Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.
Empire and Its LimitsEmpire and Its Limits
Lecture ObjectivesLecture Objectives► Case study in historical methodology.Case study in historical methodology.► Suez is ...
The Suez CrisisThe Suez CrisisMain EventsMain Events► What was the Suez Crisis?What was the Suez Crisis?► A small war foug...
NasserNasser
Anthony EdenAnthony Eden
Origins of the CrisisOrigins of the Crisis► After Nasser takes power in 1954, he successfully moves toAfter Nasser takes p...
Nasser on the day of nationalizationNasser on the day of nationalization
Eisenhower and J.F. DullesEisenhower and J.F. Dulles
From Diplomacy to WarFrom Diplomacy to War► Under the influence of Eisenhower and J.F. Dulles, the SuezUnder the influence...
US Policy FearsUS Policy Fears► J.F. DULLESJ.F. DULLES: PRESS CONFERENCE 2 OCTOBER 1956: PRESS CONFERENCE 2 OCTOBER 1956► ...
The British Lion at SuezThe British Lion at Suez
WarWar►After the UN vote, Eden seemingly decides that diplomatic means are exhaustedAfter the UN vote, Eden seemingly deci...
Christian PineauChristian Pineau
David Ben-GurionDavid Ben-Gurion
SèvresSèvres► The Sèvres accord was reconstructed from various sources byThe Sèvres accord was reconstructed from various ...
The Suez Crisis 1956The Suez Crisis 1956
Seem Familiar?Seem Familiar?
Stabs in the BackStabs in the Back► The US wasThe US was horrifiedhorrified by Anglo-French support of Israel.by Anglo-Fre...
Harold MacmillanHarold Macmillan
Role of MacmillanRole of Macmillan► Is another area where historians have been at work. TheIs another area where historian...
A.J.P. Taylor on SuezA.J.P. Taylor on Suez►““ The moral for British governmentsThe moral for British governmentsis clear. ...
Revisionism?Revisionism?► Perceptible shift towards rehabilitating Eden and BritishPerceptible shift towards rehabilitatin...
What We KnowWhat We Know► Yet also true that the Suez crisis is proof of a cautiouslyYet also true that the Suez crisis is...
Upcoming SlideShare
Loading in …5
×
Upcoming SlideShare
Ottoman empire
Next
Download to read offline and view in fullscreen.

