Date of Award

8-2014

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

History

Advisor

Nathan Godfried

Second Committee Member

Elizabeth McKillen

Third Committee Member

Howard P. Segal

Abstract

People in the United States and in Egypt held different perspectives regarding the role of technology during the 1950s. The United States largely utilized technology to expand political and economic interests efficiently. Egyptian officials mainly viewed technology as a practical tool to establish Egypt as an independent country, apart from external influence.

Differing perspectives regarding the application of technology negatively influenced U.S.-Egyptian relations during the 1950s. U.S. officials sought to modernize Egypt while also expanding U.S. interests. For instance, U.S. officials viewed the Aswan High Dam as a project to open new markets in Egypt by securing contracts for U.S. companies. Egyptian officials wanted to develop Egypt by improving the country’s infrastructure and solving domestic problems. The Nasser administration touted the Aswan High Dam as a panacea to help solve several of Egypt’s domestic problems by improving Egypt’s agricultural production and providing hydroelectricity.

U.S. and Egyptian officials disagreed on other issues regarding Egypt’s development as well. Egyptian officials wanted to improve the efficacy of Egypt’s armed forces by acquiring advanced weapons from either the United States or the Soviet Union. U.S. officials were concerned that an increase in Egyptian military technology would lead to a regional arms race and create further instability in the Middle East. The Nasser administration negotiated the Egyptian-Czech arms deal with the Soviet Union in September 1955. These divergent perceptions regarding the implementation of technology increased the tension in U.S.-Egyptian relations prior to the Suez Crisis.

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