French policy towards Tunisia and Morocco : the international dimensions of decolonisation, 1950-1956
This thesis deals with French decolonisation policy towards Tunisia and Morocco and international impacts on the decolonisation process. It is very important to deal with the two countries at the same time, because nationalist movements in each country and French policy responses were closely related. So far, research on French decolonisation has examined the reason why France was forced to retreat from their overseas territories and indicated that nationalist and international pressures largely contributed to this process. This thesis rather aims to clarify how the French tried to maintain their influence in Tunisia and Morocco. In terms of international impact, the existing research has stressed the role of American pressure towards decolonisation but has not referred to British policy. The thesis also focuses on Britain's role in determining French attitudes especially in the UN. Furthermore, this work aims to locate the decolonisation process of both countries in a broader context of post-war French policy towards their overseas territories. The thesis argues that the French accepted Tunisia's internal autonomy because they realised that the Tunisian people's consent was essential to retain influence. Hitherto, the French had been controlling Tunisia through puppet governments, which had been legitimised by the Tunisian sovereign's traditional authority. Now the French understood that they had to secure collaborators who could rally popular support. The thesis also argues that the French decision on Morocco's independence was aimed at preserving the unity of Morocco, whose opinion had been seriously divided. Indeed, France was aiming to produce pro-French moderate nationalism, thereby maintaining France's interest and influence. However, Morocco, and then Tunisia achieved independence without the framework of the French Union, the organisation grouping French overseas territories. Soon after Morocco's independence, France decided to give internal autonomy to the African territories, a move which paved the way to those territories' independence.