Russia, Oil and Revolution
By the 1870s, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Empire had a virtual monopoly over the United States, and even many foreign countries. In 1890, the King of Holland gave his blessing for the creation of an international oil company called Royal Dutch Oil Company, which was mainly founded to refine and sell kerosene from Indonesia, a Dutch colony. Also in 1890, a British company was founded with the intended purpose of shipping oil, the Shell Transport and Trading Company, and it “began transporting Royal Dutch oil from Sumatra to destinations everywhere,” and eventually, “the two companies merged to become Royal Dutch Shell.”
Russia entered into the Industrial Revolution later than any other large country and empire of its time. By the 1870s, “Russia’s oil fields, including those in Baku, were challenging Standard Oil’s supremacy in Europe. Russia’s ascendancy in natural resources disrupted the strategic balance of power in Europe and troubled Britain.” Britain thus attempted to begin oil explorations in the Middle East, specifically in Persia (Iran), first through Baron Julius de Reuter, the founder of Reuters News Service, who gained exploration rights from the Shah of Iran. Reuter’s attempt at uncovering vast quantities of oil failed, and a man named William Knox D’Arcy took the lead in Persia.
By the middle of the 19th century, “the Rothschilds were the richest family in the world, perhaps in all of history. Their five international banking houses comprised one of the first multinational corporations.” Alfonse de Rothschild was “heavily invested in Russian oil at least forty years before William Knox D’Arcy began tying up Persian oil concessions for the British. Russian oil, which in the 1860s was already emerging as the European rival to the American monopoly Standard Oil, was the Baron [Rothschild]’s pet project.” In the early 1880s, “almost two hundred Rothschild refineries were at work in Baku,” Russia’s oil rich region.
By the mid-1880s, “the Rothschilds were poised to become the chief oil supplier, not only to Europe but to the Far East,” however, “the Baku-Batum railroad was already proving inadequate to transport the volume of oil being produced. Another route was needed, and came in the form of the recently opened Suez Canal, which shortened the journey to the Far East by four thousand miles. Palestine was suddenly of interest to the Rothschilds as it provided access to the Suez.” When the Egyptian government was bankrupt in 1874, British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli turned to his close friends, the Rothschilds, “for the colossal cash advance necessary” to buy shares in the Suez Canal Company. By this time, the Rothschilds were already principle shareholders in the Bank of France, and the Bank of England, sitting alongside other notable shareholders such as Baring Brothers, Morgan Grenfell and Lazard Brothers.
The Rothschilds “had long been involved in developing Czarist Russia’s nascent industry and banking system, while that country’s growing network of railroads was largely financed by Rothschild-managed loans.” When the Czar died, he was succeeded by his son, Czar Nicholas II, who instituted anti-Semitic pogroms, discriminating against Jews, which had the effect of stimulating a massive emigration of Jews out of Russia and Eastern Europe and into Western Europe. However, these East European and Russian Jewish émigrés grew up in a newly industrializing nation in which the tyranny of the government and collusion between it and powerful financial and industrial interests left the great majority of people dispossessed and incited more socialist tendencies in thought and action.
The English Rothschilds were very alarmed “when the socialist tendencies of the émigrés contributed to a massively disruptive tailors’ strike in the East End of London in 1888. A young Georgian communist who would become known to the world as Joseph Stalin was already organizing laborers to strike at the Rothschild oil interests in Batum.” The British Rothschilds were very concerned with this wave of Jewish immigrants into Western Europe and Britain, as they were intensely anti-Czarist and progressively socialist, and the Rothschilds were known for their heavy collaboration with the Czarist regimes of Russia. One potential solution considered to the problem of increased socialist-leaning Jewish immigrants in Britain was to institute restrictions on immigration. However, this would likely backlash, in the sense that it would be viewed as comparable to expulsion. So, Edmond Rothschild began his personal campaign to create a Jewish homeland in Palestine in order to create a release valve for Jewish émigrés to put their political action behind a new cause, and to promote them emigrating to Palestine, and out of Western Europe.
On top of this, as the pre-eminent Zionist in Britain, his proposal for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine served major economic interests of the Rothschilds and of the British Empire, in that several years prior, Rothschild bought the Suez Canal for the British, and it was the primary transport route for Russian oil. Palestine, thus, would be a vital landmass as a protectorate for British and Rothschild imperial-economic interests.
