The Algerian War French Combatants and Collective Memory, an Enquiry Publication date : January 13, 2016
Jean-Charles Jauffret is a professor of history at the Institute of Political Science (Aix-en-Provence), where he heads the history department and a master’s research programme in comparative military history. A specialist in colonial wars, he has written numerous works on the Algerian War and the Afghan conflict.
The Algerian War of Independence continues to be a divisive subject in French memory. The French conscripts and reserve troops who fought in Algeria, from 1954 to 1962, were the representatives of the last major French conflict: two million Frenchmen were enrolled for eight years in a war whose moral and political repercussions endure to this day.
The result of an investigation that took more than twenty years and included extensive archival research and countless interviews with officers, legionnaires and politicians, this book is an encyclopaedia of the memory of the Algerian War. It examines the issues that were at stake in the conflict, the strategies used, and the violent acts that took place.
Avoiding the usual consensual memory politics, this book makes a determined effort to describe the feelings of shame and rebellion roused by the conflict. It brings to life not only an era and its ideologies, but also a state of mind, a certain intellectual background, and the convictions of the players in the war — or rather in the Algerian wars, given that the memories and the experiences differ so greatly.
The book combines close, detailed research with far-reaching analysis and reflection. In addition, the author has refused to allow emotional responses and those grey areas of the past to get in the way of the history he has set out to write. Not only has he restored an era, he has also given a voice to the war veterans: not just the living but also the dead whose memoirs and letters he has had access to.
• A far-reaching work by a recognised expert on the Algerian War.
• An enquiry that focuses on the men who fought in the war.
• A thought-provoking study of the legacy of a war that remains a painful chapter in French and Algerian history.
• The Algerian War was the last conflict in which French conscripts were mobilised.