MOHAMED NAGUIB (Arabic : محمد نجيب, Egyptian Arabic
pronunciation: ; 19 February 1901 – 28 August 1984) was the first
President of Egypt
* 1 Early years * 2 Military career * 3 Free Officers Movement * 4 Revolution of 1952 * 5 Presidency * 6 After the Presidency * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
Naguib's full name was Mohamed Naguib Yousef Qotp Elkashlan; he was
born on 19 February 1901 in
Naguib spent his formative years in Sudan, where, as a child, ostriches and monkeys were his playmates, in a house decorated with hunting trophies like elephant tusks, tiger-skin rugs and rhinoceros and gazelle heads on the wall. Naguib's favourite game, however, was playing at soldiers with his younger brother, Ali. Having built a toy fortress in the front yard, Naguib would spend hours conquering inches of land with his toy soldiers.
Nevertheless, Naguib's father did not want his sons to follow in his
footsteps, believing from his own experience as an officer in the
Egyptian Army that the army at that time was little more than a group
of auxiliaries waiting for the British King\'s Army orders. He
believed that Naguib could serve
As a result, Naguib first studied to become a translator, and later
in his life earned a law degree, a
Master of Arts degree (MA) in
political science and another MA in civil law . He never completed his
doctorate because his career in the army, undertaken in defiance of
his father's wishes, by then had begun to take off. Nevertheless, he
found the time to polish his language skills, learning English ,
French , Italian and German . Naguib also began to study the revived
While studying in
After the death of his father in 1916, the family moved to
Naguib worked as a guard in Cairo, but in 1924, he was moved again because of a political association deemed unacceptable by the authorities. He married in 1927, pursuing his legal studies while continuing a career in the army. By 1931, he was ready to resign from the army, but as a result of an unexpected promotion he decided to turn his attention to his military career once again.
In 1934, he remarried and was transferred to the Egyptian Coast Guard
, where he was employed to chase smugglers across the
Any illusions Naguib might have had about the nature of Farouk's rule
evaporated on 4 February 1942 after a standoff at Abdeen Palace during
World War II
Meanwhile, Naguib had continued to climb the military ladder, serving
in Palestine during the First Arab-Israeli War in the British Mandate
of Palestine in 1948. While on active service in Palestine, Naguib
would dedicate 30 minutes every morning to reading the Qur\'an , the
holy scriptures of
FREE OFFICERS MOVEMENT
In 1949, Naguib secretly joined the Free Officers movement, and a
year later he was promoted to the rank of Major-General. The general
is considered one of Egypt's few heroes from the war in Palestine and
enjoyed wide respect in the country. The Free Officers, led by Colonel
Gamal Abdel Nasser were young members of the military – all under
thirty-five and all from peasant or lower-middle-class backgrounds.
Nasser's goal was to overthrow King Farouk and end the British
Finally on 6 January 1952, Naguib won the elections at the army Officers' Club, almost a revolutionary step in itself, since ordinarily the king's appointees held the executive roles in the Club. However, the Free Officers' increasing influence in the army, together with Naguib's reputation, resulted in the defeat of the king's nominees, and Naguib won with a landslide victory.
Farouk was contemplating removing Naguib from his post when
REVOLUTION OF 1952
Egyptian Revolution of 1952
On 23 July 1952, the Free Officers commenced the Egyptian Revolution
of 1952 with a coup d\'état to depose King Farouk. Naguib was
appointed, first as
Naguib was at the forefront of the Free Officer's movement, lending it legitimacy in the eyes of the people, the army, politicians and foreign powers. Within 24 hours of the beginning of the revolution, the newly formed Revolution Command Council (RCC) had asserted that their movement's peaceful intentions, with Naguib as its leader. Naguib's was a familiar name at the time, unlike those of the other Free Officers, who were too young and too junior in rank to have made a name for themselves.
On 24 July, Naguib met former prime minister Ali Maher to ask him to form a government and communicate the revolutionaries' demands to the King, at that time in Alexandria. On 25 July, Naguib led a group of RCC members to Alexandria to supervise the ousting of the King, the RCC at the time being divided over what Farouk's fate should be. Some wanted him to be put on trial, while others wanted him to abdicate and be sent into exile. Naguib and Nasser supported exile, and after a vote, it was agreed that Farouk should abdicate in favor of his infant son Ahmed Fuad, who became King Fuad II , and should then be exiled.
