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Thread: The Prisoners of Silence - NSDAP 1936-1991 (History and background)

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    I vote for general overview of Africa in the 50s.
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    The results are clear, and the next update will be about postwar Africa.
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    Postwar Africa I: French African colonies and the Brazzaville Conference

    "Anyone trying to judge the events of the present in the light of the mistakes of the past might be surprised that the French had decided to convene this African conference. "Wait !" the falsely cautious voices of the past might have warned us. "The war is not yet won. No one knows what peace will bring tomorrow. France, alas ! has more urgent preoccupations than the future of her overseas territories." But it seemed to the government that nothing would be less justified than this delay and nothing more imprudent than this prudence. Far from making delays desirable, the present cruel and complicated situation demands a spirit of enterprise. This is true in all spheres, but particularly so in the case of the things the Conference of Brazzaville will be discussing. Without wishing to exaggerate the urgency of our reasons for wanting to study the whole problem of French Africa, we feel that the tremendous events which are shaking the world oblige us not to put things off ; the terrible trial of the temporary occupation of metropolitan France by the enemy does not absolve France at war of her powers or her rights ; finally, the present assembly of all our African possessions gives us an excellent opportunity of calling a meeting, under the guidance of the Commissioner for the Colonies...When the moment comes it is for the French nation and for her alone, to proceed with the major structural reforms on which she will decide. But in the meantime we must start planning for the future today. You will study the spiritual, social, political, economic and other problems in each territory with a view to advising the Government on how they can be solved and so that the development and the progress of the populations concerned enables them to integrate with the French community without losing their personality, their interests, their aspirations or their future.

    Gentlemen, I declare the African Conference at Brazzaville to be open."
    Charles de Gaulle, January 1944.


    The main causes of the postwar situation in French Africa were firmly rooted to the struggle of colonial control fought between the Vichy regime and the Free French movement. World War II had brought about the division of France into two ideological camps, each asking for legitimacy from the colonized. Two Frances had emerged - each claiming to be the "true" France, and both appealing to colonial subjects for their loyalty and trying to prove their legitimacy. France's colonial subjects were no longer taken for granted. Matters where complicated even further when the Zürich Accord was signed on 22nd of April 1946 and the bloody and long war in European theatre turned into bitter cold war. Meanwhile the relations between the Allies and CFLN, The Comité Francais de la Libération Nationale, were deteriorating fast. The war-era had opened French colonialism to unprecendented international scrutiny. Roosevelt’s visit to Casablanca in 1943 had confirmed him of the harmful effects of French colonial rule in Morocco and later in the same year he had repeatedly expressed the view that France had achieved little after nearly a centry of colonial rule in Indochina.

    From the American point of view General de Gaulle and his continuing drive for political power seemed to jeopardize wartime and postwar goals, creating instability and the danger of civil strife in North Africa. During the Trident Conference Roosevelt and Hull had allready told Churchill that continued British backing for de Gaulle would cause serious friction in the United States.Roosevelt urged Churchill to abadon de Gaulle, expressing that he was "fed up" with the ambitious general and that he was "absolutely convinced that he has been and still is injuring our war effort...that he is a very dangerous threat to us...and that he would double-cross both of us at the first opportunity." Ultimately neither Roosevelt or Churchill could find a compromise on which both sides could fully agree, they had decided to issue separate statements on relations with the CFLN. While both had welcomed its establishment as a vehicle of fighting the war, the American declaration had explicitly ruled out recognition "of a government of France or of the French empire" and limited its acceptance of the Committee to the administration of "those French overseas territories which acknowledge its authority" and to functions "within specific limitations during the war." By contrast, Britain had said nothing about the Committee as a government of France or the Empire, and specifically acknowledged it "as the body qualified to ensure the conduct of the French effort in the war within the framework of inter-allied cooperation. After the war the new Truman Administration, focused primarily on foreign policy of containment towards the New Europe, was still seriously questionizing whether preserving Free French rule in the region would be the best way to guarantee North African security.

    The leadership of CFLN was now indeed in dire straits, and a catastrophe they had feared ever since the armistice in Soviet Union seemed to be at hand. Henri Laurentie, Director of Political Affairs of Comissariaut aux Colonies noted grimly: “We are in the middle of a colonial crisis. Feelings of disaffection, mistrust and hate manifest themselves on so many issues that this forms a dangerous whole. There is little we can do against this: the apathy of the masses is not enough to counter the nationalism which is everywhere beginning to emerge and assert itself. If we do not respond to these feelings of disaffection among its colonial populations and fulfil the promises made earlier, the result will be anarchy and the eviction of French control from the colonies.” But while the current situation in the postwar world seemed grim, the CFLN had not been idly hoping for the best without taking any precaution against the kind of international isolation they were now facing. When the Atlantic Charter of 1941 had declared the right of all peoples to choose their own government and following this the American Secretary of State, Cordell Hull, had proposed placing the colonial empires under international trusteeship at the end of the war, the Free French leadership had been simply forced to react.



    In response to the mounting international criticism, De Gaulle and his Comissaire aux Colonies, René Pleven, were determined to show the US that they had no intention of relinquishing the French control of colonies after the war. At the same time, they wanted to acknowledge the crucial military and economic contribution that French Africa had made to the war effort and signal to Africans their intention to reform the imperial relationship once hostilities ended. However, by 1944 their first priority was the maintenance of France´s African Empire. Early in 1944, after the Treaty of Kirovograd had created an uneasy truce to the former Eastern Front a year earlier, General Charles de Gaulle embarked upon a grand tour of French Africa, now under the rule of his provisional government in Algiers. He hoped not only to provide visible proof of the reality of Free French rule, but also to reassert what had become to him a matter of principle: that France and its empire were an indissoluble whole and that their historic link had been reforged in the war against the Axis. He was greeted by cheering crowds in Rabat, Dakar, Conakry, Abidjan, Lomé, Cotonou, Douala, Libreville, and finally, Brazzaville where he opened a conference of forty-four French colonial administrators and political and trade union leaders on January.

    De Gaulle and his aides undoubtedly recognized the need for reconsidering imperial relations, and therefore sought to give early expression to their understanding. They know well how vital this kind activity was, since from African perspective the changes of regime, to Vichy and then from Vichy to Free French had made little difference so far: the locals were still ruled by the same colonial officials who continued to use forced labour and ruled them through the same indigénat as before the war. The eighteen governors who assembled in Brazzaville had two tasks: to define the spheres of European and African activity and to devise means of giving the locals a chance of political responsibility. Ultimately the conference was tasked lay down the broad lines of French postwar colonial policy. The selection of the location of this event was not coincidental: Brazzaville, capital of French Equatorial Africa, had been the first provisional capital of CFLN.

    Henri Laurentie, the Director of Political Affairs at the Comissariaut aux Colonies in Algiers prepared the conference programme. It envisaged transforming the colonial empire into a federation, to be governed by a new federal assembly with elected representatives from each of the associated territories, supervised by representatives that would be initially elected from current and colonial administration and in future recruited from the métropole. Within the federation, the colonies would enjoy considerable economic and administrative freedom, and local elected assemblies would afford Africans the opportunity to become involved in the management of their own affairs. Laurentie didin´t even rule out the eventual possibility of self-government, but it was made clear that such development would be the culmination of a very long process of development that had barely begun.

