3. The National Pact Republic
This chapter discusses Lebanon’s struggle for independence and the resultant National Pact of 1943. The pact is examined in detail to illustrate Lebanon’s unique power-sharing formula. The impacts of demographic changes and Palestinian issues on the country’s sectarian relations are explored, demonstrating the recurring sectarian crisis within the Lebanese consociational model. The context of Lebanese sectarian contentions and the resulting governance crisis throughout the National Pact Republic are elaborated. The 1958 civil strife is analyzed in detail. Regional power shifts in the postcolonial order, demographic changes, and the rise of Palestinian power are among the main causes of the 1975 Lebanese Civil War.
The Struggle for Independence
At the height of World War II, France, under the Vichy government that assumed power in 1940, was occupied by Germany. General Henri-Fernand Dentz was appointed as the new High Commissioner of Lebanon. During the War, the Vichy authorities authorized the Germany army to transfer military supplies across its mandated territories for use against British forces. Britain retaliated by ←35 | 36→dispatching troops into Lebanon and Syria to confront German advances. But hostilities were soon ended. On July 14, 1941, an armistice agreement was signed.
Under political pressures from both within the country and outside, on November 26, 1941, Lebanon’s independence was recognized under the authority of the new Free French government led by General Charles de Gaulle. Major powers recognized Lebanon’s independence, exchanging ambassadors. Nevertheless, and despite international recognition, France continued to exercise Mandate power.
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