** Algerian history Algeria independence war

Algerian History: Independence War (1950s)

Figure 1.--Here we see two French soldiers in Algiera with we think one of the Harkis (Muslim auxilery soldiers). France reptriated the setllers, but did not allow the Harkis refuge in France. At the peace talks, the GPRA guarnteed the safty of Algerians who had supported France. Instead the FLN immediatelyh began seeking out the Harkis and slaughtering them and their families. There is no exact accounting,but some 100,000 people are believed to havebeen killed. Sympatheic French offivers mananaged to smiggle ome 90,000 Harkis to safety in France. Their descendents today are aubstantial part of the Algerian-French population. It is notble how poorly they have assimilated into the french population. Mny young people are vert critical of the French and are being radiclized by Islamists.

France was defeated by the Germans during World War II, but after 4 years of occupation, liberated by the Allies. This left France a weakened nation with the economy in shambels. After the departure of DeGualle, the country was politically unstabe; with one short lived government following another. The one constant in the steady streanm of governments was a commitment to hold on to France's colonial Empire. The Viet Cong in Viet Nam fought the Japanese and refused to accept continued French rule. This lead to the disatrous First Vietnam War. France was soon sinking a substantial portion of its national budget into a war against the Viet Cong. This was a commitment that the battered French economy could not afford. The War finally ended when the French Army capitulated at Dien Bien Phu (1953). Just as military operations in Viet Nam ended, another colonial war began to develop--in Algeria. Algerian nationalists formed the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) and launch a guerilla campaign (1950s) which led to a particularly brutal colonial war. France was prepared to compromise in Tunisia and Morocco. Algeria was another matter. One facet of the Algerian Independence struggle was the 1 million French colonists. Large numbers of Frenchmen had setteled in Algeria--the 'pier noir'. France thus saw Algeria as an integral part of the country. Further complicating the situation was the growing feeling that political leaders had sold them out, both in 1940 and again in 1953. They saw this about to happen again. France was veeering toward civil war. DeGualle returned at this time. The pier noir felt betrayed by de Gaulle. Four Generals of the French army in North Africa rebelled. This was quelled by the Mainland forces, but Generals Salan and Jouhard formed the Organisation L'Armiee Secrete (OAS) which fought both the French Army and the FLN. The OAS orchestrated acts of terrorism on mainland polital targets. De Gaulle offered three options in a referendum: 1) Integration with France, 2) Association with France with independence, or 3) Full independence. Because of the serious resistanace by the colonists, a lot of wheeler dealing was done with the Algerian Provisional Goverment. France granted independence and some 0.9 million French settlers returning to France (1962). De Gaulle proved very tough. His prestige overted civil war. France was separated from Algeria.

Algerian Nationlist Movement

There was a long history of Algerian national resistance to French rule. It was primarily military resistance, all of which was ultimately defeated by the French Army and Foreign Legion auxilery. And after every major revolt there were land confisctions, expanding French conrol of Algeria. Gradually Algerian resistance shifted into the politicl realm. Anti-French sentiment had been building for some time. The French acquisition of Algerian land through various guises was the most inflamatory issue. The first anticolonial political group was formed (1926). Another group, the Algerian People's Party, was organized just before the War (1937). Tensions between Algerians and the settlers increased during the inter-War era.

World War II (1939-45)

The French Fleet and naval bases in Algeria helped maintain Allied control of the Mediterranean at the beginning of the War. World War II was the beginning of the end of French control. The fall of France to the Germans (June 1940) seemed to expose French weakness. Vichy was left in control of Algeria. After the French surrender to the Germans, the Royal Navy struck the French fleet at Oran (July 1940). vichy authorities introduced anti-Semetic policies. The Allies seized Algeria as part of the Torch landings (November 1942). The British abnd Amnericans landed at Algiers and Oran. Vichy military authorities after a brief fight agreed to a cease fire. They were soon replaced by the Free French which joined the fight against the Axis forces in North Africa. Torch and The British victory at El Alemain squeezed the Akrika Korps in Tunisia. British forces raced east from Algeria to seize Tunisia. Although a French colony, Hitler seized Tunis and Bizerte and stopped the Brirtish drive, rushed new forces into North Africa. After some bitter fighting, the Akrika Korps and German reinforcements were forced to surrender (May 1943). France after the War attempted to maintain its control of Algeria.

