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Moshe Gershovich - Collaboration and "Pacification": French Conquest, Moroccan Combatants, and the Transformation of the Middle Atlas - Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 24:1 Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East 24.1 (2004) 139-146

Collaboration and "Pacification":

French Conquest, Moroccan Combatants, and the Transformation of the Middle Atlas

In his seminal essay, "Non European foundations of European Imperialism: sketch for a theory of collaboration," Ronald Robinson delineates the process by which early nineteenth century "informal" imperialism transformed itself into the "New Imperialism" of the latter part of that century. He emphasizes "the crucial role of collaborative systems in the transition from external imperialism to the takeover" and identifies the collaborating mechanism as "mutual interests and interdependence" between European interest groups and indigenous ruling elites. The rationale for this relationship derived from the Eurocentric concept according to which, "if empire could not be held on the cheap, it was not worth having at all." Hence, "without indigenous collaboration... Europeans [could not] have conquered and ruled their non-European empires."1

Thus, Robinson has provided us with a rudimentary "theory of collaboration" that should serve as "a programme for future study."2 Indeed, over the three decades that separate us from the publication of his article, much work has been done both on the theoretical aspects of empire-building, colonialism and decolonization,3 and on specific case studies, including that of France in Morocco.4 Some of this research has ventured beyond the boundaries outlined in the Robinson article to incorporate not merely the collaboration or resistance of elites, but also the involvement of subaltern groups in the process.5

The purpose of this essay is to reexamine the nature of Franco-Moroccan collaboration through the prism of French military strategy and "native" policies," specifically insofar as they involved the utilization of Moroccans as military manpower. The questions to be developed herein include the following:

What policies and methods did the French army implement in its twenty-year campaign (1907-1934) to conquer (or "pacify") Morocco?

In what ways did French strategy depend on the collaboration of indigenous groups?

How and why did the French become increasingly dependent upon Moroccan troops in the latter stages of the conquest drive?

Who were the Moroccans who enlisted in French military formations? What motivated them to do so? What rapport did they develop with their French superiors and counterparts?

What effects did the service of thousands of Moroccans in the French army have on their lives and on their native communities?

What relationship could be established between French recruitment practices and the transformation of the indigenous population, specifically the Berberophone tribal inhabitants of the Middle Atlas mountain range?

Lyautey and the Moroccan Elites

Any discussion of French policy in Morocco ought to begin with Marshal Louis Hubert Lyautey (1854-1934), France's first resident-general in Morocco (1912-1925). In his actions, Lyautey fits well Robinson's characterization of "a handful of European pro-consuls [who] managed to manipulate the polymorphic societies of Africa and Asia."6 While Lyautey's actual tenure in Rabat spanned less than a third of France's "moment" in Morocco, indirectly his influence perpetuated to the end of the Protectorate era through a number of his self-proclaimed disciples who succeeded him at the summit of the French administration.7

Lyautey's personal convictions provide the key for the understanding of his colonial philosophy in general and his approach to collaboration with indigenous Moroccan groups in particular. A staunch royalist and devout Catholic, Lyautey was somewhat of a misfit in the fin-de- siècle militantly secularist atmosphere of the Third Republic. His progressive social views made him equally unpopular in the metropolitan army's supreme command.8 In a way, Lyautey may have sought not only a [End Page 139] refuge in the colonial world, but also a new terrain upon which to recreate his image of France, the one irreversibly altered by the Revolution of 1789. If such was the case, then Morocco could be argued to have been the ideal laboratory for a royalist experiment, with its long-established and solidly legitimized system of government at the summit of which stood the 'Alawi Sultan and his administration (the Makhzan). Having successfully neutralized the former to a mere figurehead in the person of Mawlay Yusuf,9 Lyautey moved to assure the good will of the latter, whom he regarded as Morocco's natural leadership, its aristocracy.10

Lyautey's colonial philosophy called for a lasting collaboration, or "association" as contemporary terminology would have it,11 between French officials and their indigenous counterparts, drawn from among the various elites: tribal, clerical, mercantile, etc. In order to assure the sustainable cooperation of the Moroccan "aristocracy" and its ability to maintain its control over society, Lyautey initiated a francophone educational system designed primarily if not exclusively for fils de notables. The jewel of these schools was the Royal Military Academy (located at the Dar al-Baida palace in Meknes) that was inaugurated in 1919 and outlasted French rule in Morocco. As I have shown elsewhere, the primal purpose of the school, which was the only one of its kind throughout the French colonial empire, was not to train first-rate Moroccan officers for the French army, but rather to prepare its handpicked cadets to succeed their fathers as tribal and urban chieftains at the end of their military careers.12

