The Suez Crisis?

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by Ferdinand Foch, Sep 22, 2012.

  1. Ferdinand Foch

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    Hi everyone. I hope your all doing well. I've been thinking a little bit on the Suez Crisis, and how it known as the last big event of the
    British Empire. I want to get people's opinion's on it on how and why the British Government under PM Anthony Eden failed. I had a professor
    say that the US called its debt on the UK, and that was the reason for it. Anybody have any thoughts on the matter.
     
  2. steve51

    steve51 Member

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    This war was interesting to those of us that love little discussed air wars. The aerial operations involved a wide variety of early jets and advanced piston aircraft. For those that are interested, I recommend " Wings Over Suez " by Brian Cull.
     
  3. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    President Eisenhower was taken aback by the actions of the French and Brits. he believed they misled him and forced him into a position that he didnt want to be in. Support our allies, or maintain his rhetoric against the Soviets.

    I think the brits and french were very slow to grasp the new realities of the post war era. Their status as major powers was over. And decolonization was accelerating.
     
  4. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    France,Britain and Israel.

    Steve
     
  5. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    France and Britain were the main actors. Without them, Israel does nothing.
     
  6. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    No. The other way around.
    Israel presented Britain and France with a "casus belli". This had been set up at meetings towards the end of September. Israel would move first,invading Egypt. France and Britain would then follow,ostensibly as peacekeepers to seperate the two sides and guarantee the free passage of shipping through the canal. It was a cover story that noone,not even the three colluding powers really believed could be maintained. It was however a scheme that Eden jumped at.
    Without Israel and the secret tripartite agreement of Sevres the whole sorry mess would not have happened in the way that it did.

    My father flew a helicopter from HMS Theseus,delivering Royal Marine Commandos to Port Said for the assault. He never forgave the government of the day.

    Steve
     
  7. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    Interesting stuff guys! Keep it up...please!
     
  8. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    I agree.

    1950s Israel cared nothing for the Suez Canal. Britain and France were driving this train.
     
  9. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    You've got to be joking.

    Yes,Britain and France were driving the train but in the 1950s you couldn't drive a train without a guard in the guard's van and that is how I would extend your analogy.

    The agreement sealed at Sevres and cooked up over September and October was a tripartite agreement. All three nations were involved at every stage. Why do you imagine Israel,who according to you had no interest in the Suez canal (or Sinai?) got involved?
    The Suez canal,or rather control of it,has been a major strategic objective of various powers since the day it opened. Israel's carrot was not specifically the canal,though Anglo-French control was perceived to be preferrable to Egyptian control, but wider strategic advantages.
    Had things worked out the way the three of them hoped Israel would not have withdrawn from the Sinai peninsula and would probably still be there today. She would control the Gulf of Suez and,on the other side,the Straits of Tiran. The Gaza Strip isn't really a strip anymore and doesn't border Egypt. A very different Middle East.
    Steve
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That's an entirely different matter. Anglo-French control of the Suez would make it difficult for Egypt to launch an offensive from the Sinai into Israel. Hence the reason Israel was willing to cooperate with the Anglo-French invasion.
     
  11. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Yes,but this was a tripartite operation. It would have been impossible for Israel to go it alone but also very difficult for the Anglo-French operation to procede without Israel.

    The French felt let down by the British when an end was called on the 7th of November and humiliated by the Americans. The French rightly assumed that the UK would put its relationship with the US before any European alliances and could not be trusted. This shaped Europe and NATO in subsequent years. France turned to Germany and what was to eventually become the European Union. She managed to keep the UK out until 1973.
    France would also develop her own independent nuclear deterrent and keep it out of NATO and US control by leaving NATO's integrated military structure in 1966. Noone except France would be in control of France's forces again. At the time of Suez they had been under British command.

    From relatively small ripples big waves are generated.