2

Share

Download to read offline

The suez crisis 1956

Download to read offline

Related Audiobooks

Free with a 30 day trial from Scribd

See all

The suez crisis 1956

  1. 1. Empire and Its LimitsEmpire and Its Limits
  2. 2. Lecture ObjectivesLecture Objectives► Case study in historical methodology.Case study in historical methodology.► Suez is good example of how patient work inSuez is good example of how patient work inthe archives gradually amends conventionalthe archives gradually amends conventionalwisdom and politically motivated contemporarywisdom and politically motivated contemporaryaccounts.accounts.► Also a good example of how contemporaryAlso a good example of how contemporaryhistorians have gone beyond traditionalhistorians have gone beyond traditionaldiplomatic history to understand the context indiplomatic history to understand the context inwhich events were occurring.which events were occurring.► The whole process is rather likeThe whole process is rather like restoring arestoring afrescofresco. Gradually bring to light hidden details. Gradually bring to light hidden detailsuntil you have auntil you have a richer picturericher picture than before.than before.
  3. 3. The Suez CrisisThe Suez CrisisMain EventsMain Events► What was the Suez Crisis?What was the Suez Crisis?► A small war fought by Britain, France and Israel against EgyptA small war fought by Britain, France and Israel against Egyptfirst week November 1956.first week November 1956.► Cause?Cause?► Structural causes and immediate onesStructural causes and immediate ones..► Rise of Arab nationalismRise of Arab nationalism in the M.E. endangered British clientin the M.E. endangered British clientregimes and the French presence in Algeria. Presence of Israelregimes and the French presence in Algeria. Presence of Israelsince 1948 gave a focus to Arab resentment. Gamel Abdelsince 1948 gave a focus to Arab resentment. Gamel AbdelNasser emerges after April 1954 as a charismatic leader.Nasser emerges after April 1954 as a charismatic leader.► M.E. source of Europe’s oilM.E. source of Europe’s oil & in 1950s oil overtakes coal as& in 1950s oil overtakes coal asmain source of energy.main source of energy.► Intellectual structuresIntellectual structures: Egyptian leader Nasser portrayed as a: Egyptian leader Nasser portrayed as anew Mussolini by British and French leaders; lessons ofnew Mussolini by British and French leaders; lessons ofappeasement.appeasement.► Imperial HumiliationsImperial Humiliations: GB had had to leave India and Palestine: GB had had to leave India and Palestinewith her “tail between her legs.” France had been humiliated inwith her “tail between her legs.” France had been humiliated inVietnam in May 1954 with the military defeat at Dien Bien Phu.Vietnam in May 1954 with the military defeat at Dien Bien Phu.► I stress these structural causes because it is easy toI stress these structural causes because it is easy topersonalize the war as a clash between Nasser and British P.M.personalize the war as a clash between Nasser and British P.M.Anthony Eden.Anthony Eden.
  4. 4. NasserNasser
  5. 5. Anthony EdenAnthony Eden
  6. 6. Origins of the CrisisOrigins of the Crisis► After Nasser takes power in 1954, he successfully moves toAfter Nasser takes power in 1954, he successfully moves toclose British bases in the canal zone (October 1954). Heclose British bases in the canal zone (October 1954). Herefuses the British offer to join therefuses the British offer to join the Baghdad PactBaghdad Pact. In 1955, he. In 1955, hebegins to make overtures to the Soviet bloc. September 1955begins to make overtures to the Soviet bloc. September 1955signs arms deal with USSR.signs arms deal with USSR.► At the same time, he asks the US and GB to finance the AswanAt the same time, he asks the US and GB to finance the Aswandam project. Playing off two superpowers against each other.dam project. Playing off two superpowers against each other.The trigger for the crisis comes onThe trigger for the crisis comes on 20 July 195620 July 1956 when thewhen theAmericans, tired of Nasser’s double game, pull the plug on theAmericans, tired of Nasser’s double game, pull the plug on theAswan project.Aswan project.► In retaliation Nasser nationalizes the Suez canal. The canalIn retaliation Nasser nationalizes the Suez canal. The canalwould have become Eygptian anyway in 1968. But the rest ofwould have become Eygptian anyway in 1968. But the rest ofthe world feared that Eygpt would not abide by the 1888the world feared that Eygpt would not abide by the 1888Constantinople convention, which specified that the CanalConstantinople convention, which specified that the Canalshould remain open, even in times of war, to ships of allshould remain open, even in times of war, to ships of allnationalities.nationalities.► Also: Nasser had his hands on the West’s windpipe. Could cutAlso: Nasser had his hands on the West’s windpipe. Could cutoff oil shipments.off oil shipments.
