Skip to main content Accessibility help
  • Print publication year: 2013
  • Online publication date: June 2014

5 - Nationalist Mobilization in Colonial Morocco


Considering that Morocco has always constituted a free, sovereign state …

Considering that the regime was supposed to provide Morocco with a set of administrative, financial, and military reforms without affecting the traditional sovereignty of the Moroccan people under the protection of the King;

Considering that the Protectorate authorities have instead substituted a system of direct administration and acted to benefit the French colony …

Considering that through this system, the French colony was able to capture power and become master of the country’s vital resources to the detriment of the indigenous people;

Considering that the regime, using various means, has tried to shatter the unity of the Moroccan people, prevented them from participating effectively in the government of their country, and deprived them of all individual civil liberties …

It is decided to demand the independence of Morocco.

– Excerpted from the Manifeste de l’Indépendance, January 11, 1943

“In the streets, clashes between the French and natives are multiplying. The ‘Young Turk’ will tolerate no sign of disrespect; the native woman will no longer put up with a French woman addressing her in the familiar ‘tu’ or taking her seat on the bus.... They act against all that is foreign.”

– Commandement en chef, Inspection des Affaires Militaires Musulmanes, Note sur l’Évolution de l’Opinion Musulmane de l’Afrique du Nord de 1920 à Nos Jours, Juin 1943.

In 1943, nationalist mobilization began in French Morocco: leaders of the newly formed Hizb al-Istiqlal issued a call for independence, and people across the protectorate began to demonstrate publicly against the French and in favor of national independence. This chapter takes a closer look at how nationalist mobilization began and progressed through independence in 1956. It examines the relationship between disruptions in imperial authority and nationalist mobilization using subnational data, and it considers alternative explanations.