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Encyclopedia > Algiers putsch

The Algiers putsch (or Generals' putsch) took place on 23 April 1961 in the midst of the Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962). It was a failed coup d'état attempt organized by professional members of the French army in Algeria, headed by three generals, Maurice Challe, Edmond Jouhaud and André Zeller, who were opposed to the secret negotiations which Michel Debré's government had started with the National Liberation Front (FLN). General Raoul Salan supported the coup without concerning himself with its technical planning. April 23 is the 113th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (114th in leap years). ... 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1961 calendar). ... Combatants FLN Algeria France The Algerian War of Independence (1954–62) was a period of guerrilla strikes, maquis fighting, terrorism against civilians on both sides, and riots between the French army and colonists, or the colons as they were called, in French special département Algeria and the FLN (Front... A coup détat (pronounced ), or simply a coup, is the sudden overthrow of a government through unconstitutional means by a part of the state establishment that mostly replaces just the top power figures. ... French soldiers of the IFOR in Mostar, 1995. ... Edmond Jouhard (April 2, 1905 – September 4, 1995) was one of four French generals who briefly staged a putch in Algeria in 1961. ... Michel Debré (January 15, 1912 - August 2, 1996) was a French politician. ... The National Liberation Front , (Arabic: Jabhat al-TaḩrÄ«r al-WaÅ£anÄ«, French: Front de Libération Nationale aka FLN) is a socialist political party in Algeria. ... clarified and proofread. ...



The majority of the French people had voted in favor of Algeria's self determination during the 1961 referendum organized in metropolitan France. Michel Debré's government started secret negotiations with the GPRA (Provisional Government of the Algerian Republic), linked to the FLN liberation movement. On 25 January 1961 Colonel Antoine Argoud viaited with Premier Michel Debré and threatened him with a coup directed by a "colonels' junta" if he didn't treat the independence forces more severely: the French army was in no way disposed to let Algeria become independent, as it considered it an integral part of the French territory, referring to this overseas département as "French Algeria" (l'Algérie française). // The problematic definition of the French people The French people (French: les Français), etymologically derives from the word Franks, a Germanic tribe which overran Gaul at the end of the Roman empire. ... Self-determination or the right to self-determination is a theoretical principle that a people ought to be able to determine their own governmental forms and structures. ... A referendum (plural: referendums or referenda) or plebiscite (from Latin plebiscita, a decree of the Concilium Plebis) is a direct vote in which an entire electorate is asked to either accept or reject a particular proposal. ... Metropolitan France (French: France métropolitaine, or just la Métropole) is the part of France in Europe, including Corsica, as opposed to the overseas departments and overseas territories, which, while integral parts of the French Republic, are regarded as Overseas France (la France doutre-mer, or more colloquially... Michel Debré (January 15, 1912 - August 2, 1996) was a French politician. ... January 25 is the 25th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. ... 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1961 calendar). ... In modern usage, junta (pronounced as in Spanish HUN-ta or HOON-ta) typically refers to a military dictatorship, especially in Latin America, which is officially run by a committee of high-ranking military officers. ... The départements (or departments) are administrative units of France, roughly analogous to British counties. ...


On 22 April 1961, retired generals Raoul Salan, André Zeller, Maurice Challe and Edmond Jouhaud, helped by colonels Antoine Argoud, Jean Gardes, Joseph Ortiz and Jean-Jacques Susini, took control of Algiers. General Challe criticized the government's "treason and lies" toward Algerians who trusted it, and stated that "the commandment reserves its right to extend its actions to the metropole and to reconstitute a constitutional and republican order seriously compromised by a government which illegality burst onto the eyes of the nation" [1] During the night, the 1st Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment (REP), composed of a thousand men (3% of the military present in Algeria) and headed by Hélie Denoix de Saint-Marc took control of all of Algiers' strategic points in three hours. April 22 is the 112th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (113th in leap years). ... 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1961 calendar). ... clarified and proofread. ... Edmond Jouhard (April 2, 1905 – September 4, 1995) was one of four French generals who briefly staged a putch in Algeria in 1961. ...

