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We are no longer in FranceCommunists in colonial Algeria$

Allison Drew

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780719090240

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719090240.001.0001

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The Nation in Formation: Communists and Nationalists During the Second World War

The Nation in Formation: Communists and Nationalists During the Second World War

Chapter:
(p.110) Chapter Five The Nation in Formation: Communists and Nationalists During the Second World War
Source:
We are no longer in France
Author(s):

Allison Drew

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719090240.003.0006

Abstract and Keywords

Algeria’s close geographic proximity to war-torn Europe meant that war-time conditions debilitated the tiny PCA, which was illegal from September 1939 until July 1943. As the war unfolded, and especially under the Vichy regime, the public political space that had opened up during the Popular Front period contracted. The PCA’s policy on independence changed substantially over the war years. From September 1939 until June 1941, the Comintern saw the war as the product of inter-imperialist rivalry. The PCA called for independence as a means of weakening French imperialism. But from June 1941, and especially after Algiers became the capital of Free France, French Communists succeeded once more in promoting their agenda within the diminished PCA, prioritising the anti-fascist struggle over independence. The PCF’s key role in the anti-fascist struggle meant that it emerged strengthened from the war. By contrast, the PCA’s back-pedalling on independence and its vitriol against organisations that rejected its priorities led Algerian nationalists to view it with suspicion and mistrust.

Keywords:   War, Free France, Vichy, anti-fascism, independence, Nationalism, PCA, PCF

Europe's precarious peace deteriorated. When Germany entered Austria on 12 March 1938, Britain accepted the event as a fait accompli. Radical socialist Edouard Daladier became French Prime Minister in April, signalling that France's foreign policy would be motivated by fear of war and communism. The signing of the Munich Pact on 1 October 1938 represented British and French attempts to maintain peace through concessions to Hitler. The USSR had been excluded: when the Great Terror swept through the Soviet Union from 1936 to 1938, the country's international reputation plummeted amidst calls for its diplomatic isolation. In the French Parliament communist deputies voted against the government on the Munich Pact. The Popular Front collapsed, to be killed by government decree. When organised labour protested, government defeated the unions. Business celebrated. The public political space available to communists contracted.1

Isolated, the Soviet Union preached peace but planned for war. The Comintern and its national sections continued to prioritise antifascism over anti-colonialism. For the PCF, Franco-Algerian unity was crucial for fighting fascism. To justify this, PCF general secretary Maurice Thorez proposed the thesis that Algeria was a ‘nation in formation’,2 an idea of cultural mélange strikingly similar to Camus' notion of a Mediterranean culture. With much fanfare Thorez visited Algeria to introduce the new thesis –a 35 mm documentary film of 13 minutes was produced in both French and Arabic!3 On 11 February 1939 he addressed 10,000 people at a PCA rally in Algiers. ‘We, communists, we do not know races’, he asserted. ‘We only want to know peoples.’ But just as in France twenty races had fused into one nation through the French Revolution, so, he continued, ‘an Algerian nation is … being formed through the mixing of twenty races’.4 These included the Numids, Romans, Berbers, Arabs, Jews, Turks, Greeks, Maltese, (p.111) Spanish, Italian and French. While the PCF supported the right to self-determination, Thorez explained, this right did not mandate separation –the right to divorce did not necessitate divorce. Instead, reported a police agent, Thorez promoted the union of the Algerian and French peoples in defence of a common French revolutionary heritage. The French nation could guide the Algerian ‘nation in formation’, and the PCA was the organisation best-suited to lead it, precisely because it was open to all, irrespective of religion, race, ethnicity or gender. But the nationalists were not swayed. Most of them rejected the view the Algerian nation was not yet fully formed, even if in 1936 Abbas had questioned the Algerian nation's existence. Some of the audience proclaimed their support for Messali Hadj, but, noted the police spy, neither their presence nor their protests attracted attention.5

Most European communists still assumed that Algeria's liberation depended on socialist revolution in France. Although sceptical of Thorez's thesis, they observed that at least he spoke of an Algerian nation, albeit one in the process of development. The PCA had sent Alidin Debabèche and Omar Bendib to France for training in the expectation that they would recruit other Algerians after their return.6 However, the central committee's Zannettacci wondered whether Algerians would accept the thesis, which presented the supposed races as qualitatively and quantitatively equal in their demographic and cultural weight. Indeed, indicating its uncertainty about the thesis, the PCA delayed publicising it for three weeks.7 But in March Laurent Casanova proposed ‘one Algerian nation one and indivisible alongside the French nation’, and Kaddour Belkaïm agreed that the Algerian nation's development could only be realised through union with France. Other Algerians agreed: the Voix indigène called for a ‘Sacred union’ of France and Algeria.8

Camus published a series on the Kabyle famine in Alger républicain in June of that year. Traversing Kabylia he found people starving, children fighting with dogs for scraps. Condemning the caïd's fusion of police, administrative and judicial power, he proposed education, agricultural training and job creation through public works. The Kabyles called for schools as they called for bread, he wrote. The artificial barrier separating European and Algerian schooling must end. Assimilation was possible only when ‘peoples made to understand each other could get to know each other on benches at the same school’, he insisted. Colonialism could only be justified, if it could ‘help the conquered peoples to keep their personality’, he argued; Kabyles should have the right to be French while maintaining their personality.9 The communist vision of national identity had seemingly moved closer to (p.112) that of Camus. Following the ‘nation in formation’ thesis, the PCA denounced nationalist calls for a Muslim front. Instead, on 28 July it took up the idea of a Rassemblement franco-musulman proposed by Dr Bendjelloul the year before. But Algerian receptivity to this idea had diminished.10

Meanwhile, European politics deteriorated. In February 1939 France and Britain had recognised Franco's government in Spain. In March Spanish Republican forces surrendered. Spanish refugees poured into France. Amidst rising xenophobia, that spring France built its first internment camps to hold them. Following Czechoslovakia's final dismemberment on 15 March, Britain reversed its appeasement policy, promising to protect Poland from a German invasion. The Soviet Union and Germany signed the Molotov–Ribbentrop Non-aggression Pact of 23 August 1939, agreeing to Poland's partition. This created shock waves across the communist world –not least in the PCF. Yet, one by one communist parties endorsed the shift. Despite heated controversy, the PCA's political bureau endorsed the pact on 26 August.11 On that same evening the PCA held a private meeting attended by some one hundred people at Bab el Oued's Salle Barbusse –hastily rearranged as the manager of the originally scheduled venue had changed his mind. The PCA's general secretary Ben Ali Boukort presided, along with Kaddour Belkaïm and Marcel Planes, secretary of the Algiers region. The PCA maintained that the USSR was just as eager to negotiate a ‘peace pact’ with Britain and France. In Planes' view, an Anglo-Franco-Soviet pact was the best hope for peace. Boukort criticised the fascists and socialists, but also the Alger républicain, which, he contended, had abruptly changed the political line. Despite controversy, the meeting voted in support of the Non-aggression Pact.12

On 1 September German troops invaded Poland. Two days later, Britain and France declared war. French leaders used the empire to show strength: a poster depicting the French and British empires in red and Germany in black optimistically proclaimed, ‘We will win because we are the strongest.’13 With the Soviet Union neutral, the Comintern shifted course. Until then it had distinguished between peaceful bourgeois democracies and aggressive fascist states. On 9 September the ECCI claimed that the imperialist powers were competing for world domination and characterised the war as ‘an imperialist and unjust war for which the bourgeoisie of all the belligerent states bear equal responsibility’. Pointing the finger at British and French imperialism, it called on the working classes to organise from below to defeat their national bourgeoisies.14

(p.113) War and Clandestinity

Public political space closed down. Confronted with the risk of internment, communists and nationalists retreated to underground political space. In France the government began a concerted attack on the PCF, which on 19 September declared its commitment to France. By the 21st, however, pressured by the Comintern, the PCF's central committee declared that the war could no longer be seen as anti-fascist –a statement that confused its own members. When the Comintern declared the war to be an imperialist conflict in which communists should not take sides, communist deputies in the French Parliament took the cue and called for peace. But for the French government, the PCF was now aligned with France's enemy. On 26 September the government banned the PCF, PCA and PPA and suspended communist local councils. Thorez, drafted into the army, deserted on 4 October and fled to Moscow. That month several communist municipalities were suspended and 34 communist deputies arrested. In November any individual seen as a threat to national security was deemed subject to internment. Thousands of PCF members were arrested. More than 500 French communists and trade unionists were deported to detention camps in southern Algeria, such as Djenien Bou Rezg, Mecheria, Bossuet and Géryville; Djenien Bou Rezg, the best-known camp, was an old military fortress some 800 km south of Oran. In February 1940 Thorez was stripped of his French nationality. In March, 35 French communist deputies were put on trial, most receiving sentences of up to five years; the 27 seen as the most dangerous were separated from their other comrades.15

The repression hit Algeria immediately. Messali, released in August 1939, was rearrested. Lutte sociale and Alger républicain were banned; Pascal Pia and Camus promptly launched Soir républicain on 15 September. Marshal Philippe Pétain set up a permanent military tribunal to crush opposition in Algeria. In Algérois police swooped down on the homes of activists in communist and communist-aligned organisations: the PCA, JC, Friends of the Soviet Union, Secours populaire (Red Aid) and Union des jeunes filles d'Algérie (Union of Young Women of Algeria). One of these was Gilberte Chemouilli. The daughter of an Arabic-speaking Jewish father and a Christian mother, Chemouilli grew up in Bab el Oued. She joined the PCA on 1 October 1938 and in late 1939 was arrested and tortured along with three other comrades, including Paulette Lenoir. Similar raids took place in Oran and Constantine. The regime rounded up more than 10,000 alleged opponents across the country and threw them in prison, work camps or detention camps. PCA and PCF activists were interned in separate locations. ‘It (p.114) is not martyrs we need to make’, Camus wrote, ‘but free and respected citizens.’16

The PCA lost its general secretary − Boukort resigned in late 1939, citing disagreement with the Non-aggression Pact, and was soundly criticised by his former comrades. In January 1940 the PCA set up an underground central committee headed by Ouzegane that included Bouhali and the exiled Spanish communist, Ramón Via Fernandez.17 PCA members with experience in the Spanish Civil War, such as Laban, Raffini and Smaïli, played an important role in this period − Laban and Raffini had been in the International Brigade, and Smaïli, a political commissar in the Spanish Republican Army.18 They were assisted by Spanish communist refugees. They published several roneotype issues of Lutte sociale, but distribution was extremely difficult. Ouzegane developed links with French communist Roland Lenoir, eventually becoming closer to the French communists than to his PCA comrades who, having fought in Spain, developed ties with the Spanish communists. In April–May 1940 the entire central committee –except Via Fernandez − was arrested and interned. Bouhali and Ouzegane were sent to Djenien Bou Rezg. Gilberte Chemouilli and her three comrades were finally sentenced − Chemouilli to two years for acting as PCA liaison and working on the clandestine Lutte sociale.19

German troops invaded France in early June 1940, marching into Paris on 14 June. Despite the French army's modern tanks, its military ideas were out of date, and France lacked the air power to cover its ground troops. Prime Minister Paul Reynaud resigned, failing to get the support of his Vice-Premier, Philippe Pétain, and the French army commander, General Maxime Weygand, both of whom favoured accommodation with Germany. On 17 June Pétain announced an end to fighting. The next day, from London, General Charles de Gaulle broadcast the launch of the France libre or Free France movement. The French anthropologist Germaine Tillion formed the first of many resistance groups, which used propaganda, demonstrations and terror, accosting the enemy with guns, knives and dynamite.20

