• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Was the Suez Crisis a devastating debacle for Britain?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Was the Suez Crisis a devastating debacle for Britain? The Suez Crisis arose in a period of tension as an 'Iron Curtain', as Churchill described it, had descended across Europe causing the Cold War. The British Empire was beginning to crumble under American pressure and relations between the three 'Powers' had collapsed with only Britain and the US holding any weight. The Suez Crisis was viewed as a very delicate situation which could spark a third World War. The Suez Canal was a vital link which ensured a quicker, more economic route for trade between Britain and her colonies in the middle-east, southern Asia and India. The most important good brought through the canal was oil although it was later found to be just as profitable to take it around the Cape of Good Hope. However, by 1956 Anglo-Eqyptian relations had deterriorated, partly caused by the withdrawal of British and USA finance for the Aswan Dam. ...read more.

Middle

The Crisis was ended when America put financial pressure, and the Soviet Union threatened military action, against Britain. From the outset the US financial pressure had the potential to cripple Britain's economy as Sterling devalued almost on a daily basis and gold and dollar reserves were rapidly depleted, thereby illustrating Britain's strong dependence on America. Moreover it led to a change in foreign policy as Britain never again went to war without US support. Britain's 'special' relationship with the US was soon back on track - by 1958 the Americans informed the UK government that they were in 'general agreement' with her position on Egypt and during the Cuban Missile Crisis Kennedy consulted with MacMillan. To understand if the crisis was 'devastating' it must be looked at in perspective. The death toll for British troops was merely 29. The economy suffered a short-term crisis but was soon back on track. ...read more.

Conclusion

Again, this should not be exaggerated as many historians argue that the Crisis had almost no detrimental effect to the Empire at all as Independence movements were already in full swing and the British Imperialistic views already in a minority. As Macmillan would comment only a few years later: "The wind of change is blowing through this continent [Africa], and whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact". In conclusion the crisis did have many negative effects for Britain but most of these were short-term (economic downturn, collapse of international relations, humiliation and the short blockage of the Canal). Long-term effects were few - dependence on America was recognised, whilst there was a possible speeding up of de-colonisation and the loss of diplomatic power. The mistake was costly for Britain but can not be called devastating because there were few long term effects, the British public was unaffected and the important trade link was not lost. Ian Chandler ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level International History, 1945-1991 essays

  1. Superpower Relations 1945-90

    Thus, although the US had made compromises, in public it was Khrushchev who had been forced to back down. Why did the Cuban Missiles Crisis end like this? * Kennedy realised that he had to make a stand. * Khrushchev realised that he had gone too far.

  2. Europe and the Suez Crisis 1956 - To what extent was the military action ...

    in the UN, where their actions could be justified due to the Soviet veto. The British did accept the SCUA, but its impact on Nasser was destined to be negligible. With the end of the SCUA Conference, French and British Ministers, engaged in negotiations with their Egyptian counterpart and agreed to the Six Principles7 (see Appendix).

  1. To what extent was independence a gift from Britain.

    Ghandi's association and appeal to the common Indian through these policies led to Congress' membership increasing from 100,000 in 1920 to over two million by the end of 1921. This rise in support was crucial in exerting political pressure on the British and led to the overwhelming majority of Congress in the 1936 elections.

  2. The Cuban Missile Crisis

    It had been the source of much trouble, however, as the Latin Americans had envisioned the pact as a mechanism for their own economic development and security, not as a means by which the US could prevent Soviet expansion in this part of the globe.

  1. The Cuban Missile Crisis and the blockade

    air strike was that it was quite slow, and might not produce any results fast enough. Many worried that while nothing could get in or out of Cuba, that did not solve the problem of the missiles that were already in Cuba.

  2. To what extent can the Suez Canal crisis of 1956 been said to have ...

    the Suez Canal and set up the Egyptian Canal Authority to replace the existing privately owned company. In August, British oil and embassy officials were expelled from the country. Having been denied passage through the canal since 1950 and having suffered repeated border raids from Egypt, Israel, with French and English air support, invaded Egyptian territory on Oct.

  1. What influence did the Suez Crisis have on British decolonisation 1956-64?

    The British economy was ruined after the War as nearly the entire treasury was spent on the war and German bombing in 1940 destroyed large parts of the her industry.

  2. Multicultural Britain.

    The event of Cable Street showed that there were divisions among the Jews themselves as thousands of working-class Jews rejected the calls of their leaders to stay off the streets. This event also proved that extreme parties were also a threat to law and order, and as a result was acted quickly to in order to stop their influence.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work