    When Laurentie´s program was published, the fact that the conference included no African political leaders necessarily limited it´s horizons. What African views were expressed were channelled through Félix Eboué, a Guyanese of African descend, who was governor-general of the AEF and one of the most important participants of the conference. Eboué had long been active on behalf of colonial reform presented a report that included documents submitted by evolué groups in Brazzaville and two statements by Fily Dabo Sissoko, a local intellectual and chef de canton. Eboué maintained a marked bias towards maintaining status quo and was a solid supporter of reform that would aim towards the model of British doctrine of Indirect Rule. Thus the recommendations of the conference suffered from a certain lack of precision that partly concealed an uneasy compromise between Eboué and the more conservative colonial administration. Under de Gaulle´s watchful eye the conference nevertheless emerged with a program that it styled “recommendations,” ostensibly with the purpose of establishing a French constituent assembly after the war. These actual recommendations from the conference were in several respects significantly more conservative in nature than Laurentie´s vision: his idea of colonial federation was rejected, it was made clear that future political power would reside exclusively with the métropole, and any future possibility of the colonies governing themselves was emphatically ruled out.



    The Brazzaville Conference, as it came to be known, nevertheless recommended radical political, social, and economic reforms. It accepted the representation of the colonies in the French Constituent Assembly, which was to draw up a new French constitution after the war, and the subsequent representation of the colonies in whatever parliamentary body the constitution established. The conference also recommended that the colonies be administered with greater autonomy and that both French citizens and Africans be permitted to elect a legislative assembly. In addition, the conference committed the French government to respect local customs, abolish the indigénat, adopt a new unified penal code, end labor conscription, improve health and educational facilities, and open positions in the colonial administration to Africans. The conference also urged the rapid extension of social services, particularly education. On the key point of education, all speakers were firmly in support of French used as the sole medium in schools. Special emphasis was put to technical education: the development of colonial resources with a view of improving African living standards: industrialization, including the establishment of pilot state factories, the development of communications; and improvement of agricultural techniques and equipment. Despite equivocation on the crucial questions of French citizenship, the indigénat and forced labor and the uncertainty about the possibility of federal relationship between the metropole and the colonies, the conference represented the most important change in French colonial policy since the creation of federations of French colonial possessions of AOF, 'Afrique occidentale française, and AEF, 'Afrique équatoriale française. But while the French were publicly speaking nobly about their intentions, the actual "guidelines" adopted by the conference clearly portrayed the actual nature of their postwar colonial policy:

    1. Categorical rejection of any idea of autonomy or self-government for the overseas territories or of any weakening of the imperial connection.
    2. Representation of the colonial peoples first in a new constituent assembly and later within the centrepiece of the new system, a colonial parliament, in a “Federal Assembly.”
    3. Creation with the colonies of representative assemblies with mixed European and African membership that would perform limited budgetary and advisory functions;
    4. Retention of higher executive and administrative powers in French hands, leaving the Africans mainly the task of carrying out rules and orders from above:
    5. Creation of "some sort of imperial citizenship"; and
    6. Suppression of the indigénat as soon as the war ends and elimination of forced labor within five years after the end of the war – though the conference did recommend a one-year period of compulsory public labor service for Africans of twenty and twenty-one years of age who had been “recognized as suitable, but not called up for military service.”

    But even these declarations were initially reserved for external, “American” benefit, and the local authorities remained opposed to all kinds of reform, organizing their own colonial conference to lobby their rights in Douala in September 1945. Here they agreed to form a political group to oppose all liberal reforms in French Africa, resulting in the formation of Etats Généraux de la Colonisation Francaise in 1946 to lobby for French colonial interest. Soon the tensions over policy between local colonial state led from Dakar and the CFLN begun to grow, as the latter was slowly trying to adapt to the new geopolitical situation where Vichy regime seemed to further consolidate it´s control of metropolitan France, forcing the CFLN to seriously reconsider it´s colonial policy in Africa and thus bringing them into conflict with conservative bias of the French colons in Africa. The members of this priviledged minority had little stomach for colonial reform, and they sought to minimize the impact that changes in colonial policy might have on their privileged position. The most of the traditional colonial lobby of planters, settlers, colonial trading companies and deputes of the right and centre-right favourable to colonial interests had lost much of their former influence since many of them had been in close association with Vichy.

    Yet it was soon clear that these conservatives were fighting a losing battle. While the officials of the Colonial Ministry were generally as conservative as the old colons in Africa, they were painfully aware of their lack of choise in the matter. By 1946 it was clear that metropolitan France had been effectively lost, and unless the CFLN regime in Algiers would find a way to radically reform itself by creating a new political structure to the former colonial empire, it would not survive long either. While a bitter struggle against the crumbling Resistance brought more and more refugees from mainland France to the shores of Algeria during 1946, the constituent assembly of the CFLN was working to determine the future of French Africa.
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  4. #304
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    While a bitter struggle against the crumbling Resistance brought more and more refugees from mainland France to the shores of Algeria during 1946, the constituent assembly of the CFLN was working to determine the future of French Africa.
    With Vichy France and Free France vying to be the "true" France, how does the relocation of refugees from Vichy France to Free France work? Does Vichy France tolerate people leaving their control? Is there some sort of understanding between the two Frances?

    In addition, how does the influx of refugees affect the divisive situation in the French African colonies?
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    Wow. I'm speechless.

    Well, other than what I'm writing, I guess. Where was the quote from?
    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    The most of the traditional colonial lobby of planters, settlers, colonial trading companies and deputes of the right and centre-right favourable to colonial interests had lost much of their former influence since many of them had been in close association with Vichy.
    I'm not so sure the companies would be opposed; Britain's corporatons were able to come to terms with the end of the empire, for the most part, and at least in the Gold Coast and Malaya did a bangup job playing both sides. Moreover, who is Africa trading with that this point, if not Anti-colonial America?
    I am therefore officially rooting for a Franco-German strike on Russia, prompting the Soviets to strike back with their hitherto secret nukes. This will serve as a salutary lesson to all involved and leave everyone suitably chastened.-El Pip

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    Nostalgia Bombs Researcher Asalto's Avatar
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    Interesting story.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Madien View Post
    With Vichy France and Free France vying to be the "true" France, how does the relocation of refugees from Vichy France to Free France work? Does Vichy France tolerate people leaving their control? Is there some sort of understanding between the two Frances?

    In addition, how does the influx of refugees affect the divisive situation in the French African colonies?
    The situation is bit like OTL refugee issue in the early DDR and the annexed Baltic states - initially the regime is unable to take control of the situation and is even reluctant to do so, since the first exiles are often the most active opponents of the regime. But as soon as the number of refugees grows, the authorities hastily secure the borders as the Iron Curtain is raised to the borders of New Europe.

    The refugees flock to Algeria, and that does little to ease the local tensions there.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faeelin View Post
    Wow. I'm speechless.

    Well, other than what I'm writing, I guess. Where was the quote from?
    I´m under the impression it´s from the actual speech that opened the event. The French postwar colonial plans and local development have been really interesting subject, so expect new update(s) soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faeelin View Post
    I'm not so sure the companies would be opposed; Britain's corporatons were able to come to terms with the end of the empire, for the most part, and at least in the Gold Coast and Malaya did a bangup job playing both sides. Moreover, who is Africa trading with that this point, if not Anti-colonial America?
    OTL many major French companies are still actively running their former businesses in parts of the former French colonial empire as well. That doesn´t mean that their conservative leadership was initially happy about the idea they perceive as hypocritical Yankees coming to dictate them what kind of rights to organize and vote their previously virtually enslaved local labor force should receive.

    But the stage is set: just like in OTL, the organization of first local trade unions will set things in motion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Asalto View Post
    Interesting story.
    Thanks for the reply, it´s always good to have feedback.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    T||OTL many major French companies are still actively running their former businesses in parts of the former French colonial empire as well. That doesn´t mean that their conservative leadership was initially happy about the idea they perceive as hypocritical Yankees coming to dictate them what kind of rights to organize and vote their previously virtually enslaved local labor force should receive.
    Here's an incredibly geeky question. Who owns these companies?