France's collapse caused shock waves felt across its empire and in Moscow. On 19 June the ECCI's Secretariat announced on behalf of the PCF: ‘French communists … will fight decisively and fiercely against the enslavement of our nation by foreign imperialists.’21 On the 22nd France signed an armistice with Germany ceding northern France and the Atlantic seaboard. Pétain became head of state in unoccupied France, headquartered at Vichy, where he led a conservative, repressive regime that collaborated with the Nazis. The French republican slogan ‘Liberty, Equality, Fraternity’ was replaced by a ‘national revolution’ proclaiming the values of ‘Work, Family, Fatherland’. Camus, who had (p.115) moved to Paris after losing his newspaper post, described ‘pro-German policies, a totalitarian-like constitution, an overwhelming fear of an impossible revolution: all of this to soothe an enemy who will crush us nevertheless and to save privileges which will not be threatened.’22

Vichy Algeria

The French began their great trek to escape the Nazis. Six million joined what became known as the Exodus, fleeing in cars, in carts, on bicycles and on foot. Workers left their jobs, and peasants their farms, their animals dying along the roadside, all moving east or south towards the Mediterranean.23 Algiers teamed with Spanish Republicans and International Brigade veterans who had fled Spain after Franco's victory and with new arrivals fleeing the Nazis. Spanish refugees flooded into Oran. On one occasion Oran's mayor prevented a boatload of Spanish refugees from disembarking for so long that they ran out of food; local communists brought them food and water. But despite such humanitarian efforts, a huge portion of the local European population sympathised with the new regime − this included Jews until Pétain's anti-Semitic legislation came into force. Conservative settlers saw the Third Republic's defeat as a defeat for the left, while the gros colons who dominated the upper administrative echelons saw Vichy as a golden opportunity to profit through exports to the Nazis. Before the war Jacques Doriot's right-wing Parti populaire français was popular among recent European immigrants, but now far-right and fascist groups mushroomed. Right-wing youth groups caused mayhem in the streets and helped to purge Jews and other undesirables from the universities.24

The theme of empire figured prominently in the struggle over France's future. Both the Vichy regime and de Gaulle's Free French Forces laid claim to the empire. For Pétain's supporters the empire offered the possibility of post-war collaboration with Germany. For de Gaulle the empire held the hope of restoring a post-war France to its former glory.25 Vichy's laws were applied more forcefully in North Africa than in the other French territories. His regime attacked those deemed to be enemies of France: Jews, communists, Freemasons and Algerian nationalists. In July Jean-Marie Charles Abrial became governor-general. In October the government abolished the Crémieux decree that had given French citizenship to Algerian Jews, who numbered some 3 per cent of the population; a new Statut des juifs denied Jews the right to engage in certain professions. So intense was anti-Semitism among European settlers that Algerian authorities exceeded the statute, even banning Jewish primary and secondary students from (p.116) schools. Jews were denounced and dismissed from their jobs, providing employment opportunities for non-Jews. Anti-Semites rejoiced.26

The Vichy regime continued the emergency powers imposed at the war's start, protected settler interests and rejected political reform for Algerians. Internment was intensified with the use of several types of institutions: prisons housing criminal and political prisoners together; bagnes, work camps using forced labour; groupements de travailleurs étrangers for undesirable foreigners –the one at Aïn Sefra dubbed the French Buchenwald of North Africa –and centres de séjour surveillé, surveillance centres for local and foreign activists. Over the next two years some 7,000 to 10,000 people were interned.27

Nonetheless, France's unexpected fall signalled an unforeseen vulnerability. Some were jubilant when German troops entered Paris, but most were silent, a silence that authorities mistook for loyalty to the Pétainists. In occupied France Germans released Algerian political prisoners and opened a propaganda office in Paris focusing on the Maghreb. A small PPA group launched an underground wing to organise in the Algiers casbah and asked the Germans to help with training. But when Messali heard this, he rejected any collaboration with the Nazis.28

France's fall was certainly felt at the University of Algiers. Like the PCA, anyone connected with the PPA risked severe repression, but medical student Chawki Mostefaï nonetheless organised nationalist propaganda and recruited students into a university PPA cell. Mostefaï had attended primary school in Bordj Bou Arréridj and secondary school at the College of Sétif, graduating in 1938. At Sétif he was drawn into politics through a Jewish classmate named Simon Lévy, who invited him to join the Young Socialists. He and his friends attended Young Socialist Sunday meetings for two to three years, where Mostefaï learned about socialist and Marxist ideas. Mostefaï and his university comrades –they numbered about ten − felt that the German occupation signalled France's weakness, providing an opportune moment to take up arms. Aware that earlier insurrections against France had failed, thus strengthening colonialism's grip, they felt that there should be one coordinated insurrection, not many small ones. Thus they joined the PPA; Mostefaï represented the university students on the PPA's leading body.29 Although the occupation certainly changed Algerian perspectives of French invincibility, nationalists were fragmented amongst themselves, as were opponents of the Vichy regime generally. Algerian notables opposed the banned PPA, which along with the PCA had been decimated by repression, and even those nationalists who had sympathised with the PCA now eschewed it. Indeed, Mostefaï saw the PCA as his ‘mortal enemy’.30

Isolated, the tiny numbers of communists still at large met secretly. (p.117) In the east, Raffini recruited William Sportisse, raised in the lowincome housing at Camp des Oliviers in Constantine. As a boy, William had been profoundly influenced by his older brothers Lucien and Bernard, who had organised the Constantine JC. By the time William joined the PCA, motivated by Germany's invasion of France, he was already attending Party meetings, and he distributed papers, engaged in anti-war propaganda and organised workers.31 In the west, Thomas Ibanez, a teacher in Oran considered by Oranie comrades as ‘the soul of the Communist Party’, led another attempt to reorganise the PCA, working with Jean Torrecillas of Oran, Dr Jean Cattoir of Constantine, and Lisette Vincent in Algiers. Given the intense repression, it was impossible to hold regular meetings and elections. Ibanez and his comrades constituted themselves as a central committee composed mainly of people of Spanish descent. Thus, Gabrielle Gimenez, born in 1920 to working-class parents of Spanish heritage in Oran, joined the JC when she was 16 and later the underground PCA. Ibanez hoped to recruit Smaïli to the central committee and tried to engineer his escape from Serkadji Prison before he was interned down south.32

Once the USSR voiced its opposition to the war, its earlier anti-fascism was overshadowed by an anti-imperialist emphasis. The independence of colonies was once again seen as a means to weaken the imperial powers. The new approach empowered those supporting the call for independence, which had been dropped during the Popular Front era. These included Ibanez and Smaïli, who saw the call for independence as necessary to attract Algerians who had been overjoyed at France's defeat and naively hoped that Hitler could liberate them. But the pro-independence position conflicted with that of the PCF, and Roland Lenoir insisted that the PCA follow the ‘nation in formation’ thesis. Lenoir argued that the PCA should begin with immediate daily demands, then Algerian unity and finally unity of the Algerian and French peoples. Any discussion of independence should take place within that framework, he stressed.33

Ibanez and comrades were deep underground. Although their call for independence may have struck a chord amongst the presumably minute number of Algerians who heard it, the extreme repression meant that the PCA remained isolated and had great difficulties dis-seminating its few publications.34 Nonetheless, on 28–29 September 1940, the PCA held a conference demanding independence. Smaïli was present; he criticised the conference preparation and the manner in which the central committee had constituted itself. Arguing that this did not reflect a commitment to Algerianisation, he and others refused to work with it. Laban acknowledged the problem, hoping to convince Smaïli to reconsider.35

(p.118) Despite the discord, the conference agreed on a manifesto published in Lutte sociale's November 1940 issue, a single sheet with a piece by Ibanez justifying the Non-aggression Pact. The PCA's manifesto put independence and a democratic Algerian government at the top of its list. It called for land for those who worked it, including Algerian and European peasants, smallholders and farm workers; industrial development; and schooling, hygiene and clean water for all. The achievement of those goals required unity, it enjoined its readers, both unity of Algerians, including Arabs, Kabyles, Mozabites, Jews and Europeans, and unity with the French nation. Led by both the PCA and the PCF, the Algerian and French peoples could defeat imperialism.36

The PCA was hit by another wave of arrests that November. Again, Ibanez avoided arrest. He sought the help of Via Fernandez and began working with Laban, Raffini, Odette Rossignol Dei, Mohamed Kateb, Lisette Vincent and Gimenez, who had fled to Algiers. More arrests followed, but with the help of Spanish communists, the group re-established contacts in Oranie and Constantinois, communicating with numeric codes and invisible ink, independence being their main priority.37

Maurice Laban was responsible for propaganda. He had been raised in the rural Constantinois town of Biskra. His parents taught at the ‘native school’, where he and his sister were the only European children, and where he became friends with the four Debabèche brothers, also future communists. Growing up amongst Algerians, Laban was entirely comfortable with the demands for Algerian unity and independence. He stressed the importance of rural organising in Kabylia and the Aurès and on the Algerian–Tunisian border, while acknowledging that the PCA had virtually no influence in rural areas or amongst the Algerian masses. Its support came mainly from dockers and from railway, tramway and building workers. Many Algerians had hoped for change after France's fall, but their conditions had not improved, and Laban hoped that the PCA could gain their support by demanding independence. Lutte sociale underlined this point, warning against PPA ‘Hitlerians’ whose support for German imperialism was a betrayal of the Algerian people and proclaiming, ‘Long live the united and free Algerian people, long live Algerian independence.’ The USSR had been vilified since the Non-aggression Pact, it added, yet Muslims in the USSR were happier than anywhere else.38

The next year brought more crackdowns. On 12 January 1941, Laban, Rossignol Dei and Kateb were arrested when the police discovered the Lutte sociale printing press. Gimenez, picked up en route to a meeting, was tortured with water, whippings and electricity. By then, the central committee was almost entirely composed of activists (p.119) from Oranie. On 25 January Algerian soldiers in the French army mutinied and seized weapons. The authorities tried to keep news of the event out of the press, but rumours circulated, and the episode intensified the repression. ‘The battle of Algiers against the Communists’, proclaimed L'Echo d'Alger on 27 January.

