Recension: The British Defence of Egypt

De Steven Morewood, Routledge, 2014 (Frank Cass, 2005)

Un livre très documenté qui sort de l’ordinaire et qui nous permet de bien appréhender les événements de l’avant-guerre et notamment la politique de l’appeasement, si chère à Neville Chamberlain. On comprend comment les perspectives de guerre avec l’Italie, l’Allemagne et le Japon ont influé sur la politique britannique en Méditerranée et, partant, sur les relations anglo-égyptiennes. L’importance du canal de Suez et ses conséquences sur la présence britannique en Egypte sont clairement expliquées par l’auteur, qui relate les tractations entre les gouvernements égyptien et britannique ainsi que les discussions entre les responsables militaires et politiques britanniques en Angleterre et en Egypte. Morewood nous explique par ailleurs l’évolution du dispositif défensif en Egypte et en Méditerranée, ainsi que les plans de guerre dressés avec les Français. la crise de Munich et celle d’Abyssinie prennent ici une nouvelle perspective. A recommander pour tous les passionnés de la Seconde Guerre mondiale.

Sommaire:

Introduction: Defending Egypt in the Era of Appeasement

The Lingering Strategic Significance of Egypt – The Appeasement Debate and Egypt

– The Nature of the Italian Threat to Egypt – Sir Miles Lampson and the Security of

Egypt – The Decision – Making Process.

I/ The Defence of Egypt in the Interwar Period: Strategic Imperatives and Rationale

No Surrender – The Role of Egypt in Imperial Defence.

II/ The Defence of Egypt and the Onset of the Italo-Abyssinian Emergency

The Emergence of the Italian Threat – The Origins of the Italo-Abyssinian Crisis: the Egyptian Dimension –

The British Response to the Growing Abyssinian Crisis – The Position in Egypt – Countdown to War.

III/ Defending Egypt during the Italo-Abyssinian Emergency: First Phase, August – December 1935

Policy Imperatives and Dilemmas – Preparations for War – A Clash of Attitudes: The Men on the Spot and the

Chiefs of Staff – The Imperial Defence Dimension and the Hoare-Laval Pact.

IV/ Defending Egypt during the Italo-Abyssinian Emergency: Second Phase, January – July 1936

The Capacity to Defend the Egyptian Power Base – Too Far Too Fast – An Oil Embargo: So near and yet so far

– The Suez Canal Closure Issue – The End of the Emergency.

V/ The Making of the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty of Friendship and Alliance: The Military Aspects

Early Efforts to Conclude a Treaty, 1924-1930 – Commencing Negotiations – The Negotiations: First Phase –

The Negotiations: Middle Phase – The Negotiations: Final Phase – An Assessment.

VI/ Securing an Exposed Flank: The Defence of Egypt through Diplomacy, June 1936-April 1938

The Debate over the Way Forward – Defence Planning Priorities and Egypt – Assessing the Italian Threat –

From Eden’s Resignation to the Easter Pact.

VII/ ‘Bloodless War’

Prelude to the Munich Agreement – The Mediterranean Dimension of the Munich Crisis – The Aftermath –

Bloodless War Begins – Preparing for War – Improving the Intelligence Picture.

VIII/ The Approach of War in the Mediterranean

A Summer of Tension – Anglo-French Incongruity – Preparing for Battle – War Comes Closer – The Onset of

War.

IX/ Implementing the Treaty of Friendship and Alliance: Anglo-Egyptian Relations, 1937-1940

Implementing the Treaty: Immediate Achievements and Complications – A Changed Leadership – Munich and

After – The Power Struggle in Egypt – The Lead Up to War in Europe – Egypt Stays Out – The Lead Up to War

in the Mediterranean – The Removal of Ali Maher.

X /The Suez Canal and the Defence of the Far East, 1919-1941

The Origins of the Suez Canal Defence Plan – The Suez Canal Defence Plan – The Suez Canal Defence Plan

and Interwar Crises 1937-1939 – The Advent of War in the Mediterranean – The Canal at War – Italo – German

– Japanese Motives for Closing Suez.

XII/Conclusion

 

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