, oil reflected the positions of the leading politicians of that time; both Hitler and Churchill were afraid that Stalin who already possessed Baku could seize Romanian oil and become the single master of Europe!

Famous writer Boris Strugatsky also says that oil can explain the strategy of Hitler and Stalin in their choice of a main enemy..

"I thought then that it was quite obvious that Stalin was professing two strategic ideas (axioms) in the late 1930s.

"1. Hitler will never dare to invade the USSR as long as he has the unconquered England to his rear. 2. Hitler will certainly attack the USSR as soon as England is defeated.

"Correspondingly, Stalin's necessary actions take proceeded from these ideas. 1. To do everything possible (and impossible) to lure Hitler into the Sea Lion operation. 2. As soon he gets stuck in England (and he certainly will, for the English will fight till the end, they proved it during the air warfare in 1940), to strike a warning blow through the Brest bulge.

"Of course, I did not have any documentary proof of these considerations (I still do not), but even then there were vague rumours about an alleged plan of total mobilization that was to be realized in spring 1942 and about a plan to invade Romania in order to cut Hitler off from his only source of oil. The scene was elegantly set and led to a striking conclusion: Hitler was already doomed regardless of which course of action he chose."

The events concering Romania once again confirmed that oil was one of the main factors that brought about the start of the war.

Similar events concerned with oil were also taking place on the other side of the planet.

Japan entered World War II for oil, too. As soon as Roosevelt placed an embargo on oil supplies to Japan, it attacked Pearl Harbor. Churchill said of the embargo, "With just one blow Japan lost its vital oil sources."

In peacetime Japan imported 88% of its oil. The only available source remaining for Japan was oil deposits in Dutch East India.

Ted Grant said in an interview, "The USA provoked Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor when Roosevelt shut off oil supplies to Japan. Japan had planned to capture China and other Asian countries before that happened. The Japanese succeeded in taking Singapore and defeating Britain. Yearning to become the dominant power in Asia, Japan formed an alliance with Germany."

"Actually devoid of its own oil sources, Japan took the embargo as an act of economic aggression which influenced fatefully the strategic choice of the Land of the Rising Sun. In 1941 the Japanese attacked the USA and not the USSR whose main forces were combating the German Nazis," Washington Profile reports.

Japan had a choice: either give up its ambitious plans or seize oil reserves and fight the allied forces of Europe and North America. That was a very tough alternative.

"The first example is the Japanese Fleet's famous attack on the American base in Pearl Harbor. The back story of the incident is as follows. As far back as the 1930s the Land of the Rising Sun began expansion in the Far East. A leitmotif of the Japanese aggression was to decrease dependence on oil imports from the USA," Maksim Arslanov of Vedomosti, writes.

Valeriy Davdyov commented: "In his film Siberiad Nikita Mikhalkov told how World War II furthered the development of oil deposits in Tyumen. ON THE WHOLE, NO-ONE DOUBTS TODAY THAT THIS WAR WAS THE FIRST 'OIL' WAR, FOR ALL SIDES DIRECTED THEIR ATTENTION TO OIL-BEARING REGIONS IN THEIR MILITARY STRATEGY - ROMANIA, THE CAUCASUS, THE MIDDLE EAST… (highlighted by the author). The fact that the Far East was also a stage for this 'oil war' is recorded by history. It is commonly known that had Roosevelt not put an embargo on the oil trade with Japan in 1941, Pearl Harbor might not have happened." One could not put this more clearly!

The decision for war was made on 25 November, 1941. This decision was accelerated by a report that oil reserves in the country had decreased by 25% in April and May, B. Liddell Garth writes in his book World War II.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was led by Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Combined Imperial Japanese Navy, a great strategist and a hero of Tsushima, who said before the start of the operation, "War against the United States is the same as war against the whole world, but the decision has been made. That is why I will do my best. I am fated to die, without any doubt."

On Sunday 8 December, 1941, at 0750 Hawaii time (0320 Japanese time) a major formation of 183 bombers that had been based on the Fleet's ships made their first raid on American warships in the roads of Pearl Harbor and on land fortifications. An hour later a second echelon of 171 bombers attacked. The success of the surprise Japanese air attack was assured.

