Soviet Union New Economic Policy

Soviet Union New Economic Policy Poster
Soviet Union New Economic Policy Poster

The New Economic Policy (NEP) was the transition from an inherent policy of "military communism" food surplus requisitioning to regular food taxation accompanied by liberalization of internal trade and a state monopoly on international trade and heavy industry.

The introduction of the NEP was the result of the necessity to maintain the rural population and the agricultural sector of the economy, which were exhausted by civil war. A famine in 1921–23 in the central part of Russia due to economic as well as ecological and climatic factors was an argument in favor of the revision of existing economic policy.

The NEP was an initiative of Vladimir Lenin, who, by the beginning of 1921, had already realized that the young Soviet state could face a peasants' war. The 10th congress of the Russian Communist Party (of Bolsheviks) took place in March 1921 and adopted Lenin's proposal to transition from food surplus requisitioning to a regular taxation system, the starting point of the NEP, called nepo or nep.

From the very beginning the NEP was perceived by Communists as a forced temporary deviation from the immediate introduction of communism based on so-called Marxist ideals.

Changes in the food taxation system (the transition from voluntaristic food requisitioning to regular food and, soon afterward, to money taxation) accompanied other reforms in the economic sphere. One of the most important of them was the introduction of the possibility for peasants to sell their surplus products at free markets, which meant the renewal of free internal trade in the country.

Foreign concessions and lease and privatization of small enterprises were allowed, and trusts got permission for their activity on self-supporting bases. The organization of new collective and state farms was temporarily suspended, and private land cultivation and land lease were allowed.

Nevertheless, the building of communism was not cancelled at all, and key aspects of the economy were totally controlled by the Soviet state. It was a sort of Bolsheviks' guarantee that in the future, socialist elements would overcome capitalist ones under the proletariat dictatorship.

The first results of the introduction of the NEP were visible as early as the 1925, when in most Soviet republics grain production was already as high as before World War I, and industry production levels were also renewed.

Changes in economic policy and a general improvement of human welfare were accompanied by general liberalization in the social and cultural spheres. The end of hunger and economic disaster destroyed the basis for peasants' rebellion movements and contributed greatly to the spontaneous breakup of widely distributed armed bands, particularly in the Ukraine.

Mass repressions were stopped, and amnesty was given to members of groups and noncommunist parties. Political emigrants were allowed to return to the country. Such liberalization, alongside an improvement in general welfare, gave the population under Bolshevik rule a desire for freedom and caused movement in social and cultural life, ethnic identification, national revival, and other processes noncoherent with proletariat dictatorship ideology.

In social and cultural spheres, signs of the end of the general liberalization of internal policy connected with the NEP appeared as early as 1926–28. Usually they are associated with the campaign against socalled nationalistic deviations in the Ukraine, which was a specific trend in the communist movement that tried to synthesize the building of communist society with national liberation movements. This campaign was accompanied by an attack on the Orthodox and Autocephal Churches and the destruction of monasteries and churches.

In spite of obvious traces of economic growth, the country remained mostly agrarian in its economic orientation and could hardly be competitive with the leading European countries in its struggle for survival. Since the very beginning, the Soviet state had been permanently preparing for the great war against the imperialists, so a well-equipped and modern army needed to be created and maintained.

One of the key tasks of the Bolsheviks, headed at that time by Joseph Stalin, became an acceleration of heavy industry development, which was ensured by significant investments. It was proclaimed the main goal of the country's development at the 14th congress in December 1925.

The only reliable source of such investments for the Soviet state was an internal one; that is, it could be maintained by redistribution of internal gross product, guaranteed by strictly controlling all spheres of the economy, the agrarian one included.

One means of such gross product redistribution—artificially created differences in prices for industrial and agricultural products, with the help of which up to half of the agricultural segment's income was cut in favor of the industrial one—was widely used during the NEP period. By 1926 it resulted in the so-called NEP crisis: Price control by the state caused a significant excess of demand.

Economic policy reorientation, which factually meant dismantling the New Economic Policy, was marked by two epochal decisions by Communist leaders: industrialization and collectivization strategy plans, which came to be known as the Great Breakdown.

