Naguib was one of the leaders of the Committee of Free Officers (El-Doubat El-Ahrar), a secret group established in 1947 by young nationalist army officers who were determined to end British rule in Egypt and the political excesses of King Farouk I and sought to introduce social reforms. In 1951 Naguib became commander of infantry forces in the Egyptian Army as a major general.
On 23 July 1952, the Committee of Free Officers, including Naguib and Lieutenant Colonel Gamal Abdel Nasser, led a popularly supported coup against Farouk's government. A Revolutionary Council of eleven officers, with Naguib as ostensible leader, then assumed control of Egypt. Naguib became commander of the Egyptian armed forces. On 26 July he presented Farouk with an ultimatum to abdicate and leave Egypt immediately. Farouk departed the same day. On 18 June 1953, following introduction of a new constitution, Naguib declared Egypt a republic and became president of Egypt.
The revolutionary leaders claimed to be animated by five basic principles: an end to colonialism, an end to economic inequality, the maintenance of a strong military, embrace of social justice and economic reform, and support for the democratic process. Naguib was much more cautious and conservative than many of the other younger officers. Nasser was the real leader of the movement from the beginning, and during February–May 1954 he and his supporters stripped Naguib of his posts. By May, Nasser had replaced Naguib as prime minister and president of the Revolutionary Council, leaving him only with the nominal position of president. Finally, in November 1954, the Revolutionary Council deprived Naguib of the presidency as well and, accusing him of treating with enemies of the revolution, placed him under house arrest. President Anwar Sadat, Nasser's successor, freed Naguib in 1971. Naguib died on 28 August 1984 in Cairo.
Vatikotis, P. J. Egypt since the Revolution. London: Allen and Unwin, 1968.; Vatikotis, P. J. The Egyptian Army in Politics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1961.; Wheelock, Keith. Nasser's New Egypt. New York: Praeger, 1960.