De Gaulle And The Achievement Of Independence In Algeria

1868 words - 7 pages

De Gaulle and the Achievement of Independence in Algeria

Algeria underwent a long struggle to gain independence from France.
Its people had seemed to be happy with the colonisation of its country
until France was occupied by Germany in the Second World War. This
defeat along with others in Vietnam and other colonies proved to the
Algerians that France was not the superpower they had once believed it
was, and nationalist feelings began to grow. As the nationalist
movement grew it became known as the FLN. At first its support was
very small, many Algerians cautious of the extremists, they were happy
with the peace that they lived with although they were exploited, not
many complained. The FLN decided they had to become more radical to
get noticed, and in November 1954 the insurrection began. The
leadership of the FLN consisted of two groups, the internals and
externals. The FLN were at first badly armed with less that 50% of
guerrilla fighters armed but with slowly increasing numbers. The FLN
had split the country into sections with one leader in charge of each;
they had planned to cause chaos in each wilaya so the French couldn't
cope

However in contrast the French were very powerful, they outnumbered
the FLN and with badly organised members and poor communication links
the French army set out to crush nationalist feelings. They were keen
to show the world they were still a powerful nation, and to regain
their pride in their forces. They were determined not to be humiliated
again in Algeria. They were proud of Algeria and saw it as a
'mini-France'. The French reaction was to show a massive show of
force, arresting whole village suspect of harbouring any FLN members
and torturing its population. This lead to anger within the Algerian
communities, families and friends of those arrested learned to despise
the French and leant their support to the FLN. It was this tactic that
the FLN decided to use to gain support; they knew how the French army
would react and provoked them every time.

The prime minister at the time Pierre Mendes-France as well as the
French public had no idea that the Algerians were not happy with their
living conditions so the attacks came as a massive blow, they couldn't
understand their problem. He was an experienced man who was at the
time negotiating the independence of Tunisia and Morocco. His aim was
to restore peace and not to give in to the Algerian people. Jacques
Soustell was appointed as governor of Algeria, he aimed to increase
the number of Muslim servants, offer technical aid to Muslims,
increase the number of French troops and try to gain support from the
Algerian people, collaborators but mainly to introduce the idea of
integration. The policy of increasing troops didn't please the FLN,
who took the increase as a threat, integration was also...

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