Gamal Abdel Nasser was born in 1918. His grandfather was a simple fellah (peasant) from the village of Beni Mur in Upper Egypt, and his father was a minor postal official. The parents of the future president lived modestly, like many other middle-class Egyptians. Nasser spent his childhood in Alexandria, and he graduated from high school in the capital, Cairo.
This event took place in 1936. It was then that Egypt, which was dependent on England, first got the opportunity to have a fairly large army. To prepare officers for her, the royal government opened the doors of a military school in Cairo to the common people. Nasser applied for enrollment in the first year. But he was not lucky - he did not pass the competitive exams. After such a failure, Nasser entered the law faculty of Cairo University. However, the desire to become an officer did not leave him. In 1937, Nasser made another attempt to get into the academy, this time successful.
At the end of 1938, together with three of his fellow students, he began serving in the Mackabad garrison, near the Sudanese border. It seemed that the choice in favor of a professional military career was made once and for all, but the political struggle also attracted young men. The dependence, lack of independence of Egypt (as well as the subordinate position of the Arab nation in the then world in general) offended their feelings. Only when they arrived in Makkabad did the graduates of the military school take an oath to each other on Mount Jebel Sheriff. The purpose of their life, they believed, from now on should be the struggle for the withdrawal of British troops from Egypt and the reorganization of the army, which should be able to protect the interests of the Arabs from anyone. Already then, in a distant garrison, in the late 30s - early 40s. the contours of an organization of young officers began to take shape, which a dozen years later seized power in the country.
The political views of the young Nasser (as, indeed, of his friends) at that time were confused and contradictory. On the one hand, he was attracted by the ideas of Western democracy, on the other hand, by the solidity and discipline of peoples ruled by the iron hand of dictatorship. On the one hand, he was impressed by the views of Arab nationalists on the "special path of the Arabs", on the other hand, he wanted to rely on the support of the international organization "Muslim Brotherhood", which advocated the return of the Egyptians to the traditions of early Islam from the time of the Prophet Muhammad. Perhaps only hostility towards the British, who settled in Egypt as masters, was unchanged by Nasser. One of his closest comrades, Anvar al-Sadat, during the Second World War even went to cooperate with German agents. Trying to harm Britain, he promised to transmit data on the location of British troops in Egypt to Field Marshal Rommel's headquarters, but was arrested. Nasser did not take such rash steps. His service was smooth and calm. He climbed the ladder of the ranks of an infantry officer, graduated from the school of military instructors, an administrative school, a staff college, then taught tactics at this institution. But at the same time, he gathered military men around him - people who, like him, from families of peasants with an average income, officials and intellectuals, established ties between them, putting together an organization for future actions.
On the fronts of the Arab-Israeli battles, which quickly revealed the superiority of the Israelis, Nasser and other Egyptian officers became convinced of the inability of King Farouk to protect the Arabs, came to the conclusion that the king was under the influence of the West. The Free Officers organization included captains, majors, and a small number of higher ranks. Their age was, as a rule, about thirty or slightly over thirty years old. They were preparing for decisive measures in order to win the Egyptians a worthy place in their native country and the Arab nation in the world.
The coup on July 23, 1952 was very successful, the transfer of power into the hands of the officers was carried out without bloodshed. But the Council of the Revolutionary Command did not have any program of action. Nasser imagined that the entire Egyptian society was a single family in which there were “good and bad” people. Therefore, the task of any Egyptian statesman should be to establish good relations in the country, help the good and punish the bad. The Egyptian revolution, in his opinion, is called upon to become pan-Arab. There should not be any political parties in Egypt, because it was precisely this that gave foreigners the opportunity to adversely influence the life of the country, have their agents there and, with their help, destroy everything that was useful that was created by the patriots.
It is noteworthy, therefore, that Nasser and his inner circle, having come to power, first of all banned the activities of parties - even the Muslim Brotherhood, which claimed to be the ideological leaders of the anti-foreign revolution. Arabism came to the fore. It was proclaimed that the Arabs were united not only by a common language and religion, but also by a common history and destiny. *Nah-zero Arab! (“We are Arabs!”) was the slogan propagated by the new leadership.
But how to achieve the creation of a just, wealthy and independent Arab society was still unclear. In 1952, Nasser first wanted to consolidate his position as the country's political leader and then really think about the future. In the first two years after the establishment of the power of nationalist officers, General Mohammed Naguib was the official leader of Egypt, Lieutenant Colonel Nasser became deputy prime minister, and from May 1953 - simultaneously the minister of the interior. The law on agrarian reform, promulgated in September 1952, was the first step of the new government, then a decision was made to abolish the monarchy. However, when the Revolutionary Command Council decided to liquidate the parliament, believing that the “talk of politicians” would slow down the transformation in the country, it came to an open clash between Naguib and Nasser. The general, who advocated the preservation of parliament and the free operation of political parties, was sent under house arrest, and the 36-year-old lieutenant colonel became president of the country. He was already very popular among the fellah who received the long-awaited land.
In October 1954, an agreement was signed on the withdrawal of British troops from Egypt, and in June 1956 the last British soldier left the Suez Canal zone. This extremely important zone in all respects was a real gold mine for the British, who controlled it. The canal company was a real "state within a state", not subject to local laws, although it was considered an Egyptian enterprise. On the contrary, the company dictated the laws to Egypt. Until 1952, the government, as a rule, was not approved by the court until the president of the company had his say. It gave a huge profit - in 1955, the shareholders received 33 million pounds, and Egypt accounted for only 5 million. In the years after the Second World War, 1/6 of the world's shipping, 1/4 of the % of French trade, most of US oil transportation.
When, in July 1956, dissatisfied with the growing nationalism of Egypt, American leaders announced that they were depriving Egypt of promised loans for the construction of the Aswan Dam, Nasser proclaimed the transfer of the Suez Canal company into the hands of the state. Such a step, which produced a real shock in the West, was characteristic of a proud and sensitive president. Far from always, in his actions, he was guided by a sober calculation, often relying on instant decisions dictated by anger or resentment. Sometimes they put Egypt before serious trials.
In October 1956, Israel attacked Egypt, and soon it was essentially supported by Britain and France. The "Suez Crisis", as it came to be called, was resolved only after the intervention of the USSR and
The United States, which understood the danger of military operations in this region. Nevertheless, Nasser brought the matter to an end. Moreover, the government announced the forced "Egyptization" of British and French banks, insurance companies, commercial and industrial firms, etc. This was already a real challenge to the West from Arab nationalism. Nasser believed that such steps would bring popular popularity to the new government. In the eyes of the Egyptians, he and his associates became national heroes, people capable of standing up for the dignity of their native country.
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