  7. 7. Nasser on the day of nationalizationNasser on the day of nationalization
  8. 8. Eisenhower and J.F. DullesEisenhower and J.F. Dulles
  9. 9. From Diplomacy to WarFrom Diplomacy to War► Under the influence of Eisenhower and J.F. Dulles, the SuezUnder the influence of Eisenhower and J.F. Dulles, the Suezissue was initially dealt with at diplomatic level.issue was initially dealt with at diplomatic level.► In August, via Australian P.M. Robert Menzies, the creation of aIn August, via Australian P.M. Robert Menzies, the creation of anon-profit company that would guarantee Egypt a secure andnon-profit company that would guarantee Egypt a secure andrising dividend is proposed.rising dividend is proposed.► After failure of this attempt, US propose the SCUA (Users’After failure of this attempt, US propose the SCUA (Users’Association) to collect tolls. But this plan is blocked in theAssociation) to collect tolls. But this plan is blocked in theSecurity Council on 13 October by the USSR.Security Council on 13 October by the USSR.► US policy? Elections first week in November – Want noUS policy? Elections first week in November – Want noproblems. Also, issue of US attitude towardsproblems. Also, issue of US attitude towards imperialismimperialism..► British memoirs (e.g. Eden’s, which in places is a harangue)British memoirs (e.g. Eden’s, which in places is a harangue)have generally tried to portray the US as not having been clearhave generally tried to portray the US as not having been clearabout its opposition to war. Scholarly research, by Wm Rogerabout its opposition to war. Scholarly research, by Wm RogerLouis and Scott Lucas has shown this to be unlikely.Louis and Scott Lucas has shown this to be unlikely.II
  10. 10. US Policy FearsUS Policy Fears► J.F. DULLESJ.F. DULLES: PRESS CONFERENCE 2 OCTOBER 1956: PRESS CONFERENCE 2 OCTOBER 1956► ““THE UNITED STATES CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO IDENTIFY ITSELF 100%THE UNITED STATES CANNOT BE EXPECTED TO IDENTIFY ITSELF 100%EITHEREITHER WITH THE COLONIAL POWERSWITH THE COLONIAL POWERS OROR THE POWERS UNIQUELYTHE POWERS UNIQUELYCONCERNED WITH THE PROBLEM OF GETTING INDEPENDENCE AS RAPIDLYCONCERNED WITH THE PROBLEM OF GETTING INDEPENDENCE AS RAPIDLYAND AS FULLY AS POSSIBLE…”AND AS FULLY AS POSSIBLE…”► J.F. DULLESJ.F. DULLES: MINUTES NSC 1 NOVEMBER 1956: MINUTES NSC 1 NOVEMBER 1956..► ““FOR MANY YEARS NOW THE US HAS BEEN WALKING A TIGHT-ROPE BETWEENFOR MANY YEARS NOW THE US HAS BEEN WALKING A TIGHT-ROPE BETWEENTHE EFFORT TO MAINTAIN OLD AND VALUED RELATIONS WITH OUR BRITISHTHE EFFORT TO MAINTAIN OLD AND VALUED RELATIONS WITH OUR BRITISHAND FRENCH ALLIES ON THE ONE HAND, AND ON THE OTHER HAND TRYING TOAND FRENCH ALLIES ON THE ONE HAND, AND ON THE OTHER HAND TRYING TOASSURE OURSELVES OF THE FRIENDSHIP AND UNDERSTANDING OF THEASSURE OURSELVES OF THE FRIENDSHIP AND UNDERSTANDING OF THENEWLY INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES…UNLESS WE NOW ASSERT AND MAINTAINNEWLY INDEPENDENT COUNTRIES…UNLESS WE NOW ASSERT AND MAINTAINOUR LEADERSHIP,OUR LEADERSHIP, ALL OF THESE NEWLY INDEPENDENT COUNTRIESALL OF THESE NEWLY INDEPENDENT COUNTRIESWILL TURN FROM US TO THE USSRWILL TURN FROM US TO THE USSR ….”….”► SOURCE: WM ROGER LOUIS, “DULLES, SUEZ AND THE BRITISH,” IN ED., RICHARD H. IMMERMAN,SOURCE: WM ROGER LOUIS, “DULLES, SUEZ AND THE BRITISH,” IN ED., RICHARD H. IMMERMAN, JOHN FOSTER DULLES ANDJOHN FOSTER DULLES ANDTHE DIPLOMACY OF THE COLD WARTHE DIPLOMACY OF THE COLD WAR (PRINCETON UP, 1990).(PRINCETON UP, 1990).
  11. 11. The British Lion at SuezThe British Lion at Suez
