The Anglo-German Rivalry Intensifies, 1912–13

  • Marian Kent


After two years in which American competition and Turkish dilatoriness had prevented the D’Arcy group’s claims for the Mesopotamian concession from making any progress, matters started to move again. The next phase from the latter part of 1912 until mid-1913, saw the development of a much fiercer competition between British and German interests and the emergence of a number of complex problems associated with this competition. The rivalry hardened partly because of the respective governments’ increased support for their nationals, and partly because of the allied problem of general commercial competition. The Anglo-Persian Oil Company was faced with strong pressure from its rival, Shell, to take over its interests. This affected the future of both the Persian and the Mesopotamian oilfields, involving imperial and naval arguments. The only alternative, the Anglo-Persian decided, was to obtain from the British Government far more substantial backing than it had had previously, and during this six-month period it argued its case and presented various means for solving it. It was eventually successful, but meanwhile it had found that the Mesopotamian concession, the obtaining of which was one of the company’s chief reasons for resisting the Shell pressure to amalgamate, could not be gained without the two companies coming to terms.


Royal Commission Railway Company Forward Contract Financial Guarantee Indian Railway 
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  1. 1.
    Marling to Grey, despatch 637, 27 July 1912, FO 371/1486, no. 32932. The (Anglo-Turkish) National Bank of Turkey was founded in 1909 on Turkish initiative and with strong FO encouragement. Its other British directors were Lord Revelstoke, Sir Ernest Gassel (president) and C. S. Gulbenkian. Regarding the National Bank of Turkey, see M. Kent, ‘Agent of Empire’. The National Bank of Turkey and British Foreign Policy’, in Historical Journal, xviii, 2, 1975.Google Scholar

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© Marian Kent 1976

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  • Marian Kent

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