However improbable it might sound today, a few decades ago, the British, French, and Israeli governments conspired and invaded a Middle Eastern country without the knowledge, let alone the approval, of the United States.

The year was 1956, and the country Egypt.

Each participant of that unlikely tripartite coalition had their own unique motive for the invasion, which became known as the Suez Crisis.

Britain wished to guarantee her, “great imperial lifeline,” as the British Prime Minister, Anthony Eden, famously called the canal and to reassert her position of colonial dominance.

France wished to topple Colonel Gamel Abdul Nasser, the Egyptian ruler who was actively supporting the nationalist rebellion in neighboring French Algeria — an insurgency that by 1956 wasn’t going well for the French and that required more than 400,000 troops to deal with.

And Israel wanted to avenge the perpetual Egyptian incursions into Gaza and to fight a war it knew was coming. So, a pre-emptive strike under the most favorable conditions, and before Egypt, with her alarming flow of new Soviet arms, became too powerful gained favor in Tel Aviv.

The invasion and its aftermath would trigger momentous geopolitical events that can still be seen today not only in the region but also in the U.S.’s relationship with Europe. For the Suez crisis solidified the new world order that had emerged after WWII. Until 1956, Britain and France still believed that their pre-war international clout had survived the war. The Suez Crisis and America’s response cleared some clouds in London and Paris.

Now, you may be wondering how it all came to this.