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What was the significance of the Suez Crisis?

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Quick Answer

The main significance of the Suez Crisis is that it marked the end of Britain's role as a world power. The crisis also represented the beginning of the end of the British Empire.

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Full Answer

In 1956, the nationalization of the Suez Canal was announced in retaliation to American and Britain backing out off an agreement to finance the construction of the Aswan Dam. Different diplomatic solutions were offered between America, Britain and Egypt, but none could be agreed upon. In October of 1956, a secret plan was formed in which Israeli forces would invade Egypt. This would allow the Canal to be seized by British and French forces in an effort to intervene between the warring nations.

These actions by Britain were denounced by the USSR, the United States and the United Nations. Ultimately, a cease-fire was called due to the loss of American backing of a British economy that was already weak. Public opinion among the British was deeply divided over the decision to use force in the recovery of the Suez Canal. The debacle cost Anthony Eden, Britain's then Prime Minister, his job. In ill health, he resigned on January 9, 1957, and was replaced by Harold Macmillan the next day.

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