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Algeria during the Vichy regime

On June 17, 1940, nearly two years after the Second World War, Marshal Philippe Petain calls radio encouraging the French people to stop fighting against German forces. 24 days later he proclaimed himself head of state, and the Vichy regime was declared for all French territories. Among these lands, Algeria, a French colony since 1830, and part of the territory since 1848, under the authority of Vichy, plays an important role in the Second World War and the collapse of the colonial empire, and is heralding the decline of the Collaboration. Both actor and spectator, Algeria between 1940 and 1942 - the date of the Allied landings in North Africa - an example of the Vichy government's presence in the French colonies, besides being of strategic importance for resistance.

Both actor and spectator, Algeria between 1940 and 1942 - the date of the Allied landings in North Africa - an example of government presence Vichy in the French colonies, besides being of strategic importance for the Resistance

Much information is taken from the book "Algeria under the Vichy regime" of Jacques CANTIER.
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I - The arrival of vichysme in Algeria: At
beginning of June 1940, the situation is calm in Algeria, and the colony is far off fighting in the city. Private direct information about the war, public opinion is fully submitted to the press, as evidenced by an excerpt of "The Forgotten Hill" by Mouloud Mammeri " We had neither the time nor the inclination to read the newspapers and it was the civilians that we learned the steps in advance German. We admire the efficiency of the Maginot Line when she was already on tour, we revolt with our informant felony of the Belgians when the Germans were complaining Amiens in France and when Paris surrendered already. " That same public is not less disturbed during the early days of the Vichy regime: after the speeches of 7 and 20 June, is divided into two camps. On the one hand, misinterpretation of these defeatist discourse emphasizes the excitement and patriotic fervor of the people of Algeria. On the other hand, a favorable movement in the Vichy government stands: June 21, archbishop of Algiers and Bishop Leynaud Okbi El Sheikh, an important figure of the movement of scholars, encourage the Algerian people to trust Pétain.Cet optimism before the arrival of the Vichy regime is seen followed by the arrival of propaganda in Algeria, and the personality cult of Marshal Petain as the pictures below show the cons, the image of Marshal is ubiquitous in France as in the colonies. In addition, the press is handled immediately after the defeat: "The Dispatch Algerian" or "L'Echo d'Alger," for example, suddenly change its editorial line. By controlling the media, Pétain's speech can reach, and the Third Republic is regarded as an "old regime" before the vote on July 10, 1940.

[propaganda in favor of Marshal Petain]

vichysme's arrival in Algeria is also accompanied by the creation new institutions. For example, the French Legion of fighters born in order to spread the doctrine of national revolution, as shown in an excerpt of the law founding this institution: " veterans must form the beam of their wishes. They are everywhere and up in each village forming groups determined to enforce and implement the wise counsel of their leader and 18 of Verdun. " The birth of these new institutions is followed by an overhaul
Total administrative elite, and a wide prefectural movement: out of 94 prefects position in 1940, 26 were retired, 29 dismissed and 37 displaced.
[the youth of the French Legion of fighters]

II - The roots of the Vichy regime:
After introduction of this new hierarchy, the Vichy regime may develop fully. The Algeria becomes an extension of the metropolis, and the logic of exclusions are soon to be applied: presented as a prerequisite for the unification Nationally, the exclusion of Jews and other classes considered as natural enemies of the regime is not expected. Thus, Cremieux Decree of 1870, which granted French citizenship to any Jew from Algeria, was abolished. Similarly, the policy of stifling democracy is applied: the politicians and officers are appointed directly by the authorities of the Vichy regime, and what to avoid ending up in the presence of elected officials involved in the Popular Front or support a anti-French movement. Petain, in criticizing universal suffrage, it adds just goes " certain deceptive appearances of freedom "(cf. speech October 10, 1940). Similarly in the mainland, the regime openly collaborating with the Third Reich, sending Algerian workers work in the service of Germany, or by sending of supplies to the Afrika Korps, the corps installed the German war in Africa.
In addition to resume and to strictly implement the measures adopted in France, the various governors of French Africa and Algeria and outbid add laws that exceed demands of the Vichy regime. Maxime Weygand, for example, in September 1941 establishes a "numerus clausus" school excluding almost all Jewish children in public schools, including primary schools, which did not arrive in France. It also prohibits the Freemasons and encloses, with the support of Admiral Abrial, the "opponents" in prison camps in southern Algeria and Morocco, as well as volunteers from the Foreign Legion and foreign refugees without a contract.

