Journal Article

Britain, the United States and the Rise of an Egyptian Leader: The Politics and Diplomacy of Nasser’s Consolidation of Power, 1952–4

Michael T. Thornhill

in The English Historical Review

Volume 119, issue 483, pages 892-921
Published in print September 2004 | ISSN: 0013-8266
Published online September 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-4534 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehr/119.483.892
Britain, the United States and the Rise of an Egyptian Leader: The Politics and Diplomacy of Nasser’s Consolidation of Power, 1952–4

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Nasser’s emergence as the unrivalled leader of the ‘Egyptian revolution’ was intimately connected with his efforts to secure an end to the British occupation of the Suez Canal Zone. While there was nothing new about the long-running negotiations with Britain influencing Egypt’s internal politics, the stakes were nevertheless considerably raised after the military coup of July 1952. Using the exigencies of trying to negotiate an evacuation agreement, Nasser moved Egypt decisively away from pluralism and towards authoritarianism. Opponents — some from within the regime — were either arrested or barred from political life. Officials from the US embassy in Cairo played a crucial role in this process, much to the frustration of their British counterparts and, at times, the concerns of Washington. In detailing the relationship between Egypt’s internal and external politics as Nasser consolidated his power, this article seeks to pull together two hitherto largely distinct lines of enquiry: the first, predominantly the preserve of area studies specialists, has focused on the collapse of Egypt’s old order and anatomized the new; the second, occupied in the main by imperial historians, has considered the diplomatic context of the rise of Nasser, specifically the negotiations leading to the Anglo–Egyptian defence agreement of 1954 (and mostly as a brief prelude to the Suez crisis two years later). What emerges from this account is the precariousness of Nasser’s progress from the shadows of the military junta and how dependent he was on US support.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: British History ; World History ; European History ; International History

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