    I'm assuming most are public corporations, but that would mean the shareholders are probably in Metropolitan, hostile, France. I doubt anyon'e lis listening to them. This suggests these corporations are, in practice, controlled by the French government in exile, even if their nominal owners are in France itself.

    Thinking out loud, the revenues from these corporations will be available in ways they weren't OTL to develop the place. Sound feasible?
    I am therefore officially rooting for a Franco-German strike on Russia, prompting the Soviets to strike back with their hitherto secret nukes. This will serve as a salutary lesson to all involved and leave everyone suitably chastened.-El Pip

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    Whoa, nice update!! Seems like the French aren't through the mourning over the loss of their métropole yet. How much of those events is OTL, and how much ATL?

    Quote Originally Posted by Faeelin View Post
    Here's an incredibly geeky question. Who owns these companies?

    I'm assuming most are public corporations, but that would mean the shareholders are probably in Metropolitan, hostile, France. I doubt anyon'e lis listening to them. This suggests these corporations are, in practice, controlled by the French government in exile, even if their nominal owners are in France itself.

    Thinking out loud, the revenues from these corporations will be available in ways they weren't OTL to develop the place. Sound feasible?
    Very interesting observation. As long as there are still markets, there will be revenue. If that revenue is kept within the colonial empire, Free France may actually have more money to develop the colonies than OTL France spent on them.

    On the other hand, those markets may be small for a long time. Axis Europe is firmly shut off from international trade and limping along producing inferior ersatz products from inferior ersatz resources. Instead of using Cobalt, Vanadium, Chromite, Bauxite, Uranium and other rare materials which Africa produces, they use what is available inside the Nazi sphere.

    So there is only a limited market for African resources, not comparable to the favorable environment of the OTL 1950s. The markets are mostly closed off, and until Japan and the UK recover from the war and restart their civilian economies, which may be years later than in our history, Africa will remain as poor as it was before the war.

    Has anything been said about how where Germany and its satellites are getting their raw materials from? Are they still going by the prewar and wartime guidelines about autarky? Stuff like the chemical coal-to-liquids industries and a lot of metallurgic processes were developed to cope with the lack of crude oil and rare metals that plagued Germany before and during the war. If Germany stays on autarky course (and particularly if China stays fubar for the next decades), the world might never get the kind of industrial boom that happened in OTL late 1950s/1960s. With all the consequences for the export countries in South America and Africa.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faeelin View Post
    Here's an incredibly geeky question. Who owns these companies?

    I'm assuming most are public corporations, but that would mean the shareholders are probably in Metropolitan, hostile, France. I doubt anyon'e lis listening to them. This suggests these corporations are, in practice, controlled by the French government in exile, even if their nominal owners are in France itself.

    Thinking out loud, the revenues from these corporations will be available in ways they weren't OTL to develop the place. Sound feasible?
    Most of these companies are indeed public corporations. During the 1920s the French private investors looked to the empire to provide healthy returns to venture capital after the calamitous of the Russian market in 1917, and more joint stock companies were established to the colonies between 1919 and 1929 than in any other period of colonial rule. But the private investment was focused to the high-profit export industries, whereas the private sector investment in colonial development was rather minimal - and initially the state was far from eager to fill the gap.

    When the WWII begun, French Africa had a business life where 77 international firms, 15 of them foreign in origin ruled the markets. 39 of them were focused solely on exporting agricultural and forestry goods to global markets. These companies were based on local centers such as Bamako, Conakry, Abidjan, Porto Novo, Lomé but above all Dakar. But while the situation seemed complex on the first glance, in reality the Société commerciale de l´Ouest Africain (SCOA) and Compagnie francaise de l'Afrique Occidentale (CFAO) were the ones who runned the show.

    Through the war SCOA was the largest trading company in West Africa - it based it´s success on the same strategy that had gained it considerable profits during the Great War by supplying raw materials to war-waging global markets while simultaneously expanding its capital base. Together with CFAO the two companies runned effective oligopolies, dwarfing the other companies by the resources at their disposal, the multiplicity of their interests, scale of their organization and the links they had to the commercial and industrial groups in France. Through the war these colonial exporters depended on foreign shipping to carry much of their produce, the French merchant fleet being too small to handle the bulk of the colonial exports.

    In OTL these happy days of colonial business were effectively over in April 1944 when Free French Comissioner for Colonies, René Pleven, reminded the AEF Grand Council that a key objective of Brazzaville conference was to reverse the previous twenty-five years of governmental neglect and under-investment in Sub-Saharan Africa especially.

    I would say thay your theory is quite plausible. OTL pre-war French colonial state taxed subject populations to generate sufficient budgetary revenue to support its bureaucracy, military costs and limited social provision. Meanwhile the colonial development, the biggest single item of budgetary expenditude, was supported by a combination of fiscal revenue, state loans and private sector investment. And while in OTL there remained an underlying community of interest between colonial government and French trading companies, settler industrialists and landowners to ensure a continued supply of cheap local labour after the war, they don´t have the power to maintain status quo in the situation they are facing in post-Zürich world in summer 1946.


    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    Whoa, nice update!! Seems like the French aren't through the mourning over the loss of their métropole yet. How much of those events is OTL, and how much ATL?
    Actually it´s all OTL so far, except the fact that there is no Provisional Government that would bring first African representatives to the National Assembly when the Fourth Republic is established. Instead the CFLN sticks around with the constituent assembly and tries to work around a new administrative structure to their remaining powerbase in Africa.


    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    Very interesting observation. As long as there are still markets, there will be revenue. If that revenue is kept within the colonial empire, Free France may actually have more money to develop the colonies than OTL France spent on them.
    And since the CFLN doesn´t have any place to run, they are unsuprisingly trying desperately to secure their future in Africa.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    On the other hand, those markets may be small for a long time. Axis Europe is firmly shut off from international trade and limping along producing inferior ersatz products from inferior ersatz resources. Instead of using Cobalt, Vanadium, Chromite, Bauxite, Uranium and other rare materials which Africa produces, they use what is available inside the Nazi sphere.
    As a sidenote all those minerals you mentioned are actually found from the area of New Europe, allthough the size of these deposits varies greatly.


    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    So there is only a limited market for African resources, not comparable to the favorable environment of the OTL 1950s. The markets are mostly closed off, and until Japan and the UK recover from the war and restart their civilian economies, which may be years later than in our history, Africa will remain as poor as it was before the war.
    It´s all true, allthough one should also include the Republic of Italy to the list of future Western markets. But there is still one recovering major economy that has dire need for new exports now. The main problem for Africa is indeed the fact that European markets are now gone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Leviathan07 View Post
    Has anything been said about how where Germany and its satellites are getting their raw materials from? Are they still going by the prewar and wartime guidelines about autarky? Stuff like the chemical coal-to-liquids industries and a lot of metallurgic processes were developed to cope with the lack of crude oil and rare metals that plagued Germany before and during the war. If Germany stays on autarky course (and particularly if China stays fubar for the next decades), the world might never get the kind of industrial boom that happened in OTL late 1950s/1960s. With all the consequences for the export countries in South America and Africa.
    Autarky is indeed the official economic goal of the New Europe, but the different economic camps of the divided Cold War world are still recovering from the war through various means. The European economy is severely capped by constant shortages of certain raw materials, and this affects their policy towards their remaining colonial possessions - the Portuguese colonies. But more of this later.
    Last edited by Karelian; 16-06-2009 at 11:43.
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    Postwar Africa II: "Liberté! Égalité! Fraternité!" - Birth of the French Union


    “Houphouët has always been in favour of union, he only lives for union, firstly between all the Africans of Côte d´Ivoire, then between all the Africans of French Africa and all French people of good-will, who are incapable of betraying France´s civilizing mission, but a true union with absolute equality of rights and duties….