Post-War France

France before World war II was one of the historic great powers. The highly respected French Army was defeated by the Germans during World War II in only 6 weeks. After 4 years of occupation it was liberated by the Britain which had refused to surrender and America. Without theAnglo-Amerian alliance, historic France would have been lost forever. The Germans planned to annex norhern France and partition the remainder into small provinces. There was also consideration of how to elininate people not considered to have racial value. Thankfully the liberation of France by the anglo-Americans prevented the attrocities thattheNZI planned after they won the War. The War left France a weakened nation with the economy in shambels and no longer seen by the world or the Algerians as a great power. After the departure of DeGualle, the country was politically unstable. much like the sitution before the war with deep isures between right and left. One short-lived government following another. The one constant in the steady streanm of governments was a commitment to hold on to France's colonial Empire. The Viet Cong in Viet Nam had fought the Japanese and refused to accept continued French rule. This lead to the disatrous First Vietnam War. France was soon sinking a substantial portion of its national budget into a war against the Viet Cong. This was a commitment which that the battered French economy could not afford. The War finally ended when the French Army capitulated at Dien Bien Phu (1953).

French Reform Offers

Algerian nationalist leaders after World War II demanded major reforms. Algerian leaders insisted on Muslim equality including voting rights. This would have meant Algerian majorities in local election and a powerful Algerian voice in French national politics. Gen. Charles Degaulle who had led the French World War II resistance to Germany and head of the post-War French provisional government offered to grant French citizenship to certain select Muslims in Algeria. This was totally unacceptable to Algerian nationalists. Tensions between the settlers which had acquired large tracts of land had been rising before the War, but few Algerians thought that independence was a realistic possiibility. A century of French rule had taught the Algerians that armed rebellion was not possible. The observation of a defeated and prostrate France began to change opinions. The British exot from India was also a powerful example. The independence movement thus after the War begn to gain momentum. Now President DeGulle rejected Algerian political demands nd mafe it clear that France would maintain its control of Algeria (1947). this convinced most politically concious Algerians that there was no political sollution possible with France

Worldwide Decolonization Process

Much of Asia and Africa at the beginning of the 20th century had been colonized or under various forms of European control. World war I had weakened the European powers and their were stirings of nationalism, especially in China and India, but the European colonial empires still dominated much of the world through World War II. Those empires, however, could no longer be sustained. The War had further weakened the European powers. In addition, issues raised by the War, namely Fascist and Japanese efforts to create empires, undercut the moral justification of European empires. In addition, Socialist parties opposed to colonialism power or influenced public policies in Europe. The Soviet Union also promoted anti-colonial policies which was very effective for Communist parties in the colonies. The Soviet Union at the same time was creating its own empire in Eastern Europe. World War II has inspired nationalist groups in the European colonies, especially in the countries occupied by the Japanese. Fascist propganda had proven effective in the Arab world. Many nationalists saw the weakness of the colonial regimes and independence movements grew in strength. Here the British decession to grant independence to India was a major turning point (1947). The decolonization process varied greatly from country to country. India had been the jewel in the Crown. Britain's decession meant that it was only a matter of time before other colonies were granted independence. Wars of national liberation forced both the Netherlands (Indonesia) and France (Vietnam and Algeria) to move toward granting independence to their colonies. Independence was greated with great optimism throughout Asia and Africa. In most cases the heady optimism of independence has not been realized. In most of the newly independent countries, the standards of living and levels of personal freedom have actually declined since independence. In large measure this is because the independemce movements of the 1950s and 60s were strongly influenced by Socialist and Communist thought and failed to recognize the political and economic structures in the West that had created productive and just societies.

Rising Tensions (early-1950s)

Tensions continued to rise in Algeria as no political progress occurred (early-50s). French police learned that the nationalist Special Organization (OS) was responsible for the robbery of an Oran post office (1950). The OS was an offshoot of the party led by Messali Hadj which was the Movement for the Triumph of Democratic Liberties (MTLD). The robbery was organized by Ahmed Ben Bella who had been decorated for his World war II service with the Free French in Italy. The French tried Ferhat Abbas, a nationalist but non-violent politican, for a trivial offense (1952). He was was defended by three lawyers--one Muslim, one Christian, and one Jewish. Their defense effort was fundamental attack on French justice and served to convince more Algerians that efforts at a peaceful resolution was futile. Ahmed Mezerna, acting head of the MTLD, at this time personally appealed for Egyptiansupport. Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser had emerged as the leader of Arab Socialism and nationalist movement. Algerians were stirred by his passionate radio broadvasts. The head of the Association of Algerian Muslim Ulama (community) toured already independeny Arab countries and secured scholarships from those governments for Algerian students desiring to study in Arabic.

