In 1910 the British journalist Norman Angell published a book called “The Great Illusion”. It’s thesis was that the integration of the European economy, and by implication the global economy too, had become so all-embracing and irreversible that future wars were all but impossible. The book perfectly captured the zeitgeist of its time and fast became a best seller.
I can’t point to a source for what follows but I’ve been told it often enough that I’m sure it’s true.
You pretty much always find a little bit of tungsten in tin ores. And a bit of tin in tungsten ores. And back a century tungsten was really only used for light bulbs and the military.
The centre of the world’s tungsten industry was the German/Czech border. Cornwall was very important for tin. No one bothered to extract the tungsten from the Cornish tin: it sat there in the slags. Until, in the 1905-1912 period, the Germans/Czechs bought all the slags up and shipped them off to be processed for the tungsten.
Excellent free trade, division of labour and specialisation in action. As Angell says.
But that tungsten was then used to build the military that refuted the thesis……