The first five-year plan of industry development for 1928–33, adopted by the 15th congress of the Communist Party (December 1927), envisaged a high but relatively balanced rate of industry growth. Nevertheless, soon the Communist leadership demanded acceleration. Investment shortage was accompanied by a food crisis in 1928, which was caused by extremely poor harvests in the main Soviet granaries.

It was given as the reason to reactivate food requisitioning, to destroy the agrarian market, to intensify the organization of collective farms, and to begin a campaign against relatively prosperous peasants (kulaki), proclaimed by Stalin at the All-Union Conference of Marxists-Agrarians in December 1929.

These decisions faced economically motivated objections, and Stalin's ideas of economic strategic development met strong opposition among Communist Party leaders, including Nikolay Bukharin, Nikolay Rykov, and others. It was a reason that Stalin started his struggle for absolute power, which implied new waves of terror, hunger, and political repressions. In fact, dismantling of the New Economic Policy was the starting point for a final totalitarian regime in the Soviet Union.

Nigerian National Democratic Party

Herbert Macaulay formed the NNDP in 1922
Herbert Macaulay formed the NNDP in 1922
Historians widely credit the Nigerian National Democratic Party (NNDP) as the first political party in Nigeria. Herbert Macaulay formed the NNDP in 1922 by organizing a number of Yoruba interest groups into a cohesive single group with the intent of competing politically.

In the 1922 elections for the Lagos legislative council, the NNDP won three seats and began its dominance in western Nigerian politics, which would last until the National Youth Movement (NYM) overtook the NNDP in 1938.

Politics within Nigeria during its colonial period were characterized by tribalism and geographic rivalry. The nature of the Nigerian system, along with the political culture of Nigeria, made it difficult for political parties to unite and form lasting coalitions. Obstacles to political participation traditionally included the number of rural citizens, high illiteracy rates, and the fact that Nigerians speak several hundred different languages.

The dominant political parties tended to serve local interests: the Action Group is supported by the Yoruba in western Nigeria and eastern Nigeria; the Ibos in Southeastern Nigeria follow the National Congress of Nigeria Citizens (NCNC); the Northern People's Congress (NPC) boasts support from the north and the Hausa-Fulani tribe.

Nationalism marked the period between World War I and World War II in Nigeria. Overall, the Nigerian variety of nationalism did not call for independence but for inclusion in the political system. Created by British colonialism, Nigeria reflected a number of different clans and tribes concentrated geographically.

The 1922 constitution allowed the political Nigerian the chance to participate in the political process through the election of a number of representatives to the legislative council. One of the many to emerge from the new political opportunities was Herbert Macaulay, referred to as the "father of Nigerian nationalism."

His background as a Nigerian civil servant and his education in England gave him a broad background and the experience necessary for successful activism. Macaulay used his newspaper, the Lagos Daily News, to awaken Nigerian nationalism.

The early political platform of the NNDP pushed for a number of reforms. Macaulay called for both economic and educational development. Other popular issues with the NNDP were the Africanization of the civil service and self-government for Lagos.

The NNDP, however, only remained a force in Lagos until it was overcome by the NYM. Like other Nigerian political parties, the NNDP's inability to expand beyond the city of Lagos made it difficult for it to become a truly national party.

Northern Expedition

KMT Army in Northern Expedition
KMT Army in Northern Expedition

In 1923 Sun Yat-sen made an agreement with the Soviet Union that helped him reorganize the Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), and provided military aid to build an army. His price was to admit members of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to the KMT, where many were given key posts.

Sun formed a government in Canton and died in 1925, after which the KMT split, with the pro-Communist wing in command, led by Wang Jingwei (Wang Ching-wei) and controlled by Soviet adviser Michael Borodin. Anti-Communist right-wing KMT leaders were expelled.

By July 1926 the 80,000-strong KMT army commanded by Chiang Kai-shek and led by officers trained by him in the Whampoa Military Academy was ready to take on the warlords and unify China. It confronted over 800,000 men from three warlord armies.