Front de Liberation Nationale--FLN (1954)

Algerian nationalists watched the unfolding de-colonization movement around the world. Thanks to French colonial rule and education system thre was a more sophisticated Algerian political elite in Algeria than in many of the colonies now moving toward independence. And they realized that their sitution was differet. The French viewed Algeria, not as a colony , but as aart of France. The French did not, howeve, view the aran majority as Frencmen or potential French citizens. This created a situation that was beyond apeaceful political sollution. Just as military operations in Viet Nam ended, another colonial war began to develop--in Algeria. Algerian nationalists formed the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) and launch a guerilla campaign (1950s) which led to a particularly brutal colonial war. The National Liberation Army (ALN), the military arm of the FLN launched guerrilla attacks on French military and communication posts. The operation was organized by a few young men who lost faith in Messali Hadj's leadership. They reached the opinion that Algeria's future could only be achieved through military action and open rebellion. They named their movement the National Liberation Front (FLN). They destributed a leaflet setting out their goal -- stating that their aim was the restoration of a sovereign Algerian state. They advocated social democracy within an Islamic framework and citizenship for any resident in Algeria, with the same rights and duties as all other citizens. Note that equal rights is not an Islamic concept, it wa more a Frebch concept. The Koran clearly specifically limits the rights of non-Muslims. Thus from the beginning theirwas a tension between Islam and the FLM leadership imbied with socialist and other Eyropean values. A preamble to the FLN leaflet further stated that Algeria had fallen behind the other Arab states in emancipating itself socially and nationally. This was not entirely true. It was true that Algeria was still a colony. But after a centyury of French rule, Algeria had a more sophisticated infrastructure a developed economy tham mny other Arab states. The FLN added that this could be resolved by a 'difficult and prolonged struggle'. As the French had a well armed professional military, the FLN recognized that their struggle would involve two campaigns: 1) guerrilla warfare in Algeria and 2) diplomatic activity abroad. The diplomatic effort would focus on the United Nations, where they would find support from the already independent Arab countries and other sympathetic states. Recognizing that the French Army could not be defeated in combat, their objective was to make the French administration of Algeria impossible. The tactics would be surprise raids, ambushes, and sabotage as well as attacks on civilians supporting the French. To combat the FLN, the French deployed 0.5 million combat troops to Algeria. They called on all Muslims to join their struggle. This was not an Islamist insurgency. The FLN leaders were Arab Socialists, many od which who looked on the Algerian Muslim population as backward. They thought that socialism not Islam was Algeria's future. But to gain power, it was the Muslim majority that would have to fight the war to expel the French.

Initial Military Campign (1954-56)

The FLN after months of preparation struck at night (October 31, 1954). A particularly vicious military campaign insued. The French were unsure how to fight the FLN revolt. They were well informd about Algerin politicans such as the MTLD working thriugh the political process. They knew little about the young FLN leaders who launched the revolt. The FLN struck in the Batna and Aur�s regions. It was largely ineffective. Th French responded by arresting some 2,000 MTLD activists who were not involved in the revolt and in factor favored a politucal sollution. As a result, the French reponse only stoked support for the FLN. The French Governmrnt appointed Jacques Soustelle governor-general (mid-February 1955). He quickly announced a new plan to meet Algerian aspirations (June). It proved inadequate, but by this time any compromise acceotable to the French could probably not have appeased the Algerians. The FLN rapidly establish a presence in Algeria beginning with isolate areas where there was no French security presence. They began collecting money for their campaign and taking reprisals against fellow Algerians who were connected with the French or who would not cooperate with them. The FLN quickly won over most of the previously uncommitted politicians (May). Ferhat Abbas and Tawfiq al-Madani, of the Association of Algerian Muslim Ulama, joined with FLN leaders in Cairo. The French dispatched an army of 0.5 million to counter the collapse of control in large areas of the country. Another outbreak of violence occurred at A�n Abid and at the mine of Al-Alia near Philippeville (Skikda) (August 20). The action degenerated into a massacre of Europeans. The outraged French responded with the summary executions of Algerians. An election in France gave power to the Republican Front (January 1956). While the French comtrolled the cities, the FLN now had effective control of large areas of the countryside. The new primier, Guy Mollet, appointed a moderate military man, Gen. Georges Catroux as governor-general. When Mollet visited Algiers, to prepare for his new office, the French and other Europeans protested his arrival and pelted him with tomatoes. Stung by this action, he allowed the experienced resident minister, Gen. Georges Catroux, to resign. He named Socialist Robert Lacoste to replace him. Lacoste for public relations purposes, described his policy as 'pacification' which meant a police and military campaign of forcible suppression.