The head of the Parisian police, Maurice Papon, and the director of the Sûreté nationale, formed a crisis cell in a room of the Comédie-française, where general de Gaulle was attending a presentation of Racine's Britannicus. The president was informed during the entracte of the coup by Jacques Foccart, his general secretary to African and Malagasy Affairs and closest collaborator, in charge of covert operations. Maurice Papon (born September 3, 1910) was an official of the French Vichy government, who collaborated with Nazi Germany in World War II. After the war ended, he hid his role in the Vichy government and went on to have a successful career in politics until the emergence of details... The Comédie-Française or Théâtre français is the only state theater in France. ... Charles André Joseph Marie de Gaulle ( ) (22 November 1890 – 9 November 1970), in France commonly referred to as le général de Gaulle, was a French military leader and statesman. ... Racine is the name of several communities in the United States of America: Racine, Minnesota Racine, Missouri Racine, Ohio Racine, West Virginia Racine, Wisconsin Racine County, Wisconsin It is also the name of dramatist Jean Racine. ... Britannicus (41 - 55 A.D.) was the son of the Roman emperor Claudius and his third wife Messalina. ... Jacques Foccart (1914–1997) was French President Charles de Gaulles and then Georges Pompidous spindoctor for African policy, who founded in 1959 the Gaullist organization Service dAction Civique (SAC) with Charles Pasqua, which specialized in shady operations. ...

Algier's population was awoken on 22 April at 7 AM to a message read on the radio: "The army has taken control of Algeria and of the Sahara". The three rebel generals, Challe, Jouhaud and Zeller, had the government's general delegate arrested, as well as Jean Morin, National Minister of Public Transport, Robert Buron, who was visiting, and several civil and military personalities. Several regiments put themselves under the command of the insurrectionary generals. April 22 is the 112th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (113th in leap years). ... Robert Buron was a French politician and Minister of Finance from 20 January 1955 to 23 February 1955 and Minister of Public Works, Transport, and Tourism during De Gaulles third term from 9 June 1958 to 8 January 1959. ...

General Jacques Faure, six other officers and several civilians were simultaneously arrested in Paris. At 5 PM, during the ministers' council, Charles de Gaulle declared: "Gentlemen, what is serious in this affair, is that it isn't serious" [2]. He then proclaimed the state of emergency in Algeria, while left wing parties, trade union and the Ligue des droits de l'homme (LDH, Human Rights League) called to demonstrate against the militaries' coup d'état. A state of emergency is a governmental declaration that may suspend certain normal functions of government, may work to alert citizens to alter their normal behaviors, or may order government agencies to implement emergency preparedness plans. ... In politics, left-wing, political left, leftism, or simply the left, are terms that refer (with no particular precision) to the segment of the political spectrum typically associated with any of several strains of socialism, social democracy, or liberalism (especially but not exclusively in the American sense of the word... The Ligue des droits de lhomme (Human Rights League) is a French NGO founded on June 4, 1898, by the republican Ludovic Trarieux to defend captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jew wrongly accused of treason - this would be known as the Dreyfus Affair. ...

The following day, on Sunday 23 April, general Salan arrived from Spain and refused to arm civilian activists. At 8 PM, general de Gaulle appeared in his uniform on TV, calling for French military personnel and civilians, in the metropole or in Algeria, to oppose the putsch: April 23 is the 113th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (114th in leap years). ...

"An insurrectionary power has established itself in Algeria by a military pronunciamento... This power has an appearance: a quartet of retired generals (un quarteron de généraux en retraite). It has a reality: a group of officers, partisan, ambitious and fanatic. This group and this quartet possess an expeditive and limited savoir faire. But they see and understand the Nation and the world only deformed through their frenzy. Their enterprise lead directly towards a national disaster ... I forbid any Frenchman, and, first of all, any soldier, to execute any single one of their orders... Before the misfortune which hangs over the fatherland and the threat on the Republic, having taken advise from the Constitutional Council, the Premier ministre, the president of the Senate, the president of the National Assembly, I have decided to put in cause article 16 of the Constitution [on the state of emergency and full special powers given to the head of state in case of a crisis]. Starting from this day, I will take, directly if needs arise, the measures which seems to me demanded by circumstances... Françaises, Français! Help me!" [3] Pronunciamento (from Spanish pronunciamiento, proclamation) is a declaration by which a military coup détat is made official. ... A republican guard giving directions to visitors at the front entrance of the Constitutional Council The Constitutional Council (Conseil Constitutionnel) was established by the Constitution of the Fifth Republic on 4 October 1958. ... The Palais Bourbon, front The French National Assembly (French: Assemblée nationale) is one of the two houses of the bicameral Parliament of France under the Fifth Republic. ...

