The Cold War was no war at all, rather it was a time of escalating strain between two Superpowers; the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold War, which began right after World War One, was still in it's infancy during the 1950's and lasted for approximately forty years. During the 1950's one area in particular that provoked hostilities between the United States and the Soviet Union was the Middle East. Tensions arose due to numerous factors such as the Suez Canal crisis, and the general economic and political instability of the Middle Eastern nations.
One of the major issues in the Middle East that developed in the 1950's was the Suez Canal crisis. The Suez Canal was originally created for international use among all nations. "In 1888 a convention or treaty was signed, among a group of nations which was left open for the purpose of permitting other nations to sign later should they choose. That treaty, among other things made the waterway an international one forever, open to the shipping of all countries both in peace and war" (Eisenhower "Diary" 1). "On the morning of July 27th, Gamal Adbel Nasser, the president of Egypt, made a very inflammatory speech, in which he announced the nationalizing of the Canal Company" (Eisenhower "Diary" 2). Nasser wanted to take over the Canal and use it for the economic gain of his own country, out of greed.
The action taken by Nasser stirred up an outrage that nearly caused a war. "The British had taken a firm, considered decision to "break Nasser" and to initiate hostilities at an early date for this purpose" (Goodpaster 1). Britain wanted to overthrow Nasser without any forewarning. President Eisenhower did not agree with this decision and believed that the Arab nations would unite and cause hostilities if Britain took action.
In addition the Soviets had sided with Egypt and were threatening to get involved with the conflict and could possibly draw the United States into a war, whereas if a conference were to be held a peaceful resolution could possibly be reached. A decision was made to call together all nations involved to try to work out an agreement that would honor the rights of Egypt. "We believe that out of this conference will come a plan for the international operation of the canal which will give assurance that the objectives of the 1888 treaty will in fact be realized and that the canal will continue to be operated by those who feel that it is their duty to serve the international community- and not to serve the interests of any one nation" (Eisenhower "Remarks" 1). The international conference led to a spirit of cooperation and served to avert the real possibility of war. It was this peace process that eased the tensions that had escalated between the United States and the Soviet Union.
The other major issues during that time were the economic and political instability of the Middle Eastern nations. This instability created an atmosphere where the Soviets felt that they should get...