Chapter 4 - The Suez Crisis of 1956


LO: Causes and consequences of what became known in the West as the Suez Crisis.
Karima Ranieri
Flashcards by Karima Ranieri, updated more than 1 year ago
Karima Ranieri
Created by Karima Ranieri over 5 years ago

Resource summary

Question Answer
Tension between Israel and Syria In 1949, what did the UN persuade Israel and Syria to agree on? - A demilitarised zone along their border.
Tension between Israel and Syria What was the issue about this agreement between Israel and Syria? What did Israel want and what did Syria object? - The demilitarised zone was inside the territory of the new state of Israel which contained many Arab villages. - The Israelis tried to force the Arabs out of some of these villages and develop Jewish settlements. - The Syrians objected to this. - There were frequent incidents of shelling by both sides. - There were also disputes over Israel's attempts to divert the waters of the River Jordan in order to irrigate dry parts of the new state.
Tension between Israel and Jordan How did King Abdullah die? - In 1951, King Abdullah of Jordan was assassinated by a Palestinian who feared the king would make a separate peace treaty with Israel. - His grandson Hussein then became king in 1953.
Tension between Israel and Jordan What did Palestinians in Jordan want? -The expanded state of Jordan included a million Palestinian Arabs who were granted full rights as citizens of Jordan. - Many fled their home in the new Israel, and wanted to return.
Tension between Israel and Jordan What was the problem between Israel and the Palestinians who wanted to return? - Every time they crossed the border into Israel, there were Israeli reprisals. - In these reprisals, the Israeli military forces usually targeted Arab villages.
Tension between Israel and Jordan What did the Jordanian government try to do? - The government of Jordan tries to restrain the Palestinians from carrying out raids into Israel but the Israelis were not satisfied.
Tension between Israel and Jordan What happened in October 1953? - After an Israeli woman and her two children were killed, the Israeli forces attacked the Jordanian village of Qibya, blowing up 45 houses and killing more than 50 of their inhabitants, most of whom were women and children.
Tension between Israel and Egypt How many Palestinians were there in Gaza? After the war in 1949, who was Gaza controlled by? - 300,000. Majority were refugees, forced to flee from their homes between 1947 and 1949. - Controlled by Egyptian military.
Tension between Israel and Egypt Who were the Fedayeen and what did they do? - Many Palestinians were set on returning to their homes. - There were frequent raids into Israel. Some of these were carried out by Palestinian fighters/fedayeen who attacked Israeli settlements. - Fedayeen were men trained to carry out raids and sacrifice themselves. - The vast majority of attacks however, were by unarmed Palestinians.
Tension between Israel and Egypt What did Palestinians often want to do? What were their intentions when crossing the border? - Many of them wanted to simply visit relatives, reclaim their possessions, harvest their crops or just graze their animals on what was then Israeli land.
Tension between Israel and Egypt Regardless of Palestinian intentions, how did the Israeli Defence Forces react? - They retaliated with reprisal raids. - These raids and reprisals intensified in the mid-1950s.
Context: The Suez Canal When had it been built? - Built by the French and British in the 1860s. - The British and French used Egyptian labour to build it and thousands of Egyptians died in the process.
Context: The Suez Canal Significance of it to western Europe? - Vital link for Britain, which had military bases in the East and depended on supplies of oil from the Persian gulf. - Over two-thirds of the fuel supplies of western Europe passed through the Canal, as did 15,000 ships a year, one-third of them British. - The waterway was so vital that British had 70,000 troops stationed in the Canal zone.
Context: The Suez Canal Problem for the Egyptians? - This British interference was intolerable to many Egyptians. - They saw it as British imperialism and felt that they could only be truly independent once the British had left their territory. - Many Egyptians blamed their government who were known to be corrupt and manipulated by the British. - They also blamed King Farouk who was known to live a decadent lifestyle.
Nasser and the Egyptian Revolution who was Gamal Abdel Nasser? What was his plan? - One of a number of young officers who came from a poor background but received education and rose up through the ranks of the army. - These young officers called themselves Free Officers and secretly planned to overthrow the government.
Nasser and the Egyptian Revolution What happened in July 1952? - The Free Officers took over the key government buildings and announced the success of the revolution over the radio. - The head of the new government was General Naguib, a respected senior army officer.
When did General Naguib become president? When Egypt became a republic in 1953.