Destruction, Seduction, Alteration: "Pacific Penetration" of the Moroccan Countryside

Behind the lofty rhetoric about "indirect rule" and "respect" of indigenous customs (not to mention the "civilizing mission") uttered by Lyautey and other "enlightened" French colonialists, stood a clear self-serving motive (endorsed or even demanded by the metropolitan government and public) to minimize costs and keep an empire "on the cheap." However, the ability of the Protectorate to ensure the tranquility (and hence economic exploitation) of what Lyautey had termed "Maroc utile"13 necessitated a solution to the problem of the armed resistance ("dissidence" in contemporary colonial terminology) exercised by Moroccan tribal groups.

Lyautey's reputation as an effective and progressive colonial administrator relied in part upon his professed adherence to non-violent methods in his dealing with armed resistance. This "oil-stain" strategy, originally attributed to Lyautey's mentor Joseph Gallieni,14 called for the implementation of a variety of services such as field infirmaries and markets on the verge of the rebellious territory in order to attract hostile populations and convince them to switch sides. Otherwise, Lyautey preferred a brief, decisive demonstration of French military might hoping to spare its protracted, expensive use. A fictional "Native Affairs" officer, hero of a contemporary novel, summarized this concept of colonial warfare based on "peaceful penetration:"

The dissidents are not our enemies and our mission is not to destroy their land by fire and blood, but to study them, understand them, and to bring them to our side...we use force only as a last resort...but once the battle is over you must use all means to negotiate and begin the politics of taming. Conquer and then extend your hand to the conquered.15

Lyautey himself was categorical in stressing the differences between colonial warfare and a European-style campaign of annihilation. "One does not fight Abd el-Krim as one fights Marshal Hindenburg," he remarked cynically in 1925, referring to the heavy-handed tactics used by his fellow Maréchal de France, Philippe Pétain, in his dealing with the Rifian revolt.16

Pétain's ability to wage such a lavish campaign was facilitated by the flow of metropolitan troops, which doubled the French order of battle in Morocco from 75,300 men in April 1925 to about 150,000 four months later. These reinforcements came equipped with advanced weapon systems including some making their debut on the Moroccan scene such as tanks, attack planes, and heavy artillery. Lyautey and his subordinates could only dream of employing such a magnitude of military force in their handling of Moroccan armed resistance. Not only were they frequently challenged with cuts of their manpower due to demobilization and the overstretching of French overseas military commitments, they also had to take into account the metropolitan public's sensitivity to casualties and the need to "spare French blood" in the wake of the Great War.17

"Perfect Mercenaries": Moroccan Soldiers in French Uniforms

The obvious solution for both problems was to enlarge the size of the Moroccan contingent within the French occupation corps in Morocco. Moroccan soldiers, particularly those labeled as "auxiliaries" (supplétives), were cheaper to maintain and their attrition in battle would not cause as great a stir in Paris as would the loss of French conscripts. Hence, by the time the "pacification" campaign reached its peak and conclusion in the early 1930s, it evolved, as Daniel Rivet aptly phrases it, "from a war against Moroccans to a war among Moroccans."18

The increase in the number of Moroccans mobilized by the French for the conquest of their own country manifested itself in their growing share of casualties. For example, a compliment of reports on casualties [End Page 140] sustained by the groupe mobile of the Tadla region in the summer of 1923 put the total of killed and wounded at 231, of whom 194 (eighty-four per cent) were Moroccans, mostly auxiliaries (154). Nine years later, a summary of the 1932 summer operations throughout southern Morocco listed 651 casualties of whom 429 (sixty-six per cent) were auxiliaries.19 Another indicator of the growing contribution of Moroccans to the conquest drive concerns the awarding of citations. As shown in Table 1 (see below), Moroccans (mostly "back-up" troops by a 2:1 ratio) constituted twenty-five per cent of all decorated troops during the last phase of combat in Morocco. Indeed, their share seemed to increase as the conquest of their country reached its zenith. In sum, the ability of the French army to consolidate its control over the Moroccan countryside could not have been achieved without the contribution of Moroccan combatants.

Table I: Citations awarded to Moroccan Soldiers and Members of Back-up Formations, 1912-1933

Data drawn from periodic listings in the Ordres Généraux of the Protectorate's monthly publication, Bulletin Official, available at the archives of the French Protectorate archives, located at the annex of the French Foreign Office archives (MAE) in Nantes.