    We do not believe full assimilation to be necessary. Our countries retain their personality within the French Union…The most important thing is equality and liberty for all. Our elected representatives have won freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of association, absolute equality in every field. What more do we want? It is up to us to make this equality a reality and show ourselves to be worthy of the rights we have gained through determined work with our hands and our brains.”

    Ouezzin Coubaly, député of RDA, in the opening session of the Assembly of the French Union, 1947.



    Bamako Congress - Rise of the RDA and assimilationist nationalism


    On October 18th 1946, eight hundred African delegates from study groups, trade unions, local élite organizations and nascent political parties from each territory of AOF and AEF gathered to Bamako. The Bamako Conference was a logical next step from the process that Brazzaville Conference had initiated: since the CFLN leadership had publicly promised to make "major changes" to colonial structure, it was only logical that local African leaders were now beginning to make their own plans for the future of French Africa based on the outlines CFLN had given to them two years earlier.



    And whereas Brazzaville had ended up with a bunch of noble, but purposefully vague statements, Bamako Conference stated clear, well-though political program to support the commonly agreed agenda. While the Conference initially unsurprisingly passed resolutions strongly denouncing colonialism and supporting the positions taken by the African deputies in the Constituent Assembly, it then proceeded to organize a new, interterritorial party, the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain. When the prominent local leaders such as Lamine Guéye and Léopold Sédar Senghor from Senegal, Yacine Diallo from Guinea and Fily Dabo Sissoko from Soudan joined forces, it soon became clear that this new political alliance forged in Bamako aimed to group together all developing native political forces in French Africa. At this point the CFLN leadership begun to realize that Brazzaville declarations had unleashed powers that the Free French could no longer suppress.

    During the next three years the RDA rapidly built itself into a mass organization with sections through the AOF, as well as in Moyen-Congo, Chad , Cameroon and Senegal. By 1949 it had become the dominant party not only in the Ivory Coast, but also in Guinea and Chad, and to a lesser extent, in Upper Volta, Niger and Moyen-Congo as well. The reason for the success of RDA was the fact that it´s political program was directly based on the October Manifesto of Bamako Congress. RDA therefore demanded:

    -Equal political and social rights for all Africans, Frenchmen or local alike

    -Individual and cultural liberties

    -Democratically elected local assemblies

    -A freely chosen union between the populations of French Africa.


    Despite its seemingly radical program and strong anti-imperialist language of some its leaders, the RDA was not a secessionist party. It favoured instead the foundation of a genuine French Union, and strongly lobbied the Constituent Assembly to remain true to the earlier promises made in Brazzaville. Thus the RDA political program was highly successful mainly because it embodied what most of the French-educated African élite in AOF wanted at this time: political, economic and social emancipation of Africans within the framework of the proposed French Union, based on equality of rights and duties.

    RDA thus appealed to Africans to unite in the struggle to create a genuine political union based on the principles of liberty, democracy and equality as the key to African emancipation. The success of RDA was also based on the fact that Bamako Congress had unified Cote d' Ivoire and Senegalese leaders under the same banner, thus realizing African political unity within the French Union. By closing the rifts that had been opening between the main political leaders of Senegal and their counterparts in the rest of French West Africa RDA turned the earlier arguments about the ways federal budget and taxation had been distributed between the different regions into internal party affairs instead of public competition between rivalling political forces in French Africa.

    Meanwhile among the rural and mostly uneducated African populations of AOF and AEF federations, the priourity at the end of the war was not political independence, but an improvement to their general lot in life. Their immediate concerns were an end to forced labour, abusive taxation and the often arbitary punishments meted out under the indigénat - general improvements int their standards of living. For French-educated Africans and former soldiers the most importart issue was equality with Europeans. Therefore the developing African political activity was focused towards the objective of preserving and realizing the commitment contained in the constitution draft and creating a political union based on the principle of equal rights.


    More than 200 000 African soldiers had fought for the liberation of metropolitan France - a place most of them had never even seen. After the war this influential group became an important player in postwar colonial politics.

    Why didin´t the local leaders opt for pressing immediate independence instead of moving ethusiastically along the general outlines created by an oppressive colonial administration? The answer to this initially puzzling question becomes rather obvious once the actual details of demographics and reforms plans of the French colonial system are studied in detail. In a sense the main reason was the strong trust to the work of the Constituent Assembly and the public promises that the new constitution draft would create a political structure where "the one and indivisible French Republic forms an Union with its overseas peoples based on equality of rights and duties." This promise easily convinced the local leaders to conceive and plan their future within, rather than outside, the French community, envisaging their possible plans for gradual decolonization as taking place through closer association with French administration, rather than through secession from it.

    The wartime reforms made by CFLN were also pivotally important, since they had given the impression that the Free French leadership was serious in its intention to reform the colonial system. The decision to allow Africans to be elected to the French Constituent Assembly effectively bound the few potentially independence-minded influential local leaders into an essentially assimilationist perspective. This was a result of the way in which their selection channeled their political activity on the goal of creating a viable political union. It is also good to bear in mind that their new position already gave them the opportunity to climb to the very peak of the CLNF political system. They became influential members of the Assembly, sat on special comissions planning the new state structure and were soon occasionally appointed to positions of power within the CFLN. This understandably largely satisfied their thirst for power, and strongly discouraged them to press for immediate independence of their local support areas since such a move would have actually decreased the political power they could wield.

    CFLN thus exploited the notions of political membership as constitutional means of succession with the obvious intent to tame the colonial “periphery” while simultaneously assimilating the local élite. One of the cornerstones of this policy was they way CFLN offered privileges to West African veterans. The material benefits received by veterans brought along social status and represented French-African ties in the aftermath of the WWII. West African veterans were thus a critical group in AOF and AEF federations. While they knew what empire meant and objected to imperial paternalism, they yet remained strong advocates of close relations with CFLN.

    Thus, after the war, it was not only the French CLNF leadership that desperate sought to maintain at least some form of imperial links. African political leaders on the Constituent Assembly now increasingly had a stake on the maintenance of this connection as well, while the influential African veteran organizations were also pressing for equal rights rather than outright independence. This led to the emergence of "assimilationist nationalism." Despite their continued collaboration with French colonial-era leaders, the local élites and veteran groups never wanted to become black Frenchmen themselves: on the contrary, most French-educated African leaders remained deeply ambivalent about the consept of assimilation. Instead they focused the first political campaigns of African social and political movements on acquisition of equal rights and equal status with French people. Independence, they argued, could well wait for the time when the local societies would be finally ready for it, while maintaining the current political organization of cooperation in the fields of education and economy were much more pressing matters at the time being.

    It is also good to remember that the relatively long history of contact between metropolitan France and the Four Communes of Senegal meant that most of the leading political figures in AOF initially came from the tradition of Senegalese politics. These politicians used their position within the CLNF interim administration to strictly oppose the few nationalistic pleas for outright independence and promoted the politics of assimilation. They were strongly supported by CLNF leaders, who were determined to compromise in a situation where they lacked the power to maintain status quo. Thus the reforms implemented by the CLNF Provisional Government and the measures introduced during the Constituent Assembly together sustained the belief among French-educated Africans that progress would come through closer association with existing administrative structures.


