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How important was the part played by de Gaulle in the granting of independence to Algeria?

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Introduction

How important was the part played by de Gaulle in the granting of independence to Algeria? Charles de Gaulle played a vital role in the decolonisation of Algeria. There were a number of factors that lead up to independence of Algeria for example the FLN. The FLN were the foundation of the nationalist movement, after seeing France occupied by Germany in the Second World War the Algerians realised that the French were not unbeatable, and set about to over throw the French and reclaim their country, which was occupied by both colons and the French army. In order to try and gain independence the FLN resorted to terrorism starting in 1954, attacking European settlements, their tactics were responded to with a massive show of force by the French Army. They had previously been defeated in Indo-China in 1940, Vietnam in 1954 and the Suez in 1956. They were determined to defeat the rising opposition. Their actions were aggressive and overpowering. Whole villages were arrested and their citizens tortured. The majority of Algerians had previously kept out of the action and stayed quiet, however the French Armies actions had a reverse effect, instead ...read more.

Middle

By 1958 the situation in Algeria had reached a stalemate, neither the French Army or the FLN were willing to surrender, and it became clear that no side would win the war. Although the Army had managed to reduce the FLN by arresting its leaders and killing its men, it was not defeated, it was always present and could and would rise up at any time. It could be argued that the terror tactics of the FLN failed, however it is obvious that they were successful, but it terror alone would not win them their independence; it needed another factor to help them along. That factor came in the form of Charles de Gaulle. De Gaulle was a well respected was hero who had been in retirement since 1946, the army were confident in him, and he had the support of the public and the government in France. On the 1st June 1958 de Gaulle became instated as leader of France, he was given the power to rule by decree for 6months and the authority to introduce a new republic, ending years of political instability in France. ...read more.

Conclusion

The date for the referendum was set for January 8th 1961, again the FLN boycotted the vote, as a date had not been set for their independence and they wanted to maintain pressure. Only 60% of the Algerians turned out to vote, but of them 75% voted in favour of self-rule. By this time independence was inevitable, there was no way to reverse the process. FLN support was diminishing as people saw that the French were slowly giving in, and terror tactics were no longer necessary. The Evian agreement was made on the 20th May 1961 after many negotiations, De Gaulle had stalled the process by trying to keep possession of the Sahara, however after reaching a stalemate he gave in to the FLN, abandoning French demand. On March the 18th 1962 the Algerians had finally gained their independence. General de Gaulle had acted as a catalyst in the process. It is almost definite that without the stalemate of 1958 between the Army and the FLN, he would not have been involved in the crisis. However as things turned out he was the main factor in the granting of independence, he handed the Algerians their freedom after a long fight. ...read more.

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