The events that followed President Nasser of Egypts nationalisation of the Suez Canal on 26 July 1956 were as dramatic as they were painful to Britains standing in the world. The authors of this fascinating book describe the unfolding disaster in detail and explain why lack of success was almost inevitable. In military terms not only were there misunderstandings between the British and French but serious equipment shortages and outdated attitudes. Most damaging of all were the political constraints, which led to continual prevarication and affected planning and operations on the ground. Drawing on official documents, and personal accounts of politicians and military men, the authors reveal the depths of deception that were employed to defy the UN, keep key allies (notably the USA) and Parliament in the dark and face down the service chiefs and public hostility.
This excellent volume, printed in this very handy and affordable format for the first time, is fully updated and illustrated with excellent maps and photographs. It provides the reader with a good all-round, yet well detailed summary of the political, diplomatic and military aspects of the ill fated campaign, therefore making it an invaluable reference work for military historians and researchers alike. Anyone who served in this campaign will want to read it too, as it will help them understand the broader reasons as to why they were there.Roll of Honour, Michael D. Booker
29th October 1956
The Suez Crisis was provoked by an American and British decision not to finance Egypt’s construction of the Aswan High Dam, as they had promised, in response to Egypt’s growing ties with communist Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union. Nasser reacted to the American and British decision by declaring martial law in the canal zone and seizing control of the Suez Canal Company, predicting that the tolls collected from ships passing through the canal would pay for the dam’s construction within five years. Britain and France feared that Nasser might close the canal and cut off shipments of petroleum flowing from the Persian Gulf to western Europe. When diplomatic efforts to settle the crisis failed, Britain and France secretly prepared military action to regain control of the canal and, if possible, to depose Nasser. They found a ready ally in Israel, who crossed the Sinai Peninsula into Egypt heading towards the Suez Canal on October 29.