|Egyptian Revolution of 1952|
|Thursday, 19 March 2009|
The revolution was initially aimed at overthrowing King Farouk I. However, the movement had more political ambitions and soon moved to abolish the constitutional monarchy and establish a republic.
The success of the revolution inspired numerous Arab and African countries to undergo a similar experience to remove what they believed to be corrupt regimes.
• The Egyptian monarchy was seen as both corrupt and pro-British, with its lavish lifestyle that seemed provocative to the free officers movement who lived in poverty. Its policies completed the image of the Egyptian government being a puppet-figure in the hands of the British government.
• Promoting the feeling of corruptness of several Egyptian institutions such as the police, the palace and even the political parties by the free officers.
• The loss of 1948 war with Israel led to the free officers' blame of the King and their promotion of that feeling among the Egyptian people.
As a result, a group of army officers who named themselves 'the free officers' movement' was formed by a young officer named Gamal Abdel Nasser .
In the warning that General Mohammad Neguib conveyed to King Farouk on 26 July upon the king's abdication, he provided a summary of the reasons for the revolution:
Egypt's reputation among the peoples of the world has been debased as a result of your excesses in these areas to the extent that traitors and bribe-takers find protection beneath your shadow in addition to security, excessive wealth, and many extravagances at the expense of the hungry and impoverished people.
Therefore, the army, representing the power of the people, has empowered me to demand that Your Majesty abdicate the throne to His Highness Crown Prince Ahmed Fuad, provided that this is accomplished at the fixed time of 12 o'clock noon today (Saturday, 26 July 1952, the 4th of Zul Qa'ada, 1371), and that you depart the country before 6 o'clock in the evening of the same day.
The army places upon Your Majesty the burden of everything that may result from your failure to abdicate according to the wishes of the people.
Road to the Revolution
On January 25, 1952, British troops attacked the Egyptian police barracks in Ismailia after the police refused to surrender. Fifty Egyptian police officers were killed and one hundred were wounded. Egypt erupted in fury
The riots that followed, the Cairo Fires, are seen as the beginning of the end of the monarchy. The next day, January 26, 1952 ("Black Saturday"), what many Egyptians call the second revolution broke out (the first being the Egyptian Revolution of 1919 ).
Riots broke out in Cairo, the rioters attacking foreign interests and businesses. The Egyptian "mob" burned Cairo targeting British interests, airline offices, hotels, cinemas, bars and department stores (such as Shepheard's Hotel, BOAC offices, and the British Turf Club) in particular. Foreign observers who witnessed the burning of Cairo said it looked less like an unruly mob and more like a well-planned and disciplined action.
King Farouk dismissed Mustafa el-Nahhas's government, and in the months that follow, three different politicians were instructed to form governments, each proving short-lived: Ali Maher (27 January – 1 March), Ahmed Naguib El-Hilali (2 March – 29 June, and 22–23 July) and Hussein Sirri (2–20 July).
These "salvation ministries," as they were called, failed to halt the country's downward spiral. Corruption remained ubiquitous despite attempts by successive prime ministers to put their houses in order.
Stirrings of discontent were felt in the army, and in January 1952 opposition officers supported by the Free Officers gained control of the governing board of the Officers Club.
On 16 July, the King annulled these elections, appointing his own supporters instead in an attempt to regain control of the army.
A coup d'état was planned for 5 August, but when General Muhammad Naguib, one of the Free Officers, informed the group on 19 July that the army high command had a list of their names, the coup leaders acted on the night of 22 July.
On Wednesday morning, 23 July 1952, a military coup occurred in Egypt, carried out by The "Free Officers" and led by General Muhammad Naguib, but the real power behind the military coup was Gamal Abdel Nasser .
At 7:30 a.m., they heard a broadcast station issue the first communiqué of the revolution in the name of Gen. Naguib to the Egyptian people that stated the justification for the revolution or the Blessed Movement.
Egypt has passed through a critical period in her recent history characterized by bribery, mischief, and the absence of governmental stability. All of these were factors that had a large influence on the army.
Those who accepted bribes and were thus influenced caused our defeat in the Palestine War . As for the period following the war, the mischief-making elements have been assisting one another, and traitors have been commanding the army. They appointed a commander who is either ignorant or corrupt.
Egypt has reached the point, therefore, of having no army to defend it. Accordingly, we have undertaken to clean ourselves up and have appointed to command us men from within the army whom we trust in their ability, their character, and their patriotism. It is certain that all Egypt will meet this news with enthusiasm and will welcome it.
As for those whose arrest we saw fit from among men formerly associated with the army, we will not deal harshly with them, but will release them at the appropriate time.
Should anyone behave in such ways, he will be dealt with forcefully in a manner such as has not been seen before and his deeds will meet immediately the reward for treason.
May God grant us success [lit. "God is the guardian of success].
Now plainly terrified, Farouk abandoned Montaza, and moved to Ras Al-Teen Palace on the waterfront. Naguib ordered the captain of Farouk's yacht, "al-Mahrusa," not to sail without orders from the army.
Debate broke between the Free Officers concerning the fate of the deposed king. While some (including Gen. Naguib and Nasser) viewed the best solution as to send him to exile, others argued the urge to trial him and even execute him for the "crimes he committed to the Egyptian people".
Finally, the order for Farouk to abdicate in favor of his son, Crown Prince Ahmed Fouad, and a Regency Council is appointed and depart into exile finally came on Saturday, July 26, 1952 and at 6 o'clock that evening, the king set sail for Italy with a protection from the Egyptian army.