Essay Egypt Crisis

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Following the Japanese surprise attack on the Russian Pacific Fleet based at Port Arthur, the Russians sent reinforcements from their fleet in the Baltic Sea.

The British denied the Russian fleet use of the canal and forced it to steam around Africa, giving the Japanese forces time to consolidate their position in East Asia.

The economic potential of the Middle East, with its vast oil reserves, as well as the Suez Canal's geo-strategic importance against the background of the Cold War, prompted Britain to consolidate and strengthen its position there.

The kingdoms of Egypt and Iraq were seen as vital to maintaining strong British influence in the region.

In 1875, as a result of debt and financial crisis, Egypt was forced to sell its shares in the canal operating company to the British government of Benjamin Disraeli.

They were willing buyers and obtained a 44 percent share in the canal's operations for less than £4 million; this maintained the majority shareholdings of the mostly French private investors.

The report also points out how the canal was used in past wars and could be used in future wars to transport troops from the Dominions of Australia and New Zealand in the event of war in Europe.

The report also cites the amount of material and oil that passes through the canal to the United Kingdom, and the economic consequences of the canal being put out of commission, concluding: In the aftermath of the Second World War, Britain was reassessing its role in the region in light of the severe economic constraints and its colonial history.

It later became clear that the Israeli invasion and the subsequent Anglo-French attack had been planned beforehand by the three countries. Eisenhower had strongly warned Britain not to invade; he threatened serious damage to the British financial system by selling the US government's pound sterling bonds.

The three allies had attained a number of their military objectives, but the canal was useless. Historians conclude the crisis "signified the end of Great Britain's role as one of the world's major powers".


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