Gamal Abdul Nasser
Gamal Abdul Nasser was born on January 15, 1918 in Alexandria Egypt. He was a career army officer in Egypt at the time of the 1948 war with Israel. Humiliated by his country's defeat at the hands of the new state's ragtag army, he organized a group of officers to revolt against King Farouk.
At first, General Naguib was put in charge, but in 1954, Nasser deposed Naguib and seized power for himself. He developed close ties with the Soviet Union and instigated an international crisis by his nationalization of the Suez Canal, an act which led to the Sinai Crisis of 1956.
Though militarily vanquished by the forces of Israel, Britain, and France; Nasser parlayed this defeat into a political victory as he became a leading spokesman for the Third World nations and a leader of the Pan-Arab movement.
In 1967, his provocative actions in the Straits of Tiran led to the outbreak of the Six Day War with Israel. This time, Egypt's defeat was crushing and Nasser resigned from office. Popular support convinced him to remain, but he died suddenly of a heart attack in 1970.