African History 6: The Suez Canal Crisis
Remember that time Canada saved us all from World War III? Seriously. That's a thing that happened. Check out the video if you don't believe us.
|World History||African History|
What came to be called the Suez Canal Crisis kicked off on June 26, 1956 when the socialist [The Suez Canal]
Egyptian President Nasser declared that the Suez Canal belonged to his people…
…i.e. the government that was run by him. [People jump in the canal]
The tiny problem?
The Suez Canal was owned by British and French investors, who weren’t cool with Nassar,
um… taking their stuff.
But Nassar was like…”it’s in Egypt, so it belongs to Egypt.” [Nasser demanding the canal]
Also, the Europeans had built it when Egypt—as well as almost all of North Africa—was colonized.
So taking over the highly lucrative canal was a way of getting payback.
Things got crazy fast. [Man runs away from psychiatric hospital]
A week after Nassar made his announcement, Britain had frozen all Egyptian overseas bank
accounts, outlawed all arms sales to Egypt, and revved up its navy for a fight. [soldiers marching with rifles]
A month later, the nuclear-armed USSR got into the mix and threatened to attack if Britain
Two months later, Israel got into the ring…which is when things really got hot. [Israel and Egypt in a boxing ring]
For one, the Crisis was hurting trade through the Suez, which meant fewer ships in Israel’s
ports and less money in their piggy banks.
Even more so, though, Israel had a score to settle with Nasser because Egypt had supported [Israel and palestine firing guns at each other]
the Palestinians in Israel's civil war.
And Israel’s relationship with Western Europe was shaky because its policies were getting
a little too socialist for capitalist tastes.
Sticking up for European interests was a way for Israel to prove its loyalty. [Israel beside the Western Europe]
So in October, Israel attacked Egypt.
It was like a playground fight with both Western Europe and the Soviet Union standing off to
the side, chanting…
“Fight! Fight! Fight!" [Western Europe and USSR shouting at Israel and Egypt]
What a bunch of enablers…
British and French troops were there too, calling themselves peacekeepers.
But they weren’t exactly chanting “Peace! Peace! Peace!"
What made this all so scary is that the USSR had promised to attack if anybody attacked
But… if they attacked Israel, Britain, and France, the US was sure to get involved.
It wouldn’t take much for the world to suddenly be in the middle of a nuclear World War III.
Luckily, the prospect of the world ending was actually enough to make everyone think [White flag appears]
Led by Canadian diplomat and future Prime Minister, Lester Pearson, the United Nations
pressured the British, French, and Israelis to get the heck out of Egypt. [Lester Pearson orders Britain, France and Israel away]
And the Brits, French, and Israelis…actually did it.
The UN replaced them with a multinational peacekeeping force that reined in the region.
Eventually, the Suez Canal was given back to the Egyptian government.
But with the understanding that it would always be open to British and French ships. [British and French ships sailing on the Canal]
World War III was avoided, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
And who knows?
It might not have happened without the Canadian charm of Lester Pearson. [Lester Pearson at a dinner table with Egypt]
Who’s a hoser now, eh?