On 26 July, Naguib arrived to say his farewells to the former King,
arriving late and catching up with Farouk by boat, a few minutes after
Farouk had set sail. After an awkward silence on the deck of the royal
yacht El-Mahrousa, Naguib reminded Farouk that until the 1942 standoff
with the British the army had been loyal to the monarchy, but that
things had changed since then. Naguib said, "Sir, we were forced to do
what we did," to which Farouk replied, "Yes, I know. Your mission is a
difficult one. As you know, governing
The succession of Fuad II was designed to deny the British a pretext for intervention, allowing the revolutionaries to maintain that they were opposed only to the corrupt regime of Farouk, not to the monarchy itself. However, after consolidating their power, they quickly moved to implement their long-held plans for abolishing the monarchy and the aristocracy. Ali Maher's government resigned on 17 September 1952 and Naguib was appointed Prime Minister . On 18 June 1953, almost 11 months after the revolution, Naguib declared the end of the Egyptian and Sudanese monarchy and the establishment of the Republic of Egypt.
With the declaration of the Republic, Naguib was sworn in as its President . At this time, Naguib had become simultaneously the president, the prime minister and chairman of the RCC and forming a government mostly composed of army officers. Nasser became deputy prime minister, and it was already apparent that he had a strong grip on domestic affairs. However, Naguib remained the most senior officer in the government and the national leader of the country and of the RCC, even as a struggle for power was brewing.
Naguib began to clash with other RCC members over how the Revolution's goals should be implemented. He wanted to phase out the political influence of the military and return the country to civilian rule, believing that the role of the military was not to rule the country, but rather to protect those in power. The army, he thought, could interfere to change a corrupt regime, but then it should withdraw.
As Naguib wrote later in his book, Egypt's Fate:
at the age of 36, Abdel-Nasser felt that we could ignore Egyptian public opinion until we had reached our goals, but with the caution of a 53-year-old, I believed that we needed grassroots support for our policies, even if it meant postponing some of our goals. I differed with the younger officers on the means by which to reach our goals, never on the principles.
Nasser, by contrast, thought that any talk of democracy, or of a multi-party system, or of the withdrawal of the army from politics, would allow the Wafd , the Muslim Brotherhood and the other political parties to regain the ground they had lost in 1952. In addition, although on paper Naguib appeared to wield a lot of power, being simultaneously president and prime minister, his authority was curtailed by the fact that he needed a majority vote of the RCC for any decision to be taken, and his opinion was often ignored by the other members of the RCC. The offices he occupied meant that Naguib was responsible for the government's decisions, even though he rarely sanctioned or supported them, and this meant that he was increasingly becoming merely the puppet of others. Eventually, Naguib presented Nasser, by now the real power in the RCC, with an ultimatum: either he was given real power, or he would resign.
In late 1953, however, Nasser accused Naguib of supporting the
Muslim Brotherhood and of harbouring dictatorial
ambitions. A brief power struggle broke out between Naguib and Nasser
for control of the military and of Egypt. Nasser ultimately won the
struggle and managed to force Naguib to resign from the presidency of
On 25 February 1954, the RCC announced Naguib's resignation as president, saying that Naguib was "demanding absolute authority, which is not acceptable." Street protesters brought Naguib back to power the next day, but despite mass support and his reappointment, Naguib's days in power were numbered. Though reinstated as president on 26 February, Nasser now became prime minister and RCC chairman, Naguib's office therefore becoming largely ceremonial.
Naguib (left) and Gamal Abdel Nasser during celebrations for the second anniversary of the revolution, July 1954 *
Naguib in the last days of his life *
Last declaration by Mohamed Naguib before his arrest 1954
AFTER THE PRESIDENCY
Mohamed Naguib Metro Station in
Following his resignation, Naguib was then isolated by President
Nasser in a suburban
In December 2013, interim Egyptian president
Adly Mansour awarded the
Order of the Nile
* List of rulers of