Six American battleships, one heavy cruiser and two oil tankers were sunk, two battleships, one heavy cruiser, six B-class cruisers, three destroyers and three auxiliary vessels suffered serious damage. Japanese aircraft destroyed 300 aeroplanes. Buildings on land were also damaged.

The Japanese made good use of the early raid - a raid with unequal stages of flight, playing on the fuel principle. Having come close under cover of night, the aircraft carriers sent off their aircraft at dawn when they were closest to the target. The aircraft carriers then turned back and began to move away; the aircraft returned to the carriers at a point farther from the target than the point of their take-off. The Japanese aircraft, therefore, flew one short and one long section of the route, while the American aircraft chasing them had to cover two long sections. American officers in charge of military planning had not foreseen this.

The Japanese set a brilliant pattern for the effective use of fuel in non-standard situations for the Americans.

B. Woods gives the following figures for American losses in the attacks on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in his book The History of World War II, published in 1979: 367 American aircraft were destroyed on the landing strip, 2,335 American servicemen and 68 civilians died. The Japanese lost 29 aircraft, several of them in accidents.

According to John Toland in his book Wolf's Lair, Otto Dietrich was the first to learn of Japan's attack on the USA at Pearl Harbor on 7 December. He hurried to Hitler's bunker where the Fuehrer was reading discouraging reports from the Eastern Front. When Dietrich said that he had important news, the Fuehrer looked at him apprehensively, thinking that he brought something unpleasant. But when Dietrich read his report Hitler beamed with joy, tore the paper from him and ran to Keitel's bunker. The Fuehrer declared triumphantly, "We cannot lose the war. Now we have a partner who has never been defeated in 3,000 years."

Paradoxical as it may seem, when they began the war for oil, the Japanese made a grave strategic mistake by not bombing American oil storage facilities on the island of Oahu (8 km from Pearl Harbor). Each barrel of oil in Hawaii had been brought from California, several thousand kilometres away. If Japanese aircraft had destroyed the fuel reserves of the Pacific Navy and fuel storage tanks at Pearl Harbor, all the ships of the American Pacific Navy would have stopped. "All oil for the needs of the Navy in Pearl Harbor was stored then in land reservoirs", Admiral Chester Nimitz, the commander of the Pacific Navy, said later. "We had 4.5 billion barrels oil there and the tanks could be holed with 12.7 bullets. Had the Japanese liquidated those reserves, the war in the Pacific would have dragged on until at least 1947." This blunder of the Japanese was to cost them too much.

Surprisingly enough, even faraway Japan worked out plans to occupy Baku. According to American sources, "While the Americans were concerned with the late (in the current situation) mobilization, the Japanese reveled in their triumph thinking over the next stage. They became so sure of their power that the military authority of the country was seriously considering the possibility of a strike through the Indian Ocean towards the west to join the German troops in the Middle East and Russia, among other things, to help them sever the route of oil transportation from Iran and Baku to the Allies."

Everything that I have mentioned above is indisputable and cannot be ignored. The facts can be interpreted in different ways, but it is clear that oil was the main component.

I have my own opinion about the second part of the question, i.e. why Hitler invaded the USSR before he had dispatched the United Kingdom. In 1941 when the UK was in the tightest situation, it had become clear to Hitler that it was growing harder and harder to maintain the continental blockade of the UK. This blockade required almost half of the fuel Germany used, moreover, the type of fuel that was most difficult to obtain, diesel fuel for submarines. In the beginning of the war the UK had to keep 2,000 ships at sea simultaneously with over 350 vessels passing through the gates of its ports daily. Fascist Germany took account of the UK's high degree of dependence on sea communications and their high degree of vulnerability in their war plan, but the plan required enormous consumption of various kinds of fuel.

Despite their emphatic success in sea battles, the Germans suffered tangible losses as well. Hitler began to realize that he would not defeat the UK in the skies as British pilots were as good as the German aces. According to British military historians, the modern Spitfire and Hurricane fighters in the Royal Air Force helped the UK win the Battle of Britain in summer 1940 and thereby frustrate German plans to land ground troops on the British Isles.

