Historical Social Research

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Henning Türk: The Oil Crisis of 1973 as a Challenge to Multilateral Energy Cooperation among Western Industrialized Countries. [Abstract]

Much of the existing historical research discusses the 1973 oil crisis through single national perspectives. In contrast, this article focuses on the multilateral dimension of this far-reaching event. Starting with the Suez crisis of 1956, it explores the work of the OECD Oil Committee and its High Level Group regarding possible oil crises. However, the crisis mechanisms the OECD developed were not activated when the 1973 oil crisis hit. Thus, US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger took the initiative to form a stronger group of oil consuming countries outside the OECD, which should have guaranteed cohesion in the West in future oil crises. Pressured by the United States and expecting advantages from close transatlantic energy cooperation, the other Western industrialized countries, except France, approved of the project. The result was the founding of the International Energy Agency (IEA) in November 1974. Its structure and voting rules reflect the crucial role the United States play in the agency. Therefore, in the context of international relations, the IEA serves as an example of the United States’ struggle to maintain its hegemony in the Western camp.

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