Algeria sits at the crossroads of the Atlantic, European, Arab and African worlds. Yet, unlike the colonial wars in Korea and Vietnam, the Algerian war for independence has rarely been viewed as a primarily international conflict. Rather, prevailing accounts of the war interpret it as a domestic French crisis that was resolved when Charles de Gaulle granted Algeria independence. Yet, as Matthew Connelly here demonstrates, from the very start of the bloody eight year struggle, the Front de Liberation Nationale pursued self-rule on the world stage. Exploiting Cold War competition and regional rivalries, the spread of mass communications, and international and non-governmental organisations, such as human rights groups, foreign press conferences, and the
United Nations, the rebels harnessed international forces to bring pressure to bear on the French government, which became obsessed with the conflict's impact on its reputation. By winning rights and recognition from the global community, the rebels helped break up the French colonial empire and rewrite the rules of international relations. In narrating the Algerian war for independence, Connelly analyses how the United States and other states influenced the war and were, in turn, influenced by it. He interprets it in a global and comparative context, arguing for a reconceptualisation of diplomatic history as international history. Based on research on three continents and, for the first time, the rebels' own archives, this study of the Algerian war for independence offers a
landmark reevaluation of the conflict forty years after its conclusion and a model for the writing of international history.
Readership: Historians of twentieth century diplomacy, France and the Middle East, and those interested in postcolonial studies, international politics, foreign policymaking and the Cold War era.
Matthew Connelly, Associate Professor of History, University of Michigan
"... indispensable for any detailed study of the Algerian war." - The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
"This book must rate as one of the most important works not only on Algeria but also on decolonisation that has appeared in recent years. It is fully and meticulously researched, the chapter sequence admirably structured, and the writing, despite the complexities of the argument, clear and effective." - The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History
"The book is well-written, thought provoking, thoroughly documented (67 pages of notes, 25 of bibliography), and altogether a welcome contribution to the literature on the Algerian war. Coming at a moment of re-examination of the war in
France, with the recent confirmations of the practice of torture put forward by General Aussaresses and other participants in this great human drama, it is timely as well." - The Journal of North African Studies
"... a well-researched and provocatively fresh account of one of the great episodes of twentieth-century decolonisation." - The Journal of North African Studies
"Connelly offers a novel interpretation of the struggle between France and the Algerian nationalists, seeing it as a harbinger of the post-Cold War international system." - The Journal of North African Studies
"[Connelly's] multiarchival research is impressive, especially his pioneering work in the recently available Algerian records. Above
all, he has taken an innovative analytical approach, and engaging alternative to traditional diplomatic historiography." - The International History Review