By means of air raids, the German command had hoped to demolish or considerably weaken the Royal Navy and Air Force, disorganize the military economy and dishearten the population. But none of these goals was reached. British aircraft and air-defence artillery showed sturdy resistance to the enemy. From mid-August to late October 1940 the Luftwaffe lost over 1,100 aircraft, while the RAF lost much less (about 650). The Nazis failed to wreck British industry and shatter the morale of the people by air raids.

Three years after the beginning of the war the ratio of success for the German was one to 30. After heavy losses in German air raids in the first years of the war, three years later the British formed robust anti-aircraft defences at the core of which were the Spitfire and Hurricane fighters, and the effectiveness of the German attacks fell to one to 30.

The UK used a powerful, secret weapon to fight Hitler's Reich. Before the beginning of World War II Polish, French and later British specialists and scientists solved the secret of the German Enigma cipher machine. The Intelligence Services had a special department and research centre to work on cracking the Enigma code. On the basis of Enigma, the Ultra decrypting machine was built which deciphered all the cryptograms wired by Hitler's supreme command and the orders of other German command authorities and then of the Japanese military command. Winston Churchill described the information provided by Ultra during the war years as "the top secret source". According to Eisenhower, the intelligence data received by means of Ultra made a "crucial contribution to the military efforts of the Allies". It should be noted that there was a strict prohibition on any references or allusions to Ultra in the UK and USA till spring 1944.

In this complex situation the planned operation Sea Lion, with a landing in England, could bleed Germany dry in terms of both the economyt and fuel supplies, even if the landing were successful,,i.e. it could become a Pyrrhic victory, as the main battles for Middle East oil were yet to come.

Occupation of the island of Great Britain in itself could not add to the economic might of Germany as Britain actually imported almost everything. Besides, Britain would have to subsist somehow, for Hitler did not mean to treat British gentlemen in the way he treated the Slavs and the Jews. The island of Great Britain would be paralysed if devoid of energy sources and left with merely coal.

Certainly, if they had been successful, the Germans would have got Britain's modern military plants and would have heavily increased their military production, but all this would have been just a scrap heap without sufficient energy sources.

And in this case what guarantee did Germany have that the USSR and the USA would not form a much closer alliance than they really did and seize former British colonies rich in oil?

For they realized full well, Stalin first of all, that if Hitler seized Middle East oil he would greatly increase his combat power and become virtually invincible and the USSR would be doomed. Moreover, Stalin realized that if he did not occupy the Middle East, he would expose the Baku oilfields as it would be a piece of cake for the Luftwaffe to bomb Baku from this region. In this case Hitler would begin war against the USSR by bombing Baku's oilfields - this was the fastest way of depleting Red Army - or by an attack on this region.

Such plans did exist in Germany. Admiral Doenitz is known to have suggested another plan before the German attack on the USSR from Europe - defeating British bases in the Mediterranean, occupying the Middle East with its oil resources and going to Baku from there. Stalin was well aware of this plan, of course. In early April 1946, when the USSR began the withdrawal of its troops, the American ambassador to Moscow had a personal meeting with Stalin in the Kremlin late in the evening. "What does the Soviet Union want and how far is Russia to go?" the ambassador asked. "We will not go any further," the Soviet dictator answered. Then he described the USSR efforts to expand its influence in Iran as a way to protect their own oil position.

"Oil deposits in Baku are our basic source of supply," he said. "They are located near the Iranian border and are not actually protected at all." Stalin, who had become a revolutionary 40 years before this conversation, added that "saboteurs, or even just one man with a box of matches, can inflict serious damage on us. We are not going to jeopardize our oil supply."

In addition to all the above, given the time Hitler assigned to defeat of the USSR, the UK could perfectly "await" its own fate. And finally, victory over the USSR would have meant the end of Europe while victory over the UK would have just been the beginning. They would not have been victories of equal worth! It seems to us that the above-mentioned was the reason why Hitler attacked the USSR before he had overcome the UK. It is just a theory of course, but it has as much right to exist as other theories.