Habib Bourguiba

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Habib Bourguiba
الحبيب بورقيبة
Portrait officiel Bourguiba.png
1st President of Tunisia
In office
25 July 1957 – 7 November 1987
Preceded by Office created
(Muhammad VIII as King of Tunisia)
Succeeded by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Prime Minister of Tunisia
In office
15 April 1956 – 25 July 1957
Monarch Muhammad VIII
Preceded by Tahar Ben Ammar
Succeeded by Bahi Ladgham
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
20 March 1956 – 25 July 1957
Monarch Muhammad VIII
Prime Minister Tahar Ben Ammar
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Sadok Mokadem
President of the National Constituent Assembly
In office
9 April 1956 – 15 April 1956
Monarch Muhammad VIII
Prime Minister Tahar Ben Ammar
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Jallouli Fares
Personal details
Born (1903-08-03)3 August 1903
Monastir, French Tunisia
Died 6 April 2000(2000-04-06) (aged 96)
Monastir, Tunisia
Nationality Tunisian
Political party Neo Destour (1934–1964)
Socialist (1968–1987)
Spouse(s) Mathilde Lorrain (1927-1961, divorced)
Wassila Ben Ammar (1962-1986, divorced)
Children Habib Bourguiba, Jr.
Hajer Bourguiba (adopted)
Alma mater University of Paris
Religion Islam
Website www.bourguiba.com

Habib Bourguiba (Arabic: الحبيب بورقيبة‎‎ Ḥabīb Būrgība; full name: Habib Ben Ali Bourguiba; 3 August 1903 – 6 April 2000) was a Tunisian statesman who served as the country's leader from independence in 1956 to 1987—first as Prime Minister from 1956 to 1957 and as its first President from 1957 to 1987.

Having worked as a lawyer in France in the 1920s, he returned to Tunisia and started being more active in the country's nationalist movement. In 1934, when he was 31 years old, he co-founded the Neo Destour that spearheaded the Tunisian movement for independence. After being arrested and exiled several times by the occupying French protectorate, he decided to both negotiate and put pressure on the Fourth Republic to put forward his nationalist agenda. Following the country's independence on 20 March 1956, Bourguiba became prime minister. On 25 July 1957, he put an end to the monarchy, declared a republic, and then focused on building a modern Tunisian state.

His main priorities upon taking over power included the improvement of the country's educational system, fighting gender inequality, developing the economy and maintaining a neutral foreign policy, which made him an exception among Arab leaders. However, a cult of personality also developed around him, as he held the title of "Supreme Combatant" and established a twenty-year one-party state. The end of his rule was marked by his declining health, the rise of clientelism and Islamism, which was concluded by his removal from power by his prime minister, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, on 7 November 1987. He was later kept under house arrest in a residence in Monastir, where he remained until his death on 6 April 2000, and was buried in a mausoleum he had previously built there.

Origins and family background[edit]

Picture of Ali Bourguiba, father of Habib.

Originating in the Ottoman Empire, the Bourguibas are from the nobility class which lived in Istanbul, before leaving the city to reach Sirte in Libya. In 1795, Habib Bourguiba's great-grandfather, Haj Mohamed Bourguiba El Kebir, left Tripolitania to settle in Tunisia because of the conflicts between Libya and the Ottoman Empire. He moved to Monastir, in the "Tripolitarian neighborhood", with his family, goods, doctor and slaves.[1] The newcomers integrated easily into the town, with Mohamed's popularity increasing; he was known as a generous man who helped people in need. In 1805, he had his first son, who was also named Mohamed. When the elder Mohamed died, his son inherited his father's wealth.[2]

Years later, the Husainid dynasty applied expensive reforms to avoid colonization and established new institutions to compete with Europe. This led to tax increases so the state, indebted, could refund foreign states. In 1864, rebellions erupted as a sign of protest and discontent. The bey responded with strong repression against his people. In this contest, general Ahmed Zarrouk was sent to Monastir to bring back peace. He decided to arrest the notables of the city, including Mohamed Bourguiba and his brother, who were imprisoned in a camp in the west of Monastir. They were finally freed on condition that they renounce all properties, jewels and money. Mohamed's youngest child, Ali, who was only fourteen, was charged to take the ransom to the general's base. Zarrouk saw him as a good recruit for the army and decided to enroll him. However, Mohamed Bourguiba died in the same night; Ali then accepted the general's offer.[3]

In 1880, he ended his military career, ranked as sergeant-in-chief, at the age of 30. The army granted him a pension of 11.25 Francs every three months. In the same year, he married Fattouma Khefacha, daughter of Ahmed Khefacha and Khadouja Mzali. In 1881, while France established its protectorate in Tunisia with the signature of the Bardo Treaty on May 12, Fattouma gave birth to her first child, Mohamed. Five other boys (Ahmed, M'hamed, Mahmoud and Younes, who died at the age of 3 months) and two girls (Nejia and Aïcha) followed. Settled in the Bourguiba family house with Ali's siblings (Emna and Hassan), living in poor conditions, many familial conflicts erupted between them, their spouses and children. Ali, whose situation improved by becoming cheikh of the Tripolitarian neighbourhood and then councilman of the city, decided to move out from his childhood house and settle in a modest home called Dar El Kouij, located on Karrayia Hill. The family lived there for a year before moving into their own house.[3][4]

1903–30: Early life and professional career[edit]

Childhood years[edit]

Birth home of Bourguiba, Monastir.

Bourguiba was officially born on August 3, 1903, although he stated that he was born a year or two before.[a] He was the youngest son of Ali Bourguiba and Fattouma Khefacha, who was 40 years old at the time. He also stated that his mother felt ashamed of bearing a child at that advanced age and his father wondered if he could raise him well. Despite his financial difficulties, Ali Bourguiba dedicated a great deal of attention to his children's education. This was criticized by his brother Mohamed who reproached him for giving too much consideration to their instruction. But he succeeded in providing good education for his children with his military pension, which led to their ascent in important jobs. His first born child, Mohamed, worked in Tunis as a nurse in Sadiki Hospital. Ahmed and Mohamed worked in the state administration. When Bourguiba was born, his brother, Mahmoud, was pursuing his studies in Sadiki College. In that year, Ali became councilman of Monastir, a job that helped him provide a modern education to Bourguiba.[5]

Bourguiba's father was too old to help raise him, and his brothers were in Tunis. Therefore, he was raised by his mother, and grew up among a group of sisters; this helped him notice inequalities between men and women. He was enrolled in the French-Arabic school of Monastir but his father, concerned by the quality of his son's education, sent him to Tunis so he could pursue his studies in a prestigious establishment. In 1907, he went to the capital, where he settled with his brother M'hamed, in the médina, affected by the separation with his mother.[6] When he arrives, the capital city is facing important protests against the protectorate. It also saw the emergence of the tunisian nationalism and its movement lead by Ali Bach Hamba.

Ali Bourguiba surrounded by his sons Mohamed, Ahmed, Mhamed, Mahmoud and Habib

Bourguiba settled in the wealthy trading neighbourhood of Tourbet el Bey in the médina where his brother rented a settlement in Korchani street. M'hamed was very busy preparing his Baccalaureate in the Khaldounia School, where he was studying, so Habib was left with Dhaouia, M'hamed's servant. This servant mistreated Habib, making him her own domestic in his brother's absence and taking him with her whenever she visits families, selecting young girls to marry M'hamed. Habib was enrolled by his brother in Sadiki College, in 1907, where he is told that his brother is turbulent but studious. There, the main lessons taught are Quran learnings.[7] Since the members of the Beylical family are the only persons allowed to eat lunch at school, Habib had to endure the Ratatouilles of Dhaouia, which did not mitigate his hunger. In 1911, M'hamed's pregnant wife dies because of cholera, which ends his surveillance and allows to eat one's fill.[7]

However, Habib spent his summer vacations in Monastir in the company of women who he helps with house chores. At the end of summer, he goes back to Tunis, living with his brother. Two events left an important impact on him: the Jellaz Cemetery events of 1911 and the death of his mother in 1913, before he could make her proud of him. In this context, he decided to become more involved in his studies, and earned his Certificat d'études primaires the same year. Earning this diploma exempts one from military service under a beylical decree; he also earned a scholarship and is admitted as an intern at the Sadiki High School.[8]

From scholar failure in Sadiki to Lycée Carnot[edit]

Bourguiba in 1917

After his success in elementary school, Bourguiba left his brother's house to settle in the dormitories of Sadiki, while World War I began. In the same time, his school faced a budget crisis, leading to "frightful" food being served, according to Bourguiba. He stated, years later, that squash stew and macaroni dishes were daily served at lunch and that his breakfast consisted in a donut wrapped in newspaper smelling of oil. These conditions were disapproved by students who were always protesting against their situation, despite the headmaster's efforts to stop them. Bourguiba, then, decides to report to the headmaster and served as his classmates' spokesperson, stating that they didn't deserve these treatments. Thinking wrongly that he will be sanctioned, he, on the contrary, learned to dare and to speak in the name of others. His studies in Sadiki had an important impact on him. Indeed, one of his teachers taught him the basics of French and Arabic literature and made sure that he would know how write properly. He also met a studious elder student named Habib Jaouahdou who reported to his mates about breaking news in the country, especially related to the nationalist movement.[9]

Slowly, Bouguiba developed patriotic ambitions and ideals. In 1917, he attended the funerals of Bechir Sfar, an important nationalist leader, with his father. Important events occurred in that period such as the arrival of Abdelaziz Thâalbi from exile. On this occasion, Jaouahdou formed a group of students, in which Bourguiba was a member, to welcome the national leader at his home in Pasha street. The young boy also had to study to pass his exams and being selected in the following grade, although he was not among the most studious of his class. By the end of the year, among 32 students, only fourteen succeeded in doing that. His condition became worse when his brother married Memia Saheb Ettabaa, daughter of a former beylical minister. His sister-in-law decided to take revenge by marrying a poor family, which made Bourguiba's life miserable and resulted in a neglect for his education.[10] Under these conditions, Bourguiba failed his Arabic exam, necessary to access an administrative function, in 1917. Despite being severe, the headmaster allows Bourguiba to repeat his sixth and last year of secondary school, in 1919–1920. But the cold of winter and junk food weaken his health, leading to an hospitalization because of a food infection. Bourguiba is then obliged to drop school.[11]

