Daniel Halliday
Mar 27 · Last update 2 mo. ago.
Why was the Suez Crisis so significant?
The Suez Canal Crisis or Second Arab-Israeli War was a joint effort to take control of the Suez Canal away from Egypt following Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassers efforts to nationalise it in 1956. But this war had further reaching consequences than just the Canal itself. What happened during the Suez Crisis and why is it significant?
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The sowing of Israel and Palestine’s relationship
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The entering of the United States into Middle Eastern politics
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Laid the foundation for post-colonial exploitation
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End of Britain as a superpower
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The sowing of Israel and Palestine’s relationship

Israel was the real winner coming out of the Suez Crisis with territorial gains, renewed shipping rights and a gain in military confidence, as Britain, France and Egypt all lost out. Being in its infancy as a state, Israel was somewhat spared the level of embarrassment coming out of the crisis when compared to the once great colonial powers of Britain and France, and had obviously been emboldened both militarily and economically. Likewise the Crisis had not been a military victory for Egypt, having been stopped by international pressure; however President Nassar painted it as his victory over colonialism and Zionism, solidifying his popularity as a pan-Arab figurehead, which fed into the first stirring of social unrest in Palestine. Subsequently Israel’s growing military confidence and mounting Palestinian rebellion has directly led to the current situation in this region and was arguably heavily influenced by the outcome of the Suez Crisis.

nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/how-suez-crisis-was-win-israel-and-major-defeat-britain-and-france-33316?page=0%2C2

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The entering of the United States into Middle Eastern politics

The real significance of the Suez Crisis is that it paved the way for heavy US involvement in the Middle East for decades to come following the creation of the Eisenhower Doctrine. The United States president Dwight Eisenhower saw the Suez Crisis as creating a power vacuum in the Middle East with the loss of influence of Great Britain and France, and the gaining influence and popularity of Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nassar led Eisenhower to fear a growing pan-Arab sentiment across the region. Eisenhower feared nationalism and communism could spread throughout the Middle East so offered United States economic aid and military assistance to any state that was being threatened by another state. This outlook on Middle Eastern foreign policy has changed little in the coming decades and has arguably led to the current US-dominated political landscape in the region.

history.state.gov/milestones/1953-1960/eisenhower-doctrine

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Laid the foundation for post-colonial exploitation

Following UK Prime Minister Anthony Eden’s terrible handling of the Suez Crisis and his subsequent resignation, his sucessor as prime minister, Harold Macmillan, accelerated the process of decolonisation. This speedy undoing of hundreds of year of colonial rule without fully supporting or aiding these countries to industrialise or to establish strong governments led to the subsequent destabilisation of much of the continent, and its propensity to fall under military coups and dictatorships over the next few decades. Furthermore not aiding the development of these former colonial regions and creating the perfect power vacuum for corrupt authoritarian power left many countries vulnerable to long term multinational exploitation. Arguably this exploitation fulfils the same role as colonialism in some regions to this day, with many of the world's companies continually benefiting from African resources while contributing little to the people of such unstable regions.

news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/6085264.stm

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End of Britain as a superpower

Following the surprise nationalisation of the Suez Canal in 1956, Britain conspired with Israel and France to depose the Egyptian President and take control of the canal, which was significant for oil trade between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. The operation was a military success but a public image catastrophe for the three aggressor nations, leading to nuclear threats from the Soviets and heavy sanctions from the United States. This all culminated in the withdrawal of these three nations under international pressure, and was so devastating for especially for Britain that it is remembered as the end of an era of British influence as a global superpower. historyextra.com/period/modern/how-significant-was-the-suez-crisis

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