Suez Crisis

The Suez Canal
Built in 1869, as an
British and French
artificial waterway
owned canal;
allowing easier
wanted protection
trade and travel
of this strategic
between Europe
waterway, since
and Middle East
trade and travel via
(connects Red Sea
the canal brought
to Mediterranean
much of the
world's oil was
through this canal
Aswan Dam Project
Nasser wanted to
improve economy
by investing effort
into this dam
(dam would create
jobs and thus
stimulate the
However the
United States
stopped its funding
for the Aswan Dam
In response to this,
on July 26, 1956;
commanded the
Egyptian army to
nationalize the
Suez Canal (make
canal the
Aswan Dam Project
• Nasser angered by the British halting its
funding for the Dam; retaliated by declaring
the nationalization of the Suez Canal (which
was initially British and French owned)
- leaders of Middle East, who were
overjoyed that Western control of this
important gateway had ceased. To them it was
the symbol of a new era and an end to foreign
Suez Canal was
important access to
the sea for Israel
Egyptian control of
Limited Israel’s use
of the waterway +
The Suez Crisis 1956
• Great Britain and France asked Israeli to help
for reoccupation of the canal; the three
responded to the Egyptian nationalization of
the Suez Canal by invading the Sinai Peninsula.
Operation Kadesh
Operation Kadesh
• Consisted of 4 military objectives:
1) Sharm el-Sheikh: capturing the town = Israel
have access to the Red Sea & allow it to restore
the trade benefits of secure passage to Indian
2) Arish & Abu Uwayulah: important places for
soldiers and centres of command and control of
Egyptian Army in Sina
3) Gaza Strip was a place where Egypt troops
could launch attacks on Israeli troops; wanted to
take over so Egypt could not attack
Operation Kadesh
• The Royal Navy of Britain owned powerful warships and aircraft and
established long-range bombers
• French owned the battle tank AMX-13 (lightly-armoured & fast)
• Israel Defense Forces used weapons from France including AMX-13;
Israel Navy also used torpedo boats, destroyers and etc.
• Egypt had many fighters, bombers, self-propelled guns and rifles
• Ultimately to push back Egyptian troops and allow for British,
French and Israeli advancement
• Result: was not successful due to UN intervention
The Conclusion of the Suez Crisis
On October 29, 1956, Israeli forces attacked Egypt and started the second Arab-Israeli war.
This was a part of a plan between France, Britain and Israel to occupy the Suez Canal and
remove Nasser from power.
Israel captured most of Gaza and were close to the canal within a day.
Britain and France issued an ultimatum asking both parties to withdraw. However Egypt
refused and appealed to the UN.
UK and France would invade Egypt. They would be condemned throughout the world for
their actions in Egypt.
However they continued their attacks on Egypt and dominated the Egyptian forces.
At the UN a call for an end to hostilities was raised however France and Britain both vetoed
the motion.
However on November 2nd the UN General Assembly met, for the first time, in an emergency
session and passed an American resolution calling for a ceasefire.
PM Eden stalled in his decision, which allowed for almost another week of fighting with the
Western forces capturing Port Said and taking control of the Suez Canal.
However, due to condemnation by various countries, criticisms from foreign figures as well as
from the British and a lack of confidence from the British populace lead to PM Eden calling a
ceasefire that would be the end to the conflict.
Lester B. Pearson
Was the Canadian foreign minister during the events of the crisis.
Proposed the first UN peace keeping force.
Initially his idea was to use the invading British and French forces as actual peace
keepers however his idea is met with harsh criticism and anger from the US. So
Pearson changes his idea to using a UN force without any invading forces within
the UN force.
While his role was limited during the Security Council’s discussions (Canada lacked
a permanent seat), he was able to argue his ideas once the debate was moved to
the General Assembly.
On November 4th, 1956, the General Assembly supported Pearson’s proposal for
the first peace keeping force.
The United Nations Emergency Forces arrived in Egypt within two weeks. The
UNEF helped to maintain peace and order as British and French forces left by the
end of 1956 and helped to facilitate the evacuation of Israeli forces having all
Israeli forces withdrawn by the spring of 1957.
The peacekeeping effort was extremely successful and Pearson won the Nobel
Peace Prize for his efforts.
The United Nations
• The UN responded to the crisis when actual conflict started
with the invasion of Egypt. The UN condemned the actions
of France and Britain and the members of the Security
Council proposed an end to hostilities. However this was
vetoed by France and Britain.
• The discussion of the crisis was eventually moved to the
General Assembly where a resolution was passed for cease
• Also a proposal by Pearson for a peace keeping force was
supported and the UN sent a force of 6000 soldiers to Egypt
on the first peace keeping mission.
• This was one of the UN’s early successes and easily the
greatest success it had until that point.
United States
• The US were totally against the actions taken
by Britain and France. The US pressured the
UN to take action and pressured the Western
forces to withdraw from Egypt.
• The US held up oil supplies to Europe.
• They also proved support for the UNEF.
UK and France after the War
• Eden’s actions during the crisis would lead to
his resignation in the aftermath. Britain would
lose it’s status as a superpower.
• The French government was humiliated and
the French Fourth Republic would collapse the
next year.
• The failure of the British and the French
encouraged nationalism in former colonies.
USSR after the War
• The Soviet Union did not participate in the
Suez Crisis as they decided to deal with the
Hungarians while the world was preoccupied
with the middle east.
• However after the crisis the USSR agreed to
fund the building of the Aswan Dam. This had
a positive impact on USSR-Egypt relations and
their influence in the Middle-East.
Israel and Egypt after the War
• While Israel had the military might to defeat Egyptian
forces and take over Gaza and most of Sinai, they were
forced to forfeit their gains.
• They were given a guarantee that passage through the
Straits of Tiran would be open to them.
• Israel would also seek the support of the US after the crisis
as well as better relations.
• After the crisis, Egypt came out as a clear winner. They
emerged with control over the Suez Canal as well as
support to build the Aswan Dam.
• Furthermore Nasser was seen by the Arab people as a
savior and a great leader. He would lead Egypt until his
death in 1970.
Stability after the War
After the crisis Egypt was left in a position where it could exist without the
harassment of the western powers of Britain and France, the two countries being
The Suez Canal was under Egyptian ownership and there was no more need for
conflict over the canal.
Thus the situation over the Suez Canal was effectively dealt with and had a stable
However the fighting over the canal formed the groundwork for continued conflict
between Israel and Egypt which would result in the Six Day Wars.
Tensions between the Israelites and the Arabs were not dealt with in the after
math of the crisis and no peace treaty was drawn up for the two countries.
Also, after the crisis, the Eisenhower Doctrine was drawn up which detailed that a
country could request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military
forces if it was being threatened by armed aggression from another state.
Eisenhower singled out the Soviet threat in his doctrine by authorizing the
commitment of U.S. forces "to secure and protect the territorial integrity and
political independence of such nations, requesting such aid against overt armed
aggression from any nation controlled by international communism."
Political Cartoon III
• Cannon, Martin. 20th Century World History:
Course Companion. Oxford: Oxford UP,
2009. Print.
• United States. Eisenhower Doctrine.
Department of State. N.p., n.d. Web. 22
Feb. 2013.
n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2013.
Political Cartoon II
Political Cartoon I
Chicago Daily
News from 1922 to
1952 by
(this cartoon-1957)
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