Sir Robert Menzies

Posted in 1956

  • PM Menzies with Lord MountbattenThe Suez crisis:

"... Menzies became embroiled in the Suez crisis, the unhappy sequence of events that followed the Egyptian leader Nasser's abrupt nationalisation of the Suez Canal. Menzies led an international mission to Cairo to try and persuade Nasser that the canal should be controlled by an international body established by treaty and associated with the United Nations. His talks with Nasser broke down when US President Eisenhower unexpectedly declared that the United States would not countenance the use of force against Egypt. When the British and French later bombed Egyptian installations, Menzies declared Australia's support and maintained this untenable position at the United Nations in opposing a resolution censuring Britain and France for their action."
Allan Martin in Australian Prime Ministers, 2000 p 200.

New York

New York

Australian Events

Posted in 1956

  • Ticket to the Melbourne OlympicsThe 1956 Olympic Games are officially opened in Melbourne by The Duke of Edinburgh on 22 November. The Olympic flame is lit by Ron Clarke.
  • Inspired by Australian teenager John Wing, an Olympic tradition begins at the Friendly Games when athletes of different nations are allowed to parade together at the closing ceremony, instead of with their national teams, as a symbol of world unity...

"During the Games there will be only one nation. War, politics and nationalities will be forgotten. What more could anybody want if the world could be made one nation."
Extract from a letter by John Ian Wing to the Olympic organisers, 1956.

† 1956 Olympic Games Melbourne officially opened by The Duke of Edinburgh

  • Prime Minister Menzies supports Britain during the Suez War.
  • The first television broadcast takes place.
  • Johnny O'Keefe is Australia's first true rock star

World Events

Posted in 1956

  • Revolution in Hungary: The ordinary people of Hungary rise in an anti-Communist revolt against Soviet domination. The Red Star is replaced on Parliament buildings with the Hungarian national flag before the poorly-armed uprising is brutally suppressed by Soviet troops in November.
  • Cuban civil war commences: Fidel Castro returns from exile and leads armed attacks against the government of Fulgencio Batista.
  • Suez crisis July: President Nasser of Egypt nationalizes the Suez Canal.
  • Extract from the preamble to the proposals of the London Conference on the Suez Canal, 16 August 1956:

" ... an adequate solution must, on the one hand, respect the sovereign rights of Egypt, including its rights to just and fair compensation for the use of the Canal, and, on the other hand, safeguard the Suez Canal as an international waterway in accordance with the Suez Canal Convention of 29 October 1888."
Sir Robert Menzies, Afternoon Light, 1967 p 153.

  • October 29: War between Israel and Egypt - Britain and France intervene against Egypt on October 31 in an effort to restore international control of the Suez Canal. United Nations action on November 6 restores peace although the canal remains closed until March 1957.

† Olympic Games held in Melbourne - International Olympic Committee website