On 5 June 1967, following months of growing tension, Israeli forces launched a pre-emptive attack on Arab armies massing in the Sinai desert.
The Israeli army was massively outnumbered by a coalition of Arab nations arrayed against it, but it was well equipped and riding high in morale - allowing it to win a series of spectacular victories.
Israel made vast swathes of territorial gains, capturing Jerusalem from Jordan, the Golan Heights from Syria and overrunning the Egyptian army in the desert. All told, it was a stunning result for a triumphant Israel, which was now many times larger, and which had shown the world exactly how to run a military campaign.
Watch original footage from the desperate rescue attempt in this British Pathé video, above.