The Rothschilds, despite their overtly pro-Zionist and pro-Jewish rhetoric, did not stop their support of the Russian regime and economic activities within anti-Semitic Russia. In 1895, the Rothschilds, then one of the world’s leading producers and distributors of oil, “had gone so far as to co-sign an agreement with rival producers – including America’s Standard Oil [of Rockefeller interests] – to divide up world markets. It never took effect, presumably because of the opposition of the Russian government.” In 1902, the Rothschilds “entered into a partnership with Royal Dutch and Shell (soon to become a single global company) to form the Asiatic Petroleum Company for exploiting the fields of Southern Russia.”
In the early 1900s, the Rothchilds were the primary oil interests in Russia, second in the world only to the Rockefellers. As industrialization was under way, conditions worsened for the great majority of Russian people. This spurred protests and riots, and a “young Stalin himself led the agitation against the Caucasian oil industry in general, [and] the Rothschilds in particular. Mass action by oil workers in Baku [the major oil fields in Russia] in 1903 was the spark that set off the first general strike across the Russian landmass.” Then with the Russian loss in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904, and further protests, came the Revolution of 1905. In the following years, the Rothschilds sold their Russian oil interests to Royal Dutch Shell, gaining significant shares in the international oil company.
The specter of political and social instability within Russia was high and did not go without notice from international banking, oil, and industrial interests. Naturally, the international banking houses were keeping a close eye on developments within Russia. The Rothschilds had to lessen their overt involvement with Russia, as they could not maintain such a relationship with the most anti-Jewish nation in the world at the time, while also claiming to be the primary advocates of Jewish aspirations for a homeland. This is why they sold their Russian oil interests to Royal Dutch Shell, but then gained significant shares in the company itself. So while publicly cutting their ties with Russia, they still held massive interests in its industrial capacity. Following the Russo-Japanese War, the Rothschilds “refused to participate in underwriting a major loan, this at a time when Russia desperately needed funds to stabilize the regime.”
So, in 1906, John D. Rockefeller stepped in to aid Czarist Russia, and offered $200,000,000, or “400,000,000 rubles for a concession for railroads from Tashkend to Tomsk and from Tehita to Polamoshna and a grant of land on both sides of the prospective lines.” These international financiers were still clearly intent upon maintaining their interests within Russia.
However, the Russian governments refusal to allow the deal between the Rockefellers and Rothschilds and other major oil monopolies to divide up the world’s oil reserves, may well have spurred discontent among these powerful interests. If Russia refused to allow them to control all the oil and have a right to all oil, did this mean that Russia was planning on building a domestic oil industry? If this were the case, it could pose a threat to all the entrenched economic and financial interests, particularly those of the Rockefellers and Rothschilds, as Russia’s significant oil reserves and resources would allow it to possibly even surpass the United States in industrialization. Further, Czarist Russia became an increasingly unstable investment environment, controlled by an increasingly unpredictable monarchy.
The 1917 October Revolution “inspired workers’ uprisings in the oil fields against low wages and harsh working conditions. In 1919, Azerbaijan took advantage of the political unrest to declare sovereignty over the Baku fields. That same year SONJ [Standard Oil of New Jersey] made an agreement with the Azerbaijani government to purchase undeveloped land for exploration in the Baku region. Amidst the chaos, foreign oil companies rushed into Russia hoping to collect concessions at reduced rates. The Nobel brothers sold much of their operations to SONJ (today ExxonMobil) to build an alliance in 1920.”
Antony C. Sutton, economist, historian and author, as well as research fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, wrote in Wall Street and the Bolshevik Revolution, that both fascist and communist systems are “based on naked, unfettered political power and individual coercion. Both systems require monopoly control of society. While monopoly control of industries was once the objective of J.P. Morgan and J.D. Rockefeller, by the late nineteenth century the inner sanctums of Wall Street understood that the most efficient way to gain an unchallenged monopoly was to ‘go political’ and make society go to work for the monopolists,” and that, “the totalitarian socialist state is a perfect captive market for monopoly capitalists, if an alliance can be made with the socialist powerbrokers.” Thus, the major money powers of the west decided to put their money behind the creation of a totalitarian communist state in Russia, in order to create a captive economy, which they could exploit and remove from competition.
When the Revolution began, Trotsky was in New York, and was immediately granted an American passport by President Wilson, and then given a Russian entry permit and a British transit visa, in order to return to Russia and “carry forward” the revolution. Trotsky, while traveling, was arrested in Canada, but was released as a result of British intervention.
