Gamal Abdel Nasser was the mastermind of the covert formation of
the Free Officers that acted against the monarchy and sought to
take over the rule.
In 1950, he was appointed head of the
Executive and on 23 July 1952, the Free Officers set about a coup
d'état, later regarded as a "revolution." They
Naguib as the commander-in-chief.
After that, the group announced their Six Principles purporting
the end of occupation, ending feudalism and monopoly, achieving
social justice, formation of a strong army, achieving democracy
and abolishing censorship. Broader plans were also dedicated to
the agrarian reforms. Mohamed Naguib was made a prime minister and
the 1923-constitution was suspended.
In early 1953 the political parties were disbanded
and the Free Officers Executive was renamed as Revolutionary Command
Council (RCC). Mohamed Naguib declared his supreme power in the
country. Later in that year, the monarchy was abolished, Naguib
was made president of the new republic and Nasser formed the government.
Power struggle arose between Nasser and Naguib. They were both exchanging
posts of premiership and RCC chairmanship.
Nasser, however, drummed up enough supports from trade unions and
the Liberation Rally, a government political group formed in March
Moslem Brotherhood, an Islamic reformist movement founded in 1928,
was allowed to resume its non-political activities.
In October 1953, Nasser held negotiations with the British side and
reached the Anglo-Egyptian Evacuation Treaty. The Moslem Brotherhood
opposed the agreement because it gave British forces a period of 20
months to implement total evacuation, a period they saw as long time.
As a result, a member of the group attempted to assassinate Nasser.
Naguib, L, was deposed by his comrade Gamal Abdel Nasser,
To Nasser that was the last straw. He took the attempt as a pretext
to place Mohamed Naguib under a house arrest, ripping him from presidency
and suppressing the Moslem Brotherhood.
In 1955, Nasser secured an arms-deal from the Soviet Union and the
next year a referendum was held based on the new constitution and
Nasser was officially elected as president. The RCC was disbanded
and both martial laws and censorship were abolished.
Earlier in February, the UN's International Bank for Reconstruction
and Development approved the financing of the High
Dam project at Aswan.
However, later USA and Britain withdrew their offer to financially
support the project.
Nasser responded by nationalizing Suez
Canal in July 1956 to exploit its revenues in financing the building
of the Dam, a move that provoked Britain.
Tension increased in the region and Israel attacked the canal in October.
Raged by the nationalization of the canal, Britain followed the attack
in November. France took part in the attack as it was irritated by
Egypt's support for the Algerian revolution.
The tripartite attack caused a crisis inside the Security Council
and under pressures practiced from the USSR and the USA, the aggressors
withdrew to make Abdel Nasser celebtrated as a victor and a symbol
of resistance in front of imperialism.
After the war, the government soon started a crackdown on oppositionists
In February 1958, a union was formed between Egypt and Syria under
the name of United Arab Republic (UAR) with Nasser its president.
In 1961, Syria broke away from the union after Syrian disapproval
for Egyptian policies. Despite that, Egypt kept the UAR title until
In 1962 Egypt sent troops to support Yemen's revolutionists against
Nasser's pan-Arab policies were shaken from time to time and Egypt's
relations with other Arab countries were fluctuating.
The Arab Socialist Union was founded in July 1962 to consolidate the
party activities of the government. The Union installed itself as
the only political party until the introduction of the multiparty
system in Sadat's rule.
In 1964, a new provisional constitution was introduced and in 1965,
President Nasser was reelected president.
The next year, Nasser signed a joint defense pact with Syria. Israel
soon attacked Jordan.
Early in 1967, Israel attacked Jordan and Syria.
Consequently, tension grew between Egypt and Israel. Nasser asked
the UN troops in Sinai
to leave and pushed his troops in, then he closed the strategic strait
of Tiran, blocking the Red Sea waterway before Israel.
As a result, the six-day way broke out on 5 June 1967. Israel carried
an all-out attack on Arab states. Israel succeeded to occupy Sinai
from Egypt, Golan Heights from Syria and the West Bank from Jordan.
The war was a tragic defeat for Egyptians. The air force fleet was
even destroyed on ground and suffered a big loss. Egyptian troops
haphazardly withdrew from Sinai and tens of thousands of soldiers
were killed on their way back to the mainland. USA and USSR interfered
and a cease-fire was reached between Egypt and Israel.
After the crushing defeat, Nasser offered his resignation but popular
protests erupted and the masses requested him to rethink his decision;
so under the popular pressure Nasser resumed his post.
General Abdel Hakim Amer, chief of staff and the direct responsible
for the defeat was dismissed and reportedly committed suicide few
Amer, L, late Chief of Staffs the direct responsible of 1967
defeat with Nasser, R
Despite Nasser's resumption for the presidency post, the war left
him broken and incapable of making effective changes domestically
and externally. Nasser had to deal with problems emerged in the war,
particularly the economy slump and the increase of hostility with
Israel. Continuous confrontation with Israel brought about Egypt's
dependence on the Soviet Union for getting weapons.
In March 1969, the war of attrition erupted between Egypt and Israel
until it stopped in August 1970 after efforts from USA led to a cease-fire.
Nasser died of a heart attack on 28 September and was succeeded by
his vice-president Anwar El-Sadat.