  12. 12. WarWar►After the UN vote, Eden seemingly decides that diplomatic means are exhaustedAfter the UN vote, Eden seemingly decides that diplomatic means are exhaustedand that Britain needs to pass to military action. Convinced of this by the French,and that Britain needs to pass to military action. Convinced of this by the French,who were anxious to involve the Israelis, at a meeting at Chequers. No formalwho were anxious to involve the Israelis, at a meeting at Chequers. No formalminutes taken; senior officials excluded; No mention inminutes taken; senior officials excluded; No mention in Full CircleFull Circle. First revealed. First revealedby Anthony Nutting (Min. State Foreign Office) in his memoirs,by Anthony Nutting (Min. State Foreign Office) in his memoirs, No End of aNo End of aLessonLesson (1967). Eden could “scarcely contain his glee.”(1967). Eden could “scarcely contain his glee.”► The area of Anglo-FrenchThe area of Anglo-French collusioncollusion with Israel is the one where historicalwith Israel is the one where historicalresearchers into the Suez crisis have established the most important truths.researchers into the Suez crisis have established the most important truths.► It is theIt is the key issuekey issue because at the time Eden did not explicitly tell the cabinet ofbecause at the time Eden did not explicitly tell the cabinet ofthe extent to which the war had been planned with Israel; lied to Parliamentthe extent to which the war had been planned with Israel; lied to Parliamentabout the plans; denied any collusion in his memoirs and tried to eliminate allabout the plans; denied any collusion in his memoirs and tried to eliminate allextant copies of the compromising Protocol of Sèvres (24 October) that plannedextant copies of the compromising Protocol of Sèvres (24 October) that plannedout the joint military action. “Massive attempt to deceive” (Avi Shlaim).out the joint military action. “Massive attempt to deceive” (Avi Shlaim).► The Sèvres accord was inspired by two men:The Sèvres accord was inspired by two men:►
  13. 13. Christian PineauChristian Pineau
  14. 14. David Ben-GurionDavid Ben-Gurion
  15. 15. SèvresSèvres► The Sèvres accord was reconstructed from various sources byThe Sèvres accord was reconstructed from various sources byKeith Kyle in his 1991 book,Keith Kyle in his 1991 book, SuezSuez. Before then, Christian Pineau. Before then, Christian Pineau(1976), a British civil servant, Donald Logan (1986) had(1976), a British civil servant, Donald Logan (1986) hadpublished their accounts. Mordechai Bar-On, secretary of thepublished their accounts. Mordechai Bar-On, secretary of theIsraeli delegation to Sèvres, published a detailed history inIsraeli delegation to Sèvres, published a detailed history inEnglish in 1994 (English in 1994 (The Gates of GazaThe Gates of Gaza). Ben Gurion’s personal). Ben Gurion’s personalcopy of the protocol was published in 1996.copy of the protocol was published in 1996.► The whole business is brilliantly summarized by Avi Shlaim inThe whole business is brilliantly summarized by Avi Shlaim inhis article “The Protocol of Sèvres, 1956: Anatomy of a Warhis article “The Protocol of Sèvres, 1956: Anatomy of a WarPlot,”Plot,” International AffairsInternational Affairs 73 (1997), 509-530.73 (1997), 509-530.► In substance, Britain, France and Israel agreed that IsraelIn substance, Britain, France and Israel agreed that Israelwould attack Egypt on 29 October; that Britain and Francewould attack Egypt on 29 October; that Britain and Francewould intervene to “protect” the Canal by asking both sides towould intervene to “protect” the Canal by asking both sides towithdraw to at least 10 miles from the canal zone.withdraw to at least 10 miles from the canal zone.► Shlaim: “The Protocol of Sèvres was thus a monument toShlaim: “The Protocol of Sèvres was thus a monument toFrench opportunism, Eden’s duplicity and Ben-Gurion’sFrench opportunism, Eden’s duplicity and Ben-Gurion’sparanoia.”paranoia.”
  16. 16. The Suez Crisis 1956The Suez Crisis 1956
  17. 17. Seem Familiar?Seem Familiar?
