Nobody won the conflict, nobody dominated it.
At the beginning of the war, on the Algerian side, it was necessary to compensate the military weakness with political and diplomatic struggle, in order to win the war. Indeed, the balance of power was asymmetric between France and the FLN so at this time, victory seemed difficult to achieve. The Algerian revolution began with the insurrection of November 1, when the FLN organized a series of attacks against the French army and military infrastructure, and published a statement calling on Algerians to get involved in the revolution.
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In the short term however, it had a limited impact: the events remained largely unreported, especially by the French press only two newspaper columns in Le Monde and one in l'Express , and the insurrection all but subsided. Furthermore, the FLN was weak militarily at the beginning of the war. It was created in , so its numbers were not numerous. The FLN was linked the ALN which was also underdeveloped: it included only 3, men who were badly equipped and badly trained.
Thus, they could not compete with the French army. In addition to that, there were conflicting divisions within the nationalist groups. As a consequence, the members of the FLN decided to develop a strategy to internationalize the conflict: as they were militarily weaker than France, they'd have appeal politically, diplomatically and internationally.
First, this political aspect would reinforce the legitimacy of the FLN in Algeria. Secondly, this strategy would be necessary all the more as Algeria had a special status compared to other colonised territories. Thus, the FLN tried to give an international aspect to the conflict to get support from abroad, but also to put a diplomatic pressure on the French government.
These objectives are in the statement of Thereby, the conflict rapidly became international thanks to the FLN which used the tensions due to the Cold War and the emergence of the Third World. First of all, the FLN used the tensions between the American and the Soviet blocs to serve its interests. Indeed, their objective was to be supported materially by the Eastern bloc so that the Western Bloc would react, and would ask for their independence because it was in the American interest that Algeria stayed on the western side. The USA couldn't openly tolerate colonisation.
But France was their ally, and they couldn't renounce this alliance. Nevertheless, it gave them a bad image abroad, and could encourage Algeria to join the eastern side. After World War II , many new states were created as a result of decolonization. In , there were 51 states in the UN , and in , they were Thus, the balance of power in the UN changed a lot, and the recently decolonized countries were now a majority, so they had huge capacities.
In addition to that, those new states were part of the Third-World movement. They went to be a third path the non-alignment in a bipolar world, they were against colonisation, and for modernization. As an example, in , a few days after the first insurrection, the radio in Yugoslavia Third-Worldist begun to make propaganda for the struggle of Algeria. Therefore, they were forced to accept more direct support from abroad, especially the financial and military support from China.
This helped them to rebuild the ALN with 20 men.
This meant that Algeria had official representatives, so the negotiations with the French government were facilitated. But these negotiations would eventually turn out to the better advantage of the Algerian than of the French government. On the contrary, France remained isolated, and under the pressure from the USA: France was eventually to give in. Algeria finally became independent with the Evian agreements and largely thanks to the internationalization of the conflict.
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According to Matthew Connelly , this strategy was then used as a model by other revolutionary groups such as the Palestine Liberation Organization of Yasser Arafat , and the African National Congress of Nelson Mandela. For the sake of clarity, each group's exodus is described separately here, although their fate shared many common elements.
Pied-noir literally "black foot" is a term used to name the European-descended population mostly Catholic , who had resided in Algeria for generations; it is sometimes used to include the indigenous Sephardi Jewish population as well, which likewise emigrated after Europeans arrived in Algeria as immigrants from all over the western Mediterranean particularly France, Spain, Italy and Malta , starting in The Maghrebi Jewish population was outnumbered by the Sephardic Jews, who were driven out of Spain in , and was further strengthened by Marrano refugees from the Spanish Inquisition through the 16th century.
In just a few months in , , of them fled, the first third prior to the referendum, in the largest relocation of population to Europe since the Second World War. A motto used in the FLN propaganda designating the pieds-noirs community was "Suitcase or coffin" " La valise ou le cercueil " — an expropriation of a term first coined years earlier by pied-noir "ultras" when rallying the European community to their hardcore line. The French government claimed not to have anticipated such a massive exodus; it estimated that a maximum of —, might enter metropolitan France temporarily.
Nothing was planned for their move to France, and many had to sleep in streets or abandoned farms on their arrival. A minority of departing pieds-noirs , including soldiers, destroyed their possessions before departure, to protest and as a desperate symbolic attempt to leave no trace of over a century of European presence, but the vast majority of their goods and houses were left intact and abandoned. A large number of panicked people camped for weeks on the docks of Algerian harbors, waiting for a space on a boat to France.
About , pieds-noirs chose to remain, but most of those gradually left in the s and s, primarily due to residual hostility against them, including machine-gunning of public places in Oran. The so-called Harkis , from the Algerian-Arabic dialect word harki soldier , were indigenous Muslim Algerians as opposed to European-descended Catholics or indigenous Algerian Mizrachi Sephardi Jews who fought as auxiliaries on the French side. The term also came to include civilian indigenous Algerians who supported a French Algeria.
