The Oil Crisis of 1973-1974 A Brief History with Documents

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2007-02-22
  • Publisher: Bedford/St. Martin's
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In a year that saw both the formal end to the Vietnam War and the unfolding of the Watergate scandal, the oil crisis of 19731974 dealt a critical blow to the American psyche. After decades of wealth and prosperity, stagflation and gas shortages hit Americans in their own pockets. They faced hard questions about a national culture of consumption that had ravaged the environment and left the U.S. dangerously dependent on foreign oil -- and at the mercy of nations who could and would use oil as a political weapon. Karen Merrill offers a thorough examination of this watershed event with a collection of primary sources ranging from industry and government memos to contemporary news coverage and political cartoons. Her introduction provides historical perspective on U.S.Middle East relations, as well as insights into oil's role in shepherding in a new era of environmental awareness within the American consumer culture. Useful pedagogical tools include questions for consideration, a chronology of events, and a bibliographic essay.

Author Biography

KAREN R. MERRILL (Ph.D., University of Michigan) is associate professor of history at Williams College, where she also serves as director of the Center for Environmental Studies. Professor Merrill has long had an interest in the political history of natural resources in the United States, and in 2002 she published Public Lands and Political Meaning: Ranchers, the Government, and the Property between Them, which won the Robert G. Athearn Book Award from the Western History Association. She is also the editor of The Modern Worlds of Business and Industry: Culture, Technology, Labor (1998). Having written widely on the history of the American West, she is currently working on a collection of essays about the significance of western oilmen in national and international politics during the twentieth century.

Table of Contents

Forewordp. v
Prefacep. vii
List of Illustrationsp. xvi
Introduction: A Brief History of Oilp. 1
The United States as Oil Producerp. 5
The Global Search for Oilp. 7
Oil, Enemies, and the Postwar Worldp. 9
American Oil Consumption and Environmental Politicsp. 14
The Oil Crisis and Its Legacyp. 18
Conclusionp. 26
The Documentsp. 29
The United States and the Middle East before the Crisisp. 31
The U.S. Government and the Oil Industry React to the Formation of OPEC, 1960p. 32
Telegram from the Embassy in Iraq to the Department of State, September 15, 1960p. 33
Memorandum of Discussion at the 460th Meeting of the National Security Council, September 21, 1960p. 34
Memorandum of Conversation: Standard Oil Company (New Jersey) Views on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, October 19, 1960p. 35
Henry Moses, Situation in the Middle East, October 27, 1969p. 37
U.S. News and World Report, The Changing Geopolitics of the World's Oil, April 14, 1969p. 40
Report of OPEC Meeting with Oil Company Executives, January 21, 1972p. 42
The Oil Crisis and the Oil Weaponp. 48
James Akins, The Oil Crisis: This Time the Wolf Is Here, April 1973p. 49
William Casey, International Ramifications of the Energy Situation, May 1973p. 53
Oliphant, "... But First, Let's Hear Your Position on the Alaska Pipeline and Independent Gas Distributors!" July 2, 1973p. 55
Economist, The Radical Specter of Libya, May 10, 1973p. 56
National Review, Confronting Libya, September 28, 1973p. 58
Ranan R. Lurie, "The Arab Oil Barons Set the Pace," September 17, 1973p. 59
Aramco Executives, Memorandum to President Nixon, October 12, 1973p. 60
Time, Unsheathing the Political Weapon, October 29, 1973p. 62
Richard Nixon, The Energy Emergency, November 7, 1973p. 66
Robert Zschiesche, "I Want You to Lower Your Thermostat," December 3, 1973p. 71
Experiencing the Oil Squeeze, November-December 1973p. 72
U.S. News and World Report, Mideast Oil Stops Flowing-and U.S. Feels First Pinch, November 19, 1973p. 73
Time, The New Highway Guerrillas, December 17, 1973p. 75
Citizens Respond to the Oil Crisis, January 1974p. 77
Berkshire Eagle, Is the Crisis for Real? January 3, 1974p. 77
Berkshire Eagle, Is Oil a Public Utility? January 11, 1974p. 79
Berkshire Eagle, Lighting the Way for the New Year? January 7, 1974p. 80
New York Times, Running Out of Gas, January-February 1974p. 81
William Robbins, 37 Gallons Possible as Monthly Gas Ration, January 21, 1974p. 82
Peter Kihss, Worried Drivers Swamp Stations Selling Gasoline, February 5, 1974p. 83
Oil, Consumption, and the Environmentp. 86
David Perlman, America the Beautiful? November 4, 1969p. 88
Norman Podhoretz, Doomsday Fears and Modern Life, October 1971p. 94
John Noble Wilford, Questioning Economic Growth, July 8, 1971p. 98
William K. Stevens, Rush to Smaller Cars Spurs Detroit to Alter Assembly Lines, December 3, 1973p. 101
Time, "The Big Car: End of the Affair," December 31, 1973p. 106
Anthony Wayne Smith, The Oil Shortage, February 1974p. 108
The Aftermath of the Oil Crisisp. 113
Tony Auth, "I Dub Thee 'Problem,'" March 11, 1974p. 115
Miles Ignotus, Seizing Arab Oil, March 1975p. 116
Zuhayr Mikdashi, The OPEC Process, 1976p. 122
Jimmy Carter, Two Responses to the Energy Crisis, April 1977 and January 1980p. 124
The Energy Problem: Address to the Nation, April 18, 1977p. 124
The Carter Doctrine: State of the Union Address, January 23, 1980p. 127
Republican Party Platform, Position on Energy, July 15, 1980p. 129
Ronald Reagan, National Energy Policy Plan, July 17, 1981p. 131
The Legacy of the Oil Crisisp. 134
Bill McKibben, The Climate Crisis, 1989p. 135
National Security Council, Oil and National Security Interests, August 20, 1990p. 137
The SUV: Master or Monster of the Road? 1999p. 140
Jerry Edgerton, I Want My SUV, October 1, 1999p. 140
Susan Ellicott, Big Wheels, March 6, 1999p. 141
Testimony before Congress about Fuel Efficiency, 2000 and 2001p. 143
Daniel F. Becker, Sierra Club, Testimony before House Committee on Resources, April 12, 2000p. 144
Josephine S. Cooper, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Testimony before House Committee on Ways and Means, June 13, 2001p. 146
Neela Banerjee, Saudi Oil after 9/11, October 21, 2001p. 149
Eric C. Evarts, That '70s Auto Show, January 11, 2005p. 153
George W. Bush, Discussion of Hurricane Effects on Energy Supply, September 26, 2005p. 155
John Sherffius, "The Other Storm Surge," August 30, 2005p. 157
A Chronology of Events Related to the Oil Crisis of 1973-1974p. 158
Questions for Considerationp. 162
Selected Bibliographyp. 163
Indexp. 167
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