The 1956 Suez Crisis is widely remembered as a critical event in post-war British history, which helped bring to an end the era of Britain as a global empire and superpower. Sixty years on, Andrew Jones, Teaching Fellow in Imperial History asks how significant Suez really was, and why it continues to resonate in British popular memory.
"This October marks the 60th anniversary of the infamous Suez Canal Crisis, which played out on the world stage over the latter months of 1956. An important moment in post-war British history, ‘Suez’ (as it has become known) still conjures up powerful images of national decline, ministerial incompetence and global humiliation six decades later. The crisis formally began on 29 October 1956, when Britain (in alliance with France and Israel) invaded its former colony Egypt.
The objectives of the intervention were clear: to seize back ownership of the Suez Canal – that vital strategic asset and great symbol of empire – after its abrupt nationalisation by Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser three months earlier. The expectation in taking back the canal was that the troublesome Nasser would be deposed as a result. Reclaiming ownership of the canal became something of an obsession for British prime minister Anthony Eden, spurred on by immense domestic pressure and media reports that likened the situation to the failed appeasement of Hitler at Munichin 1938."
Read more in his article in BBC History magazine.
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