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Q: French/Algerian conflict ( Answered 3 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: French/Algerian conflict
Category: Reference, Education and News > General Reference
Asked by: ross17-ga
List Price: $50.00
Posted: 06 Nov 2003 10:11 PST
Expires: 06 Dec 2003 10:11 PST
Question ID: 273214
I want to find a good book or books about the French/Algerian conflict
during the early 1960s.  Specifically, I want to find out more about
what was going on in Paris at that time, including but not exclusive to
curfews and protests and car bombings, etc.
Subject: Re: French/Algerian conflict
Answered By: journalist-ga on 06 Nov 2003 16:05 PST
Rated:3 out of 5 stars
Greetings Ross17:

I have located a few resources for you.

"That French people might work with the enemy was unthinkable, but
what made this worse still was the manner in which Jeanson continued
his activities, conducting a clandestine press conference in Paris in
April, followed by the publication of a book, "Notre Guerre,"
outlining the aims of his actions. Jeanson's pungent, confrontational
style, brimming with anger at the Algerian war, was replicated in
Maurienne's "Le Déserteur" and Maurice Maschino's "Le Rufus". Both
were deserters and both explained what had led them to reject
colonialism and side with the FLN, and although the two books were
banned by the French authorities, they nevertheless pointed towards a
growing mood of insubordination, an impression reinforced still
further with the foundation of the Mouvement Anticolonialiste Français
in Switzerland and the first congress of Jeune Résistance in Germany."

One of the three books mentioned there may be of assistance.


A film set in Paris 1962 titled "Wild Reeds Sprout in a French Stream"
and it is basically a movie about coming of age.  Part of the synopsis
at reads "The year is 1962
and France is attempting to keep its colony of Algeria through the use
of military force. While some teenagers do the "twist" and are rather
oblivious to the war, others are keenly affected by the conflict. Many
Algerian-born French citizens are forced to flee Algeria as the
situation deteriorates for those loyal to France. Algeria is on the
verge of winning its independence. However, just as the French were
stubborn about allowing Vietnam to go its separate way, the French
also will take drastic measures to keep Algeria as one of the last
vestiges of imperial France."  The text also states "Not for the


If you can locate it, find "La Question (The Question)" by Henri
Alleg, Les Editions de Minuit: Paris 2000. pp111 (first published
1961) according to
"With the official records of the period remaining largely closed,
however, and with those committing them never having been held
accountable either for their orders or for their acts, other voices
have been a lot less diplomatic than have those of the political
establishment. It is against this background of French national debate
that the three books under review here have either been re-issued --
Henri Alleg's classic "The Question" and Paulette Péju's two press
reports on brutalities committed at the time in Paris (both 1961) --
or published for the first time, as is the case of the journalist
Jean-Pierre Vittori's "interview" with a former torturer, "We tortured
in Algeria."

"However, as Péju's other pamphlet originally published at the same
time, "Les Harkis à Paris," makes clear in graphic and often revolting
detail, the curfew was not the only thing that the Algerian population
of Paris had to complain of."

Other publications are mentioned here although I don't know if they
are available in English.

I searched "The Question" and found this at
"DVD  The Question)A film by Laurent Heynemann, written and adapted by
Laurent Heynemann and Claude Veillot, based on the story by Henri
Alleg (Éditions de Minuit). DVDExtras: version commented by Laurent
Heynemann, filmography of the director and cast,interview with Henri
Alleg (plus bibliography). Available from Doriane Films"



"We are on October 6, 1961, an official statement of the cabinet of
the Papon prefect reduces the life of the Algerians..." is
advised, in the most pressing way, with the Algerian workers to
abstain from circulating the night in the streets of Paris and of the
Parisian suburbs and more particularly of 20h30 with 5h30 of the
morning ".  "... it is very highly recommended to the Moslem French to
circulate separately, the small groups being likely to appear suspect
with the rounds and patrols of the police force ".  "Finally the
prefect of police force decided that the bars held and attended by
Moslem French of Algeria must close, each day, at 19 hours."  By
decree it is thus from now on interdict with the Algerian workers to
circulate the night.  Interdict with called "the Moslem French" to
attend the bars as from 19 hours.  Interdict to circulate in group. 
And as always of the pseudo-reassuring formulas are to be useful
there:  "it is advised...", "it is very highly recommended".  The
clearness of the official statement is unambiguous."
"Among the thousands of Algerian taken along to the Exhibition site of
the door of Versailles, out of tens were killed with blows of stick
and handle of pickaxe, by, bursting fractured skull of spleen or the
liver, crack of the members.  Their bodies were trampled under the
benevolent glance of "Mr. Paris, controller general.  "of others had
the fingers torn off by the members of the service of order, police
officers and member of the anti-riot polices, who had cynically been
entitled" committee of reception."

Eight die in Paris riot - February 8, 1962 [a BBC "On this day" article reprint]

The Journal of Strategic Studies
Special Issue: France and the Algerian War 1954?62. Strategy,
Operations and Diplomacy

FRANCE: Special feature: The Paris massacre of 17 October 1961

Nazi Aide Papon Leaves France Prison
"...he was the Prefect of Paris during the Algerian war and was
responsible for what has become known as the October 17th massacre. 
On that fateful day (in 1961) some 30,000 Algerians living in Paris
demonstrated (at sundown) against curfews imposed on entire families
and violence at the hands of the police...The curfews were imposed
earlier in the month by Prefect Papon who then did a tour of all the
citiy's police stations with the line."