Pétain's military justice continued. In March, 27 PPA leaders were condemned on sedition charges at a military tribunal in Algiers and sentenced to terms ranging from three years to sixteen for Messali –the extremely harsh sentences signalling the regime's desire to smash the PPA. The PCA's Ibanez and Debabèche were arrested in the same month. Via Fernandez again helped Communists in Oran, and Paul Caballero and François Serrano, both sons of Spanish immigrants, took over the leadership. The atmosphere of persecution permeated communist perceptions; they accused each other of being informants. Those seen as unconventional or as outsiders were the victims of such accusations. Ibanez and Smaïli were both accused, notwithstanding that Ibanez was imprisoned and the police were hunting Smaïli, and both were later sentenced to death: Ibanez had been a socialist until he joined the PCA in 1936; Smaïli had rejected the central committee's European dominance.39

Communists Join the War Effort

The international communist movement switched tracks once again in June 1941. The Soviet Union's neutrality had been sorely tested from summer 1940 as tensions with Nazi Germany mounted. When Germany invaded the USSR on 22 June 1941, the Soviets entered the war, which the Comintern now characterised as anti-fascist. Communists around the world were instructed to support the war effort; the French and Algerian Communist Parties followed suit, and the PCF joined the resistance. The Soviet need for allies necessitated a shift away from the earlier anti-imperial and anti-colonial stance.40

Somehow, the PCA found another printing press. Its propaganda subtly shifted to allow tactical alliances with the PPA. Distinguishing between PPA members who supported fascism and the PPA's ‘sincere nationalists’ − ‘our brothers’ − who remained faithful to the people, it commemorated the June 1936 Muslim Congress and called for another such show of unity around the call for independence. It was more than ever necessary that the Algerian people overcome their divisions to build a united anti-fascist front in North Africa and the Mediterranean, it argued, demanding ‘l'union populaire’ for peace and national liberation. Those who continued to maintain divisions amongst the Algerian people were traitors: ‘Fighting against them with the same (p.120) ardour as against imperialism is the first step in constituting an Algerian National Front.’41

But the communists' pleas fell on deaf ears. Most Algerians were far too burdened with hardships to consider such appeals The young British-born and French-raised Harry Salem had arrived in Algeria around May–June 1940. Drawn into politics following the Nazi invasion of the USSR, Salem could not initially find the underground PCA. He became friends with José Aboulker, a medical student from a politically progressive bourgeois Jewish family, who described himself as a ‘profoundly patriotic Jewish anti-fascist’. Anti-fascist resistance was carried on clandestinely in small groups –one base of operations in Algiers being the youth hostel where Salem lodged. He and other young people distributed anti-fascist flyers and eventually linked up with the JC.42 Unusually for a European, Salem had Algerian friends. He learned that the war in Europe was not their primary interest, even if they did not want a German victory: ‘it wasn't their war.’ There was a marked similarity with black South African reactions to the war: while many sympathised with the anti-fascist struggle, they were more concerned with their own lack of democratic rights. Most black South Africans were indifferent to the war in Europe, as were most Algerians.43

Despite enormous difficulties, in 1941 the PCA held its fourth conference, paying homage to Kaddour Belkaïm, who on 27 July 1940 had died of typhus due to lack of medical care at the Djenien Bou Rezg camp. The party flagellated itself for its alleged shortcomings: it was demographically unrepresentative, sectarian and suffered from defective leadership; its distribution of documents was irregular, leaving outlying branches without adequate guidance; its finances were chaotic.44 It softened its call for independence to reflect Thorez's thesis: ‘Towards the independence of Algeria … a nation in formation. Forward to a democratic Algeria alongside France of the Popular Front. Today, liberty of France and also liberty of Algeria.’45

National liberation could not simply be a struggle of Muslims against Europeans, the central committee insisted. Thorez's ‘nation in formation’ thesis remained relevant, it argued, particularly as the abolition of the Crémieux Decree and Vichy's anti-Semitic laws laid the basis for a backlash against Jews –people remembered the 1934 Constantine massacre. It proposed the return of land to peasants, sharecroppers and farm workers alongside calls for an anti-imperialist Algerian front and ‘an independent, democratic and popular Algerian republic’. International proletarianism must take priority over panIslamic utopianism –hence, the unity of French and Muslim workers against French and Muslim exploiters.46

Despite the communists' pro-war stance, 1941 and 1942 saw acute (p.121) repression. A military tribunal judged 81 Spanish communists on 6 February 1942 in Oran and meted out severe punishments. There were 21 who were condemned in absentia. Four of these were sentenced to death, while most of the others received 20-year sentences, the lightest sentence for this group being 15 years of forced labour. Of those who were present at their trial, 17 received sentences of 10–20 years, while five got off with one year and a fine. The remaining 38 were acquitted.47

PCA members fared no better. Lisette Vincent, arrested on 16 August 1941, was tortured and held in Serkadji, one of 61 communists accused of reconstituting the banned PCA. The 61 were tried in a military tribunal in Algiers on 9 February 1942. About half of the 55 men and six women were of Spanish descent, and eight were Algerians.48 Eight of the 61 died in detention before trial. In March 1942, 41 of them, including seven Algerians, were convicted. Of these, six − Vincent, Ibanez, Raffini, Ditmar Danelius, Emile Touati and Smaïli in absentia − were sentenced to death; nine, including Gimenez, to indefinite forced labour; 14 to forced labour for 7–20 years; 12 to prison for 1–5 years. Laban, Rossignol Dei, Yvonne Saillen and Isabel Vial − a teacher from Oran who later hung herself in prison − received varying sentences. Another military tribune in Algiers targeted trade union leaders and activists –dockers and building, metal and postal workers, amongst others. Other arrests and trials took place in Oran and Constantine. Via Fernandez avoided arrest, set up a new underground group and established contact with Marseille. The PCF sent Maurice Deloison to assist. The contrast with South Africa, where communist support for the war protected them from internment could not have been starker.49

Some were sent in chains to Lambèse, the site of a second-century Roman military base and a French prison built in 1855. One was Jacques Salort, a young CGT activist from a humble background, who worked with Saillen and Ibanez and helped rebuild the underground PCA in Algiers. He was arrested in June 1941, tortured, imprisoned in Serkadji, condemned during the trial of the 61, sent by train in a chained group of four men by four to Batna and then another eleven kilometres to Lambèse. The conditions were brutal − isolation, hunger, cold and snow. Prisoners were kept in separate cells, which they could leave for only 15 minutes a day, and were forbidden to speak to each other. They could read, but were only allowed to write one letter a month. Salort met Messali and other PPA activists, some twenty activists from the Tunisian Neo-Destour Party and Italian communists captured in Tunis. They were eventually able to mingle, but Messali, ever suspicious of communists, warned his followers to keep their distance.50

(p.122) In May 1942 the PCF established the anti-Vichy Front national in France. In Algeria public pressure over the fate of communists condemned to death made itself felt on Governor-General Yves-Charles Châtel, who had taken over in November 1941.51 Baya Bouhoune Allaouchiche became a liaison for the 27 French deputies imprisoned at Maison Carrée. Born 1920 in Algiers, Allaouchiche had French citizenship due to her father's First World War military service. Her family were nationalists with traditional attitudes about the role of women: she left French school at eleven and entered an arranged marriage at fourteen. But attracted by the PCA's stance on religious and racial equality, she rebelled and found the underground party, even though this caused tensions within her family.

Communists worked in risky conditions, disseminating flyers along with the occasional underground paper from France. Lutte sociale appeared sporadically, printed either on two sides of a letter-sized sheet or on one side of an even smaller sheet, and sometimes its distribution led to brawls between communists and nationalists in areas where nationalists were strong. As the Nazi threat against the USSR continued, PCA publications gave more coverage to the fight against Hitler, especially once the Battle of Stalingrad began on 17 July 1942. But the international focus also reflected the lack of cadres available to write on local issues –the repeated waves of arrests had taken their toll, the authorities were pleased to report.52

The Anglo-American Landing

The United States' entry into the war in December 1941 precipitated debates about how to penetrate Nazi territory. North Africa became a southern front. On 7–8 November 1942 some 76,000 Anglo-American troops landed in Morocco and Algeria in Operation Torch, capturing the ports of Casablanca, Oran and Algiers. There were already about 120,000 French troops in North Africa, 50,000 in Algeria, 55,000 in Morocco and 15,000 in Tunisia. In Algiers, José Aboulker and other resistance partisans helped plan the landing. Gilberte Chemouilli, released from prison on 14 July 1942, resumed her political activities after the Allied landing, working as a secretary for the PCA and Alger républicain and marrying Bouali Taleb, the communist leader of the Union des jeunesses démocratiques d'Algérie (Union of Democratic Youth of Algeria, UJDA).53

Imprisoned communists might have hoped that the Allies would free them, but political intrigues between the Allied forces and the French predominated. De Gaulle's Comité national français (French National Committee, CNF), formed in September 1941, had been (p.123) Recognised by the Soviet Union, but the Americans were hostile. By the time of the Allied landing, de Gaulle's Free French Forces had proved their fighting ability, and later that month de Gaulle's group signed an agreement with the PCF. Antagonistic to de Gaulle, in December 1942 the Americans ensured that General Henri Giraud took command in North Africa. Giraud cooperated with de Gaulle, although their relationship was never easy.54

The Anglo-American operation had two principal repercussions for France and Algeria. Firstly, it propelled the Axis forces to occupy the remainder of free France. From 11 November German and Italian troops occupied southern France and Tunisia. Secondly, it catalysed the resurgence of Algerian nationalism. France's fall had already signalled a weak state. Now it was seen as dependant on the United States and Britain, co-authors of the August 1941 Atlantic Charter that called for the right of all peoples to self-determination. The Allied landing raised Algerian hopes that the United States and Britain might influence France to implement reforms reflecting the Atlantic Charter.55

Students at the University of Algiers were energised, and Mostefaï tried to recruit them to his PPA cell. But they also talked to the communists, who asked the students to explain their political doctrine. The students would return to Mostefaï with that question. He replied that the struggle needed the participation of all for a ‘national objective’ –it was not just the struggle of a few. The Muslim religion also had a political dimension, he argued, while recognising the need to adapt Islam to changing conditions. The communists then asked the students about their views on class. Mostefaï had no answer. He asked the PPA leadership but they also had difficulties: Islamic education did not prepare them for such questions. So Mostefaï replied that to liberate themselves from the French, they had to take a road in common with other sections of society. They needed an overarching strategy that prioritised-independence. The question of socialism or capitalism would be decided after independence, when they could organise a pluralist society. The Allied landing sparked renewed interest in such debates.56

When Governor-General Châtel announced plans to conscript Algerian men, Ferhat Abbas and other Algerian leaders responded with a ‘Message from the Algerian Muslim Representatives to the Responsible Authorities’ − which included the French and Allied forces. Written on 20 December 1942, it noted that Algerians were deprived of their rights and liberties, while pointing out the United States' commitment to self-determination. As a precondition for Muslim support for the war effort, it asked that a conference of Muslim leaders be convened to draw up a statute of political, economic and social rights. Only (p.124) on the basis of such a statute were Abbas and his colleagues prepared to promise Algerian support. The French refused to accept the message, however, until it had been addressed to the French authorities and reworded to ask for ‘liberation within an “essentially French framework”’. Even then the French were negative. Undeterred, in February 1943 Abbas and his colleagues began drafting the Manifeste du peuple algérien (Manifesto of the Algerian People).57

The Soviets won the Battle of Stalingrad on 2 February 1943, a massive victory costing more than 1.5 million casualties and a turning point in the war. Prisoners at Lambèse celebrated, and although their hopes for imminent release were dashed, their conditions improved. Through Soviet pressure, political conditions eased enough to allow the PCF and PCA some freedom of action. On 7 February the 27 PCF deputies were released from Maison Carrée, where they had been transferred in 1941; other communists had to wait longer. War conditions prevented the PCF deputies from returning to France. Since the PCA detainees had not yet been released, the PCF deputies dominated PCA affairs over the next several weeks, promoting French and Algerianunity against fascism.58

Thus, as Algerian nationalism was on the upswing, with nationalists demanding independence, the PCA stressed the Nazi threat and kept independence on the back burner. Lutte sociale's 21 February issue paid homage to Stalin and the Red Army. Alger républicain reappeared three days later with the slogan: ‘All for the victory over Hitlerian Germany.’ The paper was managed by Paul Schmitt, a socialist from Oran, and Michel Rouzé, a left-wing Paris-born journalist who tricked his way out of German captivity and, at Schmitt's invitation, came to Algeria. The staff included PCA member Joseph Parrès, condemned to death under the Vichy regime but later liberated, and a few Spanish republicans. The Algerians were few but significant: the communist Smaïli, the socialist Mohammed el Aziz Kessous and the journalist Abdelkader Safir.59 Indeed, Mostefaï thought the PCA's influence was ‘fairly big’. It was legal again and could hold meetings, while the PPA was ‘outside the law’. Nonetheless, the PPA undoubtedly had an impact, and some Algerian communists joined.60

