A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 1, 1954: Toussaint Rouge, The Algerian War Begins

Sixty-three years ago today, a day remembered as Toussaint Rouge, "Red All Saints' Day," the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) staged 30 or more raids against French military and police posts throughout Algeria. It heralded the beginning of the eight year war for Algerian independence, a war which would bring down the Fourth French Republic and inaugurate the Fifth with the return of Charles de Gaulle, finally leading to Algerian independence in 1962.

The war, which saw hundreds of thousands of casualties, remains an enormous event in Algerian national consciousness. Though ailing and rarely appearing in public, President Abdelaziz Bouteflika is a living reminder of those days when most of the other historic leaders have passed on. Today the median age in Algeria is in the 20s; few Algerians today witnessed the War of Independence.

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