Today's Birthdays: December 25
1918–1981, Egyptian Political Leader and President.
He entered (1936) Abbasia Military Academy, where he became friendly with Gamal Abdal Nasser and other fellow cadets committed to Egyptian nationalism. A German agent during World War II, he was imprisoned (1942) by the British but escaped after two years in jail. He was again jailed (1946–49) for participating in terrorist acts against pro-British Egyptian officials. Sadat took part in the bloodless coup (1952) that deposed King Farouk. Between 1952 and 1968, he held a variety of government positions, including director of army public relations; secretary-general of the National Union, Egypt's only political party; and president of the national assembly. In 1969 he was chosen to be Nasser's vice president, and after Nasser's death (1970), he succeeded to the presidency. Less charismatic than his predecessor, Sadat was nevertheless able to establish himself as Egypt's strongman and a leader of the Arab world. He assumed the premiership in 1973 and in October of that same year led Egypt into war with Israel. He became an Arab hero when Egyptian troops recaptured a small part of the Sinai Peninsula, taken by the Israelis in 1967. A pragmatist, Sadat indicated his willingness to consider a negotiated settlement with Israel and shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with Menachim Begin as a result of the Camp David Accords. He was assassinated by Muslim extremists, who were opposed to his peace initiative with Israel.
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