Chiang won overwhelming victories, clearing warlord armies from lands south of the Yangzi (Yangtze) River. In his wake, Wang Jingwei moved the Nationalist capital from Canton to Wuhan. Soviet leader Joseph Stalin's goal was to use the Nationalists to defeat the warlords. But after conquering financial centers Shanghai and Nanjing (Nanking), Chiang preempted Stalin by striking first.

He purged the CCP from areas he controlled directly and established an alternate government (to Wuhan) in Nanjing in April 1927. In July the leftists in Wuhan finally realized that they were Stalin's next intended victims and, after dismissing the Soviet advisers, broke with the CCP and dissolved their "government."

Chiang resumed the Northern Expedition early in 1928. His major obstacle was Japanese intervention to prevent the unification of China. The Japanese captured provincial capital Jinan (Chinan of Shandong [Shautung] province), killing 16 Chinese diplomats sent to negotiate and several thousand civilians in the Jinan incident.

Chiang avoided war with Japan, diverting his troops' advance by a longer route. In June the Northern Expeditionary army entered Beijing (Peking) peacefully. Nanjing became China's national capital, and Beijing was renamed Beiping (Peiping), which means "northern peace." By the end of 1928, the nation was reunified, though nominally for many regions; the KMT became the ruling government, and China entered a new era.

Nuremberg Laws

Nuremberg laws
Nuremberg laws

During the annual convention of the National Socialist German Workers' Party (NSDAP) in Nuremberg on September 15, 1935, the "Nuremberg laws" were passed. This new legislation built the basis for the fascist policies of the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler that led to the extermination of Jews in the Holocaust.

The laws defined specifically who qualified as a German citizen and thus had the right to official state protection. The laws also clearly defined Jews as enemies of the state and as such stripped them of their rights of citizenship, marginalized them, and prepared for their succeeding mass extermination.

The first Nuremberg law, titled "The Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honor," prohibited marriages and sexual relations between Germans and Jews and forbade the employment of German women under the age of 45 in Jewish households.

It clearly stated a potential danger for fertile German women working in Jewish households. This cast the Jews as lustful beings with little control over their instincts. Jews were portrayed as dangerous to Germans. The first law was passed unanimously in the Reichstag and promulgated on September 16, 1935.

The second law, the so-called Reich Citizenship Law, clarified the relationship between German citizens and the state. It made clear that only Germans determined through blood counted as "nationals." As such, they were considered worthy of protection by the state, but they were also obliged to comply with the provisions that the state made for them.

The Reich only considered as citizens those who showed through their behavior that they were personally fit to serve the nation and were loyal to the state. The Reich Citizenship Law was further defined by the first supplementary of the law on November 14, 1935. It used the criterion of purity of blood to distinguish citizens from individuals of mixed Jewish blood and Jews.

The state granted the right of citizenship only to full-blooded Germans. Only they were allowed to vote and hold political offices. Jews were explicitly excluded from political participation, and Jews currently in political offices were ordered to retire by December 31, 1935.

The Nuremberg laws were soon followed by "The Law for the Protection of the Genetic Health of the German People," which required all persons wanting to marry to submit to a medical examination, after which a "Certificate of Fitness to Marry" would be issued if they were found to be free of disease. The certificate was required in order to get a marriage license.

The Nuremberg laws built the basis for the exclusion and later persecution of Jews in German society that eventually led to the Holocaust. The laws operated from the premise that Germans were the pinnacle of evolution and that the German blood pool was superior to that of all other races. As such, the NSDAP considered the protection of the pure German blood pool essential and wanted to ensure that German blood did not mix with that of other races.

Nuremberg Trials

Nuremberg Trials
Nuremberg Trials

The Nuremberg Trials generally refers to the trials against members of the German leadership for war crimes committed in the period leading up to and during World War II. The decision to try these individuals was made during the war.

In 1943, President Franklin D. Roosevelt of the United States, Prime Minister Winston Churchill of Great Britain, and Joseph Stalin of the USSR proclaimed in the Moscow Declaration, the intent to hold the German leadership responsible for their actions associated with the war. That same year, the initial meeting of the United Nations War Crimes Commission met in London to address the issue.

