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  • Algeria and the Generals Putsch.

    Dear All,

    I'm getting a bit fed up of WWII 'what if's', so how about this for an idea?

    After being turfed out of Indochina following the fall of Dien Bien Phu, France girds her loins for the struggle to retain her Algerian colony, viewed by many in France as part of France.

    Events mainly follow the course of historical events, the FLN are largely defeated and de Gaulle goes to Algeria and makes his l'Algérie française speech following his rise to power after the fall of the Fourth Republic.

    General de Gaulle angers the Pied Noirs and sections of the Military who had already formed the OAS in anticipation of just such an event. Events come to a head and the Generals Putsch gains wider support within the military. Not only do the Foreign Legion para units rebel, so do many other formations, and crucialy, so do significant parts of the Air Force and Navy. Panic sweeps the streets of Paris and is made worse by the news that Parachute forces are embarking for an anticipated drop on an undisclosed target.

    Charles de Gaulle maintains a tough stance but fails to get unqualified support from the military in mainland France who seem to be awaiting events.

    What happens next?

    http://www.globalsecurity.org/milita...ar/algeria.htm

    http://countrystudies.us/algeria/34.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algerian_War
    HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

    "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

  • #2
    The communists call out folks to the barricades in the streets of Paris?

    I dont know enough about the internal politics of the French army than to judge how the leaders might react over the long run.

    Comment


    • #3
      An aside before getting into this interesting alternate world scenario.

      I view the "France militarily defeated the FLN so it was only French defeatism that 'lost' Algeria" meme to miss the point and be even less accurate then the "if only the U.S. had stayed in South Viet Nam for a couple of days more Hanoi would have quit" or "the U.S. lost China" (it was never America's to lose, and it was Kuomintang military and political incompetence- despite considerate American logistical aid- and Chinese Nationalist corruption that unfortunately gave the communists their chance at power).
      A guerilla movement only has to stay in existence and "win" at the end (not unlike George Washington in the Revolutionary War). In the long run I think a French colonial presence in Algeria was no more tenable then apartheid in South Africa. The French ethnic population % in Algeria, and situation with havens for the FLN was, I think, not too dissimilar.

      De Gaulle saw the longterm Algerian problem for France correctly.
      [QUOTE]Wikipedia
      De Gaulle's return to power was supposed to ensure Algeria's continued occupation and integration with the French Community, which had replaced the French Union and brought together France's colonies. However, de Gaulle progressively shifted in favor of Algerian independence, purportedly seeing it as inevitable. De Gaulle organized a vote for the Algerian people. The Algerians chose independence and France engaged in negotiations with the FLN [QUOTE]

      Now, one intriguing aspect of a somewhat more successful French military opposition to abandoning Algeria is the role of the U.S. Not only is/was a stable and (despite Gaulic posturing and bravado) important de facto NATO ally crucial in the Cold War, but not only was April, 1961 the month of the failed Algiers putsch, it was also Bay of Pigs time. How does the nascent Kennedy Admin. deal with these simultaneous crises (back and encourage de Gaulle to take power and be assertive even quicker then he did)?
      Last edited by Tuor; 05 Nov 09, 12:47.

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      • #4
        Now, one intriguing aspect of a somewhat more successful French military opposition to abandoning Algeria is the role of the U.S. Not only is/was a stable and (despite Gaulic posturing and bravado) important de facto NATO ally crucial in the Cold War, but not only was April, 1961 the month of the failed Algiers putsch, it was also Bay of Pigs time. How does the nascent Kennedy Admin. deal with these simultaneous crises (back and encourage de Gaulle to take power and be assertive even quicker then he did)?
        I dunno, that's why I posed the question as I know there are bound to be more informed Forum members than me out there in ACG Land.

        Ultimately, I think that de Gaulle would have eventually carried the day which would have had some interesting effects (at the very least) on France's relationship with its Armed Forces, as I reckon it would have led to more than just the disbandment of 1 REP.
        HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

        "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

        Comment


        • #5
          Simple question: Would ity have been possible to throw thwe Arabs off the coast and confine them to moutains and deserts of the South, leting THAT part of Algeria go, and kept the coast with a abolsute majority of 'Blackfeet' settlers? Yes it would be a huge breach of human rights or such crap, but if anyone could flout international standards they themselves helped put together, it would be the French.

          Besides, if you must choose between honor and victory, victory gets more milage everytime.
          How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
          275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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          • #6
            One problem with French "ethnic cleansing" of coastal Algeria (apart from immorality) is that I imagine the Algerian economy was dependent on non-French labor to keep its economy going, rather like the apartheid South African and the Israeli economies.

