Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Raymond L. Koch


The seizure and subsequent war over the Suez Canal in 1956 is the major theme of this work. The effects on the international situation and world events are analyzed. The major participants, Great Britain under Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden, France under Premier Guy Mollet, Israel under Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, and Egypt under President Gamal Nasser, are developed from their personal aspirations and goals surrounding their actions.

These actions led to the chain of events which disrupted the bipolar balance of world power. The United States' containment policy was breeched. Secretary of State John Foster Dulles did not adequately represent the position of the United States in this situation, which was stated by President Eisenhower to his Western allies. This lack of precise communication resulted in the disruption of allied solidarity. President Eisenhower had to initiate sanctions against his allies in order to halt the destruction of Western influence in the Middle East, to save the United Nations, and to replace the role played by his allies in the area through the Eisenhower Doctrine.

The Soviet Union accomplished an immense historic success. It had successfully achieved a strongly accepted influence in the Middle East which had been denied since the 1700's. The Soviets took advantage of the divisions among Western powers by entering an area where a power vacuum existed. Russia, by centering attention on the United Nations and directing world attention to the Middle East, lessened criticisms against its actions in Hungary. Taking advantage of a divided and weakened West, the Soviet Union ruthlessly crushed the Hungarian revolt. The Soviets, through unrestricted supplies of arms and economic aid to the Middle East, acquired for themselves a more popular image of Soviet communism than that of Western democracy with the Arab nationalists.

The United States forced an end to the joint British, French, and Israeli invasion into Egypt. This caused deep resentment in France which led it to break from the United States and develop its own separate role in world politics. It was clearly proven that Great Britain and France had secretly negotiated with Israel regarding Israel's invasion of Egypt and the subsequent combined "peace keeping" invasion of the Suez Canal. Great Britain's conservative government had to be rebuilt, and its economy was nearly shattered. Arab nationalism became divided between the West and Nasser's neutral Soviet-backed government. The Soviet Union gained unprecedented success, and its influence was readily accepted. The United States was forced to bear a larger role in the area because of the Eisenhower Doctrine. America's democratic ideals were viewed with suspicion, and its containment policy was breeched.