Suez Crisis

Suez Crisis

Overview
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War ( ; ; "Operation Kadesh," or , "Sinai War") was an offensive war fought by France
French Fourth Republic
The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic, which was in place before World War II, and suffered many of the same problems...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 against Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel, and then began to bomb Cairo. In a short time, and despite Israeli and British denials, considerable evidence showed that the two attacks were planned in collusion, with France as the instigator, Britain as a belated partner, and Israel as the willing trigger.
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Encyclopedia
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War ( ; ; "Operation Kadesh," or , "Sinai War") was an offensive war fought by France
French Fourth Republic
The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic, which was in place before World War II, and suffered many of the same problems...

, the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, and Israel
Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...

 against Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel, and then began to bomb Cairo. In a short time, and despite Israeli and British denials, considerable evidence showed that the two attacks were planned in collusion, with France as the instigator, Britain as a belated partner, and Israel as the willing trigger. It is believed that the secret military plan was originally devised by General Maurice Challe
Maurice Challe
Maurice Challe was a French general during the Algerian War, one of four generals who took part in the Algiers putsch...

. Anglo-French forces withdrew before the end of the year, but Israeli forces remained until March 1957, prolonging the crisis. In April, the canal was fully reopened to shipping, but other repercussions continued.

The attack followed the President of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser
Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein was the second President of Egypt from 1956 until his death. A colonel in the Egyptian army, Nasser led the Egyptian Revolution of 1952 along with Muhammad Naguib, the first president, which overthrew the monarchy of Egypt and Sudan, and heralded a new period of...

's decision of 26 July 1956 to nationalize the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

, after the withdrawal of an offer by Britain and the United States to fund the building of the Aswan Dam
Aswan Dam
The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. Since the 1950s, the name commonly refers to the High Dam, which is larger and newer than the Aswan Low Dam, which was first completed in 1902...

, which was in response to Egypt's new ties with the Soviet Union and recognizing the People's Republic of China during the height of tensions between China and Taiwan
Political status of Taiwan
The controversy regarding the political status of Taiwan hinges on whether Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu should remain effectively independent as territory of the Republic of China , become unified with the territories now governed by the People's Republic of China , or formally declare...

. The nationalisation was in violation of the agreement he had signed with the United Kingdom and France on 19 October 1954. Nasser had further enraged the West by accepting a Soviet arms deal and a Soviet offer to finance the Aswan Dam. The aims of the attack were primarily to regain Western control of the canal and precipitate the fall of Nasser from power, whose policies were viewed as potentially threatening the strategic interests of the three nations.

The three allies, especially Israel, were mainly successful in attaining their immediate military objectives, but pressure from the United States and the USSR at the United Nations and elsewhere forced them to withdraw. As a result of the outside pressure Britain and France failed in their political and strategic aims of controlling the canal and removing Nasser from power. Israel fulfilled some of its objectives, such as attaining freedom of navigation through the Straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

. As a result of the conflict, the UNEF
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

 would police the Egyptian–Israeli border to prevent both sides from recommencing hostilities.

Some sources contend that the Crisis began on 26 July with the nationalisation of the Canal, and that the military actions by Britain, France and Israel were their response to the Crisis.

Background



The Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 was opened in 1869, after ten years of work financed by the French and Egyptian governments. The canal was operated by the Universal Company of the Suez Maritime Canal
Suez Canal Company
The Universal Suez Ship Canal Company was the Egyptian corporation which was formed by Ferdinand de Lesseps during 1858, constructed the Suez Canal between 1859 and 1869, and owned and operated it for many years thereafter...

, an Egyptian-chartered company; the area surrounding the canal remained sovereign Egyptian territory and the only land-bridge between Africa and Asia.

The canal instantly became strategically important; it provided the shortest ocean link between the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean. The canal eased commerce for trading nations and particularly helped European colonial powers to gain and govern their colonies.

In 1875, as a result of debt and financial crisis, the Egyptian ruler was forced to sell his shares in the canal operating company to the British government of Benjamin Disraeli. They were willing buyers and obtained a 44% share in the canal's operations for less than £4 million; this maintained the majority shareholdings of the mostly French private investors. With the 1882 invasion and occupation of Egypt, the United Kingdom took de facto control of the country as well as the canal proper, and its finances and operations. The 1888 Convention of Constantinople
Convention of Constantinople
The Convention of Constantinople was a treaty signed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ottoman Empire on October 29, 1888. In the 1880s Britain had recently acquired physical control over the Suez Canal and Egypt...

 declared the canal a neutral zone under British protection. In ratifying it, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 agreed to permit international shipping to pass freely through the canal, in time of war and peace. The Convention came into force in 1904, the same year as the Entente cordiale
Entente Cordiale
The Entente Cordiale was a series of agreements signed on 8 April 1904 between the United Kingdom and the French Republic. Beyond the immediate concerns of colonial expansion addressed by the agreement, the signing of the Entente Cordiale marked the end of almost a millennium of intermittent...

, between Britain and France.

Despite this convention, the strategic importance of the Suez Canal and its control were proven during the Russo-Japanese War
Russo-Japanese War
The Russo-Japanese War was "the first great war of the 20th century." It grew out of rival imperial ambitions of the Russian Empire and Japanese Empire over Manchuria and Korea...

 of 1904—1905, after Japan and Britain entered into a separate bilateral agreement. Following the Japanese surprise attack on the Russian Pacific Fleet based at Port Arthur
Lüshunkou
Lüshunkou is a district in the municipality of Dalian, Liaoning province, China. Also called Lüshun City or Lüshun Port, it was formerly known as both Port Arthur and Ryojun....

 the Russians sent reinforcements from their fleet in the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

. The British denied the Russian fleet use of the canal and forced it to steam around the entire continent of Africa, giving the Japanese forces time to solidify their position in the Far East.

The importance of the canal as a strategic intersection was again apparent during the First World War, when Britain and France closed the canal to non-Allied shipping. The attempt by German-Ottoman forces to storm the Canal in February 1915 led the British to commit 100,000 troops to the defense of Egypt for the rest of the First World War. The canal continued to be strategically important after the Second World War as a conduit for the shipment of oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

. Petroleum business historian Daniel Yergin
Daniel Yergin
Daniel Howard Yergin is an American author, speaker, and economic researcher. Yergin is the co-founder and chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates, an energy research consultancy. It was acquired by IHS Inc...

 wrote of the period: "In 1948, the canal abruptly lost its traditional rationale.... [British] control over the canal could no longer be preserved on grounds that it was critical to the defence either of India or of an empire that was being liquidated. And yet, at exactly the same moment, the canal was gaining a new role – as the highway not of empire, but of oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

.... By 1955, petroleum accounted for half of the canal's traffic, and, in turn, two thirds of Europe's oil passed through it. At the time, Western Europe imported two million barrels (bbls) per day from the Mideast, 1,200,000 by tanker through the Canal, and another 800,000 via pipeline from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, where tankers received it. The US imported another 300,000 bbls. daily from the Mideast. Though pipelines linked the oil fields of Iraq and the Persian Gulf states to the Mediterranean, these routes were prone to suffer from instability, which led British leaders to prefer to use the sea route through the Suez Canal. As it was, the rise of super-tankers
Oil tanker
An oil tanker, also known as a petroleum tanker, is a merchant ship designed for the bulk transport of oil. There are two basic types of oil tankers: the crude tanker and the product tanker. Crude tankers move large quantities of unrefined crude oil from its point of extraction to refineries...

 for shipping Middle East oil to Europe, which were too big to use the Suez Canal meant that British policy-makers greatly overestimated the importance of the canal. By 2000, only 8% of the imported oil in Britain arrived via the Suez canal with the rest coming via the Cape route.

In August 1956 the Royal Institute of International Affairs published a report titled "Britain and the Suez Canal" revealing government perception of the Suez area. It reiterates several times the strategic necessity of the Suez Canal to the United Kingdom, including the need to meet military obligations under the Manila Pact in the Far East and the Baghdad Pact in Iraq, Iran, or Pakistan. The report also points out how the canal was used in past wars and could be used in future wars to transport troops from the Dominion
Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

s of Australia and New Zealand in the event of war in Europe. The report also cites the amount of material and oil which passes through the canal to the United Kingdom, and the economic consequences of the canal being put out of commission, concluding:
"The possibility of the Canal being closed to troopships makes the question of the control and regime of the Canal as important to Britain today as it ever was."

Post-war years


In the aftermath of the Second World War, Britain was reassessing its role in the region in light of the severe economic constraints and its colonial history. The economic potential of the Middle East, with its vast oil reserves, as well as the Suez Canal's geo-strategic importance against the background of the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

, prompted Britain to consolidate and strengthen its position there. The kingdoms of Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 were seen as vital to maintaining strong British influence in the region.

Britain's military strength was spread throughout the region, including the vast military complex at Suez with a garrison of some 80,000, making it one of the largest military installations in the world. The Suez base was considered an important part of Britain's strategic position in the Middle East; however, increasingly it became a source of growing tension in Anglo-Egyptian relations.
Egypt's post-war domestic politics were experiencing a radical change, prompted in no small part by economic instability, inflation, and unemployment. Unrest began to manifest itself in the growth of radical political groups, such as the Muslim Brotherhood
Muslim Brotherhood
The Society of the Muslim Brothers is the world's oldest and one of the largest Islamist parties, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states. It was founded in 1928 in Egypt by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna and by the late 1940s had an...

 in Egypt, and an increasingly hostile attitude towards Britain and her presence in the country. Added to this anti-British fervour was the role Britain had played in the creation of Israel. As a result, the actions of the Egyptian government began to mirror those of its populace and an anti-British policy began to permeate Egypt's relations with Britain.

In October 1951, the Egyptian government unilaterally abrogated the Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936
The Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of 1936 was a treaty signed between the United Kingdom and the Kingdom of Egypt; it is officially known as The Treaty of Alliance Between His Majesty, in Respect of the United Kingdom, and His Majesty, the King of Egypt...

, the terms of which granted Britain a lease on the Suez base for 20 more years. Britain refused to withdraw from Suez, relying upon its treaty rights, as well as the sheer presence of the Suez garrison. The price of such a course of action was a steady escalation in increasingly violent hostility towards Britain and British troops in Egypt, which the Egyptian authorities did little to curb.

On 25 January 1952, British attempts to disarm a troublesome auxiliary police force barracks in Ismailia
Ismaïlia
-Notable natives:*Osman Ahmed Osman, a famous and influential Egyptian engineer, contractor, entrepreneur, and politician, was born in this town on 6 April 1917....

 resulted in the deaths of 41 Egyptians. This in turn led to anti-Western riots in Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

 resulting in heavy damage to property and the deaths of several foreigners, including 11 British citizens. This proved to be a catalyst for the removal of the Egyptian monarchy. On 23 July 1952 a military coup by the 'Free Officers Movement
Free Officers Movement
In Egypt, the clandestine revolutionary Free Officers Movement was composed of young junior army officers committed to unseating the Egyptian monarchy and its British advisors...

'—led by Muhammad Neguib and future Egyptian President Gamal Abdul Nasser—overthrew King Farouk
Farouk of Egypt
Farouk I of Egypt , was the tenth ruler from the Muhammad Ali Dynasty and the penultimate King of Egypt and Sudan, succeeding his father, Fuad I, in 1936....

 and established an Egyptian republic.

Since the establishment of Israel in 1948, cargo shipments to and from Israel had been subject to Egyptian authorization, search and seizure while attempting to pass through the Suez Canal. On 1 September 1951, the United Nations Security Council Resolution 95
United Nations Security Council Resolution 95
United Nations Security Council Resolution 95, was adopted on September 1, 1951. After it reminded both sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict of recent promises and statements saying they would work for peace, the Council chastised Egypt for preventing ships bound for Israeli ports from travelling...

 called upon Egypt: "... to terminate the restrictions on the passage of international commercial ships and goods through the Suez Canal, wherever bound, and to cease all interference with such shipping." This interference and confiscation, contrary to the laws of the canal (Article 1 of the 1888 Suez Canal Convention), increased following the coup..

Post-revolution period


Britain's desire to mend Anglo-Egyptian relations in the wake of the coup saw her strive for rapprochement throughout 1953 and 1954. Part of this process was the agreement, in 1953, to terminate British rule in Sudan
Sudan
Sudan , officially the Republic of the Sudan , is a country in North Africa, sometimes considered part of the Middle East politically. It is bordered by Egypt to the north, the Red Sea to the northeast, Eritrea and Ethiopia to the east, South Sudan to the south, the Central African Republic to the...

 by 1956 in return for Cairo's abandoning of its claim to suzerainty
Suzerainty
Suzerainty occurs where a region or people is a tributary to a more powerful entity which controls its foreign affairs while allowing the tributary vassal state some limited domestic autonomy. The dominant entity in the suzerainty relationship, or the more powerful entity itself, is called a...

 over the Nile Valley region.
In October 1954, Britain and Egypt concluded an agreement on the phased evacuation of British troops from the Suez base, the terms of which agreed to withdrawal of all troops within 20 months, maintenance of the base to be continued, and for Britain to hold the right to return for seven years. The Suez Canal Company was not due to revert to the Egyptian government until 16 November 1968 under the terms of the treaty.

Despite the establishment of such an agreement with the British, Nasser's position remained tenuous. The loss of Egypt's claim to Sudan, coupled with the continued presence of Britain at Suez for a further two years, led to domestic unrest including an assassination attempt against him in October 1954. The tenuous nature of Nasser's rule caused him to believe that neither his regime, nor Egypt's independence would be safe until Egypt had established itself as head of the Arab world. This would manifest itself in the challenging of British Middle Eastern interests throughout 1955.

At the same time, the United States was attempting to woo Nasser into an alliance. The central problem for American policy in the Middle East was that this region was perceived as strategically important due to its oil, but the United States owing to defense commitments in Europe and the Far East lacked sufficient troops to resist a Soviet invasion of the Middle East. In 1952, General Omar Bradley
Omar Bradley
Omar Nelson Bradley was a senior U.S. Army field commander in North Africa and Europe during World War II, and a General of the Army in the United States Army...

 of Joint Chiefs of Staff declared at a planning session about what to do in the event of a Soviet invasion of the Near East: "Where will the staff come from? It will take a lot of stuff to do a job there". As a consequence, American diplomats favored the creation of a NATO-type organization in the Near East to provide the necessary military power to deter the Soviets from invading the region. A major dilemma for American policy was that the two strongest powers in the Near East, Britain and France were also the ones that many local nationalists objected to the most. From 1953 onwards, American diplomacy had attempted unsuccessfully to persuade the powers involved in the Near East, both local and imperial to set aside their differences and unite against the Soviet Union. The Americans took the view that just as fear of the Soviet Union had helped to end the historic Franco-German enmity, that so too could anti-Communism could end the more recent Arab-Israeli dispute. It was a source of constant puzzlement to American officials in the 1950s that the Arab states and the Israelis had seemed to have more interest in fighting each other rather that uniting against the Soviet Union.

In May 1953, during a meeting with the American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

, who asked Egypt to join an anti-Soviet alliance, Nasser responded by saying that the Soviet Union has:
"never occupied our territory..but the British have been here for seventy years. How can I go to my people and tell them I am disregarding a killer with a pistol sixty miles from me at the Suez Canal to worry about somebody who is holding a knife a thousand miles away?".
Dulles informed Nasser of his belief that the Soviet Union was seeking world conquest, that the principle danger to the Near East came from the Kremlin, and urged Nasser to set aside his differences with Britain to focus on countering the Soviet Union. In this spirit, Dulles suggested that the Nasser negotiate a deal that would see Egypt assume sovereignty over the Canal Zone base, but then allow the British to have "technical control" in the same way that Ford auto company provided parts and training to its Egyptian dealers. Nasser did not share Dulles's fear of the Soviet Union taking over the Middle East, and insisted that quite vehemently that he wanted to see the total end of all British influence not only in Egypt, but all the Middle East. The CIA offered Nasser a $3 million bribe if he would joined the proposed Middle East Defence Organization; Nasser took the money, but then refused to join.

While the Americans were attempting to erect an alliance in the form of the still-born Middle East Defence Organization to keep the Soviet Union out of the Near East, the Soviet Union under the new leadership of Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

 was making a major effort to win influence in the so-called "third world". As part of the diplomatic offensive, Khrushchev had abandoned Moscow's traditional line of treating all non-communists as enemies and adopted a new tactic of befriending so-called "non-aligned" nations, which often led by leaders who were non-Communists, but in varying ways were hostile towards the West. Khrushchev had realized that by treating non-communists as being the same thing as being anti-communist, Moscow had needlessly alienated many potential friends over the years in the third world. The Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai
Zhou Enlai was the first Premier of the People's Republic of China, serving from October 1949 until his death in January 1976...

 who met Nasser at the 1955 Bandung Summit and was impressed by him, recommended that Khrushchev treat Nasser as a potential ally. Zhou described Nasser to Khrushchev as a young nationalist, who through no Communist, could if used correctly do much damage to Western interests in the Middle East. Marshal Josip Broz Tito
Josip Broz Tito
Marshal Josip Broz Tito – 4 May 1980) was a Yugoslav revolutionary and statesman. While his presidency has been criticized as authoritarian, Tito was a popular public figure both in Yugoslavia and abroad, viewed as a unifying symbol for the nations of the Yugoslav federation...

 of Yugoslavia, who also come to know Nasser at Bandung told Khrushchev in a 1955 meeting that "Nasser was a young man without much political experience, but if we gave him the benefit of the doubt, we might be able to exert a beneficial influence on him, both for the sake of the Communist movement, and...the Egyptian people". Traditionally, most of the equipment in the Egyptian military had come from Britain, but Nasser's desire to break British influence in Egypt meant that he was desperate to find a new source of weapons to replace Britain. Nasser had first broached the subject of buying weapons from the Soviet Union in 1954.

Instead of siding with either super-power, Nasser took the role of the spoiler and tried to play off the super-powers in order to have them compete with each other in attempts to buy his friendship. Nasser's first choice for buying weapons was the United States, but his frequent anti-Israeli speeches and his sponsorship for the fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen refers to militants or guerrillas of a nationalist orientation from among the Palestinian people...

 who were making raids into Israel had made it difficult for the Eisenhower adminstration to get the approval of Congress to sell weapons to Egypt. American public opinion was deeply hostile towards selling arms to Egypt that might be used against Israel. Nasser had let it be known in 1954-55 that he was considering buying weapons from the Soviet Union as a way of pressuing the Americans into selling him arms he desired. Nasser's hope was that faced with the prospect of Egypt buying Soviet weapons, and thus coming under Soviet influence would force the Eisenhower adminstration to sell Egypt the weapons he wanted. Khrushchev who very much wanted to win the Soviet Union influence in the Middle East and who as a dictator did not have to worry what about the Russian people thought about arms sales to Egypt, was most prepared to arm Egypt if the Americans proved unwilling.