On 31 March 1943 Abbas's manifesto was sent to Governor-General Marcel Peyrouton, who had replaced Châtel after the Allied landing. The manifesto called for the end of colonisation; the right to self-determination; a new democratic constitution; full Algerian participation in government; liberty and absolute equality of all people, without distinction of race or religion; suppression of feudal property; implementation of agrarian reform and recognition of Arabic as an official language alongside French.61 Accepting the manifesto as a ‘basis (p.125) for future reforms’, Peyrouton appointed a commission of conservative and moderate Algerians to draft a set of demands that could be readily implemented. Undeterred, Abbas sponsored an Additif au manifeste, a condensed and more radical supplement to the original manifesto. This demanded, at the war's end, the establishment of a sovereign Algerian state on the basis of a constitution drawn up through a constituent assembly based on universal suffrage of all inhabitants of the country.62

In the meantime, the resistance in France had coalesced into an underground movement called Combat, which published a clandestine newspaper of the same name. La France combattante (Fighting France), formed in July 1942, signalled the alliance of de Gaulle's external resistance and internal resistance in occupied and free France. Camus, whose novel L'Etranger had been published in 1942, joined the resistance in 1943 and began writing for Combat.63 French communists, socialists and Gaullists launched Fighting France in Algeria in late March 1943, when most –but not all − of Pétain's legislation was abolished. The abrogation of the Statut des juifs and the restoration of the Crémieux Decree were stalled on the grounds that this might antagonise Muslims when their support was needed for the war. That month the imprisoned PCA members were released. Over the war's course the PCA had lost experienced activists. Belkaïm, Serrano, Torrecillas and others had died in prisons or detention camps.64 Others, such as the brothers Bernard and William Sportisse, were mobilised into the army after the Allied landing. But because Jews were still subject to the racist Vichy laws, they were mobilised into Jewish sections of the French army to work on specific tasks. In Constantinois Jewish soldiers were charged with rebuilding roads near the Tunisian border and housed in a former Vichy internment camp for Jews. But they rebelled − they wanted to fight, not do construction. General Giraud opposed re-establishing the Crémieux decree; Jewish soldiers, including the Sportisse brothers, were sent to West Africa to obtain troops.65

The leading Algerian communists now included Bouhali, Ouzegane, Smaïli, Mohammed Marouf, Ahmed Amara and Djamal Sfindja. Ouzegane was freed in May, and Bouhali in June. Once in Algiers, Ouzegane renewed his links with the PCF, promoting its anti-nationalist position. Thus, he told a group of Algerians in Sétif shortly after his release: ‘It is through union with your French comrades that you will obtain your rights. We refuse to collaborate with those who trick the masses and try to commit them to a dangerous path.’ Those demanding independence, Ouzegane insisted, were ‘false nationalists’ promoting the Algerian bourgeoisie's interests. A special May Day 1943 issue of Lutte sociale called on Algerians to crush fascism and liberate France. An article entitled ‘Produire, produire’ urged production (p.126) for the war effort.66 Militaristic discourse became normal. On 24 May Lutte sociale heralded the Giraud–de Gaulle accord; only ‘a people united, an army united’ could go into battle with enthusiasm, it claimed.67 The PCA appealed for equal rights: like the French, it urged, Algerians deserved Liberty (from prison), Equality (with all the civic rights given to French citizens) and Fraternity. There was no mention of independence.68

Despite American efforts, Fighting France's formation facilitated de Gaulle's installation in Algiers on 30 May, the same month that Tunis was liberated. A provisional government led by de Gaulle and Giraud, the Comité français de libération nationale (French National Liberation Committee, CFLN), was set up on 3 June 1943 at Algiers, which became the capital of Free France. The Ordinance of 1 July 1943 restored the PCA to legality. French Communists resumed open political activity that month, launching the weekly Liberté. It focused on France and the war against fascism. The first issue called for Algerian civil rights and French and Algerian union, and Ouzegane expressed communist thanks to the Allies.69

The CFLN became the de facto government in exile. It tolerated communists, but had no Algerian commissioners. Socialists and Gaullists rejected the demands for complete equality and self-determination. De Gaulle believed firmly that France's post-war prestige depended on its empire; his government placed Abbas under house arrest and pressured Algerian leaders into dropping the call for independence. On 25 July 1943 a demonstration at Philippeville led to 12 deaths and 50 serious injuries –all of Algerians –a sign of simmering tensions in the region.70 The communists rapidly dominated the media. Alger républicain reappeared on 2 October, and in December the PCA launched Algérie nouvelle to replace Lutte sociale. Both Liberté and Algérie nouvelle achieved considerable success, selling respectively 80,000 and 45,000 copies, the biggest sales of any North African newspapers, even selling to army personnel. Many Europeans, fed up with Vichy, turned an interested ear to the communists.71 Using the media, communists tried to weaken de Gaulle's power within the CFLN, playing him off against Giraud. But their efforts backfired after Giraud resigned, leaving de Gaulle in control. Despite this setback, communist influence grew. Their rhetoric became more militant and peppered with personalised attacks. Their demand for equality for all alienated European supporters, whom they derided as having a colonialist mentality. Yet they succeeded in becoming part of the CFLN, their first participation in a French government.72

(p.127) The Comintern's Dissolution

The Comintern's dissolution on 22 May 1943 had shocked the communist world. Since 1939 the Comintern had effectively been an appendage of Soviet foreign policy, and the decision, taken as the war was changing course, was clearly Stalin's. Most likely it reflected his desire for post-war concessions from the Western Allies –renunciation of world revolution in exchange for post-war recognition of a Soviet sphere of influence. From then on national sections were to use their own judgement about their particular situations.

Yet the Comintern's disbanding did not mean greater autonomy for the PCA. The war and with it support for France remained the defining features of communist activities. The PCF delegates, led by François Billoux and Etienne Fajon, were represented on the PCA's central committee and on the CFLN. Promoting the idea of a patriotic union around de Gaulle, they sought to make the PCF into ‘a big party of State’. Within the PCA they reinforced the primacy of France's liberation and the ‘nation in formation’ thesis. To this end, the PCA was to call for the unity of all to end the war, while supporting the daily struggles of the oppressed. This was seen at a communist mass meeting on 29 August.73

Attended by some 3,000 people − Algerians and Europeans of all classes –the meeting took place at the Majestic cinema in Algiers. Billoux proposed revitalising the Party through a purge and pushing forward with the war in France. It was not a question of whether tomorrow the French republic would be more or less democratic or social, he argued. If they waited, France would only be ‘a republic of cadavers’. Ouzegane attacked Abbas and his manifesto: Abbas demanded autonomy but lacked the means to achieve his aim, he told the crowd, whereas the communists had the Red Army. Ouzegane supported independence, but this was not the moment to demand it, he insisted.74

This stance ensured the PCA's continued marginalisation from Algerian politics. After the Allied landing Ouzegane and other communists spoke at Larbaâ, where a young Sadek Hadjerès was in the audience. Born 1928 at Larbaâ Nath Irathen (formerly Fort-National), Hadjerès was the son of a teacher who subscribed to the progressive La Voix des humbles. Speaking Berber at home, Arabic in the streets and French at school, Hadjerès was raised in urban society and in the rural mountain culture of his family village where he spent the summers. Schooled at Médéa and Blida, where the PPA had a few partisans but was not yet implanted, when the College of Blida was closed to accommodate Allied troops, he returned to Larbaâ. He and his friends were happy with Ouzegane's criticisms of colonialism, the police and the bachagas, but (p.128) they were struck by his virulent anti-nationalism –in fact, this was how Hadjerès learned that there was a nationalist movement. After the meeting Hadjerès and three others visited a sympathetic European communist. They asked him why the PCA did not demand independence. He replied that Algerians could not ask for independence because their women were veiled. Yet Hadjerès's mother was veiled, and he knew that she understood the need for liberation. He felt that European communists were speaking to Algerians without trying to understand their culture or world view. Indeed, the PCA's harsh anti-nationalism angered many Algerians. Despite the PCA's branding of nationalists as pro-Nazi, many nationalists had fought against fascism in France and Italy, and the PCA's words were an insult.75

The PCF's attempts to reorient the PCA bore fruit in a conference at Hussein Dey, near Algiers, on 14–15 September 1943. Billoux presided; Bouhali was the first secretary, assisted by Ouzegane. The PCA issued an Appel au peuple algérien (Call to the Algerian People) –its reply to Abbas's manifesto − that demanded full democratic rights for Algerians and the abolition of all political inequalities, but not independence. It stressed the primacy of joint struggle with France against the Nazis. Yet Algerians released from camps and coming out from underground could not understand why Algeria should prioritise France's liberation before its own.76

The PCA's promotion of a patriotic union between France and Algeria was furthered by the formidable André Marty. Seeking to revive the North African communist parties, Marty arrived in Algiers in October 1943 –when the Crémieux Decree was finally reinstated − bringing with him Stalin's prestigious support. A hero of the 1919 Black Sea mutiny, Marty became a communist deputy in 1924, rising up the PCF and Comintern ranks. From 1936 to 1938 he was in charge of the International Brigade in Spain. In 1937 he headed the Moscowbased investigation into problems in the Communist Party of South Africa. His arrival in Algeria indicated a hardening of the communist position on a united war effort and signalled the importance, both for the Soviet Union and the PCF, of carefully choosing the PCA's leading figures. Billoux felt that both Bouhali and Zannettacci placed too much emphasis on Algerian rights.77 Marty wasted no time. He set up a party school with Etienne Fajon and Roger Garaudy, where he targeted Laban's ‘nationalist deviation’, and organised a conference of the three North African communist parties, which took place in Algiers on 30 November. Billoux opened the conference, followed by Ouzegane, who stressed unity with France against fascism, opposed the call for independence and criticised the PPA and Muslim elected officials. Thorez's ‘nation in formation’ thesis was reaffirmed.78

(p.129) In some respects the PCA looked healthy. The communist press was thriving: Liberté's sales topped 100,000 copies. Notably, the PCA was the only ethnically mixed political party, and its European enrolment, mainly working-class, was growing, attracted by the communist stance on the war. PCA and JC cells were springing up across country. Both Young Communists and young Algerians joined the UJDA, especially in Constantinois. These Algerians were either sympathetic to the PCA or at least not anti-communist. Through their participation in the UJDA, European communists gained insight into Algerian needs and viewpoints.