According to French government figures, there were , Algerian Muslims serving in the French Army in four times more than in the FLN , either in regular units Spahis and Tirailleurs or as irregulars harkis and moghaznis. In , around 90, Harkis took refuge in France, despite French government policy against this. French historians estimate that somewhere between 50, and , Harkis and members of their families were killed by the FLN or by lynch mobs in Algeria, often in atrocious circumstances or after torture.
While it is difficult to enumerate the war's casualties, the FLN estimated in that nearly eight years of revolution effected 1. Some other French and Algerian sources later put the figure at approximately , dead, while French officials estimated it at , French military authorities listed their losses at nearly 25, dead 6, from non-combat-related causes and 65, wounded. European-descended civilian casualties exceeded 10, including 3, dead in 42, recorded violent incidents. According to French official figures during the war, the army, security forces and militias killed , presumed rebel combatants.
More than 12, Algerians died in internal FLN purges during the war.
French sources also estimated that 70, Muslim civilians were killed, or abducted and presumed killed, by the FLN. Martin Evans citing Gilert Meyinier imply at least 55, to up to 60, non-Harki Algerian civilians were killed during the conflict without specifying which side killed them. Horne estimated Algerian casualties during the span of eight years to be around , Uncounted thousands of Muslim civilians lost their lives in French Army ratissages, bombing raids, or vigilante reprisals.
In addition, large numbers of Harkis pro-French Muslims were murdered when the FLN settled accounts after independence,  : 13 with 30, to , killed in Algeria in post-war reprisals. After Algeria's independence was recognised, Ahmed Ben Bella quickly became more popular and thereby more powerful. In June , he challenged the leadership of Premier Benyoucef Ben Khedda ; this led to several disputes among his rivals in the FLN, which were quickly suppressed by Ben Bella's rapidly growing support, most notably within the armed forces.
By September, Bella was in de facto control of Algeria and was elected premier in a one-sided election on September 20, and was recognised by the U. Algeria was admitted as the th member of the United Nations on October 8, Afterward, Ben Bella declared that Algeria would follow a neutral course in world politics; within a week he met with U. President John F. Kennedy , requesting more aid for Algeria with Fidel Castro and expressed approval of Castro's demands for the abandonment of Guantanamo Bay.
Bella returned to Algeria and requested that France withdraw from its bases there.
In November, his government banned political parties, providing that the FLN would be the only party allowed to function overtly. Algeria remained stable, though in a one-party state , until a violent civil war broke out in the s. For Algerians of many political factions, the legacy of their War of Independence was a legitimization or even sanctification of the unrestricted use of force in achieving a goal deemed to be justified.
Once invoked against foreign colonialists, the same principle could also be turned with relative ease against fellow Algerians. The American journalist Adam Shatz wrote that much of the same methods employed by the FLN against the French such as "the militarization of politics, the use of Islam as a rallying cry, the exaltation of jihad" to create an essentially secular state in , were used by Islamic fundamentalists in their efforts to overthrow the FLN regime in the s. Torture was a frequent process in use from the beginning of the colonization of Algeria , which started in Claude Bourdet had denounced these acts on 6 December , in the magazine L'Observateur , rhetorically asking, "Is there a Gestapo in Algeria?
Huf, in his seminal work on the subject, argued that the use of torture was one of the major factors in developing French opposition to the war. The French national psyche would not tolerate any parallels between their experiences of occupation and their colonial mastery of Algeria. In June , Bigeard declared that he was based in Sidi Ferruch , a torture center where Algerians were murdered.
Bigeard qualified Louisette Ighilahriz 's revelations, published in the Le Monde newspaper on June 20, , as "lies. In France officially admitted that torture was systematic and routine. Specializing in ambushes and night raids to avoid direct contact with superior French firepower, the internal forces targeted army patrols, military encampments, police posts, and colonial farms, mines, and factories, as well as transportation and communications facilities.
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Kidnapping was commonplace, as was the murder and mutilation of civilians. Throat slitting and decapitation were commonly used by the FLN as mechanisms of terror. Counter-insurgency tactics developed during the war were used elsewhere afterwards, including the Argentinian Dirty War in the s.
In a book, journalist Marie-Monique Robin alleges that French secret agents taught Argentine intelligence agents counter-insurgency tactics, including the systemic use of torture, block-warden system, and other techniques, all of which were employed during the Battle of Algiers. The Battle of Algiers film includes the documentation. In France, the war was known as " la guerre sans nom " "the war without a name" while it was being fought as the government variously described the war as the "Algerian events", the "Algerian problem" and the "Algerian dispute"; the mission of the French Army was "ensuring security", "maintaining order" and "pacification", but was never described as fighting a war; while the FLN were referred to as "criminals", "bandits", "outlaws", "terrorists" and " fellagha " a derogatory Arabic word meaning "road-cutters", but which was popularly mistranslated as "throat-cutters"-a reference to the FLN"s favorite method of execution, namely making people wear the "Kabylian smile" by cutting their throats, pulling their tongues out and leaving them to bleed to death.
As the war was officially a "police action", for decades no monuments were built to honor the about 25, French soldiers killed in the war while the Defense Ministry refused to classify veterans as veterans until the s. In , the British historian Alistair Horne published A Savage War of Peace , which is generally regarded as the leading book written on the subject in English, though written from a French perspective rather the Algerian.
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