Wrecked Egyptian airplanes after the surprise Israeli attack that kicked of the Six Day War. Khaleej Times 1. Too Much Bluster Turned Out to Be a Grave Blunder
Unfortunately for Gamal Abdel Nasser and his allies, what might have been intended as bluff seemed all too real from an Israeli perspective. Moreover, the Israelis, who actually were prepared for war, had long been itching for an excuse to cut Nasser down to size. So on June 5th, 1967,
they launched preemptive air strikes that destroyed 90 percent of the Egyptian air force on the ground, and put paid to Syria’s planes as well. With aerial supremacy secured, the Israelis then launched ground attacks that routed the Egyptians and seized Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula within three days. They also routed the Jordanians and seized Jerusalem and the West Bank within two. Israeli soldiers guarding Egyptian prisoners captured during the Six Day War. Greanville Post
Egypt and Jordan accepted a UN ceasefire but the Syrians unwisely did not. So the Israelis attacked Syria on June 9th, and captured the Golan Heights within a day. Syria accepted a cease fire the following day. The defeat was humiliatingly lopsided: about 24,000 Arabs killed vs 800 Israelis, with similarly disproportionate rates for wounded and equipment losses. It was a huge blunder by Nasser. His prestige in the Arab world, which he had sought to burnish with warlike rhetoric and demonstrations short of war, took a severe hit from which it never recovered.
Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading BBC – How Churchill Starved India British Battles – Battle of Kabul and the Retreat to Gandamak Cracked – 6 Grand Mastermind Coups (That Fell Apart Immediately) Darlymple, William – Return of a King: The Battle for Afghanistan (2013) Encyclopedia Britannica – Narodnaya Volya Extreme Tech – Square Windows That Changed the Aviation Industry History Collection – 20 Embarrassing Mistakes Historical Figures Made History Extra – Mary Rose Facts: When and How Did Henry VIII’s Flagship Sink? History News Network – Failures of the Presidents: JFK’s Bay of Pigs Disaster Lampert, Evgeny – Sons Against Fathers: Studies in Russian Radicalism and Revolution (1965) Macrory, Patrick – Retreat From Kabul: The Catastrophic British Defeat in Afghanistan, 1842 (2002) New Scientist, September 3rd, 2014 – Myths and Reality of the Nazi Space Rocket New York Times, November 2nd, 2015 – Gunter Schabowski, Whose Gaffe Helped Burst the Berlin Wall, Dies at 86 New Zealand History – Sydney Ross Oren, Michael B. – Six Days of War: June 1967 and the Making of the Modern Middle East (2002) Radio New Zealand – Nazi Hoax: The Story of Syd Ross Security and Surveillance History Series, 2018/1 – A Formidable Responsibility: The Rise and Fall of the New Zealand Security Intelligence Bureau 1940-1945 Tharoor, Shashi – Inglorious Empire: What the British Did to India (2017) Time Magazine, November 29th, 2010 – The Ugly Briton Wikipedia – 1842 Retreat From Kabul Wikipedia – Assassination of Alexander II of Russia Yarmolinsky, Avrahm – Road to Revolution: A Century of Russian Radicalism (1955)