Publish Date: Aug. 27, 1956
Cover Story: The Counterpuncher
How TIME Covered the News: Gamal Nasser, the former military man turned Egyptian president, was a populist socialist whose pan-Arabism made him one of the most influential figures in the Middle East. In 1956, much to the ire of some Western nations, he nationalized the Suez Canal—the act sparked a heavy-handed European response and a crisis that nearly exploded into a full-blown regional war.
“Gamal Abdel Nasser is a tall (6 ft.), hefty Egyptian of 38 who just four years ago was an unknown infantry officer in a beaten and discredited army. Not very long ago, Western leaders (and even Israel’s) saluted him as a genuine, responsible leader at last in the Middle East, a young man whose forceful vision might yet bring tranquillity where there was chaos. Today, having seized control of the world’s most important waterway, he is defiantly whipping up Arab hatred to drive the Western powers from the Middle East. Said one Western expert: “We thought we were dealing with a kitten. In fact it was a leopard.”
Next 1957 – James Hoffa