Britain's close relationship with the two Hashemite
Hashemite
Hashemite is the Latinate version of the , transliteration: Hāšimī, and traditionally refers to those belonging to the Banu Hashim, or "clan of Hashim", a clan within the larger Quraish tribe...

 kingdoms of Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 and Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 were of particular concern to Nasser. In particular, Iraq's increasingly amicable relations with Britain were a threat to Nasser's desire to see Egypt as head of the Arab world. The creation of the Baghdad Pact in 1955 seemed to confirm Nasser's fears that Britain was attempting to draw the Eastern Arab World into a bloc centred upon Iraq, and sympathetic to Britain. Nasser's response was a series of challenges to British influence in the region that would culminate in the Suez Crisis.

Frustration of British aims


Throughout 1955 and 1956 Nasser pursued a number of policies that would frustrate British aims throughout the Middle East, and result in increasing hostility between Britain and Egypt. Nasser "... played on the widespread suspicion that any Western defence pact was merely veiled colonialism and that Arab disunity and weakness—especially in the struggle with Israel—was a consequence of British machinations." He also began to align Egypt with the kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

—whose rulers
House of Saud
The House of Saud , also called the Al Saud, is the ruling royal family of Saudi Arabia and one of the wealthiest and most powerful dynasties in the world. The family holds thousands of members...

 were hereditary enemies of the Hashemites—in an effort to frustrate British efforts to draw Syria
Syria
Syria , officially the Syrian Arab Republic , is a country in Western Asia, bordering Lebanon and the Mediterranean Sea to the West, Turkey to the north, Iraq to the east, Jordan to the south, and Israel to the southwest....

, Jordan and Lebanon
Lebanon
Lebanon , officially the Republic of LebanonRepublic of Lebanon is the most common term used by Lebanese government agencies. The term Lebanese Republic, a literal translation of the official Arabic and French names that is not used in today's world. Arabic is the most common language spoken among...

 into the orbit of the Baghdad Pact. Nasser frustrated British attempts to draw Jordan into the pact by sponsoring demonstrations in Amman
Amman
Amman is the capital of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The Greater Amman area has a population of 2,842,629 as of 2010. The population of Amman is expected to jump from 2.8 million to almost...

, leading King Hussein to dismiss the British commander of the Arab Legion Glubb Pasha
John Bagot Glubb
Lieutenant-General Sir John Bagot Glubb KCB, CMG, DSO, OBE, MC better known as Glubb Pasha , was a British soldier, scholar and author, best known for leading and training Transjordan's Arab Legion 1939-1956 as its commanding general...

 in March 1956 and throwing Britain's Middle Eastern security policy into chaos.

Nasser struck a further blow against Britain by negotiating an arms deal with communist Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 in September 1955 thereby ending Egypt's reliance on Western arms. Later, other members of the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 also sold arms to Egypt and Syria. In practice, all sales from the Eastern Bloc
Eastern bloc
The term Eastern Bloc or Communist Bloc refers to the former communist states of Eastern and Central Europe, generally the Soviet Union and the countries of the Warsaw Pact...

 were authorised by the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

, as an attempt to increase Soviet influence over the Middle East. This caused tensions in the United States because Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 nations now had a strong presence in the region.

Increasingly Nasser came to be viewed in British circles – and in particular by Prime Minister Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 – as a dictator, akin to Benito Mussolini
Benito Mussolini
Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini was an Italian politician who led the National Fascist Party and is credited with being one of the key figures in the creation of Fascism....

. Ironically, in the build up to the crisis, it was the Labour leader Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE was a British Labour politician, who held Cabinet office in Clement Attlee's governments, and was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1955, until his death in 1963.-Early life:He was born in Kensington, London, the third and youngest...

 and the left-leaning tabloid newspaper The Mirror that first made the comparison between Nasser and Mussolini. Anglo-Egyptian relations would continue on their downward spiral.

At the same time, the French Premier Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

, who facing an increasing serious war in Algeria, where the rebels of the FLN were being supported by Egypt, had come to perceive Nasser as a major threat. During a visit to London in March 1956, Mollet told Eden that his country was faced with an Islamic threat to the very soul of France supported by the Soviet Union. Mollet stated that: "All this is in the works of Nasser, just as Hitler's policy was written down in Mein Kampf. Nasser has the ambition to recreate the conquests of Islam. But his present position is largely due to the policy of the West in building up and flattening him". In May 1956, at a gathering of French veterans, where Louis Mangin, who was speaking in place of the Minister of Defence who was unable to attend the meeting, gave a violently anti-Nasser speech, comparing the Egyptian leader to Hitler, and accused Nasser of plotting to rule the entire Middle East and of seeking to annex Algeria, whose "people live in community with France". Mangin urged France to stand up to Nasser, and being a strong friend of Israel, urged an alliance with that nation against Egypt.

Nationalisation of the Suez Canal and the road to crisis



Britain was eager to tame Nasser and looked towards the United States for support. However, President Eisenhower remained unresponsive; America's closest ally in the region, Saudi Arabia, was just as fundamentally opposed to the Hashemite-dominated Baghdad Pact as Egypt, and the U.S. was keen to increase its own influence in the region. The failure of the Baghdad Pact aided such a goal by reducing Britain's dominance over the region. "Great Britain would have preferred to overthrow Nasser; America, however uncomfortable with the 'Czech arms deal', thought it wiser to propitiate him."

The events that brought the crisis to a head occurred in the spring and summer of 1956. On 16 May, Nasser officially recognised the People's Republic of China, a move that angered the U.S. and its secretary of state, John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

, a keen sponsor of Taiwan
Taiwan
Taiwan , also known, especially in the past, as Formosa , is the largest island of the same-named island group of East Asia in the western Pacific Ocean and located off the southeastern coast of mainland China. The island forms over 99% of the current territory of the Republic of China following...

. This move, coupled with the impression that the project was beyond Egypt's economic capabilities, caused Eisenhower to withdraw all American financial aid for the Aswan Dam
Aswan Dam
The Aswan Dam is an embankment dam situated across the Nile River in Aswan, Egypt. Since the 1950s, the name commonly refers to the High Dam, which is larger and newer than the Aswan Low Dam, which was first completed in 1902...

 project on 19 July. The Eisenhower adminstration took the view that if Nasser were able to secure Soviet economic support for the high dam, that would be beyond the capacity of the Soviet Union to support, and in turn would strain Soviet-Egyptian relations. Eisenhower wrote in March 1956 that "If Egypt finds herself thus isolated from the rest of the Arab world, and with no ally in sight except Soviet Russia, she would very quickly get sick of the prospect and would join us in the search for a just and decent peace in the region". Dulles told his brother, CIA director Allen Dulles "If they [the Soviets] do make this offer we can make a lot of use of it in propaganda within the satellite bloc. You don't get bread because you are being squeezed to build a dam". Finally, the Eisenhower adminstration had became very annoyed at Nasser's efforts to play the United States off against the Soviet Union, and decided to call Nasser's bluff by refusing to finance the Aswan high dam with the intention of teaching Nasser a lesson. As early as September 1955, when Nasser announced the purchase of the Soviet military equipment via Czechoslovakia, Dulles had written that competing for Nasser's favour was probably going to be "an expensive process", one that Dulles wanted to avoid as much as possible.

Nasser's response was the nationalization of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

. On 26 July, in a speech in Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

, Nasser gave a riposte to Dulles. During his speech he deliberately pronounced the name of Ferdinand de Lesseps
Ferdinand de Lesseps
Ferdinand Marie, Vicomte de Lesseps, GCSI was the French developer of the Suez Canal, which joined the Mediterranean and Red Seas in 1869, and substantially reduced sailing distances and times between the West and the East.He attempted to repeat this success with an effort to build a sea-level...

, the builder of the canal, a code-word for Egyptian forces to seize control of the canal and implement its nationalization. He announced that the Nationalization Law had been published, that all assets of the Suez Canal Company had been frozen, and that stockholders would be paid the price of their shares according to the day's closing price on the Paris Stock Exchange. That same day, Egypt closed the canal to Israeli shipping. Egypt also closed the Straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

 to Israeli shipping, and blockaded the Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

, in contravention of the Constantinople Convention of 1888
Convention of Constantinople
The Convention of Constantinople was a treaty signed by the United Kingdom, Germany, Austro-Hungary, Spain, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Russia and the Ottoman Empire on October 29, 1888. In the 1880s Britain had recently acquired physical control over the Suez Canal and Egypt...

. Many argued that this was also a violation of the 1949 Armistice Agreements
1949 Armistice Agreements
The 1949 Armistice Agreements are a set of agreements signed during 1949 between Israel and neighboring Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, and Syria. The agreements ended the official hostilities of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, and established armistice lines between Israeli forces and the forces in...

.

The nationalization of the Suez Canal
Suez Canal
The Suez Canal , also known by the nickname "The Highway to India", is an artificial sea-level waterway in Egypt, connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea. Opened in November 1869 after 10 years of construction work, it allows water transportation between Europe and Asia without navigation...

 hit British economic and military interests in the region. Prime Minister Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 was under immense domestic pressure from Conservative MPs who drew direct comparisons between the events of 1956 and those of the Munich Agreement
Munich Agreement
The Munich Pact was an agreement permitting the Nazi German annexation of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. The Sudetenland were areas along Czech borders, mainly inhabited by ethnic Germans. The agreement was negotiated at a conference held in Munich, Germany, among the major powers of Europe without...

 in 1938. Since the US government did not support the British protests, the British government decided in favour of military intervention against Egypt to avoid the complete collapse of British prestige in the region. Eden was hosting a dinner for King Feisal II of Iraq and his Prime Minister, Nuri es-Said, when he learned the Canal had been nationalised. They both unequivocally advised Eden to "hit Nasser hard, hit him soon, and hit him by yourself" – a stance shared by the vast majority of the British people in subsequent weeks. "There is a lot of humbug about Suez," Guy Millard, Eden's private secretary, later recorded. "People forget that the policy at the time was extremely popular." Opposition leader Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Gaitskell
Hugh Todd Naylor Gaitskell CBE was a British Labour politician, who held Cabinet office in Clement Attlee's governments, and was the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition from 1955, until his death in 1963.-Early life:He was born in Kensington, London, the third and youngest...

 was also at the dinner. He immediately agreed that military action might be inevitable, but warned Eden would have to keep the Americans closely informed. Jo Grimond, who became Liberal Party leader that November, thought if Nasser went unchallenged the whole Middle East would go his way.

The French Premier Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

 was outraged by Nasser's move, and was utterly determined that Nasser would not be allowed to get away with it. French public opinion was very supportive of Mollet, and besides for the Communists, all of the criticism of his government came from the right, who very publicly doubted that a socialist like Mollet had the guts to go to war with Nasser. During an interview with Henry Luce
Henry Luce
Henry Robinson Luce was an influential American publisher. He launched and closely supervised a stable of magazines that transformed journalism and the reading habits of upscale Americans...

, Mollet held up a copy of Nasser's book The Philosophy of the Revolution and said: "This is Nasser's Mein Kampf. If we're too stupid not to read it, understand it and draw the obvious conclusions, than so much the worse for us". On July 29, 1956, the French Cabinet had decided upon military action against Egypt in alliance with Israel, and Admiral Nomy of the French Naval General Staff was sent to Britain to inform the leaders of that country of what France had decided to, and to invite them to join if they were interested. At the same time, Mollet was very much offended by what he considered to be the lackadaisical attitude of the Eisenhower administration to the nationalization of the Suez Canal Company. This was especially the case because earlier in 1956 the Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Molotov
Vyacheslav Mikhailovich Molotov was a Soviet politician and diplomat, an Old Bolshevik and a leading figure in the Soviet government from the 1920s, when he rose to power as a protégé of Joseph Stalin, to 1957, when he was dismissed from the Presidium of the Central Committee by Nikita Khrushchev...

 had offered the French a deal in exchange for which Moscow ended its support of the FLN
National Liberation Front (Algeria)
The National Liberation Front is a socialist political party in Algeria. It was set up on November 1, 1954 as a merger of other smaller groups, to obtain independence for Algeria from France.- Anticolonial struggle :...

 in Algeria, Paris would pull out of NATO and became neutral in the Cold War. Given the way that the Algerian war had become engulfed in a spiral of increasing savage violence that French leaders longed to put an end to, the Mollet cabinet had been tempted by Molotov's offer, but in the end, Mollet who was a firm Atlanticist had chosen to remain faithful towards NATO. In Mollet's view, his fidelity to NATO had earned him the right to expect firm American support against Egypt, and when that support was not forthcoming, he became an more determined that if the Americans were not willing to do anything about Nasser, then France would.

Direct military intervention, however, ran the risk of angering Washington and damaging Anglo-Arab relations. As a result, the British government concluded a secret military pact with France and Israel that was aimed at regaining control over the Suez Canal.

Anglo-Franco-American diplomacy


On 1 August 1956, a tripartite meeting was opened at 10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street
10 Downing Street, colloquially known in the United Kingdom as "Number 10", is the headquarters of Her Majesty's Government and the official residence and office of the First Lord of the Treasury, who is now always the Prime Minister....

 between British Foreign Secretary Selwyn Lloyd
Selwyn Lloyd
John Selwyn Brooke Lloyd, Baron Selwyn-Lloyd CH PC CBE TD , known for most of his career as Selwyn Lloyd, was a British Conservative Party politician who served as Foreign Secretary from 1955 to 1960, then as Chancellor of the Exchequer until 1962...

, U.S. Ambassador Robert D. Murphy
Robert Daniel Murphy
Robert Daniel Murphy was an American diplomat.Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Murphy had begun his diplomatic career in 1917 as a member of the American Legation in Bern, Switzerland. Among the several posts he held were Vice-Consul in Zurich and Munich, American Consul in Paris from 1930 to 1936,...

 and French Foreign Affairs Minister Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau
Christian Pineau was a noted French Resistance fighter.He was born in Chaumont-en-Bassigny, Haute-Marne, France and died in Paris.His father-in-law was the writer Jean Giraudoux, who was married to Pineau's mother...

.

An alliance was soon formed between Eden and Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet
Guy Mollet was a French Socialist politician. He led the French Section of the Workers' International party from 1946 to 1969 and was Prime Minister in 1956–1957.-Early life and World War II:...

, French Prime Minister, with headquarters based in London. General Hugh Stockwell
Hugh Stockwell
General Sir Hugh Charles Stockwell GCB, KBE, DSO & Bar was a British soldier, most remembered for commanding the Anglo-French ground forces during the Suez Crisis and his service as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1960 to 1964.-Early life:Stockwell was born in Jersey, but spent...

 and Admiral Barjot were appointed as Chief of Staff
Chief of Staff
The title, chief of staff, identifies the leader of a complex organization, institution, or body of persons and it also may identify a Principal Staff Officer , who is the coordinator of the supporting staff or a primary aide to an important individual, such as a president.In general, a chief of...

. Britain sought co-operation with the United States throughout 1956 to deal with what it maintained was a threat of an Israeli attack against Egypt, but to little effect.
Between July and October 1956, unsuccessful initiatives encouraged by the United States were made to reduce the tension that would ultimately lead to war. International conferences were organised to secure agreement on Suez Canal operations but all were ultimately fruitless.

Protocol of Sèvres



Three months after Egypt's nationalization of the Suez Canal company, a secret meeting took place at Sèvres
Sèvres
Sèvres is a commune in the southwestern suburbs of Paris, France. It is located from the centre of Paris.The town is known for its porcelain manufacture, the Manufacture nationale de Sèvres, making the famous Sèvres porcelain, as well as being the location of the International Bureau of Weights...

, outside Paris. Britain and France enlisted Israeli support for an alliance against Egypt. The parties agreed that Israel would invade the Sinai. Britain and France would then intervene, purportedly to separate the warring Israeli and Egyptian forces, instructing both to withdraw to a distance of 16 kilometres from either side of the canal. The British and French would then argue that Egypt's control of such an important route was too tenuous, and that it needed be placed under Anglo-French management. David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

 did not trust the British in view of their treaty with Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 and he was not initially in favour of the plan, since it would make Israel alone look like the aggressor; however he soon agreed to it since such a good opportunity to strike back at Egypt might never again present itself.

Motivation of the involved states


The interests of the parties were various. Britain was anxious lest it lose efficient access to the remains of its empire. Both the French and the British felt that Nasser should be removed from power. The French "held the Egyptian president responsible for assisting the anticolonial rebellion in Algeria." France was nervous about the growing influence that Nasser exerted on its North African colonies and protectorates. Both Britain and France were eager that the canal should remain open as an important conduit of oil. Israel wanted to reopen the Straits of Tiran
Straits of Tiran
The Straits of Tiran , are the narrow sea passages, about wide, between the Sinai and Arabian peninsulas which separate the Gulf of Aqaba from the Red Sea...

 leading to the Gulf of Eilat to Israeli shipping, and saw the opportunity to strengthen its southern border and to weaken what it saw as a dangerous and hostile state. This was particularly felt in the form of attacks injuring approximately 1,300 civilians emanating from the Egyptian-held Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. The Israelis were also deeply troubled by Egypt’s procurement of large amounts of Soviet weaponry that included 530 armored vehicles, of which 230 were tanks; 500 guns; 150 MiG 15 jet fighters; 50 Iluyshin-28 bombers
Ilyushin Il-28
The Ilyushin Il-28 is a jet bomber aircraft of the immediate postwar period that was originally manufactured for the Soviet Air Force. It was the USSR's first such aircraft to enter large-scale production. It was also licence-built in China as the Harbin H-5. Total production in the USSR was 6,316...

; submarines and other naval craft. The influx of this advanced weaponry altered an already shaky balance of power. Additionally, Israel believed Egypt had formed a secret alliance with Jordan and Syria.

Washington disagreed with Paris and London on whether to use force to resolve the crisis. The United States worked hard through diplomatic channels to resolve the crisis without resorting to conflict. "The British and French reluctantly agreed to pursue the diplomatic avenue but viewed it as merely an attempt to buy time, during which they continued their military preparations." The British, Washington's closest ally, "felt abandoned by the American government." Eden did not expect the Eisenhower administration to oppose the military operation in light of the 1953 Iranian coup d'état and the 1954 Guatemalan coup d'état. There was a secret American commitment called "Plan Omega" to bring the Egyptian leader down – but by covert means and over a longer period – which had been entered into at the end of March 1956, before the seizure of the Canal company. Prior to the operation, London deliberately neglected to consult the Americans, trusting instead that Nasser's engagement with communist states would persuade the Americans to accept British and French actions if they were presented as a fait accompli. This proved to be a critical miscalculation. Although Eisenhower later insisted that he first learned of the outbreak of hostilities by "reading it in the newspapers", he knew that aircraft of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) were taking high-altitude photos of the allied activities. Further information came from human sources in London, Paris and Tel Aviv. US spy chief Allen Dulles later confirmed that "intelligence was well alerted as to what Israel and then Britain and France were likely to do ... In fact, United States intelligence had kept the government informed".

