Pierre Boulat

The Algerian situation – 1956 / 1962


The war for the independence of Algeria took place from 1954 to 1962 in Algeria, French colony since 1830. It ended with the recognition of independence on July 3, 1962.

The bobing of Sakiet Sidi Youssef, a small village on the Tunisian border and transit base of the FLN (Front of National Liberation) by the franch army cause a serious political crisis.

In February 1956, the trip to Algiers by Guy Mollet, head of the government invokes a day of disputes known as “tomato day”.

On May 13, 1958, a “quarteron” of generals seized power in Algiers and decided to create a committee of Salut Public led by General Massu. On May 16th, fraternization manfestations between Europeans and Muslims took place on the Forum Square in Algiers. This putsch resulted in the return to power of General de Gaulle and the end of the fourth republic.

After first opting for a French Algeria, De Gaulle leans for self-determination, which leads a fraction of the French army to rebel. Massu, Salan, La Gaillarde come into direct opposition to power.

The year 1960 begins in a tense atmosphere. Many pied-noirs do not accept the principle of self-determination of the Algerian people. The ultras of French Algeria, led by Lagaillarde provoke insurrectional days during which they erect barricades.

In December 1960, demonstrations for the independence of Algeria broke out in several Algerian cities. These demonstrations quickly took on the appearance of a popular uprising against nationalism and the population faced directly the police and the paratroopers. Several European districts of Algiers were invaded, the population wanting to fight against the colonists who had manifested a few days earlier for French Algeria.

The conflict eventually led to the Evian agreements of March 18, 1962, which granted independence to Algeria and precipitated the departure in exile of black feet, of European origin, and the Jews and the massacre of hundreds of harkis who had fought alongside the French army.