Suez Crisis Part 1 of 2

Suez Crisis Part 1 of 2

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Language: English

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00:01
in 1956 a dispute over the Suez Canal in Egypt led to international crisis and war - fading colonial powers Britain and France expected an easy victory over he gypped but were forced into a humiliating withdrawal as the world's new superpowers flex their muscles it was a stark sign that the age of European
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imperialism was over and that a new international order had taken its place little remembered today the events of 1956 had huge consequences for Britain and France the Arab world Israel and the United States of America this is the story of the Suez Crisis whose fallout shaped world affairs for decades to come in 1869 world navigation was transformed
01:26
by the opening of the Suez Canal this 100 mile man-made waterway through the Egyptian desert cut 5,000 miles off the voyage from Europe to Asia as ships no longer had to sail around Africa its construction overseen by French diplomat Felton on de Lesseps had taken 10 years and cost the lives of many thousands of Egyptian laborers the Suez Canal Company
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which owned and ran the canal was a private company owned by its shareholders including French Austrian and Russian investors as well as the ruler or Khedive of Egypt Ishmael Pasha in 1875 to pay off his mountainous debts the Khedive sold his 44% share in the Canal Company to the British government as the world's greatest Imperial and naval power Britain had initially
02:31
opposed the canal seeing it as a potential threat but soon proved to be its greatest beneficiary 80% of the ships that used the canal were British and it became a vital link to the British Empire's Eastern colonies and the jewel in the crown India control of the canal and the security of Egypt became a vital British strategic concern
03:06
in 1882 when Egyptian anger at European interference in their country exploded into a nationalist revolt led by Colonel Ahmed a Rabi the British sent a military force to intervene the Egyptian army was swept aside and Egyptian if they became a British protectorate for the next 60 years British control of the Suez Canal was a major strategic advantage in both world wars
03:48
but in the wake of victory in world war two the British Empire was in retreat India Pakistan and Burma gained their independence there were revolts against British rule in Malaya Kenya and Cyprus Egypt had received formal independence in 1922 but Britain continued to stationed troops there and govern much of the country's affairs only in 1947 did British troops withdraw to the
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so-called Canal Zone under an earlier deal with Egypt's King Farouk that the British could keep bases there until 1956 but Egyptians were turning against Farouk they blamed him for failing to prevent the creation of the Jewish state of Israel and for Egypt's defeat in the arab-israeli war that had followed they also blamed King Farouk for allowing
04:54
British troops to remain in Egypt in the Canal Zone British soldiers and civilians came under attack from the increasingly hostile local population with riots arson and gun battles leading the British to impose martial law by 1952 a group of nationalist Egyptian army officers known as the Free Officers movement had had enough they seized power in a military coup King Farouk was
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forced to abdicate and went to live out a luxurious exile in Italy the following year Egypt was declared a republic colonel gamma or Abdul Nassir emerged as the new leader and president of Egypt a committed and charismatic Arab nationalist determined to free Egypt from foreign influence in the 1950s America and the West were engaged in a standoff with the Soviet
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Union known as the Cold War a so-called iron curtain divided Europe between communist East and capitalist West around the world each side tried to win friends and limit the others influence Egypt the largest and most powerful Arab state would be a valuable prize for either side but which way would President Nasser turn u.s. President
06:44
Dwight D Eisenhower wanted to win over NASA but couldn't grant his request for a major arms deal they'd most likely be used against Israel which had many supporters in the u.s. the US and Britain instead offered to fund construction of the Aswan Dam the centerpiece of NASA's plan to modernize the Egyptian economy Britain also agreed to remove its troops from the Suez Canal Zone by June 1956
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but then border tension between Israel and her neighbors boiled over as the Israeli army attacked Egyptian controlled Gaza killing 38 Egyptian soldiers the Gaza raid made NASA determined to rapidly strengthen and modernize Egypt's army since the US wouldn't help NASA turned to the Soviet bloc and signed a major deal to purchase modern tanks and aircraft from communist
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Czechoslovakia the deal was seen as a huge triumph across the Arab world NASA further antagonized america by establishing diplomatic relations with communist china for eisenhower chasing an alliance with nasa was proving a major headache at the US and British offer to fund the Aswan Dam was withdrawn it was a move that would prove to have serious global repercussions
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that neither Britain nor America ever saw coming of the 26th of July 1956 NASA stunned the world by announcing that with immediate effect Egypt would nationalize the Suez Canal Company we dug the canal with our lives our skulls our bones our blood he declared the money is ours and the Suez Canal belongs to us we shall build the Aswan
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Dam our own way if Britain and America would not fund the dam Nasser intended to fund it himself with profits from the Suez Canal Company his speech received an ecstatic response from the people of Egypt NASA's move was entirely legal the company's shareholders would be bought out at fair prices yet his decision would trigger an international crisis war and a new era in the balance of
09:49
world power in Britain Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden responded with fury to what he saw as a major attack on British national interests 15,000 ships a year came through the Suez Canal and from the Middle East they brought a vital resource that the British economy couldn't survive without through it travels today about half the oil without
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which the industry of this country of Western Europe of Scandinavia and on many other countries - couldn't keep going this is a matter of life and death towards all nASA has Eden put it at his thumb on her windpipe as Britain's foreign secretary in the 1930s at World War two eden had made his reputation by opposing appeasement the
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policy of trying to maintain peace by giving in to the demands of dictators but now with poor health and frayed nerves clouding his judgment he convinced himself that NASA was another Hitler or Mussolini an Arab dictator that Britain had to face down the Egyptian president he decided would have to go French Prime Minister Kimo lay agreed with Eden's assessment he had an additional reason to want
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Nasser gone France was fighting a bitter war in its African colony of Algeria against nationalist rebels trained and supplied by NASA Britain and France now secretly began planning a military operation to seize control of the Suez Canal remove NASA from power and reaffirm their status as major global powers that summer under pressure from the Americans
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Eden agreed to host an international conference in a last effort to find a peaceful solution to the crisis Lancaster's London naturally attracted quite a crowd on the opening day of the Suez conference 22 nations were represented only two countries Egypt and Greece had declined the invitation to the faithful meeting 18 of the 22 nations supported Britain and Frances position that the Suez Canal will be returned to international ownership a proposal turned down flat by
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President Nasser US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told the British that nevertheless America would not support an attack on Egypt Dulles strongly believed that military action against NASA would push the entire Arab world into the arms of the Soviets besides President Eisenhower was running for re-election and would not welcome the distraction it was a warning that Eden faithfully ignored Britain and France had already
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