Although there were differing opinions regarding the scope of the trials, the procedural framework, and the substantive nature of the charges, the ultimate decision was made to prosecute roughly 20 members of German government, military, and industry for their involvement in the war. The main portion of the proceedings was held from November 1945 until August 1946 at the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg.

The Nuremberg Trials were an ambitious undertaking. At the time the charges were brought, there was little, if any, precedent for these charges in international law. The four-count indictment sought to hold accountable not just the individual heads of the Nazi regime, but also the various governmental units. The first count alleged, essentially, that the defendants acted in a conspiracy to commit crimes against peace, war crimes, and crimes against humanity.

The second count claimed the defendants engaged in a war of aggression. The third count set out that the defendants had a common plan to commit war crimes. The fourth count alleged crimes against humanity, which included the claim that the defendants persecuted civilians on political, racial, and religious grounds.

Like the substantive charges in the indictment, the procedure by which the defendants would be charged and tried was something unheard of at the time. Because the British, American, French, and Soviet forces had divided the conquered Germany, each country attempted to influence the manner in which the defendants were to be tried.

Four prosecutorial teams assembled to address the charges, and there were four judges, as well as alternates, from the four representative nations. The logistics of holding the proceedings were also daunting.

Hundreds of thousands of pages of documents were entered into evidence, and over 100 witnesses testified. Because the prosecutors and the judges presiding over the tribunal were from the representative countries, all communications at the trial needed to be translated into English, French, German, and Russian.

The individual defendants were carefully selected so as to represent various segments of the Nazi regime. The defendants were members of the military and government and heads of industry. With Adolf Hitler having committed suicide, the most prominent defendant was Hermann Göring, the commander in chief of the Luftwaffe, or German air force, and president of the Reichstag.

Wilhelm Keitel was the chief of staff of the supreme command of the armed forces. Karl Doenitz, commander in chief of the navy, was Hitler's successor. One person charged, Robert Ley, committed suicide before he could be tried, and two were ultimately deemed unfit to stand trial.

All in all, there were 22 named defendants tried, including Martin Bormann, who was tried in absentia. Although the majority of the defendants were convicted, a few were acquitted of some or all of the charges against them. Sentences ranged from death by hanging to imprisonment.

Although the Nuremberg Trials generally refer to the initial trial, there were, in fact, 12 follow-up trials involving other lesser-ranking members of the German government involved in various war crimes and human rights abuses.

Although some legal scholars challenge the legitimacy of the trials, they served as a detailed review of the atrocities committed by the German government in World War II. The Nuremberg Trials have served as a model for subsequent war crimes tribunals.

Nyasaland (Malawi)

Nyasaland (Malawi)
Nyasaland (Malawi)

Nysaland is the name for the former British protectorate that is the present-day country of Malawi. Modern Zambia, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Lake Nyasa (Lake Malawi) form the nation's borders.

A number of native ethnic groups inhabit the Nyasaland region, including the Chewa, the Yaos, the Lowmes, the Tonga, the Tumbuka, and the Ngoni. The area has been inhabited for about 12,000 years and was first visited by Europeans when the Portuguese adventurer Gaspar Bocarro explored in 1492. Like most of Africa, Nyasaland suffered the damages of the slave trade that flourished in the following centuries.

After the Scottish missionary David Livingston arrived on the shores of the lake he named Lake Nyasa in 1859, other missionaries answered his call to come to Africa and fight the slave trade.

The first European trade station was built in 1884 at Karonga in the northeastern part of the territory by the African Lakes Company, owned primarily by Glasgow traders. As Britain's imperialist expansion continued, what was known as the Shire Highlands Protectorate in 1889 became a protectorate of the crown.

The name was changed to Nyasaland Districts in 1891, to the British Central Africa Protectorate in 1893, and still later to the Nyasaland Protectorate. The area was called Nyasaland until its independence in 1964.

Nyasaland's people resented European rule and in 1915, led by John Chilembwe, openly revolted. Although they were unsuccessful in freeing themselves from foreign rule, the Africans continued to work for their independence.

The Nyasaland African Congress (later the Malawi Congress Party) was formed in 1944 with this goal in mind. When Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda became leader of the party in 1959, the movement for freedom intensified.

