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When Diplomacy Fails Podcast

1956 - The Suez Crisis #2.20: Americans And Soviets

Episode 2.20: Americans & Soviets examines the involvement of the Cold War’s primary protagonists in the Suez Crisis.


At long last, we bring the events in Hungary full circle with events in Egypt, and assess whether Anthony Eden’s crimes doomed Hungary after all. In short, we bring everything full circle in 1956. What the events of this year demonstrated, between the Soviet aggressions in Hungary and the Anglo-French adventures in Egypt, was that a strong United Nations was critical for the sake of the peace of the world. ‘I agree with you’, said Eden, ‘and that was why I acted as I did in the first place!’ While the Prime Minister was in full-blown deception mode, his political rivals in the Commons were far from satisfied. Their curiosity was piqued, rather than satiated, and they latched onto the inconsistencies in Eden’s version of events like dogs latched onto a bone. In the end, their suspicious persistence would prove correct, though even they would be startled by just how far Eden had gone.


To a great many British citizens and statesmen, it was easier to believe the narrative parroted by the Government. To suppose that the Government could have acted so rashly and aggressively was the antithesis of Conservative governance, and of a sensible foreign policy which the Tory ideology was meant to stand for. Not only that, but the version of events Eden parroted – that Britain had saved the peace by compelling the UN to offer up a peacekeeping force – enabled many Britons to feel proud of their country’s contribution to peace. They would have had good cause to feel proud, had there been any shred of truth to what the PM had said. It was clear to him by the end of 7th November that his choices had had consequences. Not only Egypt, but the relationship with the Americans, the powers of the Soviets and the nature of the Cold War itself had all been affected. It was at this moment, that Eden decided it was time for a holiday…


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    01:01:28
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    48:28
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    43:34
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    In this teeny tiny episode, we look at the Italian invasion of Libya and the Balkans Wars!But first, get a load of these links!Do you want ad-free episodes with scripts attached, and bonus content? Support us on Patreon and you can suggest July Crisis episodes!Join our Facebook group as we make our way through this fascinating series!Click here to see our July Crisis workspace in Perlego, you'll find every source you need!How do you kill the status quo? By forming a league of extraordinary states, who want nothing less than to destroy the empire which has ruled over them for centuries. When the Balkan War began in October 1912, Europe was far from ready for the implications which would follow. The end of Turkish rule in Europe, and the expansion of young nation states eager to prove themselves appeared to guarantee that the peninsula would never be quiet again. Yet, aside from Europe, Russia had played a key role in bringing this league to life. To this, we may be tempted to ask why?The answer is found in the Austro-Russian rivalry, but also in the opportunistic mood of the moment. The Balkan League's members - Serbia, Montenegro, Bulgaria and Serbia - were not traditional allies. Yet they were certainly capable of smelling blood in the water. In September 1911, Italy invaded Libya, and instigated a year-long war with the Ottoman Empire. Watching their overlord struggle with such a wide-ranging campaign, the Balkan League seized the moment, and attacked just as Italy met the Turks at the peace table.What followed was the shocking disintegration of Turkish power in Europe, at a scale and speed no one expected. Yet, even though the League had won the day, the spoils proved harder to divide up among them. Hostility increased between Serbia and Bulgaria over the fate of Macedonia, and when a second war came, the ensuing dogpile by the Ottomans, Serbs, Greeks and Romanians shattered Bulgaria apparently for good.By autumn 1913, a different question thus emerged. If the Balkan states were justified in throwing off the Ottoman yolk and expanding their powers, just how much expansion was too much? In Vienna's view, the Serbian threat had become intolerable. The only solution was to threaten her with ruin, and prevent Serbian occupation of Albania, including an Adriatic port. Germany stood behind her, Russia backed down, but this was the last such victory of the Central Powers.In this episode we weigh up the impact of these pre-war conflicts, with a depth and obsession for nerdy details you've never seen before! Join me as I attempt to navigate such a turbulent world, where old assumptions were slain, traditional rivalries were reinforced, and a new order beckoned.
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    01:20:58
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