Years Total Moroccan Recipients Percentage
Citations Total Regulars Back-up of Total
1912-1918 1,502 151 84 67 10
1919-1926 2,787 439 234 205 15
1927-1933 5,662 1,430 451 979 25
Total 9,951 2,020 769 1,251 20

Note: Moroccan regular units included some Algero-Tunisian elements. Precise determination of nationality based on Arabic names alone could not always be made. Officers who were not identified as Moroccan were not included, as were members of units whose identity was uncertain

* * *

The distinguished service record of Moroccan riflemen (tirailleurs) and cavalrymen (spahis) in the trenches of the Western Front and other theaters of operations during the "Great War" of 1914-18 helped to erase earlier misgivings about their loyalty and reliability.20 Unlike other French overseas possessions such as Algeria and Senegal, compulsory conscription was never introduced in Morocco.21 Moroccan recruits were thus enlisted as contracted volunteers who were eligible to serve up to (and in some cases even beyond) fifteen years. They were regarded as professional career soldiers, "perfect mercenaries" as their French commanders liked to refer to them. Thus, a 1934 study on the utilization of Moroccan soldiers in the French army states:

Comparison between pre-war and current units of the armée d'Afrique shows great decline in quality. Luckily, 'our' Moroccans are still mercenaries and we can still find among them the virtues which made the glory of the old armée d'Afrique.22

Reputed for their superb physical endurance, courage and resiliency, submission to rigorous discipline (often attributed to their presumed "fatalism") and overall dependability, Moroccan soldiers became a popular choice for interwar overseas assignments in sensitive locations such as the Levant and the Rhineland,23 as well as being stationed in metropolitan France. They were also used in the Rif campaign where they helped suppress the anti-Spanish revolt.24 Still, the arena where Moroccans serving the French military cause during the interwar period gained most of their combative experience involved the conquest of their own country.

In addition to the enlisted soldiers who served within the regular ranks of the French army,25 there were thousands others recruited as "auxiliary" or "back-up" troops. They included dozens of small-scale company-size units (150-165 men, including a handful of French commanding personnel) known as Goums whose origins could be found in the French conquest of the Algerian countryside in the 1840s and who made their debut in Morocco in 1908.26

The Utility and Limitations of the "Partisans"

In addition to these regular and semi-regular troops were various formations of Moroccan irregulars, collectively labeled "partisans." Most "partisans" were mobilized on an ad-hoc basis for specific operations and discharged at the end of the annual fighting season. These "partisans" were raised from among the recently subdued tribal population as part of the protection treaty (aman) that regulated its formal surrender. Other "partisans" were organized in more permanent formations that were commanded by indigenous chieftains who had allied themselves with the French, such as the "Grand Qa'ids" of the South, notably the Glawa clan.27

Who were those "partisans" who took part in the annual operations orchestrated by the French army to eradicate the tribal resistance in the Moroccan countryside? What motivated them to fight on the French side against their fellow countrymen? How were they used by the French and in what ways did they contribute to the success of the conquest drive? A contemporary article written by Captain Tarrit, a French intelligence and "native affairs" officer (Affaires Indigènes; henceforth AI) who participated in these operations sheds interesting light on these questions:28

It could be said that the partisans often form the basic shock inflicted against the enemy and it is thanks [End Page 141] to them that the regular troops do not suffer higher casualties. [However] this does not mean that the partisans could replace the regular soldiers. Such a conclusion will be a great error. The irregulars perform better when they know that behind them exist a solid force, capable of helping them in attack and provide cover in case of failure.

According to Tarrit,

The partisan's departure for combat is made with joy. The women are chanting and they encourage the fighters to kill as many [of their] enemies as possible. Once he smells gunpowder, the partisan knows nothing but combat. He becomes extremely impressionable, capable of running straight towards the enemy.

