Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis (Open Access)


Colby College. History Dept.


Raffael Scheck

Second Advisor

John Turner


This thesis considers Gamal Abdel Nasser's 1956 nationalization of the Suez Canal and the subsequent Suez Crisis in the broader context of the histories of nationalism and charismatic leadership in a decolonial setting. Chapter one synthesizes the works of notable scholars into a cohesive historiography of nationalism's emergence in Egypt and Nasser's unique role within mid-century Egyptian society. Chapter two examines the direct causes of the Suez Crisis within the previously established context of nationalism and charismatic leadership, drawing new conclusions from memos, telegrams, and the Egyptian Government's 'White Paper on the Nationalization of the Suez Canal Maritime Company' -- arguing that the latter presents a critically overlooked primary source. The conclusion relates the processes and events discussed to the modern example of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, arguing that the successful use of mass media, propaganda, and the presence of strong leadership is crucial in ameliorating a nation's position in times of crisis.


Egypt, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Suez Canal, Nationalism, Charismatic Leadership, Historiography