Morocco and Tunisia (1956)

Algeria was located between two other French controlled areas, Morocco and Tunisia. Neither had, however, been extensively colonized by French settlers. The French Government decided to grant full independence to both territories so that it could focus its resources on maintaing control of Algeria. The leaders of the two newly independent country, Moroccan Sultan Mohammed V and Tunisian Premier Habib Bourguiba both desired to promote a non-violent solution to the escalating war in Algeria. They prepared to hold a meeting in Tunis with the five important Algerian leaders who had been refuge in by the Sultan in Rabat. French intelligence learned of the meeting and diverted the plane chartered by the Moroccan government to fly the Algerians to Tunis and forced it to land in Algiers. The French arrested the Algerian leaders wand inpriosned then in France where they would soend the next 6 years. The act provoked a riot in Mekn�s, Moroco in which 40 French settlers were murdered. And it failed to supressthe violence in Algeria. If anything it enflamed the situation.

Escalating Fighting (1957-58)

The FLN rebels werevnot detered by the arrest of their leaders. They intensified their campaign of gaining control of the countryside and paralyze the administration of Algiers and other cities through terrorist attacks. The effort in lgiers was largely defeated by tough French paratroopers who used torture to extract information from prisoners to break RLN cells. The French then moved to isolate Algeria from independent Tunisia and Morocco by laying patrolled barbed wire fence barrierss, illuminated at night by searchlights. This effectively cut off resistance groups within Algeria from some 30,000 FLN forces occupying the area between the barrier fences and the actual frontiers of Tunisia and Morocco from which they obtained supplies. These FLN forces enjoyed the support of a fraternal Arab people and friendly Arab governments that provided a base. They could, however, not penetrate the French barrier to supply FLN resistance groups within Algeria itself. All they could do was harass the French barrier forces. Provoked by the FLN harrasing probes, the French Air Force bombed the Tunisian frontier village of Saqiyat Sidi Yusuf that the FLN ws using to supply its forces (February 1958). Civilians were killed as part of the raid, including school children. This caused a furor in Tunisia which although indpendent still had French troops station there.

Diplomatic Moves (1958)

An Anglo-American mediation mission helped negotiated the withdrawal of the remining French troops from various posts thrughout Tunisia. They were concentrated in the naval base of Bizerte (Banzart). On the arab side, the Maghrib Unity Congress was held in Tangier (April 27-30). Itwas organized through by the Moroccan and Tunisian nationalist parties and the Algerian FLN. The Congress recommended the establishment of an Algerian government in exile and of a permanent secretariat to promote Maghrib unity. The idea of Maghrib made little origress but the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA) was established (September 19).

French Settlers

France was prepared to compromise in Tunisia and Morocco. Algeria was another matter. One facet of the Algerian Independence struggle was the 1 million French colonists. Large numbers of Frenchmen had setteled in Algeria -- the so called 'pier noir'. France thus saw Algeria as an integral part of the country. The Algerian Warhad, however, began tochange French attitudes with more and more French people comong to accept Algerian independence. The French settlers in Algeria were adamently opposed to independence. Further complicating the situation was the growing feeling that political leaders had sold them out, both in 1940 and again in 1953. They saw this about to happen again. There were protests and demonstrations througout the independence war. A typical settler rising turned into a major incident. Thousands of French and other Europen settllers ransacked the offices of the Governor-general in Algiers (May 13, 1958). With the tacit approval of army officers, they demanded the integration of Algeria with France and the return of Gen. DeGaulle to power. The Algerians were at first surprised. But soon pres reports suggest a basically friendly mixing of Muslim demonstrators with the Europeans. Many began to hope fora peacful resolution. Given the different goals involved, it is aittle difficult to understand. But of course there was aevel of mixing of the two communities in Algieria and the lrger cities that was not representative of Algeria as a whole. The rising caused a crisis in France, split on the issue. France was veeering toward civil war. As a result, Gen. DeGaulle returned to power.

