“Each generation must discover its mission,

fulfil it or betray it, in relative opacity.”

-Frantz Fanon

Image: Marc Riboud

The Algerian war of independence lasted from 1954 to 1962, and was the twentieth century’s epic war of national liberation. The struggle of the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) captured the imagination of anti-colonialists throughout the world and established post-colonial Algeria’s role as a leader of the non-aligned movement and a beacon for those still living under colonial or racial oppression.

The movement for independence began during WW1 and gained momentum after French promises of greater self-rule in Algeria went unfulfilled. In 1954, the FLN began a guerrilla war against France and sought diplomatic recognition at the UN to establish a sovereign Algerian state. Most of the fighting took place in and around Algiers. FLN fighters launched a series of attacks that came to be known as the Battle of Algiers.

French forces used brutal measures to regain control, but could not continue fighting for long. In 1959, it was declared that the Algerians had the right to determine their own future. Despite terrorist acts by those opposed to independence and an attempted coup in France by members of the French army, an agreement was signed in 1962, and Algeria became independent.