Muhammad Anwar Al-Sadat was born on December 25, 1918 in Mit Abu Al-Kum, Al-Minufiyah, Egypt. His parents were poor and also had twelve other children. As a youth, Sadat studied at the Royal Military Academy in Cairo, graduating in 1938. Following his graduation, he was assigned to the Signal Corps.
Sadat, however, was no friend of British occupation in Egypt. He joined the Free Officers Movement, a group of soldiers that wanted to free Egypt from the control of the British. When World War 2 started, he worked with the movement to try to gain help from Germany and Italy to force the British out of Egypt.
In 1952, Sadat participated in the 1952 coup against the Egyptian King, Farouk I. The coup was successful and triggered a revolution in Egypt. Sadat was assigned to seize the radio systems in Egypt in order to announce the revolution and call for revolt against the British.
In 1954, Sadat was appointed Minister of State under President Abdel Nasser. In 1959, he was transferred to become the Secretary to the National Union. From 1960 through 1968, he also served as the Vice President of the Presidential Council. In 1964, Sadat was chosen to serve as Vice President of Egypt by the President, Gamal Abdal Nasser. He served until 1966, then was reelected in 1969, serving until 1970.
In 1970, Nasser died from a heart attack and Sadat delivered the news to Egypt. After Nasser's death, an internal power struggle occurred, but Sadat was able to seize the Presidency nonetheless. In 1971, Sadat called for peace with Israel, but the United States and Israel did not accept the terms of Sadat's proposal.
In 1973, Sadat led Egypt and its ally, Syria, into war with Israel in what would become known as the Yom Kippur War. Egypt managed to seize its Sinai Peninsula, but three full divisions of the Israeli pushed into Egypt and surrounded the Egypt's Third Army. At this point, Egypt's ally, The Soviet Union, demanded that a cease-fire occur and the war ended.
Over the next several years, Sadat worked closely with Israel to form peace and to regain control of the Suez Canal. On November 19, 1977, he became the first Arab leader to visit Israel, when he traveled there to meet with Israel's prime minister, Menachem Begin. In 1978, the Camp David Peace Agreement was formed, solidifying peace between the two countries and both leaders won the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts.
In spite of the popularity of the peace agreement with the western world, it was not so popular with the Arabs and Muslims. In 1979, the Arab League suspended Egypt's membership, citing the peace agreement as straining its ties with the rest of the Arab world. Afterward, the Arab League moved its official headquarters from Cairo to Tunis. On April 25, 1982, the Sinai Peninsula was officially returned to Egypt by Israel.
With growing dissent within Egypt, Sadat decided to crack down in September of 1981. He ordered the arrest of all extremists, netting over 1,500 arrests that included everyone from Communists to university professors and journalists. The move led the world to condemn his actions and increased dissent within his own government.
On October 6, 1981, Sadat was watching a parade in Cairo when he was assassinated. A truck holding troops stopped in front of Sadat's stand and a lieutenant left the truck, stepping forward to salute Sadat. As Sadat stood to return the salute, a group of assassins in the truck stood and fired assault rifles and grenades at Sadat. The lieutenant, Khalid Islambouli, ran forward shouting "Death to the Pharaoh" and fired his rifle into Sadat's body. He was later arrested and executed in April of 1982.