6. French Morocco (1912-1956)

Crisis (March 30, 1912-August 18, 1955):  France established a protectorate over Morocco as a result of the signing of the Treaty of Fez on March 30, 1912.  Prior to 1912, Morocco had been an independent kingdom for several centuries.  Moroccan soldiers mutinied against French commanders in Fez beginning on April 17, 1912.  General Robert Moinier declared a state of siege.  The Moroccan mutiny was suppressed by French troops commanded by General Robert Moinier on April 19, 1912, resulting in the deaths of some 800 Moroccans, 13 French civilians, and 19 French soldiers.  Berber tribesmen laid siege to the city of Fez beginning on May 25, 1912, and French troops commanded by Lt. Colonel Henri Gouraud defeated the Berber tribesmen on June 1, 1912, resulting in the deaths of some 600 Berber tribesmen and several French soldiers.  The Moroccan nationalist movement was initiated in November 1925.  Beginning in 1930, Moroccan nationalists protested against a dahir issued by the Sultan regarding the applicability of customary law (rather than Islamic law) to the Berbers.  Moroccan nationalists rebelled against the French colonial government in September 1937, but the rebellion was suppressed by French government troops in October 1937.  On December 18, 1943, the Istiqlal Party (IP) was established to promote the independence of Morocco from France. The IP presented its demands for Moroccan independence from France on January 11, 1944.  French government troops fired on demonstrators in Casablanca on April 7, 1947, resulting in the deaths of dozens of individuals. The League of Arab States (LAS) Council expressed support for Moroccan independence on February 22, 1948. Elections were held on November 1, 1951, and the nationalist parties boycotted the elections. Government troops and Moroccan nationalists clashed in Casablanca on November 1-2, 1951, resulting in the deaths of six individuals. Some 100 individuals were killed during riots in Casablanca on December 7-8, 1952.  Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Yusef, who supported the nationalist movement, was deposed by pro-French tribal chiefs on August 15, 1953. Moroccan nationalists rioted throughout the colony on August 16, 1953, resulting in the deaths of 26 individuals. The LAS Council expressed support for Moroccan independence on September 7, 1953. Twenty-five individuals were killed in political violence in Fez and Port Lyautey on July 31-August 15, 1954. Six Moroccan nationalists were executed by the French government in Casablanca on January 4, 1955. Some 60 individuals were killed in political violence in Casablanca on July 14-18, 1955. Some 2,000 individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (August 19, 1955-November 5, 1955): French government troops and Moroccan nationalists engaged in military hostilities from August 19 to November 5, 1955. Some 1,000 individuals were killed during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (November 6, 1955-March 2, 1956): France agreed to grant Morocco its independence on November 5, 1955, and Sultan Sidi Mohammed ben Yusef was restored as sultan. Morocco formally achieved its independence from France on March 2, 1956.

[Sources: Bernard, 1968, 3-14; Butterworth, 1976, 32-38; Facts on File, November 2-8, 1951, August 14-20, 1953, July 30-August 5, 1954, August 6-12, 1954, August 13-19, 1954, January 1-5, 1955, July 14-20, 1955, August 18-24, 1955, September 1-7, 1955, September 29-October 5, 1955, February 29-March 6, 1956, March 28-April 3, 1956; Langer, 1972, 1288-1289.]


Selected Bibliography

Joffe, E. G. H. 1985. “The Moroccan Nationalist Movement: Istiqlal, the Sultan, and the Country,” Journal of African History, vol. 26 (4), pp. 289-307.