1. Different types and nature of 20th century warfare

  • Civil
  • Guerrilla
  • Limited war, total war
2. Origins and causes of wars

  • Long-term, short-term, and immediate causes
  • Economic, ideological, political, and religious causes
3. Nature of 20th century wars

  • Technological developments, tactics and strategies, air, land and sea
  • Home front: economic and social impact (including changes in the role and status of women)
  • Resistance and revolutionary movements
4. Effects and results of wars

  • Peace settlements and wars ending without treaties
  • Attempts at collective security pre-and post-Second World War
  • Political repercussions and territorial changes
  • Post-war economic problems


  1. The Suez Crisis of 1956
    1. Conflict between Egypt and Britian/France results in the withdrawl of British troops in the Suez Canal.
  2. Background on the Crisis
    1. Long term causes:
      1. "Nasser sought to keep Egypt neutral during the Cold War tensions. However, he also sought funding from both sides for economic development in Egypt. The U.S. and Great Britain began to be troubled when it appeared Egypt was leaning Communist."
    2. Short term causes:


  1. Course of the war:
    1. July 26, 1956, the Egyptian government took over control of the Suez Canal from its British and French owners, promptly starting what is known as the Suez Crisis.
    2. Both having controlling interest in the canal, Great Britain and France (link to France's involvement in the crisis) began sending troops to the area.

    1. Israel, which had been engaging in raids and counter-raids with Egypt in the Gaza Strip, also prepared for conflict.

    1. “The Soviet Union threatened armed intervention, and the United States warned of the possibility of a nuclear confrontation between the Soviet and Western blocs” (Reimer).


  • “Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser ordered the take-over after the United Kingdom and the United States withdrew their offers to help pay for the Aswan High Dam” (Reimer).
  • On October 29, 1956, Israeli forces invaded Egypt and advanced toward the canal. The U.K. and France also began air strikes against Egypt on October 31, with their troops capturing major ports in November. Following the conflict, it was discovered that France, Britain, and Israel conspired and agreed to invade Egypt in a secret treaty at Sevres before the conflict. This subsequently discredited not only Eden, but also Britain and France. This also led to U.S. dismissal of British aims in the Middle East.
  • The U.S. and U.S.S.R both condemned the invasion.
  • Under this pressure, Great Britain and France agreed to a cease-fire on November 6.
  • A UN peacekeeping force was then sent in to tie up any lose ends, and Israeli troops also withdrew in March of 1957.
  • Nasser “became an Arab hero for standing up to the West” (Neimer). Both France and U.K. were compensated for the shares they held in the canal; however, both lost influence in the Middle East.

Reimer, Michael J. “Suez Crisis.”
World Book Advanced (2009): n. pag. World Book Advanced. Web. 1 Sept. 2009. <http://www.worldbookonline.com?id=ar538170>.

Information About the Canal Itself


  • Ferdinand de Lesseps was the entrepreneur who actually carried out the idea that had been brewing for some time (Goldschmidt).
  • “As soon as he [Muhammad Sa’id Pasha] became Egypt's viceroy in 1854, de Lesseps described to him his plan for constructing and financing this waterway, which would be the largest public-works project in Egypt” (Goldschmidt).
  • However, it did take some time for de Lesseps to get approval from the sultaon of the Ottomon empire and the European Powers. Britan was especially oppsed to the canal that might impair its defense of India (Goldschmidt).
  • “The construction cost, estimated at more than 450 million French francs (worth about $100 million at that time), was borne mainly by Egyptian taxpayers and by thousands of unpaid or underpaid Egyptian peasants who were forced into corvée labor” (Goldschmidt).
  • After it was opened in 1869, “it soon became a main trade route for steam-driven passenger and cargo ships because it reduced travel time between Europe and East Africa, South Asia, China, Japan, and the East Indies” (Goldschmidt).
  • The canal was intended to be open to all ships during both war and peace; however, during Britain made sure it was closed to Britain and its allies in both world wars. Egypt also didn’t allow Israel passage up until 1975 (Goldschmidt).
  • “It was closed from 1956 to 1967 and from 1967 to 1975 because of the Arab-Israel conflict” (Goldschmidt).
  • The canal was enlarged to accommodate larger oil tankers between 1960 and 1964.
  • “Transit time is now 15 hours, and 80 ships can transit per day. The Suez Canal is a major route for transport of crude oil from the Persian Gulf. In 2000 the northbound tankers from the Gulf carried 28.2 million tons of crude oil (about 580,000 barrels per day) and in 2001 28.8 million tons (about 592,000 barrels per day)” (Goldschmidt).

