The Suez Crisis, also known as the Suez War, was a war fought on Egyptian territory in 1956.
The British Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, was concerned that the Egyptian leader, Nasser, who was threatening British and Western interests in the Middle East, and who had stated he was seeking to make Egypt the head of the Arab world, might develop into an ‘Arab version of Hitler’.
Nasser had already forced the British military to abandon its occupation of the Suez canal zone (1954) and had nationalised the British and French owned Suez canal (July 1956). The British government secretly colluded with the French government to reoccupy the canal zone. Both powers sought to exploit tensions between Egypt and Israel. The Israelis secretly agreed to invade across the Sinai Desert which would give the British and the French, posing as peacekeepers, the excuse to occupy the Suez canal.
Israel invaded Egypt on the 20th October 1956, successfully defeating Egyptian opposition and advancing across the Sinai Desert. On October 30th, the British and French issued an ultimatum to both sides. The following day, British and French forces began a successful re-occupation of the canal zone, easily overcoming Egyptian resistance. Only sixteen British soliders were killed.
However, President Eisenhower of the United States was outraged not have to have been approached in advance of the operation and international opinion, in general, was opposed to it. The Americans forced the British and French to withdraw.
This marked the last occasion when Britain began a foreign military intervention without American knowledge or approval. The humiliated British Prime Minister resigned in 1957.