Communist women formed the Jeunes filles communistes d'Algérie (Communist Girls of Algeria) and the Union des femmes d'Algérie (Union of Women of Algeria, UFA), launched in 1944. Open to women without distinction of national origin, the UFA was initially led by European communist women, notably Alice Sportisse and Lise Oculi. Initially it was assumed that European women would fight fascism, and Algerian women would fight for Algerian rights. Gradually the UFA attracted growing numbers of Algerian women who, avoiding organisations with men, felt able to mix with other women. It responded more directly to their interests, and over the next few years its leadership became more ethnically representative. Addressing meetings with ease in French, Arabic and Berber, Baya Allaouchiche became a leading UFA voice.79

Overall, however, the PCA's recruitment of Europeans, reinforced by the presence of PCF cadres, meant continued underestimation of the national question and qualification of independence as provisional. Many of the communists recruited during this period, products of Fajon's party school, thought that Nazism's defeat would lead to a socialist revolution in Europe and that this in turn would lead to Algeria's liberation. The Soviet Union may have been sceptical about post-war socialist prospects –hence its concern with carving out a sphere of influence − but these young people idealistically believed that socialism was imminent. That was certainly Harry Salem's view. Semi-underground, he was very involved in the JC and the UJDA. He had proved himself a very successful editor and administrator at the UJDA's La Jeune Algérie, and in 1943 he began translating English news releases for the Agence France-Afrique. There he met Lucette Larribère, from the well-known communist family in Oran, and through her, Gilberte Serfaty, who came from an indigenous Jewish family in Mostaganem and who had been forced by the Vichy laws to suspend her English studies at the University of Algiers. The two women joined the PCA cell at France-Afrique, and became active in the UFA. Another indigenous Jew, fifteen-year-old Daniel Timsit, (p.130) became involved in the JC that same year: ‘I was an internationalist before being national,’ he later recalled. ‘No more barriers, no more Jews, Muslims, Christians. We were humanity.’80

Salem sensed that communists and nationalists were working from two world views: while the PCF and PCA gave primacy to the USSR and its interests, Algerian nationalists looked towards the USA, which proclaimed the rights of peoples to self-determination. Marty saw Algeria through the prism of Soviet and French interests, supporting Ouzegane's anti-nationalism and confirming him as the PCA's political secretary. Others, such as Estorges, felt Marty's displeasure. The Arabic-speaking secretary of the PCA's Constantine region, Estorges had long felt that the communists neglected anti-colonial work. He had many contacts with the ‘ulama, including Ben Badis, about whom Marty was sceptical. Marty had also been furious to learn that Zannettacci and trade unionist Abdallah, who was close to the ‘ulama, had organised the PCA and CGT at Bône around the call for independence. Had it not been for Billoux's intervention, Zannettacci would have been expelled.81

France clearly expected to retain its empire after the war. On 12 December 1943 de Gaulle announced his aims of reasserting French control in Indochina and reforming Algeria, setting up a commission to develop an Algerian reform programme. Representing the PCA, Ouzegane called for French citizenship and political rights for all Algerians and complete administrative reform. Neither education nor language should justify exclusion from French citizenship, he stressed. Through Arabic language radio, newspapers and lectures, Algerians were sufficiently politically sophisticated to participate fully and effectively as French citizens. When Bendjelloul asked Ouzegane for his view on Abbas' idea of Algerian citizenship, Ouzegane replied that communists believed that the Algerian nation was still in formation and that the mixture of the European, Arab and Berber peoples would produce an Algerian race and nation. He underlined the need to avoid opposition between Algerians and Europeans, not all of whom were exploiters.82

De Gaulle's response to Abbas' manifesto was crystallised in the Ordinance of 7 March 1944, which Governor-General Catroux, replacing Peyrouton, had taken the lead in formulating. This expanded the Algerian electorate, the first such change since the Jonnart Law, granting French citizenship to 65,000 additional Algerians without mandating a change in their personal status as Muslims and giving all Algerian men the right to vote in a second Muslim college. After France's liberation other Algerians could become French citizens based on terms determined by a national constituent assembly. Overall, the (p.131) ordinance meant that Algerian representation in all elected bodies increased to 40 per cent. The indigénat was abolished, making Algerians juridically equal to Europeans.83

But the ordinance only intensified European−Algerian polarisation. Most Europeans, increasingly anxious about their future, saw the ordinance as a sign of de Gaulle's weakness. It was welcomed by Bendjelloul and the conservative élus, on the one side, and communists and socialists, on the other. The communist Liberté described the increase in suffrage as ‘a big step forward’, even if not enough.84 However, for most Algerians − who might have supported such concessions in 1936 − they were too little, too late; this included the Messalites, Abbas and his followers, and most of the reformist ‘ulama.

One week after the ordinance became law, these groups came together and launched the Amis du manifeste et de la liberté (Friends of the Manifesto and Freedom, AML) in Sétif, Abbas' home town and since 1942 the capital of Algerian nationalism. The AML aimed to spread the manifesto's ideas, especially those of Algerian nationhood and federation with a reformed France, to contest ruling-class privileges and expose the reactionary nature of French and Algerian elites. Both Bendjelloul's pro-assimilationist supporters and the communists rejected it. But the reformist ‘ulama gave their support, and Messali advised his followers to join. The PCA was profoundly out of sync with Algeria's nationalists.85

PCFPCA Dynamics

The AML grew rapidly. Political ideas spread quickly in the densely populated urban quarters and penetrated the rural areas through teachers. Algerian teachers associated with La Voix des humbles preached social justice, ideas that circulated alongside and sometimes intersected with notions of peasant struggle and jihad, while communist teachers spread notions of equality. The Arabic word istiqlal –independence –became part of the popular vocabulary. Members of the banned PPA flocked to the AML. Colonial authorities vainly hoped that Abbas' idea of federation within a French framework would outstrip Messali's call for independence.86

The AML's success pressured the communists. The PCF recovered far faster than did the PCA. The PCF's North African delegation convened a plenary session on 30 March, calling for communist entry into government, the arming of patriots, support for the war effort and national unity.87 Communists faced harsh conditions, Marty conceded: ‘the political climate in Algiers is very different from that in France, and the anti-communist intrigues are too strong.’ Algerians were disappointed (p.132) with the delayed and inadequate reforms, while the colons dreamed of making Algeria into a new Versailles against the French people. But Algerians would support aid for France if their legitimate demands were satisfied. Lozeray insisted that the PCA improve its organisational work. Ouzegane acknowledged these criticisms. The delegation agreed on political education for pro-French policy. Marty concluded that ‘the question of independence at this moment would only be a slogan of the enemy’. It was critical to ensure communist participation in the CFLN along the lines agreed by the central committee as soon as possible. The resolutions were agreed unanimously.88

The PCF's strength and resources vis-à-vis the PCA enabled it to shape the smaller party's positions. In May 1944 Jean Cristofol, the PCF deputy for Marseille, became the PCA's political instructor. He criticised communists in Constantinois who were close to the ‘ulama and who thought the PCA line was too French. Laban was given an official warning, Bendib and Younès were criticised as too soft on religion, and Estorges was placed under Bouhali's supervision. Smaïli had died in a road accident on 29 January. The second conference of the communist parties of North Africa took place on 15 May 1944, presided over by Marty, who called for the total union of France and its overseas territories. Marty endorsed Ouzegane as the PCA's leading Algerian. Ouzegane expelled Lisette Vincent in June. When the Belcourt cell demanded an explanation for her expulsion, it was dissolved.89

Allied forces landed in Normandy on 6 June 1944, as the Red Army was beating back the Nazis in the east. Just three days earlier the CFLN had prudently declared itself the provisional government of the French Republic with de Gaulle at its head. De Gaulle's forces landed in northern France on 14 June; Allied forces landed in the south on 15 August. The Resistance began fighting in Paris on 19 August; by the 25th Paris was liberated. The euphoria was palpable, the belief that liberation would allow a ‘new France’, genuine. Combat's slogan, ‘From Resistance to Revolution’, expressed the optimism, while Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir planned Les Temps modernes, a journal committed to the revolutionary role of writers. De Gaulle arrived in Paris with American troops. Marty and the French communist delegation followed. De Gaulle formed a provisional government in September; Yves Chataigneau became Algeria's new governor-general. France was in turmoil over the punishment of Nazi collaborators. Camus agonised, but despite his horror of capital punishment, he endorsed it for the most extreme war crimes.90

The PCA was not left on its own, however. Three leading French communists, Joanny Berlioz, Roger Garaudy and Antoine Demusois became instructors, and Léon Feix, the PCF's North African delegate. (p.133) Henriette Neveu became Liberté's editor; her husband Raymond Neveu, secretary of the Algiers region. The French communist André Moine and Caballero and Ouzegane became PCA secretaries. Marty returned briefly for the PCA's next conference on 23–24 September. Not to be outdone by the AML, the PCA had launched the rival Amis de la démocratie (Friends of Democracy), which attacked the PPA's call for an ‘impossible independence’ and accused the nationalists of being in the pay of the United States and Britain. The Friends of Democracy stressed equal rights and immediate demands. It asked Algerians to continue fighting fascism, to produce more, to approach helpful European workers and to aid the French people. It castigated the ‘cent seigneurs’ (one hundred lords) controlling the country's largest landholdings. Ouzegane pointed to the PCA's rising membership as evidence of success. Its membership had doubled from 2,500–3,000 in 1939 to more than 5,000 in 1944. However, the new members were disproportionately European; some were probably attracted by the party's seeming proximity to power through its relationship with the PCF.91

The communists did receive overtures from Algerians, however. Ben Ali Boukort had contacted the PCA in 1943 and, arrested in October 1944, he wrote to Berlioz from prison. He had ‘kept a communist attitude’, he informed Berlioz. It was difficult ‘to abandon the fruit of 15 years of activism and Marxist–Leninist education because he had been mistaken in the understanding of an event’. If the party supported Muslim victims of repression, he suggested, he was certain that the disagreements between communists and nationalists would disappear and that a fruitful collaboration would develop, ‘if one could overcome a certain sectarianism’. But Boukort's olive branch was ignored.92

Whatever the PCF's official stance, in practice communists were compelled to respond to the mounting calls for independence. A confidential report of the US Military Intelligence Service noted: ‘many of the communist agitators who are active throughout Algeria are preaching an independent Algeria … their public statements do not conform with the word-of-mouth propaganda which they spread among the Arabs.’ That communists conceded to this pressure, thought the analyst, indicated the strength of nationalist feeling. Thus, just as nationalists were forced to think about doctrine because of communist pressure, so communists were compelled to respond to the rising clamour for independence.93

In October 1944 Camus − now Combat's editor − replied to the Minister of Colonies' appeal that France must ‘conquer hearts’ for a new colonial era. Camus maintained that the European settlers, so many of whom had supported the Vichy regime, were the ‘most serious obstacle’ to equality in Algeria. ‘We will not find real support in our colonies’, he (p.134) wrote, ‘until we convince them that their interests coincide with ours and that we do not have two policies: one granting justice to the people of France and the other confirming injustice toward the Empire.’94

Algerian Nationalism in Ferment

Indeed, nationalism was thriving precisely because of this double standard. In September 1944 the AML had launched its weekly Egalité, which soon outsold all Algerian and European newspapers. The PPA stepped up its underground work, forming paramilitary cells of six to eight men in Kabylia and Constantine, setting up university and secondary school cells around the country and campaigning against conscription. The PPA's L'Action algérienne urged its youthful constituency to organise for total independence; its November issue derided the PCA as a PCF region. The ‘ulama organised youth in schools and scouting clubs.95 Sadek Hadjerès had joined the scouts at Blida through a Jewish school friend persecuted under the Vichy regime, at Larbaâ he became a scout leader. As the nationalist movement developed, the scouts were drawn under its fold.96

Misery provided fertile conditions for the nationalists. Algiers' casbah was a case in point. Buildings that had once housed the traditional Muslim bourgeoisie were now rented out room by room to entire families, resulting in extraordinary overcrowding. Three-quarters of the casbah's inhabitants had been born in rural areas; two-thirds of those were from Kabylia. Some retained small plots of land, and most kept their rural ties, living near those from the same region. Rural poverty and unemployment drove them to the city. Yet the casbah's youth faced long-term unemployment.97

The situation worsened each year. The 1944–45 winter was abnormally dry, yielding a dismal harvest the following summer that compounded the misery of unemployment and the shortages of manufactured goods. The UFA organised women around social issues, demonstrating against high food prices and discriminatory food rationing. Growing up in Constantine, Noureddine Abdelmoumène recalled that the government gave them ration coupons for food and wheat. But the wheat was very bad; people became sick.98 Young Algerians were ready for a radical message. The international climate raised their hopes − the approach of the war's end, the discussions for a post-war United Nations, the preparations for the new Arab League, all signalled change.

