In July 1956, the president of Egypt Gamal Abdel Nasser surprised the world when he announced that he was nationalizing the Suez Canal buying it out from British and French owners.
NASA hoped to use the revenue from the canal to finance the Aswan High Dam, which would end the annual flooding of the Nile and allow for infrastructure improvements that would help the Egyptian economy.
Great Britain, oh, is already not coping well with the sudden and rapid loss of its empire and the loss of the canal seemed to be another hit to their prestige.
Anthony Eden, now the prime minister, saw NASA as threatening not just the established order but the economic security of all of Europe,
since the Suez Canal was the transit point for most of the oil trade.
Eden brought together the governments of France, who believed NASA was providing arms to Algerian rebels in North Africa,
and Israel who saw Egypt as an existential threat that needed to be checked,
and together the three nations agreed to a secret plan.
Israel would invade Egyptian territory advancing across the Sinai desert after the Egyptian military responded the British and French.
Acting as peacemakers, he would call for a ceasefire and demand that Egypt allow Anglo-French troops to occupy the Suez Canal Zone under the pretext of keeping it open for international traffic.
Oh, well, NASA naturally refused.
The British and French would invade and take the canal by force, hopefully, causing the Egyptian people to turn on NASA and removing from power.
The conflict began on October, 29th, and almost immediately things started going wrong.
Far from keeping the canal open, the Anglo-French forces were unable to prevent the Egyptians from sinking derelict ships filled with concrete into it, making it impossible to shipping, making things worse.
Egypt's allies declared an oil embargo and Syrian engineers sabotaged a British pipeline between Iraq and Lebanon, leaving the warring nations star for oil.
If they were hoping to get help from their chief ally, the United States, they were sorely disappointed President Dwight Eisenhowe,
who was outraged by the events, angry that his allies had gone behind his back and launched a war of aggression that risked Soviet intervention and the possibility of a third world war.
This time with nuclear weapons.
He famously said that the combatants could "boil in their own oil".
This was the first major test for the United Nations since Hammarskjold had assumed leadership of it and the secretary-general responded assuming a leading role in managing the crisis.
The general assembly called on him to enact their resolution calling for an immediate ceasefire on all sides.
To enforce it, Hammarskjold on the advice of Lester "Mike "Pearson, future Canadian prime minister, oversaw the creation of the United Nations Emergency Force.
Troops under the banner of the UN who weren't there to fight a war but to keep the warring nations apart.
This was an entirely new idea.
One that would prove revolutionary in the decades to follow.
To distinguish the peacekeepers from the combatant troops, the idea was concede for them to wear blue helmets, but those who would take time to make.
Instead, the 6,000 troops from seven countries that would come to make up the UNEF would dunk their helmets in blue paint, creating a distinctive look that continues to this day.
The peacekeepers gradually replaced the British and French troops in the Canal Zone, sending them home,
while the UNEF works to clear the obstacles from the canal and keep the enemy combat separated.
Meanwhile UN diplomats went to work, eventually, convincing the Israelis to retreat behind their ceasefire line in March, 1957.
Israel achieved one of their primary war aims, however, when Egypt agreed to end the blockade of the Gulf of Aqaba, which opened the Red Sea to Israeli shipping.
It was the only success any of the triumph achieved before that was particularly bad in Britain where Eden resigned in disgrace.
NASA meanwhile was seen as a hero in the Middle East.
An Arab champion who had stood up to the old colonial powers and won, he would lead Egypt until he died in 1970.
Perhaps the biggest winner of the Suez Crisis was the United Nations and Dag Hammarskjold.
He proved that the international body would be able to successfully mediate in a crisis to prevent a small regional conflict from becoming a major war.
For the emerging nations that were appearing in the wake of decolonization, they saw the UN as a friend, an organization capable of doing them justice.
This belief would be sorely tested in the years to come.