In 1953, at the urging of Britain and of white colonial residents hoping to establish a powerful economic center in the region, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (also called the Central African Federation) was formed.

Salisbury (now Harare) in southern Rhodesia was designated the capital of the federation. Giving powers to five governments made the constitution for the federation one of the most complex ever written.

Two British administrative offices had powers: the Commonwealth Office, which managed affairs with southern Rhodesia, and the Colonial Office, which worked in northern Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

In addition, each of these three territories had powerful governors, and there was a governor-general of the federation. In addition, the Africans, especially the government of northern Rhodesia now dominated by Africans, were demanding more political control of their own lives.

Nyasaland gained its independence from Britain in 1964; it was renamed Malawi in reference to the Maravi, a Bantu people who came from the southern Congo about 600 years before, and elected Dr. Banda as the new nation's first president.

Álvaro Obregón

Álvaro Obregón
Álvaro Obregón

The president of Mexico from 1920 until 1924, General Álvaro Obregón Salido was born on February 19, 1880, at the Hacienda de Siquisiva in southern Sonora, in the far northwest of Mexico. The 17th son of Francisco Obregón, who died when Álvaro was young, and Cenobia Salido, it is often claimed that his name was derived from the Irish surname O'Brian. In later life Obregón used to joke that he had so many older brothers and sisters that when the family ate Gruyère cheese only the holes were left for him.

Obregón did not take part in politics when he was young and stayed away from the clashes during the Mexican Revolution. He spent this time working on the family farm and was said to have learned the Mayan language during this period, although some biographers claim that he could only speak a few words. He developed skills including carpentry and photography.

In 1911 Álvaro Obregón entered politics, being elected mayor of Huatabampo. He was a supporter of the then president, Francisco Madero, who was facing four separate revolts. Madero was captured and executed by two of the rebel leaders, Félix Díaz, nephew of a former longtime president, and General Victoriano Huerta.

Huerta was an unpopular president, and Obregón joined a revolt led by Venustiano Carranza, which overthrew him. With Carranza in power, there were also clashes between the new government's forces and those of Pancho Villa. Obregón, aided by General Benjamin Hill, led the federal troops on April 6–7, 1915, when they defeated Villa's men.

In a battle that lasted from April 29 to June 5, Obregón again defeated Villa but lost his right arm to a grenade. On July 10 in the next engagement of what became collectively known as the Battle of Celaya, Obregón's men prevailed again.

Obregón had hoped to succeed Carranza when the presidency became vacant in 1920 and was angered when Carranza named Ignacio Bonillas as his successor. This caused Obregón to plan a military revolt to put himself into power.

Carranza was deposed and killed in May 1920 and was replaced by Adolfo de la Huerta, who was provisional president until elections could be held. After the elections, which Obregón won, de la Huerta stepped down, and Obregón became president of Mexico.

De la Huerta had done much to reduce the fighting in the country, and most of the country was, for the first time in many years, at peace. This situation allowed for more money to be spent on education than on defense. When rebellions did break out, they were quickly crushed, and their leaders were killed.

Although the four years of Obregón's presidency saw further land and agrarian reforms and moves to reduce the power of the Roman Catholic Church, Obregón changed Carranza's hostile approach to the United States to one of establishing better trade and diplomatic relations.

When he became president, the U.S. government did not extend recognition to his regime. This initial problem was made worse by the death of a U.S. citizen, Rosalie Evans, who was killed defending her farm from the governor of Puebla, JoséMaría Sánchez.

In summer 1923, talks began between Mexican and U.S. representatives and led to the Bucareli Accords, by which the Mexican government rolled back some of the measures that had been introduced by the revolutionaries. Some senators denounced it as going back on fundamental promises made by current and previous administrations.

In heated debate the accords were denounced in both the Mexican senate and the chamber of deputies. However, in September 1923 the U.S. government formally recognized Obregón as president of Mexico. Trade increased quickly, especially with the improved sale of Mexican petroleum to the United States.

