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Egypt during the World War (1914-1945)

During World War I (1914-1918), Britain was exploiting the Egyptian resources and left it by the end of the war suffering the adverse effects of soaring prices and unemployment. With the beginning of World War II (1939-1945), Egypt was used as a base for Allied Power. In fact, the war was not entirely against the interest of the Egyptians, especially merchants and businessmen because of the arrival of thousands of Allied soldiers with money to be spent during their 48-hour permit. For Egyptians, war was a kind of a conflict among the European powers; however, some were aiding the German victory, as an enemy of Britain, their main enemy. The British worked on preventing any kind of alliance between Egyptians and Germans. In 1942, German army under General Erwin Rommel advanced towards Egypt. Students held rallies in support of Rommel and a group of Egyptian army officers, which included future presidents Nasser and Saddat, decided to help the German general to move about the city. But the Germans failed to break the defenses and the British remained in Egypt over ten years.

The British ambassador in Egypt, Lampson, ordered the King to ask Mustafa Nahhas, the Wafdist leader, to form a government which made the support for the Wafd to erode. In 1943, the popularity of the Wafd deteriorated by the Black Book which was published by Makram Ubayd, a disaffected former Wafd member. In this book, corrupt dealings of Nahhas Pasha were revealed, the matter which affected his reputation as well as the reputation of the Wafd itself. In 1945, Mahmoud Nuqrashi, the Prime Minister of Egypt, demanded Britain to evacuate from the country.

The British had withdrawn their troops to the Suez Canal Zone when negotiations foundered over the issue of Sudan. When the Sudan issue was discussed, Britain said Sudan was ready for self-government. Egyptian nationalists assured the unity of the Nile Valley and that Sudan is part of Egypt. Mahmoud Nuqrashi suggested the question of Sudan to be discussed in the newly created United Nations (UN) session.

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