Anthony Eden’s Government, 1955 - 57.
· Eden was the obvious heir to Churchill and easily took over when Churchill retired from politics in 1955.
· called an election soon after and increased the Conservative majority
· In theory he should have been a very popular and successful PM as he had effectively been in training for the role since the 1930’s
· he seems to have been almost too desperate to make his mark.
· had been Foreign Secretary during the war and again during Churchill’s second term
· played a vital role for British, and world trade
· Shipping was, and is, the most vital industry in the world
· It was built by the British and French, and we received an income from it
· it was vital for British supplies, notably of oil from the Middle East.
· Colonel Nasser, the leader of Egypt since 1952, has promised modernisation for his people, and the cornerstone of this was the Aswan High Damn to create masses of electricity and irrigation in the desert.
· He was on good terms with the west, and Britain and the US had promised financial aid.
· When it became clear that he had also asked the USSR for help, western money was quickly withdrawn
· Short of money, in July 1956, Nasser announced the nationalisation of the Suez Canal, and that foreign ships would now have to pay to pass through the canal.
· The French were keen to teach Arabic nationalists a lesson (they were having their own problems with nationalists in Algeria).
· Eden had been led to believe that the USA would support moves against the now pro Soviet Nasser.
· Britain and France tried to get the UN to condemn Nasser’s actions and return the canal to being an international waterway, but the USSR vetoed this in the Security Council.
· As Israel were keen to launch a military attack on Egypt, Eden began to hatch a plot. Israel would attack across the…