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Open letter to science editors


The Atom and Oil
Immanuel Velikovsky

Twenty-five years ago Immanuel Velikovsky wrote in the New York Post the following article. It appeared in the edition of Tuesday, February 17, 1948, under the title, "Atom and Oil" Ed.

These days we are being told that work on atomic weapons will proceed on a greater scale, and that new and more modern atom bombs are in the process of development; that the development of atomic energy for manufacturing and other civilian uses will be slowed down; that the prospects of seeing this energy employed in civilian production are dimmer now than they were only a few months ago; and that, not in one or two years, but only in ten years from now will there be any chance to put atomic energy to work for the benefit of mankind.

Why is this so? Because, we are told, we must be prepared for war with Russia. Why must we engage in a war with Russia? Because Russia threatens American oil concessions in the Middle East.

Oil is fuel and, thus, a source of energy. America is the greatest producer of oil, but also the greatest consumer. The day may come when America will import more oil than it exports. Especially in the event of hostilities, oil will be the decisive raw material, and American oil resources may not suffice to lubricate and fuel another war of several years' duration.

Consequently, it is argued, we must prepare ourselves with atomic weapons for a war, even a preventive war.

This is a chain of fallacious arguments. Although Russia, by its support of partition in Palestine, demonstrated that it does not intend to exploit American difficulties in the Middle East centering around Palestine and oil concessions in Arabia, the oil companies of America and our Administration feel insecure over the fabulous concessions in Arabia. These concessions belong to private companies.




In January of this year, profits from Arabian oil by two foreign corporations owned by two American oil companies were stated to be more than $117,000,000, in disclosures made to the Senate War Investigating Committee. Treasury agents told the committee, however, they saw little chance of obtaining any tax revenues from these profits.

Sen. Owen Brewster, chairman of the Senate Committee, had presented the facts unearthed before his committee to the Treasury Dept. on Nov. 21 last.

It appeared that the Texas Company and the Standard Oil Company of California jointly owned the Bahrein Petroleum Company of Canada, which, it was testified, piled up profits of $92,186,107 on an investment of $100,000, and the California Texas Oil Company (Caltex), incorporated in the Bahamas, had profits of $25,387,673 on an investment of approximately $1,000,000.

"No taxes of any kind had ever been paid to the United States or to any foreign government," Sen. Brewster told the Treasury Dept.

Much has been made in certain quarters of the close proximity of Russia to the oil fields of the Middle East. But if the threat were as real as it is portrayed, considerable doubt should be cast on the wisdom of the State and Defense departments' policy of placing our national resources behind the oil concerns, risking involvement in war with Russia to protect these fields.

Because Russia is so close to the oil fields in question and we are so far away, in the event of hostilities, these fields, and the developments financed with American capital, would not only be beyond the reach of American forces, but would be an invaluable prize for the Russian forces. From the Russian frontier to the fields of Iraq it is only 215 miles, to the Persian Gulf about 550 miles, and to the Bahrein fields about 750 miles; from the Bahrein fields to London it is 6,700 miles and to New York 8,560 miles by the sea route through the Suez Canal and much more around the Cape of Good Hope. It is well to remember that in the last war the Mediterranean route was closed to the Allies for three years.


Are the oil companies interested in a war that will engulf the Middle East? They should certainly not be. They would be unable to exploit their concessions during a war, and very probably they would lose these concessions as the result of a war. War would be a death warrant for all the profits these companies hope to extract from the Middle East.

Then do we follow the path of wisdom or the road of fools? To postpone the development of atomic energy as a source of energy for national manufacturing and other civilian uses in order to prepare for a war to defend oil, an inferior source of energy in comparison with the atom, is a grave mistake.

One gram of atomic fuel has enough energy to carry a plane around the world, and a few grams may drive a ship around all five continents. The money and human effort expended on the development of atomic weapons, if devoted to the development of atomic energy for civilian purposes, would relegate oil to a secondary position.

Would we drive a donkey in a Rolls Royce? Should we use atomic energy for the sole purpose of upholding oil concessions when the atomic product is infinitely superior to oil.

America does not need to fear a lack of oil; the atom would keep production going, and make the world a good place to live in.

The oil industry would like to prevent the development of the atom for peaceful uses; it therefore presses it into war uses, totally blind to the fact that in the event of a war the oil industry would lose its possessions in the Middle East; the enemy would itself use the oil, the pipe lines, the installations, and refineries now built, unless we ourselves blow them up at the start of the war.


It is obvious, therefore, that the oil industry is leading not only America, and the entire world, but also itself, to disaster. In the atomic age no war should be fought for any source of energy whatsoever.


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