The family decided to send Bourguiba in Kef, where he lived with his brother, Mahmoud, married to an Italian nurse, and enjoyed natural landscapes. Mahmoud, who was 39 at the time, was very appreciated by the inhabitants and worked as a medical assistant in the local hospital. Mahmoud welcomed Bourguiba, and he remained there 21 months until January 1922. These two years far away from the abuse of Dhaouia, his sister-in-law and the school's conditions, marked a turning in Bourguiba's life. Indeed, Mahmoud, who was a trendsetter and open-minded man, helped his brother build his personality. Mahmoud's wife also played an important role by filling the emotional void of the young boy. Mahmoud introduced his brother to his friends in Kef. These people were very nice with Bourguiba, teaching him how to play cards, talking about military strategies and conveying him the interest of Mustapha Kemal Ataturk. He also got involved in the theatrical activities of the city, which taught him the means of self-insurance.[12]

While in Kef, Tunisia witnessed the creation of the Destourian party, which was known for its militancy against the protectorate. This increases Bourguiba's interest for militancy. In this context, he told his relatives his hopes of pursuing his studies and obtain a law diploma in France so he can defend the ideals of the nationalist movement. Thus, a familial reunion takes place to decide the future of the boy. While his brothers thought that he failed his education and are considering putting him as a grocer or farmer's assistant, his sisters-in-law refuse to finance his studies. Only Mahmoud is supporting his ambition and helps him attend school in Lycée Carnot of Tunis, in classe de seconde, judged weak to be admitted in première. In this school, Bourguiba witnesses the differences between Tunisians and French. Indeed, French students had more rights than Tunisians, which shocked Bourguiba at first. He is excellent in his studies and chooses philosophy section after passing the first part of baccalaureate.[13] He was frequently in libraries and spent a lot of time reading books, mainly history, and was known for his constant truancy on Fridays when he attended Habiba Msika's shows. In lycée Carnot, he met Taher Sfar and Bahri Guiga with whom he formed the "threesome Sahelians".[14] He was also promised to his cousin, Chedlia Zouiten, by his father.[15]

In Tunis, Lucien Saint's maneuvers to hold off the bey from the Destour proved a total failure. Saint orchestrated a trick by spreading the rumors that the bey announced full opposition to the Destour Movement and to establishing a constitution, during a meeting with the French population. However, the head of state denied certain parts of the meeting, denouncing these French maneuvers and threatening to abdicate. Therefore, the public expressed their support to this nationalist bey by walking to his palace in La Marsa, Bourguiba being one of the protesters. These events led Saint and French militaries to go to the beylical palace and obliging the bey not to abdicate. Furthermore, he announced the suspending of Essawab newspaper for spreading fake news. But the tensions remain and Bourguiba, with his school friend Jaouahdou, was among the protesters. Thus, they miraculously avoided being expelled.[16]

Bourguiba and his class after passing the Baccalauréat

With the arrival of summer, Bourguiba spent his vacations in Mahdia, hosted by his sister Nejia and her husband Ali Bouzgarou. There, he made new friends with whom he talked about political and philosophical ideas brought by Al-Mutanabbi but also Victor Hugo, mainly at night.[17] Soon bachelors, Sfar, Guiga and Bourguiba are aware of the role they have to play for the future of their country. Bourguiba has already built his political vision inspired by the French political system: socialism, which he strongly supported. Now, excellent in his studies, the contest to get a scholarship for foreign higher education in Paris became tighter. However, he has the full support of his brother Mahmoud who encouraged him to pursue his vision, by promising to send him 50 francs per month even though he wanted him to study in Alger with their brother M'hamed. In 1924, Bourguiba obtained his baccalaureate with 16 in philosophy, which made him first of his class. Soon after the results, Bourguiba went to Paris, willing to discover France, onboard an old boat: Le Oujda.[18]

Higher education and life in Paris[edit]

The Sorbonne, where Bourguiba studied law

When he arrived in Paris, Bourguiba settled on the sixth floor of Hôtel Saint-Séverin, not far away from place Saint-Michel. He spent his days discovering Latin Quarter but had a critical financial condition. Indeed, his rent raised to 150 francs per month and he constantly wrote letters to his family asking them for monetary help. However, his conditions improved with the involvement of Hassen Chedli, a Monastirian accountant in his former school Sadiki, who got him a scholarship of 1,800 francs, payable in two installments. With this amount, he enrolled in Paris Law School and entered the Sorbonne where he took psychology and literature classes.[19][20]

His interest for politics, specifically third republic political system of government and French civilization grew bigger since his arrival. Thus, he spent a lot of time in Bourbon Palace, where intellectual events were held and got interested in Léon Blum's ideas thanks to Le Populaire newspaper. He also took part in political conversations, mainly between classes, when students gathered in the Jardin du Luxembourg to debate about the latest news, in France or in the world. For example, the death of Lenin and the rivalry between Leon Trotsky and Joseph Stalin. This is how he slowly built the pillars of his political views: in that context, Bourguiba was opposed to Bolsheviks but had a strong admiration for Gandhi. He also thought that Ho Chi Minh's involvement in the Tours Congress and his joining of the Communist International to get the independence of Vietnam made him too dependent on the USSR. However, in Tunisian issues, he supports his friend Mahmoud El Materi.[21]

After a year in Paris, Bourguiba returned to Tunisia, where he spent his vacations between Mahdia and Monastir. When he got back to France, early in September 1925, he became worried about the nationalist movement of his country but began to improve his condition by moving into chamber 114 of the cité universitaire of Jordan boulevard. He also got help from Taïeb Radhouane, a Tunsian sponsor, through Les Amis de l’étudiant association, to take public finance classes in the Paris institute of political studies. Likewise, he enjoyed financial help from his old French institutor in Monastir who converted to Islam.

Picture of Mathilde Lefras

In the same year, his friends Sfar and Guiga joined him while he was tutoring a young Sfaxian boy, Mohamed Aloulou, sent by his parents to sit for the baccalauréat in Lycée Louis-le-Grand.[22] One day, while tidying his bedroom, Bourguiba found the address of a woman that his sponsor recommended him to visit: Mathilde Lefras, a widow 35 years aged whose husband died in the Great War. The widow, whom he met for the first time in her apartment in XXe arrondissement, was affected by his background and requested a second meeting. Slowly, a relationship settled between the two of them and, after months, she invited him to move in with her. Bourguiba then accepted and gave the keys of his chamber back.[23]

With this new life, Bourguiba became distant from his fellow students and the Zouiten family, supposed to become his family in law, even when they came to Paris as tourists. While there, Habib Zouiten, brother of his fiancée Chadlia, discovered the affair between Bourguiba and Mathilde. He then wrote a letter to Bourguiba saying that he was a contemptible coward. But even in the neighbourhood, his relationship with Mathilde was criticized. To end gossip, Bourguiba set a ruse: he simulated his wedding by wearing a suit and getting home with Mathilde in her car, accompanied by Sfar and Guiga, as if they had just married. With Mathilde in life, Bourguiba became less involved in Tunisian issues, as the resident general signed an executive order to suppress freedom of speech and assembly.[24]

Bourguiba in 1927

In the summer of 1926, Bourguiba returned to Monastir, but did not have any political interest anymore. His father died in September and he received a telegram from Mathilde announcing her pregnancy. Bourguiba became confused, and was worried about becoming a parent. When he got back to Paris, he immediately told his friends and asked for advice. One of them instructed him to break up with Mathilde so she can raise the child on her own and he would be absolved of parental responsibility. However, Bourguiba refused to abandon the child, stating that he was as responsible as Mathilde for its well-being. The pregnancy reassured him, as he suspected he was infertile, having only one testicle. Despite this, the couple were facing relationship problems and Bourguiba tentatively went back to the Cité universitaire with his friends.[25]

On April 9, 1927, Mathilde gave birth to a boy that they named Jean Habib Bourguiba. With the responsibilities of parenting, they settled in Bagneux, in the Paris suburbs. Their new home consisted of a room that they both used as a bedroom and dining room. Bourguiba, who at the time was ill, had to prepare his final exams and sit for them one month after the birth of his first child. The same year, Bourguiba graduated with a degree in Law and Political Science.[26]

Return in Tunisia and professional career[edit]

In August 1927, Bourguiba came back to his country with his girlfriend Mathilde and his son Habib Jr. Then 26 years old, he had a deep knowledge of French politics under the Third Republic and admired the secular socialist ideology it has. First thing he did after his arrival was marrying Mathilde, with Mahmoud Laribi being his witness. While Bourguiba was looking for a job, the family settled in Tunis, the capital. Thus, he showed no interest for politics but his priority lied in providing a decent life for his family. In that context, he had to do a three-year internship job under the authority of an experienced lawyer.[27]

For a whole year, from October 1927 to October 1928, Bourguiba chained up internships: first, he worked for a certain Maître Ciricier, who discharged him after six weeks, then for Maître Pietra, associated to Maître Scemama, who charged him of writing duties and payed him after two months of work. Bourguiba, who was not pleased by the working conditions, decided to resign and found a job for Maître Salah Farhat, secretary-general of the Destourian Movement until he was engaged by Maître Sebault for 600 francs per month, which favored Bourguiba staying a year after the three mandatory.[27]

Picture of Bourguiba wearing traditional clothing after his return in Tunisia, 1928

His family and friends didn't approve of his marriage to a French older woman while he was engaged to his cousin, Chedlia Zouiten. Even though opposed to this marriage, his brother Mahmoud invited him to live in his house in Le Kram, which he bought preparing for his eventual own wedding. Bourguiba then settled with his family and were soon joined, tentatively, by his sister Nejia Bouzgarou, whose husband just died, and her four children. Even though he liked being surrounded by his family, he rapidly surrendered to his wife, eager to have her own home. Thus, they settled briefly in La Marsa but soon moved into an apartment in downtown Tunis where they would stay until 1933.[28]

