1956 Suez Canal Crisis


The Suez Crisis was an invasion of Egypt in late 1956 by Israel, the United Kingdom, and France. They wanted to re-establish Western control of the Suez Canal and remove Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser from power. The United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations forced the three countries to withdraw from Egypt.

The invasion was poorly planned. US President Eisenhower persuaded the United Kingdom and France to retreat. This outcome was an international embarrassment for the them. It also emboldened the USSR and Egypt.

As a result of the conflict, the United Nations created the UNEF Peacekeepers to police the Egyptian–Israeli border. The British Prime Minister resigned.

The Suez Crisis in the Context of the Cold War

The Middle East, the region directly south of the Soviet Union, was an area of importance during the Cold War. The area is rich in oil reserves of oil. The United States and the USSR had already tried to win influence in many of the region’s nations.

During the crisis, the Americans needed to act quietly in order to avoid embarrassing their allies. The Eastern Bloc nations made public threats against the “imperialists” and claimed themselves to be the defenders of the Third World.

The Suez stalemate was a turning point in the ever-widening rift between the Atlantic Cold War allies, whose unity than in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War was now unraveling. Italy, France, Spain, West Germany, Norway, Canada, and Britain developed their own nuclear forces and a Common Market to lessen their dependence on the United States. American economic competitiveness declined as the industrial bases of Japan and West Germany recovered from the destruction of World War II. In contrast to the Atlantic allies, the Warsaw Pact countries were closely allied both militarily and economically. All Warsaw Pact nations had nuclear weapons and supplied each other with weapons, supplies, and economic aid.

Source: 1956 Suez Canal Crisis
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