The world's largest IPO

The world's largest IPO

In 1912, long before he was prime minister, Winston Churchill made perhaps his most far-reaching contribution to world history. As first lord of the admiralty, he successfully argued that Britain's continuing naval power could only be assured if its ships would switch from coal to oil. Securing access to oil, particularly the huge reservoirs newly uncovered in the Middle East, would allow Britain to "raise the whole power and efficiency of the navy to a definitely higher level; better ships, better crews, higher economies, more intense forms of war power", was how Churchill described it. "Mastery itself was the prize of the venture."

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