  18. 18. Stabs in the BackStabs in the Back► The US wasThe US was horrifiedhorrified by Anglo-French support of Israel.by Anglo-French support of Israel. 2 November2 November,,Dulles introduces a Security Council Resolution condemning the war. 4Dulles introduces a Security Council Resolution condemning the war. 4November, ONU demands cease-fire + peace-keepers (proposed LesterNovember, ONU demands cease-fire + peace-keepers (proposed LesterPearson, Canadian P.M.)Pearson, Canadian P.M.)► British public opinion divided. Popular dailies gung-ho. Eden makesBritish public opinion divided. Popular dailies gung-ho. Eden makes“man of peace” broadcast; Gaitskell replies, “It is not a police action;“man of peace” broadcast; Gaitskell replies, “It is not a police action;there is no law behind it. We have taken the law into our own hands.”there is no law behind it. We have taken the law into our own hands.”ObserverObserver: “We had not realized that our government was capable of: “We had not realized that our government was capable ofsuch folly and crookedness.”such folly and crookedness.”► 5 November5 November, Britain and France land troops at Port Said; the USSR,, Britain and France land troops at Port Said; the USSR,which was brutally oppressing the Hungarian revolt, warns Suez crisiswhich was brutally oppressing the Hungarian revolt, warns Suez crisiscould turn into a third world war.could turn into a third world war.► 6 November6 November, British Chancellor Harold Macmillan tells Cabinet that, British Chancellor Harold Macmillan tells Cabinet that$280 million dollars (£100m) had been lost on the Forex markets in a$280 million dollars (£100m) had been lost on the Forex markets in aweek and urges GB to accept cease-fire (despite having been a hawkweek and urges GB to accept cease-fire (despite having been a hawkthroughout the crisis). Eden announces cease-fire for midnight.throughout the crisis). Eden announces cease-fire for midnight.► War ends Eden’s career. Goes to Jamaica to recover from nervousWar ends Eden’s career. Goes to Jamaica to recover from nervousbreakdown & loses premiership to Macmillan in January 1957.breakdown & loses premiership to Macmillan in January 1957.
  19. 19. Harold MacmillanHarold Macmillan
  20. 20. Role of MacmillanRole of Macmillan► Is another area where historians have been at work. TheIs another area where historians have been at work. The standard accountstandard accountassumed Macmillan was telling the truth. That he had discovered the position ofassumed Macmillan was telling the truth. That he had discovered the position ofsterling and changed his mind.sterling and changed his mind.►► The work of Diane Kunz (The work of Diane Kunz (The Economic Diplomacy of the Suez CrisisThe Economic Diplomacy of the Suez Crisis, 1991) called, 1991) calledthis into question. She argued that less than $100m had been lost. In Kunz’s viewthis into question. She argued that less than $100m had been lost. In Kunz’s viewthe sterling crisis only began afterwards when the US refused to allow GB tothe sterling crisis only began afterwards when the US refused to allow GB todraw upon IMF funds until GB withdrew from canal zone. Macmillan’s statementdraw upon IMF funds until GB withdrew from canal zone. Macmillan’s statementto cabinet had been “either knowingly or accidentally” untrue. On the basis ofto cabinet had been “either knowingly or accidentally” untrue. On the basis ofthis argument, the “sensational loss of nerve” school gained ground. In brief,this argument, the “sensational loss of nerve” school gained ground. In brief,Macmillan either chickened out (possible), or wanted to be on good terms withMacmillan either chickened out (possible), or wanted to be on good terms withthe US in order to replace Eden (impossible given that Macmillan was an Englishthe US in order to replace Eden (impossible given that Macmillan was an Englishgentleman).gentleman).► Latest research complicates this picture, however. Klug and Smith, “Suez andLatest research complicates this picture, however. Klug and Smith, “Suez andSterling, 1956” (Sterling, 1956” (Explorations in Economic HistoryExplorations in Economic History 36 (1999), 181-203 argue that36 (1999), 181-203 argue thatwhile Kunz is right to say only abt $100m was lost from British reserves in thewhile Kunz is right to say only abt $100m was lost from British reserves in thefirst week of November, overall July-November 1956 saw a “total underlying loss”first week of November, overall July-November 1956 saw a “total underlying loss”of $883m in British reserves. Suez was the most serious postwar challenge to theof $883m in British reserves. Suez was the most serious postwar challenge to the£ until 1967, even greater than 1949, when the £ was devalued.£ until 1967, even greater than 1949, when the £ was devalued.► The conduct of Macmillan remains strange, however. Documentation shows heThe conduct of Macmillan remains strange, however. Documentation shows hewas persistently warned of the danger to sterling throughout the crisis. Why didwas persistently warned of the danger to sterling throughout the crisis. Why didhe choose the heat of the battle to give a false figure to cabinet?he choose the heat of the battle to give a false figure to cabinet?