    Nationalistic agitation wasn´t a major problem in AOF and AEF, while the situation was rather different in the Arab-speaking parts of North Africa, namely in Algiers. Here the mood among locals was mostly wait-and-see: the end of WWII had convinced most Algerians of the fact that while changes would surely be forthcoming, the fact that mainland France was left to Axis hands gave them no reason for massive street demonstrations and celebrations for the end of the conflict.

    Despite these generous gestures the local leaders were well aware how exploitative and repressive the colonial regime had been, but they persistently told to their local voters that constant progress to correct the earlier "mistakes" was being made, and that the earlier "errors" had been caused by the privileges and abuses of the individual French representatives in AOF and AEF, rather than the fact of belonging to the French community. Thus the post-war African activism emerged mainly as a movement of equality and as an opposition to reactionary French colonial officials in Dakar, rather than as an independence movement opposed to the French link itself. Individual colonial officials were thus held responsible for the various problems Africans were experiencing, while the local leaders sought to utilize the existing political structure of AOF and AEF federations by slowly seizing it to their own use and control. This was especially visible in the activity of African députés who were elected to the Constituent Assembly. They became rapidly astute at using the Assembly as a platform for putting pressure on the government and colonial authorities to impement reform.

    But despite the determined work of RDA and CFLN, the support for this kind of assimilationist nationalism was far from universal, not even in Senegal. Mouvement Nationaliste Africain and their La Communauté-newspaper pressed for African independence and followed the preparations of independence in India with great interest, while the CLNF leadership sought to repress the MNA and support the viewpoints of RDA and their Le Réveil-magazine that favoured federalist, Pan-African viewpoints. While the political process continued, tensions begun to grow within the various local political movements movement in French West Africa.


    Decolonization from within? - Constitution of the French Union


    Change was coming to French Africa, and the political situation was clearly getting out of the hands of increasingly outflanked CLNF leadership despite their determined attempts to at least steer the process they could no longer totally control. In August 1945 provisional government had extended the right of all territories of French Africa to send representatives to the Constituent Assembly. This was followed by legislation guaranteeing freedom of assembly in French Africa and by the passage of the centrepiece of French postwar colonial reform, the Loi Lamine Guèye – named after its author, Senegalese lawyer Lamine Guèye. With the new legislation, all the inhabitants of the overseas territories were made French citizens with the same rights as French nationals, allthough the actual rights and responsibilities of citizenship were still left purposefully vague due the desperate resistance of conservative colonial representatives. Acceptance of the principle of equal rights for all citizens of French African territories and the abolition of forced labour by the Loi Houphouët-Boigny passed on 11th April 1946 finished this process, paving the way for the actual new constitution. With the old legal distinctions between citoyen and sujet swept away, a revised penal code consequently replaced the hated indigénat. The change also produced a mass electoral base for postwar representative institutions and stimulated the organization of new political groups eager to use their recently-found power.

    Internationally the main point of the new constitution was the fact that the emerging state union, Union Française, declared itself as the sole successor state of the French Third Republic. While it turned all former French colonies, territories, settlements into départements of the French Union, the constitution also included the "occupied" départements of mainland France into the rightful territory of the Union.
    The territory that he Union controlled de facto was at this time centered primarily around the African continent: Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Madagascar, seven territories of the AOF, four territories of the AEF. UN Trusteeships of Togo and Cameroon remained outside the new organization, with the rest of the disputed former French colonies such as Indochina had allready been either turned into UN Trusteeships or declared independence as was the case with Lebanon and Syria.

    But while this part of the constitution was clearly created in accordance of the wishes of the original French CLNF leadership, the rest of the document was firmly based on the wishes of local African representatives. Article 44 of the new constitution semented the earlier reforms made by the laws of Lamine Guèye and Houphouët-Boigny. It granted all residents of the French Union the status of citizens and recognized their right to be represented in the new Assembly of the French Union. Section VIII defined the new administrative arrangements: local assemblies, elected by direct universal suffrage, would in the future administer territories and the former office of the colonial governor would be replaced by a resident under-secretary of State in each territory or group of territories. Additionally the Declaration of Human Rights from 1789 was extended to all residends of French Union. French-educated Africans followed the negotiations closely and in the referendum on May 5th 1947 the constitutional project was accepted by strong majority (average being 85%) in all territories of UF, including Algeria. The new constitution was especially influential in Algiers, since the free elections with single-college voting system giving equal weight to Europeans and Muslims completely reshuffled the political situation in the most important former colony of France. In the upcoming elections voters elected their first delegates to the Assembly of the French Union, to the federal Grand Councils in Dakar and Brazzaville and to the territorial assemblies. Unsurprisingly the RDA thus semented their position of power as the sole multiterritorial party of the AOF and AEF. This outcome would be highly influential later on. Earlier the Governments-general in Dakar and Brazzaville had been supreme centers of the colonial federations for 50 years. Postwar centralization had moved even more of the tax revenues and administrative power to these centers, so that the large size of the federations made them viable as political and economic units. And now the Grand Council presented a legislative body through which Africans gained control of the federal administration. By turning this administration to the hands of openly Pan-African RDA leadership the outcome of the elections of 1947 was rather historical for the future of French Africa.

    All this was possible mainly because the new political structure of the Union was based on the following major reforms:

    1. Dual electoral college was abolished and universal suffrage instituted.

    2. Elected assemblies in each territory were given enlarged powers, including crucial control over local budgets.

    3. Each territory was to be governed by its own executive, a council of government (council de gouvernement) that was to be elected by the local territorial assembly and presided over by the governor (chef du territoire) or, his absence, by the vice president of the council (vice-president du council), the leader of the selected councillors. In practice the governor was initially unsurprisingly initially always French (since the educational demands of the office) and the vice president of the council, a sort of premier, always an African. The councillors were to be styled ministers, and even though the council was not responsible to the assembly, they and the vice president had to resign if they lost the confidence of the legislature. In everything but name, responsible parliamentary government had thus been introduced to Africa.

    4. The governor – now chef du territoire – represented the interests of the Union government and was responsible to Dakar and Algiers for foreign relations, defense, currency, common economic and financial policy, and strategic matters.

    5. The whole state union was led by an Executive Council headed by the president of UF and composed of the Heads of Government Councils of the component territories and the ministers of Union Assembly charged with UF affairs. Union Assembly itself had 284 seats, but its parliamentary powers were to be mainly consultative and its primary method of using power was initially the selection of Executive Council members. The Executive Council itself was also under the control of the President of the UF, who had the authority to veto legislation and formulate “measures necessary the direction of common affairs.”


    All in all, General de Gaulle could be happy with his achievements. Before the new constitution election de Gaulle had toured through the colonies dangling a carrot and fielding a stick. Carrot had been to offer special priviledges to colonial politicians, funds for economic and educational development and free access to highest level of political power in the forming Union. Price of this support had been the acceptance of the membership of a new state union that would be much more closely knit than the recently formed British Commonwealth and in which the Executive Council and President would make the grand strategic decisions. The stick was short and blunt: any area that voted Non to de Gaulle's union would be cast out to fend for itself without access to the technical and economical comforts. Thus the old General had been willing to risk and sacrifice all within his power to maintain at least some form of French control to the territories CLNF still had by the end of WWII. His main motivation to compromise had been his instistence to prevent a situation where the Western Allies would recognize the Vichy regime as the new legal heir of the Third Republic, thus abanoning the Free French movement into international isolation and certain collapse.

    By giving the local African élites positions of power in their respective territories and granting the AOF and AEF federations virtual independence, he had both sought to defend the remaining colonial empire from the rising tide of African nationalism and international criticism, while simultaneously turning the new federal state union into a pyramid structure where he sat comfortably on a new throne as the first President of the UF. But as soon as he seemed to have finished his ambitious reform program to grant himself a powerful internationally recognized position from where he could continue his campaign against the Vichy regime, the new state he and his allies had brought to being was allready facing its first internal and external crises.