Goldschmidt, Arthur. “Suez Canal.” Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Ed. Philip Mattar. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 2106-2107. Gale Virtual Reference Library
. Web. 18 Sept. 2009. <http://go.galegroup.com/‌ps/‌retrieve >.

Causes of the Crisis Including the Baghdad Pact


  • “The Baghdad Pact formally came into existence in 1955; it was an exemplary Cold War agreement reflecting the priority the Eisenhower administration gave to containment of the Soviet Union through collective security agreements” (Karabell).
  • The members of the pact included Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and Britain, with the headquarters of the pact stationed in Baghdad. Hence it is called the Baghdad Pact (Karabell).
  • Nuri al-Sa’id, the pact’s most forceful Middle Eastern component, championed the agreement because it tied Iraq more closely to the west while also giving the Iraqi leader potential leverage against Nasser, his rival (Karabell).
  • “Nasser viewed the Baghdad Pact, with its British membership, as another manifestation of Western imperialism, and he used all the means at his disposal to persuade other Arab states not to join. In this he was successful—Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan refused offers of membership” (Karabell).
  • The United States, although involved in many of the security agreements laid out in the Pact, never became an official member (Karabell).
  • “Nonetheless, the security agreement fit U.S. strategic interests in the region. Through Turkey, the Middle East was linked to NATO, and through Pakistan, to the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO)” (Karabell).
  • Henceforth, the U.S. was able to continue their influence in the area without being officially a member of the Pact (Karabell).
  • “The Iraqi revolution in July 1958 led to the deaths of the monarch and Nuri al-Sa’id. Iraq withdrew from the Baghdad Pact in 1959 and denounced it as a vestige of Western imperialism. The group was then renamed the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO)” (Karabell).

Karabell, Zachary. “Baghdad Pact (1955).” Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Ed. Philip Mattar. 2nd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 363. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 22 Sept. 2009. <http://go.galegroup.com.do>.

U.S. Presence in the Region and It's Affects


  • The Middle East has been one of the main focal points of U.S. foreign policy since WWII (Peretz).
  • “Oil investments and the special U.S. relationship with Israel were the chief reasons for U.S. involvement in that area of confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War” (Peretz).
  • U.S. contact in the Middle East began around 1800 when the U.S. naval forces defeated the Barbary pirates in 1816 in North Africa. However, throughout most of the 19ht century, the relations were educational and commercial in nature such as establishing schools and medical facilities (Peretz).
  • “In the 1920s and 1930s U.S. oil companies invested heavily in Iran, Iraq, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. During World War II, the United States participated in the Allied battles for North Africa and established the Persian Gulf Command to transport lend-lease materials from the Gulf, through Iran, to the Soviet Union” (Peretz).
  • “By 1945 several U.S. air bases, supply depots, and transportation facilities were operating throughout the Middle East. From the end of World War II until the collapse of the USSR in the early 1990s, a major objective of U.S. foreign policy was to prevent Soviet penetration of the Middle East” (Peretz).
  • As British military and political commitments diminished, the U.S. became something of a replacement and the region became the recipient of the greatest portion of U.S. military and economic aid (Peretz).
  • “Soviet pressure on Turkey and Iran marked the beginning of the Cold War, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947 represented one of the first efforts in the new ‘containment’ policy to halt Soviet expansion. Responding to feared Soviet encroachments” (Peretz).
  • In Greece, Turkey, and Iran, the United States sent 400 million dollars—under the Truman Doctrine—to help aid all of these countries (Peretz).


