Sadat had succeeded Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1970 and defeated an effort by hardline Nasserites to oust him in 1971 (the "Corrective Revolution"); but he had not fully emerged from the shadow of Nasser, whose standing up to the British, nationalization of the Suez Canal, and role as leader of the Arab World were so influential. But there was one great blot on Nasser's record was the devastating defeat in the 1967 War, which left Egypt without an Air Force, without Sinai, and with the Suez Canal closed. The War of Attrition across the Canal from 1967 to 1970 left the Canal Cities (Port Said, Ismailia, Suez) destroyed and abandoned.
Though by the end of the war Israel had recovered and recrossed the Canal, the shock of the surprise destroyed the myth of Israeli invulnerability, and of the "impenetrable" Bar-Lev line along the Canal. And it led to negotiations, first at Kilometer 101.
Though by the end of the war Israel's Deversoir salient on the west bank of the Canal cut off supply lines to the Egyptian Third Field Army ("Bonjour, al-‘ubur; bonsoir, Deversoir" went a joke of the time), for Egyptians it was a very different result from 1967, and within a decade Israel and Egypt were ay peace and Sinai had been fully returned.
|Sadat and the High Command|
Nor did its role as an iconic symbol die with Sadat; Husni Mubarak had been Air Force Commander during what was essentially a return of Egypt's Air Force from the destruction of 1967. Mubarak's role in 1973 was emphasized throughout his Presidency, to the point where Sadat's was actually downplayed. And the habit of seeing the President as the hero of October 6 carried over to the point where last year, one union magazine actually congratulated "President Muhammad Morsi, Leader of the Great October Victory." (Morsi never served in the military and was still in school in 1973. But old habits die hard.)