The Suez Crisis is often cited by some historians as one of the worst historical decisions that imprinted an indelible mark on the then British premier Sir Antony Eden. More often than not the decision by Eden to invade Egypt following a disagreement about nationalization of the Suez Canal is often cited as a the worst foreign policy decision that destroyed Eden political career and humiliated British empire in its wake. The decision by Eden to use military force against Nasser is often viewed by many as arising from a personal grudge towards Nasser, while only a few defend the fact that Eden had attempted to resolve the looming conflict peacefully.
A Brief Introduction about Sir Robert Antony Eden
It is unfortunate that despite Sir Antony Eden having successfully served as Britain for three decades as a foreign secretary and his subsequent rise to become the British prime minister in 1955 was overshadowed by the 1956 Suez Crisis that saw him tender his resignation after serving approximately 18 months in office. While justifying this action, Eden cited that he was protecting British commercial interests of which the recent nationalization of the Suez Canal by Nasser seemed to threaten. Eden strongly perceived Nasser as a dictator and that his actions could easily be replicated with the actions of Hitler and Mussolini that subsequently ignited World War.
Born to a baronet in County Durham on 12 June 1987, Antony Eden was educated at Eton and oxford where he received typical Edwardian upper-class education. He later served in the military during World War I where his service was deemed as distinguished. In 1923, he joined parliament after he was elected as a member of parliament for Warwick and Leamington. Later on at a tender age of 38 years, he was appointed the foreign secretary, a position he held for three years before he tendered in his resignation when he could not agree with “Neville Chamberlain's appeasement policy towards Germany.” Winston Churchill later reinstated him to the foreign office in 1940, although the two were later to have destructive disagreements that soured their relationship. He succeeded Churchill to the premier position in 1955, and it during his tenure that the infamous Suez crisis occurred. His decision to collude with France and Israel to invade Egypt in 1956 is termed by many as a serious tactical mistake, and the failure of American to support his decision and action was the beginning of his downfall. Though the mistake could not be reversed, Eden had to swallow his pride and admit that Britain could no longer be considered as world power and he had no option but to withdraw British forces for the Suez Canal. The move left greatly tarnished his reputation and in handed in his resignation in January 1957. It is such an irony that he had excelled in foreign affairs as a foreign secretary for three decades, yet he could not handle the Suez Canal issue in the same manner. Although he was later crated the...