The first two years of the 1950’s were very eventful for Great Britain. After leading the British people through a devastating war Winston Churchill was reelected Prime Minister (he would serve for another five years) and the much loved King George VI would die in 1952. As the second son of George V, Prince Albert (as George VI was known then) had not expected to be King. It was his older brother Edward VIII who was in line to become the next king, but he abdicated in order to marry Wallis Simpson a divorced American woman. When King George died on February 6th, 1952 his daughter Elizabeth became Queen and still reigns today after fifty years. In 1951 the Government organized a Festival of Britain to celebrate British arts and design and to stimulate trade after the economic dislocation of the Second World War. It was also an attempt to give Britons the feeling that recovery and progress was possible, promoting a better quality of design in the rebuilding of the country. New styles of pottery, ceramics and fabrics were introduced made from fiberglass, plywood, Formica and plastics.
In the early 1950’s Britain still had a significant military presence in and around the Suez Canal, but 1954 with the signing of the Bagdad Treaty all British military were removed from the region. However, two years later Egyptian President Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company, still owned by France, and invited the entire Arab Peninsula to join Egypt in pushing all remaining British and other European interests out of the region. This was in retaliation to Britain and America withdrawing their offer of financial aid to build the Aswan High Dam on the Nile. Nasser planned to charge dues from passing ships, and therefore raise money for the building of the dam. The Suez Canal was very important to international shipping, as it was the only passage for cargo ships to travel from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean. By... [continues]
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