Eden’s government 1955-57

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Eden's government 1955-57
Was the obvious heir to Churchill so took over easily
Called an election soon after Churchill retired and increased the conservative majority
Seems to have been desperate to make his mark
Had been foreign secretary during the war and again during Churchill's second term
Suez 1956 under Eden's government
Played a vital role for British and world trade via shipping
Build by British and French who received an income from it
Vital for supplies of oil from the Middle East
Colonel Nasser has promised the Aswan Dam to his people BUT needed money; Britain & US
offered financial aid BUT he had also asked the USSR for help= west withdrew their money
By 1956 Nasser was short of money so he nationalised the Suez canal and foreign ships have
to pay to go through
Britain and France tried to get the UN to condemn Nasser's action BUT the USSR vetoed this
in the security council
Secret plan between them = Israel attacks Egypt and Britain and France would invade along
the Suez canal supposedly to keep the 2 sides a[art and force them to agree to a ceasefire
UN called an emergency debate
US was furious about being ignored in plans= condemned all 3 countries
Soviets threatened to use missiles against the west if they did not withdraw
Why did Eden order a withdrawal?
Unpopular in Britain, Labour called it a `mad adventure'
Fury of the Americans and the potential long term consequences
Fail to get any international support
UN condemnation
Virtually no commonwealth support
Imperialism was dying; big countries could not simply invade a third world country because
they did not like the leader
Eisenhower the American president was about the fight an election and did not want to have
this on his record
Within weeks of this ending, Eden stepped down as PM officially due to bad health but his
reputation had been damaged
The significance of the Suez affair
There was not military failure in Britain BUT failure of political will
Britain could no longer act independently in the post war world
Britain could not cope with international, especially US, condemnation
End of British imperialism

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