A must read.
The strategic importance of diamonds became acutely clear to both the Allies and Axis powers with the approach of the Second World War in 1939. Only diamonds were hard enough to stamp out the millions of precision parts that were necessary for mass-producing airplane engines, torpedoes, tanks, artillery and the other weapons of war. Only diamonds could be used to draw the fine wire needed for radar and the electronics of war. Only diamonds could provide the jeweled bearings necessary for the stabilizers, gyroscopes and guidance systems for submarines and planes. Only diamonds could provide the abrasives necessary for rapidly converting civilian industries into a war machine. Without a continuing supply of diamonds, the war machine would rapidly slow to a halt. Yet, nearly all the diamond mines remained closed, and De Beers controlled the world supply of diamonds. Obtaining these industrial diamonds thus became a paramount objective for both the United States and Hitler’s Germany. Read full chapter.