University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History > American and British Intelligence and the Yom Kippur War of 1973

American and British Intelligence and the Yom Kippur War of 1973

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The Yom Kippur War, initiated by Egypt and Syria in a surprise joint attack on 6 October 1973, shattered the myth of Israeli invincibility and contributed to a new momentum for a US-backed peace in the Middle East. Yet, given the scale of the Arab assault, it is extraordinary that neither Israel nor her allies in Washington and London were prepared for war. Even 24 hours before the attack, American intelligence was confident that no imminent threat to Israel existed. Nonetheless, the failure to foresee the coming of the Yom Kippur War had important consequences for American and British policy with regard to Israel. This paper will seek to examine the nature of the intelligence failures in 1973, and ask how Britain, the US and, indeed, Israel could have got it so wrong

This talk is part of the Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History series.

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