David S. Painter and Gregory BrewJan 28, 2023
The Struggle for Iran
Oil, Autocracy, and the Cold War, 1951-1954
University of North Carolina Press 2023
Beginning with the nationalization of the Iranian oil industry in spring 1951 and ending with its reversal following the overthrow of Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq in August 1953, the Iranian oil crisis was a crucial turning point in the global Cold War. The nationalization challenged Great Britain's preeminence in the Middle East and threatened Western oil concessions everywhere. Fearing the loss of Iran and possibly the entire Middle East and its oil to communist control, the United States and Great Britain played a key role in the ouster of Mosaddeq, a constitutional nationalist opposed to communism and Western imperialism. U.S. intervention helped entrench monarchical power, and the reversal of Iran's nationalization confirmed the dominance of Western corporations over the resources of the Global South for the next twenty years.
Drawing on years of research in American, British, and Iranian sources, David S. Painter and Gregory Brew provide a concise and accessible account of Cold War competition, Anglo-American imperialism, covert intervention, the political economy of global oil, and Iran's struggle against autocratic government. The Struggle for Iran: Oil, Autocracy, and the Cold War, 1951-1954 (UNC Press, 2023) dispels myths and misconceptions that have hindered understanding this pivotal chapter in the history of the post–World War II world.
Grant Golub is an Ernest May Fellow in History and Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and a PhD candidate in U.S. and international history at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). His research examines the politics of American grand strategy during World War II. Follow him on Twitter @ghgolub.