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

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    Politics.ie Member General Urko's Avatar
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    Default Was A Civil War Really A Possible Goer In France Over Algeria In The 60s?

    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!

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    Politics.ie Member Cruimh's Avatar
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    We tend to forget that we were lucky to live in our archipelago in the 50s and 60s.

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    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.
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    Politics.ie Member owedtojoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by General Urko View Post
    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.
    "A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence" - David Hume

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    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 by JohnD66; 6th March 2013 at 11:42 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cruimh View Post
    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'.
    Racism = fear, low self-esteem and breath-taking ignorance.

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    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.



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

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    Politics.ie Member Zach Dingle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitch 22 View Post
    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.



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

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    Politics.ie Member Astral Peaks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by General Urko View Post
    Was A Civil War Really A Possible Goer In France Over Algeria In The 60s?
    "Don't need a whore, I don't need no booze, don't need a virgin priest."

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    Politics.ie Member Astral Peaks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hitch 22 View Post
    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.



    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..........
    "Don't need a whore, I don't need no booze, don't need a virgin priest."

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