Trotsky traveled on board a ship in 1917, leaving New York, along with an interesting cast of fellow passengers, including “other Trotskyite revolutionaries, Wall Street financiers, American Communists, and a man named Charles Crane. Charles Richard Crane, former chairman of the Democratic Party’s finance committee, whose son, Richard Crane, was an assistant to U.S. Secretary of State Robert Lansing, played a significant part in what occurred in Russia. Former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, William Dodd, said that Crane, “did much to bring on the [Alexander] Kerensky revolution which gave way to Communism.” Kerensky was the second Prime Minister in the Russian Provisional Government, which followed the collapse of the Czarist government, and preceded the Bolshevik. Crane also thought that the Kerensky government “is the revolution in its first phase only.”
The Revolution occurred in the midst of World War I, which broke out in 1914, and had all the major European powers at war. Morgan and Rockefeller interests, organized in Wall Street and centralized in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the most powerful of all the regional Federal Reserve Banks, used “the Red Cross Mission as its operational vehicle” in Russia at the time of the Bolshevik Revolution. The Red Cross Mission in Russia got its endowment from wealthy people such as J.P. Morgan, Mrs. E. H. Harriman, Cleveland H. Dodge, and Mrs. Russell Sage, and “in World War I the Red Cross depended heavily on Wall Street, and specifically the Morgan firm.” When the American Red Cross set up a mission to Russia, “William Boyce Thompson, director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, had ‘offered to pay the entire expense of the commission’.” All expenses were paid for by William Boyce Thompson, who was a major stockholder in Chase National Bank, whose President had Thompson appointed head of the New York Fed.
The Mission was primarily made up of lawyers, financiers, their assistants, people affiliated with Standard Oil and the Rockefeller’s National City Bank. The Mission supported through a loan, the Provisional government of Alexander Kerensky, yet, William B. Thompson of the New York Fed “made a personal contribution of $1,000,000 to the Bolsheviki for the purpose of spreading their doctrine in Germany and Austria.” Interestingly, when the Bolsheviks took control, “The National City Bank branch in Petrograd had been exempted from the Bolshevik nationalization decree – the only foreign or domestic Russian bank to have been so exempted.” Ultimately, the Red Cross mission in Russia “was in fact a mission of Wall Street financiers to influence and pave the way for control, through either Kerensky or the Bolshevik revolutionaries, of the Russian market and resources.”
The American International Corporation (AIC), was “created in 1915 to develop domestic and foreign enterprises, to extend American activities abroad, and to promote the interests of American and foreign bankers, business and engineering.” It was created and controlled by Morgan, Stillman and Rockefeller interests, and its directors were affiliated with National City Bank (Rockefeller), the Carnegie Foundation, General Electric, the DuPont family, New York Life Insurance, American Bankers Association and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Members of its board financially supported the Bolsheviks and urged the US State Department to recognize the Bolshevik government.
In 1920, Russian gold was being siphoned through Sweden, where it was melted down and stamped with the Swedish mint, funneled through the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and into Kuhn, Loeb & Company and Guaranty Trust Company (Morgan), two of the primary banking interests behind the creation of the Federal Reserve System.  During the civil war in Russia between the Reds and the Whites, while Wall Street financiers were aiding the Bolsheviks quietly, they also began to finance Aleksandr Kolchak (of the Whites) with millions of dollars, in order to ensure that whoever emerged victorious in the war, Wall Street would win.
As Antony Sutton wrote, “Russia, then and now, constituted the greatest potential competitive threat to American industrial and financial supremacy,” and that, “The gigantic Russian market was to be converted into a captive market and a technical colony to be exploited by a few high-powered American financiers and the corporations under their control.”
Eventually, the Bolsheviks emerged victorious, and Wall Street won. Under Stalin’s Five-Year Plans in the early 1930s, Soviet industrialization “required Western technology and expertise,” and in a “frequently overlooked contribution” that came “from abroad,” American firms aided in the industrialization of the USSR, including Ford, General Electric and DuPont, with Standard Oil, General Electric, Austin Co., General Motors, International Harvester, and Caterpillar Tractor trading heavily with the Soviet Union.
Standard Oil bought “gargantuan quantities of Red Oil,” General Electric received a $100,000,000 contract from the Soviet Union to build “the four largest hydroelectric generators in the world,” Austin Co., got a $50,000,000 contract to erect the City of Austingrad, “complete with tractor and automobile factories involving an additional $30,000,000 contract for parts and technical assistance with Ford Motor Corp.” On top of this, “Other [Soviet] business friends are General Motors, DuPont de Nemours, International Harvester, John Deere Co., Caterpillar Tractor, Radio Corp. and the U. S. Shipping Board, which sold the Reds a fleet of 25 cargo steamers.” Banks with close ties to the Russian economy included Chase National, National City Bank and Equitable Trust, all of which are either Rockefeller or Morgan interests.
World War Restructures World Order