185px-Nasser.jpgThe leader of Egypt from 1954 - 1970.

Rise to Power
  • Beginning at age 15, Gamal Nasser took part in anti-British demonstrations. His view of the British would influence most of his future decisions.
  • Britain had focused on Egypt for European colonialism and imperialism, and by 1942, Britain’s power in Egypt was at its height. Nasser believed that such the British were interfering in the internal affairs in a country. For the following seven years, Nasser used his position to influence members of the Egyptian army "that a) such interference was unacceptable and b) that all vestiges of British rule/interference had to be removed from Egypt". Nasser was an instructor for in the Egyptian Army Staff College and was able to use this position to influence young members of the army.
  • Egypt and other Arab nations were defeated by Israel in the 1948 war. Many people blamed the defeat on faulty weapons that were given to the Arabs by the Royal Family. For Nasser, this was the final straw; he believed that the royal family must go, and Egypt needed to have a new form of government.
  • On July 23, 1952, Nasser helped to organize a successful revolt against the Royal Family and King Farouk (the current ruler of Egypt). The actual leaderof the revolt, Neguib, took control over the country. It became clear that Neguib lacked the ability to be a leader of a country, so Nasser quickly assumed the position.
  • Nasser wanted to address five topics in order to modernize Egypt:
    1. Poverty in Egypt
    2. Ignorance in Egypt
    3. “National oblivion”
    4. Neglect of Egypt’s infrastructure
    5. No sense of national identity or pride in Egypt

He also wanted to see Egypt free of any British influence.

Social, Political, and Economic policies
Suez Canal
— Britain had about 40% control of the canal. Despite the canal being in Egypt, the Egyptians experienced hardly any benefits. In 1956, Nasser nationalized the canal, which lead to an attack by the British and French. Americans did not support this attack. This action brought huge popularity to Nasser throughout the Arab nations. After this, he implemented the “Egyptianisation” of his country.
Aswan High Dam — The flooding of the Nile River was a major problem that Egyptians faced. It would destroy the farming land. Nasser decided to build a dam to hold back the decimating waters. Egypt needed help, but France, Britain, and America were not possibilities. Therefore, Nasser turned to the USSR for aid. USSR provided money and engineers. When this project was completed, it generated world wide attention.

Although the above actions drew the most attention, Nasser also built over 2,000 new factories, as well as iron and steel mills and aluminum plants.

In 1961, Nasser nationalized several corporations so that the money they generated could be used to improve the Egyptians' lives. A year later, it was announced that Egypt would be ruled by Arab socialist terms.


Nasser became a pivotal figure in Egyptian history. He was one of the first leaders to challenge Western influence in the Arab world.



Bibliography

Trueman, Chris. "Gamal Abdul Nasser." History Learning Site.
Http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/gamal_abdel_nasser.htm. Web. 29 Oct. 2009.