Britain


British troops were well-trained, experienced and had good morale, but suffered from the economic and technological limitations imposed by post-war austerity. The 16th Independent Parachute Brigade Group, which was intended to be the main British strike force against Egypt was heavily involved in the Cyprus Emergency, which led to a neglect of paratroop training in favour of counter-insurgency operations. The Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 could project formidable power through the guns of its battleships and aircraft flown from its carriers, but a shortage of landing craft proved to be a serious weakness. The Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 (RAF) had just introduced two long-range bombers, the Vickers Valiant
Vickers Valiant
The Vickers-Armstrongs Valiant was a British four-jet bomber, once part of the Royal Air Force's V bomber nuclear force in the 1950s and 1960s...

 and the English Electric Canberra
English Electric Canberra
The English Electric Canberra is a first-generation jet-powered light bomber manufactured in large numbers through the 1950s. The Canberra could fly at a higher altitude than any other bomber through the 1950s and set a world altitude record of 70,310 ft in 1957...

, but owing to their recent entry into service, the RAF had not yet established proper bombing techniques for these aircraft. Despite this, General Sir Charles Keightley
Charles Keightley
General Sir Charles Frederic Keightley, GCB, GBE, DSO was a senior officer in the British Army during and following World War II.-Military career:...

, the commander of the invasion force believed that air power alone was sufficient to defeat Egypt. By contrast, Keightley's deputy General Hugh Stockwell
Hugh Stockwell
General Sir Hugh Charles Stockwell GCB, KBE, DSO & Bar was a British soldier, most remembered for commanding the Anglo-French ground forces during the Suez Crisis and his service as Deputy Supreme Allied Commander Europe of NATO from 1960 to 1964.-Early life:Stockwell was born in Jersey, but spent...

 believed that methodical and systematic armored operations centered around the Centurion
Centurion tank
The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades...

 battle tank to be the key to victory.

France


French troops were very experienced and well-trained, but suffered from cutbacks imposed by post-war politics of economic austerity. In 1956, the French military was heavily involved in the Algerian war, which made operations against Egypt a major distraction. French paratroopers of the elite Regiment de Parachutistes Coloniaux (RPC) were extremely experienced, battle-hardened and very tough soldiers who had greatly distinguished themselves in the fighting in Indochina and in Algeria. The men of the RPC followed a "shoot first, ask questions later" policy towards civilians, first adopted in Vietnam, which was to lead to the killing of a number of Egyptian civilians. The rest of the French troops were described by the American military historian Derek Varble as "...competent, but not outstanding". The main French (and Israeli) battle tank, the AMX-13
AMX-13
The AMX-13 is a French light tank produced from 1953 to 1985. It served with the French Army and was exported to over twenty-five other nations...

 was designed for mobile, outflanking operations, which led to a tank that was lightly armoured, but very fast. General André Beaufre
André Beaufre
André Beaufre was a French general. Beaufre ended World War II with the rank of colonel....

, who served as Stockwell's subordinate favored a swift campaign of movement in which the main objective was to encircle the enemy. Throughout the operation, Beaufre proved himself be more aggressive than his British counterparts, always urging that some bold step be taken at once. The French Navy had a powerful carrier force which was excellent for projecting power inland, but, like its British counterpart, suffered from a lack of landing craft.

Israel


American military historian Derek Varble called the Israel Defense Forces
Israel Defense Forces
The Israel Defense Forces , commonly known in Israel by the Hebrew acronym Tzahal , are the military forces of the State of Israel. They consist of the ground forces, air force and navy. It is the sole military wing of the Israeli security forces, and has no civilian jurisdiction within Israel...

 (IDF) the "best" military force in the Middle East while at the same time suffering from "deficiencies" such as "immature doctrine, faulty logistics, and technical inadequacies". The IDF's Chief of Staff, Major General Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

 encouraged aggression, initiative, and ingenuity amongst the Israeli officer corps while ignoring logistics and armoured operations. Dayan, a firm infantry man preferred that arm of the service at the expense of armour, which Dayan saw as clumsy, pricey, and suffering from frequent breakdowns. At the same time, the IDF had a rather disorganized logistics arm, which was put under severe strain when the IDF invaded the Sinai. Most of the IDF weapons in 1956 came from France. The main IDF tank was the AMX-13 and the main aircraft were the Dassault Mystère IVA
Dassault Mystère IV
|-See also:-External links:*...

 and the Ouragan
Dassault Ouragan
The Dassault M.D.450 Ouragan was the first French-designed jet fighter-bomber to enter production, playing a key role in resurgence of the French aviation industry after World War II. The Ouragan was operated by France, Israel, India and El Salvador...

. Superior pilot training was to give the Israeli Air Force an unbeatable edge over their Egyptian opponents. The Israeli Navy consisted of several frigates and destroyers purchased from Britain and Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

.

Egypt


In the Egyptian military, politics rather than military competence was the main criterion for promotion. The Egyptian commander, Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer
Abdel Hakim Amer
Mohamed Abdel Hakim Amer was an Egyptian general and political leader. Born in Astal, Samallot, in the Al Minya Governorate in 1919, he served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, took part in the 1952 Revolution and commanded the Egyptian Army in the Suez Crisis, the North Yemen Civil War and the...

, was purely a political appointee with an alcohol problem who owed his position to his close friendship with Nasser, and who proved himself grossly incompetent as a general. In 1956, the Egyptian military was well equipped with weapons from the Soviet Union such as T-34
T-34
The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II...

 and JS-3 tanks, MiG-15 fighters, Ilyushin Il-28
Il-28
IL28 or IL-28 may be:* Ilyushin Il-28, a Cold War era Soviet ground attack aircraft* Interleukin 28, a cytokine for stimulating the growth of T cell lymphocytes...

 bombers, SU-100
SU-100
The SU-100 was a Soviet tank destroyer. It was used extensively during the last year of World War II and saw service for many years afterwards with the armies of Soviet allies around the world.- Development :...

 self-propelled guns and assault rifles. Rigid lines between officers and men in the Egyptian Army led to a mutual "mistrust and contempt" between officers and the men who served under them. Egyptian troops were excellent in defensive operations, but had little capacity for offensive operations owning to the lack of "rapport and effective small-unit leadership".

Planning


In July 1956, Eden ordered his Chiefs of Staff to begin planning for an invasion of Egypt. Eden’s plan called for the Cyprus-based 16th Independent Parachute Brigade Group to seize the Canal Zone. The Prime Minister’s plan was rejected by the Chiefs of Staff who argued that the neglect of parachute training in the 16th Independent Parachute Brigade rendered his plan for an airborne assault unsuitable. Instead, the Chiefs of Staff suggested the sea-power based Contingency Plan, which called for the Royal Marines to take Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

, which would then be used as a base for three British divisions to overrun the Canal Zone.

In early August, the Contingency Plan was modified by including a strategic bombing campaign that was intended to destroy Egypt’s economy, and thereby hopefully bring about Nasser’s overthrow. In addition, a role was allocated to the 16th Independent Parachute Brigade, which would lead the assault on Port Said in conjunction with the Royal Marine landing. The commanders of the Task Force led by General Stockwell rejected the Contingency Plan, which Stockwell argued failed to destroy the Egyptian military. Stockwell offered up Operation Musketeer, which was to begin with a two-day air campaign that would see the British gain air superiority. In place of Port Said, Musketeer called for the capture of Alexandria
Alexandria
Alexandria is the second-largest city of Egypt, with a population of 4.1 million, extending about along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea in the north central part of the country; it is also the largest city lying directly on the Mediterranean coast. It is Egypt's largest seaport, serving...

. Once that city had been taken in assault from the sea, British armoured divisions would engage in a decisive battle of annihilation somewhere south of Alexandria and north of Cairo. Musketeer would require thousands of troops, and which led the British to seek out France as an ally. To destroy the 300,000-strong Egyptian Army in his planned battle of annihilation, Stockwell estimated that he needed 80,000 troops, while at most the British Army could spare was 50,000 troops; the French could supply the necessary 30,000 troops to make up the shortfall.

On 11 August 1956 General Keightley was appointed commander of Musketeer with the French Admiral Jobert as Deputy-Commander. The appointment of Stockwell as the Task Force commander charged with leading the assault on Egypt caused considerable disappointment with the other officers of the Task Force. One French officer recalled that Stockwell was:
“Extremely excitable, gesticulating, keeping no part of him still, his hands, his feet, and even his head and shoulders perpetually on the go, he starts off by sweeping objects off the table with a swish of his swagger cane or in his room by using it to make golf-strokes with the flower vases and ash-trays. Those are the good moments. You will see him pass in an instant from the most cheerfully expressed optimism to a dejection that amounts to nervous depression. He is a cyclothymic. By turns courteous and brutal, refined and coarse, headstrong in some circumstances, hesitant and indecisive in others, he disconcerts by his unpredictable responses and the contradictions of which he is made up. One only of his qualities remains constant: his courage under fire".
By contrast, the majority of the officers of the Task Force, both French and British admired Beaufre as an elegant yet tough general with a sharp analytical mind who always kept his cool. Most of the officers of the Anglo-French Task Force expressed regret that it was Beaufre who was Stockwell’s deputy rather the other way around. A major problem both politically and militarily with the planning for Musketeer was the one week interval between sending troops to the eastern Mediterranean and the beginning of the invasion. Additionally, the coming of winter weather to the Mediterranean in late November would render the invasion impossible, which thus meant the invasion had to begin before then.

In late August 1956, the French Admiral Pierre Barjot
Pierre Barjot
Pierre Barjot was a French admiral.He was the commander-in-chief of the French forces during the Suez Crisis. He also wrote a number of works on naval aviation....

 suggested that Port Said once again be made the main target, which lessened the number of troops needed and thus reduced the interval between sending forces to the eastern Mediterranean and the invasion. Beaufre was strongly opposed to the change, warning that Barjot’s modification of merely capturing the Canal Zone made for an ambiguous goal, and that the lack of a clear goal was dangerous.

In early September, Keightley embraced Barjot’s idea of seizing Port Said, and presented Operation Revise. Revise called for the following:
  • Phrase I: Anglo-French air forces to gain air supremacy over Egypt’s skies.
  • Phrase II: Anglo-French air forces were to launch a 10-day “aero-psychological” campaign that would destroy the Egyptian economy.
  • Phrase III: Air- and sea-borne landings to capture the Canal Zone.


On 8 September 1956 Revise was approved by the British and French cabinets. Both Stockwell and Beaufre were opposed to Revise as an open-ended plan with no clear goal beyond seizing the Canal zone, but was embraced by Eden and Mollet as offering greater political flexibility and the prospect of lesser Egyptian civilian casualties.

At the same time, Israel had been working on Operation Kadesh for the invasion of the Sinai. Dayan’s plan put an emphasis on air power combined with mobile battles of encirclement. Kadesh called for the Israeli air force to win air superiority, which was to be followed up with “one continuous battle” in the Sinai. Israeli forces would in a series of swift operations encircle and then take the main Egyptian strongpoints in the Sinai. Reflecting this emphasis on encirclement was the “outside-in” approach of Kadesh, which called for Israeli paratroops to seize distant points first, with those closer to Israel to be seized later. Thus, the 202nd Paratroop Brigade commanded by Colonel Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 was to land in the far-western part of the Sinai to take the Mitla Pass, and thereby cut off the Egyptian forces in the eastern Sinai from their supply lines.

In October 1956, Eden, after two months of pressure, finally and reluctantly agreed to French requests to include Israel in Operation Revise. The British alliances with the Hashemite kingdoms of Jordan and Iraq had made the British very reluctant to fight alongside Israel, lest the ensuing backlash in the Arab world threaten London's friends in Baghdad and Amman. The coming of winter weather in November meant that Eden needed a pretext to begin Revise as soon as possible, which meant that Israel had to be included. Under the Sevres Protocol, the following was agreed to:
  • 29 October: Israel to invade the Sinai.
  • 30 October: Anglo-French ultimatum to demand both sides withdraw from the Canal Zone.
  • 31 October: Britain and France begin Revise.

Invasion



Operation Kadesh: The Israeli operation in the Sinai Peninsula


Operation Kadesh received its name from ancient Kadesh, located in the northern Sinai and mentioned several times in the Hebrew Pentateuch. Israeli military planning for this operation in the Sinai hinged on four main military objectives; Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

, Arish, Abu Uwayulah, and the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

. The Egyptian blockade of the Tiran Straits was based at Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

 and, by capturing the town, Israel would have access to the Red Sea for the first time since 1953, which would allow it to restore the trade benefits of secure passage to the Indian Ocean
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

.

The Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 was chosen as another military objective because Israel wished to remove the training grounds for Fedayeen
Fedayeen
Fedayeen is a term used to describe several distinct militant groups and individuals in West Asia at different times in history. It is sometimes used colloquially to refer to suicide squads, especially those who are not bombers.-Overview:...

 groups, and because Israel recognised that Egypt could use the territory as a staging ground for attacks against the advancing Israeli troops. Israel advocated rapid advances, for which a potential Egyptian flanking attack would present even more of a risk. Arish and Abu Uwayulah were important hubs for soldiers, equipment, and centres of command and control of the Egyptian Army in the Sinai. Capturing them would deal a deathblow to the Egyptian's strategic operation in the entire Peninsula. The capture of these four objectives were hoped to be the means by which the entire Egyptian Army would rout and fall back into Egypt proper, which British and French forces would then be able to push up against an Israeli advance, and crush in a decisive encounter. On 24 October, Dayan ordered a partial mobilization. When this led to a state of confusion, Dayan ordered full mobilization, and chose to take the risk that he might alert the Egyptians. As part of an effort to maintain surprise, Dayan ordered Israeli troops that were to go to the Sinai to be ostentatiously concentrated near the border with Jordan first, which was intended to fool the Egyptians into thinking that it was Jordan that the main Israeli blow was to fall on.

The conflict began on 29 October 1956. At about 3: 00 pm, Israeli Air Force Mustangs launched a series of attacks on Egyptian positions all over the Sinai. Because Israeli intelligence expected Jordan
Jordan
Jordan , officially the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan , Al-Mamlaka al-Urduniyya al-Hashemiyya) is a kingdom on the East Bank of the River Jordan. The country borders Saudi Arabia to the east and south-east, Iraq to the north-east, Syria to the north and the West Bank and Israel to the west, sharing...

 to enter the war on Egypt's side, Israeli soldiers were stationed along the Israeli-Jordanian frontier. The Israel Border Police
Israel Border Police
The Israel Border Police is the gendarmerie and border security branch of the Israel National Police. It is also commonly known by its Hebrew abbreviation Magav , meaning border guard, whilst its members are colloquially known as Magavnikim . Border Guard is often used as the official name of the...

 militarized the Israel-Jordan border, including the Green Line
Green Line (Israel)
Green Line refers to the demarcation lines set out in the 1949 Armistice Agreements between Israel and its neighbours after the 1948 Arab-Israeli War...

 with the West Bank
West Bank
The West Bank ) of the Jordan River is the landlocked geographical eastern part of the Palestinian territories located in Western Asia. To the west, north, and south, the West Bank shares borders with the state of Israel. To the east, across the Jordan River, lies the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan...

, during the first few hours of the war. Israeli-Arab
Arab citizens of Israel
Arab citizens of Israel refers to citizens of Israel who are not Jewish, and whose cultural and linguistic heritage or ethnic identity is Arab....

 villages along the Jordanian border were placed under curfew, and orders were given to shoot curfew violators. This resulted in the killings of 48 civilians in the Arab village of Kafr Qasim
Kafr Qasim
Kafr Qasim , is a hill-top Israeli Arab city located about twenty kilometers east of Tel Aviv, near the Green Line separating Israel and the West Bank, on the southern portion of the "Little Triangle" of Arab-Israeli towns and villages. The town became notorious for the Kafr Qasim massacre, in...

 in an event known as the Kafr Qasim massacre
Kafr Qasim massacre
The Kafr Qasim massacre took place in the Israeli Arab village of Kafr Qasim situated on the Green Line, at that time, the de facto border between Israel and the West Bank on October 29, 1956. It was carried out by the Israel Border Police and resulted in 48 Arab civilians dead, including 6 women...

. The border policemen involved in the killings were later tried and imprisoned, with an Israeli court finding that the order to shoot civilians was "blatantly illegal". This event had major effects on Israeli law relating to the ethics in war and more subtle effects on the legal status of Arab citizens of Israel
Arab citizens of Israel
Arab citizens of Israel refers to citizens of Israel who are not Jewish, and whose cultural and linguistic heritage or ethnic identity is Arab....

, who at the time were regarded as a fifth column
Fifth column
A fifth column is a group of people who clandestinely undermine a larger group such as a nation from within.-Origin:The term originated with a 1936 radio address by Emilio Mola, a Nationalist General during the 1936–39 Spanish Civil War...

.

Early actions in Southern Sinai



The Israeli Chief of Staff, Major General Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan
Moshe Dayan was an Israeli military leader and politician. The fourth Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces , he became a fighting symbol to the world of the new State of Israel...

, first planned to take the vital Mitla Pass
Mitla Pass
The Mitla Pass is a 32 km-long snaky pass in the Sinai of Egypt, wedged between mountain ranges to the north and south, located about 50 km east of Suez...

. Dayan planned for the Battalion 890 of the Paratroop Brigade, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Rafael Eitan
Rafael Eitan
Rafael "Raful" Eitan was an Israeli general, former Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces and later a politician, a Knesset member government minister...

, a veteran of the 1948 Arab-Israeli War
1948 Arab-Israeli War
The 1948 Arab–Israeli War, known to Israelis as the War of Independence or War of Liberation The war commenced after the termination of the British Mandate for Palestine and the creation of an independent Israel at midnight on 14 May 1948 when, following a period of civil war, Arab armies invaded...

 and future head of the IDF, to drop at Parker's Memorial, near one of the defile
Defile (geography)
Defile is a geographic term for a narrow pass or gorge between mountains or hills. It has its origins as a military description of a pass through which troops can march only in a narrow column or with a narrow front...

s of the pass, Jebel Heitan. The rest of the brigade, under the command of Colonel Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon
Ariel Sharon is an Israeli statesman and retired general, who served as Israel’s 11th Prime Minister. He has been in a permanent vegetative state since suffering a stroke on 4 January 2006....

 would then advance to meet with the battalion, and consolidate their holdings.