Paris Massacre of 1961 by Alan Spector

The 1961 Massacre of Algerians in Paris: When the media failed the test
35 Years ago the "Battle of Paris": When the Seine was full of bodies
[links to more articles in the left column]

A legal case

Plaque for Algerians Unveiled in Paris
"It was on that fateful day that Algeria's National Liberation Front,
FLN, had organised a rally against a curfew imposed on French Muslims
because of Algeria's independence struggle. The protests were
violently suppressed by the French police, who reportedly fired live
bullets into the crowd and herded 12,000 demonstrators into sports
stadiums where some were tortured. Others were beaten to death or were
found in the River Seine not far from police headquarters."


Should you require clarification of any of the links or information I
have provided, please request it before rating and closing this
question, and I will be happy to respond.

Best regards,


1961 Algeria Paris
1960 opposition climate Paris Algeria
1961 Paris curfews
October 17 1961 Paris bombing
1961 battle of paris
October 17 1961 Paris massacre
Henri Alleg "The Question"

Request for Answer Clarification by ross17-ga on 07 Nov 2003 07:04 PST

Thank you for your work on this.  I don't really see any books
mentioned (in English) that I might go to.  I have a lot of
information on the October 17, 1961 incident.  I am also looking for
something that would tell me of the events in 1961 that led up to that
"police riot." and also the bombing protests that took place in Paris
after that, say up to the March 1962 DeGaulle actions that began the
final stages of Algerian independence.


Request for Answer Clarification by ross17-ga on 07 Nov 2003 07:40 PST
I apologize for rating your answer before you could clarify. I didn't
notice this until afterward. I thought that I had to rate it in order
to proceed.

Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 08 Nov 2003 08:28 PST
No problem, Ross17, with closing the question.  I contemplated not
posting the French texts but you hadn't specified strictly English so
I took the chance you meant any texts.  I was unable to locate
translations of the books or pamphlets written about the incidents at
that time and, regarding the online links, I wanted you to have what I
located in case they might assist your research.

I refined my search strategy and located the following two books -
these books may cover the information you seek:

Uncivil War: Intellectuals and Identity Politics During the
Decolonization of Algeria by James D. Le Sueur
"An interdisciplinary work of the first order, Uncivil War combines
anthropology, history, critical theory, and postcolonial studies in an
intimate look at a pivotal and highly contested moment in modern

Torture: The Role of Ideology in the French-Algerian War by Rita Maran
"Published to coincide with the 200th anniversary of France's
Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, Maran's
penetrating study looks in depth at the use of torture during the
French-Algerian War (1954-62) to reveal the failure of that liberal
democratic state to uphold its obligations on rights."

We may still continue our dialogue even thuogh theis question is
closed so if the two books above don't cover your needs, just post a
clarification again and I'll try a different tact.

Best regards,


Paris during Algerian conflict
James Le Sueur Uncivil War
Rita Maran Torture The Role of Ideology in the French-Algerian War

Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 08 Nov 2003 08:37 PST
Also, see these two web sites for additional information.  Regarding
web site excerpts, copyright law only allows posting of a certain
percentage of text from a page so plase visit all the links I've
provided for the complete stories.

"In the three months preceding the protest, over 30 Paris cops were
killed by the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN), a group using
terrorist tactics to fight French colonial rule."

"The negotiation process began in May 1961 in France with
representatives of the Algerian provisional government.  Negotiations
were broken off in July, however, at which time Ben Youssef Ben Khedda
became the new premier.  Settler opposition coalesced around a body
calling itself the Secret Army Organization (OAS), which used
terrorism as its prime weapon."
There is also a timeline at this site.

Best regards,
ross17-ga rated this answer:3 out of 5 stars
I was looking for book suggestions and got mostly internet web page references.

Subject: Re: French/Algerian conflict
From: journalist-ga on 08 Nov 2003 09:43 PST
My colleague, Omnivorous-ga, sent me a link to a French page.  I can't
print the text here because of copyright but here's what to do if you
wish to read it in English:


Open another window and go to ://

Copy and paste the text from the article into the text box of the
Google Translate page and click on the "French to English" in the drop
down box OR enter the article URL into the Translate Page section and
choose "French to English."  This will give you an English
approximation of the text of the article.

In the translation, there is a reference to "the upsetting book of the
journalist Dalila Kerkouche, to include/understand how much France
badly behaved, which made that children could look at their fathers
like traitors."

I found no other online references to Dalila Kerkouche except that one
but I wanted you to have the information.

Best regards,
Subject: Re: French/Algerian conflict
From: ross17-ga on 10 Nov 2003 07:11 PST
Dear Journalist-ga,

Thank you for the additional information.  I wish I could re-rate your
help because I would give it a top score.


Subject: Re: French/Algerian conflict
From: journalist-ga on 10 Nov 2003 07:21 PST
Thanks for the kind words regarding the rating, Ross.  Don't concern
yourself with the amount of stars - as long as you are pleased with my
research for you, then I'm delighted!  Hope to see you again at Google
Answers.  :)

Best regards,

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