1950s |

The Suez Crisis Begins – 10/29/1956

Although war is never a good thing, sometimes leaders feel it is necessary to defend their country’s interest or retaliation for a severe action. Thus, armed forces from Israel head toward the Suez Canal which begins the Suez Crisis. This would lead to British and French forces joining Israel and start in the Middle East a Severe Cold War problem.

The event that led to the joined forces attacking Egypt was due to the nationalization of the Suez Canal. This happened during July of 1956 and was ordered by the Egyptian leader General Gamal Abdel Nasser. Actually, this should not have been a surprise as trouble had been brewing in the area for a couple of years. Going back two years, the British were beginning to be pressured by Egyptian Military to remove their military forces from the Canal Zone since the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty gave permission to do this. 

During this time, the Egyptian leader also was having his armed forces perform on and off battles with soldiers from Israel along the two nation’s border.

Another thing about Nasser was his visible hatred toward the Zionist nation and showed no signs of his feelings changing. So, being that he was receiving money and arms from the Soviet Union and extremely angry with the U.S. for going back on their promise of providing the means to complete the building of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River; the Egyptian leader instructed his forces to take control and nationalize the Suez Canal. This move angered the British in which they decided to enlist the support of France (they believed the General was giving support in Algeria in rebels living in the French colony), and Israel (since they needed little reason to fight an enemy on their boarder), in a joint venture to retake the canal.

While Israel started first, it was followed by the sudden realization that French and British forces did not follow through with their support right away. The quick strike from a massive force was replaced with a reduced attack that eventually stalled. The United Nations voted on a resolution calling for an end to the hostilities.

Things began to get worse as the Soviet Union was starting to issue ominous warnings regarding giving aid to Egypt. Now, a dire situation was escalating quickly as Eisenhower’s administration had hoped it would quiet down before causing a U.S.-Soviet confrontation. While the United States seriously warned the Soviet’s from entering this conflict, equal amount of pressure was coming from the U.S. to have Israel, French and British remove their forces from the area. Eventually, their forces were removed in late 1956 and early 1957.

Share On Facebook

Mark Hinderberg


Retired History Professor at Vanderbilt University. Love taking a portal through time and sharing my knowledge with anyone else who loves reading about history. It is my passion and my greatest hobby.