On 29 October, Operation Kadesh – the invasion of the Sinai, began when an Israeli paratrooper battalion was air-dropped into the Sinai Peninsula, east of the Suez Canal near the Mitla Pass. In conjunction with the para drop, four Israeli P-51 Mustangs using their wings and propellers, cut all overhead telephone lines in the Sinai, severely disrupting Egyptian command and control. Due to a navigation error, the Israeli DC-3 transports landed Eitan's 400 paratroopers three miles away from Parker's Memorial, their intended target. Eitan marched his men towards Jebel Heitan, where they dug in while receiving supplies of weapons dropped by French aircraft. At the same time, Colonel Sharon's 202nd Paratroop Brigade raced out towards the Mitla Pass. A major problem for Sharon was vehicle break-down. Dayan’s efforts to maintain strategic surprise bore fruit when the Egyptian commander Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer
Abdel Hakim Amer
Mohamed Abdel Hakim Amer was an Egyptian general and political leader. Born in Astal, Samallot, in the Al Minya Governorate in 1919, he served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, took part in the 1952 Revolution and commanded the Egyptian Army in the Suez Crisis, the North Yemen Civil War and the...

 at first treated the reports of an Israeli inclusion into the Sinai as a large raid instead of an invasion, and as such Amer did not order a general alert. By the time that Amer realized his mistake, the Israelis had made significant advances into the Sinai.

Early actions along the Gulf of Aqaba, and the central front



As the paratroopers were being dropped into the Sinai, the Israeli 9th Infantry Brigade
Oded Brigade
The Oded Brigade was an Israeli infantry brigade, one of ten brigades fielded by the Haganah . It was headquartered in Jerusalem...

 captured Ras an-Naqb, an important staging ground for that brigade's later attack against Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

. Instead of attacking the town by a frontal attack, they enveloped the town in a night attack, and negotiated their way through some of the natural chokepoints into the rear of the town, surprising the Egyptians before they could ready themselves to defend. The Egyptians surrendered, with no Israeli casualties sustained.

The 4th Infantry Brigade, under the command of Colonel Josef Harpaz, captured al-Qusaymah, which would be used as a jumping off point for the assault against Abu Uwayulah. Colonel Harpaz out-flanked al-Qusaymah with two pincers from the south-east and north-east in a night attack. In a short battle lasting from 3:00 am to sunrise, the IDF stormed al-Qusaymah.

Battle of Jebel Heitan, Paratroop Brigade under attack


The portion of the Paratroopers under Sharon's command continued to advance to meet with the 1st Brigade. En route, Sharon assaulted Themed in a dawn attack, and was able to storm the town with his armor through the Themed Gap. Sharon routed the Sudanese police company, and captured the settlement. On his way to the Nakla, Sharon's men came under attack from Egyptian MIG-15s. On the 30th, Sharon linked up with Eytan near Nakla.

Dayan had no more plans for further advances beyond the passes, but Sharon decided to attack the Egyptian positions at Jebel Heitan. Sharon sent his lightly armed paratroopers against dug-in Egyptians supported by aircraft, tanks and heavy artillery. Sharon's actions were in response to reports of the arrival of the 1st and 2nd Brigades of the 4th Egyptian Armored Division in the area, which Sharon believed would annihilate his forces if he did not seize the high ground. Sharon sent two infantry companies, a mortar battery and some AMX-13 tanks under the command of Mordechai Gur
Mordechai Gur
Following his retirement from the IDF, Gur was appointed as the general manager of Kur Mechanica company. In 1981 he was elected to the Knesset as a member of the Alignment. Re-elected in 1984, he served as Minister of Health and was also a member of the Knesset's Security and Foreign Affairs...

 into the Heitan Defile on the afternoon of 31 October 1956. The Egyptian forces occupied strong defensive positions and brought down heavy anti-tank, mortar and machine gun fire on the IDF force. Gur's men were forced to retreat into the "Saucer", where they were surrounded and came under heavy fire. Hearing of this, Sharon sent in another task force while Gur's men used the cover of night to scale the walls of the Heitan Defile. During the ensuing action, the Egyptians were defeated and forced to retreat. Some 200 Egyptian and 38 Israeli soldiers were killed during the battle. Although the battle was an Israeli victory, the casualties sustained would surround Sharon with controversy. In particular, Sharon was criticized for ordering the attack on Jebel Heitan without authorization, and not realizing that with the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 controlling the skies, his men were in not such danger from the Egyptian tanks as he believed. Dayan himself maintained that Sharon was correct to order the attack without orders, and that under the circumstances, Sharon made the right decision; instead Dayan criticzed Sharon for his tactics of attacking the Egyptians head-on, which Dayan claimed led to unnecessary casualties. Most of the deaths sustained by the Israelis in the entire operation were sustained at Jebel Heitan.

Air operations, first phase


From the outset, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 flew paratroop drops, supply flights and medevac
MEDEVAC
Medical evacuation, often termed Medevac or Medivac, is the timely and efficient movement and en route care provided by medical personnel to the wounded being evacuated from the battlefield or to injured patients being evacuated from the scene of an accident to receiving medical facilities using...

 sortie
Sortie
Sortie is a term for deployment or dispatch of one military unit, be it an aircraft, ship, or troops from a strongpoint. The sortie, whether by one or more aircraft or vessels, usually has a specific mission....

s. Israel's new French-made Dassault Mystere IV
Dassault Mystère IV
|-See also:-External links:*...

 jet fighters provided air cover for the transport aircraft. In the initial phase of the conflict, the Egyptian Air Force
Egyptian Air Force
The Egyptian Air Force, or EAF , is the aviation branch of the Egyptian Armed Forces. The EAF is headed by an Air Marshal . Currently, the commander of the Egyptian Air Force is Air Marshal Reda Mahmoud Hafez Mohamed...

 flew attack missions against advancing Israeli ground forces. The Egyptian tactic was to use their new Soviet-made MiG-15 jets as fighter escorts, while their older British-made De Havilland Vampire
De Havilland Vampire
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served...

 and Gloster Meteor
Gloster Meteor
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. It first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force...

 jets conducted strikes against Israeli troops and vehicles. In the air combat Israeli aircraft shot down between sevena and nine Egyptian jets with the loss of one aircraft, but Egyptian strikes against the ground forces continued through to 1 November. With the attack by the British and French air forces and navies, President Nasser ordered his pilots to disengage and fly their planes to bases in Southern Egypt. The Israeli Air Force was then free to strike Egyptian ground forces at will, as Israeli forces advanced into the Western Sinai.

On 3 November, four Israeli planes attacked a British warship, the Black Swan class sloop
Black Swan class sloop
The Black Swan class and Modified Black Swan class were two classes of sloop of the Royal Navy and Royal Indian Navy. Thirteen Black Swans were launched between 1939 and 1943, including four for the Royal Indian Navy; twenty-four Modified Black Swans were launched between 1942 and 1945, including...

 HMS Crane as it was patrolling the approaches to the Gulf of Aqaba
Gulf of Aqaba
The Gulf of Aqaba is a large gulf located at the northern tip of the Red Sea. In pre twentieth-century and modern sources it is often named the Gulf of Eilat, as Eilat is its predominant Israeli city ....

. According to the IDF, Crane had been identified as an Egyptian warship, and the Israeli General Staff authorized the attack. The Israeli aircraft attacked with anti-personnel rockets, small bombs and cannon fire. Shrapnel from the rockets damaged the Cranes Bofors anti-aircraft cannons and injured three of their crews. One rocket punctured an oil tank, one exploded outside the depth charge magazine and one entered the wardroom and passed through the ship without exploding. Small bombs launched at the ship exploded close to the stern, spraying shrapnel over the deck. Crane began firing at the aircraft after the first one began its diving attack, and continued to fire throughout the engagement. One Israeli aircraft was shot down and another was damaged. The frigate sustained some damage including severed power mains, and repairs were carried out during the night.

Naval operations



On 30 October, the Egyptian Navy dispatched the Ibrahim el Awal
HMS Mendip (L60)
HMS Mendip was a Hunt class destroyer of the Royal Navy. She was a member of the first subgroup of the class. The ship is notable for seeing service in the navies of three other nations after her use by the Royal Navy. She saw service in the Second World War and later as an Egyptian Navy ship in...

, an ex-British Hunt class destroyer
Hunt class destroyer
The Hunt class was a class of Destroyer escort of the Royal Navy. The first vessels were ordered early in 1939, and the class saw extensive service in World War II, particularly on the British East Coast and Mediterranean convoys. They were named after British fox hunts...

, to Haifa
Haifa
Haifa is the largest city in northern Israel, and the third-largest city in the country, with a population of over 268,000. Another 300,000 people live in towns directly adjacent to the city including the cities of the Krayot, as well as, Tirat Carmel, Daliyat al-Karmel and Nesher...

 with the aim of shelling that city’s coastal oil installations. On 31 October the Ibrahim el Awal reached Haifa and began bombarding the city with its four 102mm (4-inch) guns
QF 4 inch Mk XVI naval gun
The QF 4 inch Mk XVI gun was the standard British Commonwealth naval anti-aircraft and dual-purpose gun of World War II.-Service:The Mk XVI superseded the earlier QF 4 inch Mk V naval gun on many Royal Naval ships during the late 1930s and early 1940s...

. The French destroyer Kersaint, which was guarding Haifa port as part of Operation Musketeer
Operation Musketeer (1956)
Operation Musketeer was the Anglo-French-Israeli plan for the invasion of Egypt to capture the Suez Canal during the Suez Crisis. Israel had the additional objective to open the Straits of Tiran.-The operation:...

, returned fire but failed to score any hits. The Ibrahim el Awal disengaged and turned northwest. The Israeli destroyers INS Eilat
HMS Zealous (R39)
HMS Zealous was a Z-class destroyer of the Royal Navy built in 1944 by Cammell Laird. She served during the Second World War, participating in operations in the North Sea and off the Norwegian coast, before taking part in some of the Arctic convoys...

 and INS Yaffo then gave chase and caught up with the Egyptian warship. The Israeli destroyers, together two Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 Dassault Ouragan
Dassault Ouragan
The Dassault M.D.450 Ouragan was the first French-designed jet fighter-bomber to enter production, playing a key role in resurgence of the French aviation industry after World War II. The Ouragan was operated by France, Israel, India and El Salvador...

s, succeeded in damaging the destroyer's turbo generator, rudder and antiaircraft guns. Left without power and unable to steer, the Ibrahim el Awal surrendered to the Israeli destroyers. The Egyptian destroyer was subsequently incorporated into the Israeli Navy and renamed INS Haifa (K-38).

On the night of 31 October in the northern Red Sea, the British light cruiser
Light cruiser
A light cruiser is a type of small- or medium-sized warship. The term is a shortening of the phrase "light armored cruiser", describing a small ship that carried armor in the same way as an armored cruiser: a protective belt and deck...

 HMS Newfoundland challenged and engaged the Egyptian frigate Domiat, reducing it to a burning hulk in a brief gun battle. The Egyptian warship was then sunk by the escorting destroyer HMS Diana
HMS Diana (D126)
HMS Diana was one of the Daring Class of destroyers planned during the Second World War by the Royal Navy. The design therefore reflected developments of the Pacific campaign, including long range and the ability to efficiently Replenish At Sea .-Size:...

, with 69 surviving Egyptian sailors rescued.

The Hedgehog-Abu Uwayulah operations


The village of Abu Uwayulah in the central Sinai served as the road centre for the entire Sinai, and thus was a key Israeli target. To the east of Abu Uwayulah were several ridges that formed a natural defensive zone known to the Israelis as the "Hedgehog". Holding the "Hedgehog" were 3,000 Egyptians of the 17th and 18th battalions of the 3rd Infantry Division commanded by Colonel Sami Yassa. Yassa's men held a series of well fortified trenches. The "Hedgehog" could only be assaulted from the east flank of Umm Qataf ridge and the west flank of Ruafa ridge.

On 30 October, a probing attack by Israeli armour under Major Izhak Ben-Ari turned into an assault on the Umm Qataf ridge that ended in failure. During the fighting at Umm Qataf, Colonel Yassa was badly wounded and replaced by Colonel Saadedden Mutawally. To the south, another unit of the Israeli 7th Armored Brigade discovered the al-Dayyiqa gap in the Jebel Halal ridge of the "Hedgehog". The Israeli forces stormed and took the al-Dayyiqa gap. Colonel Mutawally failed to appreciate the extent of the danger to his forces posed by the IDF breakthrough at al-Dayyiqa. Led by Colonel Avraham Adan an IDF force entered the al-Dayyiqa and at dawn on 31 October attacked Abu Uwayulah. After an hour's fighting, Abu Uwayulah fell to the IDF. At the same time, another IDF battalion attacked the Ruafa ridge. Concurrently, another attack was launched on the eastern edge of the "Hedgehog" by the IDF 10th Infantry Brigade (composed mostly of reservists) that ended in failure. By noon, the Israeli Air Force
Israeli Air Force
The Israeli Air Force is the air force of the State of Israel and the aerial arm of the Israel Defense Forces. It was founded on May 28, 1948, shortly after the Israeli Declaration of Independence...

 had carried out a series of punishing airstrikes on the Egyptian positions, sometimes accidentally hitting IDF ground forces. Such was the tendency of the IAF to stage "friendly fire" incidents the IAF was arguably as much as danger to the Israeli troops as to the enemy.

After taking Abu Uwayulah, Adan committed all of his forces against the Ruafa ridge of the "Hedgehog". Adan began a three-pronged attack with one armored force striking northeastern edge of Ruafa, a mixed infantry/armored force attacking the north edge and a feint attack from a neighbouring knoll. During the evening attack on 31 October, a chaotic battle raged on Ruafa ridge with much hand-to-hand fighting. Through every IDF tank involved was destroyed, after a night's fighting, Ruafa had fallen to the IDF. Another IDF assault that night, this time by the 10th Infantry Brigade on Umm Qataf was less succcessful with much of the attacking force getting lost in the darkness, resulting in a series of confused attacks that ended in failure. Dayan, who had grown impatient with the failure to storm the "Hedgehog", sacked the 10th Brigade's commander Colonel Shmuel Golinda and replaced him with Colonel Israel Tal
Israel Tal
Israel Tal , also known as Talik , was an Israel Defense Forces general known for his knowledge of tank warfare and for leading the development of Israel's Merkava tank.-Biography:...

.

On the morning of 1 November, Israeli and French aircraft launched frequent napalm
Napalm
Napalm is a thickening/gelling agent generally mixed with gasoline or a similar fuel for use in an incendiary device, primarily as an anti-personnel weapon...

 attacks on the Egyptian troops at Umm Qataf. Joined by the 37th Armored Brigade, the 10th Brigade again assualted Umm Qataf, and was again defeated. However, the ferocity of the IDF assault combined with rapidly dwinding stocks of water and ammunition caused Colonel Mutawally to order a general retreat from the "Hedgehog" on the evening of 1 November.

The Gaza Strip operations


The city of Rafah
Rafah
Rafah , also known as Rafiah, is a Palestinian city in the southern Gaza Strip. Located south of Gaza, Rafah's population of 71,003 is overwhelmingly made up of Palestinian refugees. Rafah camp and Tall as-Sultan form separate localities. Rafah is the district capital of the Rafah Governorate...

 was strategically important to Israel because control of that city would sever the Gaza Strip
Gaza Strip
thumb|Gaza city skylineThe Gaza Strip lies on the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The Strip borders Egypt on the southwest and Israel on the south, east and north. It is about long, and between 6 and 12 kilometres wide, with a total area of...

 from the Sinai and provide a way to the main centres of the northern Sinai, al-Arish and al-Qantarah. Holding the forts outside of Rafah were a mixture of Egyptian and Palestinian forces in the 5th Infantry Brigade commanded by Brigadier General Jaafar al-Abd. In Rafah itself the 87th Palestinian Infantry Brigade was stationed. Assigned to capture Rafah were 1st Infantry Brigade led by Colonel Benjamin Givli and 27th Armored Brigade commanded by Colonel Haim Bar-Lev of the IDF. To the south of Rafah were a series of mine-filled sand dunes and to the north were a series of fortifed hills.

Daylan ordered the IDF forces to seize Crossroads 12 in the central Rafah area, and to focus on breaking through rather than reducing every Egyptian strongpoint. The IDF assault began with Israeli sappers and engineers clearing a path at night through the minefields that surrounded Rafah. French warships led by the cruiser Georges Leygues
French cruiser Georges Leygues
The Georges Leygues was a French light cruiser of the La Galissonnière class. During World War II, she served with both the Vichy France and Allies. She was named for the prominent 19th and 20th century French politician Georges Leygues....

 provided fire support, through Dayan had a low opinion of the French gunnery, complaining that French only struck the Egyptian reserves.

Using the two paths cleared through the southern minefields, IDF tanks entered the Rafah salient. Under Egyptian artillery fire, the IDF force raced ahead and took Crossroads 12 with the loss of 2 killed and 22 wounded. In the north, the Israeli troops fought a confused series of night actions, but were successful in storming Hills 25, 25A, 27 and 29 with the loss of six killed. In the morning of 1 November, Israeli AMX-13s encircled and took Hills 34 and 36. At that point, General al-Abd ordered his forces to abandon their posts outside of Rafah and retreat into the city.

With Rafah more or less cut off with Israeli forces controlling the northern and eastern roads leading into the city, Dayan ordered the AMX-13s of the 27th Armored Brigade to strike west and take al-Arish. By this point, Nasser had ordered his forces to fall back towards the Suez Canal, so at first the Bar-Lev and his men met little resistance as they advanced across the northern Sinai. Hearing of the order to withdraw, General al-Abd and his men left Rafah on the morning of 1 November through a gap in the Israeli lines, and headed back towards the Canal Zone. Three hours later, the Israelis took Rafah. After taking Rafah, there are reports that Israeli troops killed 111 people, including 103 refugees, in the Palestinian refugee camp of Rafah. Not until the Jeradi Pass in the northern Sinai did the IDF run into serious opposition. A series of hooking attacks that out-flanked the Egyptian positions combinded with air strikes led to an Egyptian defeat at the Jeradi Pass. On 2 November, Bar-Lev took al-Arish.

Meanwhile, the IDF had attacked the Egyptian defenses outside of Gaza City late on 1 November. After breaking through the Egyptian lines, the Israeli tanks headed into Gaza City. Joined by infantry, the Israelis attacked the al-Muntar fortress outside of Gaza City, killing or capturing 3,500 Egyptian National Guard troops. By noon of 2 November, there was no more Egyptian opposition in the Gaza City area. On 3 November, the IDF attacked Egyptian and Palestinian forces at Khan Yunis
Khan Yunis
Khan Yunis - often spelt Khan Younis or Khan Yunnis - is a city and adjacent refugee camp in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics the city, its refugee camp, and its immediate surroundings had a total population of 180,000 in 2006...

