Political map of Europe & the Mediterranean 7 November 1956 (Suez Crisis): While the United States and the Soviet Union were facing off in Europe (Cold War), the European powers were watching their colonial empires fall apart (Decolonization). When the pan-Arabist government of Egypt (Gamal Abdel Nasser) decided to nationalize the Anglo-French owned Suez Canal (Suez Canal Company), Britain and France responded by engineering an invasion of Egypt with Israel (Suez Crisis) - a recently formed Jewish state that Egypt had threatened to destroy. The result was international condemnation, US fury, and a humiliating withdrawal by the two powers.