Bourguiba was still not interested in the political issues of Tunisia but had only focused, at that time, on work, housing and family. One of his closest friends stated that his ambition then was to bring stability in his life and get his independence from his brothers. However, the young lawyer felt the inequality of colonialism with the loss of his job. Indeed, he remained unemployed for a whole year and had intense discussions with Tunisian but also French fellows who agreed on the necessity to make Tunisia a country similar to France: Liberal, modern and secular[28]

On January 8, 1929, Bourguiba took part in a conference held by the cultural association L'Essor. One of the speakers was an unveiled woman that defended women's rights. Answering the woman, he defended the wear of hijab, affirming that Tunisia was losing its personality and had to preserve its costumes and tradition that remained the last defences of a lost national identity. His intervention surprised liberal participants such as André Duran-Angliviel, his sister Eve Fichet, journalist known as Eve Nohelle, the unionist Joachim Durel and the lawyer Mohamed Noomane. The controversy that followed opposed Bourguiba, who wrote in L’Étendard tunisien, and Durel in Tunis socialiste, for a whole month. Durel surprised that Bourguiba had married a French woman, this one notified that he aimed to raise his son with the proper education to make him a firm Tunisian.[28]

In 1930, the peak of French colonization in North Africa is reached. Thus, France decided to celebrate the centenary of the French conquest of Algeria by organizing a festive eucharistic congress in Tunisia. Then, the capital was envaded by Europeans who came numbered for the occasion. The festivities, taking place in the Acropolium of Carthage, had known a hudge opposition of the Tunsian people who protested against what they considered a violation of a Muslim land by Christianity. The participants were strongly repressed and arrested. Even though he didn't take part in the protest, Bourguiba served as the lawyer of some of the revoloted. He also shows neutrality when Tahar Haddad is dissmised of his notary functions.[28]

1930–34: Early political career[edit]

In the beginning of the 1930s, Habib Bourguiba, feeling the effects of colonial inequalities, decided to join the main political party of the Tunisian national movement, the Destour, alongside his brother M'hamed and his mates Bahri Guiga, Tahar Sfar and Mahmoud El Materi.[29] Revolted by the festivities of the 30th eucharistic congress, held from May 7 to May 11, 1930 in Carthage, and which he considered as a " violation of islamic lands ", the young nationalists found it necessary to get involved. With the upcoming preparations for the 50th anniversary celebration of the protectorate and the scheduled visit of french president Paul Doumer, the young nationalists decided to act. Bourguiba denounced the rejoicing, in the newspaper Le Croissant, ran by his cousin Abdelaziz El Aroui, as a " humiliating affront to the dignity of the Tunisian people to whom he recalls the loss of freedom and independence ". Therefore, the leaders of the Destour party gathered in emergency at Orient Hotel, in February 1931, where it was decided to found a endorsing comittee to the newspaper of Chedly Khairallah, La Voix du Tunisien, which switched from weekly to daily and has among its editors the young nationalist team.[30]

Portrait of Habib Bourguiba in the beginning of the 1930s

Bourguiba multiplied his denunciations of the attempts aiming the Tunisian personnality but also the beylical decree system and Europeans' advantages in his numerous articles in L’Étendard tunisien and La Voix du Tunisien, claiming Tunisian access to all administrative positions.[31] Soon, he described his own definition of the protectorate, challenging its existence, not just its effects like the elder nationalists did, by writing on February 23, 1931 that " for a healthy strong nation that international competitions and a momentary crisis forced into accepting the tutelage of a stronger state, the contact of a more advanced civilization determines in it a salutary reaction. A true regeneration occurs in it and, through judicious assimilation of the principles and methods of this civilization, it inevitably come to realize in stages its final emancipation ".[32]

Thanks to the originality with which Bourguiba, Sfar, Guiga and El Materi addressed the problems, La Voix du Tunisien became a very popular newspaper. Their new reasoning attracted not only the interest of public opinion but also that of French preponderants, powerful businesspersons and great land owners, who had a strong influence on the colonial administration.[33] Opposed to the daring work of the young team, they achieved the censorship of all nationalist papers through the Residence (the colonial government) on May 12, 1931. A few days later, Habib and M'hamed Bourguiba, Bahri Guiga, Salah Farhat and El Materi were all prosecuted.[33] However, they succeeded in obtaining the adjournment of their trial until June 9, 1931.[30] On that day, numerous people came to show their support to the charged team getting their trial to be postponed once again. In response to this decision, Resident-general François Manceron, eager to put an end to the nationalist issue, achieved to outwit discord between Khairallah, the owner of the paper and the young nationalists. A conflict occurred between both parties about the management of La Voix du Tunisien which lead to the team eager to take charge of the paper. However, because of the refusal of Khairallah, they decided to resign from the daily paper.[34]

Despite the split-up, the two Bourguibas, El Materi, Guiga and Bahri kept in touch and decided to found their own paper thanks to the aid of pharmacist Ali Bouhajeb.[35] Therefore, on November 1, 1932, was published the first edition of L'Action Tunisienne which had as redactional committee the young team joined by Bouhageb and Béchir M'hedhbi. Thus, Bourguiba devoted his first article to budget.[36] Soon disappointed by the resigned moderation of their elders, the young nationalists unleashed and took the defence of the lower classes. Bourguiba, who saw his popularity increase thanks to his writings, frequented often intellectual circles whom he had just met.[37] He showed both clarity and accuracy in his writings, which revealed a talented polemicist, thanks to his strong legal expertise. Furthermore, he had worked on demonstrating the colonial exploitation mechanism by ascending from effects to causes, while showing a great interest in social phenomenons, inviting the the workers and students to organize and thus, defend themselves better against exploitation. In addition, he encouraged the defense and safeguard of the Tunisian personality.[38]

Campaign lead by L'Action tunisienne following the naturalization isssue

With the economic crisis deepening and the resigned moderation of the nationalists, Bourguiba and his fellow mates reckoned that a good cause would be necessary enough to rebuild the nationalist movement on new basis by choosing new methods of action. In February 1933, when M'hamed Chenik, banker and chairman of the Tunisian credit union, got into trouble with the Residence, Bourguiba is the only one to defend him.,[39] reckoning that this issue could permit him to rally the bourgeois class, considered as collaborator with France, and unify the country around nationalism.[40] Nevertheless, it only ended up with the resignation of Guiga, M'hedhi and Bouhajeb. Thus, Bourguiba abandoned his lawyer work to concentrate on running the journal by his own.[41] But the occasion to express himself soon turned up: The naturalized Tunisian issue, which was a popular case among the nationalists during the 1920s reappeared, in the start of 1933, with protests in Bizerte against the burial of a naturalized in a Muslim cemetery.[42] Bourguiba decided to react and unleash a campaign to support the protests in L'Action Tunisienne which will soon be reprised by numerous nationalist newspapers, denouncing an attempt to Frenchify the "whole Tunisian people".[43]

The firm stance of Bourguiba lead him to acquire a strong popularity among the nationalist circles. Furthermore, the congress held by the Destour which took place on May 12 and May 13, 1933 in Tunis, ended in favor of the young team of L'Action tunisienne, elected unanimously in the executive party comittee.[44] This strong position among the movement permitted them to influence party decision, eager to unify all the factions among a nationalist front. In the meantime, due to the ongoing naturalist issue in Tunis, the Residence decided the suspension of every nationalist paper on May 31, including L'Action Tunisienne but also the prohibition of Destour activity. However, the French government convinced that Manceron had acted tardily in taking expected measures, replaced him by Marcel Peyrouton on July 29, 1933. Bourguiba deprived of his freedom of speech in this repression atmosphere and trapped inside the Destour moderate policy, aspired to get his autonomy back.[45]

On August 8, the occasion to express his views arrived when incidents began in Monastir following the burial of a naturalized child by force in a Muslim graveyard. Soon, law enforcement and population started a fight, which lead Bourguiba to convince certain Monastirians to choose him as their lawyer. Furthermore, he lead them to protest to the bey, on September 4. The party leadership seeing this as an occasion to get rid of a new form of activism they dislike, decided to reprimend the young nationalist.[46] Bourguiba, who considered the Destour and its leaders as an obstacle to his ambitions, decided to resign from the parti on September 9. Soon enough, he had learned from this experience. This success obtained by popular violent uprising showed the failure of the Destour's methods, consisting maily of petitions. Only violence of determined groups could lead the Residence to step back and negotiate the solutions; this was his course of action until 1956.[47]

1934–39: Rising nationalist leader[edit]

Founding of Neo-Destour and colonial repression[edit]

Members of the first leading comittee of the Neo-Destour.

After he resigned from the executive committee of Destour, Bourguiba was on his own once again. However, his fellow mates of L'Action Tunisienne soon were in conflict with the elders of the party, ending with the exclusion of Guiga, on November 17, 1933 and the resignation of El Materi, M'hamed Bourguiba and Sfar from the executive comittee on December 7, 1933.[48] Soon referred to as "rebels", they were joined by Bourguiba and decided to undertake a campaign all over the country and explain their political positions to the people. Meanwhile, the elders of the Destour unleashed a propaganda campaign aiming to discredit them. Therefore, the young team visited areas severely affected by the economic crisis, including Ksar Hellal and Moknine where they were reluctantly welcomed. Thanks to Ahmed Ayed, a wealthy and respected Ksar Hellal inhabitant, the occasion to explain themselves was given. On January 3, 1934, they gathered with a part of the Ksar Hellal population in his house to clarify the reasons of their conflict with the Destour and specify their conception of national struggle for emancipation.[49]

The speeches and determination to act of this new generation of nationalist was greatly welcomed by the Tunisian population which did not hesitate to criticize the "neglect of the Destour leadership to defend their interests".[50] Upon the refusal of the executive committee to oragnize a special congress aiming to change their political orientations and thanks to the support of the population and notables, the "secessionists" decided to hold their own congress in Ksar Hellal on March 2, 1934.[51] During the event, Bourguiba called the representatives to "choose the men who shall defend in their name the liberation of the country". The congress ended with the founding of a new political party, the Neo-Destour, presided by El Materi, and Bourguiba was designated secretary-general.[52]

