Spanish occupation of Tangier (1940–1945)

During World War II, the Tangier International Zone was invaded and occupied by Francoist Spain. On 14 June 1940, days after the Italian declaration of war after the German invasion of France, Spain seized the opportunity and, amid the collapse of the French Third Republic, a contingent of 4,000 Moorish soldiers based in the Spanish Morocco occupied the Tangier International Zone, meeting no resistance.[1] Despite the claim the occupation was a "provisional" measure, the operation was the realization of a long-standing wish[2][n. 1] as well as a prelude to a potential occupation of French Morocco that did not happen because Rabat ultimately rallied to the new Vichy regime.[4] The mendub, the sultan's representative, was expelled in March 1941, further undermining the French influence in Tangier's affairs.[5]

Location of the Tangier International Zone relative to Spanish Morocco before the occupation

Following the August 1945 Paris Conference on Tangier between the United Kingdom, France, the United States and the Soviet Union, an isolated Spain accepted the conditions lined up in the former on 19 September 1945 and retired from Tangier on 11 October 1945.[6] Tangier returned then to the pre-war status of international zone.[7]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Already since 1912, the so-called Liga Africanista [es] had lobbied in favour of a "Tánger para España" (transl. "Tangier for Spain").[3]
  1. ^ Sueiro 1994, pp. 136–137.
  2. ^ Sueiro 1994, pp. 137–138.
  3. ^ Madariaga 2007, p. 177.
  4. ^ Sueiro 1994, p. 138.
  5. ^ Sueiro 1994, p. 141.
  6. ^ Dunthorn 2005, pp. 127–128.
  7. ^ Hamouda 2016, p. 109.


  • Dunthorn, David J. (2005). "The Paris Conference on Tangier, August 1945: The British Response to Soviet Interest in the 'Tangier Question'". Diplomacy and Statecraft. Routledge. 16 (1): 117–137. doi:10.1080/09592290590916167. ISSN 0959-2296. S2CID 155051496.
  • Hamouda, Zeinab (2016). "Tangier under Spanish Occupation (1940–1945)". Ostour. Arab Center for Research and Policy Studies. 2 (4): 109–124. ISSN 2410-0870.
  • Madariaga, María Rosa de (2007). "El Protectorado Español en Marruecos: algunos rasgos distintivos y su proyección en el presente". Anales de Historia Contemporánea. Murcia: Universidad de Murcia. Servicio de Publicaciones. 23. ISSN 0212-6559.
  • Sueiro, Susana (1994). "España en Tánger durante la Segunda Guerra Mundial: la consumación de un viejo anhelo". Espacio, Tiempo y Forma, Serie V, Historia Contemporánea. Madrid: Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia (7). doi:10.5944/etfv.7.1994.30111 (inactive 2021-05-06). ISSN 1130-0124.CS1 maint: DOI inactive as of May 2021 (link)

Further readingEdit

  • Spencer, Claire (1993). "The Spanish Protectorate and the Occupation of Tangier in 1940". In Joffé, George (ed.). North Africa: Nation, State, and Region. London: Routledge. ISBN 9780415091626.
  • Halstead, C (1978). "Aborted Imperialism: Spain's Occupation of Tangier, 1940–1945". Iberian Studies. 7 (2): 53–71.