The 1956 Suez Crisis : British reaction to United States policy
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In late October 1956 Israel crossed into Egyptian territory and the security of the Suez Canal became the world's concern. Forty-eight different nations had utilized the Canal during the previous year when more than one hundred million shipping tons were transitted. The Canal's location in the Middle East compounds the problem of security, for the Middle East combines many rivalries that could possibly effect the operation of the Canal: Arabs, Israeli, pro-Western, and Communist groups continually vie to promote their respective causes, A Middle East confrontation quickly ignites several factions and some of the strangest ad hoc agreements develop as each tries to protect his interests. One critic termed the 1956 flare-up the "most inexcusable, ill-explained crisis of the mid-Twentieth Century," From a Western standpoint the Suez Crisis raised some fundamental questions in post world war problem solving. The crisis was ill-explained, not because historians were unable to reconstruct the events, but rather because the crisis educed reactions, which in retrospect, appear irrational and inexcusable. The breakdown in dialogue between the wartime allies, Great Britain and the United States, was a major divergence in Western relations. Neither country doubted the significance of the Atlantic Alliance during the two world wars, but suddenly, a small country nationalist, Colonel Abdel Nasser, challenged the strength of this relationship. The focus of this work is the American influence upon British policy during the crisis. Prime Minister Anthony Eden premised his policy upon United States support; this contingency became increasingly imperative as negotiations lingered. In the end the rift between the two Governments cost the Prime Minister his position. To the writer, who is now serving in the armed services, Americans have failed to learn the lessons of the crisis in their own global policies.
Thesis, BPhil Bachelor of Philosophy
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