The propensity of the "partisans" for unruly conduct on the battlefield had its advantages as "Sometimes this could cause complete panic within the enemy's ranks." However, it also carried a risk to the French officers who may be "exposed to the serious danger of being left behind and falling into the enemy's hands." Hence, the military's AI apparatus attempted to discipline the "partisans" and to incorporate them solidly within the structure of the groupe mobile that included various regular and auxiliary formations of infantry, cavalry, and artillery. Specifically, "the [French] intelligence officer employs with the partisans a mounted goum, which serves as his 'personal guard,' a solid reserve to restore order and combat panic. The goumiers," notes Tarrit, " are excellent soldiers as long as they are together, but they tend to lose themselves when left alone in unfamiliar surroundings."29

Born Warriors or Glorified Shepherds? Image and Realities of Moroccan Combatants

The French attitude towards the Berberophone tribal population they encountered in battle or mobilized to serve in their armed forces was thus based on the perception that they were "born warriors" (guerriers par atavisme30 ), trained from infancy to use the rifle. For the mountainous Moroccan, notes Captain Maurice Durosoy,

[W]ar is a permanent state. At a young age he accompanies his father and learns to shoot the rifle he would later carry with him as a sign of his courage. He loves to appear brave in the eyes of women; he loves danger, loves attacking the enemy, and he loves to plunder.31

One can find resonance of this imagery in the stories told of Moroccan tirailleurs charging barehanded against German tanks during the futile Belgian campaign of 1940, shouting "Yallah el-Maghreb,"32 or in accounts of the brute savagery, mad bravery, and gross mistreatment of civilians (mostly women) exercised by the goumiers in their battles in Italy during the latter parts of that war.33 Authentic and reliable as some of these anecdotes may be, they smack of an anachronistic and distinctly paternalistic colonial attitude that ought to be treated with a degree of skepticism.

Missing from these broad characterizations is any meaningful reference to Moroccans as individuals with a distinct personality, concrete biography, and purposeful existence. My current oral history project of Moroccan veterans of the French army is meant to address this omission.34 Through dozens of interviews conducted with Moroccan war veterans, most of whom enlisted during the 1930s and fought in World War II, I intend to reconstruct the collective biography of this group and examine the validity of the colonial perceptions presented above. While the full scope of that project exceeds the boundaries of this paper, some of my provisional conclusions may provide a useful perspective on this matter. Such is the case with respect to the reasons that led young Moroccans of Middle Atlas tribal origins to enlist in the French army.

When asked about their time in the French army, nearly all my interviewees denied any quest for glory or other warlike tendency. Their prime motivation was socio-economic in nature; they regarded a military career ("working for the French," as virtually all veterans would term it) to be their best if not their sole opportunity to escape the poverty and deprivation in the Moroccan countryside. Recounting his enlistment as a goumier in 1943, Timour Ali Oubassou35 speaks for many other veterans when he says: "I wanted to have money and to escape misery and oppression. At the time I knew that the world had been at war and that we would be sent abroad where the war was more difficult. However, I didn't have any other choice."

Very few of the veterans I met and interviewed had enlisted in the French army prior to the end of "pacification" in 1934, and therefore encountered direct combat against "dissidents." Those who did tend to express no particular feelings about the "job" they were assigned to do. Having enlisted in 1926 and fought against the Rifians in 1926, Saoudi Salah Ben Ibrahim36 recounts:

In 1933 and early 1934 I was involved in the war against the Ait Baamran. They were less fierce than the Rifians, although Moroccans like us. Fighting amongst ourselves, we were executing orders and trying to stay alive.

One should note in this respect that most rural Moroccans (notably those of the Berberophone regions) had a vague notion at best of collective "Moroccan" identity. According to one veteran, Morabet Moha Ouala, prior to his enlistment in the French army he had never been [End Page 142] "in contact with Arabic-speaking Moroccans."37 It is also worth mentioning that many Moroccans who served in the French army originated in communities and families that had resisted fiercely the intrusion of French colonialism and their incorporation within the orbit of the protectorate. Indeed, the line separating resistance and collaboration appears to have been very fine, almost non-existent sometimes, as yesterday's foe became today's friend. Best exemplifying this ambiguity perhaps, was the switch made by Assou ou Ba Slam, leader of the heroic struggle of the last factions of the Ait 'Atta at Bou Gafer (Jabel Saghro) in 1933, to qa'id and loyal supporter of the Protectorate until its end in 1956.38

Assou ou Ba Slam's loyalty to France manifested itself during the last days of the Protectorate when he helped save the life of a French AI officer who had been besieged in his field bureau at Iknioun. This incident and others that erupted throughout the Moroccan countryside during the second half of 1955 marked the culmination of the brief nationalist uprising that resulted in the French decision to terminate the Protectorate and restore Moroccan independence. Torn between their professional duty to their colonial master and their sympathy to their brethrens fighting to free themselves were thousands of Moroccan soldiers, many among whom had fought for the liberation of France a decade earlier and had just returned from a grueling tour of duty in Indochina where they had been exposed to extensive indoctrination efforts by the Vietminh.39

Most Moroccan soldiers remained in the service of France and continued the exercise of their duties. A few, however, deserted and joined the ranks of the Liberation Army that staged a brief guerrilla campaign against French targets during the last year of the Protectorate.40 Only a handful of the scores of veterans I interviewed claimed to have joined the ranks of the resistance movement, although many more declared (retrospectively) sympathy for its cause and resentment at the repressive actions undertaken against it by the French.

