Clio Edition 4 - page 11

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was no longer a leader – a world that the likes of Anthony
Eden simply didn’t understand. The Suez Crisis marked
the end of Britain as a superpower; leaving it as a country
embroiled in post-war debt with an empire crumbling away.
This war was also seen by the USA as a colonial war in a
truly post-colonial time. It also showed the important role
that the USA played within the UK’s politics: the USA’s
threat to end their “special relationship” and deny them a loan
meant Britain’s only choice was to back down.
It is also important to look at the leaders involved in the
Suez crisis, Anthony Eden, Guy Mollet and Nasser himself.
They, after all, made the critical decisions that led to this
whole debacle. According to a Guardian article, Eden was a
member of Churchill’s ‘old guard’ and that “was a curiously
inadequate man…..For all his experience, he never absorbed
the simple post-war truth: that the world had changed
forever.” His diplomatic skill in WWII as foreign secretary
was overshadowed by his failings in 1956. The crisis took
its toll on him, as three days after the British invaders came
home, he left for Jamaica to recover and eventually resigned
on January 9th, leaving Harold Macmillan to take his place.
He left his mark on the public eye however, as two opinion
polls conducted in 2004 and 2010 by the University of Leeds,
rating post-war Prime Ministers left Eden in last place.
Guy Mollet, French Prime Minister at the time was also
heavily damaged by Suez Crisis, but managed to keep
his position as head of the French state. Despite his main
reservation that a socialist like him didn’t have the guts to go
to war with Egypt, his decision to go to war was much to his
detriment.
Nasser’s move to nationalise the canal, made without any
consultation, was a surprising one, and one that showed
a lack of rational decision making according to Egyptian
historian Abd al-Azim Ramadan. However, Great Britain
and France were both humiliated by the episode; only Nasser
gained strength. The UK was left with the stinging message
that it was no longer a world power to be reckoned with.
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