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39.4 - Energy Crises

HSR Vol. 39 (2014) No. 4: Frank Bösch & Rüdiger Graf (Eds.): The Energy Crises of the 1970s. Anticipations and Reactions in th Industrialized World

The oil crisis of 1973 has often been described as an essential caesura in the history of Western industrialized nations and even the world as a whole. Understanding the formation of energy policies as reactions to the anticipation of future energy situations, the articles in this volume challenge the common understanding of the first oil crisis as a global turning point. They do so by extending the perspective on the 1970s energy crises in three dimensions. First of all, they situate the first oil crisis within a longer time frame, often starting in the 1960s and then examining the second oil crisis at the end of 1979. Secondly, they focus not on oil alone, but integrate other sources of energy into the picture: coal, nuclear, and gas. This widened perspective accounts for the fact that “energy” emerged as a coherent field of knowledge and policy in the 1970s. Finally, this volume assumes an international perspective including studies on Western as well as on socialist countries. Thereby it positions the energy crises within the history of the Cold War and asks how “global” the transnational flow of oil and the oil crises truly were.