Obregón's main reason for overthrowing Carranza had been the latter's choice of an heir apparent. This was also going to cause Obregón trouble. He chose Plutarco Calles as his successor, but Adolfo de la Huerta contested this, leading a revolt in December 1923.

With U.S. support for his government, Obregón prevented guns from being sold to the rebels, and the rebellion fizzled out, but not before they had killed one of Obregón's allies, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, the governor of Yucatán. Obregón was able to step down as president on November 20, 1924, and then returned to Sonora.

Calles became the next president, and in 1926 there was a change in the constitution to allow presidents to serve nonconsecutive terms. Obregón decided that he would like to contest the next election. In November 1927 Segura Vilchis, a Roman Catholic engineer, threw a bomb at Obregón's car at Chapultepec Park in Mexico City.

Obregón survived, but Vilchis and some accomplices were executed a few days later. In 1928 Obregón contested the presidential elections again— he was the only candidate—and won, although he was in bad health.

Returning to Mexico City to celebrate his victory, he survived an assassination attempt, but on July 17, 1928, at the La Bombilla restaurant in the capital, he was assassinated by José de León Toral, a Catholic seminary student who opposed the anticlerical policies of Obregón. He was arrested, tried, and subsequently executed.

Oil Industry in the Middle East

Oil Industry in the Middle East
Oil Industry in the Middle East

During the 20th century oil became a major revenue source for a number of Middle Eastern nations. The first petroleum concession was signed between the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC) and the Qajar shah of Iran in 1901.

An Australian, William Knox D'Arcy, negotiated the contract, whereby the shah and the grand vizier received 50,000 shares as a gift. The government was to receive 16 percent of the profits after costs were subtracted.

The contract was to last for 60 years, the company was to pay no taxes, and the prospecting covered 500,000 square miles, or five-sixths, of Iran. The British government owned half of Anglo-Iranian Oil, Burmah Oil owned 22 percent, and the rest was owned by a combination of investors.

The company justified the extremely favorable terms on the grounds that at the time, prospecting for oil was extremely risky and capital intensive. Dozens of wells might be drilled at great expense before oil was found. Reza Shah managed to obtain better terms after he revoked the first concession in 1932.

The first contract set the pattern for future ones in the region for the next half century. The petroleum industry was a vertical and horizontal monopoly. Western companies controlled the prospecting, sources, transport, refining, and sale of oil. Seven major corporations, or the so-called "seven sisters," eventually dominated the industry.

These were Standard Oil of New Jersey (founded by John Rockefeller), Royal Dutch Shell, British Petroleum, Gulf, Socony-Mobil, Texaco, and Standard Oil of California. Compagnie Française des Petroles (CFP) and an Italian company were smaller firms. Many of these companies had overlapping ownerships and directors.

Middle East governments were too weak, lacked the technology to develop the industry themselves, and willingly granted concessions giving Western companies control over their vital natural resource. With no private ownership of oil fields in the Middle East, revenues from oil went directly to the governments to be spent as each deemed appropriate.

Oil refinery in Saudi Arabia

Because the oil was purchased primarily in Western nations for industrial, military, and transport use, the resource did not generate many jobs or secondary industries in the Middle East, unlike, for example, the automotive industry in the West, which created numerous secondary industries.

The second major concession in the Middle East was signed between Iraq and a consortium of Western companies. Calouste Gulbenkian negotiated the contract in exchange for 5 percent of the shares. As a result of this deal, Gulbenkian was dubbed "Mr. Five Percent" and became one of the richest men in the world at the time.

Ownership of the company was apportioned as follows: 25 percent D'Arcy, comprising Burmah and the British government and that became known as British Petroleum (BP); 25 percent CFP, of which the French government owned 40 percent; 25 percent Royal Dutch Shell, comprising British and Dutch interests; and 25 percent U.S. gas, including Standard Oil of New Jersey and Socony Mobil.

These firms divided payment of the 5 percent for Gulbenkian evenly among themselves. The contract covered all of Iraq for 75 years, allowed for no taxation of the companies, and established a set payment amount per ton. Revenues to oil-producing nations did not increase with prices that were set by the oil companies.