    With this system the UF was initially living through a period of gradual transformation of power. The French attempts to maintain control had initially successfully excluded the Africans from the highest positions of government. The reluctance of CLNF representatives to draft a constitution that would have created a truly federal system from the outset did not, however, manage to preserve the collapsing French control over their colonial regime for long.

    Articles considering the voting system, citizenship and local representation within the AOF and AEF federations – the prize of African yes – had turned the new state union into a system where the aging French representatives knew they would be last of their kind to hold their posts. As soon as the first local African representatives would finish the necessary education to meet the requirements of these posts, the old French leadership would be replaced, one by one, by the locals. And it soon became apparent that the African politicans were serious in their goal of obtaining power through democratic means.


    Many of the "old guard" of Free French activists were bitter about the Allied failure of driving the Germans out from metropolitan France, and they were also increasingly unsatisfied of the way de Gaulle was trading away the former French priviledges and control over the colonial empire.

    Campaign for decelonization of Education and the economical reforms of the UF.

    When the new constitution of the UF was accepted, the situation of education in French Africa was dismal. Less than 5 percent of African childern who were eligble actually attented a French school and many of these did not even complete their primary education. French-styled education was seen as the key to achieving this equality. African emancipation meant increasing the number of Africans in executive positions, so that they could take a greater role in the administration of their affairs. In order to compete with Europeans and eventually replace them in the highest posts of UF, the local Africans needed to be educated to the same level. The RDA therefore launched a campaign for a vast expansion and extension of education throughout the UF, including the provision of secondary schools in every territory and the immediate creation of a university in Dakar. Without this, they believed, economic, technical and social progress could not take place and the colonial administration would always have an argument for delaying the granting of equal rights to Africans.

    But the French Union economy simply did not have the resources to finance a massive expansion of education in Africa, since the cost of such project would have been too high for the current budget that was allready struggling to provide new investments to AOF and AEF federations. But the demands for vast expansions and extensions of education system could not be rejected outright either, because of the constitutional commitment to a one and indivisible Union based on equality clearly required that Africans should have access to the same educational opportunities as French people. Outright rejection would have provoked a hostile reaction from French-educated local élite, and thus the only politically acceptable option for the new government was to buy time by displaying public goodwill and support to the program while delaying the actual implemenation of projects until funds could be made available. The situation was actually rather cynical, since both the RDA leadership and French authorities knew that without outside help such privileges could only be extented to a small restricted elite due the enourmous development needs of the continent.

    Meanwhile the French UF representatives and former CFLN actives viewed the provision of French education as a means of binding Africans more closely together, and if not actually creating "black Frenchmen", then at least creating an élite of loyal French-educated Africans that was profoundly francisé. Africans, on the other hand, saw French education as a central to the defense and usage of their new emancipation, and as a mean to achieving greater liberty and truly equal status with Europeans within the Union. But while the immediate development challenges of the new state were clearly enourmous, its leaders were also seriously trying to reform the colonial-era economy of the UF to meet the demands of the postwar world.

    A central piece of this development was the adoption of new common currency for the Union. The franc Communauté française d'Afrique, CFA franc, was created on 7th of July 1947. The reason for its creation was the weakness of the former French franc immediately after World War II, and the fact that the Vichy regime still used the same currency. When the UF signed diplomatic relations with US and ratified the Bretton Woods Agreement in December 1947, the new CFA franch was set to a fixed exchange rate with the US dollar. New currency was especially beneficial for UF since it spared the former French colonies from the strong devaluation.


    Construction of new railroads and basic infrastructure to the interior of AOF and AEF federations was a tremendous challenge to the limited budget of UF. The clear need of foreign spending thus opened the formerly strictly French-controlled area for Western investments.

    Another key part of the UF economical reform was the creation of FIDES, Fonds d´Investissement et de Développement Économique et Social based at Brazzaville and based on the principle of allocating available funds for development projects. The fund spent substantial sums and was administered by a special Comission de Modernisation et d'Equipement, gathered from throughout the areas of AOF and AEF to guard the new system against rampart corruption and mishandling of development funds.

    Colonial lobby among the CFLN membership was increasingly desperate, and sought in vain to reverse the course of the development. Accusing the First Constituent Assembly for having diluted French authority over the empire, they published a manifesto demanding an instant repeal of the citizenship law and restoration of double electolar college system. It was to no avail. Once the Union was established the fears of these former colonial officers soon materialized - the fast-paced reform had created an unstable situation that now begun to unravel in North Africa.


    French soldiers of the UF conducting a foot patrol in the hills of Algeria. The volatile situation in the region escalated soon after the establishment of UF, bringing about the first of many internal crises of the new state.
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  12. #312
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    Another key part of the UF economical reform was the creation of FIDES, Fonds d´Investissement et de Développement Économique et Social based at Brazzaville and based on the principle of allocating available funds for development projects. The fund spent substantial sums and was administered by a special Comission de Modernisation et d'Equipement, gathered from throughout the areas of AOF and AEF to guard the new system against rampart corruption and mishandling of development funds.
    Where are the funds coming from? Did the French Union have money left over, or did they have to start over?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Madien View Post
    Where are the funds coming from? Did the French Union have money left over, or did they have to start over?
    Initially solely from the federal budget, but as the few net payers (Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal to name the most important three) are reluctant to commit their spare funds to support new projects in, say, Niger, the UF is soon forced to seek outside economic assistance as well.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    Initially solely from the federal budget, but as the few net payers (Algeria, Côte d'Ivoire, Senegal to name the most important three) are reluctant to commit their spare funds to support new projects in, say, Niger, the UF is soon forced to seek outside economic assistance as well.
    How did they come up with the federal budget to begin with? I mean, is de Gaulle having to start all over with money?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Madien View Post
    How did they come up with the federal budget to begin with? I mean, is de Gaulle having to start all over with money?
    In OTL Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia the combined local resources amounted 359,800 million francs of revenue between 1947 and 1953. So while they are still poor, the UF still has a modest economical base from where to begin its work. The real problem is that these few vitally important sources of tax revenue are also the most restless of the former French colonies...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    UN Trusteeships of Togo and Cameroon remained outside the new organization, with the rest of the disputed former French colonies such as Indochina had allready been either turned into UN Trusteeships or declared independence as was the case with Lebanon and Syria.
    What happened to Indochina, BTW?

    The new constitution was especially influential in Algiers, since the free elections with single-college voting system giving equal weight to Europeans and Muslims completely reshuffled the political situation in the most important former colony of France.
    Ugh. Oh, boy. Algeria is going to get messy, and if the "Vichy" French are going to intrigue anywhere, it will be there.
    I am therefore officially rooting for a Franco-German strike on Russia, prompting the Soviets to strike back with their hitherto secret nukes. This will serve as a salutary lesson to all involved and leave everyone suitably chastened.-El Pip

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    Quote Originally Posted by Faeelin View Post
    What happened to Indochina, BTW?
    I´ll return to that in an additional update, but CFLN definitively doesn't have the muscles to do and claim what the OTL French did in 1945 - for example I seriously doubt that the Corps Expéditionnaire Français en Extrême-Orient would have ever been formed with mainland France still in Axis hands.

    So once Terauchi and his Southern Expeditionary Army Group surrender, the British will occupy the southern and Kuomintang the northern parts of Indochina. And from there things will really turn interesting.

