The Algerian War of Independence 1954–62


Map Code: Ax02354

Algeria was classified as part of the French state, with (from 1947) French citizenship available to all of its subjects. Suppression of non-violent political movements seeking independence led to the formation of the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) which, emboldened by French defeat in Indochina, launched Toussaint Rouge, a coordinated series of attacks against French military and civilian targets, on 1 November 1954. Early operations focused on isolated farms or settlements of Pieds-Noirs (European settlers) but in 1955, the massacre of 123 in the town of Phillippeville inspired a brutal counterinsurgency. Thousands of Algerians were killed by government forces and settler militias, intensifying FLN grassroots support. The FLN eliminated the rival communist Mouvement National Algérien in 1956 and carried guerrilla warfare into the streets of the colonial capital in the Battle of Algiers (1956–57). Mounting casualties forced President De Gaulle to negotiate: a referendum in April 1962 paved the way to independence.

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