By early 1945 nationalist aspirations were stronger than ever. ‘There can be no doubt that the Nationalist movement … is substantially stronger at the present time that it was at the outbreak of the war’, (p.135) reported the US Military Intelligence Service. ‘It is also beyond question that there is a real discontent … throughout Algeria and … an acute food shortage. It seems probable that there will be minor disturbances resulting from this discontent during the course of the next few months’. Nonetheless, it doubted ‘that the Nationalist movement [wa]s capable of a successful uprising in the foreseeable future unless a major outside power step[ped] in to assist them.’99 In February the British consul-general reported European fears of an Arab uprising as soon as the British and American troops left. Small European farmers were allegedly selling their land and moving into towns. There were also signs of ‘increased communist activity’. A joint PCFPCA meeting that month extolled the Red Army's virtues, and on the 26th Fajon held a conference of North African communists in Algiers.100

The ferment even reached the Mzab, where the PCA claimed a cell, and Liberté, ‘along with a little communist leaflet distributed in Ghardaïa and called “Tomorrow's Mzab” continued to attack dishonest caïds and other feudal elements’. After four years of banishment, Sliman Boudjenah published Kitab el-Ferkad (El-Ferkad's Book), an Arabic-language booklet on politics and morality that stressed the need to turn ideas into action. Returning to Ghardaïa in the early 1940s, he became a notary. With his red fez and his spectacles, he epitomised the modern intellectual, yet his vision of modernity was iconoclastic. He argued that if the Mozabites convinced France to honour its 1853 convention guaranteeing Mozabite autonomy, they could pull all Algeria behind them, and independence would follow. A local barber named Mella, a friend of Boudjenah's and a communist sympathiser, clandestinely distributed communist newspapers. None-theless, Mozabite society was very solidaristic, and political parties were considered divisive. While the PPA had individual supporters, it was not implanted in the community. Nor was there a trade union tradition. Most Mozabites were small self-sufficient cultivators, and the men migrated to towns and worked in commerce. Yet there was a strong tradition of redistribution, and conspicuous consumption was frowned upon. Community ties far outweighed class, and new ideas penetrated the society only with great difficulty.101

The AML's first congress, on 2−4 March 1945, was attended by representatives from 165 sections from around the country; its membership had swelled, with claims of 350,000 or even 500,000 members. The communists were markedly absent, having accepted de Gaulle's provisional government; they were envisioning joint work with the socialists –the traditional French left alliance. The PPA, however, was there in force sufficient to marginalise Abbas and his supporters, who favoured autonomy and federation to France. The congress voted (p.136) overwhelmingly for independence. International events strengthened the credibility of the pro-independence movement: the Arab League, launched in Cairo that same month, promoted the sovereignty and independence of Arab nations.102

Tensions mounted. The PPA called on Algerians to avenge their martyrs and defend the party that would bring liberation.103 Within the AML divisions deepened. Plots and rumours of plots abounded, alongside public calls for Algerians to unite behind Messali and Abbas. An AML circular of late March 1945 announced that it expected to move from passive resistance to violence and recommended that Algerians arm themselves. The nationalist movement ‘has acquired a certain cohesion and a more definite orientation’, reported the British consul-general. The governor-general's military cabinet noted a very high level of meetings; the authorities surmised that Algerians were planning an uprising at the very moment of peace as a means to influence the Allies to pressure France. European fears sky-rocketed.104

Organised labour raised its head. The labour movement's traditional May Day commemorations had stopped during the war; even after the Allied landing, conditions were too difficult to hold such events. But with the war's end near, the CGT planned an event. Trade union leader Aissat Idir believed strongly that the CGT and AML/PPA should organise May Day demonstrations. Assuming that the CGT would focus on communist concerns, he wished to stress democratic rights and national liberation. After all, Algerians were fighting overseas to defend rights for Europeans that they did not have in their own country.

The AML/PPA preparations moved quickly. AML organiser Omar Belouchrani distributed flyers and posters. ‘Algiers and many Algerian cities were like a cauldron’, he recalled. ‘The training of the activists necessarily had to lead on to practical actions. One could not remain indefinitely on red alert without risk of losing all effectiveness.’ The nationalists decided to demonstrate carrying both Allied flags and their own Algerian flag. It was now or never, explained Mostefaï. They knew that France would celebrate the war's end with French flags. It was vital to show the world that Algerians wanted independence and had their own national flag. Recollections of the flag Messali had carried in 1937 were hazy. Mostefaï was charged with designing a new flag. The flags were sewn and sent to the main cities.105

In April the tension was palpable. As the PCA organised Friends of Democracy meetings, Liberté warned of ‘pro-Hitlerian and anti-French activities’.106 Two PPA representatives visited the British consul-general hoping to obtain representation at the upcoming United Nations conference in San Francisco, but they were informed that it was for independent states only.107 The PPA moved deeper underground. Even (p.137) in seemingly isolated villages, French authorities sensed a difference. Camus was in Algeria for three weeks. Deeply worried about the French purges, in January he had reaffirmed his earlier opposition to the death penalty. But he wanted to keep Algeria before French eyes. On 29 April the AML held a meeting in Sétif attended by some 2,500 people. Abbas's pamphlet, J'accuse l'Europe was distributed. Abbas addressed the meeting, applauding Messali, who on 23 April had been deported to Brazzaville. ‘Europe should accuse itself’, wrote Camus, ‘since with all its constant upheavals and contradictions, it has managed to produce the longest, most terrible reign of barbarism the world has ever known.’108

Hunger was Camus' recurring theme. ‘The basic diet of the Arabs consists of grains … consumed in the form of couscous or flatbread’, he informed his readers. ‘For want of grain, millions of Arabs are suffering from hunger.’ Drought was compounded by ‘deteriorating equipment … fuel rationing, and labor shortages due to the military mobilizations’. Without external aid Algeria could not feed itself. ‘Is it clear that in a country where sky and land are invitations to happiness, this means that millions of people are suffering from hunger?’, he appealed. ‘On every road one sees haggard people in rags. Travelling around the country one sees fields dug up and raked over in bizarre ways, because an entire douar has come to scratch the soil for a bitter but edible root called talrouda, which can be made into a porridge that is at least filling if not nourishing.’109

Yet European workers were more concerned with fascism than famine. The CGT held its May Day demonstrations. In Algiers the PCF's Pierre Fayet reminded workers that Hitlerism was not yet dead. AML demonstrators waved Algerian flags, demanding ‘Free Messali, free the detainees. Independence’, keeping their distance from the largely European trade union demonstrations. Three processions headed to the main post office. Mostefaï led a procession of North African students, many of whom had studied at Bordeaux, Lyon and Toulouse, continuing their studies in Algiers after France was occupied. The PCF instructor ordered Bouali Taleb to denounce these so-called ‘pseudo-nationalists’; he did so, sick at heart.110

Hopes for a peaceful day notwithstanding, violence erupted in Algiers and Oran. ‘First of May was celebrated in Algiers in almost a pre-war manner’, reported the British consul-general. Estimating 500 to 1,000 people, he remarked on the ‘large number of women and Arabs taking part in the processions’, as well as ‘parties of Spanish Republican workers carrying Spanish flags and placards calling on the United Nations to break off diplomatic relations with the Franco Government’. The demonstration would have been peaceful, ‘but for (p.138) the unfortunate clash which took place between the police and Arab nationalist demonstrators’.111 The authorities had ordered the police to disperse the demonstrators, he elaborated. ‘A procession was formed and moved in an orderly manner towards the Central Post Office. Only one placard bearing the words: “Libérez Messali! Algérie pour les Algériens!” was carried’. But as Algerians shouted nationalist slogans, ‘cries of “Vive Pétain” came from the windows overlooking the street’.112 The police fired. Eleven died, ten of them Algerian; many were wounded. Alger républicain's Boualem Khalfa, an AML activist, witnessed the events.113

The authorities had evidently expected trouble. Indeed, reported the British consul, they ‘welcome[d] the incident as a salutary show-down, expect[ed] further demonstrations on “V” Day and intend[ed] to use all such force as may be necessary to quell and prevent future disturbances’. The PCA, for its part, left no doubt where it stood: a communist flyer of 3 May denounced provocateurs ‘who took its slogans from Hitler's in Berlin’.114 By the first week of May the division between Algeria's nationalists and leftists looking towards France could not have been starker.

On 7 May German forces surrendered at Reims, France. Military operations ceased the next day. The war over, Europe rejoiced. Janet Flanner, the New Yorker's Paris correspondent, had already predicted that French politics would ‘start up again soon’. De Gaulle's slogan was ‘rénovation’, but the only group capable of ‘construction’ were the communists, ‘the great heroes of the underground years, the best-organized party in France’, and now ‘avowedly pro-French’ in contrast to its pre-war internationalism.115 Indeed, the PCF emerged from the Second World War strengthened and, in the eyes of many, heroic. But this was not so for communists in Algeria, where nationalist fires, fanned by France's vulnerabilities, were spreading.

Notes

(1) Sowerwine, France, pp. 170–2; Julian Jackson, The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 117; George Vernadsky, A History of Russia, [1929] (New Haven, CT: Yale, sixth revised edition, 1969), pp. 389–91.

(2) « nation en formation », Alleg, ‘Torrent’, p. 243.

(3) Cinéarchives, Fonds audiovisuel du PCF, Archives françaises du film, Forum des images, Archives départementales de Seine-Saint-Denis, Bobigny (hereafter Cinéarchives), Le Voyage de Maurice Thorez en Algérie, http://goo.gl/gL1MBm (accessed 21 September 2013).

(4) « Nous, communistes, nous ne connaissons pas les races. Nous ne voulons connaître que les peuples … Il y a une nation algérienne qui se constitue … dans le mélange de vingt races », PCF 261 J7/, box 1, file 4, Maurice Thorez, Le Peuple algérien uni autour de la France, Speech by Maurice Thorez, 11 February 1939, Algiers, La (p.139) Brochure populaire, no. 7 (Paris: April 1939); Maurice Thorez, Fils du peuple (Paris: Editions Sociales, 1960), p. 170; Alleg, ‘Torrent’, p. 247, argues that the PCF was responding to Hitler's racist ideas.

(5) ANOM ALG Alger-4I-18, Police spéciale d'Alger, Rapport no. 1086, a/s Meeting Thorez, 12 February 1939; Joly, French Communist, pp. 75, 77–8; Alleg, ‘Torrent’, pp. 243–5; Raymond F. Betts, France and Decolonisation, 1900–1960 (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1991), p. 47; Martin Evans, The Memory of Resistance: French Opposition to the Algerian War (1954–1962) (Oxford and New York: Berg, 1997, pp. 214–15; Mohammed Harbi, Une vie debout: Mémoires politiques, vol. 1, 1945–1962 (Paris: La Découverte, 2001) p. 157. Aujourd'hui l'Afrique (June 2004), p. 92 shows packed halls at Thorez's 1939 speeches, with banners proclaiming ‘Acte de Justice, Acte de Sagesse Politique’ and ‘Front des démocrates contre le fascisme’; courtesy Jean-Pierre Lledo.