  21. 21. A.J.P. Taylor on SuezA.J.P. Taylor on Suez►““ The moral for British governmentsThe moral for British governmentsis clear. Like most respectableis clear. Like most respectablepeople, they will make poorpeople, they will make poorcriminals and had better stick tocriminals and had better stick torespectability. They will not berespectability. They will not bemuch good at anything else.”much good at anything else.”
  22. 22. Revisionism?Revisionism?► Perceptible shift towards rehabilitating Eden and BritishPerceptible shift towards rehabilitating Eden and Britishgovernment. E.g. D.R. Thorpe,government. E.g. D.R. Thorpe, EdenEden (2003). Does so in(2003). Does so inthree ways:three ways:► A) By putting Suez inA) By putting Suez in contextcontext. Eden one of the great. Eden one of the greatstatesmen of the 20th century; Suez a blip.statesmen of the 20th century; Suez a blip.► B) By emphasizing that Gb and F did nothing untoward.B) By emphasizing that Gb and F did nothing untoward.Were victims of American moralizing.Were victims of American moralizing. Compare US actionCompare US actionagainst Mossadeq in Iran in 1953against Mossadeq in Iran in 1953..► C) By putting blame on other members of Eden’s cabinet,C) By putting blame on other members of Eden’s cabinet,especially R.A.B. Butler and Macmillan, who is rapidlyespecially R.A.B. Butler and Macmillan, who is rapidlybecoming the villain of the piece.becoming the villain of the piece.► Other scholars, e.g. Gordon Martel, are calling intoOther scholars, e.g. Gordon Martel, are calling intoquestion the accepted view that Suez was a “watershed”question the accepted view that Suez was a “watershed”in postwar world history (certainly British history).in postwar world history (certainly British history).► This kind of revisionism, in Geyl’s great phrase, is whyThis kind of revisionism, in Geyl’s great phrase, is whyhistory is “argument without end.”history is “argument without end.”
  23. 23. What We KnowWhat We Know► Yet also true that the Suez crisis is proof of a cautiouslyYet also true that the Suez crisis is proof of a cautiously“objectivist” view of history. We do not know (and cannot“objectivist” view of history. We do not know (and cannotknow) THE truth about Suez, but we do now know that manyknow) THE truth about Suez, but we do now know that manyformer beliefs are wrong; that leading politicians lied; that theformer beliefs are wrong; that leading politicians lied; that theUS had complex motives; that collusion took place; that the £US had complex motives; that collusion took place; that the £was under pressure.was under pressure.► Historians are now also at work on the social history of theHistorians are now also at work on the social history of thecrisis. Recent work has been done on film and newsreel duringcrisis. Recent work has been done on film and newsreel duringthe crisis; work is being done on public opinion; somebodythe crisis; work is being done on public opinion; somebodyneeds to do work on the political parties since the only work onneeds to do work on the political parties since the only work onthe subject is Epstein’s 1964 classicthe subject is Epstein’s 1964 classic British Politics and theBritish Politics and theSuez CrisisSuez Crisis..► A provocation: We may eventually even know more about theA provocation: We may eventually even know more about theSuez crisis than the leading actors did at the time. The frescoSuez crisis than the leading actors did at the time. The frescorestoration metaphor is a powerful one. Our knowledge of therestoration metaphor is a powerful one. Our knowledge of thepast is necessarily incomplete, but it can still be richer andpast is necessarily incomplete, but it can still be richer andmore vivid than contemporaries could know.more vivid than contemporaries could know.
  • WalidNangyaal

    Aug. 27, 2020
  • manishkumar2948

    Feb. 14, 2018

Views

Total views

6,436

On Slideshare

0

From embeds

0

Number of embeds

33

Actions

Downloads

123

Shares

0

Comments

0

Likes

2

×