Habib Bourguiba and Tahar Sfar in Béja, on April 25, 1934 attending the creation of the first unit of Neo-Destour in the city

After the party was founded, the Neo-Destour aimed to strengthen its position among the political movements. The young team faced the resident-general, Marcel Peyrouton, who was dedicated to stopping the nationalist protests in an economic crisis atmosphere, which was an opportunity to seduce a larger audience. Thus, they needed to earn a greater place on the political stage, spread their ideology and rally the supporters of a still-strong Destour, and also convince the lower classes that the Neo-Destour was their advocate. The Neo-Destour invited the lower classes to join in a "a dignity tormented by half a century of protectorate".[53] Therefore, Bourguiba traveled all around the country and used new methods of communication different from that of the Destour elders. The lower classes, alienated and troubled by economic crisis, were convinced by his speech and joined his cause, bringing their full support to it. Units were created all over the country and a new structure was settled, making the Neo-Destour a more efficient movement than all those before. If the elders addressed the colonial oppressor to express their requests, the "secessionists " addressed the people.[53] Even worldwide, the new party succeeded in finding support among French socialists, including philosopher and politician Félicien Challaye, who endorsed the Neo-Destour.[54]

However, in Tunisia, the Neo-Destour had to face the strong opposition of resident-general Peyrouton who, firstly, endorsed the initiative of the "secessionists", eyeing it as a mean to weaken the nationalist movement, but soon withdrew his support because of the new successful methods adopted by the young team and their unexpected requests. Indeed, Bourguiba and his fellows from the newly created-party soon showed "more dangerous" demands by asking for national sovereignty and the ascending of an independent Tunisia "accompanied by a treaty guaranteeing France a preponderance both in the political as well as in the economic field compared to other foreign countries", in an article published in L'Action Tunisienne.[55]

All these demands lead to a conflict between the french government and the Tunisian nationalist movement.[56] In addition, the party leadership secured the population to be sensitive to their message, thanks to their tours along the country.[57] These tensions lead the residence to answer the nationalist requests by serious measures of intimidation.[58] The repression unleashed is furthermore violent: Peyrouton forbade all the newspapers still publishing including Tunis socialiste but also L'Humanité and Le Populaire, on September 1, 1934. On September 3, the colonial government ordered raids against all nationalist leaders in the country, including both Destours and the Tunisian Communist Party.[54] Bourguiba was arrested and then sent to Kebili, in the south, under military supervision.[58] Meanwhile, the arrests of the mean leaders generated discontent among the population. While Guiga and Sfar tried to pacify them in order to negotiate the release of the imprisoned, Bourguiba and Salah Ben Youssef were for the retention of the unrest.[59] Furthermore, riots occurred along the country, leading the residence to reinforce the repression.[60] Soon, the South gathered a major part of Tunisian political leaders: The two Bourguibas in Tataouine, El Materi in Ben Gardane, Guiga in Médenine and Sfar in Zarzis.[61]

On April 3, 1935, all the deported were transferred in Bordj le Boeuf.[62] Although glad to be all together, they were soon in conflict upon the strategy the party had to choose.[63] While the majority were part of the decay of the uprising and the dismissal of the methods adopted in 1934, Bourguiba was opposed to any concession.[64] · [49] Soon he was accused by his fellow detainees to "lead them to their loss";[64] Only Ben Youssef was not against Bourguiba's methods since 1934 but reckoned they needed to be free again at all cost and therefore, attempt to save what can still be. However, the conflict receded due to the hard conditions of detention aiming to coax them.[63]

From negotiation attempt to confrontation[edit]

Bourguiba in 1936 when he returned from Bordj Le Boeuf

In the start of 1936, due to the ineffective policy of Peyrouton, the French government proceeded to his replacement with Armand Guillon, designated in March whose mission is to reinstate peace.[65] Therefore, he succeeded in putting an end to two years of colonial repression, promoting dialogue and freeing the nationalist detainees on April 23. Thus, Bourguiba was sent to Djerba where he was visited by the newly-settled resident-general who was ready to negotiate with him, aiming to put an end to the conflicts and pursue a new liberal and human policy. On May 22, Bourguiba was freed of all charges and had the permission to regain his home in Tunis, alongside his fellow detainees. Meanwhile, in France, the Popular Front ascended with the settlement of Leon Blum's cabinet in June.[66] This was a great opportunity for the leaders, who had always been close to the socialists. Soon, they met Guillon who promised to restore restricted liberties.[67] Very satisfied by their interview with Guillon, the leaders were convinced that the ascending of the Blum ministry and the arrival of Guillon as head of the colonial government would be the start of flourishing negotiations which would lead to independence, even though they did not state it publicly.[68]

On June 10, the National Council of Neo-Destour gathered to establish a new policy towards this change in the french government. It ended with the endorsement of the new French policy and elaboration upon a series of feasible requests, to which the Neo-Destour expected a quick resolution. At the end of the meeting, Bourguiba was sent to Paris to set forth the platform of the party.[69] In France, he became close to the Tunisian nationalist students such as Habib Thameur, Hédi Nouira and Slimane Ben Slimane.[70] Furthermore, he met under-secretary of state for foreign affairs, Pierre Viénot, on July 6, 1936.[71] This publicly stated interview was unpopular among the French colonialists in Tunisi, which led later meetings to be conducted secretly. But French authorities were opposed to the hopes of Tunisian militants, and some of them even thought that it was a mere illusion.[72] When he returned to Tunis, in September, the political atmosphere had changed with the re-establishment of liberties, which permitted the expansion of Neo-Destour and an increase in its members.[73]

The resident-general in Tunisia introduced assimilation reforms by the end of 1936. This statement is the start of uprisings by the beginning of 1937. Viénot, travelling to Tunisia, reacted by declaring that "certain private interests of the French of Tunisia do not necessarily confound with those of France".[72] Meanwhile, Bourguiba went to Paris, and then to Switzerland to attend a lecture about the capitulation held in April in Montreux. There, he met numerous Arab nationalist representatives including Chekib Arslan, algerian Messali Hadj and egyption Nahas Pasha.[72]

In June, the resigning Blum Cabinet was replaced by the third Chautemps Cabinet, lead by Camille Chautemps. Due to the procrastination of the new cabinet, the nationalists resumed to their fight and were active in making their requests a reality. Therefore, Bourguiba wished that Abdelaziz Thâalbi, founder of the Destour who had just returned from exile, endorsed the Neo-Destour to strengthen its positions. But his wish was not fulfilled for the elder leader had other prospects about the party, desiring to unify the old Destour with the new. Due to his refusal, Bourguiba decided to react by sabotaging Thaalbi's meetings.[74] In Mateur, the fight ended with numerous deaths and injured but Bourguiba succeeded in strengthening his positions and appearing as the unique leader of the nationalist movement, rejecting, once and for all Pan-Arabism and anti-occidentalism. The split up was, therefore, final between both parties. Fearing attacks, the Destourian party gave up public meetings, using newspapers to respond their opponents.

However, Bourguiba chose moderation regarding the relation with France. Meanwhile, within the party, two factions appeared: The first one, moderate, was lead by El Materi, Guiga and Sfar, favoring dialogue while the second one, radical, was directed by the young members, including Nouira, Ben Slimane and Thameur, who were supporters of confrontation. At the time, Bourguiba was hesitant to choose between the two factions because he needed the support of the youth to gain domination upon the Neo-Destour, the leadership still being among the founding moderate members. Nevertheless, he soothed the tensions of the young, estimating that a confrontation with France would only have bad consequences and that the dialogue can still be favored.[75] In the start of October, he flew to Paris, aiming to pursue negotiations, but returned without any result. Thus, he realized there was nothing to be awaited from France.[75]

Congress of Tribunal Street in Octobre 1937

In this conjecture, was held the second congress of Neo-Destour in Tribunal Street, Tunis, on October 29, 1937. The voting of a motion regarding the relations with France was in the agenda. The congress represented the fight of the two factions which appeared within the last months. In his speech, Bourguiba tried to balance both trends. Upon reducing the influence of the Destour over the nationalist movement, he strongly defended the progressive emancipation policy which he had advocated:

The congress, which finished on November 2, ended by withdrawing its support to the french government and therefore, the confidence the party had granted it for nearly two years. Bourguiba, who helped numerous young people join the leadership, strengthened his position and authority among the Neo-Destour and ended up victorious.[77]

While the party twitched and the newly-restored repression had ended with seven death in Bizerte,[32] Bourguiba chose confrontation. On April 8, 1938, an organized demonstration happened peacefully but Bourguiba, convinced that violence was necessary, urged Materi to repeat the demonstrations by saying "Since there was no blood, we need to repeat. There must be blood spilled for them to speak of us".[32] His wish was satisfied the following morning. The riots of April 9, 1938 ended with one dead policemen, 22 protestors and more than 150 injured.[78] · [79] The following day, Bourguiba and his mates were arrested and detained at the Civilian Prison of Tunis, where Bourguiba was interrogated. On April 12, the Neo-Destour was dissolved, but its activism was pursued in secret.[32] On June 10, 1939, Bourguiba and his companions were charged with conspiracy against public order and state security and incitement of civil war. Therefore, he was transferred to the penitentiary of Téboursouk.

1939–45: World War II[edit]

At the outbreak of World War II, Bourguiba was transferred on board of a Destroyer, into the fort of Saint-Nicolas in Marseille on May 26, 1940.[32] There he shared his cell with Hédi Nouira. Convinced that the war would end with the victory of the Allies, he wrote a letter to Habib Thameur, on August 10, 1942, to define his positions:

Bourguiba and his fellow detainees in Rome in 1943

He was transferred to Lyon and imprisoned in Montluc prison on November 18, 1942 then in Fort de Vancia until Klaus Barbie decided to free him and take him to Chalon-sur-Saône. He was greatly welcomed in Rome, alongside Ben Youssef and Ben Slimane, in January 1943, upon the request of Benito Mussolini who hoped to use Bourguiba to weaken the French resistance in North Africa. The Italian minister for foreign affairs tried to obtain from him a declaration in their favor. At his return's eve, he accepted to deliver a message to the Tunisian people, via Radio Bari, warning them against all the trends. When he returned to Tunis, on April 8, 1943, he guaranteed that his 1942 message was transmitted to all the population and its activists. With his position, he stood out from the collaboration of certain activists with the German occupant, settled in Tunisia in November 1942 and escaped the fate of Moncef Bey, dethroned with the liberation, in May 1943, by general Alphonse Juin, accusing him of collaboration.[76] Bourguiba was freed by the Free French Force on June 23.