Conclusions: The Transformation of the Middle Atlas

France's departure from Morocco marked the end of the Franco-Moroccan military relationship and sent thousands of its former indigenous agents, military and civilians alike, to retirement. For those who had found their livelihood fighting for France, reintegration into civil society often came with some difficulty since, as one veteran put it, "people were against France and rejected anyone who had served France. People considered those who had worked for France to be traitors. Even my wife used to think that way."41 Faced with such negative perceptions, retired Moroccan veterans have tended to keep to themselves.

The overwhelming majority of veterans live in deplorable conditions. Aged, sick, frail, they pass the remaining years of their lives in poverty and purposelessness, desperately reliant upon the assistance of their offspring to survive. The medals and other citations they earned as tokens of their heroism and loyalty, while carefully guarded and proudly displayed in front of the foreign visitor, can hardly make up for the insultingly meager pensions and disability payments that the veterans receive from France. It is hardly surprising, therefore, that the single common opinion on which virtually all veterans seem to agree is that France has mistreated them and ought to compensate them better for the sacrifices they made on its behalf.

The deplorable conditions of most veterans' lives, a painful contrast to the confident, healthy gaze emanating from their youthful pictures, can serve as a metaphor to the transformation of their native communities of Berberophone Middle Atlas tribes from virtual freedom to forced integration within a centralized state structure. As one poem recited among those rural, mountainous dwellings states:

Could I but rub my cheeks with mud
Or be carried away into the hereafter in the fullness of time
Now that cowards are supreme in the land of heroes42

The passage of the "heroic age" was the inevitable outcome of the systemic and efficient French "pacification" campaign of 1907-1934 that disarmed the tribes and brought an end to their perpetual conflicts. Along with the imposition of submission to the central government (namely the Protectorate) came the paving of roads and other infrastructure developments that made their once isolated hamlets accessible and thus more easily controllable from the outside. Those roads would be used not only to stifle any future separatist attempt by the region's inhabitants,43 but also to attract its youth to leave it amidst continued economic hardship in search of a better future elsewhere in Morocco and in recent times overseas.

The Moroccans who enlisted and fought within the ranks of the French army during the 1930s and 1940s were among the first Middle Atlas inhabitants to have encountered the outside world and experienced first-hand its lure and opportunities. Many demobilized soldiers declined to return to their native communities, finding instead a second career as police agents and permanent residence in special housing projects erected by the French authorities during the late 1940s in Morocco's largest cities, most notably Casablanca. Some [End Page 143] veterans, whose post-military careers led them to other parts of Morocco and the world, have chosen to retire back to their Middle Atlas families to discover at the twilight of their lives that their stories of courage and sacrifice are often forgotten by a new generation for whom the age of heroes is nothing more than a blurred history.

Endnotes

This essay originated as a paper, presented at the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, Chicago, January 2003. I wish to thank the Charles Martin Fund and the Department of History at UNO for facilitating my participation in that conference.

1. Ronald Robinson, "Non European foundations of European Imperialism: sketch for a theory of collaboration," in Roger Owen and Bob Sutcliffe, eds., Studies in the Theory of Imperialism (London: Longman, 1972), 117-141

2. Robinson, "Non European foundations," 138 and 141.

3. Examples of works on Imperialism and European empire-building include Tony Smith, The Pattern of Imperialism: The United States, Great Britain, and the late industrializing world since 1815 (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1981); Michael W. Doyle, Empires (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1986); Jûrgen Osterhammel, Colonialism, trans. Shelley Frisch(Princeton: Markus Wiener Publishers, 1997); Alice L. Conklin and Ian Christopher Fletcher, eds., European Imperialism, 1830-1930: Climax and Contradictions (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1999). On the process of decolonization, see Raymond F. Betts, Decolonization (London, Routledge, 1998).

