20. French Algeria (1937-1962)

 

Crisis Phase (March 11, 1937-October 31, 1954):  The Algerian People’s Party (Parti du Peuple Algerien-PPA) was established by Algerian nationalists, including Messali Hadj, on March 11, 1937.  French government troops clashed with Algerian nationalists in Setif and Guelma beginning on May 6, 1945, resulting in the deaths of 103 Europeans and several thousand Algerians (estimates range from 6,000 to 45,000). The French government granted French citizenship to Algerians, and established an Algerian assembly on September 1, 1947. Algerian nationalists led by Mohammed Ben Bella established the National Liberation Front (Font de Liberation Nationale – FLN) in March 1954.  Several thousand individuals were killed during the crisis.

Conflict Phase (November 1, 1954-March 18, 1962): The National Liberation Army (ALN) began an armed rebellion against the French government on November 1, 1954. France responded by deploying 400,000 soldiers to French Algeria. Egypt and Yugoslavia provided military assistance to the FLN/ALN. The League of Arab States (LAS) expressed support for Algerian independence on March 29, 1956. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Algiers on May 16-22, 1956, resulting in the deaths of 24 government soldiers and 67 rebels. Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru of India appealed for a ceasefire on May 22, 1956. Prime Minister Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia expressed support for the independence of Algeria on May 30, 1956. Tunisia appealed for assistance to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in May 1957. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Tebessa on November 4, 1957, resulting in the deaths of 45 rebels. Algerian rebels killed nine French government soldiers near Relizane and Tiaret on November 13, 1957. President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia and King Mohammed V of Morocco offered to facilitate negotiations between the parties on November 21, 1957, and France rejected the good offices offer on November 22, 1957. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Algiers on November 29-30, 1957, resulting in the deaths of 41 rebels. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Souk-Ahras on December 1, 1957, resulting in the deaths of 48 rebels. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Guelma on December 10, 1957, resulting in the deaths of 75 rebels. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) appealed for assistance for Algerian refugees in Tunisia and Morocco on December 12, 1957. China provided military assistance to the FLN/ALN from 1958 to 1962. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Tebessa and Ain-Beida on January 4-10, 1958, resulting in the deaths of 197 rebels. Algerian rebels killed 28 French government soldiers near Orleansville on January 16, 1958. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed in the Guelma area on January 27-February 5, 1958, resulting in the deaths of 221 rebels. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Khenchela and Aumale on February 9-13, 1958, resulting in the deaths of 64 rebels and 15 government soldiers. Algerian rebels killed 12 French government soldiers near Medea on February 13, 1958. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Blida, Batna, and Akbou on February 21-23, 1958, resulting in the deaths of 46 government soldiers and 74 rebels. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Tablat, Tenes, and Miliana on February 24-26, 1958, resulting in the deaths of 45 rebels and 44 government soldiers. The ICRC disbanded its mission in Tunisia and Morocco on March 15, 1958. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Duvivier on March 18, 1958, resulting in the deaths of 122 rebels and 25 government soldiers. Ethiopia, Ghana, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Republic expressed support for Algerian rebels on April 22, 1958. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near Souk-Ahras on April 28-May 3, 1958, resulting in the deaths of 436 rebels and 38 government soldiers. Algerian nationalists announced the establishment of a provisional government headed by Ferhat Abbas on September 19, 1958. The UNHCR established a mission to provide humanitarian assistance to Algerian refugees in Tunisia and Morocco on February 1, 1959. Some 30,000 French government troops launched a military offensive against Algerian rebels east of Algiers on July 22, 1959. Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, Tunisia, and the United Arab Republic appealed for the withdrawal of French government troops from Algeria, and demanded peaceful negotiations between the parties on August 8, 1959. The American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Lutheran World Federation (LWF), and World Council of Churches (WCC), established missions to provide humanitarian assistance to Algerian refugees in 1959. French government and Algerian nationalist representatives held negotiations beginning on June 25, 1960. French and Algerian voters approved a Algerian reform and self-determination proposal in a referendum on January 6-8, 1961. Some 31 individuals were killed in political violence in Guelma, Mila, Aflou, Trezel, Tiaret, Sidi-Bel-Abbes, and Boufarik on January 6-9, 1961. The LAS agreed to provide military assistance to FLN/ALN rebels on February 1, 1961. French and FLN/ALN representatives held negotiations in Evian-les-Bains on May 20-June 13, 1961. French troops and Moslem demonstrators clashed in Algiers and other cities on July 1-5, 1961, resulting in the deaths of 98 Moslems and five government soldiers. Cuba covertly provided military assistance (weapons) in support of FLN/ALN rebels beginning in 1961. French and FLN/ALN representatives held negotiations in Les Rousses on February 11-19, 1962. French government troops and Algerian rebels clashed near the Algerian-Tunisian border on March 6-10, 1962, resulting in the deaths of 75 rebels and six government troops. French government and FLN/ALN representatives signed the Treaty of Evian on March 18, 1962, which provided for a permanent cessation of military hostilities. Some 260,000 individuals, including 17,500 French government soldiers and 141,000 FLN/ALN rebels, were killed during the conflict. Some 200,000 Algerians fled as refugees to Tunisia and Morocco during the conflict.

Post-Conflict Phase (March 19, 1962-July 3, 1962): French rebels led by Raoul Salan ignored the ceasefire agreement, and continued terrorists attacks against Algerian and French governent targets between March 23 and June 30, 1962. The UNHCR provided repatriation assistance to some 180,000 Algerian refugees in Tunisia and Morocco between May and July 25, 1962. Algerians voted overwhelmingly for independence in a referendum on July 1, 1962, and France formally granted independence to Algeria on July 3, 1962. The UNHCR disbanded its mission on July 31, 1962.

[Sources: Bercovitch and Jackson, 1997, 78-79; Butterworth, 1976, 187-190; Clodfelter, 1992, 992-997; Copper and Papp, 1983, 119; Facts on File, May 16-22, 1956, November 28-December 4, 1957, July 23-29, 1959, January 1-11, 1961, August 10-16, 1961, March 15-21, 1962, August 2-8, 1962; Holborn, 1975, 1005-1031; Keesing’s Record of World Events, December 20-31, 1958; Langer, 1972, 1289-1291; Middle East Journal (MEJ), Summer 1956; O’Ballance, 1967, 26-69, 186-201; Tillema, 1991, 133-135; Weisburd, 1997, 74-75.]