De Gaulle's call was heard on the radio by the conscript soldiers, who massively refused to follow the professional soldiers' call for insurgency. Trade unions decided for the next day a one hour general strike against the putsch. The few troops which had followed the generals progressively rendered themselves. General Challe also gave himself up to the authorities on 26 April, and was immediately transferred to the metropole. The putsch had been successfully opposed, but the article 16 on full and extraordinary powers given to de Gaulle was maintained during five months. Conscript redirects here, but may also refer to artificial script. ... A general strike is a strike action by an entire labour force in a city, region or country. ... April 26 is the 116th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (117th in leap years). ...

Trials and amnesty

A military court condemned Challe and André Zeller to fifteen years of prison. However, they were amnestied and reintegrated into their military dignity five years later. Raoul Salan and Jouhaud escaped. Salan was condemned in absentia to death penalty (later changed in life sentence) as well as Jouhaud. Salan and others later founded the OAS far right terrorist group which attempted to disrupt the April 1962 peace Evian Accords. But all penal sentences were amnestied by a July 1968 act. Putschist generals still alive in November 1982 were reintegrated into the Army by another amnesty law: Raoul Salan, Edmond Jouhaud, and six other generals benefitted from this law. In Absentia is the eighth studio album by British progressive rock band Porcupine Tree, first released in September 24, 2002. ... Capital punishment, or the death penalty, is the execution of a convicted criminal by the State as punishment for crimes known as capital crimes or capital offenses. ... The Organisation de larmée secrète (OAS; Secret Army Organization) was a short-lived French right-wing terrorist group formed in January 1961 to resist the granting of independence to the French colony of Algeria (Algérie française). ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into far right. ... -1...

Notes and references

  1. ^ Challe: le commandement réserve ses droits pour étendre son action à la métropole et reconstituer un ordre constitutionnel et républicain gravement compromis par un gouvernement dont l'illégalité éclate aux yeux de la nation.
  2. ^ De Gaulle: Ce qui est grave dans cette affaire, messieurs, c’est qu’elle n’est pas sérieuse
  3. ^ De Gaulle: Un pouvoir insurrectionnel s'est établi en Algérie par un pronunciamiento militaire. [...] Ce pouvoir a une apparence : un quarteron de généraux en retraite. Il a une réalité : un groupe d'officiers, partisans, ambitieux et fanatiques. Ce groupe et ce quarteron possèdent un savoir-faire expéditif et limité. Mais ils ne voient et ne comprennent la Nation et le monde que déformés à travers leur frénésie. Leur entreprise conduit tout droit à un désastre national. [...] Voici l'Etat bafoué, la Nation défiée, notre puissance ébranlée, notre prestige international abaissé, notre place et notre rôle en Afrique compromis. Et par qui ? Hélas ! hélas ! hélas ! par des hommes dont c'était le devoir, l'honneur, la raison d'être de servir et d'obéir.
    Au nom de la France, j'ordonne que tous les moyens, je dis tous les moyens, soient employés pour barrer partout la route à ces hommes-là, en attendant de les réduire. J'interdis à tout Français et, d'abord, à tout soldat, d'exécuter aucun de leurs ordres. [...]
    Devant le malheur qui plane sur la patrie et la menace qui pèse sur la République, ayant pris l'avis officiel du Conseil constitutionnel, du Premier ministre, du président du Sénat, du président de l'Assemblée nationale, j'ai décidé de mettre en cause l'article 16 de notre Constitution. A partir d'aujourd'hui, je prendrai, au besoin directement, les mesures qui me paraîtront exigées par les circonstances.[...]
    Françaises, Français ! Aidez - moi !

A pronunciamiento (literally, pronouncement or declaration) is the Spanish term for a military uprising or coup in Spain and the Spanish American republics, particularly in the 19th century. ...


  • Pierre Abramovici and Gabriel Périès, La Grande Manipulation, éd. Hachette, 2006

Hachette is a large French media group, now a multinational. ...


  • Le Crabe-tambour
  • La bataille d'Alger, de Gillo Pontecorvo
  • Avoir vingt ans dans les Aurès, de René Vautier

Italian filmmaker Gillo Pontecorvo is best known for “La battaglia di Algeri” (The Battle of Algiers), but directed several movies before its release in 1966, such as the drama “Kapo” (1960), which takes place in a World War II concentration camp. ...

External links

  • La réhabilitation des généraux putschistes, en 1982, Human Rights League (French)
  • Article in Le Monde, 2001 (French)
  • Article by Pierre Abramovici (French)

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