A New Zealander, Frank Holmes, obtained the concession in Bahrain in 1925, and U.S. companies bought into that concession. Holmes also negotiated with Kuwait for a concession there, but production in Kuwait did not begin until 1945.

Standard Oil of California initiated negotiations with King Abd al-Aziz Ibn Saud in Saudi Arabia and obtained a concession there in 1933 under the California Arabian Standard Oil Company that was to pay the Saudi Arabian government a set amount in gold sovereigns.

During the Great Depression the payment was renegotiated for dollars or sterling. During the 1940s additional investments by U.S. oil firms were made, and the company became the Arabian-American Oil Company (ARAMCO).

Ownership of ARAMCO was divided among Standard Oil of California (30 percent), Texaco (30 percent), Standard Oil of New York (30 percent), and Socony Mobil (10 percent). With assistance from the U.S. government, ARAMCO built a refinery and extensive facilities for the company and its employees in Ras Tanura.

ARAMCO agreed to a 50-50 split with Saudi Arabia rather than paying the 50 percent corporate taxes in the United States in 1950. Other companies, which did not enjoy the same tax benefits from their nations, were reluctantly forced to follow suit.

By 1950 Middle East oil holdings were apportioned along the following lines: AIOC in Iran, Iraq, Mosul, Basra Petroleum companies (IPC) in Iraq, ARAMCO in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait Oil Company in Kuwait, Bahrain Petroleum Company in Bahrain, and Petroleum Development Ltd. (IPC) in Qatar.

However, oil production and revenues in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states did not begin to soar until the 1960s and 1970s as demand from industrialized Western nations and Japan steadily escalated.

Olympic Games

Olympic Games
Olympic Games
The original Olympic Games were played in Olympia, Greece, from the eighth or ninth century b.c.e. to 393 c.e. The Renaissance's renewed interest in things classical inspired occasional small-scale multievent sporting festivals in various European cities throughout the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, but the real revival of the Olympic Games themselves began when the site of Olympia was excavated in 1829.

When the French lost the Franco-Prussian War in 1871, historian Baron Pierre de Coubertin proposed that a revival of the games, a truly international competition would not only encourage international camaraderie, it would renew interest in athleticism among French youths, restoring physical competence to a generation. Coubertin and Demetrius Vikelas, a Greek businessman, founded the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to organize a modern Olympics Games.

Unlike the ancient games, the modern Olympics were held at a different site every four years, beginning in Athens in 1896. Athens had been the site of a number of local games held in honor of the ancient Olympics, and there is some dispute today over whether the founder of those games, Evangelis Zappas, should be considered the founder of the modern Olympics.

But it was not until the IOC's games that participation became international and widespread; 14 countries competed in 43 events in 10 days, the greatest variety of participating athletes of any sporting event to that date. Greece and the United States won the majority of events.

The games struggled to catch on, hampered by the competing popularity of the World's Fair and the difficulty transatlantic journeys posed. In the 1908 games in London, the modern length of the marathon was established as 26 miles and 385 yards; the highlight of the 1912 Stockholm games was the participation of Jim Thorpe, a famous all-around athlete.

Baron Pierre de Coubertin
Baron Pierre de Coubertin

In 1924, the first winter Olympics were held as an event separate from the summer games, though the 1924 event was not designated as such until after the fact. The first winter games announced as such were the 1928 games in St. Moritz, where 25 countries competed in 14 events.

The 1936 summer games are perhaps the single most famous Olympics Games; they were held in Berlin at the peak of Nazism's popularity before the invasion of Poland and World War II. Filmmaker and Nazi propagandist Leni Riefenstahl used technically advanced techniques to film Olympia, her chronicle of the games as commissioned by Adolf Hitler.

Intended to demonstrate the athletic superiority of Aryans over non-Aryans, the movie instead recorded a significant number of non-Aryan victories, including those of African-American Jesse Owens, who won the gold medal in the 100-meter run, 200-meter run, and long jump and as part of the 4x100 meter relay team.

First Olympic Games
First Olympic Games

Despite the Nazi position on his race, Owens was treated as a hero and celebrity in Berlin as much as in any other city, perhaps demonstrating a disconnect between the ruling ideology and the feelings of the people.