    Quote Originally Posted by Faeelin View Post
    Ugh. Oh, boy. Algeria is going to get messy, and if the "Vichy" French are going to intrigue anywhere, it will be there.
    Precisely.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karelian View Post
    So once Terauchi and his Southern Expeditionary Army Group surrender, the British will occupy the southern and Kuomintang the northern parts of Indochina. And from there things will really turn interesting.
    Perhaps an alternate road to the Vietnam War?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nathan Madien View Post
    Perhaps an alternate road to the Vietnam War?
    Something is indeed bound to happen in former French Indochina, but for now I'll focus on Africa.
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    Postwar Africa III: The Algerian Problem of the French Union


    "We find ourselves...under the moral obligation to prove, by way of effective economic, social and political reforms, that France moves with her time, understands its demands, and that, far from remaining unappreciative of the aspirations of the peoples whom she governs, she means to integrate these peoples within the nation, but within an enlarged nation, where all will be equal before the law and will be free to choose the institutions which suit their personality and particular needs..."
    Paul Giacobbi, CFLN Constituent Assembly 1946

    One does not compromise when it comes to defending the internal peace, the unity and integrity of the nation. The Algerian departments are part of the French Union. They have been French for a long time, and they are irrevocably French . . . Between them and the rest of the Union there can be no conceivable secession.
    Pierre Mendès-France, UF Minister of Foreign Affairs, 1954


    To both foreign observers and locals alike it was clear that there was trouble brewing in Algeria during the winter 1945-46. The whole area was restless, waiting for whatever the uncertain future would have in store for this area that had for more than a hundred years been the most important colony of France. The current troubles facing Algeria where therefore fueled only partially by a poor wheat harvest, shortages of manufactured goods, and severe unemployment. The roots of the problems Algeria faced in late 1940s reached much deeper to the bitter history of the region. Algeria had lost roughly one-third of its population during the forty years filled with fighting, famines and rebellions between the first French invasion and the end of major native uprisings in the mid-1870s. This subjugation of local resistance had been followed by a large-scale confiscation of all cultivable land in the coastlines. These lands were then filled by European immigrants from France, Spain, Italy and Malta. Gradually the rule of the French colons had created a situation where these pieds noirs had became a privileged minority that was firmly rooted in Algeria, their sole homeland. This made this influential group to fiercely oppose all reforms that would alter the balance of power between the roughly million-strong pieds noir population and the much larger, oppressed Muslim majority.

    Thus it was no wonder that the mood in Algeria was extremely tense when the news of the Zürich Accord reached the region in 1946. As the masses of more than 250 000 conscripted Algerian soldiers where now returning home from the inconclusive war where they had fought and died for France many had never ever seen, their leaders remembered well how General Charles de Gaulle had declared two years earlier in Brazzaville that "France was under an obligation to the Muslims of North Africa because of the loyalty they had shown." During the gradual demobilization of French armies in Italy, the French citizenship was indeed extended to certain categories of Algerian Muslims but this largely symbolical gesture did little to ease the underlying tensions in Algeria. In many ways the situation was similar to 1920s, when the postwar changes in the economical and political situation in Algeria and the return of Algerian veterans from the Great War had created a situation where new political movements had finally emerged from the growing Algerian dissatisfaction with the status quo.


    Cooperation, nationalism or Islam?


    The postwar Algerian nationalism developed out of the efforts of three different groups that all had taken shape during the 1920s. The first consisted of Algerians who had gained access to French education and earned their living in the French public sector. Often called assimilationists, they pursued gradualist, reformist tactics, shunned illegal actions and violence, were prepared to consider permanent union with France if the rights of Frenchmen could be extended to native Algerians. This group was loosely organized under the name of Young Algerians.

    The second group consisted of Muslim reformers who were inspired by the religious Salafî movement founded in the late 19th century in Egypt by Sheikh Muhammad ´Abduh. AUMA, Association des Uléma Musulmans Algériens (The Association of Algerian Muslim Ulama) had been organized in 1931 under the leadership of Sheikh ´Abd al-Hamid Ben Badis. This group was not a political party in itself, but it nevertheless sought to create a strong sense of Muslim Algerian nationality among the Algerian masses.

    The third group was much more radical in nature. It had been originally organized among Algerian workers in France in the 1920s under the leadership of Ahmed Messali Hadj and with the name Étoile Nord-Africaine, The Star of North Africa. After the French authorities had disbanded this movement in 1937, its founders had soon reorganized their ranks and formed the PPA, Parti du Peuple Algerien (Algerian People's Party). During the war and the struggle of power between Vichy and CFLN authorities the organization had been mostly waiting and gathering strength, but right after the war it became one of the most active political forces in postwar Algeria, much to the dismay of French authorities.

    The ultimate goals of the three movements had many similarities but also crucial differences, reflecting the fact that Algerian political elite was far from unified in the postwar situation. The fact that prewar colonial system had prevented emergence of any group with sufficient self-confidence and popular credibility to set the goals and obtain the leadership of a nationalistic mass movement was now affecting to the way the divided locals sought to organize themselves into various factions and political movements. Until the middle 1930s and the war era, the évolués of the Young Algerian reform program had dominated the native side of the Franco-Algerian political relations. While they initially neither inspired nor spoke for more than a small minority of their Algerian compatriots in the postwar situation, these members of the French-trained elite still represented the first natives that had entered to the politics of Algeria. They were also determined to maintain their prominent place in postwar Algerian politics and were in a good position to do so because of their superior French education, the support they received from French liberals and the fact that the other political forces in Algeria had long been either actively persecuted by the French authorities (PPA) or were uninterested in participating daily politics (AUMA).

    In the postwar political climate the évolués were still trying to achieve the same goals they had set in Fédération Program published in September 1927:
    *Extension of metropolitan social legislation to Algeria
    *Abolition of the indigénat
    *Equal payment for equal work in the bureucracy
    *Development of academic and vocational education
    *Reorganization of election procedures in the communes mixtes
    *Native representation in Parliament
    *Equality of terms of military service



    Son of a poor agrarian family, Messali Hadj had been imprisoned for his nationalist agigation in 1937 and roughly ten years later he sought to utilize the political turmoil of Algeria by organizing new political groups to promote his vision of fully independent, free Algerian state.

    This program was relatively mild when compared to the strongly nationalistic stance taken by the radical PPA, calling for "complete and immediate independence" from French colonial rule, freedom of press and association, a parliament chosen through universal suffrage, confiscation of large estates, and the institution of Arabic schools.

    Meanwhile the program of Islamic reformers called for a purification of Islam by returning to its roots in the Qur´an and the early Sunna of the Prophet. It stressed the necessity of opening the Islamic community to the spirit of modern scholarly inquiry and scientific method. Reformer program also promoted allegiance to Arab ancestors, to Arabic language and to the Arab "métropole" in the east, thus bringing the organization to direct conflict with the évolué notion that salvation for Algerian Muslims lay in future cooperation with French culture. One of the main ideologists of the AUMA, Ahmad Tawfiq al-Madani had written the well-known Kitab al jaza´ir (Book of Algeria) that begun with the preface that was basically a rant against "the absurdity of supposing that two peoples with totally different customs, language and history can ever be one." This book also gave the reformist movement a new slogan that was soon recited by pupils in all Qur´anic schools founded by the reformist movement through Algeria: "Islam is my religion, Arabic is my language, Algeria is my fatherland." While the movement did much to stimulate the renewal of Algerian Islam in a formal sense, it never attracted a broad following. Its main contribution to postwar Algerian politics was the idea that the Algerians belonged to a distinct nation with its own specific culture and glorious past, which could never be confounded in another. As noted before, the évolué position was completely opposite one: Ferhat Abbas wrote that "after questioning history, the living and the dead and visiting the cemeteries, I have concluded that the Algerian fatherland did never exist and therefore we should link our future definitively with that of France." Reformists responded by publishing an article that stated that Algerian nation did exist, and that nation "is not France, cannot be France, and does not wish to be France."


