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Digital Archive International History Declassified

1962

THE ALGERIAN PROBLEM: COMPARISON WITH THE CHINESE STRUGGLE

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    Document comparing the Algerian struggle against France with that of China, arguing that the Algerian struggle cannot be compared, and is much more difficult than that of the Chinese. Asserts that Algerian situation is unique and unprecedented, in terms of colonized struggles, and that the Algerian revolution both represents, more generally, Africa's revolutionary hopes and that it has gained the support of communists, who hope to see Western powers swept from the African continent. Concludes by saying that Algeria's success rests on two factors; the FLN, and foreign support from anti-colonial forces from around the world.
    "The Algerian Problem: Comparison with the Chinese Struggle," 1962, History and Public Policy Program Digital Archive, Dossier 37/01/11; Fond: GPRA, 1958-62; Archives Nationales d’Algérie, Alger. Translated from French and transcribed by Pierre Asselin, with Paulina Kostrzewski. http://digitalarchive.wilsoncenter.org/document/121600
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THE ALGERIAN PROBLEM

130 years of occupation. The policy of France has been from Bugeaud to de Gaulle to make of Algeria a French territory and of Algerians, Frenchmen.

COMPARISON WITH THE CHINESE STRUGGLE

The Algerian struggle is much more difficult than that carried out by the Chinese people.

Suppose there were in China 65 million Americans (a number proportional to the number of Europeans in Algeria);

Suppose that America was 1 hour away by plane, approximately;  

Suppose that there was an army of 35 million soldiers;

Suppose that the losses suffered exceeded 40 million.

This is the Algerian war.

The situation is unique. No colonized people has known war, suffering, and worse conditions. No people has sustained alone, by its own means, [a struggle against] as many forces at the same time as the Algerian people have been doing over the last 6 years.

The Algerian revolution permanently conditions the revolution on the entire black continent. It stirs the hope of the African masses. It remains the engine that will embolden liberation movements, wherever they may exist, especially in Africa. Communists are especially interested [in our struggle]. More than all others they wish to see the West swept from Africa.

We are a young force in an ascending phase of our history. The enemy is a decrepit and old force. Our success rests upon two factors:

1) We above all rely on ourselves, on our people, which is a great force, rallied around a sole organ, the FLN. France has always tried to create divisions, dissensions, to create counter revolutionaries, [and resorted to] pre-determined elections and the appointment of puppet surrogates (Bao-Dai).

2) We rely on anti-colonial forces throughout the world; on their assistance, on their anti-imperialist international support. We rely on the socialist camp.

The Algerian people has immobilized on its territory 800,000 NATO troops. Arab countries, masses, and leaders, are with us.