. After a fierce fightfire, the Sherman tanks of the IDF 37th Armored Brigade broke through the heavily fortifed lines outside of Khan Yunus held by the 86th Palestinian Brigade. After some street-fighting with Egyptian soldiers and Palestinian fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen
Palestinian fedayeen refers to militants or guerrillas of a nationalist orientation from among the Palestinian people...

, the IDF took Khan Yunis. There are claims that after taking Khan Yunis, the IDF committed a massacre. Israel maintained that the Palestinians were killed in street-fighting, while the Palestinians claimed that Israeli troops started executing unarmed Palestinians after the fall of Khan Yunis. The claims of a massacre were reported to the UN General Assembly on 15 December 1956 by the Director of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, Henry Labouisse, who reported from "trustworthy sources" that 275 people were killed in the massacre of which 140 were refugees and 135 local residents.

In both Gaza City and Khan Yunis, street-fighting between led to the deaths of "dozens, perhaps hundreds, of non-combatants". During the Gaza Strip fighting, anarchy reigned in the streets, and the warehouses belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) were sacked by Palestinian mobs, leading to a humanitarian crisis as many people in the Gaza were left without food and medicine. This was compounded by a widespread view in Israel that the responsibility for the care of the Palestinian refugees rested with the UNRWA, not Israel, which led the Israelis to be slow with providing aid. By noon of 3 November, the Isrealis had control of almost the entire Gaza Strip save for a few isolated strongpoints, which were soon attacked and taken.

The Sharm el-Sheikh operations


By 3 November, with the IDF having successfully taken the Gaza Strip, Arish, the Hedgehog, and Mitla Pass, Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

 was the last Israeli objective. The main difficulty faced by Colonel Abraham Yoffe's 9th Infantry Brigade was logistical. There were no good roads linking Ras an-Naqb to Sharm el-Sheikh. After taking the border town of Ras an-Naqb on 30 October, Daylan ordered Yoffe to wait until air superiority was ensured. To outflank Sharm el-Sheikh, Dayan ordered paratroopers to take the town of Tor in the western Sinai. The Egyptian forces at Sharm el-Sheikh had the advantage of holding one of the most strongly fortifed positions in the entire Sinai, but had been subjected to heavy Israeli air attacks from the beginning of the war. Yoffe set out for Sharm el-Sheikh on 2 November, and his major obstacles were the terrain and vehicle break-down. Israeli Navy ships provided support to the 9th Division during its advance. After numerous skirmishes on the outskirts of Sharm el-Sheikh, Yoffe ordered an attack on the port around midnight on 4 November. After four hours of heavy fighting, Yoffe ordered his men to retreat. On the morning of 5 November, Israeli forces launched a massive artillery barrage and napalm strikes against Egyptian forces defending Sharm el-Sheikh. At 9:30 am on 5 November, the Egyptian commander, Colonel Raouf Mahfouz Zaki, surrendered Sharm el-Sheikh.

Anglo-French task force


To support the invasion, large air forces had been deployed to Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

 and Malta
Malta
Malta , officially known as the Republic of Malta , is a Southern European country consisting of an archipelago situated in the centre of the Mediterranean, south of Sicily, east of Tunisia and north of Libya, with Gibraltar to the west and Alexandria to the east.Malta covers just over in...

 by Britain and France and many aircraft carrier
Aircraft carrier
An aircraft carrier is a warship designed with a primary mission of deploying and recovering aircraft, acting as a seagoing airbase. Aircraft carriers thus allow a naval force to project air power worldwide without having to depend on local bases for staging aircraft operations...

s were deployed. The two airbases on Cyprus were so congested that a third field which was in dubious condition had to be brought into use for French aircraft. Even RAF Luqa
RAF Luqa
Royal Air Force Luqa was a flying station and location of RAF Mediterranean Command headquarters of the Royal Air Force on the island of Malta during World War II...

 on Malta was extremely crowded with RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

 aircraft. The British deployed the aircraft carriers HMS Eagle
HMS Eagle (R05)
HMS Eagle was an aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy, in service 1951-1972. With her sister ship , she is one of the two largest British aircraft carriers yet built....

, Albion
HMS Albion (R07)
HMS Albion was a 22,000 ton Centaur-class light fleet carrier of the Royal Navy.-Construction and modifications:She was built by Swan Hunter & Wigham Richardson Ltd. Her keel was laid down in March 1944 and she was launched in May 1947...

 and Bulwark
HMS Bulwark (R08)
The sixth HMS Bulwark of the Royal Navy was a 22,000 tonne Centaur-class light fleet aircraft carrier.-Construction:Bulwark was laid down by the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast on 10 May 1945...

 and France had the battleship
Battleship
A battleship is a large armored warship with a main battery consisting of heavy caliber guns. Battleships were larger, better armed and armored than cruisers and destroyers. As the largest armed ships in a fleet, battleships were used to attain command of the sea and represented the apex of a...

 Jean Bart
French battleship Jean Bart (1940)
The Jean Bart was a French battleship of World War II named for the seventeenth-century seaman, privateer, and corsair Jean Bart.Derived from the Dunkerque class, Jean Bart were designed to counter the threat of the heavy ships of the Italian Navy...

 and aircraft carriers Arromanches and La Fayette
La Fayette (R96)
The La Fayette was an 11,000-ton that served French Navy as the from 1951 to 1963. She was the first French vessel named after the 18th century general Marquis de Lafayette...

 on station. In addition, HMS Ocean
HMS Ocean (R68)
HMS Ocean was a Royal Navy Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier of 13,190 tons built in Glasgow by Alexander Stephen and Sons. Her keel was laid in November 1942, and she was commissioned on 30 June 1945....

 and Theseus
HMS Theseus (R64)
HMS Theseus was a Colossus-class light fleet aircraft carrier of the Royal Navy. She was laid down in 1943 by Fairfield at Govan, and launched on 6 July 1944.-Workup and initial service:...

 acted as jumping-off points for Britain's helicopter
Helicopter
A helicopter is a type of rotorcraft in which lift and thrust are supplied by one or more engine-driven rotors. This allows the helicopter to take off and land vertically, to hover, and to fly forwards, backwards, and laterally...

-borne assault (the world's first).

Revise: Phases I and II


In the morning of 30 October Britain and France sent ultimatums to Egypt and Israel. They initiated Operation Musketeer
Operation Musketeer (1956)
Operation Musketeer was the Anglo-French-Israeli plan for the invasion of Egypt to capture the Suez Canal during the Suez Crisis. Israel had the additional objective to open the Straits of Tiran.-The operation:...

 on 31 October, with a bombing campaign. Nasser responded by sinking all 40 ships present in the canal closing it to all shipping – shipping would not move again until early 1957. Despite the risk of an invasion in the Canal Zone, Field Marshal Abdel Hakim Amer
Abdel Hakim Amer
Mohamed Abdel Hakim Amer was an Egyptian general and political leader. Born in Astal, Samallot, in the Al Minya Governorate in 1919, he served in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, took part in the 1952 Revolution and commanded the Egyptian Army in the Suez Crisis, the North Yemen Civil War and the...

 ordered Egyptian troops in the Sinai to stay put, as Amer confidently assured Nasser that the Egyptians could defeat the Israelis in the Sinai and then defeat the Anglo-French forces once they came ashore in the Canal Zone. Amer also advised Nasser to send more troops into the Sinai to inflict his promised defeat on Israel, even through there the risk of them being cut off if the Canal Zone was seized by Anglo-French forces was enormous. Not until late on October 31, did Nasser disregard Amer's rosy assessement and ordered his forces to disengage in the Sinai and to retreat back to the Canal Zone to face the expected Anglo-French invasion. Eden and Mollet ordered Phase I of Operation Revise to begin 13 hours after the Anglo-French ultimatum. British bombers based in Cyprus and Malta took off to Cairo with the aim of destroying Cairo airport, only to be personally ordered back by Eden when he learned that American civilians were being evacuated at Cairo airport. Fearful of the backlash that might result if American civilians were killed in a British bombing attack, Eden sent the Valiant bombers back to Malta while the Canberras were ordered to hit Almaza airbase outside of Cairo. British night bombing proved ineffective. Starting on the morning of 1 November, carrier-based de Havilland Sea Venoms, Chance-Vought Corsairs and Hawker Sea Hawk
Hawker Sea Hawk
The Hawker Sea Hawk was a British single-seat jet fighter of the Fleet Air Arm , the air branch of the Royal Navy , built by Hawker Aircraft and its sister company, Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. Although its origins stemmed from earlier Hawker piston-engined fighters, the Sea Hawk became the...

s began a series of daytime strikes on Egypt. By the night of 1 November the Egyptian Air Force had lost 200 planes. With the destruction of Egypt's air force, Keightley ordered the beginning of Revise Phase II. As part of Revise Phase II, a wide-ranging interdiction campaign began. On 3 November F4U-7 Corsairs from the 14.F and 15.F Aéronavale taking off from the French carriers Arromanches and La Fayette, attacked the aerodrome at Cairo
Cairo
Cairo , is the capital of Egypt and the largest city in the Arab world and Africa, and the 16th largest metropolitan area in the world. Nicknamed "The City of a Thousand Minarets" for its preponderance of Islamic architecture, Cairo has long been a centre of the region's political and cultural life...

.

The very aggressive French General Beaufre suggested at once that Anglo-French forces seize the Canal Zone with airborne landings instead of waiting the planned ten days for Revise II to be worked through, and that the risk of sending in paratroops without the prospect of sea-borne landings for several days be taken. By 3 November, Beaufre finally convinced Keightley and Stockwell of the merits of his approach, and gained the approval for Operation Telescope as Beaufre had code-named the airborne assault on the Canal Zone.

Telescope Modified: the Paratroops land


On late 5 November, an advance element of the 3rd Battalion of the British Parachute Regiment
3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment
The 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment is a battalion sized formation of the British Army's Parachute Regiment and subordinate unit within 16 Air Assault Brigade....

 dropped on El Gamil
El Gamil
El Gamil is a fortress with an airfield in Port Said Governorate, Egypt. It was the landing site of British paratroopers in the 1956 war....

 Airfield, a narrow strip of land led by Brigadier M.A.H. Butler. The "Red Devils" could not return Egyptian fire while landing, but once the paratroops landed, they used their Sten guns, three-inch mortars and anti-tank weapons with great effect. Having taken the airfield with a dozen casualites, the remainder of the battalion flew in by helicopter. The Battalion then secured the area around the airfield. During the ensuring street fighting, the Egyptian forces engaged in methodical tactics, fighting on the defense while inflicting maximum casualties and retreating only when overwhelming force was brought to bear. In particular, the SU100s proved to be a formiable weapon in urban combat. The British forces moved up towards Port Said with air support before digging in at 13:00 to hold until the beach assault. With close support from carrier-based Wyverns, the British paratroops took Port Said's sewage works and the cemetery while becoming engaged in a pitched battle for the Coast Guard barracks.

At the same time, Lieutenant Colonel Pierre Chateau-Jobert landed with a force of the 2e RPC at Raswa. Raswa imposed the problem of a small drop zone surrounded by water, but General Jacques Massu
Jacques Massu
Jacques Émile Massu was a French general who fought in World War II, the First Indochina War, the Algerian War and the Suez crisis.-Early life:Jacques Massu was born in Châlons-sur-Marne to a family of military officers; his father was an artillery officer...

 of the 10th Parachute Division assured Beaufre that this was not an insolvable problem for his men. 500 heavily armed paratroopers of the French 2nd Colonial Parachute Regiment
2nd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment
The 2nd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment is an Airborne regiment in the French Army. It is heir to the traditions of the Free French and colonial paratroopers. As of 2008 it is stationed at Saint-Pierre, Réunion.-History:...

 (2ème RPC), hastily redeployed from combat in Algeria, jumped over the al-Raswa bridges from Noratlas Nord 2501
Nord Noratlas
The Nord Noratlas was a 1950s French military transport aircraft intended to replace the older types in service at the end of World War II. Several hundred were produced in a run lasting over a decade, finding a wide variety of uses.-Development:...

 transports of the Escadrille de Transport (ET) 1/61 and ET 3/61, together with some combat engineers of the Guards Independent Parachute Company. Despite the loss of two soldiers, the western bridge was swiftly secured by the paras, and F4U Corsair
F4U Corsair
The Vought F4U Corsair was a carrier-capable fighter aircraft that saw service primarily in World War II and the Korean War. Demand for the aircraft soon overwhelmed Vought's manufacturing capability, resulting in production by Goodyear and Brewster: Goodyear-built Corsairs were designated FG and...

s of the Aéronavale 14.F and 15.F flew a series of close-air-support missions, destroying several SU-100
SU-100
The SU-100 was a Soviet tank destroyer. It was used extensively during the last year of World War II and saw service for many years afterwards with the armies of Soviet allies around the world.- Development :...

 tank destroyers. F-84Fs also hit two large oil storage tanks in Port Said, which went up in flames and covered most of the city in a thick cloud of smoke for the next several days. Egyptian resistance varied, with some positions fighting back until destroyed, while others were abandoned with little resistance. The French paratroops stormed and took Port Said's waterworks that morning, an important objective to control in a city in the desert. Chateau-Jobert followed up this success by beginning an attack on Port Fuad. Derek Varble, the American military historian, later wrote "Air support and fierce French assaults transformed the fighting at Port Fuad into a rout". During the fighting in the Canal Zone, the French paratroops often practiced their "no-prisoners'" code and executed Egyptian POWs.

The Egyptian commander at Port Said, General Salahedin Moguy then proposed a truce. His offer was taken up, and in the ensuring meeting with General Butler, Chateau-Jobert and General Massu, was offered the terms of surrendering the city and marching his men to the Gamil airfield to taken off to POW camps in Cyprus. Moguy had no interest in surrendering and only made the truce offer to buy time for his men to dig in. Strongly supported by British Admiral Manley Laurence Power, Beaufre urged that the sea-borne landings be accelerated and that Allied forces land the very next day. In this, Beaufre was opposed by Stockwell and Knightley who wished to stick with the original plan. Stockwell was always in favour of rigidly following already agreed to plans, and was most reluctant to see any changes, whereas Beaufre was all for changing plans to match with changed circumstances. The differences between Stockwell and Beaufre were summarized by the American historian Derek Varble as: "Stockwell favored existing plans; their methodical construction and underlying staff work reduced risks. Beaufre, by contrast an opportunist, saw plans merely a means to an end, without much inherent value. For him, altered circumstances or assumptions provided adequate justfication to jettison part or all of the original plan".

The Royal Marines come ashore at Port Said


At first light on 6 November, Commandos
British Commandos
The British Commandos were formed during the Second World War in June 1940, following a request from the British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, for a force that could carry out raids against German-occupied Europe...

 of Nos 42 Commando
42 Commando
42 Commando Royal Marines is a battalion sized formation of the British Royal Marines and a subordinate unit within 3 Commando Brigade, the principal Commando formation, under the Operational Command of Commander in Chief Fleet....

 and 40 Commando Royal Marines
40 Commando
40 Commando RM is a battalion sized formation of the British Royal Marines and subordinate unit within 3 Commando Brigade, the principal Commando formation, under the Operational Command of Commander in Chief Fleet....

 stormed the beaches, using landing craft
Landing craft
Landing craft are boats and seagoing vessels used to convey a landing force from the sea to the shore during an amphibious assault. Most renowned are those used to storm the beaches of Normandy, the Mediterranean, and many Pacific islands during WWII...

 of World War II vintage (Landing Craft Assault
Landing Craft Assault
The Landing Craft Assault was a British landing craft used extensively in World War II. Its primary purpose was to ferry troops from transport ships to attack enemy-held shores. The craft derived from a prototype designed by John I. Thornycroft Ltd. During the war it was manufactured throughout...

 and Landing Vehicle Tracked
Landing Vehicle Tracked
The Landing Vehicle Tracked was a class of amphibious vehicles introduced by the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Army during World War II. Originally intended solely as cargo carriers for ship to shore operations, they rapidly evolved into assault troop and fire support vehicles as well...

). The battlegroup standing offshore opened fire, giving covering fire for the landings and causing considerable damage to the Egyptian batteries and gun emplacements. The town of Port Said
Port Said
Port Said is a city that lies in north east Egypt extending about 30 km along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, north of the Suez Canal, with an approximate population of 603,787...

 sustained great damage and was seen to be alight. The men of 42 Commando as much as possible chose to by-pass Egyptian positions and focused on trying to break through inland. The Royal Marines of 40 Commando had the advantage of being supported by Centurion tanks as they landed on Sierra Red beach. Upon entering downtown Port Said, the Marines became engaged in fierce urban combat as the Egyptians used the Casino Palace Hotel and other strongpoints as fortresses.

Nasser proclaimed the Suez War to be a "people's war". As such, Egyptian troops were ordered to don civilian clothes while guns were freely handed out to Egyptian civilians. From Nasser's point of view, a "people's war" presented the British and French with an insolvable dilemma. If the Allies reacted aggressively to the "people's war", then that would result in the deaths of innocent civilians and thus bring world sympathy to his cause while weakening morale on the home front in Britain and France. If the Allies reacted cautiously to the "people's war", than that would result in Allied forces becoming bogged down by sniper attacks, who had the advantage of attacking "...with near impunity by hiding among crowds of apparent non-combatants". These tactics worked especially well against the British. British leaders, especially Eden and the First Sea Lord
First Sea Lord
The First Sea Lord is the professional head of the Royal Navy and the whole Naval Service; it was formerly known as First Naval Lord. He also holds the title of Chief of Naval Staff, and is known by the abbreviations 1SL/CNS...

 Admiral Sir Louis Montbatten
Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma
Admiral of the Fleet Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas George Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, KG, GCB, OM, GCSI, GCIE, GCVO, DSO, PC, FRS , was a British statesman and naval officer, and an uncle of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh...

 were afraid of being labelled "murderers and baby killers", and sincerely attempted to limit Egyptian civilian deaths. Eden frequently interfered with Revise Phrase I and II bombing, striking off various targets that he felt were likely to cause excessive civilian deaths, and restricted the gun sizes that could be used at the Port Said landings, again to minimize civilian deaths. The American historian Derek Varble commented that the paradox between Eden's concern for Egyptian civilians and the object of Revise Phrase II bombing, which was intended to terrorize the Egyptian people was never resolved. Despite Eden's best efforts, British bombing still killed hundreds of Egyptian civilians during Revise II, through these deaths were due more to imprecise aiming rather then a deliberate policy of "area bombing" a la like that employed against Germany in World War II At Port Said, the heavy fighting in the streets and the resulting fires destroyed much of the city, killing thousands of civilians

In the afternoon, 522 additional French paras of the 1er REP (Régiment Étranger Parachutiste, 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
1st Foreign Parachute Regiment
The 1st Foreign Parachute Regiment was an airborne unit of the Foreign Legion. It fought in the First Indochina War, Suez Crisis and Algerian War, but was disbanded after taking part in a putsch against the French government in 1961....

