The Suez Crisis 1957

by Peter Bock-Schroeder (1913 - 2001)

The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez Canal Crisis, Suez War, or Second Arab-Israeli War was a diplomatic and military confrontation in late 1956 between Egypt on one side, and Britain, France and Israel on the other, with the United States, the Soviet Union, and the United Nations playing major roles in forcing Britain, France and Israel to withdraw.

The attack followed the President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser's decision of 26 July 1956 to nationalize the Suez Canal, after the withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam, which was in response to Egypt's new ties with the Soviet Union and recognizing the People's Republic of China during the height of tensions between China and Taiwan. The aims of the attack were primarily to regain Western control of the canal and to remove Nasser from power, and the crisis highlighted the danger that Arab nationalism posed to Western access to Middle East oil.

Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel, and then began to bomb Cairo. Despite the denials of the Israeli, British, and French governments, allegations began to emerge that the invasion of Egypt had been planned beforehand by the three powers. Anglo-French forces withdrew before the end of the year, but Israeli forces remained until March 1957, prolonging the crisis. In April, the canal was fully reopened to shipping, but other repercussions followed.

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