May Crisis (1958)

The FLN executed three French prisoners in retaliation for the French execution of three Algerians. The resulting outcry in France led members of the National Assembly to pass a vote of "no confidence" in the government. Pieds-noirs, angered by the French government�s failure to suppress the Algerian revolution, stormed the offices of the French governor-general in Algiers in what became known as the May Crisis (May 1958). The May 1958 crisis sometimes called the Algiers putsch was the most dangerous a political crisis in France during the post-World war II era. It occured as a result of the turmoil associated with the Algerian War of Independence. It began as a coup attempt led at Algiers (May 13). It was carried out by a coalition headed by Algiers deputy and reserve airborne officer Pierre Lagaillarde, French Generals Raoul Salan, Edmond Jouhaud, Jean Gracieux, and Jacques Massu, and by Admiral Philippe Auboyneau, commander of the French Mediterranean fleet. The coup was supported by former Algerian Governor General Jacques Soustelle and his supporters. It raised the very real possibility of a French civil war. The goal of the coup was to oppose the formation of Pierre Pflimlin's new government and to impose a change of policies to support the right-wing partisans of a French Algeria. The crisis propelled the return of Gen. DeGaulle to power after a 12-year absence. It would set in motion events which would lead to Algerian independence the creation of the Fifth Republic. The leaders of the various political parties were unable to form a coalition to choose a new prime minister and cabinet. The National Assembly finally invited World war II hero General Charles De Gaulle to come out of retirement and form a new government (May 29, 1958). He agreed, but only after receiving a commitment that the National Assembly would adopt a new constitution that increased the power of the French president. The new constitution marked the creation of thr Fifth Republic.

Gen. DeGualle Returns (1958)

mmeditely upon returning to power, DeGaulle flew to Algiers. He was received with enormous enthusiam. The Frenh settlers assumed that he was on their side. He offered no real indication, however, that he shared the settlers' enthusiasm for integration of Ageriath France. The settlers with some accuracy saw that the submergence of the native Algerians in an enlarged France was their only hope of keeping their land and remaining in Algeria. All Agerians by this time were now granted the full rights of French citizenship. DeGaulle speaking in Constantine nnounced a plan to provide adequate schools and medical services for the Algerian Muslim population (October 30). He also committed to creating jobs for the rapidly increasing Muslim populatin and to introduce Muslims into the senior posts in the civil servive. Had this occurred, Feance today would be close to becoming a majority Muslim country. This was not, however, what the FLN and an inreasing number of Algerian Muslims wanted. They wanted independence, believing that independence with slam and socialism would automatically privide the kind of prosperous lives enjoyed by France and other European countries. He issued a promise of independence to the Algerians, but continued to send troops to maintain order.

New Constitution (1958)

Gen deGaulle had enormous prestige as France's World War II hero as was widely seen as a national savior. Nationalists and settlers assumed that he was on their side. It seemed inconceivable that an old soldier and arch nationalist like the General would ever relinquish control over what many thought as French territory. He had not, however, made any piblic pronouncemnts on Algeria. As the crisis unfolded, the nationlists and settlers felt let down and lied to. Most French citizens were were primarily concerned with holding their country together. The new Fifth Republic constitution had to be ratified by a vote in each of France's colonies. Algeria was considered as an integral part of France, not a colony. Thus its votes were counted with those cast in France. The French supported the new constitution by a large margin. Thus dissenting votes in Algeria had no effect. One French colony did vote no -- French Guinea. It became independent in 1958, beginning the process for other French African colonies to become independent (1960). Once the new Consitution was ratifid, DeGaulle began to act. His first move was to purged the French Army of disloyal commanders (fall 1958). He then offered a peace to the FLN based on 1956 legislation. This was the loi-cadre which involved the creation of local governments within the French Empire. The FLN rejected the offer and responded by formed a provisional government-in-exile. They set up in in Cairo (September 1958).