) were dropped near Port Fouad
Port Fouad
Port Fuad is a city in north-eastern Egypt under the jurisdiction of Port Said Governorate, located across the Suez Canal from Port Said. It forms the northwesternmost part of Sinai Peninsula and has a population of 560,000...

. These were also constantly supported by the Corsairs of the French Aéronavale, which flew very intensive operations: for example, although the French carrier La Fayette developed catapult problems, no less than 40 combat sorties were completed. The French were aided by AMX-13
AMX-13
The AMX-13 is a French light tank produced from 1953 to 1985. It served with the French Army and was exported to over twenty-five other nations...

 light tanks. While clearing Port Fuad, the Ier Regiment Etranger Parachutiste killed 100 Egyptians without losing a man in return. In total, 10 French soldiers were killed and 30 injured during the landing and the subsequent battles.

British commandos of No. 45 Commando
45 Commando
45 Commando Royal Marines is a battalion sized unit of the British Royal Marines and subordinate unit within 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines, the principal Commando formation, under the Operational Command of Commander in Chief Fleet....

 assaulted by helicopter, meeting stiff resistance, with shore batteries striking several helicopters, while friendly fire
Friendly fire
Friendly fire is inadvertent firing towards one's own or otherwise friendly forces while attempting to engage enemy forces, particularly where this results in injury or death. A death resulting from a negligent discharge is not considered friendly fire...

 from British carrier-borne aircraft caused casualties to 45 Commando and HQ. The helicopter borne assault of 45 Commando was the first time helicopters were used by UK Forces to lift men directly into a combat zone. Lieutenant Colonel N.H. Tailyour, who was leading 45 Commando was landed by mistake in a stadium still under Egyptian control resulting in a very hasty retreat. Street fighting and house clearing, with strong opposition from well-entrenched Egyptian sniper
Sniper
A sniper is a marksman who shoots targets from concealed positions or distances exceeding the capabilities of regular personnel. Snipers typically have specialized training and distinct high-precision rifles....

 positions, caused further casualties. Especially fierce fighting took place at the Port Said's Customs House and Navy House. The Egyptians destroyed Port Said's Inner Harbour, which forced the British to improvise and use the Fishing Harbour to land their forces. The 2nd Bn of the Parachute Regiment landed by ship in the harbour. Centurion tank
Centurion tank
The Centurion, introduced in 1945, was the primary British main battle tank of the post-World War II period. It was a successful tank design, with upgrades, for many decades...

s of the British 6th Royal Tank Regiment
6th Royal Tank Regiment
The 6th Royal Tank Regiment was a regiment of the Royal Tank Regiment, of the British Army, until 1959. It originally saw action as 6th Battalion Tank Corps in 1917.-First World War:...

 were landed and by 12:00 they had reached the French paratroops. While the British were landing at Port Said, the men of the 2 RPC at Raswa fought off Egyptian counter-attacks featuring SU100 self-propelled guns.

After establishing themselves in a position in downtown Port Said, 42 Commando headed down the Shari Muhammat Ali, the main north-south road to link up with the French forces at the Raswa bridge and the Inner Basin lock. While doing so, the Marines also took Port Said's gasworks. Meanwhile, 40 Commando supported by the Royal Tank Regiment remained engaged in clearing the downtown of Egyptian snipers. Colonel Tailyour arranged for more reinforcements to be brought in via helicopter.

Hearing rumours that Moguy wished to surrender, both Stockwell and Beaufre left their command ship HMS Tyne for Port Said. Upon landing, they learned the rumours were not true. Instead of returning to the Tyne, both Stockwell and Beaufre spent the day in Port Said, and were thus cut off from the news. Only late in the day did Beaufre and Stockwell learn of the acceptance of the United Nations ceasefire. Rather than focusing on breaking out to take al-Qantarah, the Royal Marines became bogged down in clearing every building in Port Said of snipers. The Centurions of the Royal Tank Regiment supported by the paratroops of 2 RPC began a slow advance down to al-Qantarah on the night of 6 November. Egyptian sniper attacks and the need to clear every building led to the 3 para to be slowed in their attempts to link up with the Royal Marines. When Stockwell learned of the ceasefire to come into effect in five hours time at 9: 00 pm, he ordered Colonel Gibbon and his Centurions to race down and take al-Qantarah with all speed in order to improve the Allied barganing position. What followed was a confused series of melee actions down the road to al-Qantarah that ended with the British forces at al-Cap, a small village four miles north of al-Qantarah at 2:00 am, when the ceasefire came into effect.

Total British dead were 16, with 96 wounded. Total French dead were ten and the Israelis lost 189. The number of Egyptians killed was "never reliably established". It is estimated 650 were killed by the Anglo-French operation and between 1,000 and 3,000 were killed by Israel.

Arab Volunteers


Jules Jammal
Jules Jammal
Jules Yusuf Jammal was a Syrian Arab Christian military officer who martyred himself in a suicide bomb attack during the 1956 Suez Crisis against western forces.-Military Career and Death:...

 was an Arab Christian military officer in the Syrian navy. He volunteered in the name of Arab nationalism to launch a suicide bomb attack against the western forces in the 1956 Suez Crisis
Suez Crisis
The Suez Crisis, also referred to as the Tripartite Aggression, Suez War was an offensive war fought by France, the United Kingdom, and Israel against Egypt beginning on 29 October 1956. Less than a day after Israel invaded Egypt, Britain and France issued a joint ultimatum to Egypt and Israel,...

. Israel, Britain, and France had invaded Egypt to seize the Suez canal. On October 29, 1956, Jules activated a suicide bomb
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

 while ramming his boat into the Jeanne D’Arc, which was a French ship, exploding himself and bringing down the French ship with him.http://www.syrianhistory.com/view-photo/1021/Jules+Jammal+(1932-1956),+the+famous+officer+in+the+Syrian+Navy+who+fought+in+the+Suez+Canal+war+of+1956

Anti-War Protests in Britain


The news of the invasion sparked protests against the war in Britain. On the popular television talk show Free Speech, an especially bitter debate took place on 31 October with the leftist historian A. J. P. Taylor
A. J. P. Taylor
Alan John Percivale Taylor, FBA was a British historian of the 20th century and renowned academic who became well known to millions through his popular television lectures.-Early life:...

 and the Labour journalist and future party leader Michael Foot
Michael Foot
Michael Mackintosh Foot, FRSL, PC was a British Labour Party politician, journalist and author, who was a Member of Parliament from 1945 to 1955 and from 1960 until 1992...

 (who were opposed to the war) calling their colleague on Free Speech, the Conservative M.P. Robert Boothby a “criminal” for supporting the war. One television critic spoke of Free Speech during the Suez war that “the team seemed to not only on the verge of, but actually losing their tempers...Boothby boomed, Foot fumed and Taylor trephined, with apparent real malice…”. The angry, passionate, much-watched debates about the Suez war on Free Speech mirrored the divided public response to the war. The British historian A. N. Wilson
A. N. Wilson
Andrew Norman Wilson is an English writer and newspaper columnist, known for his critical biographies, novels, works of popular history and religious views...

 wrote that "The letters to The Times caught the mood of the country , with great majority opposing military intervention...". The journalist Malcolm Muggeridge
Malcolm Muggeridge
Thomas Malcolm Muggeridge was an English journalist, author, media personality, and satirist. During World War II, he was a soldier and a spy...

 and actor Robert Speaight
Robert Speaight
Robert Speaight was a British actor and writer, and the brother of George Speaight the puppeteer.He was an early performer in radio plays. He came to prominence as Becket in the first production of T. S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral. He went on to Shakespearean roles, and to direct.He also...

 wrote in a public letter that:
"The bitter division in public opinion provoked by the British intervention in the Middle East has already had one disastrous consequence. It has deflected popular attention from the far more important struggle in Hungary. A week ago the feelings of the British people were fused in a single flame of admiration for the courage and apparent success of the Hungarian revolt. Now, that success seems threatened by Russian treachery and brute force, and Hungary has appealed to the West...It is the first, and perhaps will prove the only opportunity to reverse the calamitous decisions of Yalta...The Prime Minister has told us that 50 million tons of British shipping are at stake in his dispute with President Nasser. What is at stake in Central Europe are rather more than 50 million souls. It may be objected that it it is not so easy to help the Hungarians; to this excuse they are entitled to reply that it was not so easy to help themselves".
Lady Violet Bonham Carter
Violet Bonham Carter
Helen Violet Bonham Carter, Baroness Asquith of Yarnbury, DBE was a British politician and diarist. She was the daughter of H. H. Asquith, Prime Minister from 1908-1916, and later became active in Liberal politics herself, being a leading opponent of appeasement, standing for Parliament and being...

, who was one of the leading lights of the Liberal Party wrote in a letter to the Times that:
"I am one of the millions who watching the martyrdom of Hungary and listening yesterday to the transmission of her agonizing appeals of help (immediately followed by our "successful bombings" of Egyptian "targets") who have felt a humiliation, shame and anger which are beyond expression...We cannot order Soviet Russia to obey the edict of the United Nations which we ourselve have defied, nor to withdraw her tanks and guns from Hungary while we are bombing and invading Egypt. Today we are standing in the dock with Russia...Never in my lifetime has our name stood so low in the eyes of the world. Never have we stood so ingloriously alone."
According to public opinion polls at the time, 37% of the British people supported the war while 44% were opposed. The Observer newspaper in a leader (editorial) attacked the Eden government for its "folly and crookedness" in attacking Egypt while the Manchester Guardian urged its readers to write letters of protest to their MPs. The Economist spoke of the "strange union of cynicism and hysteria" in the government and The Spectator stated that Eden would soon have to face "a terrible indictment". The British historian Barry Turner wrote that:
"The public reaction to press comment highlighted the divisions within the country. But there was no doubt that Eden still commanded strong support from a sizable minority, maybe even a majority, of voters who thought that it was about time that the upset Arabs should be taught a lesson. The Observer and Guardian lost readers; so too did the News Chronicle, a liberal newspaper that was soon to fold as a result of falling ciruclation."


The Labour Party and the Trade Union Congress organized nation-wide anti-war protests, starting on 1 November under the slogan “Law, not war!” On 4 November, at an anti-war rally in Trafalgar Square attended by 30, 000 people (making it easily the biggest rally in London since 1945), the Labour M.P. Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin Bevan
Aneurin "Nye" Bevan was a British Labour Party politician who was the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party from 1959 until his death in 1960. The son of a coal miner, Bevan was a lifelong champion of social justice and the rights of working people...

 accused the government of “a policy of bankruptcy and despair”. Bevan stated at the Trafalgar rally:
"We are stronger than Egypt but there are other countries stronger than us. Are we prepared to accept for ourselves the logic we are applying to Egypt? If nations more powerful than ourselves accept the absence of principle, the anarchistic attitude of Eden and launch bombs on London, what answer have we got, what complaint have we got? If we are going to appeal to force, if force is to be the arbiter to which we appeal, it would at least make common sense to try to make sure beforehand that we have got it, even if you accept that abysmal logic, that decadent point of view.

We are in fact in the position today of having appealed to force in the case of a small nation, where if it is appealed to against us it will result in the destruction of Great Britain, not only as a nation, but as an island containing living men and women. Therefore I say to Anthony, I say to the British government, there is no count at all upon which they can be defended.

They have besmirched the name of Britain. They have made us ashamed of the things of which formerly we were proud. They have offended against every principle of decency and there is only way in which they can even begin to restore their tarnished reputation and that is to get out! Get out! Get out!"
Inspired by Bevan’s speech, the crowd at Trafalgar Square then marched on 10 Downing Street chanting “Eden Must Go!”, and attempted to storm the Prime Minister’s residence. The ensuring clashes between the police and the demonstrators which were captured by television cameras had a huge demoralizing effect on the morale of the Eden cabinet. This was especially the case as the cabinet happened to be holding a meeting at 10 Downing at the time when the anti-war demonstrators tried to storm the Prime Minister's home. The British historian A.N. Wilson wrote that:
"...the bulk of the press, the Labour Party and that equally influential party, the left-learning London dinner party, were all against Suez together with the rent-a-mob of poets, dons, clergy and ankle-socked female graduates who deplored British action, they did not necessarily constitue the majority of unexpressed public opinion"
The economist Roy Harrod
Roy Harrod
Sir Henry Roy Forbes Harrod was an English economist. He is best known for his biography of John Maynard Keynes and the development of the Harrod–Domar model, which he and Evsey Domar developed independently...

 wrote at the time that the "more level-headed British, whom I believe to be in the majority through not the most vocal" were supporting the "notable act of courage and statesmanship" of the government. However, modern historians contend that the majority of public opinion at the time was on Eden's side.Eden resigned as prime minister in January 1957, and Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 succeeded him as prime minister to set about revitalising a dispirited and demoralised Conservative
Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

 government, as well as repairing the economic damage that the crisis had done to the British economy.

International reaction


The operation, aimed at taking control of the Suez Canal, Gaza
Gaza
Gaza , also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of about 450,000, making it the largest city in the Palestinian territories.Inhabited since at least the 15th century BC,...

, and parts of Sinai, was highly successful for the invaders from a military point of view, but was a disaster from a political point of view, resulting in international criticism and diplomatic pressure. Along with the Suez crisis, the United States was also dealing with the near-simultaneous Hungarian revolution; as events unfolded, the U.S. decided it could not criticise outside Soviet suppression of the Hungarian revolt and simultaneously avoid opposing outside aggression by its two principal European allies and Israel. Despite having no commercial or military interest in the area, many countries were concerned with what was a growing rift between Western allied nations.

While Israel refused to withdraw its troops from the Gaza Strip and Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh
Sharm el-Sheikh is a city situated on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, in South Sinai Governorate, Egypt, on the coastal strip along the Red Sea. Its population is approximately 35,000...

, Eisenhower declared, "We must not allow Europe to go flat on its back for the want of oil." He sought UN-backed efforts to impose economic sanctions on Israel until it fully withdrew from Egyptian territory. Senate Majority Leader Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 and minority leader William Knowland objected to American pressure on Israel. Johnson told the Secretary of State John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

 that he wanted him to oppose "with all its skill" any attempt to apply sanctions on Israel.

Dulles rebuffed Johnson's request, and informed Eisenhower of the objections made by the Senate. Eisenhower was "insistent on applying economic sanctions" to the extent of cutting off private American assistance to Israel which was estimated to be over $100 million a year. Ultimately, the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

-controlled Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 would not cooperate with Eisenhower's position on Israel. Eisenhower finally told Congress he would take the issue to the American people, saying, "America has either one voice or none, and that voice is the voice of the President - whether everybody agrees with him or not." The President spoke to the nation by radio and television where he outlined Israel's refusal to withdraw, explaining his belief that the UN had "no choice but to exert pressure upon Israel."

On 30 October, the Security Council held a meeting, at the request of the United States, when it submitted a draft resolution calling upon Israel immediately to withdraw its armed forces behind the established armistice lines. It was not adopted because of British and French vetoes. A similar draft resolution sponsored by the Soviet Union was also rejected. On 31 October, also as planned
Protocol of Sèvres
The Protocol of Sèvres was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel, France and the United Kingdom during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres, France...

, France and the UK launched an air attack against targets in Egypt, which was followed shortly by a landing of their troops at the northern end of the Canal Zone. Later that day, considering the grave situation created by the actions against Egypt, and with lack of unanimity among the permanent members preventing it from exercising its primary responsibility to maintain international peace and security, the Security Council passed Resolution 119
United Nations Security Council Resolution 119
United Nations Security Council Resolution 119, adopted on October 31, 1956, considering the grave situation created by action undertaken against Egypt and the lack of unanimity of its permanent members at previous meetings, the Council felt it had been prevented from exercising its responsibility...

; it decided to call an emergency special session of the General Assembly
United Nations General Assembly
For two articles dealing with membership in the General Assembly, see:* General Assembly members* General Assembly observersThe United Nations General Assembly is one of the five principal organs of the United Nations and the only one in which all member nations have equal representation...

 for the first time
First emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly
The first emergency special session of the United Nations General Assembly was convened on 1 November and ended on 10 November 1956 resolving the Suez Crisis by creating the United Nations Emergency Force to provide an international presence between the belligerents in the canal zone...

, as provided in the 1950 "Uniting for Peace" resolution, in order to make appropriate recommendations to end the fighting.

The emergency special session was convened 1 November; the same day Nasser requested diplomatic assistance from the U.S., without requesting the same from the Soviet Union; he was at first skeptical of the efficacy of US diplomatic efforts at the UN, but later gave full credit to Eisenhower's role in stopping the war. In the early hours of 2 November, the General Assembly adopted the United States' proposal for Resolution 997 (ES-I); it called for an immediate ceasefire, the withdrawal of all forces behind the armistice lines, an arms embargo, and the reopening of the Suez Canal, which was blocked. The Secretary-General was requested to observe and report promptly on compliance to both the Security Council and General Assembly, for further action as deemed appropriate in accordance with the U N Charter. Over the next several days, the emergency special session consequently adopted a series of enabling resolutions, which established the first United Nations Emergency Force
United Nations Emergency Force
The first United Nations Emergency Force was established by United Nations General Assembly to secure an end to the 1956 Suez Crisis with resolution 1001 on November 7, 1956. The force was developed in large measure as a result of efforts by UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjöld and a proposal...

 (UNEF), on 7 November by Resolution 1001. This proposal of the emergency force and the resulting cease-fire was made possible primarily through the efforts of, Lester B. Pearson
Lester B. Pearson
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis...

, the Secretary of External Affairs of Canada, and Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hammarskjöld
Dag Hjalmar Agne Carl Hammarskjöld was a Swedish diplomat, economist, and author. An early Secretary-General of the United Nations, he served from April 1953 until his death in a plane crash in September 1961. He is the only person to have been awarded a posthumous Nobel Peace Prize. Hammarskjöld...

, the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The role of Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru
Jawaharlal Nehru , often referred to with the epithet of Panditji, was an Indian statesman who became the first Prime Minister of independent India and became noted for his “neutralist” policies in foreign affairs. He was also one of the principal leaders of India’s independence movement in the...

, both as Indian Prime minister and a leader of the Non Aligned Movement was significant; he tried to be even-handed between the two sides, while denouncing Eden and co-sponsors of the aggression vigorously. Nehru had a powerful ally in the US president Dwight Eisenhower who, if relatively silent publicly, went to the extent of using America’s clout in the IMF to make Eden and Mollet back down. Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

 and Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 went so far as to suggest ejecting Britain and France from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defense pact if they didn't withdraw from Egypt. Nehru achieved his objective of protecting Egypt’s sovereignty and Nasser's honour; the Suez War ended in Britain's humiliation and Eden later resigned. Britain and France agreed to withdraw from Egypt within a week; Israel did not.