  • Israel also becomes very closely tied with the United States after its establishment in 1948. By the 1960s, Israel had become the single largest recipient of U.S. economic and military aid. However, this assistance to Israel ruled out establishing closer ties with the surrounding Arab nations (Peretz).
  • “Efforts by Western countries to keep Soviet influence out of the Middle East were undermined by the events leading up to the Arab–Israel War of 1956” (Peretz).
  • “Attempts by the United States to cultivate better relations with Egypt were subverted when the United States refused to provide Egypt with aid to construct the Aswan High Dam; as a consequence, President Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal in July 1956” (Peretz).
  • Despite this, the U.S. (along with the Soviet Union) still opposed the invasion of Israel by Britain, France, and Israel in October of 1956 (Peretz).
  • The unrest and nationalist, leftist ideas that occurred after the war led to the U.S. passing the Eisenhower Doctrine in January of 1957 (Peretz).
  • “[The] Eisenhower Doctrine [was a plan] whereby military and economic assistance was dispensed to the Middle East and the use of U.S. forces was provided to protect countries in the region ‘against overt aggression from any nation controlled by international Communism’” (Peretz).
  • For example, the U.S. sent troops to both Jordan and Lebanon to help protect both regimes from revolutionary forces (Peretz).
  • “The United States’ efforts to resolve the Arab–Israel dispute during the Eisenhower administration centered on the Arab refugee problem and projects intended to achieve the economic reconstruction of the Middle East through cooperative development of the region's water resources” (Peretz).
  • Although successful in establishing a water-sharing accord, agreements to resettle the refugees failed (Peretz).
  • “During 1955 and 1956 the United States also joined Britain in a secret operation, code-named "Alpha," which was designed to coerce Egypt and Israel into direct talks” (Peretz).
  • The operation ended in a failure when an Eisenhower emissary returned to Washington in March of 1956 after a useless round of shuttle diplomacy (Peretz).

Peretz, Don. “United States of America and the Middle East.”
Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa. Ed. Philip Mattar. 2nd ed. Vol. 4. New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 2004. 2290-2295. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 Oct. 2009. <http://go.galegroup.com/‌ps/‌retrieve.do>.


Terms and Ideas - defined and explained
Palestinian Conciliation Commission (PCC) - This was established in December 1948 by the UN General Assembly Resolution 194. Its goal was to settle peace between Israel and the Arabs, as well as to "facilitate the repatriation, resettlement and economic and social well-being of the Palestine refugees, and to determine the status of Jerusalem" (B&K 113). The commission failed to achieve any of this.
Rhodes Armistice - This was put into place in response to raids into Israel and Palestinians disobeying the set borders. The Rhodes agreements set up Mixed Armistice Commissions (MACs), which consisted of an equal number of delegates from the Arab and Israeli sides. These agreements were meant to help resolve the border disputes. However, it didn't help with preventing Arab raids.
Israel's geographic problems - "Israel had over 600 miles of land borders, and 75 percent of its population lived in the coastal plain from Haifa to Tel Aviv and the corridor to Jerusalem. Many of Israel's cities were within 18 miles of an Arab border, and at its "waist," Israel was less than 10 miles wide from Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea. Not only was the population of the Arab states forty miles that of Israel, but the Arab standing armies also outnumbered Israel eight to one" (B&K 116).
Arab economic weapon - The Arab countries were not internally stable. The only thing they could use was economic weapons against Israel. "They imposed an economic boycott in January 1950, which was strengthened by the closure of the Suez Canal to Israeli shipping and the removal to Tripoli, Lebanon, of the Haifa refinery by the Iraq Petroleum Company" (B&K 116).



Bickerton, Ian J, and Carla L Klausner. A Concise History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River: Prentice Hall, 2005.