The decolonization of French colonies and more specifically the Algerian War of Independence are relevant because of the changes that occurred in France and the government in Paris. The aftermath shaped modern day France. There are three main consequences of the war; the end of the Fourth Republic which had been established at the end of World War II and the creation of the Fifth and current Republic; the ceasefire in Algeria led to the end of French colonization; and the immigration conflict of the Pied-Noirs and the Harkis Exodus and the former French colonists.
Four years into the conflict, the French Government was hesitant on continuing the fighting with the FLN. The counterinsurgency campaigns that the French had been fighting in Indochina and the losses of colonies in Africa over the previous decades was wearing the French out. The French Government started to suggest negotiating with Algerian Nationals. but the French Army was opposed to negotiating for fear of the situation ending similarly to the their defeat in Indochina. De Gaulle is called to power due to the parliament’s inability to create a new government. There is concern that de Gaulle would not relinquish power after it was given to him, but that was quickly discredited by de Gaulle. The Fifth Republic was shortly created thereafter with the guidance of the national assembly and de Gaulle.
After World War II, France spent the next decade fighting in Indochina only to lose the war. Not long after, Morocco and Tunisia were granted independence. With the end of Algerian War, France had lost its main colonies.
Following the Algerian War of Independence, the mass immigration of the former colonists, Harkis, and the Pied-Noirs wreaked havoc. When the previous colonies fell, those loyal to France and its lifestyle tried to immigrate back to France. This was exemplified when Algeria was released by France. The Pied-Noirs, which is French for “black feet,” were groups of people of French descent who resided in French colonies of North Africa. When the North African colonies were released from French control, hundreds of thousands of Pied-Noirs relocated to the French mainland. This created a great issue of managing the increase of population as well as trouble with how long the immigrants could remain in mainland France.
The Harkis were Muslim auxiliary troops for the French. They were interested in relocating to mainland France as well, especially since their country was now being run by the people they fought against. The French were hesitant to let all the Harkis come to France like the Pied-Noirs did. Tens of thousands of Harkis relocated while many more died at the hands of the FLN in Algeria. The issue of Francophones wishing to relocate to France is an ongoing issue that is still a conflict today.
This monument serves to remember a turbulant time in France’s history but one that shaped modern day France politically and culturally.
– John Nisbet
Naylor, Phillip C. “Chapter 1.” France and Algeria: A history of decolonization and transformation. Gainesville: Univ. Press of Florida, 2000. 9-23. Print.
Pike, John. “Military.” Algerian National Liberation (1954-1962). 7 Nov. 2011. Web. 24 Oct. 2013. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/wo