(6) ANOM ALG Alger-4I-18, Renseignement, a/s organisation de cours à Paris par le Parti communiste, 22 February 1939.

(7) Jean-Louis Planche, Sétif 1945: Histoire d'un massacre annoncé (Paris: Perrin, 2006), pp. 42, 328, nn. 89–90

(8) « Une nation algérienne une et indivisible à côté de la nation française », Charles-Robert Ageron, ‘Le Parti communiste algérien de 1939 à 1943’, Vingtième Siècle (October–December 1986), 39–50, 40; Gosnell, Politics, pp. 109–10, 124–8.

(9) Albert Camus, ‘Misère de la Kabylie’, in Actuelles, III: Chroniques algériennes, 1939–1958 (Paris: Gallimard, 1958), 31–90, pp. 38, 63–4, 76, 89; Edward J. Hughes, ‘La prélude d'une sorte de fin de l'histoire: Underpinning Assimilation in Camus's Chroniques algériennes’, L'Esprit créateur, 47, 1 (2007), 7–18, p. 9.

(10) ANOMPCAPour la formation d'un front de la liberté en Algérie contre la pénétration allemande en Afrique du nord

(11) ANOM ALG Alger F407, Commissaire, Chef de la Police spéciale, 25 August 1939; Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 42; Williams, Crisis, p. 73; David Wingeate Pike, In the Service of Stalin: The Spanish Communists in Exile, 1939–1945 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), pp. 1–3, 21; Jacques Cantier, L'Algérie sous le régime de Vichy (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2002), pp. 76–7.

(12) ANOM ALG Alger F407, Commissaire, Chef de la Police spéciale, 27 August 1939.

(13) « Nous vaincrons parce que nous sommes les plus forts » The phrase is attributed to Paul Reynaud, an appeasement critic and Prime Minister from March to June 1940. Betts, France, p. 48; Vernadsky, History of Russia, pp. 393, 420–2; B. H. Liddell Hart, History of the Second World War (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1971), pp. 3, 13.

(14) ECCI Secretariat ‘Short Thesis’ on the Second World War, 9 September 1939, in McDermott and Agnew, Comintern, pp. 247, 193, 198.

(15) ANOMGGACominternJackson, Fall, pp. 105, 121–3L'AlgérieMalrauxRêveMémoire

(16) GGALutte socialeCamusModern AlgeriaKhalfa, Alleg and Benzine, Aventure, pp. 24–5Sétif

(17) Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 336–7.

(18) Sivan, Communisme, p. 182; André Marty, ‘La question algérienne’, Cahiers du communisme, 8 (August 1946), 3–29, in Jurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 4, 413–34, p. 431; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 498–9.

(19) Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, pp. 42–3; Boukort, Souffle, p. 118; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 157, 159–61, 457–60, 499–503, esp. 501; Annie Rey-Goldzeiguer, Aux origines de la guerre d'Algérie, 1940–1945 (Paris: La Découverte, 2002), pp. 41–2, 54; Khalfa, Alleg and Benzine, Aventure, pp. 24–5; Zaretsky, Camus, p. 6. On the PCA's response to Boukort's resignation, ANOM FM 81F/752, Rapport politique presenté à la 4ème conférence du parti communiste d'Algérie [1941]; interview (p.140) with Gilberte Sportisse.

(20) Pétain, Appel du 17 Juin, Media Larousse, http://goo.gl/Na0P26; Sowerwine, France, pp. 205–8.

(21) McDermott and Agnew, Comintern, p. 201.

(22) Zaretsky, Camus, p. 56.

(23) FallClaude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Simone de Beauvoir: A Life … a Love Story (New York: St Martin's, 1987), p. 186

(24) ANOML'AlgérieMémoireVernadsky, History of Russia, p. 423OriginesSétifRêve

(25) Martin Thomas, The French Empire at War, 1940–45 (Manchester: Manchester University, 1998), p. 165France

(26) French Empire at WarFranceFranceSecond World WarFallLacouture, Malraux, pp. 293–4RêveOrigines

(27) Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 346–9.

(28) Stora, Messali, pp. 184–6.

(29) Interview with Mostefaï; Cantier, L'Algérie, p. 336.

(30) Interview with Mostefaï; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 72–3; Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 43; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 50.

(31) Interview with William Sportisse, 24 June 2012.

(32) « l'âme du Parti communiste », Einaudi, Rêve, p. 172; Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 43; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, 46; Andrée DoreAudibert, Des Françaises d'Algérie dans la guerre de libération (Paris: Karthala, 1995), p. 88; Marnia Lazreg, Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University, 2008), p. 163; Sivan, Communisme, p. 118, claims Ibanez was Spanish; Gallisot (ed.), Algérie, p. 347, states he was born in Oran. Spanish and Spanish-descent communists were important to the PCA during this period. However, Spanish refugees generally worked in Spanish organisations, such as the Spanish Communist Party; Sivan's claim, pp. 118, 126, of Spanish ‘tutelle’, or guardianship, is exaggerated.

(33) Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 44; Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 170–4; Letter from Thomas Ibanez to the central committee of the PCF, September 1940, in Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 267–9; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 347–9, 555–6.

(34) Planche, Sétif, pp. 48–49, suggests that Algerian PCA membership increased in spring 1940 because of the call for independence but declined once it became clear that the party was not actively promoting this slogan. The PCA then fell back on its core membership of dockers, train and tramway workers, and postal and building workers, as indicated in an extract from the Report of Maurice Laban to the central committee of the PCF, January 1941, in Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 271–2. A notable increase in Algerian membership in 1940 is unlikely because the PCA was so far underground. Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 67, 72, states that he and other Young Communists lost contact with the PCA in 1941.

(35) Cantier, L'Algérie, p. 338.

(36) Lutte sociale, 1 (November 1940); Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 44; Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 174–7; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 347–9, 555–6; Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 339–40.

(37) Einaudi, Rêve, p. 179; Einaudi, Algérien, pp. 39–53; Dore-Audibert, Françaises, p. 88; Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 339–40.

(38) Report of Maurice Laban to central committee of PCF, in Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 271–2; Einaudi, Algérien, pp. 9–26 ‘Vive le peuple Algérien uni et libre, vive l'indépendance de l'Algérie’, Lutte sociale, 2 (January 1941); Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 397–403; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 67.

(39) « La bataille d'Alger contre les communistes », Thomas, French Empire at War, p. 166; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 347–9, 397–403, 555–6; Lutte sociale, 6 (June 1941); Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 182, 186–7, 194–5, 21; Einaudi, Algérien, pp. 55–62; (p.141) Dore-Audibert, Françaises, p. 89; Cantier, L'Algérie, p. 334; Sivan, Communisme, p. 118, states that aside from Smaïli, the entire political bureau was arrested.

(40) Vernadsky, History of Russia, pp. 426, 429CominternCrisisSétif

(41) Lutte socialePCAPour la formation d'un front de la liberté en Algérie contre la pénétration allemande;OriginesL'Algérie

(42) Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 45, 66–7, 70–1AlgérieOrigines

(43) « ce n'était pas leur guerre », Alleg, Mémoire, p. 72; Drew, Discordant Comrades, p. 225; Baruch Hirson, ‘Not Pro-war, and not Anti-war: Just Indifferent. South African Blacks in the Second World War’, Critique, 20–1 (1987), 39–56.

(44) ANOM FM 81F/752, Rapport politique présenté à la 4ème conférence du parti communiste d'Algérie [1941]; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, p. 100, dates Belkaïm's death as 30 July 1940.

(45) « Vers l'indépendance de l'Algérie … une nation en formation. Avant Algérie démocratique à côté de la France du Front Populaire. Aujourd'hui, liberté de la France et aussi liberté de l'Algérie », ANOM 81F/752, PCA Comité central, Plan pour la discussion des tâches de la 4ème conférence du P.C. d'Algérie; Lutte sociale, 1 (November 1940); Cantier, L'Algérie, p. 342.

(46) ANOM FM 81F/752, PCA Comité central, Aux Comités régionaux, n.d. [1941], pp. 2–3, 8.

(47) ANOM 81F/752, GGA to Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat à l'Intérieur, Vichy, 19 February 1942 lists the 81 accused; cf. Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 43.

(48) ANOM 81F/752 GGA to Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat à l'Intérieur, Vichy, 24 March 1942. Spanish communists were particularly hard hit. According to Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, pp. 43, 47, of twenty-five communists arrested in November 1941, fifteen were Spanish; nine more Spanish communists were arrested in December 1941.

(49) ANOMSétifDore-Audibert, Françaises, pp. 89–90MémoireAlgérieL'AlgérieDiscordant Comrades

(50) Abdelhamid Benzine, Lambèse (Dar el Idjtihad, 1989), pp. 209–12Messali

(51) ANOM 81F/752, GGA to Chef du Gouvernement Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat à l'Intérieur, 4 July 1942, and Chef du Gouvernement Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat à l'Intérieur to Général de Corps d'Armée, Secrétaire d'Etat à la Guerre, n.d., c. July 1942.

(52) Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 48; Planche, Sétif, p. 49; Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 340–41; ‘Renseignements − a/s de la situation du Parti communiste algérien’; Lutte sociale (15 September, 11 November 1942); Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 158–9; Jurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 3, pp. 317–18, n. 85.

(53) Thomas, French Empire at War, pp. 159–90; Betts, France, p. 55; Liddell Hart, Second World War, pp. 324–8; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 72, 77, 79; ‘8 novembre 1942 − Des résistants français lors du débarquement allié: Entretien de Jacques Cantier avec José Aboulker, compagnon de la libération’, in Jean-Jacques Jordi and Guy Pervillé (eds), Alger 1940–1962: Une ville en guerres (Paris: Autrement, 1999), pp. 70–5; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 41–3; interviews with Henri Alleg, Paliseau, 11 May 2001, 23 June 2010; interview with Gilberte Sportisse.

(54) Thomas, French Empire at War, pp. 159–63; Sowerine, France, 209–10.

(55) Ruedy, Modern Algeria, p. 145SétifSecond World WarFranceOriginesLutte sociale

(p.142)

(56) Interview with Mostefaï.

(57) Modern AlgeriaFrench Empire at WarCollot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, pp. 153–5

(58) Salort, ‘Témoignage’, pp. 211–12.

(59) ‘Tout pour la victoire sur l'Allemagne hitlérienne’, Lutte sociale (21 February 1943), in RGASPI 517.1.1966, Sur le matériel reçu d'Algérie, n.d. [1943], pp. 4–5; Lutte sociale (3 April 1943); Sivan, Communisme, 119; Khalfa, Alleg and Benzine, Aventure, pp. 31–5; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 536–8, 549–51.

(60) « assez grande … hors la loi », interview with Mostefaï.

(61) Manifeste du peuple algérienCollot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, pp. 155–64French Empire at War

(62) Collot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, 165–70Modern AlgeriaModern AlgeriaFrench Empire at WarMemory

(63) Sowerwine, France, p. 210; Janet Flanner (Genêt), Paris Journal, 1944–1965, ed. by William Shawn (New York: Atheneum, 1965), pp. 14, 158–9, 349; Francis and Gontier, de Beauvoir, p. 202; Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), p. 363; Zaretsky, Camus, p. 59; Viallaneix, ‘First Camus’, p. 4; David Carroll, ‘Foreword’, in Lévi-Valensi (ed.), Camus at Combat, pp. vii–xxvi, vii.

