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the Algerian War

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the Algerian War, also known as the Algerian Revolution or the Algerian War of Independence and in Algeria itself sometimes called The War of 1 November, was fought between France and the Algerian National Liberation Front  from 1954 to 1962, which led to Algeria winning its independence from France. An important decolonization war, it was a complex conflict characterized by guerrilla warfare and the use of torture. The conflict also became a civil war between the different communities and within the communities. The war took place mainly on the territory of Algeria, with repercussions in metropolitan France.

Effectively started by members of the National Liberation Front (FLN) on 1 November 1954, during the  (“Red All Saints’ Day“), the conflict led to serious political crises in France, causing the fall of the Fourth Republic (1946–58), to be replaced by the Fifth Republic with a strengthened presidency. The brutality of the methods employed by the French forces failed to win hearts and minds in Algeria, alienated support in metropolitan France and discredited French prestige abroad As the war dragged on, the French public slowly turned against it and many of France’s key allies, including the United States, switched from supporting France to abstaining in the UN debate on Algeria. On 19 December 1962 the General Assembly of the United Nations unanimously recognized Algerian people’s right to “self-determination and independence After major demonstrations in Algiers and several other cities in favor of independence (1960 and a United Nations resolution recognizing the right to independence Charles de Gaulle, the first President of the Fifth Republic, decided to open a series of negotiations with the FLN. These concluded with the signing of the Évian Accords in March 1962. A referendum took place on 8 April 1962 and the French electorate approved the Évian Accords. The final result was 91% in favor of the ratification of this agreement and on 1 July, the Accords were subject to a second referendum in Algeria, where 99.72% voted for independence and just 0.28% against.

The planned French withdrawal led to a state crisis. This included various assassination attempts on de Gaulle as well as some attempts at military coups. Most of the former were carried out by the Organisation armée secrète (OAS), an underground organization formed mainly from French military personnel supporting a French Algeria, which committed a large number of bombings and murders both in Algeria and in the homeland to stop the planned independence.

Upon independence in 1962, 900,000 European-Algerians fled to France within a few months in fear of the FLN’s revenge. The French government was unprepared to receive such a vast number of refugees, which caused turmoil in France. The majority of Algerian Muslims who had worked for the French were disarmed and left behind, as the agreement between French and Algerian authorities declared that no actions could be taken against them. However, the Harkis in particular, having served as auxiliaries with the French army, were regarded as traitors and many were murdered by the FLN or by lynch mobs, often after being abducted and tortured. About 90,000 managed to flee to France some with help from their French officers acting against orders, and today they and their descendants form a significant part of the Algerian-French population.

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