Algeria: The War for Independence

Many historians believe that modern day terrorism started with the initial conflict that would become Algeria’s War of Independence. On November 1, 1954, the Front de Liberation Nationale (FLN) launched a series of attacks on French military outposts, police stations, warehouses, communications, and public utilities. These strikes were aimed at the French colonists, but many civilians were killed in the uprising.

The most shocking event to take place was the attack at Philippeville. Until that day in 1955, the FLN had only attacked military encampments. In August of 1955, the FLN carried out an assault on the people of Philippeville. 123 civilians died, many women and children, that day. In retaliation the French claimed to have killed 1,273 guerilla fighters, the FLN claimed the French massacred over 12,000 Muslims throughout the country.

The war lasted for eight brutal years and was marked by massacres, strikes, attacks on civilians in France and Algeria, and riots between police and the local population. The FLN had called on all Muslims to join the fight against France. This brought armed fighters from Africa and the Middle East to join those who felt France had created a country where the native population had no opportunity. Colonists owned most business and retained property rights throughout Algeria and most of the taxes paid out went back to France, further angering native Algerians.

On March 19, 1962, the Evian Accords were signed and ended the war. This accord gave equal rights to all colon (French Colonists) and Algerians for a period of three years. After the three years resident would become Algerian citizens or register as non-resident aliens. On July 3, 1962, Charles De Gaulle announced that Algeria was now an independent country. The day of independence is celebrated on July 5, marking the first entry of France into Algeria.