Algeria: France's Undeclared War

Algeria: France's Undeclared War

by Martin Evans
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press


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Algeria: France's Undeclared War

Invaded in 1830, populated by one million settlers who co-existed uneasily with nine million Arabs and Berbers , Algeria was different from other French colonies because it was administered as an integral part of France, in theory no different from Normandy or Brittany. The depth and scale of the colonization process explains why the Algerian War of 1954 to 1962 was one of the longest and most violent of the decolonization struggles.

An undeclared war in the sense that there was no formal beginning of hostilities, the war produced huge tensions that brought down four governments, ended the Fourth Republic in 1958, and mired the French army in accusations of torture and mass human rights abuses. In carefully re-examining the origins and consequences of the conflict, Martin Evans argues that it was the Socialist led Republican Front, in power from January 1956 until May 1957, which was the defining moment in the war. Predicated on the belief in the universal civilizing mission of the Fourth Republic, coupled with the conviction that Algerian nationalism was feudal and religiously fanatical in character, the Republican Front dramatically intensified the war in the spring of 1956.

Drawing upon previously classified archival sources as well as new oral testimonies, this book underlines the conflict of values between the Republican Front and Algerian nationalism, explaining how this clash produced patterns of thought and action, such as the institutionalization of torture and the raising of pro-French Muslim militias, which tragically polarized choices and framed all subsequent stages of the conflict.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780192803504
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 01/13/2012
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Martin Evans is Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Portsmouth. He is the author of Memory of Resistance: French Opposition to the Algerian War, co-author (with Emmanuel Godin) of France 1815 to 2003, and co-author (with John Phillips) of Algeria: Anger of the Dispossessed. In 2008 Memory of Resistance was translated into French and serialised in the Algerian press. He has written for the Independent, the Times Higher Education Supplement, BBC History Magazine and the Guardian, and is a regular contributor to History Today. In 2007-08 he was a Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow at the British Academy.

Table of Contents

Introduction: the Battle of Algiers
Part I: Origins
1. The Long Hatreds 1830 - 1945
2. Sliding into Conflict 1946 - 1954
Part II: War
3. 'Algeria is France' 1954 - 1956
4. Guy Mollet's War 1956 - 1957
5. From the Battle of Algiers to return of de Gaulle 1957 - 1958
6. War Amongst the People
7. Political Denouement 1959-1962
Part III: Consequences
8. Bloody End 1962
9. Contested Legacy 1962-2008

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