Origins of the Suez Crisis describes the long run-up to the 1956 Suez Crisis and the crisis itself by focusing on politics, economics, and foreign policy decisions in Egypt, Britain, the United States, and the Soviet Union. Based on Arabic source material, as well as multilingual documents from Israeli, Soviet, Czech, American, Indian, and British archives, this is the first historical narrative to discuss the interaction among all of the players involved-rather than simply British and U.S. perspectives.

Guy Laron highlights the agency of smaller players and shows how they used Cold War rivalries to advance their own economic circumstances and, ultimately, their status in the global order. He argues that, for developing countries and the superpowers alike, more was at stake than U.S.-USSR one-upmanship; the question of Third World industrialization was seen as crucial to their economies.

Guy Laron is a lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He was a scholar at the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute in 2008.


Introduction: From the BRICs to Suez

1. Why Do They Hate Us? The British, the Effendia, and the Collapse of a Once-Reliable Colonial Machine, 1945–1952

2. Nasser as the Wave of the Future: The Inevitable Alliance between American Internationalists and Egyptian Officers, 1952–1954

3. Soviet Trade Offensive, Afro-Asian Divisions, and Internationalist Woes: From Stalin’s Death to the Bandung Conference, 1953–1955

4. The Mirror Strategy in Action: The Use and Abuse of the Soviet Economic Offensive in the Third World during 1955

5. Killing the Aswan Dam: From Nasser’s Populist Turn to Dulles’s Brilliant Chess Move, September 1955–July 1956

6. The Rise and Demise of the Third Bloc Movement during the Suez Crisis, July–November 1956

7. Conclusion: The Economic Cold War in the Middle East, 1945–1956

8. Postscript: From Suez to the BRICs


“The author crafts a rich narrative of the early 1950s leading up to the crisis. He commands a full array of the archival sources of the major players, including the Soviet Union.”—Choice

“Laron’s research really is a multilingual tour de force.”—Douglas Little, Clark University

“Scholars of political economy, U.S. foreign relations, Middle East history, and international relations will find much food for thought here, as well as clear proof of the value of the new Cold War history’s efforts to see the post–World War II period as more than merely the East-West struggle.”—Mary Ann Heiss, Kent State University, H-Diplo