oct 26, 1956 - Suez Crisis
Supported by Soviet arms and money, and furious with the United States for going back on a promise to provide funds for construction of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River, Nasser, the leader in Egypt, ordered the seize of Suez Canal. The British were angry with the move and sought the support of France and Israel in an armed assault to retake the canal.
The Israelis struck first. Two days later, British and French military forces joined them. Originally, forces from the three countries were set to strike at once, but the British and French troops were delayed.
Behind schedule, but successful, the British and French troops took control of the area around the Suez Canal. Their delay had given the Soviet Union time to respond. The Soviets, eager to exploit Arab nationalism and gain a foothold in the Middle East, supplied arms from Czechoslovakia to the Egyptian government and eventually helped Egypt construct the Aswan Dam on the Nile River after the United States refused to support the project. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev railed against the invasion and threatened to rain down nuclear missiles on Western Europe if the Israeli-French-British force did not withdraw.
The response of President Eisenhower’s administration was measured. It warned the Soviets that reckless talk of nuclear conflict would only make matters worse. But, Eisenhower also issued stern warnings to the French, British and Israelis to give up their campaign and withdraw from Egyptian soil. Eisenhower was upset with the British, in particular, for not keeping the United States informed about their intentions. The United States threatened all three nations with economic sanctions if they persisted in their attack. The British and French forces withdrew by December.
In the aftermath of the Suez Crisis, Britain and France found their influence as world powers weakened.
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Cold War Events