Sample History Essay Paper on The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty

The Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty

The USS Liberty was a civilian cargo ship used by the U.S. to supply their main allies during the Second World War with cargoes. The vessel was huge as its length was 7,725 long tons (Scott 101). The first time the cargo ship was used to conduct a deployment was in the year 1965 to Africa using the west coast waters. The USS Liberty had come up with a plan where they would visit the Eastern Mediterranean. The mission of the US was to use the vessel to carry out a specific intelligence collection and they had to use the Mediterranean waters to accomplish it. The mission was set before the attack that was launched by the Israeli. The mission was to take place near Egypt, particularly on the north coast. Attempts to send messages to the ship’s captain regarding the possible attack were not successful. The main reasons why the Israeli decided to attack the USS liberty are evaluated herein, including an exploration of how the events took place.

Based on Israeli sources, the war started on 5th June 1965 (Ennes 109). Israeli General Yitzhak Rabin had decided to offer protection to Israel’s coastal region (Scott 156). One of the ways how he intended to defend its coastal area was to utilize all the means available including shooting and sinking any ship which they could not identify. During this period, the U.S. had maintained a neutral side hence the Israel government did not consider them as part of their allies. General Rabin requested the U.S. not to bring its ships to Israel’s coastal shore or inform him of their position on their shore (Scott 184). However, regardless of the fact that USS Liberty was marked adequately as a vessel owned by the U.S. and was lightly armed, General Rabin decided to attack it (Ennes 118). He sent an Israeli aircraft together with torpedo boats. The Israeli aircraft was used to fire a rocket together with napalm at USS Liberty.

The air attack at Liberty left 294 of the crewmembers dead while 60 people were badly wounded (Scott 134).  General Rabin was unstoppable; he decided to set another attack but this time using torpedo boats. He asked his army to launch torpedoes which he used to fire the USS Liberty with the intention of completely destroying it. Nonetheless, his attempts were not successful because the ship’s captain William L. McGonagle managed to evade the attacks. The ship did not sink but was left badly damaged. McGonagle was forced to launch three lifeboats as an attempt to save the remaining crew since the ship had been heavily damaged (Ennes 122). Nonetheless, the Israeli attack failed to sink the Liberty though it seemed it was their main mission. Upon realizing that the mission could not be accomplished, they finally decided to desist. Liberty was then limped to a port which the Americans considered safe for their crew.

Based on my opinion, General Rabin’s mission was to attack the U.S. for not supporting them in the war. It was not enough for him for the U.S. to remain neutral during the war hence the reason he decided to attack USS Liberty regardless of the fact that it was properly marked as a U.S. ship. The action against the U.S. seemed to be personal based on the level of attack that was launched at Liberty.

In conclusion, General Rabin decided to launch an attack against USS Liberty because he was protecting his coastal territory. Moreover, the main reason for the attack was attributed to the fact that the U.S. failed to honor his warning to not bring its ship to the Israeli coastal regional. Lastly, the attack occurred because of ineffective communication between the Israeli government and the U.S. since an order had been issued for them to be informed about the ship’s position.

Works Cited

Ennes, James. Assault on the Liberty: The True Story of the Israeli Attack on an American Intelligence Ship. Random House, 1987. Retrieved from

Scott, James. The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly 1967 Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship. Simon & Schuster, 2009.