A wolfram in sheep's clothing: Economic warfare in Spain, 1940-1944

Leonard Caruana, Hugh Rockoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


During World War II the United States attempted to prevent Germany from acquiring wolfram (tungsten ore) in Spain by buying it in the open market. Preemptive buying forced the Germans to pay more for and to consume less tungsten, a material crucial for the production of machine tools and armor-piercing shells. The income provided an important incentive for Spain to remain neutral. The naval blockade and the relatively low elasticity of the supply of wolfram contributed to the success of the wolfram-buying campaign.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-126
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Economic History
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • History
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)


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