4. A useful general introductory work on the history of French colonialism is Robert Aldrich, Greater France: A History of French Overseas Expansion (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1996). On the painful process of the dismantling of the French empire see Anthony Clayton, The Wars of French Decolonization (London: Longman, 1994).

The best study of the transition of Morocco from informal imperialism to direct European domination remains Edmund Burke III, Prelude to Protectorate in Morocco: Precolonial Protest and Resistance, 1860-1912 (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1976). The most recent study of the evolution of Franco-Moroccan relationship during the course of the Protectorate era is Daniel Rivet, Le Maroc de Lyautey à Mohammed V: le double visage du protectorat (Paris: Denoël, 1999).

5. The study of subaltern history as past of the "postcolonial" or "post-orient list" discourse is most commonly associated with South Asia and the Indian subcontinent, although recently it began to be applied to other cases of post-colonial societies. For an application of this discourse in the context of Moroccan soldiers see Driss Maghraoui, "The Moroccan Colonial Soldiers: Between Selective Memory and Collective memory," in Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, ed., Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in the Maghrib: History, Culture, and Politics (Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire, New York: Palgrave, 2000), 49-69.

6. Robinson, "Non European foundations," 118.

7. It should be noted that Lyautey's immediate successor at the residency, Theodore Steeg actually committed himself to policies that sharply contradicted Lyautey's concepts about imperialism, particularly insofar as the encouragement of the migration of European settlers was concerned. That policy is often referred to as the "Algerianization" of Morocco. On the implication of Steeg's approach to French agricultural planning in Morocco see Will D. Swearingen, Moroccan Mirages: Agrarian Dreams and Deceptions, 1912-1986 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1987), 51-54.

8. The conventional view of Lyautey's biography used to regard his departure overseas to Indochina in 1894 as an act forced upon him by the army's general staff. See for example William A. Hoisington, Lyautey and the French Conquest of Morocco (New York: St. Martin's Press, 1995), 5. However, in his study of Lyautey's early career (Lyautey avant Lyautey [Paris: L'Harmattan, 1997], 53-63), Pascal Venier argues that the decision to go overseas was initiated by Lyautey himself.

9. Lyautey regarded his choice of the mild-tempered Mawlay Yusuf to replace his independent-minded brother, 'Abd al-Hafiz in August 1912 to be his "loveliest invention." See Daniel Rivet, Lyautey et l'institution du protectorat française au Maroc (Paris: L'Harmattan, 1988), 1: 170.

10. See Daniel Rivet, "De la société française à la société marocaine: l'itinéraire aristocratique de Lyautey," in Actes du colloque Doctrine, Sciences ou Pratiques Sociales (Nancy: PUN, 1985-1986), 3: 235. On Lyautey's shaping of the dual Protectorate-Makhzan bureaucracy see also Alan Scham, Lyautey in Morocco: Protectorate Administration, 1912-1925 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1970).

11. On the evolution of French colonial philosophy see Raymond F. Betts, Assimilation and Association in French Colonial Theory, 1890-1914 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961).

12. Moshe Gershovich, "A Moroccan St.-Cyr." Middle Eastern Studies 28:2 (1992). In that article I also discuss the mutation of Lyautey's initial intention to make enrollment in the military academy exclusively available to members of the Moroccan elites. By the late 1920s the school had to "democratize" and enlarge its social base in order to justify its existence.

13. Lyautey coined this term in his General Directives for 1922 that was submitted on 14 December 1921; included in Pierre Lyautey, ed., Lyautey l'Africain: Textes et Lettres du Maréchal Lyautey (Paris: Plon, 1953-1957), 157. In that directive Lyautey stated that "The goal to achieve is not the occupation...of the entire Maroc géographique, but...to spread the effective French Protectorate over all of Maroc utile." Under the latter rubric he included all parts of the country that he had deemed indispensable for internal security and development. He refrained, however, from delineating the specific boundaries of those two units.

14. The "oil-stain" concept called for a slow, methodical progression in the process of "pacification," in a manner that would allow for French influence to spread through a "dissident" area with minimal resistance. On the evolution On the evolution of that concept see Douglas Porch, "Bugeaud, Gallieni, Lyautey: The Development of French Colonial Warfare," in Peter Paret, ed., Makers of Modern Strategy (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986). An earlier edition of the article, written by Jean Gottman, appeared in the 1952 edition of the volume. [End Page 144]

15. Jacques Weygand, Goumier de l'Atlas (Paris: Flammarion, 1954), 42 and 101. The son of the French Chief-of-Staff at the time, Lieutenant Weygand served as a "Native Affairs" officer in the Moroccan bled (countryside) during the 1930s.

