• It has come to our attention that some users may have been "banned" when they tried to change their passwords after the site was hacked due to a glitch in the old vBulletin software. This would have occurred around the end of February and does not apply after the site was converted to Xenforo. If you believe you were affected by this, please contact a staff member or use the Contact us link at the bottom of any forum page.

Was A Civil War Really A Possible Goer In France Over Algeria In The 60s?


General Urko

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 24, 2012
Messages
15,743
Well The Day Of The Jackal, would certainly have you believe so! Algeria was to France what India was to Britain in terms of its importance to the empire.
Also there was mass protest marches in France in the early 60s over the Algerian situation, one famous one had the thuggish French riot squad dumping marchers in the Seine, some of whom drowned!
It's not an area of history with which I am very familiar, but the notion of a civil war in a major European nation during the 60s fascinates!
 

Tea Party Patriot

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 31, 2010
Messages
11,557
Difficult to say if it would have erupted in civil war. The notion that it could have happened in the 1960's isn't so fascinating though, Portugal and Greece both had coups in the 1960's/70's and only one vote at the cabinet table in Ireland prevented what could have been a very bloody civil war in Northern Ireland (which would have resulted had the Republic invaded).

Stability should never be taken for granted, just because we have had it relatively quite for the last thirty years does not mean the thirty to come won't be chaotic or not, but one thing for sure is that stability is not guaranteed.
 

owedtojoy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
45,444
Well The Day Of The Jackal, would certainly have you believe so! Algeria was to France what India was to Britain in terms of its importance to the empire.
Also there was mass protest marches in France in the early 60s over the Algerian situation, one famous one had the thuggish French riot squad dumping marchers in the Seine, some of whom drowned!
It's not an area of history with which I am very familiar, but the notion of a civil war in a major European nation during the 60s fascinates!
There was a mini-civil-war simmering in France before and after De Gaulle came back into power, which was in itself somewhat of a coup d'etat.

Consider:

-A group of retired French generals attempted a military coup d'etat in 1961. Algiers putsch of 1961 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
-A terrorist group (the OAS), led by a former French general (Raoul Salan), used terrorism and assassination to defy the state. De Gaulle survived numerous assassination attempts, some of them very precisely planned. Organisation de l'armée secrète - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
- In 1961, the Paris police massacred (literally) Algerian demonstrators, possibly as many as 200. The facts were suppressed for many years. Paris massacre of 1961 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The shadow of the Algerian War of Independence (itself a war with up to one million deaths) obscures the convulsions within French society. In France itself, the wartime quarrel of Petainists against Gaullists was also played out in the army and the political class.

De Gaulle probably did save France from a civil war on a larger scale.

A very good book about those times in France and Algeria is Alistair Horne's A Savage War of Peace. It is a while since I read it, and there may be others published more recently. Strictly speaking irrelevant to the topic, but watch Giles Pontecorvo's brilliant film The Battle of Algiers for a flavour of those times.

Algeria and France in those days make Northern Ireland and Britain look like a Sunday-school picnic.
 

JohnD66

Well-known member
Joined
May 20, 2010
Messages
3,316
Interesting thread this.

I'm no expert but think the answer is that the Algerian conflict was played out in France itself in pretty violent ways - people have already mentioned the OAS and police massacre of Algerian demonstrators in Paris. Another thing to factor in is that as many as 5,000 Algerians were killed in France itself in feuds between rival Algerian nationalist groups, the so called 'cafe wars' as the FLN tried to wipe out its rivals.

But regarding out and out civil war in France itself, I think there was a real danger in 1958 (May 1958 crisis - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia) when the military, under a paratrooper Colonel named Salan basically ousted the French civil administration in Algeria, landed units in Corsica and prepared to seize Paris too. The Fourth Republic collapsed as result, De Gaulle came out of retirement and brought in a new constitution and the Fifth Republic and appeased them for a while. The putchists thought De Gaelle would never give up Algeria, unlike the 'treacherous' socialists who'd been in power, but of course they were wrong and they later turned on him, with another, this time failed, coup in 1961.

But returning to the question of civil war. France had a huge communist party at the time, many of whose members had fought as guerrillas in the resistance and some in the Spanish Civil War. And they would likely have resisted a right wing military coup in arms - bringing up the prospect of a re-run of the civil war in Spain in France in 1958.
 
Last edited:

Kev408

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 26, 2006
Messages
5,124
We tend to forget that we were lucky to live in our archipelago in the 50s and 60s.
We also tend to forget that whilst some of us 'lived' others 'existed'.
 

Hitch 22

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 26, 2011
Messages
5,220
There was an underground civil war between the French state and the right wing OAS.

The group of French terrorists came within inches of assassinating the French President when they machine gunned his car as it rode through the Parisian suburbs. A French Air Force Lt. Col was executed by firing squad for his role in the attack.

In a book called The Day Of The Jackal an English mercenary - possibly a veteran of the war in Congo - is hired by the OAS to assassinate De Gaulle.

The book was made into a classic thriller in 1973.

[video=youtube;th4Hy8sh54I]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th4Hy8sh54I[/video]

It is believed by some that the novel and film were actually based on fact.
 

Zach Dingle

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 19, 2012
Messages
665
There was an underground civil war between the French state and the right wing OAS.

The group of French terrorists came within inches of assassinating the French President when they machine gunned his car as it rode through the Parisian suburbs. A French Air Force Lt. Col was executed by firing squad for his role in the attack.

In a book called The Day Of The Jackal an English mercenary - possibly a veteran of the war in Congo - is hired by the OAS to assassinate De Gaulle.

The book was made into a classic thriller in 1973.

[video=youtube;th4Hy8sh54I]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th4Hy8sh54I[/video]

It is believed by some that the novel and film were actually based on fact.
He did mention it in his OP.
 

Astral Peaks

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2010
Messages
25,986
Was A Civil War Really A Possible Goer In France Over Algeria In The 60s?
[video=youtube;gncBKNAqcds]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gncBKNAqcds[/video]
 

Astral Peaks

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 9, 2010
Messages
25,986
There was an underground civil war between the French state and the right wing OAS.

The group of French terrorists came within inches of assassinating the French President when they machine gunned his car as it rode through the Parisian suburbs. A French Air Force Lt. Col was executed by firing squad for his role in the attack.

In a book called The Day Of The Jackal an English mercenary - possibly a veteran of the war in Congo - is hired by the OAS to assassinate De Gaulle.

The book was made into a classic thriller in 1973.

[video=youtube;th4Hy8sh54I]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=th4Hy8sh54I[/video]

It is believed by some that the novel and film were actually based on fact.
Right up your alley, eh Hitch?

Fiction that just might be fact..........
 

owedtojoy

Well-known member
Joined
Feb 27, 2010
Messages
45,444
The Day of the Jackal was fictionalised history.

It is no more "true" than Gone with the Wind or The Guns of Navarone.

Get and watch this film ... a sort of drama-documentary that is more drama than documentary but was made with the co-operation of FLN veterans.

[video=youtube;Ca3M2feqJk8]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ca3M2feqJk8[/video]

The whole firm is on youtube.

The "Colonel Mathieu" of the film in real life was Colonel Jacques Massu, who rose to command the French army under De Gaulle. Despite being a hard as nails nationalist (watch the film to find out how hard), he was also an lifetime Gaullist who had fought in the Resistance, and who stayed with his boss when he pulled out of Algeria. Legend has it he was the one who told De Gaulle to step down when his career was plainly over.
 
Last edited:
Top