On 23 July 1952 Egyptians were told by Cairo radio that Free Officers had taken control of the country. The King was required to abdicate and leave the country permanently. A Revolution Command Council, chaired by a young colonel, Gamal Nasser (b.1918), was going to give the Egyptians a new start. The 1923 Constitution was abolished. A Revolutionary Tribunal was set up to try old-style politicians. By the end of 1953 the monarchy was overthrown. Deep divisions then followed within the army, personified in two men, Neguib and Nasser, as to whether there should be a return to parliamentary government or a radical revolution. The latter outmanoeuvred his rivals, survived an assassination attempt, and took on or dissolved the old parties of Left and Right and the Muslim Brotherhood. A Liberation Rally was promoted as a national movement of revival. He was not anti-Islamic, but his modern Egypt was not to be theocratic. His own The Philosophy of the Revolution (1954) proclaimed an Arab form of Socialism with an Islamic tinge. He spoke to the people in an Arabic that was not superior in tone and vocabulary. Power came steadily into his hands. Here was the first ‘indigenous’ Egyptian to lead the people for two thousand years. Building the new Nile Corniche in Cairo gratifyingly removed the garden of the British Residence in the city. Cairo and Egyptians were going to travel on a new road.
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