Who was the most powerful member of the new government? What was his main aim? Colonel Nasser who never forgot the dying words of a comrade in the 1948-9 war: 'Remember the real battle is in Egypt' He believed that his battle was to make Egypt truly independent and that meant freeing Egypt of British troops.
When did Nasser become president? In 1954
What did Nasser manage to persuade the British to do? - Nasser persuaded the British to withdraw their troops from the Suez Canal zone. - Britain and the USA were eager to remain on good terms with Nasser as Egypt was the strongest, most developed Arab nation and because of the Suez Canal. - Thus, the British wanted Arab support in the Middle East, against the Soviet Union: this was the period when both sides in the Cold War sought to win friends abroad and extend their influence.
The Israeli attack on Gaza, February 1955 Why did Israel want to hit back at Egypt? - They wanted to hit back at Egypt for encouraging Palestinian raids into Israel. - They also wanted to remove Nasser from power.
The Israeli attack on Gaza, February 1955 What did Israeli troops do in February 1955? - Attacked and destroyed the Egyptian army headquarters in Gaza, killing 35 Egyptian soldiers. - This humiliated Nasser.
The Israeli attack on Gaza, February 1955 How did Nasser react? What was he in need of? - He set about training the fedayeen guerrillas to carry out attacks in Israel. - Weapons to strengthen Egypt's army and deter any further Israeli attacks. - When the US refused to, he turned to the Soviet Union. - The Czechs arms deal was announced in September 1955.
What was the Aswan Dam? - A huge project on the river Nile which would create hydroelectric power for Egyptian industry and allow vast areas of agricultural land to be irrigated.
Why did Britain and the USA believe they couls till control Naser? - Because he depended on them for money to build the Aswan Dam.
How did Nasser show that he would not be pushed around? How did the USA and Britain react? - In May 1956, he recognised Communist China. - In July 1956, the USA and Britain decided to cancel their loans to Egypt for the building of the Aswan Dam.
What did Nasser announce on 26 July 1956? - He nationalised the Suez Canal, deciding that they would use the profits to build the Aswan Dam. - He announced that it was 'our Canal. We dug the Canal with our lives, our skulls, our bones, our blood.'
How did the western powers react? - British and French withdrew their pilots who guided ships through the Canal. - They agreed to sell Israel over 70 fighter planes and 200 tanks. - On the 24 October, the British and French foreign ministers secretly met the Israeli prime minister, Ben-Gurion.
What did the Israelis want from Egypt? - Ben-Gurion wished to end the border raids from Gaza and force Egypt to recognise the state of Israel. - He also wanted to break the Egyptian blockade of the Tiran Straits, which prevented Israeli ships from reaching the port of Eilat.
When did Israeli forces invade Egypt? - On 29th October 1956
What happened on the 31st October? - British and French planes bombed Egyptian airfields and destroyed most of Egypt's air force. - They also bombed Port Said, the city at the northern end of the Canal.
What happened on the 9th November? - British and French troops landed at Port Said and advanced along the Canal. - Egypt responded by sinking ships in order to obstruct the British and French advance along the Canal.
What happened in the UN? - Arab states condemned the Anglo-French action. - They halted oil supplies to the West. - Britain's strongest ally, the USA, also condemned the action. - The US threatened to cut off financial aid to Britain. - Soviet Union threatened to use military force. - On 6 November, the UN declared a ceasefire and ordered British and French to withdraw.
Winners and losers in the Suez War Nasser: Diplomatic hero of the Arab world - Nasser stood up to Britain and France, who had dominated the Middle East for so long. - He gained complete control of the Suez Canal. - Egyptians showed that they could manage the Canal efficiently and Nasser's popularity soared. - With US aid the Canal was cleared and reopened in April 1957. - Although Egypt lost territory when the Israelis captured Sinai, the Israelis were persuaded to withdraw in 1957.
Winners and losers in the Suez War The Israelis - The speed of their victory over Egyptian forces in Gaza and Sinai proved that the IDF was the strongest force in the Middle East. - UN forces were sent to Gaza to prevent more raids on Israel. - UN forces also sent to Sharm el-Sheikh to guard the passage of Israeli shipping through the Straits of Tiran.
Winners and losers in the Suez War Britain and France - Eden misjudged the reaction of the US government and was forced to resign as prime minister two months later. - British and French underestimated the Egyptians. - They thought Egypt was not capable of managing the Canal on their own and they had also thought there would be a popular uprising against Nasser once the fighting started. - British and French failed to regain control of the Canal and failed to overthrow Nasser. - Arab states became even more anti-Western. And more willing to seek Soviet aid. - Israel looked like an outpost of Western imperialism.
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