Algerian War 1954-1962
In Algeria, civil war fought between Christian-dominated and Muslim-dominated groups over the status of Algeria 1954-1962, period of 7 and a half years.
The indigenous Jewish population joined the Christian side.
The war is often called "Algerian War of Independence", a reflection of the idea that the Christian Europeans had no right to live in the country where they were born; this therefore is a racist term for the war. "Algerian War 1954-1962" or "Algerian Civil War 1954-1962" are neutral and adequate terms.
The more than 7 years of war was dominated by guerilla strikes, terror attacks, and fights between the active armies.
While the war militarily was won by the French/Christian side, the same side lost the diplomatic and propaganda war. Forces within France, as well as internationally, sided with the Muslims, eventually making it politically impossible for France to keep Algeria as part of its territory.
On the Muslim-led side, there were two main groups, FLN (and its armed wing, ALN) and MNA.
Much of the fighting occurred in the mountains in the north, largely in the Kabylia and Aurès Mountains. The number of people killed has been much a matter of propaganda, and the official Algerian figures of 1 million deaths are highly inflated. Between 350,000 and 400,000 appear to be correct figures. Of these some 150,000 of the Muslim armies and 22,000 of the French army and its assisting groups.
Southern regions, the Sahara, was little involved in the fighting.
Leading up to the war
1945 May: Massacre by the Christian authorities on Muslims in Setif. The retaliation of 100 Christians killed was between 8,000 and 40,000 Muslims killed.
1949: A terror attack is performed in Oran by the OS, the Secret Organization.
1954 October 24: A warning is issued by Algerian Muslim nationalists to the French warning about forthcoming attacks.
October 31: FLN begins distributing leaflets claiming a "sovereign Algerian state", a democratic Muslim state, yet one in which all inhabitants of the country have equal rights.
November 1: During the Christian holiday All Saints’ Day, groups allied with OS (Special Organization) and CRUA (Revolutionary Council for Unity and Action) attack French interests at 70 spots around Algeria, blowing up bridges, factories and public buildings. At least 10 French are killed.
Military barracks at Batna are attacked, causing the first military victims of the war.
FLN and ALN are founded by members of the OS and CRUA, while in exile in Egypt.
2,000 members of the MTLD were arrested, although they had not favoured the rebellion.
The French parliament declares a state of emergency, first in the affected provinces. Later in the year, all of Algeria is declared a state of emergency.
France sends large troops to Algeria, and through the war, at most, 400,000 were stationed there.
The French soon copies the FLN strategy of terror and brutality.
1955 February: Jacques Soustelle becomes new governor-general.
June: Soustelle announces a new plan to obtain peace, but this would have no effect.
August: Muslim armed outbreak in Philippeville (now Skikda), killing around 123 Christians and and Muslims, including babies. The French army and Christian civilians responds with hard handed massacres killing between 1,200 and 4,000 Muslims.
1956 February: Robert Lacoste is appointed governor-general. He began ruling Algeria through decree, and gave the military exceptional powers. Still, he promoted decentralized administration with some autonomy.
The fights spread to the cities. The French are gaining ground.
August-September: The first FLN congress, in the Soummam Valley where Algeria is divided into 6 wilayas for guerilla fighting.
March: France gives independence to Morocco and Tunisia, in order to allow full attention being given to the situation in Algeria.
October 22: A plane from Morocco to Tunisia is hijacked by French intelligence officers, arresting the most central Algerian leaders.
September 30- June, 1957: Battle of Algiers, in which FLN and ALN orchestrates a large number of bomb attacks on the Christian population, aiming at paralyzing the administration of Algeria.
1957 March 20: Articles published in French L'Express on French brutality on the Algerian Muslim civilians.
French authorities start a grand program of relocation of Muslim civilians, in order to destroy the infrastructure behind FLN and ALN.
1958: Heavy pressure is put on the French government by French opposition and French settlers in Algeria to find a solution to the conflict.
February 8: France bombs a Tunisian village, killing 79 civilians. The attack meets strong international protests.
April: Reports come out telling about famine in Algeria.
April: The Maghrib Unity Congress at Tangier, Morocco makes way for an Algerian government in exile.
September 19: The Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic (GPRA) is established in Tunis, with FLN in the front seat. It is headed by Ferhat Abbas.
May 13: Christian uprising, the offices of the governor-general are attacked. The head military of Algeria, Raoul Salan, joins the uprising.
May 29: Facing the political crisis of France, De Gaulle is asked to form a new government in France, as there is a deep political crisis in the country.
June 4: De Gaulle visits Algiers, granting all Muslims the full rights of French citizenship.
October 30: During a visit to Constantine, de Gaulle promised good schools and medical services and the creation of new jobs for all the population of Algeria.
November: A French campaign against ALN strongholds in the mountains, effectively destroys much of the power of the guerilla units.
1959 September: Referendum, also in Algeria, over a new French constitution, in which 76% votes in favour.
September 16: De Gaulle surprises the Europeans of Algeria by declaring that he would allow Algeria to chose between independence or continued association with France.
1960 January 24: Uprising by the Christian population of Algiers. France would meet this with military invention.
February 1: Christian rebels of Algiers surrender.
December 3: The OAS (Organization of the Secret Army) is formed by retired officers, Pierre Lagaillarde, General Raoul Salan and Jean-Jacques Susini. It begins to employ random acts of terror in an effort to disrupt peace negotiations.
1961 January 8: 70% in Algeria, and 76% in France, vote for geographically restricted independence for Algeria.
May: Negotiations between representatives of the GPRA and France.
July: Negotiations were broken off in July, after which Abbas was replaced as premier by the much younger Youssef Ben Khedda.
September 8: Unsuccessful attempt on de Gaulle, staged by OAS.
1962 March 18: The Evian Accords. FLN, the French government, and the Algerian exile government, agree that independence is to be given to Algeria after a transitional period, after referendums in both Algeria and France. 100,000 French and about 1,000,000 Algerians are estimated to have been killed in the 8 years of fighting.
April 8: 91% vote in favour of Algerian independence. The French nationalists do not accept this, and continue with terror attacks.
April 20: The leader of the French nationalists, Raoul Salan, is arrested and transported to France.
May 1-8:Christian uprising, leading to the death of 200.
May 23: Raoul Salan is sentenced to imprisonment for life, although previously sentenced to death in absentia.
May 29: Secret negotiations between FLN and OAS leads to a cease fire.
July 1: 99,7% of Algerians vote for independence according to the Muslim demands, in elections boycotted by the Christians and Jews. 16,000 vote against independence.
July 3: Independence is proclaimed. Mass emigration of Europeans begins, and Algeria is left with a desperate lack of skilled labour.
August 3: FLN and the exile government GPRA join forces, and agree on arranging elections.
September 28: Ahmed Ben Bella forms the first government of Muslim independent Algeria.