Meanwhile on 7 November in Israel, David Ben-Gurion addressed the Knesset
Knesset
The Knesset is the unicameral legislature of Israel, located in Givat Ram, Jerusalem.-Role in Israeli Government :The legislative branch of the Israeli government, the Knesset passes all laws, elects the President and Prime Minister , approves the cabinet, and supervises the work of the government...

 in a victory speech that would set Israel on a collision course with the UN, the US and others. He declared a great victory and that the 1949 armistice agreement with Egypt was dead and buried, and that the armistice lines were no longer valid and could not be restored. Under no circumstances would Israel agree to the stationing of UN forces on its territory or in any area it occupied. He also made an oblique reference to his intention to annex the Sinai Peninsula. Isaac Alteras writes that Ben-Gurion 'was carried away by the resounding victory against Egypt' and while 'a statesman well known for his sober realism, [he] took flight in dreams of grandeur.' The speech marked the beginning of a four-month-long diplomatic struggle, culminating in withdrawal from all territory, under conditions far less palatable than those envisioned in the speech, but with conditions for sea access to Eilat and a UNEF presence on Egyptian soil. The speech immediately drew increased international pressure on Israel to withdraw. Later on 7 November in New York, the emergency session passed Resolution 1002, again calling for the immediate withdrawal of Israeli troops to behind the armistice lines, and for the immediate withdrawal of UK and French troops from Egyptian territory. After a long Israeli cabinet meeting late on 8 November, Ben-Gurion informed Eisenhower that Israel declared its willingness to accept withdrawal of Israeli forces from Sinai, 'when satisfactory arrangements are made with the international force that is about to enter the canal zone.'

The Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 applied military pressure, threatening to intervene on the Egyptian side, and to launch rocket attacks on Britain, France and Israel. Although the Soviet Union's position in the Crisis was as helpless as was the United States' regarding Hungary's uprising, Premier Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin was a prominent Soviet politician, who served as Minister of Defense and Premier of the Soviet Union . The Bulganin beard is named after him.-Early career:...

 sent written thunderbolts from the Kremlin to London, Paris and Tel Aviv. The Soviet leader's notes used threatening phrases like "rocket weapons", "third world war", "use of force" and a threat to "the very existence of Israel", all open enough to interpretation to be an effective bluff. Eisenhower's reaction to these threats was, "If those fellows start something, we may have to hit 'em – and, if necessary, with everything in the bucket." Eisenhower immediately ordered the U-2s into action over Syria and Israel to search for any Soviet airforces on Syrian bases, so the British and French could destroy them. He told Under Secretary of State Herbert Hoover Jr. and CIA director Allan Dulles, "If the Soviets attack the French and British directly, we would be in a war and we would be justified in taking military action even if Congress were not in session." Eden was not worried by the apparent Soviet threat, since Britain was itself a nuclear power and his government had extensive knowledge of all the Soviet Union's weapons. Bulganin accused Ben-Gurion of supporting European colonialism, and Mollet of hypocrisy for leading a socialist government while pursuing a right-wing foreign policy. He did however concede in his letter to Eden that Britain had legitimate interests in Egypt.

Bulganin's threats were ironically of some use to the British and French "aggressors", since they succeeded in concentrating the American mind. Eisenhower rejected a written offer from Bulganin for a joint US-Soviet force, since he felt this was no more than a camouflage for the Soviet invasion of Hungary. In doing so the United States made it officially clear that any Soviet attack on the UK of France would be met with a full NATO - which meant United States - response. Furthermore, on the evening of 5 November, when the Soviets tried to initiate a debate in the Security Council about the British and French refusal to halt the "aggression", the US voted against them.

Financial pressure


The United States also put financial pressure on the UK to end the invasion. Because the Bank of England had lost $45 million between 30 October and 2 November, and the UK's oil supply had been damaged by the closing of the Suez Canal, the British sought immediate assistance from the IMF, but it was denied by the United States. Eisenhower in fact ordered his Secretary of the Treasury, George M. Humphrey
George M. Humphrey
George Magoffin Humphrey was an American lawyer, businessman and Cabinet secretary.Raised in Edenbronx, Humphrey received both his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Michigan. After practicing law in his hometown for five years with his father's farm, he accepted a position with...

, to prepare to sell part of the US Government's Sterling Bond holdings. The US Government held these bonds in part to aid post war Britain's economy (during the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

), and as partial payment of Britain's enormous World War II debt to the US Government, American corporations, and individuals. It was also part of the overall effort of Marshall Plan
Marshall Plan
The Marshall Plan was the large-scale American program to aid Europe where the United States gave monetary support to help rebuild European economies after the end of World War II in order to combat the spread of Soviet communism. The plan was in operation for four years beginning in April 1948...

 aid, in the rebuilding of the Western European economies. The UK government considered invading Kuwait
Kuwait
The State of Kuwait is a sovereign Arab state situated in the north-east of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia. It is bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south at Khafji, and Iraq to the north at Basra. It lies on the north-western shore of the Persian Gulf. The name Kuwait is derived from the...

 and Qatar
Qatar
Qatar , also known as the State of Qatar or locally Dawlat Qaṭar, is a sovereign Arab state, located in the Middle East, occupying the small Qatar Peninsula on the northeasterly coast of the much larger Arabian Peninsula. Its sole land border is with Saudi Arabia to the south, with the rest of its...

 if oil sanctions were put in place by the US.

Britain's then Chancellor of the Exchequer
Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Chancellor of the Exchequer is the title held by the British Cabinet minister who is responsible for all economic and financial matters. Often simply called the Chancellor, the office-holder controls HM Treasury and plays a role akin to the posts of Minister of Finance or Secretary of the...

, Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

, advised his Prime Minister, Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

, that the United States was fully prepared to carry out this threat. He also warned his Prime Minister that Britain's foreign exchange reserves simply could not sustain the devaluation of the pound that would come after the United States' actions; and that within weeks of such a move, the country would be unable to import the food and energy supplies needed simply to sustain the population on the islands. However, there were suspicions in the Cabinet that Macmillan had deliberately overstated the financial situation in order to force Eden out. What Treasury officials had told Macmillan was far less serious than the version he told to the Cabinet.

In concert with U.S. actions Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , commonly known in British English as Saudi Arabia and in Arabic as as-Sa‘ūdiyyah , is the largest state in Western Asia by land area, constituting the bulk of the Arabian Peninsula, and the second-largest in the Arab World...

 started an oil embargo
Embargo
An embargo is the partial or complete prohibition of commerce and trade with a particular country, in order to isolate it. Embargoes are considered strong diplomatic measures imposed in an effort, by the imposing country, to elicit a given national-interest result from the country on which it is...

 against Britain and France. The U.S. refused to fill the gap until Britain and France agreed to a rapid withdrawal. The other NATO members refused to sell oil they received from Arab nations to Britain or France.

Cease fire


The British government faced political and economic pressure. Sir Anthony Eden, the British Prime Minister
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the Head of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister and Cabinet are collectively accountable for their policies and actions to the Sovereign, to Parliament, to their political party and...

, announced a cease fire on 6 November, warning neither France nor Israel beforehand. Troops were still in Port Said and on operational manoeuvres when the order came from London. Port Said had been overrun and the military assessment was that the Suez Canal could have been completely taken within 24 hours. Eisenhower initially agreed to meet with Eden and Mollet to resolve their differences, but then cancelled the proposed meeting after Secretary of State Dulles advised him it risked inflaming the Middle Eastern situation further. Eisenhower was not in favour of an immediate withdrawal of British, French and Israeli troops until the US ambassador to the United Nations, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr.
Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. was a Republican United States Senator from Massachusetts and a U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, South Vietnam, West Germany, and the Holy See . He was the Republican nominee for Vice President in the 1960 Presidential election.-Early life:Lodge was born in Nahant,...

 pushed for it. Eden's predecessor Sir Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 commented on 22 November, "I cannot understand why our troops were halted. To go so far and not go on was madness." Churchill further added that while he might not have dared to begin the military operation, nevertheless once having ordered it he would certainly not have dared to stop it before it had achieved its objective. Without further guarantee, the Anglo-French Task Force
Task force
A task force is a unit or formation established to work on a single defined task or activity. Originally introduced by the United States Navy, the term has now caught on for general usage and is a standard part of NATO terminology...

 had to finish withdrawing by 22 December 1956, to be replaced by Danish and Colombia
Colombia
Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia , is a unitary constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments. The country is located in northwestern South America, bordered to the east by Venezuela and Brazil; to the south by Ecuador and Peru; to the north by the Caribbean Sea; to the...

n units of the UNEF. The Israelis refused to host any UN force on Israeli controlled territory and left the Sinai in March, 1957. Before the withdrawal the Israeli forces systematically destroyed infrastructure in Sinai peninsula, such as roads, railroads and telephone lines, and all houses in the villages of Abu Ageila and El Quseima. Before the railway was destroyed, Israel Railways
Israel Railways
Israel Railways is the principal passenger railway operating company in Israel, and is responsible for all inter-city and suburban rail way passenger and freight traffic in the country. All its lines are standard gauge. The network is centered in Israel's densely populated coastal plain, from...

 took captured Egyptian National Railways
Egyptian National Railways
Egyptian National Railways is the national railway of Egypt and managed by the parastatal Egyptian Railway Authority .-1833–77:...

 equipment including six locomotives and a 30-ton breakdown crane.

The UNEF was formed by forces from countries that were not part of the major alliances (NATO and the Warsaw Pact
Warsaw Pact
The Warsaw Treaty Organization of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance , or more commonly referred to as the Warsaw Pact, was a mutual defense treaty subscribed to by eight communist states in Eastern Europe...

 – though Canadian troops participated in later years, since Canada had spearheaded the idea of a neutral force). By 24 April 1957 the canal was fully reopened to shipping.

Aftermath


The imposed end to the crisis signalled the definitive weakening of the United Kingdom and France as global powers. Middle-sized powers were no longer free to act independently. Nasser's standing in the Arab world
Arab world
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...

 was greatly improved, with his stance helping to promote pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism
Pan-Arabism is an ideology espousing the unification--or, sometimes, close cooperation and solidarity against perceived enemies of the Arabs--of the countries of the Arab world, from the Atlantic Ocean to the Arabian Sea. It is closely connected to Arab nationalism, which asserts that the Arabs...

. Although Egyptian forces had stood no chance against the three allies, many Egyptians believed that Nasser had won the war militarily. The Suez Crisis may have directly led to the 14 July Revolution
14 July Revolution
The 14 July Revolution was a coup which took place on 14 July 1958 in Iraq, marking the overthrow of the Hashemite monarchy established by King Faisal I in 1932 under the auspices of the British. In 1958, the coup overthrew King Faisal II, the regent and Crown Prince 'Abd al-Ilah, and Prime...

 in Iraq. King Faisal II and Prime Minister Nuri-es-Said were murdered within two years of their advice to Eden to "hit Nasser hard and quickly". Egyptian sovereignty and ownership of the Canal had been confirmed by the United States and the United Nations. In retirement Eden maintained that the military response to the crisis had prevented a much larger war in the Middle East. Israel had been expecting an Egyptian invasion in either March or April 1957, as well as a Soviet invasion of Syria. The crisis also arguably hastened the process of decolonization
Decolonization
Decolonization refers to the undoing of colonialism, the unequal relation of polities whereby one people or nation establishes and maintains dependent Territory over another...

, as many of the remaining colonies of both Britain and France gained independence over the next several years. Some argued that the imposed ending to the Crisis led to over-hasty decolonisation in Africa, resulting in civil wars and military dictatorships. The fight over the canal also laid the groundwork for the Six Day War in 1967 due to the lack of a peace settlement following the 1956 war. The failure of the Anglo-French mission was also seen as a failure for the United States, since the western alliance had been weakened and the military response had ultimately achieved nothing. The Soviets got away with their violent suppression of the rebellion in Hungary, and were able to pose at the United Nations as a defender of small powers against imperialism.

As a direct result of the Crisis and in order to prevent further Soviet expansion in the region, Eisenhower asked Congress on 5 January 1957 for authorization to use military force if requested by any Middle Eastern nation to check aggression and, second, to set aside $200 million to help Middle Eastern countries that desired aid from the United States. Congress granted both requests and this policy became known as the Eisenhower Doctrine
Eisenhower Doctrine
The term Eisenhower Doctrine refers to a speech by President Dwight David Eisenhower on 5 January 1957, within a "Special Message to the Congress on the Situation in the Middle East". Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a country could request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military...

.

The Soviet Union made major gains with regards to influence in the Middle East. The American historian John Lewis Gaddis
John Lewis Gaddis
John Lewis Gaddis is a noted historian of the Cold War and grand strategy, who has been hailed as the "Dean of Cold War Historians" by The New York Times. He is the Robert A. Lovett Professor of Military and Naval History at Yale University. He is also the official biographer of the seminal 20th...

 wrote about the aftermath of the crisis:
"When the British-French-Israeli invasion forced them to choose, Eisenhower and Dulles came down, with instant decisiveness, on the side of the Egyptians. They preferred alignment with Arab nationalism, even if it meant alienating pro-Israeli constituencies on the eve of a presidential election in the United States, even if it meant throwing the NATO alliance into its most divisive crisis yet, even if it meant risking whatever was left of the Anglo-American 'special relationship', even if it meant voting with the Soviet Union in the United Nations Security Council at a time when the Russians were themselves were invading Hungary and crushing - far more brutally than anything that happened in Egypt - a rebellion against their own authority there. The fact that the Eisenhower administration itself applied crushing economic pressure to the British and French to disengage from Suez, and that it subsequently forced an Israeli pull-back from the Sinai as well-all of this, one might thought, would won the United States the lasting gratitude of Nasser, the Egyptians and the Arab world. Instead, the Americans lost influence in the Middle East as a result of Suez, while the Russians gained it".
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Khrushchev
Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev led the Soviet Union during part of the Cold War. He served as First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union from 1953 to 1964, and as Chairman of the Council of Ministers, or Premier, from 1958 to 1964...

's much publicized threat expressed through letters written by Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Bulganin
Nikolai Alexandrovich Bulganin was a prominent Soviet politician, who served as Minister of Defense and Premier of the Soviet Union . The Bulganin beard is named after him.-Early career:...

 to begin rocket attacks on November 5 on Britain, France and Israel if they did not withdraw from Egypt was widely believed at the time to have forced a ceasefire. Accordingly, the prestige of the Soviet Union, which was seemingly prepared to launch a nuclear attack on Britain, France and Israel for the sake of Egypt soared to new heights all over Egypt, the Arab world and the Third World in general.. Through Nasser in private admitted that it was American economic pressure that had saved him, nonetheless it was Khrushchev, not Eisenhower who Nasser publicly thanked as Egypt's savior and special friend. Khrushchev was later to boost in his memoirs:
"Our use of international influence to halt England, France and Israel's aggression against Egypt in 1956 was a historic turning point ... Previously they had apparently thought that we were bluffing, when we openly said that the Soviet Union possessed powerful rockets. But then they saw that we really had rockets. And this had its effect".
Khrushchev took the view that the Suez crisis had been a great triumph for Soviet nuclear brinksmanship, arguing in both public and private that his threat to use nuclear weapons was what had saved Egypt. Khrushchev claimed in his memoirs:
"The governments of England and France knew perfectly well that Eisenhower's speech condemning their aggression was just a gesture for the sake of public appearances. But when we delivered our own stern warning to the three aggressors, they knew we weren't playing games with public opinion. They took us seriously".
The great conclusion that Khrushchev drew from the Suez crisis, which he saw as his own personal triumph was that the use of nuclear blackmail was a very effective tool for achieving Soviet foreign policy goals. Thus began a long period of crises starting with the Berlin crisis of 1958 and culminating in the Cuban Missile Crisis
Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a confrontation among the Soviet Union, Cuba and the United States in October 1962, during the Cold War...

 of 1962, where Khrushchev threatened to start World War III if he did not get his way. Equally important in explaining the Soviet diplomatic triumph in the Near East was Nasser's reaction to the Eisenhower Doctrine. Nasser never wanted Egypt to be aligned with one superpower, and instead preferred a situation where he was the object of rival American and Soviet efforts to buy his friendship. After Suez, the American Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

 perceived that there was a power vacuum in the Middle East, and thought the United States should fill it. Dulles's polices, which were to ultimately lead to the proclamation of the Eisenhower Doctrine
Eisenhower Doctrine
The term Eisenhower Doctrine refers to a speech by President Dwight David Eisenhower on 5 January 1957, within a "Special Message to the Congress on the Situation in the Middle East". Under the Eisenhower Doctrine, a country could request American economic assistance and/or aid from U.S. military...

 were based on the assumption that Nasser and other Arab leaders shared the American fear of the Soviet Union. This was not in fact the case, and Nasser hated Israel far more than whatever reservations he might have about the Soviet Union, and in any case preferred a situation where both super-powers were competing for his favour instead of him becoming aligned with one superpower. The Eisenhower Doctrine was regarded by Nasser as a heavy-handed American attempt to dominate the Middle East (a region that Nasser believed he ought to dominate), and led him to swinging behind the Soviet Union as the best counter-weight. It was only with the quiet abandonment of the Eisenhower Doctrine in a National Security Council review in mid-1958 that Nasser started pulling away from the Soviet Union to resume his favored role as the spoiler who tried to play both superpowers against each other.

Military


The great military lesson that was reinforced by the Suez War was the extent that the desert favored highly fluid, mobile operations and the power of aerial interdiction. French aircraft destroyed Egyptian forces threatening paratroops at Raswa and Israeli air power saved the IDF several days worth of time. To operate in the open desert without air supremacy proved to be suicidal for the Egyptian forces in the Sinai. The Royal Marine helicopter assault at Port Said "showed promise as a technique for transporting troops into small landing zones". Strategic bombing proved ineffective. Revise Phrase II failed to achieve its aim of breaking Egyptian morale while at the same time, those civilian deaths that did occur helped to turn world opinion against the invasion and especially hurt support for the war in Britain. Egyptian urban warfare tactics at Port Said proved to be effective at slowing down the Allied advance. Finally, the war showed the importance of diplomacy. Anglo-French operations against Egypt were militarily succcessful, but proved to be counterproductive as opinion in both in the home front in Britain and France and the world abroad, especially in the United States, was against the operation.

