Iraq's Revolution: Bastille Day in Baghdad

The chain of events that led to the rule of Saddam Hussein began with the murder on July 14th, 1958 of the 23-year-old King Faisal. Antony Hornyold was a junior diplomat at the British embassy in Baghdad at the time.

New order:crowds in Baghdad agitate for the death sentence following the trial of the former foreign minister, Fadhil Jamali, December 1958. Getty Images/Popperfoto

"The sun shines in my city
The bells ring out for heroes
Awake my beloved we are free…"

So wrote Abdul Wahab Batati in a poem to commemorate the Iraq Revolution of July 1958, which occurred exactly 169 years after the storming of the Bastille in Paris. Apart from sharing the same birthday, the French and Iraqi revolutions were both regicidal and were both greeted with euphoria.

To continue reading this article you will need to purchase access to the online archive.

Buy Online Access  Buy Print & Archive Subscription

If you have already purchased access, or are a print & archive subscriber, please ensure you are logged in.

Please email if you have any problems.