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The Importance Of The Six Day War

1562 words - 7 pages

Could you envision an event that affected the world during its time, but also the rest of the Twentieth Century? The Six Day War was such an event that not only was a defining moment of the nineteen-sixties, but also the rest of the century. The Six Day War was the third major Israeli-Arab conflict of the century, but arguably the most important. The opposing forces consisted of Israel against the Arab alliance of Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Each side could be said to have played a surrogate role in the Cold War. The United States was in an alliance with Israel, while the Soviet Union was allied with the Arabic countries. Although the war lasted a short time (June 5th, 1967-June 11th, 1967) its effects were massive. The Six Day War was one of the most important wars of the 20th Century because it established Israel as a superpower, reshaped the borders of the Middle East, and it allowed them to gain control of Jerusalem.
Events Leading Up To The War
As with all conflicts, there were series of events that lead to the war. Israel and its neighboring Arab countries have always had tensions. Most recent to the Six Day War was the Suez Crisis in 1956. After the United States rescinded their proposal to fund the Aswan High Dam, Egypt’s new leader, Gamal Abdel Nasser, decides to nationalize the Suez Canal on July 26th, 1956. This caused a stir among the British, the French, and the Israelis. On October 26th, 1956, the Israeli army strikes first followed up by the British and the French. Eventually, they take control of the Suez Canal. The Soviet Union sees this as a threat to their ally, Egypt, and their leader, Nikita Khruschev, threatens to nuke Western Europe. The United States quickly come in and warn the three countries to give up their campaign on the canal and to leave Egypt. A couple years later tensions would begin to rise again. Syria had continuously bombarded Israel’s northern border, which lead to multiple skirmishes. In May of 1967, the Soviet Union indicated that Israel was planning an attack on Syria which caught the attention of Israel’s Arab neighbors. With tensions rising, Nasser mobilizes troops in the Sinai on May 14th, 1967. He wouldn’t stop there. On May 18th, 1967, Nasser asks for the removal of the United Nations Emergency Force (U.N.E.F.) from the Sinai. The U.N.E.F. had been stationed there to control the cease-fire lines from the Suez Crisis in 1956. A couple days later, Nasser closes the Straits of Tiran, which effectively becomes a blockade on Israeli shipping. On May 30th, King Hussein of Jordan signs a mutual-defense pact with Egypt and Syria and other Arab countries. Israel had to think something was coming. Egypt and Syria were immobilizing their forces, and most of their neighbors had a defense pact with each other. Israel had to expect the worse and began to prepare.
The War
Feeling the pressure from its enemies, Israel had decided to strike. On the morning of June 5th, 1967, Israel launched an attack...

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