[poster encouraging them to donate towards Algeria]
Because of the severity of the winter of 1941-1942 and the spring drought, crops Algerian for the year 1942 are insufficient. In this situation are compounded by the difficulties facing the regime with its interventionist policy and with the command economy. This, as well as poor development of the Algerian trade, means a crisis in 1942 and a significant deterioration in living standards of local populations, as noted by Mouloud Mammeri in "The Forgotten Hill": "So many beggars hollow-eyed dragged their feet on the road bleeding and it was cured to doubt if the hand of God himself could satisfy them and clothe them all. "

III - The end of the Vichy Algeria:
The Crisis of 1942 and the deterioration of living conditions, it means a loss of prestige of the regime and discontent local populations. This only widens an anti-European sentiment already present before the establishment of the Vichy regime: according to estimates by the head of ICE at the Prefecture of Algiers, 5 to 20% of the Muslim population is anti-French in June 1940. Despite the propaganda and the cult of Marshal Petain, and despite the repression, this feeling will germinate to give rise Resistance to locale.Constituée small nuclei with little connection between them, the only organized resistance until later: it was not until 1942 that meet the leader of the Resistance Algiers, Aboulker, Oran and his counterpart, Henri d 'Astier de la Vigerie.

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Both cores agree to prepare an Allied landing in North Africa and do not hesitate to contact the American diplomat Murphy for their help. Thus, Operation Torch, the result of an agreement between Algiers and the United States, is born: 8 November 1942, nearly 107,000 men landed on the beaches of North Africa and with the help of the Resistance, took control of territory in very little time. After bloody battles, Admiral in June, the governor of Algeria, and Admiral Darlan, leader of the government eventually capitulated and ordered the cease-fire to Algiers, Oran and Morocco.
The putsch of 8 November and the culmination of Operation Torch mark the entrance into the war French Africa and a desire to return to democratic values. With this in mind that General de Gaulle in Algiers moves May 1943 and founded the CFLN (French Committee of National Liberation). Not only did the committee work he restore the republic, including restoring the Cremieux decree, but it also establishes some important reforms, such as the extension of voting rights to women and improving the lives of the colonized in Africa French.
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The arrival of the Vichy regime in Algeria is marked by a disturbing the public opinion which will be accentuated by the propaganda Petain, but after the introduction a new hierarchy, the measures taken in France not long in reaching the settlement. Under the leadership of General Weygand, some laws have even exaggerated, like those concerning the logic of exclusion. Later, the crisis of 1942 leading to discontent increasingly important: the result of Operation Torch, and the establishment of CFLN. This committee, which plays an important role in the restoration of democratic values, eventually eclipsing the Vichy regime, becoming the latest GPRF (Provisional Government of the French Republic), and making void all acts and decrees promoted after the June 16, 1940. After the Liberation, which will be the culmination of joint efforts of the Allies, the GPRF and Resistance, a new era begins for France: that of rebuilding post-war and purification. On the Algerian side, nationalism buried during the Vichy regime may finally wake up.

Amine - Yanis A. and Naji
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References: * "Algeria under the Vichy regime", Jacques CANTIER, Editions Odile Jacob * Encyclopaedia Free Wikipedia: Pages concerned: "Vichy Regime," "CFLN", "Darlan", "Algeria", "Petain", "Maxime Weygand" * "The Hill forgotten "Mouloud Mammeri, Folio editions
Images: * the troops of Operation Torch reaches the beaches * more images: from the Inserts specification of "Algeria under the Vichy regime" by Jacques CANTIER National Archives, Paris Archive of overseas, Aix-en-Provence Photography Gautherot Jacques (CD), collection Vianney Lambert Orleans


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