The Suez canal also played an important part in WWII. The Nazis wanted to contol the Suez canal and cut off supplies to the Allies, and get supplies to the Italians. This is mainly why Field Marshal Rommel -the Desert Fox- was sent to North Africa in 1941. He was stopped, however, by the Brits at El Alamein, in 1943. The canal remained in the hands of Ally friendly Egypt, a very good thing for Europe.