What Every American Should Know About the Suez Crisis


  • Leo Huberman
  • Paul M. Sweezy






A history of the world during the last century might well start and end with the Suez Canal. It was in 1854 that the French engineer-promoter Ferdinand de Lesseps launched the project which led to the actual construction of the Canal (the idea of a canal across Egypt was, of course, much older). The first ships passed through on November 17, 1869. In 1888, the Great Powers drew up a treaty which has since remained the basis of the Canal's status in international law. The "big ditch" was crucial to the vast system of European imperialism which grew up after 1870. It played an important role in both world wars. It took on a new significance with the fantastic post-World War II development of the oilfields of the Middle East. And now, both materially and symbolically, it stands at the very center of the backward countries' struggle for political independence and economic development.

This article can also be found at the Monthly Review website, where most recent articles are published in full.

Click here to purchase a PDF version of this article at the Monthly Review website.





Review of the Month