    Algerian Manifesto and the rise of the UDMA and MTLD


    Ultimately the Algerian domestic politics in late 1940s became a two-man show: Ferhat Abbas and his évolué supporters promoting increased autonomy and independence through cooperation and assimilation were opposed by Messali Hadj and the radical nationalist PPA. Abbas has initiated his political career as a moderate assimilationist, and he had great hopes towards the Blum-Viollette proposals made by the Popular Front in 1937. Settler opposition to the extremely limited measures of these proposals had been so fierce that the project was never even brought to a vote in the French Chamber of Deputies. Disillusioned by these turn of events in 1938, Abbas and his colleagues organized the Union Populaire Algérienne, which promoted equal rights for French and Algerians while also focusing for preserving the Algerian culture and language.

    The next major step on Algerian politics arrived alongside with the Allied troops. On Feb. 10, 1943, the "Manifesto of the Algerian People", prepared by Abbas, was proclaimed. It was subsequently presented to the French and the Allied authorities in North Africa. The manifesto, which reflected a fundamental change in its author's political position, not only condemned French colonial rule but also called for the application of the principle of self-determination and demanded an Algerian constitution granting equality to all inhabitants of Algeria. In May, Abbas, along with a number of his colleagues, wrote an addendum to the manifesto, which envisioned a sovereign Algerian nation. It was presented to the French on June 26, when the frontlines had moved on to Italy and Soviet Union had withdrawn from the war. After the conservative French Governor-General of Algeria had rejected the document and its demands out of hand, Ferhat Abbas and Messali Hadj organized the Amis du Manifeste et de la Liberté (AML; Friends of the Manifesto and Liberty), a pressure group that promoted the idea of an Algerian autonomous republic federated to a renewed, anti-colonial France. Despite this cooperation Abbas and Hadj found themselves in a postwar situation where the political movements they led were beginning to view one another as the most serious obstacle of fulfilling their conflicting visions for the future of Algeria.


    A son of a wealthy family of landowning provincial administrators, Ferhat Abbas accepted the middle-class évolué movement that supported politics of colonial reform and assimilation.

    After the end of WWII in 1946 Abbas once again led the reorganization of assimilationist-minded and évolué-led political forces, forming the Union Démocratique du Manifeste Algérien (UDMA; Democratic Union of the Algerian Manifesto), which advocated cooperation with French in the formation of the Algerian state. For the first time during his long political career, these moderate and conciliatory attempts were now receiving sympathetic response and official support from the French CFLN colonial officials, and the UDMA was allowed to organize and campaign rather freely in the tense municipal elections of 1946. This sudden change in French colonial policy was linked to the support CFLN authorities gave to the rise of the Rassemblement Démocratique Africain in the French colonial federations of AOF and AEF. The logic behind this new position was based on the hope that the radical nationalism of populists like Messali Hadj could be checked or at least limited by gradualist évolué reformers like Ferhat Abbas if they could be able to show to the illiterate masses (according to some estimations 86% Algerian men 95% of Algerian women were still illiterate in 1946!) that step-by-step decolonization and liberalization was possible.


    Elections of 1946 and their aftermatch

    In 1946 most Algerians, excluding the colons, were still subject to rule by military officers organized into Arab Bureaus, led by colonial officers with knowledge of local affairs and of the language of the people but with no direct financial interest in the colony. In 1946 these officers tended to have Free French background and they often sympathized with the outlook of the people they administered and were more keen to listen to them than the demands of the European colonists. The paradox of postwar French Algeria was thus the notion that this despotic military rule initially offered the native Algerians a better situation than prewar civilian and democratic government had done in previous decades. The CFLN Constituent Assembly voted for a statute on Algeria on March 20, 1947, in which the country was defined as "a group of departments endowed with a civic personality, financial autonomy, and a special organization." The tensions in Algeria mounted as the new constitution draft created an Algerian assembly with 120 members, representing some 1.9 million Europeans and Algeria's 9 million Muslims. As a part of the new constitution Muslims were finally considered full French citizens with the right to keep their personal religious beliefs. Military territories in the south would be abolished, and Arabic would become the language of educational instruction at all levels.


    Muslims of Algeria greeted the formation of French Union with utter joy, while the pied noir population openly accused CFLN leadership for "betraying them and everything that France stands for."

    The sweeping victory of Ferhat Abbas Union Démocratique du Manifeste Algérien in the 1946 municipal elections frightened the colons, whose political leaders attempted to obtain a result more favorable to them in the following year's first Algerian Assembly voting through fraud and intimidation. During the next year the term élection algérienne indeed became a synonym for rigged election. Ultimately after violence-ridden political campaign and mass demonstrations, UDMA gained fourty-six seats, Messali Hajd's new MTLD (Mouvement pour le Triomphe des Libertes Democratiques) was given seventeen, and government-approved "independents" were awarded with the remaining fifty-eight seats, thus conslidation the position of UDMA while keeping the European minority in a position of power within the new political structure. These results may have reassured some of the colons that the nationalists had been rejected by the Muslim community, but actually the elections suggested to many PPA supporters that a peaceful solution to Algeria's problems would not be possible as long as the French authorities would control the state authorities.

    Messali Hajd's decision to present slates of candidates in the Algerian Assembly elections of 1947 after years of urging Algerians to boycott elections spread confusion within the party and among other Algerians who looked to the party for direction. Why did the PPA chose to engage in the electoral games promoted by the CFLN? This sudden change was the result of the first party congress of PPA, held in February 1947. Here it was decided that newly created political wing (MTLD) would pursue the route of electoral politics, making whatever rhetorical and tactical compromises necessary to be effective in that arena. The PPA itself would continue at a secret level for the purposes of cultivating the movements nationalistic purity and quietly communicating to Algerians that, although public statements might of necessity change from time to time, the goal of absolute independence within an Arab-Islamic framework remained unaltered. The most important decision was the creation of a secret paramilitary structure in the form of Organization Spéciale, with a mission to explore the possibilities for revolutionary action in the likely case where the ballot box-route to power would remain closed.

    But while the forces of Algerian politics schemed and planned, the actual Algerian Assembly that now assemled for the first time faced a rough start plagued with serious challenges and problems. The fundamental flaw of this new parliament was its limited competence, excluding defense, elections, local government, administrative and judicial organization, civil and penal procedure, land policy and customs. Its bills required promulgation by decree of the Governor General who was appointed by the UF government. Despite this the Assembly was able to bring about the swift abolition of the communes mixtes and the southern military territories as well as bringing about substantial extension of Arabic language exucation. In the last years of the 1940s the society of Algeria was thus experiencing fast-paced and radical changes, and despite the seemingly calm reforms and the success of new extented local autonomy the security situation in the region was deteriorating fast, and when the Suez Crisis escalated to Middle-Eastern War in 1951, the UF leadership was allready silently preparing for what seemed to be a stormy future.



    As de Gaulle seemed to be willing to abanon the pied noir interests for his ambitions of turning the former French colonies into a new federation that he would personally lead, it is not surprising that many Algerian pied noirs begun to look north in their search of potential supporters. While the ongoing civil war between the Vichy authorities and Resistance brought increasing number of French political refugees to Algeria the notorious Vichy secret service CIG, Centre d'Information Gouvernementale, kept sending in its own infiltrators and extended its networks in Algeria.
    Blue Max Alternate History Mod for Hearts of Iron 3

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