Robert Anthony Eden 1st Earl of Avon KG MC PC
was a British Conservative politician, who was Foreign Secretary during World War II. He was also Prime Minister from 1955 to 1957, easily winning an election in May 1955.
He was known world wide as an opponent of appeasement, a man of peace and a skilled diplomat. That is until, in the second year of his premiership he set in motion the Suez Crisis of 1956. This was a scheme planned by the UK, France, and Israel in response to Egypt's prime minister/president/dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser
said he was going to nationalize the Suez Canal. Basically, Israel would invade Egypt, and British and French troops would come there in the grounds of separating the two armies and preventing war. In reality, the three countries were occupying the Sinai Peninsula, and they also hoped to remove Nasser from power. All three were shocked when the majority of voters in the UK said they did not support the war, and the international backlash was spectacular. Even the United States, which usually has excellent relations with the British on foreign matters, condemned the move, and President Dwight D. Eisenhower
pressured the three countries to leave Egypt. And then
, it turned out that Israel forgot to burn the documents related to planning the invasion, making it clear to everyone that the leaders of the two European powers planned this from the beginning. Humiliated, British and French forces had to be sent back home just a few months after the Crisis began, and Israel left the next year. During said Crisis, he also memorably said that "We are not in a War with Egypt. We are in an armed conflict with Egypt
." It crippled the UK's (until then massive) influence in the Middle East and was the beginning of the end of the UK's role as a major world power. Additionally, Nasser came out of the conflict with even higher standing at home, so this backfired in every possible way.
He also rejected the proposal of a economic and political union between France and Great Britain, proposed by French Prime Minister Guy Mollet. Still, at least he oversaw the lowest unemployment level in British history, standing just about 1%. (In comparison, the US has only seen it reach 2.5%.) Sudan was granted independence during his time. Plagued both by health issues and widespread ridicule for the Suez Crisis, Eden resigned less than two years after his premiership began. Due to the major Epic Fail
that was the Suez Crisis, Eden is usually held to be the worst British PM of the 20th century. However, some have suggested that he wasn't so bad on other stuff, which is defensible. Soon after leaving the office, he retired.
He died in 14 January 1977.
- America Saves the Day: Subverted, America's intervention in the Suez Crisis forced Eden to back down and killed his career.
- Epic Fail: The Suez Crisis.
- My Greatest Failure: Eisenhower thought that, in hindsight, America's unsupportive intervention in the Middle East was the worst decision of his career - it permanently annoyed France, to the extent that the French withdrew from NATO and publicly declared that French nuclear weapons were to be aimed "in 360 degrees", and it convinced a large part of the British establishment that the USA is an unreliable ally, an opinion which persists to this day in some quarters.