Britain and the Crisis, 1955–1956
This chapter treats the immediate antecedents of the emergency: the Soviet military assistance to Egypt through the ‘Czech arms deal’, the British discovery of the transaction in September 1955; and Eden's growing suspicions of Nasser. The policy of the British government in the months preceding the crisis, more than that of any other party, has remained vague until the recent opening of the archives. It paints a picture of British statecraft at this juncture that was unstable, racked by contradictory impulses, and presided over by a Prime Minister who fatally misjudged the reaction of the United States.
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