In this period, he met Wassila Ben Ammar, his future second wife. Bourguiba, who was narrowly watched, did not feel like resuming the fight. Therefore, he requested the authorization to perform the pilgrimage of Mecca. This surprising request was refused by the french authorities. He then decided to flee in Egypt and in order to do that, crossed the Libyan borders, disguised as a caravan, on March 23, 1945 and arrived in Cairo in April.[32]

1945–49: Journey in Middle East[edit]

Bourguiba settled in Cairo, Egypt where he was aided by his former monasterial teacher, Mounier-Pillet, who lived in the Egyptian Capital city.[80] There, Bourguiba met numerous personalities, such as Taha Hussein while participating in many events held in the city. He also met Syrians, who had just obtained their independance from France, and thus stated that "with the means they dispose, Arab countries should show solidarity with the national liberation struggles of the Maghreb". Even though his efforts were intensified, Bourguiba knew that nobody would support his cause as long as there was little tension between France and Tunisia. The Arab League was preoccupied mainly by the Palestinian issue, other requests not being their top-priority. Therefore, he charged Ben Youssef to start these Franco-Tunisian tensions so that he could attract the attention of the middle-east.[81]

Bourguiba, Ben Slimane and Thameur in Cairo.

Bourguiba pursued his efforts. Furthermore, he met Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud and tried to sensitize him to support the Tunisian nationalist struggle, but in vain.[82] Due to the postponed promises of the people of Middle-East, Bourguiba decided to created an office of Neo-Destour in Cairo. Therefore, he invited Thameur, Rachid Driss, Taïeb Slim, Hédi Saïdi and Hassine Triki, detained by France and freed by Germans during the war, to join him in the Egyptian Capital. They arrived on June 9, 1946, aiding Bourguiba to start the rallying point of the North African community in Cairo.[83] Soon, they were joined by Algerian and Moroccan nationalists. Furthermore, Bourguiba's speech was famous among the Anglo-Saxon media, and Maghrebi nationalism became more efficient in Cairo.[82] Bourguiba was more and more convinced that the key to the nationalist struggle resided within the United States whose interests were same as those of the Maghrebi nationalists.[84] Thus, he was looking forward to go to the states and benefited from the support of Hooker Doolittle, American consul in Alexandria. Firstly, he went to Switzerland, then Belgium, and covertly passed the borders to get to Anvers, abroad the Liberty ship, on November 18.[84] On December 2, 1946, Bourguiba arrived in New York while the session of the General Assembly of the United Nations opened.[85]

There, Bourguiba took part in numerous receptions and banquets which was for him an occasion to meet American politicians, such as Dean Acheson, under-secretary of State, whom he meets in January 1947.[86] · [87] Upon his trip to the United States, Bourguiba concluded that the superpower would support Tunisia in case its case was submitted to the United Nations. He based this idea on the United Nations Charter, signed by France and which stipulated the right of nation to self-determination. Therefore, he met Washington, D.C. officials and gained the attention of American public opinion thanks to the help of Lebanese Cecil Hourana, director of the Arab office of information in New York. Bourguiba, then, was strongly convinced he could bring up the Tunisian case in the international with the help of the five Arab states members of the United Nations.[86]

Meanwhile, in Cairo, the Arab League resigned to inscribe the North African case is its agenda. Furthermore, a congress held by the nationalists of Cairo, from February 15 to February 22, 1947 about the case of North Africa, ended with the creation of an Maghrebi office, replacing the representation of Neo-Destour. Its essential goals were to reinforce resistance movements inside colonized countries but also abroad, aiming to get the United Nations involved. Habib Thameur was designated as head of this organisation.[88] In March 1947, Bourguiba came back to Cairo and, for nearly a year, tried to convince Arab leaders to introduce the Tunisian Case to the UN.[89] In addition, he endowed Neo-Destour of its second representation in the Arab World, in Damascus, lead by Youssef Rouissi, who knew the Syrians well. Nevertheless, progress were slow and Bourguiba's journey in Middle-East ended only with a substantial material assistance on behalf of Saudi Arabia, neither Iraq nor Syria nor Libya wanting to support his cause.[86]

Bourguiba and Khattabi in 1947

Upon the disinterest of the members of Arab League for Maghrebi struggle, while the war in Palestine was the center of all attention and efforts, the union of different nationalist movements seemed to be the better way to get their requests heard. But soon, divisions appeared among Tunisians, Moroccan and Algerians, preventing common agreements.[90] On May 31, 1947, the arrival of Abdelkrim al-Khattabi from exile revived the movement.[91] Under his impulse, the comittee of liberation of North Africa was founded on January 5, 1948.[92] The values of the committee were Islam, Pan-arabism and total independance of Maghreb with the refusal of any concessions with the colonizer.[93] Headed by Khattabi, designated president for life, Bourguiba was secretary-general. However, despite the status of the Moroccan leader, the committee was not as successful as the Office of Arab Maghreb. Obsessed by the Palestinian issue, the leaders of the Arab League were refusing to support the Maghrebi issue, whose problems deepened with a financial crisis.

While Khattabi favored an armed struggle, Bourguiba was strongly opposed, defending the autonomy of the Tunisian nationalism, which soon divided the Maghrebi comittee.[94] His moderate ideas made him infamous among the other members of the committee, whose numbers were increasing day after day.[95] To discredit Bourguiba, rumors were spread that he received, underhand, fundings from many Arab leaders and that he had special relationships with the French embassy in Egypt.[96] During his trip to Libya, in spring 1948, the committee removed him from his duties of secretary-general. Noting that there were too much ideological differences between the Committee and himself, it only contributed in discrediting his relationship with Cairo Tunisians such as Thameur, with whom his relationship was deteriorating.[97] · [98]

Even in Tunis, his exile in Middle-East, weakened the Tunisian leader: Apart from the ascending of Moncefism, after the removal and exile of Moncef Bey in Pau, the party restructured around Ben Youssef with the help of the newly-created Tunisian General Labour Union by Farhat Hached.[99] Even though elected president of the party, during the Congress of Dar Slim, held clandestinely in Tunis in October 1948, he was now assisted by three vice-presidents whose goal was to limit the power of the president: Hedi Chaker in Tunis, Youssef Rouissi in Damascus and Habib Thameur in Cairo.[100] Having one to the Egyptian capital to support the national struggle abroad, Bourguiba found himself, four years later, weakened politically and marginalized among the Maghrebi Comittee in Cairo, exiled and isolated from Tunisia. Aware of the importance of the struggle inside the country, he decided to regain Tunis on September 8, 1949.[32]

1949–57: Fighting for independence[edit]

Failure of negotiations with France[edit]

Hached and Ben Youssef welcoming Bourguiba in 1949 when he returned to the country.

When he returned to Tunisia, Bourguiba decided to start a sensitization campaign to regain control of the party. From November 1949 to March 1950, Bourguiba visited cities such as Bizerte, Medjez el-Bab and Sfax and saw his popularity increase, thanks to his charisma and oratory skills.[101] Once his goals achieved, he reappeared as the leader of the nationalist movement and therefore, decided to travel to France, ready for negociations. On April 12, 1950, he landed in Paris to raise the Tunisian issue by mobilizing public opinion, medias and politicians. Three days later, he gave a conference in hôtel Lutetia to introduce the main nationalist requests, which he defined in seven points, stating that "these reforms destined to lead us towards independance must reinforce and strenghen the spirit of cooperation [...] We believe that we are a country too weak militarily and too strong strategicly to dispense with the help of a great power, which we would want to be France".[102]

His speech fastly attracted the opposition of both the "Preponderants" and the pan-arab circles who were strongly against his stepwise policy and his collaboration with France. Therefore, Bourguiba felt that an endorsement from the bey was not only necessary, but vital. Thereby, he sent Ben Youssef and Hamadi Badra, convince Muhammad VIII al-Amin bey to write a letter to Vincent Auriol. On April 11, 1950, the letter was written, reminding the french president of the tunisian requests sent ten months ago and asking for "necessary substancial reforms".[103] At last, the french government reacted, on June 10, with the designation of Louis Perillier as resident-general, who, according to then-minister for foreign affairs, Robert Schuman, "shall aim to lead Tunisia towards the full development of its wealth and lead it towards independence, which is the end goal for all territories within the French Union".[104] However, the word "independance" is soon replaced by "internal autonomy".[105] Despite that, Bourguiba was eager to support Périllier's reform process. Soon, he was satisfacted with his flourishing results of his visit to Paris because the Tunisian case became one of the most debated issues by both public opinion and parliament.[106]

In Tunis, Périllier, endorsed by Bourguiba, favoured the constitution of a new tunisian cabinet, lead by M'hamed Chenik with neo-destourian participation to mark the liberal turning decided by France. On August 17, 1950, the cabinet was invested counting among its members three ministers from Neo-Destour.[107] · .[108] However, the French Rally of Tunisia, opposed to any reform, suceeded to pressure both the colonial government in Tunisia and the french authorities in France, to get the negociations restrained.[109] Périllier ended up yield to pressure and stated on October 7 that "It is time to give a break to reforms", which did not please the Tunisian government.[110] Reacting the statment, riots started in Enfida and ended with several dead and injured.[111] Even though Bourguiba tried to pacify the atmosphere of tension, his strategy of collaboration with France was contested by the majority of Tunisian leaders who considered it indefensible, mainly after the adoption of deciving reforms, on February 8, 1951.[112]

Upon the blocking of negotiations with France, Bourguiba was convinced that there was nothing to do and decided to travel around the world, aiming to gain support for the Tunisian struggle. From 1950, even though he continued to negotiate with France, Bourguiba was considering the use of arms and violence to get things done.[113] Therefore, he asked for the help of Ahmed Tlili to create a national resistance committee, with ten regional leaders responsible for the formation of armed groups and arms depot.[114] During his visit to Pakistan, he did not exclude the use of popular mobilization to obtain independence. If he was introducing himself as an exiled militant back in his journey to Middle-East, he was now a leader of a major party among the Tunisian government. This new status permitted him to meet officials of all the countries he had visited: He met with Indian Prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru in New Delhi and the Indonisian president Soekarno. During his interviews, he urged his interlocuters to introduce the Tunisian issue to the United Nation, recalling his failed attempt to introduce it back in the September 1951 session.[113]

Bourguiba and Hached took part in the congress of the American Federation of Labor.

