Britain and the Conflict in the Middle East, 1964-1967: The Coming of the Six-Day War

Britain and the Conflict in the Middle East, 1964-1967: The Coming of the Six-Day War

Britain and the Conflict in the Middle East, 1964-1967: The Coming of the Six-Day War

Britain and the Conflict in the Middle East, 1964-1967: The Coming of the Six-Day War

Synopsis

Examines the role of Britain and other world powers in Arab-Israeli affairs just prior to the Six-Day War.

Excerpt

The end of the Second World War marked the beginning of a new war: the Cold War. The Soviet Union, the pariah of the 1920s and 1930s, having emerged from the Second World War stronger and more powerful than ever, had, together with the United States, become one of the world's two new superpowers. In Europe, the Soviet Union had first liberated and then subjected most of Eastern and Central Europe to its power. Soon it sought to extend its influence outside Europe, mostly at the expense of the West, especially of the British Empire, which still governed vast tracts of land in Asia and Africa. A new era had begun, and the Soviet Union and the United States, as well as its Western allies, bared their teeth at one another while vying for power and influence.

The West was determined to check Soviet and communist expansion. The question was how to stop the Soviet Union from overrunning and dominating the world. The answer was provided by the heavily ideologically slanted Containment Theory, which emerged as the foundation and driving force behind the West's, and, above all, American Cold War policy. Among other things, Containment Theory emphasized the need for regional alliances to block the Soviet Union's progress. Accordingly, in April 1949, the North Atlantic Alliance Treaty was created. The treaty was a defensive alliance. Its eleven members, with the single exception of Italy, were to be found on both sides of the Atlantic. Three more countries, West Germany, Turkey and Greece, were to join the alliance at a later date. Article 9 of the treaty called for the setting up of a military and political organization, which eventually became known as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Its task was to actively deter and, if necessary, repel Soviet aggression. Similar alliances were concluded in both Asia and the Middle East. In September 1954, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Pakistan, France, Britain and the United States signed the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and established SEATO, the Asian equivalent of NATO. In 1955, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Britain concluded the Baghdad Pact. In 1958, however, Iraq withdrew from the alliance, which became known as the Central Alliance; its military-political organization was named the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO).

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