Suez Crisis 1956 - End of Empire and the Reshaping of the Middle East
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
A fast-paced short history that moves between London, Washington, and Cairo to reveal the crisis that brought down a prime minister.
Includes photos, a timeline, and a special afterword examining the parallels with the 2003 Iraq war
In 1956, Egyptian president Gamal Abdul Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal, ending nearly a century of British and French control over the crucial waterway. Ignoring U.S. diplomatic efforts and fears of a looming Cold War conflict, British Prime Minister Anthony Eden misled Parliament and the press to take Britain to war alongside France and Israel. In response to a secretly planned Israeli attack in the Sinai, France and Britain intervened as “peacemakers.”
The invasion of Egypt was supposed to restore British and French control of the canal and reaffirm Britain’s flagging prestige. Instead, the operation spectacularly backfired, setting Britain and the United States on a collision course that would change the balance of power in the Middle East. The combined air, sea, and land battle witnessed the first helicopter-borne deployment of assault troops and the last large-scale parachute drop into a conflict zone by British forces. French and British soldiers fought together against the Soviet-equipped Egyptian military in a short campaign that cost the lives of thousands of soldiers—along with innocent civilians. This book, by a prominent historian specializing in the Middle East, tells the story.