            Also, it's the '60s, so the U.S. (both Democratic and Republic Party leaders) would probably be concerned about giving U.S.S.R. and Chinese communists huge p.r. advantages in competition for the Third World, and would put huge pressure on the French. Just recall Ike's pressure on the French/British/Israelis during the '50s Suez crisis.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Tuor View Post
              One problem with French "ethnic cleansing" of coastal Algeria (apart from immorality) is that I imagine the Algerian economy was dependent on non-French labor to keep its economy going, rather like the apartheid South African and the Israeli economies.
              The French inhabitants depended on the interior economically as much as the coast. There were many mining and agricultural operations in the interior, which depended on Arab or Berber skilled and unskilled labor intertwined with French money and technical support. Removing all the French to the coast would be a collarary to sending the Arabs inland, both of which would unhinge the economy.

              Comment


              • #8
                Well, the way I figure is that it's much better to destroy the economy, cleanse and then rebuild it with either French labor or other non-Arab sources. Why? because letting it go you lose everything, ethnic cleansing let's you destroy the opposition and makes you strong in the long run by securing access to raw materials you otherwise have to pay for. If people get hurt in the process, who cares? And more importantly, who is willing to intervene. Better to be hated and strong than loved and weak, because as Machivelli put it, no one loves weakness and will turn on the weak in a heart beat for they can be easily exploited.
                How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                  Well, the way I figure is that it's much better to destroy the economy, cleanse and then rebuild it with either French labor or other non-Arab sources. Why? because letting it go you lose everything, ethnic cleansing let's you destroy the opposition and makes you strong in the long run by securing access to raw materials you otherwise have to pay for. If people get hurt in the process, who cares? And more importantly, who is willing to intervene. Better to be hated and strong than loved and weak, because as Machivelli put it, no one loves weakness and will turn on the weak in a heart beat for they can be easily exploited.
                  That may be true, but de Gaulle wasn't going to let that happen, neither was the French Army.

                  For what it is worth, even if more units HAD of sided with General Salan and his rebels and Paras had dropped on Paris, the end result would have been the same, if bloodier. What effect that would all have had on France though is another, and more interesting, matter.
                  HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                  "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    je ne regret rein.....
                    In Vino Veritas

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                    • #11
                      I think the para-drop on Paris would have been a bloodbath... a tragedy worthy of Edith Piaf...
                      In Vino Veritas

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dongar1 View Post
                        I think the para-drop on Paris would have been a bloodbath... a tragedy worthy of Edith Piaf...
                        Too right, but then again The Legion do seem to almost revel in a bloody defeat.
                        HONNEUR ET FIDÉLITÉ

                        "Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won." - Duke of Wellington at Waterloo.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Wolery View Post
                          Well, the way I figure is that it's much better to destroy the economy, cleanse and then rebuild it with either French labor or other non-Arab sources. Why? because letting it go you lose everything, ethnic cleansing let's you destroy the opposition and makes you strong in the long run by securing access to raw materials you otherwise have to pay for. If people get hurt in the process, who cares? And more importantly, who is willing to intervene. Better to be hated and strong than loved and weak, because as Machivelli put it, no one loves weakness and will turn on the weak in a heart beat for they can be easily exploited.
                          Whats the point there if the result is a impoverished French population deprived of the business or work they had built there in Africa. I guess some of them can take the s...t jobs the Arabs had been doing. A lot of others are likely to emmigrate to locations with better prospects. Maybe return to France and curse the idiots who wrecked their business or gave away their farms to Arabs? And, what are the French investors who lost their interest in the iron and phosphate mines of the interior. The bankers and stockholders formerly connected to those enterprises now controled by the Arabs will not be pleased with this policy.

                          Hstorically 'ethnic cleansing' is a policy resorted to by losers who are too incompetent to make sensible policies work.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
                            Whats the point there if the result is a impoverished French population deprived of the business or work they had built there in Africa. I guess some of them can take the s...t jobs the Arabs had been doing. A lot of others are likely to emmigrate to locations with better prospects. Maybe return to France and curse the idiots who wrecked their business or gave away their farms to Arabs? And, what are the French investors who lost their interest in the iron and phosphate mines of the interior. The bankers and stockholders formerly connected to those enterprises now controled by the Arabs will not be pleased with this policy.

                            Hstorically 'ethnic cleansing' is a policy resorted to by losers who are too incompetent to make sensible policies work.
                            I'm not understanding you Carl. I understand economic disruption due to cleansing the Arabs from the northern tip of Algeria. Why would the French population leave? They'd need to import labor of course, but this could easily be done, even to recruit out of Muslim Turkey. Why would the French government give farms to Arabs in this scenario when the Arabs are pushed out of the fertile areas near the coast?

                            Ethnic cleansing is a potent policy, best seen in the Greco-Turkish conflict 1919. By killing the Armenians, cleansing the Greeks, the Turks were able to hold onto disputed territory and not face the constant threat of insurrection and partisan revolt. In fact the only thing the Turks failed to do was throw out the Kurds and create a wholly Turkish state, with no minorities to cause them trouble. Mind you I hate the borders that were installed, but it seems ethnic cleansing is the right of winners over losers to make sure losers can never rise up again. And that has been shown effectively by the ethnic cleansing of Germans out of Eastern Europe at the end of the WWII. No inhabitants on the land, no viable claim to get it back.
                            How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                            275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

                            Comment

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