Gamal Abdel Nasser Hussein (15 January 1918 - 28 September 1970) was an Egyptian military officer and politician who served as the leader of Egypt from 1954 to 1970, first as Prime Minister and then as President. After co-leading the 1952 Revolution, he introduced drastic land reforms in 1953. After an assassination attempt in 1954 by the Muslim Brotherhood, he banned the organization and placed President Mohamed Naguib under house arrest, assuming the executive role. He was formally elected as president in 1956.
He gained extreme popularity throughout Egypt and the Arab world following the nationalization of the Suez Canal and victory in the following Suez Crisis. He frequently called for Arab unification, culminating in the formation of a union with Syria known as the United Arab Republic between 1958 and 1961. Starting in 1962, he pushed forward numerous socialist and modernization reforms in Egypt. Despite obstacles to his pan-Arab movement, his supporters had reached power throughout the Arab world by 1963. He soon became entrenched in the North Yemen Civil War and the subsequent Arab Cold War, however. He was reelected president in 1965, following the outlawing of opposition candidates from running. He briefly resigned as president in 1967 following defeat in the Six Day War against Israel, but resumed office after demonstrations started supporting his return. In 1968 he appointed himself prime minister and started the War of Attrition in an attempt to regain lost territories, along with starting the process of depoliticizing the military and introducing new liberal reforms. This ended after the conclusion of the 1970 Arab League summit, where Nasser died from a heart attack. Five million mourners traveled to his funeral in Cairo and mass grief was felt throughout the entire Arab world.
Nasser remains a famous figure throughout the Arab world, primarily for his pushes towards Arab unity and social justice, along with modernization and anti-Imperialism in Egypt. He is also remembered for the cultural boom in Egypt during his presidency and the supporting of large-scale projects like the Aswan Dam and the city of Helwan. However, Nasser is also criticized in Egypt for leading a regime that imprisoned dissidents and banned opposing candidates. Islamists particularly remember him for his persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood. He is also criticized for establishing the foundation of personal power in the presidency, establishing the precedent of dictatorial military rule through the presidency in Egypt.