FLN and French Campaigns (1958-59)

The FLN continued the War both within and outside of Algeria. They staged terror attacks in France and began killing Muslims associated with the French in Algeria. The French Morice Line effectively prevented supplies from reaching thev FLN fighters in Algeria. This divided interior and exterior rebels in Tunisia amd Mprocco. Supplies began to ran short within Algeria itself. Regional intrior commanders began to quarel. Some accused their comrads of selling out to the French. French operations had some affect in attacking FLN forces and cells. Algerians begn to seek refufe in Morocco and Tunisia. The external FLN forces became to out number the intetoior forces. The exterior commanders became influential influentil in the National Council of the Algerian Revolution (CNRA). After the preliminary negotiations failed, the French launched what would prive to be the final effort to win the war -- the Challe offensive (1959). The French adopted new tactics, including helicopters to pursue the FLN units into previously inaccessable mountain hideouts. They also attempted to provide social reforms and services to win the 'hearts and minds' of Muslim Algerians. It is unclear that this could have ever worked. Nationalism and religion are powerful forces. Relocation actions to forcibly remove civilians from combat areas permanenyly disaffected many Algerians. The rough treatment if civilians and the use of torture also alienated many. The French offensive failed to destroy the FLN. He announced that France would accept a political solution to the war based on Algerian self-determination; i.e. Algerians could choose in a referendum whether or not to become independent.

De Gualle's Sollution (1959)

Gen. DeGaulle finally admitted that the War could not be won. He became coninced that French control of Algeria was untenable. He pubically stated that 'self-determination' for Algeria was unavoidable (Septenber 1959). The pied-noir were aghast. The FLN was unsure about de Gaulle�s declaration and wary of dealing with him. The FLN aware of the opening of the United Nations General Assembly, declared publicly for the first time that the Algerians had the right to determine their own future. From ths point, it gradually became clear that deGualle was prepared to grant independence if that was the only way of ending the War. The French and other Europeans settlers were shocked. This was not what the French in Algeria had expected from deGualle. Protests in Algeria becan to destabalize the colony. DeGaulle proceeded to offer the Algerians three options in a referendum: 1) Integration with France, 2) Association with France with independence, or 3) Full independence. Because of the serious resistanace by the colonists, a lot of wheeler dealing was done with the Algerian Provisional Goverment. As the FLN had assasinated or otherwise silenced Muslims cooperating with the French, a vote for indepence was virtally assured. The French settlers felt betrayd. There were important nationalist elements within the French military that were equally outraged. They included General Massu, the ranking French military officer in Algeria. After he publically criticized Gen. de Gaulle, he was relived of command nd recalled back to France. It is at this point that the French settlers began a revolt of their own (January 1960) before the deGualle's peace plan could go into effect. De Gaulle rallied French public opinion to support his peace plan. He gave a televised speech accusing the French settlers of prolonging a '100 Years War' that hurt France's international reputation with the continuing ccounts of military atrocities. A group of 121 French celebrities signed a public statement urging French soldiers to disobey their officers in Algeria and support the peace effort meaning independence. While all this was going on more than a dozen French African colonies declared independence.

International Condemnation

French conduct was condemned by the United Nations and by U.S. President John F. Kennedy after he was inngurated (1961). The criticim was largely one way directed at the French despite the terrorism tactics and the attacks on civilans by the FLN. the line of reasoning seems to have neen that killing by groups seeking national liberation are justfied and killing bu colomial powers merit condemnatuion. Now in the case of Algeria this made some sense as French colonial policy had been to take land out of Algerian hands and to promote French culture and to undermine Arab culture. But in terms of killing, both sides were involved in attricuoes against ciilains and torture of civilians. In the end, the Algerians got what they wanted--Islam and socialism along with autocracy. Socialism proved a disater for Algeria and despite the discovery of imprtant oil resources, the country has failed to develop a productive econnoy. And eventuall took on the secular Government and terible atricities have resulted from an even more vicious terror campaign than launched by the FLN. And which is rarely reported in the international press. And neither side, the secularists and the Islamists have shown any interest in wither caotalism or democracy, the two hallmarks of a modrn prosperous country.

