'Rien à ajouter': The League of Nations and the Rif War (1921-1926)

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    Abstract

    Despite the fact that the Rif War (Morocco, 1921-1926) and its international repercussions have been frequently explored by historians, not much attention has been devoted to the stance of the League of Nations during the conflict, probably because the League simply declared its lack of authority to intervene in the matter when its intervention was suggested. The aim of this article is to provide a more detailed analysis of the reasons given by the League of Nations to justify its role in the conflict. It will argue that the League of Nations acted in accordance with international legislation of the time when it declined to become involved in the Rif War without being explicitly requested to do so either by the Sultan of Morocco or by the protecting powers (France, Spain). However, it will also highlight the tenuousness of these arguments and the contradictory stances the League took at certain stages of the conflict, especially during the period when the Spanish army was publicly accused of using chemical warfare in Morocco. The article concludes by showing how the complex, multifaceted conflict in the Rif encapsulated many of the problems and difficulties of the post-war colonial system, and forced the League of Nations to deal with a series of dilemmas which foreshadowed the difficult circumstances which it would be faced with in the 1930s. © The Author(s) 2011.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)66-87
    Number of pages22
    JournalEuropean History Quarterly
    Volume41
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011

    Keywords

    • Chemical warfare
    • League of Nations
    • Rif War

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