In efforts to acquire armaments, which the Western world would not supply to Egypt, Nasser turned to the Eastern bloc. In retaliation, the World Bank turned down Egypt's request for a loan to finance the Aswan High Dam project. Nasser therefore nationalized the Suez Canal and sought to use its revenues to finance the dam. Angered by that move, Britain and France, the main stockholders in the canal, joined with Israel in attacking Egypt in 1956. Pressure from the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) forced the three countries to evacuate Egyptian territory, and United Nations (UN) forces were placed as a buffer between Egypt and Israel.
Pursuing his dream of Arab unity, Nasser in 1958 effected a union between Egypt and Syria under the name of the United Arab Republic. Although it lasted only three years before the Syrians rebelled and reaffirmed their independence, Egypt retained the official name of the republic for many years afterward.
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