Organisation L'Armiee Secrete --OAS (January 1961)

The French generals suppoting the settlers meanwhile met in Spain to secretly organized an opposition group--the Organisation L'Armiee Secrete (Secret Army Organization--OAS) which fought both the French Army and the FLN. The organiers included Pierre Lagaillarde (who oversaw the 1960 Siege of Algiers), General Raoul Salan (who took part in the 1961 Algiers coups--the Generals' Uprising, and Jean-Jacques Susini. Other members of the French Army, including Yves Gu�rin-S�rac, and former members of the French Foreign Legion from the First Indochina War (1946�54). OAS-M�tro (the unit in metropolitan France was headed by captain Pierre Sergent. The OAS orchestrated acts of terrorism on mainland polital targets. The OAS adopted the FLN terrorist tactics used by the rebels and began hitting targets in France itself. They also targeted Mulims, but onten hit moderate Muslims as the FLN were already in hiding. The peace agreemet caused an outburst of OAS terrorism and attempted resistance. The terorist attacks soon declined as it became clear that it was all futile.

Violence (1960-61)

French settlers seeing the direction DeGualle was headed launched a revolt. After 9 days it coapsed, failing to gain military support (Janury 24, 1960). Another settler revolt occured the following year as it became clear that the Frebch Government was going to negotiate with the FLN provisional government (GPRA). This revolt was organized by four generals--the General' Putch (april 1961). They hoped that it was still possible to preserve Alg�rie fran�aise, and attempt to overthrow de Gaulle. Two of thecgenerals -- Raoul Salan and Maurice Challe -- had been commanders in chief in Algeria. De Gaulle refused to compromise. And the revolt, failing to gain any backing from the army, collapsed, this time after only 3 days. French officials opened negotiations in France with the GPRA (May 1961). The GPRA was the group recognized by the Arab and communist states. They were providing aid to forces controlled by the GPRA in Tunisia and Morocco. The French security aparatus, however, had prevented it from establishing a base in Algeria. Negotiations were broken off after which the moderate Ferhat Abbas was replaced as premier by the much younger and more radical Ben Youssef Ben Khedda (July). The GPRA agreed to resume negotitions (March 8, 1962). Agrement was quickly reached (March 18). France agreed to independence with the sole proviso that a referendum, to be held in Algeria by a provisional government, confirmed that this was what the Algerian people desired. The French agreed to continue aid even if the Algerians opted for indepedence. Europeans were given the option of departing, remaining as foreigners, or take Algerian citizenship, as they desired. The safety of those Algerians who had supported France was guranteed.

Negotiations (1961-62)

The first round of negotiations between the French government and the FLN began in Evian (May 1961). It does not prove productive. DeGualle's plan was to basically to end the Algerian War by negotiation and referendum. The first referendum on the future relationship between the two countries was held in France and Algeria (January 1961). Self-determination was approved by 75 percent of the voters in France and 70 percent in Algeria. We are not sure just who was voting in Algeria, but clearly the French peoplw wanted to end the crisis and were willing to allow the Algerians to decide their future. The Government reported a very high voter turnout. This meant independence and there was no real doubt about how the Algerians would vote. The 1961 referebdum ked to a second round of talks in Evian. After a year of negotiation, the �vian Accords were signed (March 18, 1962) in �vian-les-Bains. The signatories were the Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic -- the government-in-exile of FLN. he Accords ended the 1954�1962 Algerian War, France and the FLN announced a formal ceasefire (March 19). The Accords included the idea of cooperative exchange between the two countries, but the radical nature of the FLN Government soon made this moot. Despairing pieds-noirs in the Organisation de l�Arm�e Secr�te (OAS) mount terrorist attacks against civilians, both Muslim and French (March 1962). The FLN and the OAS ultimately conclude a truce. A second referendum was held in France (April 8). This time over 90 percent of French voters approved clearing the way for independence. .