16. Quoted in Hubert-Jacques, L'Aventure riffaine et ses dessous politiques (Paris: Bossard, 1927), 292. On the Rif War see C.R. Pennell, A Country with a Government and a Flag: the Rif War in Morocco, 1921-1926 (Outwell, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, Middle East and North African Studies Press ; Boulder, Co.: L. Rienner, 1986).

17. An example of this line of thinking could be found in a note sent by Lyautey to the War Ministry in Paris, dated 23 November 1924. Asking for metropolitan reinforcement to meet a projected attack from the Rif (that did eventually materialize in April 1925), Lyautey states that as of the 1920 campaign he has attempted to make use of indigenous troops in order to "avoid the shedding of French blood, the sparing of which is our greatest interest." A copy of the note can be found in file 66 of série 3H: Maroc at the French military archives (Service Historique de l'Armée de Terre [SHAT]) at Château de Vincennes.

18. Rivet, Lyautey et l'institution du protectorat française au Maroc, 2:79.

19. These reports can be found in files 271 and 281 of série 3H: Maroc respectively.

20. The history of Moroccan units during the two world wars, and other overseas operations falls beyond the scope of this essay. For information on that subject see Anthony Clayton, France, Soldiers and Africa (London: Brassey's Defence Publishers, 1988), 94-105, 262-306 and passim; Moshe Gershovich, French Military Rule in Morocco: Colonialism and its Consequences (London: Cass, 2000), 172-177.

Initial metropolitan doubts were based on the April 1912 uprising of several units from the pre-colonial Moroccan army that were stationed in Fez. On this issue see Burke, Prelude to Protectorate, 180-187; Jacques, Hubert, Les journées sanglantes de Fez, 17-18-19 avril 1912 : les massacres, récits militaires, responsabilitiés (Paris: Librairie Chapelot, 1913).

21. The introduction of conscription to Morocco was seriously considered by an inter-departmental commission, headed by General Mangin, which studied the matter between 1920-1922. However, Lyautey ruled the idea out citing the incomplete "pacification" of Morocco as his main cause. Information related to the deliberations of the Mangin Commission can be found in file 2352 of série 7N at SHAT/Vincennes.

22. The study, dated 25 October 1934 was prepared by colonel de Saint Julien and captain Ouenand, both of whom served at the time in the 5thRégiment des Tirailleurs Marocains (RTM). It is available in file 162 of série 1K, containing papers of Marshal Franchet d'Espeery at SHAT/Vincennes.

23. On the integration of three Moroccan battalions within the ranks of the French Armée du Rhin see Moshe Gershovich, "The Sharifian Star Over the Rhine: Moroccan Soldiers in French Uniforms in Germany, 1919-1925," Morocco: Journal of the Society of Moroccan Studies 2 (1997): 55-64.

24. Moroccan recruits from the northern Spanish occupation zone were also used as combatants in the service of their colonial masters, including a significant participation on their part in the Spanish Civil War of the late 1930s in which they fought on the Fascist side. See Maria Rosa deMadariaga, "The Intervention of Moroccan Troops in the Spanish Civil War: A Reconsideration," European History Quarterly 22:1 (1992): 67-97.

25. The size of the interwar Moroccan contingent in the French army was originally set in 1920 by an inter-ministerial commission that examined the future recruitment of colonial soldiers. The commission established a quota of 32,000 Moroccan recruits. However, by the outbreak of the Second World War the actual size of the Moroccan contingent nearly tripled in size to 90,000, as noted in a detailed study on the history of the Moroccan tirailleurs. See part two of Lt. Col. Lugand, "Historique des Tirailleurs Marocains," Revue Historique de l'Armée 8:3 (September 1952): 32.

26. The full title of this corps was Moroccan Mixed Goums. Originally it was designated to be "a temporary back-up tribal force raised for specific operations," as defined by a 7 December 1909 memorandum by the Section d'Afrique of the metropolitan General Staff, Série 1H (Algérie), file 1013, SHAT/ Vincennes. The goums proved to be highly useful, flexible and cost-effective, so much so that their number was doubled within six years and kept climbing until it reached fifty by the early 1930s. They operated side-by-side with regular French troops and were fully integrated within French operations aimed at "pacifying" the Moroccan countryside.

