Yom Kippur War

The Yom Kippur War, Ramadan War or October War (Hebrew: מלחמת יום הכיפורים‎ Milẖemet Yom HaKipurim or מלחמת יום כיפור Milẖemet Yom Kipur; Arabic: حرب أكتوبر‎ ḥarb ʾUktōbar or حرب تشرين ḥarb Tišrīn), also known as the 1973 Arab–Israeli War and the Fourth Arab–Israeli War, was fought from October 6 to 25, 1973, between Israel and a coalition of Arab states led by Egypt and Syria.

The war began when the coalition launched a joint surprise attack on Israel on Yom Kippur, the holiest day in Judaism, which happened to occur that year during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Egyptian and Syrian forces crossed ceasefire lines to enter the Israeli-held Sinai Peninsula and Golan Heights respectively, which had been captured and occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War. Both the United States and the Soviet Union initiated massive resupply efforts to their respective allies during the war, and this led to a near-confrontation between the two nuclear superpowers.

The war began with a massive and successful Egyptian crossing of the Suez Canal during the first three days, after which they dug in, settling into a stalemate. The Syrians coordinated their attack on the Golan Heights to coincide with the Egyptian offensive and initially made threatening gains against the greatly outnumbered Israelis. Within a week, Israel recovered and launched a four-day counter-offensive, driving deep into Syria. As Sadat believed that capturing two strategic passes located deeper in the Sinai would make his position stronger during the negotiations, he ordered the Egyptians to go back on the offensive, but they were decisively defeated; the Israelis then counterattacked at the seam between the two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal, and advanced southward and westward in over a week of heavy fighting while suffering severe casualties especially during the battle of the Chinese Farm.

On October 22 a United Nations-brokered ceasefire quickly unraveled, with each side blaming the other for the breach. By October 24, the Israelis had improved their positions considerably and completed their encirclement of Egypt's Third Army and the city of Suez. This development led to tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union. As a result, a second ceasefire was imposed cooperatively on October 25 to end the war. At the conclusion of hostilities, Israeli forces were 40 kilometres (25 mi) from Damascus and 101 kilometres (63 mi) from Cairo.

The war had far-reaching implications. The Arab World, which had been humiliated by the lopsided rout of the Egyptian–Syrian–Jordanian alliance in the Six-Day War, felt psychologically vindicated by early successes in the conflict. In Israel, despite impressive operational and tactical achievements on the battlefield, the war effectively ended its sense of invincibility and complacency. The war also challenged many American assumptions; the United States initiated new efforts at mediation and peacemaking. These changes paved the way for the subsequent peace process. The Camp David Accords that followed led to the return of the Sinai to Egypt and normalized relations—the first peaceful recognition of Israel by an Arab country. Egypt continued its drift away from the Soviet Union and left the Soviet sphere of influence entirely.

Read more about Yom Kippur War:  Background, Soviet Threat of Intervention, Weapons, Home Front During The War, Casualties, Long-term Effects

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    Billy Wilder (b. 1906)

    This is no war for domination or imperial aggrandisement or material gain.... It is a war ... to establish, on impregnable rocks, the rights of the individual and it is a war to establish and revive the stature of man.
    Winston Churchill (1874–1965)