Since his last meeting with Ahmed Ben Bella, in January 1950, Bourguiba was more and more convinced that an armed struggle was inevitable. Thus, in Cairo, he charged a group of people called Les Onze Noirs to train people, fundraise and gather weapons.[113] Disapointed in the support promise of egyptian and saoudian authorities, Bourguiba traveled to Milan, where the congress of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions opened in July 1951. Thanks to Farhat Hached, Bourguiba obtained an invitation to take part in the event. There, he was invited by American unionists of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) to their gathering, which took place in San Francisco in September 1951. Between July and September, he travelled to London then Stockholm.[113] His journey in the United States ended in mid-october before he flew to Spain, Marocco, Rome and Turkey. There, he admired the work of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in building a secular modern state. He then wrote to his son: "I have put a lot of thought into it. We can get to the same results, even better by less drastic means, which reflect more widely than the soul of the people".[115]

While Bourguiba proceeded with his world tour, the situation in Tunisa worsened: The promissed reforms were blocked and the negociations continued in Paris. On October 31, as Great Vizir acting in the name of the bey, Chenik delivered officially to Schuman a memorandum summarizing the essential tunisian requests regarding the intern autonomy.[116] On December 15, Bourguiba landed in Paris where he heard the answer of Schauman: The statement of December 15, affirmed the principle of co-sovereignty and the "final nature of the bound that links Tunisia to France".[115] · [117] · [118] As for Bourguiba, it was then sure that endless and resultless negociations were over. He stated to the AFP that "A page of Tunisian history is turned. Schuman's response opens a repression and resistance era, with its inevitable procession of mourning, tears and resentment [...] Exasperated, disappointed, out of patience, the Tunisian people will show the entire world that they are mature enough for freedom". Finally, he adressed the United States saying that "Their freedom [the Tunisian people] is a necessary condition for the defense of the free world in the Mediterranean sea and everywhere else to secure peace".[115]

Armed struggle[edit]

Bourguiba delivered a speech in Bizerte on January 13, 1952.

While the Tunisian delegation got back to Tunis upon the blocking of negociations, Bourguiba remained in Paris where he judged essential to make contacts in this confrontation era. His goals consisted in obtaining fonds and arms for the armed struggle but also convince the rest of the world to introduce the Tunisian issue in the United Nations. However, due to the refusal of his request by numerous diplomats, he decided to provoke the complaint and force the fight. Upon his return to Tunisia, on January 2, 1952, he hurried to meet the bey and Grand Vizier Chenik, who he urged to introduce the request to the United Nations Security Council, faking that he obtained the support of the American delegate if Tunisia complained.[119] If they were hesitating at first, they soon gave way to Bourguiba. Meanwhile, the nationalist leader travelled all around the country to inform the people of this issue. His speeches became more and more violent and ended with his statement in Bizerte, on January 13, where he denounced the cabinet if a delegation did not fly immediatly to the U.N.[119] The request is signed on January 11 in Chenik's house by all the ministers of the cabinet, in presence of Bourguiba, Hached and Tahar Ben Ammar.[120] On January 13, Salah Ben Youssef and Hamadi Badra flew to Paris, where they intended to desposit the complaint.[121]

France did not appreciate the move and reacted with the nomination of Jean de Hauteclocque as new resident-general.[122] Known for his radical hard way, he decided to prohibit the congress of Neo-Destour that should of being held on January 18 and proceeded with the arrest of activits, such as Bourguiba.[123] · [104] The congress, which was held clandestinely, favored the retence of the popular unrest.[124] · [119] The following repression soon started a greater unrest.[125] Meanwhile, Bourguiba was transferred to Tabarka where he kept a surprising flexibility and freedom of movement. He soon understood De Hautecloque's maneuvers as his desire for Bourguiba to exile himself in nearby Algeria. He was even interviewed by Tunis Soir and was visited by Hédi Nouira and Farhat Hached.[126]

Following the uprising in Tunisia, Afro-Asian country members of the UN finally answered the request of Ben Youssef and Badra, introducing the Tunisian case to the Security Council, on February 4, 1952. As for Bourguiba, "it depends on France to make this appeal moot by loyally accepting the principle of internal autonomy of Tunisia".[127] But on March 26, upon the strong refusal of the bey to discharge Chenik's cabinet, De Hauteclocque placed Chenik, El Materi, Mohamed Salah Mzali and Mohamed Ben Salem under house arrest in Kebili while Bourguiba was sent to Remada.[128] · [129] A new cabinet, lead by Slaheddine Baccouche took over.

Aiming to weaken the nationalist movement, De Hautecloque separated Bourguiba and his exile companions. Therefore, he was sent on the island of La Galite, on May 21, 1952. Settled in an old abandoned fort, he had health problems, caused by humidity and age. In France, the opponents to a Tunisian compromise discredited Bourguiba whom they accuse of preparing the armed struggle while negociating with their government, in an article of Figaro published on June 5.[130] Meanwhile, the bey remained alone against the resident-general, resisting the pressions to approve reforms, judged "minimal" by the nationalists, which delighted Bourguiba. In the country, despite the unity of the people, De Hauteclocque pressured the adoption of reforms.[131] Therefore, many assassinations took place: Farhat Hached is murdered on December 5, 1952 by La Main rouge.[132] Bourguiba, deprived of posts and newspapers called for the intensification of the resistance.[133]

In these conditions, the french government decided to replace De Hauteclocque with Pierre Voizard as resident-general, on September 23, 1953. Trying to appease the uprising, he lifted the curefew and newspaper censorship but also freed nationalist leaders.[134] Furthermore, he replaced Baccouche with Mzali and promised new reforms which soon seduced the Tunisian people.[135] Nevertheless, Bourguiba remained detained in La Galite Island with, however, a softening of imprisonment conditions. If the reforms legislated the principle of co-sovereignty, Bourguiba judged these measures to be outdated. But he was worried of the cleverness of Voizard, whose methods seemed to be more dangerous than the brutality of De Hauteclocque. This obvious liberalism seduced numerous Tunisians tired of this violence climate which had imposed itself for too long but divided the Neo-Destour between those who supported the policy of the new resident-general and those who didn't.[133] The differences among the party deepened more and more upon Voizard's plans. Both Bourguiba and Ben Youssef remained strongly opposed to the collaboration between the bey and the residence. After a period of hesitation about what to do with the reform project, the Neo-Destour gave orders to resume actions of resistance.[136] Therefore, the Fellaghas decided to resume the attacks in the countryside.[137]

Bourguiba transferred from La Galite Islan to Groix Island in France.

Voizard attempted to bring back peace by pardonning half the 900 Tunisian convicted on May 15 and decided to put an end to the two-years-exile of Bourguiba in La Galite. On May 20, 1954, he was transferred to Groix Island but remained strongly firm on his positions, stating that "the solution to the Tunisian problem was simple [...] The first step was to give Tunisia its internal autonomy, the economic, strategic, cultural rights of France in these fields being respected. Now, this a real confrontation".[138] · [139] But these measures changed nothing: As the delegates of the French Rally of Tunisia requested in Paris that Bourguiba must be "unable to resume a campaign of agitation", the Grand Vizier Mzali was almost killed in a failed assassination attempt. Despite the repression he instaured, Voizard lost control of the situation and faced the rage of certain Tunisians opposed to colonists. On June 17, Mzali resigned from office whithout any successor left to take charge.[140] This resignation did not leave an available interlocutor to negociate with the newly-invested cabinet of Pierre Mendès France on June 18, six weeks after the defeat of French forces in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.[104] The new head of government stated upon his designation that he will not "tolerate any hesitation or reluctance in implementing the promises made to people who had confidence in France that had promised to put them in condition to manage their own affairs".[141]

Internal autonomy agreements[edit]

Bourguiba in France overseeing the negociations

On July 21, Bourguiba was transferred into The Château de La Ferté in Amilly (110 kilometers from Paris) on the orders of Mendès France to preparing the upcoming negociations.[142] On July 31, the new french prime minister travelled to Tunis and gave his famous speech in which he stated that the french government unilaterally recognizes the internal autonomy of Tunisia. Meanwhile, Bourguiba received representatives of Neo-Destour in Paris, under the supervision of the Direction centrale des renseignements généraux.[32] In Tunis, a new cabinet lead by Tahar Ben Ammar was formed to negociate with the french authorities. Four members of Neo-Destour were made ministers.

