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1956: The Suez crisis and the Hungarian revolution

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Tears of Budapest
  3. The Impact of the Revolution
  4. The Laughter of Nasser
  5. Three empires challenge
  6. Conclusion

Human history has been riddled with periods of crisis. Such a crisis was the Hungarian protests in 1956 against the government and its Soviet imposed policies. The United States stayed away from the war waged by Israel, France and the UK against the Egypt of Gamal Abdel Nasser. If Morocco and Tunisia declared their independence, the war of Algeria took on more threatening proportions. But how far are these events linked?

Gunfire broke out on the evening of October 23, 1956, between the protesters and the political police in Budapest: this is the beginning of the Hungarian revolution and prelude to a bloody Soviet intervention. At the same time, from October 22 to 24, France, the United Kingdom and Israel were secretly developing, in Sevres, the plan for military intervention in Egypt. . On the morning of November 4, Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov put into action his plan to crush the insurgents in Budapest; on November 6, the Anglo-French Operation Musketeers landed at Port Said. On November 22, the last pockets of resistance in Hungary were crushed; on December 22, there were no more Western troops in Egypt. Budapest wept tears of blood, while the booming laugh of Gamal Abdel Nasser echoed in Cairo.

1956 is a pause, a sudden cold snap after the beginnings of a thaw in the Cold War. It began under the auspices of the detente: on April 18, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev arrived in London, and on May 15, the chairman of French Council, Guy Mollet, and his French Foreign Minister Christian Pineau, undertook an official visit to Moscow. Just five months later, the Egyptian loudspeakers announced to the Cairo population that World War III had begun.

When Soviet President Nikolai Bulganin wrote to the powers engaged in Egypt to threaten of massive retaliation, one quickly realizes that the inevitable conflict did not correspond to known archetypes as the United States had decided not to support its Franco-British allies.

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