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Battle of Algiers

Essay Topic:

History plays an important role in the lives of individuals, especially in understanding the present and planning for the future. The different events that happened and the various personalities that have essential contribution in the past is given importance because they substantially help for the people to make sense of their present life and eventually know their direction in the future. The pivotal contribution of history is clearly exemplified in movies or films that used historical events as its main theme or storyline.

In relation to this, the movie The Battle of Algiers narrates the Algerian War, specifically the battle that the movie was name of in order for its viewers to understand the origin and end of the war. The Battle of Algiers also known as La battaglia di Algen in Italian, is a movie directed by Gillo Pontecorvo in 1966. The aforementioned movie is regarded as a war film that is based on the Algerian War that took place during the years 1954 to 1962. The battle of Algiers was a revolution against the French colonial rule in North Africa.

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The director patterned the movie to the reported actual events of the Battle of Algiers.

The reconstruction of the events happened in the capital city of French Algeria between the period of November 1954 and December 1960 wherein the Algerian War of Independence was already in the process. The narration started in Casbah with the organization of revolutionary cells. The stakeholders of the civil war were the native Algerians and the European settlers also known as pied-noirs, wherein great animosity and violence were exchanged between the two parties. As a result, the French army paratroopers were ordered to annihilate the National Liberation Front (FLN).

The French army paratroopers were described in the film as the winners of the battle because they were able to hunt down the FLN leadership by means of assassinating or capturing them. Nevertheless, the motion picture ends with a coda-like demonstrations and riots of native Algerians, who are fighting for independence. Moreover, the end of the movie also sends the message that the French victory at the Battle of Algiers cost them to lose the Algerian War (Musu et al. , 1966). The Battle of Algiers was a guerilla warfare campaign that is pursued by the National Liberation Front (FLN) against the rule of France in 1957.

The conflict started through the continuous hit-and-run attacks by the FLN against the French Police that were placed in Algiers. The conflict escalated because of the decision of the government of France to send French army in Algiers in order to suppress the revolutionary efforts of the FLN. In March 1955, the leader of the FLN in Algiers, Rabah Bitat was arrested by the French. Nevertheless, the French was not able to weaken the FLN because Abane Ramdane, who was just release from prison, was able to properly direct the political objective of FLN.

As a result, Ramdane was able to bring FLN in Algiers to its usual power (Horner, 2006). The conflict further escalated on 20 August 1955, when violence became observable around Philippeville. The situation became even worse when Ramdane and Larbi Ben M’Hidi decided to focus the operations of the FLN in the capital. The decision of Ramdane and M’Hidi came about during the Summam Congress, a little time after the debate of the United Nations regarding the “Algerian question” (Alleg & Calder, 2006). In the summer of 1956, secret negotiations took place between the Algerian separatists and the French in Belgrade and Rome.

The French hard-liners started to manage themselves in a paramilitary group under the leadership of Andre Achiary. Andre Achiary is a previous officer of the Service de Documentation Exterieure et de Contre-Espionnage (SDECE) and he also experience being led by the prefect of Constantinois during the time of the Setif massacre. During the night of 10 August 1956, Achiary with the help of the followers of the Robert Martel’s Union francaise nord-africaine planted a bomb at Thebes road in the Casbah. The explosion was recognized as terrorist attack that killed 73 lives and had also marked the turn of events in the conflict.

Prior to the Thebes road massacre, the FLN only launch attacks in Algiers due to the numerous arrests and executions of their members. However, the Casbah inhabitant are enraged and are determined to avenged the dead of their loves ones, which is why they went to the European town in order to launch their attack. In line with this, members of the FLN made a promise to the Casbah inhabitants that they will avenge them (Horner, 2006). The Peace talks did not succeed and the government of Guy Mollet’s ended the policy of negotiations. As a result, Larbi Ben M’Hidi decided to further expand the terrorist action to the European city.

However, FLN members were executed through guillotine, which caused Larbi Ben M’Hidi to order the killings of any European from 18 to 54, excluding women, children, and elderly. On 30 September 1956, three female FLN militants planted a bomb on civilian locations such as: milk bar, cafeteria, and travel agency, which marked the official start of the Battle of Algiers (Horner, 2006). The absence of a peaceful resolution to the conflict was brought about by the failure of the peace talks and also by the decision of the Mollet’s government to end policy negotiations.

As such, a possibility for a peaceful ending to the conflict no longer exists, which is further worsen by the decision to further heighten the terrorist action. Moreover, Mollet and Massu decided to start a military intervention which caused for an all out war, which substantially hinder establishing another peace talks (Alleg & Calder, 2006). References Alleg, H. , & Calder, J. (2006). The Question. Nebraska: University of Nebraska Press. Horne, A. (2006). A Savage War of Peace: Algeria, 1954-1962. New York: New York Review Books. Musu, A. , Yacef, S. , & Pontecorvo, G. (1966). The Battle of Algiers. Italy: Rizzoli.