    Steve
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    We began paying a price for that humiliation almost immediately.
    Jupiter - United States Nuclear Forces
    Installing American IRBMs in Turkey (i.e. within spitting distance of Ukraine) prompted the Soviet Union to install IRBMs in Cuba which brought us to the brink of nuclear war.
     
  13. Ferdinand Foch

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    Thank you for the information, everybody! It's very informative! I was asking because my professor was saying that the same thing could happen to the US, in one possible future. I figured it was a good idea to get some background information, first-hehe no deliberate attempt at starting anything political. :)
     
  14. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    It's happened in a minor way over Vietnam. Britain's Labour Government refused to commit troops to the war. Johnson famously even took Prime Minister Harold Wilson for a walk in the Rose Garden and pressed him to send the "Black Watch to Vietnam; even a few pipers would be better than nothing.”

    No British troops went and the USA's vindictive economic response reduced the relationship between the two countries to its lowest post war level.

    Wilson's devaluation speech to the nation still makes interesting listening now.

    Steve
     
  15. Clave

    Clave Well-Known Member

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    I was born on the 4th of July - no, not really, but I was born in June 1956, and my dad was in the RAF, so did get involved over there. I thik he was ground crew electrical/electronic on Canberras at the time...
     
  16. Capt. Vick

    Capt. Vick Well-Known Member

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    From what little I've read, I think Stona (Steve) has it right.
     
  17. parsifal

    parsifal Well-Known Member

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    #17 parsifal, Oct 7, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
    Israel led the assault on Egypt, and it was they that initiate4d the actions against the Egyptians, Howewver it was the direct actions by the Americans that led nasser to take the unilateral action that he did.

    In 1956, the Suez Canal became the focus of a major world conflict. The canal represented the only direct means of travel from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean, making it vital to the flow of trade between Asia, the Middle East, Europe, Australasia and the U.S. Normally, free passage was granted to all who used the canal, but Britain and France desired control of it, not only for commercial shipping, but also for colonial interests. The Egyptian government had just been taken over by Gamal Abdel Nasser, who felt the canal should be under Egyptian control. The United States and Britain had promised to give aid to Egypt in the construction of the Aswan Dam in the Nile. This aid was retracted however, and in retaliation Nasser nationalized the canal. He intended to use the funds raised from the operation of the canal to pay for the Dam. This was an unnacceptable impost on free trade (though free paassage through the canal was something that has never returned dince 1956) and the eventual outcome was to have major impacts in the terms of trade between Europe and the Far East. The outcomes of the Suez crisis was to spell the end of both colonialism and paradoxically also free trade with the far east. Perhaps both went hand in hand with each other. In any event, the Suez crisis marked the closure of this vital transport link for more than 20 years. For countries like Australia and NZ, this meant our agricultural produce was no longer viable as a trade item in Europe. It marked a definite point of departure of these former colonies from their traditional markets. In the case of Australia we replaced European markets with East Asian markets, and really have not mourned that change at all, at least eventually.....

    Returning to the events of 1956....angry at British and French politicians joined forces with Israel (who led the charge for security reasons mostly) , a long time enemy of Egypt, in an attack against Nasser. The Israeli army marched toward the canal on October 29, 1956. Britain and France reinforced the Israelis, and the joint effort defeated the Egyptian army quickly. Within ten days, British and French forces had completely occupied the Suez region. Egypt responded by sinking 40 ships in the canal, blocking all passage (and these wrecks remained in place for many years after the event). The United Nations sought to resolve the conflict and pressured the two European powers to back down. The rest of the world shunned Britain and France for their actions in the crisis, and soon the UN salvage team moved in to clear the canal (but what is not often reported is that the task remained incomplete) . Britain and France were forced to back down, and control of the canal was given back to Egypt in March 1957. The Egyptian government was allowed to maintain control of the canal as long as they permitted all vessels of all nations free passage through it. They circumvented this undertaking by simply leaving the wrecks they had sunk in the canal, thereby denying access to international trade. 20 years, and three wars later, and this situation still remained unresoloved.
     
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