Egypt



In October 1956, when the Suez Crisis erupted, 1,000 Jews were arrested and 500 Jewish businesses were seized by the government. A statement branding the Jews as "Zionists and enemies of the state" was read out in the mosques of Cairo and Alexandria. Jewish bank accounts were confiscated and many Jews lost their jobs. Lawyers, engineers, doctors and teachers were not allowed to work in their professions. Thousands of Jews were ordered to leave the country. They were allowed to take only one suitcase and a small sum of cash, and forced to sign declarations “donating“ their property to the Egyptian government. Foreign observers reported that members of Jewish families were taken hostage, apparently to insure that those forced to leave did not speak out against the Egyptian government. Some 25,000 Jews, almost half of the Jewish community left, mainly for Israel, Europe, the United States and South America, after being forced to sign declarations that they were leaving voluntarily and agreed with the confiscation of their assets. Similar measures were enacted against British and French nationals in retaliation for the invasion. By 1957 the Jewish population of Egypt had fallen to 15,000.

The British historian D. R. Thorpe
D. R. Thorpe
D. R. Thorpe is an historian and biographer who has written biographies of three British Prime Ministers of the mid 20th century, Sir Anthony Eden, Sir Alec Douglas-Home and Harold Macmillan.-Education and academic career:...

 wrote that the imposed ending to the Crisis gave Nasser "...an inflated view of his own power". In his mind, he had defeated the combined forces of the United Kingdom, France and Israel, whereas in fact the military operation had been "defeated" by pressure from the United States. Despite the Egyptian defeat, Nasser emerged as an enhanced hero in the Arab world. The American historian Derek Varble commented "Although Egyptian forces fought with mediocre skill during the conflict, many Arabs saw Nasser as the conqueror of European colonialism and Zionism, simply because Britain, France and Israel left the Sinai and the northern Canal Zone". Thrope wrote about Nasser's post Suez hurbis that "The Six Day War against Israel in 1967 was when reality kicked in – a war that would never have taken place if the Suez crisis had had a different resolution".

Britain


The political and psychological impact of the crisis's denouement had a fundamental impact on British politics. Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 was accused of misleading parliament and resigned from office on 9 January 1957, after significant pressure was leveled by President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 and the United States government. Eden had barely been prime minister for two years by the time of his resignation, and his unsuccessful handling of the Suez Crisis eclipsed the successes he had achieved in various government and opposition roles over the previous 30 years.

Eden's successor, Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

, greatly accelerated decolonisation and sought to recapture the benevolence of the United States. He enjoyed a close friendship with Eisenhower from their first meeting at a highly successful conference in Bermuda
Bermuda
Bermuda is a British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. Located off the east coast of the United States, its nearest landmass is Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, about to the west-northwest. It is about south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, and northeast of Miami, Florida...

 in March 1957. Increasingly, British foreign policy thinking turned away from acting as a great imperial power. During the 1960s there was much speculation that Prime Minister Harold Wilson
Harold Wilson
James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, KG, OBE, FRS, FSS, PC was a British Labour Member of Parliament, Leader of the Labour Party. He was twice Prime Minister of the United Kingdom during the 1960s and 1970s, winning four general elections, including a minority government after the...

's continual refusals to send any British troops to Vietnam
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, even as a token force, despite President Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

's persistent requests, was partially due to the Americans failing to support Britain during the Suez Crisis. Edward Heath
Edward Heath
Sir Edward Richard George "Ted" Heath, KG, MBE, PC was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and as Leader of the Conservative Party ....

 was dismayed by the US opposition to Britain during the Suez Crisis; as Prime Minister in October 1973 he refused the US permission to use any of the UK's air bases to resupply during the Yom Kippur War
Yom Kippur War
The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War , also known as the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the Fourth Arab-Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria...

, or to allow the Americans to gather intelligence from British bases in Cyprus.

The events leading to Eden's resignation marked the last significant attempt Britain made to impose its military will abroad without U.S. support, until the Falklands War
Falklands War
The Falklands War , also called the Falklands Conflict or Falklands Crisis, was fought in 1982 between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the disputed Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands...

 in 1982. Macmillan was every bit as determined as Eden had been to stop Nasser, although he was more willing to enlist American support. Some argue that the crisis also marked the final transfer of power to the new superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union.

Despite the lack of US co-operation, and although British domestic politics suffered, the British relationship with the United States did not suffer lasting consequences from the crisis. "The Anglo-American 'special relationship' was revitalised immediately after the Suez Crisis." "The two governments ... engaged in almost ritualistic reassurances that their 'special relationship' would be restored quickly." Eisenhower himself later stated privately that he regretted his opposition to the combined British, French and Israeli response to the Crisis. After retiring from office Eisenhower came to see the Suez Crisis as perhaps his biggest foreign policy mistake. Not only did he feel that the United States weakened two crucial European Cold War allies, but he created in Nasser a man capable of dominating the Arab world. In later years a revisionist view held that the real mistake during the Crisis was made not by Eden but by Eisenhower, since in failing to support his allies he gave the impression that the West was divided and weak, which the Soviets were quick to exploit. Revisionists further argued that by failing to show enough leadership in finding a diplomatic solution to the Crisis, Eisenhower and the United Nations had made the Anglo-French military response inevitable. Eisenhower was intensely worried supporting his allies might harm his chances of winning re-election – had the invasion been launched on 7 November, his reaction might have been more muted, in which case the whole Canal could have been taken by the British and French troops.

The American Secretary of State John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles
John Foster Dulles served as U.S. Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from 1953 to 1959. He was a significant figure in the early Cold War era, advocating an aggressive stance against communism throughout the world...

 was diagnosed with colon cancer and underwent surgery during the week of the Suez war. During a visit by the UK Foreign Secretary, Selwyn Lloyd
Selwyn Lloyd
John Selwyn Brooke Lloyd, Baron Selwyn-Lloyd CH PC CBE TD , known for most of his career as Selwyn Lloyd, was a British Conservative Party politician who served as Foreign Secretary from 1955 to 1960, then as Chancellor of the Exchequer until 1962...

, at the Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, Dulles asked, 'Selwyn, why did you stop? Why didn't you go through with it and get Nasser down?' A surprised Lloyd replied, 'If you had so much as winked at us ...'. The record of a bedside visit by President Eisenhower five days earlier shows his Secretary of State made an almost identical remark.

Eden was reported to have said to a Conservative backbencher that he found it strange that so few people compared the Suez crisis to 1938 and wrote, "Egypt might be no Germany but Russia was and Egypt was Moscow's 'pawn'. Yet so many seem to fail to see this and give Nasser almost as much trust as others gave Hitler years ago."

When Sir Anthony Eden
Anthony Eden
Robert Anthony Eden, 1st Earl of Avon, KG, MC, PC was a British Conservative politician, who was Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957...

 died in 1977 The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

 wrote of him, "He was the last prime minister to believe Britain was a great power and the first to confront a crisis which proved she was not."

Recent reasessment


Charles Williams
Charles Williams
-United Kingdom:* Sir Charles Hanbury Williams , Member of Parliament and satirist* Charles Williams, Baron Williams of Elvel , life peer ennobled in 1985* Charles Williams , principal of Jesus College, Oxford...

 in his 2009 biography of Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 argues that the received wisdom of the Crisis ending due to financial pressure from the United States is not true. The recorded loss of UK reserves between 29 October and 5 November 1956 was no more than $45 million, a perfectly containable figure given that UK gold and dollar reserves stood at $2,200 million. The "panic week" was the third week of November, long after the ceasfire had been called. US government sterling holdings at the end of September 1956 stood at £30 million. By the end of the year they had declined to £26 million. Not only was there no run on sterling in the first week of November, there was never any run at any time orchestrated by Washington. Macmillan himself told the Cabinet that the move out of sterling, which caused the panic of the third week of November, came from Europe. At no point did Macmillan request any draw down on the IMF's gold trance for the UK, and in any case any such request would have been granted immediately as a matter of right. There is no record, either in the official Minute or in the Cabinet Secretary's notes, of any "decisive" intervention by Macmillan at the Cabinet meeting on 6 November, or indeed of him making any kind of intervention at all. Williams argues that the real reason for the ceasefire was simply because the Cabinet, including Eden, had lost the will to see the military venture through to the end. Eden said at the meeting, "If we agreed to break off hostilities at once we could maintain that we had achieved our primary objectives. The fighting in the Canal area had been brought to an end; and the United Nations had agreed in principle that an international force should be established in the area." While this was untrue - as the primary objectioves had been to collude with Israel to occupy the Canal to get rid of Nasser - Eden's point could be suitably finessed. Secondly, the Cabinet could adopt the age-old formula of blaming somebody else for the failure of the mission. It was Macmillan who provided the answer - to blame the Americans. Eisenhower himself later admitted with regret that American diplomacy at the start of the Crisis had been cack-handed, and the blame was duly administered by Eden, Macmillan, Rab Butler
Rab Butler
Richard Austen Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden, KG CH DL PC , who invariably signed his name R. A. Butler and was familiarly known as Rab, was a British Conservative politician...

 and Selwyn Lloyd
Selwyn Lloyd
John Selwyn Brooke Lloyd, Baron Selwyn-Lloyd CH PC CBE TD , known for most of his career as Selwyn Lloyd, was a British Conservative Party politician who served as Foreign Secretary from 1955 to 1960, then as Chancellor of the Exchequer until 1962...

 in their memoirs.

The Americans were content to play along with this provided it meant a rapid end to the Crisis and speedy withdrawal of the forces from the Canal zone. At a meeting in Washington on 20 November George Humphrey said that by drawing on the IMF together with a standby arrangement the UK could raise $560 million. In addition the US Export-Import Bank could establish a credit line to pay for imports from the US. "We are in a position to supply the 'fig leaf' which the British say they need to cover their nakedness in withdrawing from the Suez [sic], providing they start to get out of the Suez at once." At a Cabinet meeting on 28 November Macmillan stressed that to secure sterling it would be necessary to reinforce the reserves by recourse to the IMF, saying, "For this purpose the good will of the US government was necessary; and it was evident that this good will could not be obtained without an immediatea nd unconditional undertaking to withdraw the Anglo-French force from Port Said."

France


Franco-American ties never recovered from the Suez crisis. There were various reasons for this. "Prior to the Suez Crisis, there had already been strains in the Franco-American relationship triggered by what Paris considered U.S. betrayal of the French war effort in Indochina at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The incident demonstrated the weakness of the NATO alliance in its lack of planning and co-operation beyond the European stage. Mollet believed Eden should have delayed calling the Cabinet together until 7 November, taking the whole Canal in the meantime, and then veto with the French any UN resolution on sanctions. From the point of view of General de Gaulle
Charles de Gaulle
Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle was a French general and statesman who led the Free French Forces during World War II. He later founded the French Fifth Republic in 1958 and served as its first President from 1959 to 1969....

, the Suez events demonstrated to France that it could not rely on its allies; the British had initiated a ceasefire in the midst of the battle without consulting the French, while the Americans had opposed Paris politically. The damage to the ties between Paris and Washington D.C. "culminated in President de Gaulle's 1966 decision to withdraw from the military integration of NATO."

According to the protocol of Sèvres agreements, France secretly transmitted parts of its own atomic technology
Gerboise Bleue
Gerboise Bleue was the name of the first French nuclear test. It was an atomic bomb detonated in the middle of the Algerian Sahara desert on 13 February 1960, during the Algerian War...

 to Israel, including a detonator.

Israel




Israel emerged victorious from the war. Its forces executed a military campaign that leading military theorist B.H. Liddell Hart termed “brilliant.” The Israel Defense Forces gained confidence from the campaign. The war proved that Israel was capable of executing large scale military maneuvers in addition to small night-time raids and counter insurgency operations. David Ben-Gurion
David Ben-Gurion
' was the first Prime Minister of Israel.Ben-Gurion's passion for Zionism, which began early in life, led him to become a major Zionist leader and Executive Head of the World Zionist Organization in 1946...

, reading on 16 November that 90,000 British and French troops had been involved in the Suez affair, wrote in his diary, 'If they had only appointed a commander of ours over this force, Nasser would have been destroyed in two days.' The war also had tangible benefits for Israel. The Straits of Tiran, closed by Egypt since 1951 was re-opened. Israeli shipping could henceforth move freely through the Straits of Tiran to and from Africa and Asia. The Israelis also secured the presence of U.N. Peacekeepers in Sinai. Operation Kadesh bought Israel an eleven year lull on its southern border with Egypt. In October 1965 Eisenhower told Jewish fundraiser and Republican party supporter Max M. Fisher that he greatly regretted forcing Israel to withdraw from the Sinai peninsula; Vice-President Nixon recalled that Eisenhower expressed the same view to him on several occasions.

Other parties


Lester B. Pearson
Lester B. Pearson
Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis...

, who would later become the Prime Minister of Canada
Prime Minister of Canada
The Prime Minister of Canada is the primary minister of the Crown, chairman of the Cabinet, and thus head of government for Canada, charged with advising the Canadian monarch or viceroy on the exercise of the executive powers vested in them by the constitution...

, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...

 in 1957 for his efforts in creating a mandate for a United Nations Peacekeeping Force, and he is considered the father of the modern concept of peacekeeping
Peacekeeping
Peacekeeping is an activity that aims to create the conditions for lasting peace. It is distinguished from both peacebuilding and peacemaking....

. The Suez Crisis contributed to the adoption of a new national flag for Canada
Flag of Canada
The national flag of Canada, also known as the Maple Leaf, and , is a red flag with a white square in its centre, featuring a stylized 11-pointed red maple leaf. Its adoption in 1965 marked the first time a national flag had been officially adopted in Canada to replace the Union Flag...

 in 1965, without references to that country's past as a colony of France and Britain. The Egyptian government had objected to Canadian peacekeeping troops on the grounds that their flag at that time included a British ensign. As Prime Minister, Pearson would advocate the simple Maple Leaf that was eventually adopted.

After Suez, Cyprus
Cyprus
Cyprus , officially the Republic of Cyprus , is a Eurasian island country, member of the European Union, in the Eastern Mediterranean, east of Greece, south of Turkey, west of Syria and north of Egypt. It is the third largest island in the Mediterranean Sea.The earliest known human activity on the...

, Aden
Aden
Aden is a seaport city in Yemen, located by the eastern approach to the Red Sea , some 170 kilometres east of Bab-el-Mandeb. Its population is approximately 800,000. Aden's ancient, natural harbour lies in the crater of an extinct volcano which now forms a peninsula, joined to the mainland by a...

 and Iraq
Iraq
Iraq ; officially the Republic of Iraq is a country in Western Asia spanning most of the northwestern end of the Zagros mountain range, the eastern part of the Syrian Desert and the northern part of the Arabian Desert....

 became the main bases for the British in the region while the French concentrated their forces at Bizerte
Bizerte
Bizerte or Benzert , is the capital city of Bizerte Governorate in Tunisia and the northernmost city in Africa. It has a population of 230,879 .-History:...

 and Beirut
Beirut
Beirut is the capital and largest city of Lebanon, with a population ranging from 1 million to more than 2 million . Located on a peninsula at the midpoint of Lebanon's Mediterranean coastline, it serves as the country's largest and main seaport, and also forms the Beirut Metropolitan...

. UNEF was placed in the Sinai (on Egyptian territory only) with the express purpose of maintaining the cease-fire. While effective in preventing the small-scale warfare that prevailed before 1956 and after 1967, budgetary cutbacks and changing needs had seen the force shrink to 3,378 by 1967.

The Soviet Union, after long peering through the keyhole of a closed door on what it considered a Western sphere of influence, now found itself invited over the threshold as a friend of the Arabs. Shortly after it reopened, the canal was traversed by the first Soviet warships since World War I. The Soviets' burgeoning influence in the Middle East, although it was not to last, included acquiring Mediterranean bases, introducing multipurpose projects, supporting the budding Palestinian liberation movement and penetrating the Arab countries.

See also

  • Anglo-American relations
    Anglo-American relations
    British–American relations encompass many complex relations over the span of four centuries, beginning in 1607 with England's first permanent colony in North America called Jamestown, to the present day, between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the United States of...

  • Anglo-French relations
    Anglo-French relations
    United Kingdom – French relations are the relations between the governments of France and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland . In recent years the two countries have experienced a very close relationship....

  • Franco-American relations
    Franco-American relations
    Franco-American relations refers to the international relations between France and the United States. Its groundwork was laid by the colonization of parts of the Americas by the European powers France and Great Britain...

  • Israel-United States relations
    Israel-United States relations
    Israel–United States relations are an important factor in the United States government's overall policy in the Middle East, and Congress has placed considerable importance on the maintenance of a close and supportive relationship. The main expression of Congressional support for Israel has been...

  • Protocol of Sèvres
    Protocol of Sèvres
    The Protocol of Sèvres was a secret agreement reached between the governments of Israel, France and the United Kingdom during discussions held between 22 and 24 October 1956 at Sèvres, France...

  • Israeli casualties of war
  • Operation Tarnegol
    Operation Tarnegol
    Operation Tarnegol was an Israeli Air Force operation carried out on the eve of the 1956 Suez Crisis. It witnessed an Israeli Gloster Meteor NF.13 intercept and destroy an Egyptian Ilyushin Il-14 carrying high-ranking members of the Egyptian General Staff en route from Syria to...

  • List of modern conflicts in the Middle East

External links




Media links
The following links are not functioning as of 6 December 2009. They are retained here for reference.
  • "The Suez canal and the nationalization by Colonel Nasser" French news from the National Audiovisual Institute, 1 August 1956 Fr.
    (views of Nasser EG, Pineau FR, Lloyd UK, Murphy US, Downing street, comment on international tension)
  • "The new pilots engaged for the Suez canal" French news from the National Audiovisual Institute, 3 October 1956 French
    (views of Port Said, the canal and Ferdinand de Lesseps' statue few weeks before the Suez Crisis, incl. a significant comment on Nasser)
  • "French paratroopers in Cyprus" French news from the National Audiovisual Institute, 6 November 1956 French
    (details on the French-British settings and material, views of Amiral Barjot, General Keightley, camp and scenes in Cyprus)
  • "Dropping over Port Said" French news from the National Audiovisual Institute, 6 November 1956 French
    (views of British paratroopers dropping over Port Said, comment on respective mission for the French and British during Operation Amilcar)
  • "Suez: French-British landing in Port Fouad & Port Said" French news from the National Audiovisual Institute, 9 November 1956 mute
    (views of French-British in Cyprus, landing in Port Fouad, landing Port Said, Gal Massu, Gal Bauffre, convoy)
  • "The French in Port Said" French news from the National Audiovisual Institute, 9 November 1956 mute
    (views of prisoners and captured material, Gal Massu, para commandos, Egyptian cops surrender, Gal Beauffre, landing craft on the canal)
  • "Dropping of Anglo-French over the canal zone" French news from the National Audiovisual Institute, 14 November 1956 French
    (views of 2 Nordatlas, paratroopers, dropping of para and material circa Port Said, comment on no bombing to secure the population)
  • "Canal obstructed by sunken ships" French news from the National Audiovisual Institute, 14 November 1956 French
    (views of troops in Port Said, Ferdinand de Lesseps' statue, comment on the 21 ships sunken by the "dictator")