The rich history of the Moroccan goums has been the subject of numerous works, the latest being Edward L. Bimberg, The Moroccan Goums: Tribal Warriors in a Modern War (Westport, CT.:Greenwood Press, 1999). For a French perspective see also Jacques Augarde, La longue route des tabors (Paris: France Empire, 1983); Yves Salkin, Jacques Marineau and Jean Saulay, eds., Histoire des Goums Marocains (Paris: Kaumia, 1985).

27. On the Glawa see Maxwell, Gavin, Lords of the Atlas. The Rise and Fall of the House of Glaoua 1893-1956 (London: Arrow, 1991). Being left in complete control over parts of southern Morocco where French presence had been weak or nonexistent, the Great Qa'ids took full advantage of the situation to dominate and abuse the native population under their command. The French authorities were well aware of the mischief, but tended to dismiss it to maintain the support of their local allies.

28. Tarrit (Capitan), "Emploi des partisans au Maroc," Revue de Cavalerie 33 (March-April 1923): 197-211.

29. Tarrit, "Emploi." The principle that "partisans" and other irregulars should never operate without regular units at their side appears in the writings of other officers who were involved in combat in Morocco. See for example Schmidt (major; commander of the Bou Denib autonomous cercle), "Considérations sur les Djiouch." Renseignements Coloniaux(annex of the Bulletin du Comité de l'Afrique Française), January 1933.

30. See for example C. Damidaux (captain), Combats au Maroc 1925-1926 (Paris, Berger-Levrault, 1928), 27.

31. Maurice Durosoy, "Soldats Marocains," published in the July 1932 issue of Renseignements Coloniaux, 286-290.

32. This story appears in the official history of the 10thRTM, available in file 308 of série 34N (regimental history) at the [End Page 145] French war archives in SHAT/Vincennes.

33. See Bimberg, The Moroccan Goums, 63-64, 115-116.

34. For further information about this project and some of its initial finding see Moshe Gershovich, "Stories on the Road from Fez to Marrakesh: Oral History on the Margins of National Identity," Journal of North African Studies 8:1 (Spring 2003): 43-58.

35. Interviewed in Beni Mellal in January 1998.

36. He was born in 1908 and served in the French army between 1926-1943, mostly as a tirailleur. My interview with him took place at his residence in Ksiba in January 1998.

37. My interview with Mr. Morabet, who was born in 1913 and enlisted in the French army in 1936, was conducted in September 2000 at his residence in Khenifra.

38. See David Hart, "Assû Bâ Slâm: de la resistance à la 'pacification' au Maroc," in Charles-André Julien et. al., eds., Les Africains (Paris : Éditions J.A., 1977), 5, 77-105.

39. Among the means used by the Vietminh to convince North African soldiers to defect was a former World War II veteran and committed member of the Moroccan Communist Party, M'hammed Ben Aomar Lahrech. His instrumental role in the insurgency led to his rising to the rank of general in the revolutionary North Vietnamese army. On this episode see Abdallah Saaf, Histoire d'Anh Ma (Paris: L'Harmattan, 1996).

40. See Zaki M'Barek, "La désertion des soldats marocains de l'armée française à l'Armée de Libération du Maghreb (A.L.M.): Rôle militaire, impact psycho-politique (1955-1956)," Maroc-Europe 7 (1994): 235-271. An interesting fictional characterrepresenting the soldiers who switched to the side of the resistance at thistime is Faqih in Leila Abouzeid's novella, Year of the Elephant, trans. Barbara Parmenter (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989). A veteran of Indochina who had lost a leg at Dien Bien Phu, he is helped by the novella's heroine to escape from Casablanca to the Spanish occupation zone in northern Morocco.

41. Tafdoute Elarbi ou Hammou, interviewed in Ouaoumanna in February 1999.

42. Isafeen Ghbanin (Rivières Profondes): Poésies du Moyen Atlas Marocain (Casablanca: Waliada, 1993), 197. This collection of orally recited Berber poems was gathered and translated into French by Michael Peyron. The translation to English is mine.

43. On the last attempts to reestablish Berber self-control after the end of the colonial era see David Hart, "Rural and Tribal Uprisings in Post-Colonial Morocco, 1957-60: An Overview and a Reappraisal," in Tribe and Society in Rural Morocco; special issue of the Journal of North African Studies 4:2 (Summer 1999): 84-102.



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ISSN
1548-226X
Print ISSN
1089-201X
Launched on MUSE
2005-04-06
Open Access
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