On August 18, the negociations started. Bourguiba was given the right to settle in the hotel where the Tunisian delegation lodged. Thus, he received detailed reports of the delegation talks while he gave them instructions.[32] However, the situation in the country worsened with the pursuing of the armed struggle. Likewise, the first day of negociations started with a serious clash between military and rebels.[143] Everybody was convinced that only a watchword from the Neo-Destour would convince the fellaghas to stop the fight. Nevertheless, the party was ripped between those who wanted the unrest to remain and those who wanted it to stop. Bourguiba wanted the fight to be over to fasten the negociations for the internal autonomy. He had among the party numerous supporters of the stepwise policy of his. But many were those who wanted immediate independence. In this context, he appeared to be the only one to have the necessary authority to resolve the problem.[144]

Mendès France, convinced that the current troubled situation threatened his colonial policy, was eager to meet Bourguiba. Therefore, he was transferred to Chantilly, in October, where he was from that moment lodged. The interview between both men remained secret and ended with Bourguiba's promise to end the unrest in the country.[144] Nevertheless, the beginning of the armed civil uprising in Algeria on November 1, 1954, did not improve the current situation. Indeed, the rage of french politicians, who accused the Tunisian fellaghas to collaborate with the Algerian rebels, slowed the negociations. The situation worsened on November 11, when the french government, adressed an ultimatum to the Tunisian government, announcing that the talks would stop until the unrest in Tunisia was over.[145]

On November 14, under the pressure of Bourguiba, the Nation Council of Neo-Destour, invited both French and Tunisian government to "find a solution to the fellaghas issue guaranteeing in an explicit way their backup, their personal freedom and that of their families". On November 20, an agreement was concluded. It said firstly that "the Tunisian government solemnly invite the fellaghas to deliver their weapons to the French and Tunisian authorities" and secondly that "the resident-general of France and the Tunisian government vouch that under the agreement between them, the fellaghas shall not be disturbed or prosecuted and that measures be taken to facilitate their rehabilitation to normal life and that of their families".[146] Furthermore, Bourguiba intervened a second time to reassure the resistance leaders of his confidence in Mendès France and reiterated his guarantee of their security. After two years of unrest, the discussions can finally resume.[144]

Nevertheless, the negociations for the internal autonomy were not unanimous: On December 31, 1954, while in Geneva, Ben Youssef, who wanted immediate independence, denounced the discussions and challenged the stepwise policy adopted by Bourguiba.[147] Knowing that his statement would attract many favorable activits, mostly after the fall of the Mendès France cabinet on February 6, 1955, causing panic among the moderate faction of the party. Nevertheless, their fears were at ease with the arrival of Edgar Faure as head of the french government on February 23. Faure assured his commitment to persue the negociations started by his predecessor. With Faure's promise, it was necessary for the Neo-Destour to bring the two leaders closer and therefore, set forth a strong united nationalist front to France. However, Ben Youssef did not agree with the talks, denouncing any negociation that would not lead immediatly to the independance of the whole Maghrebi people, supported in his position by the algerians.[148]

On April 21, 1954, an interview between Faure and Bourguiba aimed to conclude the agreements for the internal autonomy.[149] Hearing the news while participating in the Bandung Conference, Ben Youssef rejected the agreements which he juged contrary to the principle of internal autonomy and indicated to a journalist that he "did not want to be Bourguiba's subordinate anymore".[150] As for him, the Tunisian people must be opposed to the conventions and demand immediate independence without any restrictions. Despite attemps to conciliate both leaders, the break between the two men was final.[151] Bourguiba, however, tried to ease tensions and persuade Ben Youssef to get back to Tunisia, but in vain, the secretary-general of the party eager to remain in Cairo, until further notice.[148]

Triumphant return of Bourguiba, riding his horse through the streets of Tunis on June 1, 1955.

On June 1, 1955, Bourguiba returned triumphant to Tunisia on board of the Ville d'Alger boat. Getting back from Marseille, he accosted in La Goulette.[152] On his own, he advanced to the bridge, waving his arm raising a large white tissue to greet the crowd. "We were hundreds of millions coming to cheer him, interminably in a huge frenzy", testified his former minister Tahar Belkhodja.[153] On June 3, the internal autonomy conventions were signed by Ben Ammar and Faure, Mongi Slim and the french minister for Tunisian and Morroccan affairs, Pierre July.[154] · .[155]

After the ratification of the conventions, on June 3, the consultations aiming to form the first cabinet of the internal autonomy started. However, Bourguiba was not sensed to lead it. Beside the fact that it was too soon for France to have the "Supreme Commander" at the head of the Tunisian government, he stated that power did not attract him and judged it to be still early to hold an office within the state. Therefore, it was Tahar Ben Ammar who was choosed once again to lead the government. Likewise, the Neo-Destour prevails. It was the first time since 1881, that the Tunisian cabinet did not include a french member. While giving speeches all around the country, Bourguiba insisted on this fondamental fact, demonstrating that the conventions gave a large autonomy to the Tunisian people in management of its affairs. Defending his strategy, he must not leave the field open to the maximalism of Ben Youssef, supported by the Communists and the Destour.[156]

Fratricidal struggles[edit]

Bourguiba welcoming Salah Ben Youssef, at his return.

On September 13, Ben Youssef returned to the country from Cairo.[32] Trying to bring back peace and convince Ben Youssef to reconsider his positions, Bourguiba went to the airport welcoming his "old friend". But his efforts were vain and peace was short: Ben Youssef did not wait too long to criticize the modernism of the "supreme commander" who trampled the Arab-muslim values and invited Bourguiba's opponents to resume the armed struggle to free the whole Maghreb.[157] · [158] Reacting to Ben Youssef's statements, the French High Commissioner judged them to be outre while the Neo-Destour Leadership impeached Ben Youssef of all his charges, during a meeting convened by Bourguiba. The exclusion was voted but the seriousness of the situation lead them to keep the decision secret until further notice. It was finally made public on October 13, surprising many activits who judged the decision to be too important to be taken by a mere meeting. Many factions, supportive of Ben Youssef, were opposed to the decision and declared Ben Youssef to be their rightful leader.[159] · [160]

On October 15, Ben Youssef reacted to the leadership's decision in a meeting organized in Tunis: He declared the party leaders illegal and took the direction of a "general Secretariat" which he proclaimed being the only legitime leadership of the Neo-Destour. The pan-Arab scholars of Ez-Zitouna, feeling marginalized by the occidental trend of the party, showed a great support for the conservative trend who had just being created. The country started to twitch once again. Ben Youssef multiplied his tours around the country facing the sabotage attemps of Bourguiba's followers.[161] However, cells supportive of Ben Youssef were creating everywhere, while many Neo-Destourian activits remained in an expectant hush, waiting to see who of the two leaders will have the last word.[162] Therefore, Bourguiba started an information campaign which was successful, especially in Kairouan, who was seduced by the leader's charisma and decided to rally his cause.[163]

In this context, a congress was held on November 1955 to choose which of the two leaders would have the last word. Though Ben Youssef decided not to attend, Bourguiba ended up winner of the debate and optained the endorsement of the delegates. Therefore, his opponent was expelled from the party and the internal autonmy conventions were approved.[164] · .[165] Outraged by the congress aftermath, Ben Youssef organized numerous meetings to demonstrate his influence. Inside the country, he gained the support of fellaghas who reprised the uprest. Bourguibist cells and french settlers were attacked. As for the fellaghas, it was necessary to get immediate independence, even with weaponry and put an end to Bourguiba's power. The June 1 united Tunisia was definetly torn apart: Those who rallied Bourguiba and those who opposed him and joined Ben Youssef.[166]

This troubled situation generated an era of civil war.[167] Killings, arbitrary detention, torture in illegal private prisons, fellagas who took up arms against the Tunisian forces, abduction by militias and attacks by local adversaries caused dozens of dead and many injured.[168] Due to this situation, french authorities decided to speed up the implementation of the autonomy agreements by transferring the law enforcement responsibility to the Tunisian government starting from November 28. This decision did not please Ben Youssef who feared the jeopardizes of minister of the interior Mongi Slim.[169] To thwart the decisions of the Congress of Sfax, he called for holding a second congress as soon as possible. However, he faced opposition from the Tunisian government.[170] Soon, Ben Youssef was charged for inciting rebellion. Slim informed Ben Youssef that he were to be arrested by Tunisian policemen, which lead him to flee out of the country. Clandestinly, he went to Tripoli, Libya, by crossing the Libyan-Tunisian borders on January 28, 1956.[171] · [166] The following morning, three newspapers endorsing him were seized and 115 persons were arrested all around the country. The government decided to create a special criminal court, known as the High court to judge the rebels. Meanwhile, Ben Youssef insisted on his followers to resume the fight. The regional context was in his favor because the Maghreb ablazed for the liberation struggle and nationalists were quickly disappointed by the conventions of internal autonomy that leaft only a few limited powers to Tunisians.[172]

Convinced that he must act, Bourguiba flew to Paris in February 1956 aiming to persuade the reluctant french autorities to start negociations for total independence. On March 20, 1956, around 5:40 pm  in the Quai d'Orsay, the french minister of foreign affairs, Christian Pineau stated that "France solemnly recongnizes the independence of Tunisia" and signed the Independence protocol along with Tahar Ben Ammar.[173] · [104] · [173][174] · [175] The clauses put an end to Bardo Treaty. However, France kept its military base of Bizerte for many years. On March 22, Bourguiba returned to Tunisia as the great winner and stated that "After a transition period, all french forces must evacuate Tunisia, including Bizerte".[176]

1957–87: Presidency[edit]

Habib Bourguiba

On 25 July 1957, a republic was proclaimed abolishing the monarchy and vesting Bourguiba with powers of President of the Republic. Bourguiba's long and powerful presidency was formative for the creation of the Tunisian state and nation. On the debit side, however, his rule was authoritarian. Political democracy in the Western sense was more or less nonexistent. The constitution vested Bourguiba with sweeping—almost dictatorial—powers. Bourguiba himself admitted this when a journalist asked him about Tunisia's political system. Bourguiba replied, "The system? What system? I am the system."[177] Civil liberties were subject to "the limits prescribed by law," per the constitution. The media were expected to practice self-censorship, and opponents were frequently imprisoned. Bourguiba became the focus of a modest personality cult in which he was extolled as the "Supreme Warrior" of the nation.

After a failed experiment with socialist economic policies, Bourguiba embarked from the early 1970s on an economically liberal model of development spearheaded by his Prime Minister, Hédi Nouira for a ten-year period. This led to flourishing of private businesses and consolidation of the private sector.

On the international front, Bourguiba took a pro-Western position in the Cold War, but with a fiercely defended independent foreign policy that challenged the leadership of the Arab League by Egyptian President Nasser. In March 1965, he delivered the historical Jericho Speech advocating a fair and lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis based on the UN 1947 Resolution that proposed two states.

Bourguiba signed an agreement with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to merge nations in 1974.[178] The pact came as a surprise because Bourguiba had rebuked similar offers for over two years previously.[179] Weeks after the agreement, he postponed a referendum on the issue, effectively ending it weeks later. The idea of merging states was highly unpopular in Tunisia, and cost Bourguiba much of his people's respect. The agreement was said to allow Bourguiba the presidency while Gaddafi would be defense minister.

