The Cold War
The Cold War in Europe (7 November 1956)
Historical Map of Europe & the Mediterranean
While the United States and the Soviet Union were facing off in Europe, the European powers were watching their colonial empires fall apart. When the pan-Arabist government of Egypt decided to nationalize the Anglo-French owned Suez Canal, Britain and France responded by engineering an invasion of Egypt with Israel - a recently formed Jewish state that Egypt had threatened to destroy. The result was international condemnation, US fury, and a humiliating withdrawal by the two powers.
Independence of Morocco
In 1953 France exiled the popular Sultan Mohammed V of Morocco to Madagascar, replacing him with the more malleable Mohammed Ben Arafa. However, after two years of increasingly violent Moroccan demands for the sultan's return, the French backed down and agreed to restore Moroccan independence. On 2 March 1956 the French-Moroccan Agreement ended the French protectorate over Morocco, while the Spanish protectorate over the north of the country was revoked the following month.
In 1952 Habib Bourguiba launched a campaign of armed violence against French rule in Tunisia. Unable to reduce tensions, despite imprisoning Bourguiba, the French government eventually relented, granting Tunisia autonomy in June 1955. Following further negotiations, on 20 March 1956 Grand Vizier Tahar Ben Ammar and the French Foreign Minister Chrisitan Pineau signed the Franco-Tunisian protocol, effectively granting Tunisia independence with Bourguiba as prime minister.