History of Morocco: World War II and Self-Government

History of Morocco: World War II and Self-Government Last updated on Thursday 22nd April 2010

During the Second World War Morocco supported the Vichy government which ruled France after its capitulation to the Nazis in 1940. By 1942, American troops had landed and occupied Morocco, which was used as a supply base for the Allies during the remainder of the war. Heads of government from the Allies used Casablanca as an important meeting-place.

In 1950, the sultan of Morocco requested self-government. This was rejected by the French and in 1953 the sultan was deposed, but allowed to resume the throne two years later. Moroccan independence was not recognised by the French until 1956 and Sultan Mohammed V became king in 1957. At around the same time the Spanish relinquished most of their interests in Morocco, retaining only a small number of cities and territories.

Mohammed's son, Hassan II, succeeded his father in 1961 and drew up a royal charter, which proposed the establishment of a constitutional monarchy, subject to approval by referendum. In 1963 the first Moroccan general elections were held, but parliamentary democracy proved unworkable and collapsed in November 1963. King Hassan suspended Parliament and ruled without it for seven years, serving for two of those years as his own prime minister.

In the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, Hassan strongly supported the Arab cause but, despite this, attempts were made on his life in 1971 and 1972. Both attempts failed (in fact, King Hassan continues as monarch today, ruling through a House of Representatives) and the would-be assassins were executed, but these attempted coups highlighted Morocco's internal problems.

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