In March 1975, the Tunisian National Assembly voted Bourguiba president for life, as an exceptional measure. In the 1980s Bourguiba made efforts to combat both poverty and a rising Islamist opposition, spearheaded by the Nahda party.

In 1979 Tunis became the headquarters of the Arab League after the Camp David Accords and in 1982, it welcomed the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) leadership in Tunis, after it had been ousted from Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War.

A fall in the price of oil towards the end of 1983 reduced the revenue of the Tunisian state, which was already struggling to meet rising expenses. President Bourguiba agreed to seek a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).[180] The IMF loan was conditional on government spending cuts and other reforms.[181] The government announced an end to food subsidies on 29 December 1983, causing an immediate rise in the price of bread and flour.[180] The Tunisian bread riots started that day in the semi-desert region of Nefzaoua in the south, and on 3 January 1984 a state of emergency was declared after the unrest had spread to Tunis and Sfax.[182] By the time the protests ended on 5 January 1984 more than 150 of the rioters had been killed.[183] President Bourguiba announced on 6 January 1984 that the increase in the price of bread and flour had been cancelled.[184]

On 1 October 1985, Israel launched an attack against the Palestine Liberation Organization headquarters near Tunis. The Tunisian Armed Forces were unable to prevent the total destruction of the base. Although most of the dead were PLO members, there were casualties among Tunisian civilian bystanders. As a result, Bourguiba significantly downscaled relations with the United States.

Bourguiba had been in ill health from the 1970s onward. As the 1980s wore on, his behavior grew more erratic. He fired the general manager of a major newspaper only 24 hours after appointing him. He also fired the head of the country's United Nations delegation only a few days after appointing him, and forgot about a decree he had signed to appoint new ministers. Matters came to a head in November 1987, when he ordered new trials for 15 Islamists and demanded that 12 of them be hanged by the next weekend. This latest order convinced several opponents and supporters of Bourguiba that he was no longer acting or thinking rationally; one human rights activist said that if the orders had been carried out, it would have meant civil war. After several doctors attending to Bourguiba issued a report declaring that Bourguiba was mentally incapable of carrying out his duties, Prime Minister Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, who had been appointed to the post only a month earlier, removed Bourguiba from office and assumed the presidency himself.[185]

1987–2000: Later life[edit]

Bourguiba's mausoleum in Monastir
Tomb of Bourguiba in Monastir

Bourguiba remained as President of Tunisia until 7 November 1987, when his newly appointed Prime Minister and constitutional successor Zine El Abidine Ben Ali impeached him. Ben Ali claimed that Bourguiba's old age and health were certified by his own doctors made him unfit to govern. Ben Ali himself was overthrown in 2011 in the first of the Arab Spring uprisings.

Bourguiba lived in Monastir under government protection in the Governor's Mansion for the last 13 years of his life.

Social reform[edit]

The Bourguiba government's reforms included female emancipation, public education, family planning, a modern, state-run healthcare system, a campaign to improve literacy, administrative, financial and economic organization, suppression of religious property endowments, known as Waqf, and building the country's infrastructure.[citation needed].

During the time Bourguiba was president, education was a high priority. Bourguiba also promoted women's rights, setting important legal precedents by prohibiting polygamy, expanding women's access to divorce, and raising the age at which girls could marry to 17 years old. The new Personal Status Code passed in August 1956 expanded women's rights.

Bourguiba was very critical of the veil, on various occasions referring to it as "that odious rag".[186]

Personal life[edit]

In 1925, Habib Bourguiba met his future wife, Mathilde Lorrain, in Paris while he was studying law at the Sorbonne. She converted to Islam and chose the name Moufida Bourguiba. She bore him one son: Habib Bourguiba, Jr. in April 1927. In a second wedding, he married Wassila Ben Ammar and adopted a daughter, Hajer Bourguiba.

Bourguiba died on 6 April 2000 at the age of 96. He was buried with national honors on 8 April 2000 in a mausoleum in Monastir.


  1. ^ (French) A strong debate exists over this date, which might have been falsified by some historians to make him younger as certain families were careful not to declare a boy's early birth date in order to avoid conscription according to Samya El Mechat, La Tunisie et les chemins vers l’indépendance. 1945-1956, éd. L'Harmattan, Paris, 1992. He might have been in fact born in 1901 or even in 1898. Bourguiba himself said in 1955: "I was born in 1901. But when I applied to law school in Paris in 1924, the secretary made a mistake and marked 1903. Since I was not a very young student, I was satisfied with this date and I kept it". One of his ministers, Mahmoud El Materi, confirmed this hypothesis in his memoirs.


  1. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, Jaguar Edition, Paris, 1999, p. 12
  2. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, Bourguiba, Elyzad Edition, Tunis, 2012, p. 21
  3. ^ a b Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 13
  4. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, Bourguiba, Elyzad Edition, Tunis, 2012, p. 25
  5. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 14
  6. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 32
  7. ^ a b (French) Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 14
  8. ^ (French) Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 16
  9. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 39-40
  10. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 43
  11. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 41
  12. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 16
  13. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 47
  14. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 17
  15. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 48
  16. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 49
  17. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 50
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  24. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 63
  25. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 65
  26. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 21
  27. ^ a b Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 66
  28. ^ a b c d Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 67
  29. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 23
  30. ^ a b Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 24
  31. ^ Pascal Le Pautremat and Charles-Robert Ageron, La politique musulmane de la France au XXe siècle. De l’Hexagone aux terres d’Islam : espoirs, réussites, échecs, éd. Maisonneuve et Larose, Paris, 2003, p. 99
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  33. ^ a b Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 71
  34. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 72
  35. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 73
  36. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 27
  37. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 75
  38. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 74
  39. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 76
  40. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 28
  41. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 78
  42. ^ Roger Casemajor, L’action nationaliste en Tunisie, éd. MC-Editions, Carthage, 2009, p. 73
  43. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 79
  44. ^ Saïd Mestiri, Moncef Mestiri: aux sources du Destour, éd. Sud Éditions, Tunis, 2011, p. 120
  45. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 82
  46. ^ Fourth interview given by president Bourguiba on november 9, 1973
  47. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 29
  48. ^ Saïd Mestiri, Moncef Mestiri : aux sources du Destour, p. 124-125
  49. ^ a b Fifth conference held by President Bourguiba on November 16, 1973
  50. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 84-85
  51. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 86
  52. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 87
  53. ^ a b Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 90-91
  54. ^ a b Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 32
  55. ^ Histoire du mouvement national tunisien, 9 avril 1938 : le procès Bourguiba, éd. Centre de documentation nationale, Tunis, 1970, p. 138
  56. ^ Pascal Le Pautremat et Charles-Robert Ageron, op. cit., p. 110
  57. ^ Omar Khlifi, L’assassinat de Salah Ben Youssef, éd. MC-Editions, Carthage, 2005, p. 14
  58. ^ a b Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 93
  59. ^ Anissa El Materi Hached, Mahmoud El Materi, pionnier de la Tunisie moderne, éd. Les Belles Lettres, Paris, 2011, p. 101
  60. ^ Roger Casemajor, op. cit., p. 88
  61. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 95
  62. ^ Anissa El Materi Hached, op. cit., p. 108
  63. ^ a b Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 97-98
  64. ^ a b Anissa El Materi Hached, op. cit., p. 112-113
  65. ^ François Arnoulet, Résidents généraux de France en Tunisie... ces mal aimés, Marseille, éd. Narration éditions, 1995, p. 149
  66. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 99
  67. ^ François Arnoulet, op. cit., p. 156
  68. ^ Anissa El Materi Hached, op. cit., p. 139
  69. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 101
  70. ^ Roger Casemajor, op. cit., p. 95
  71. ^ Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 35
  72. ^ a b c Pierre-Albin Martel, Habib Bourguiba. Un homme, un siècle, p. 36
  73. ^ Ahmed Ounaies, Histoire générale de la Tunisie, vol. IV. " L’Époque contemporaine (1881-1956) ", éd. Sud Éditions, Tunis, 2010, p. 407
  74. ^ Tahar Belkhodja, Les trois décennies Bourguiba. Témoignage, éd. Publisud, Paris, 1998, p. 8-9
  75. ^ a b Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 110
  76. ^ a b c Tahar Belkhodja, op. cit., p. 9
  77. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 111
  78. ^ Roger Casemajor, op. cit., p. 120
  79. ^ Charles-André Julien, L’Afrique du Nord en marche, éd. Julliard, Paris, 1952, p. 90
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  83. ^ Ahmed Ounaies, op. cit., p. 454
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  85. ^ Juliette Bessis, Maghreb, questions d’histoire, éd. L’Harmattan, Paris, 2003, p. 203
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  87. ^ Charles-André Julien, L’Afrique du Nord en marche, p. 159
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  90. ^ Samya El Mechat, Tunisie. Les chemins vers l’indépendance (1945-1956), p. 43
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  97. ^ Samya El Mechat, Tunisie. Les chemins vers l’indépendance (1945-1956), p. 54
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  100. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 164
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  102. ^ Sophie Bessis et Souhayr Belhassen, op. cit., p. 170
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  104. ^ a b c d Yves Lacoste et Camille Lacoste-Dujardin [sous la dir. de], L’état du Maghreb, éd. La Découverte, Paris, 1991, p. 61
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  107. ^ Saïd Mestiri, Le ministère Chenik à la poursuite de l’autonomie interne, éd. Arcs Éditions, Tunis, 1991, p. 54
  108. ^ Introducing the Chenik ministry by Moncef Mestiri
  109. ^ Henri Grimal, La décolonisation de 1919 à nos jours, éd. Complexe, Paris, 1985, p. 274
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  111. ^ Saïd Mestiri, Le ministère Chenik à la poursuite de l’autonomie interne, p. 83
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  114. ^ Ahmed Ounaies, op. cit., p. 459
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  116. ^ Saïd Mestiri, Le ministère Chenik à la poursuite de l’autonomie interne, p. 131
  117. ^ Pascal Le Pautremat et Charles-Robert Ageron, op. cit., p. 419
  118. ^ Henri Grimal, op. cit., p. 274
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