Independence (July 1962)

After the �vian Accords and cease fire (match 1961), the OAS unleashed a savage new terror campaign. The OAS hoped to provoke the FLN into a major breach in the ceasefire. Targets included both Muslim Algerians and the French Army and police enforcing the accords. It proved to be the most bloody period of the War. The OAS attacks caused incoherent carnage. OAS agents set off some 20 bombs daily in March. The attacks included soft targets like hospitals and schools. Algeria held the referendum agreed to under the �vian Accords (July 1, 1962). The recorded vote was some 6 million for independence and only 16,000 opposed. We are not sure how accurate he count was, but there is no doubt that the great bulk of the Algerian people opted for indeendence. More certainly were opposed, but had either left or were in hising. The announced results resulted in 3 days of jubilent clebratiins by Algerian Muslims. The GPRA entered Algiers to tte triumphant aclaim of the city. France as promised granted idepndence and recognized the GPRA. The Europeans departed en mass. Some 0.9 million French settlers returning to France. De Gaulle proved very tough. His prestige overted civil war.The pied-noirs fled in masse to France. Some 1.4 million refugees, including almost the Jewish community, joined the exodus to France. Algeria formally declared independence (July 5). French military forces as allowed under the �vian Accords did not completely leave for some time. The last French forces departed thenaval base at Mers El K�bir (1967). France was finally separated from Algeria and the Algerians had Alg�rie alg�rienne. Independence was one thing, prosperity would prove a different matter. Most Algerians believed that independence would automtically bring prosperoty. The FLN ledership was convinced that socialism was the key to the future. Both would be sorely disappointed.

French Exodus

Substantial numbers of Algrians worked with the French, including the securuty forces. The vast majority of the 0.9 million French and other Europeans in Algeria, the Pieds-Noirs, realizing what was to come, fled to France (1962-64). This began only a few months before the French Army was repatriated. The GPRA made no effort to hinder their departure or to attack them. And the French Army was still in place to protect them. The French Government for some unknown reason was unprepared for the huge number of refugees. This created turmoil in France. The Algerian Muslims who had worked for the French, including many in the security servies, were another matter. The French proceeded to disarm them. They were not offered repatriation to France. France did secure a guarantee from th GPRA for their safety. The GPRA pledged that no actions would be taken against them. The Harkis (Muslim auxilery soldiers) with the French Army, were regarded as traitors by the FLN. The guarantees offered by the GPRA proved meaningless. After they were disarmed some 50,000-150,000 Harkis as well as their families were slaughtered by the FLN or vengeful Muslim mobs. There were many abductions in which the Harkis soldiers were tortured before being killed. This slaughter began even before the French military left. Some 90,000 Harkis managed to reach France illegally. Many were smuggled in by sympathetic French officers who ignored orders not to assist them. Their descendents today are a substantial part of the Algerian-French population. It is notable how poorly they have assimilated into the French population. Many young people are very critical of the French and are being radicalized by Islamists. Most Jews in algeria had French citiuzenship and left with the Pieds-Noirs, most in 1962.

Independent Algeria: FLN Era (1961-91)

A Provisional Executive was installed at �Rocher Noir� (Boum�rdes) (April 1962). The Provisional Government administere a referendum on self-determination (July 1, 1962). The Provisional Government announced that 99.7 percent voted in favor of independence. That is a very high vote, but most of the French and Algerians associated with the French had left Algeria or were in the process of leaving. The Provisional Government immediately proclaimed the country's independence (July 5, 1962). The country held an election for the first constituent assembly (September 20). The People�s Democratic Republic of Algeria was proclaimed (September 25). The new Constitution was released (September 29). Algeria was admitted to the United Nations (October 8). A referendum approved the new constitution (May 8, 1963). Independence leader Ahmed Ben Bella was elected lgeria's first president (September 15, 1963). The FLN Third Congress adopted the Charter of Algiers (April 1964). The new Government created the Council of the Revolution which was presided over by Houari Boumediene (June 19, 1965). The FLN Government like many other newly independent governments embraced socialism. An early step was the nationalization of mines (May 7, 1966). The FLN for a time developed close relations with the Soviets. The FLN adopted a range of Soviet inspired economic policies which proved to be economic disasters. The bright hope of independence gradually was lost in wide-spread poverty and economic decline. The first local elections were conducted (February 5, 1967). This included APC (boroughs) and APW (Departments). The French military completed their exit from Algeria. The French left their bases of Reggane and Bechar (May 1967). The French departed from their big bases at Mers El-kebir near Oran (February 1, 1968). This was where the British Royal Navy attacked the Fench fleet during World war II. The Algerian Government nationalized the hydrocarbon industry (February 24 1971). The assumption was that it would increase state revenue, The result was a moribund industry that opperated ineficently.


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Created: 5:52 AM 8/26/2010
Last updated: 6:58 AM 3/2/2017