(64) ‘For a Free Algerian Republic’, p. 29; Sivan, Communisme, p. 120. Other communists went abroad: Lucien Sportisse joined the French resistance in Lyons; Caballero, Mahmoudi and others joined the Free French in Italy; Wood, ‘Remembering’, p. 259.

(65) Interview with William Sportisse; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 562–3.

(66) « C'est par l'union avec vos camarades français que vous obtiendrez vos droits. Nous refusons de collaborer avec ceux qui trompent la masse et essaient de l'engager sur une voie dangereuse », Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, pp. 48–9; ANOM ALG/Alger 4I–18, ‘Note succincte sur les principaux leaders musulmans du Parti communiste algérien dans le Département d'Alger’, 3 May 1943; Lutte sociale, 21 (1 May 1943), quoted in Sur le matériel reçu d'Algérie, pp. 5–7. See Alleg's view of Ouzegane, Mémoire, pp. 121–2.

(67) Lutte socialeSur le matériel reçu d'AlgérieLutte socialeDore-Audibert, Françaises, p. 90

(68) Sur le matériel reçu d'Algérie, pp. 1–4, suggests that the Comintern promoted the call for equal rights in November 1942 and that this was broadcast on Radio France and discussed in an article by André [Marty?].

(69) FranceLibertéLibertéSétifMémoireRuedy, Modern Algeria, pp. 146–7; Ageron, Modern Algeria, p. 100Communisme

(70) Betts, France, pp. 58–9; Planche, Sétif, p. 64.

(71) Planche, Sétif, p. 67; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 59–64, esp. 61; cf. Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, pp. 49, n. 6, 50.

(72) Planche, Sétif, pp. 68–9; Betts, France, p. 56.

(73) « un grand parti d'Etat », Planche, Sétif, p. 66; McDermott and Agnew, Comintern, pp. 204–8; Vernadsky, History of Russia, pp. 438–9.

(74) RGASPI 517.2.2, Télé Beyrouth (17 September 1943); Planche, Sétif, p. 66.

(p.143)

(75) Interview with Sadek Hadjerès, Paris 24 March 2011, interview with Mostefaï.

(76) Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 89–91; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, p. 501, dates the conference as 14–15 August 1943.

(77) « La rencontre émouvante d'André Marty et de ses fidèles compagnons, les 27 députés communistes », Liberté (21 October 1943), p. 1; Planche, Sétif, p. 66; Alleg, Mémoire, p. 117; Wood, ‘Remembering’, p. 259; Pike, In the Service, p. 344, n. 68.

(78) LibertéJurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 3, pp. 321–8, 329–44, 344–50AlgérieRêveSétif

(79) Neil MacMaster, Burning the Veil: The Algerian War and the ‘Emancipation’ of Muslim Women, 1954–62 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University, 2009), pp. 33–4; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 215; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 91, 94; Sivan, Communisme, p. 121; Jurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 3, pp. 317–18, n. 85; Dore-Audibert, Françaises, pp. 28–33.

(80) « J'ai été internationaliste avant d'être national … Plus de barrières, plus de juifs, de musulmans, de chrétiens. Nous étions l'humanité », Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 60–1, 552–3, 568–70, quote p. 568; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 91–5, 99–100, 105–6; Biographie de Gilberte Serfaty, Mouvement social algérien: Histoire et perspectives, http://goo.gl/oAI0SN (accessed 8 May 2011).

(81) Alleg, Mémoire, p. 92; Planche, Sétif, pp. 66–7, 69; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 39–40.

(82) ‘La Commission des réformes musulmanes’ and ‘Audition de M. Omar Ouzegane (23–12–1943) représentant du Parti communiste algérien’, in Collot and Henry (eds),Mouvement national, pp. 171–5;Ageron, Modern Algeria, p. 100.

(83) Ruedy, Modern Algeria, p. 147; Thomas, French Empire at War, pp. 178–9; Betts, France, pp. 63–4; MacMaster, Burning, p. 33.

(84) Sivan, Communisme, p. 131

(85) Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, pp. 216, 222–3; Ruedy, Modern Algeria, pp. 147–8; Ageron, Modern Algeria, p. 101.

(86) Ruedy, Modern Algeria, p. 147; Evans, Memory; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, pp. 59–61, 65–8, 226–8, 233; Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 568.

(87) Liberté (13 April 1944), p. 2.

(88) « Alger n'est pas à la température française … les menées anticommunistes ont trop de prise … la question de l'indépendance en ce moment ne serait qu'un mot d'ordre de l'ennemi », RGASPI 517.2.2, Délégation du Comité Central en Afrique du Nord (Session plénière du 30 Mars 1944), 27 April 1944.

(89) Planche, Sétif, p. 69; Einaudi, Rêve, p. 237; Einaudi, Algérien, pp. 90–9; ‘La mort de SMAILI Ahmed’, Liberté (3 February 1944), p. 2.

(90) ‘De la résistance à la révolution’, Sowerwine, France, pp. 213–15; Williams, Crisis, p. 74; Thomas, French Empire at War, p. 183; Carroll, ‘Foreward’, p. xiv; Zaretsky, Camus, pp. 60, 66; Francis and Gontier, de Beauvoir, pp. 206, 211–12.

(91) ‘Manifeste des Amis de la démocratie’, Liberté (14 September 1944), p. 3; Manifeste des Amis de la démocratie, 14 Septembre 1944, in Collot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, pp. 188–91; Amar Ouzegane, ‘Rapport présenté à la Conférence centrale du Parti communiste algérien, le 23 septembre 1944’, in Jurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 3, pp. 387–402.

(92) « gardé une attitude communiste … d'abandonner le fruit de 15 ans de militantisme et d'éducation Marxiste–Léniniste parce qu'il s'est trompé dans l'appréciation d'un évènement … si l'on sait se débarrasser d'un certain sectarisme », PCF 261 J7, box 1, file 3, Boukort to Berlioz, 20 November 1944, pp. 2–3.

(93) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275 [United States Military Intelligence Service], ‘Notes on the Moslem Nationalist Movement in Algeria’ [c. February 1945], p. 6; Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 568; Alleg, Mémoire, p. 104; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, p. 462; Sivan, Communisme, pp. 121, n. 15, 122; Lévi-Valensi (ed.), Camus at Combat: Writing (p.144) 1944–1947 (Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University, 2006), p. 215.

(94) Lévi-Valensi (ed.), Camus at Combat, pp. 70–1; Zaretsky, Camus, p. 59.

(95) Sivan, Communisme, p. 123; Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, pp. 568–70; Ageron, Modern Algeria, p. 101.

(96) Interview with Hadjerès; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 332–6.

(97) Jean Lehadouey, ‘La Casbah et sa misère’, L'Humanité nouvelle, 6 (March 1944)

(98) Ruedy, Algeria, p. 148; MacMaster, Burning, pp. 35–6; interview with Noureddine Abdelmoumène, Algiers, 25 September 2011.

(99) [United States Military Intelligence Service], ‘Notes on the Moslem Nationalist Movement’, p. 8.

(100) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, British Consul General, 21 February, 8 March 1945.

(101) « le journal “Liberté” continue, de même qu'une petite feuille communiste diffusée à Ghardaïa et intitulée le “Mzab de demain” à attaquer les caïds prévaricateurs et autres féodaux », Exhibit, Museum of the Armed Forces, Algiers (23 September 2011), GGA à Monsieur le ministre des affaires étrangères (Afrique-levant), a/s -situation politique en milieu musulman à la date du 1er Avril (3 April 1945), Cabinet du GG de l'Algérie, no. 614, CDP; Ouzegane, ‘Rapport présenté’, p. 400; Kitab El-Ferkad (Algiers, 1937), author's possession; interviews with Mustafa Mella, Aissa Bellalou, Fafa Boudjenah and Mohamed Boudjenah, September 2011, Ghardaïa.

(102) Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, pp. 225–6, 231; Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 570; ‘Déclaration commune du Parti socialiste et du Parti communiste algérien’, Liberté (29 March 1945), p. 2.

(103) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275 [Parti populaire algérien], Bulletin intérieur no. 3 [c. March 1945].

(104) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, British Consul-General, 16 March 1945; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, pp. 216, 222–3, 237–9.

(105) Les Syndicalistes algériens: Leur combat de l'éveil à la libération, 1936–1962Stora, Dictionnaire, pp. 268–9Algérie

(106) Joanny Berlioz, ‘L'Afrique du nord, foyer d'activité prohitlérienne et antifrançaise’, Liberté (6 April 1945), p. 3; Liberté (26 April 1945), p. 3.

(107) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, British Consul-General, 29 April 1945.

(108) Lévi-Valensi (ed.), Camus at Combat, pp. 216, 163–5; Zaretsky, Camus, pp. 72, 123; Martin Evans, Algeria: France's Undeclared War (Oxford: Oxford University, 2012), p. 82.

(109) Camus, Combat, pp. 202–3

(110) « Libérez Messali, libérez les détenus. Indépendance », Interview with Mostefaï; Gallisot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 566–7.

(111) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, H. M. Consul-General to Foreign Office, 8 May 1945, and Z5591/900/69, Consul-General Carvel, 3 May 1945.

(112) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, H. M. Consul-General, 14 May 1945.

(113) Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 572; Ruedy, Modern Algeria, p. 148; Sivan, Communisme, p. 139; Khalfa, Alleg and Benzine, Aventure, p. 39; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 388–90.

(114) Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 251, pp. 229, 241–2, 247–52

(115) Flanner, Journal, pp. 9, 46

Notes:

(1) Sowerwine, France, pp. 170–2; Julian Jackson, The Fall of France: The Nazi Invasion of 1940 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003), p. 117; George Vernadsky, A History of Russia, [1929] (New Haven, CT: Yale, sixth revised edition, 1969), pp. 389–91.

(2) « nation en formation », Alleg, ‘Torrent’, p. 243.

(3) Cinéarchives, Fonds audiovisuel du PCF, Archives françaises du film, Forum des images, Archives départementales de Seine-Saint-Denis, Bobigny (hereafter Cinéarchives), Le Voyage de Maurice Thorez en Algérie, http://goo.gl/gL1MBm (accessed 21 September 2013).

(4) « Nous, communistes, nous ne connaissons pas les races. Nous ne voulons connaître que les peuples … Il y a une nation algérienne qui se constitue … dans le mélange de vingt races », PCF 261 J7/, box 1, file 4, Maurice Thorez, Le Peuple algérien uni autour de la France, Speech by Maurice Thorez, 11 February 1939, Algiers, La (p.139) Brochure populaire, no. 7 (Paris: April 1939); Maurice Thorez, Fils du peuple (Paris: Editions Sociales, 1960), p. 170; Alleg, ‘Torrent’, p. 247, argues that the PCF was responding to Hitler's racist ideas.

(5) ANOM ALG Alger-4I-18, Police spéciale d'Alger, Rapport no. 1086, a/s Meeting Thorez, 12 February 1939; Joly, French Communist, pp. 75, 77–8; Alleg, ‘Torrent’, pp. 243–5; Raymond F. Betts, France and Decolonisation, 1900–1960 (Basingstoke and London: Macmillan, 1991), p. 47; Martin Evans, The Memory of Resistance: French Opposition to the Algerian War (1954–1962) (Oxford and New York: Berg, 1997, pp. 214–15; Mohammed Harbi, Une vie debout: Mémoires politiques, vol. 1, 1945–1962 (Paris: La Découverte, 2001) p. 157. Aujourd'hui l'Afrique (June 2004), p. 92 shows packed halls at Thorez's 1939 speeches, with banners proclaiming ‘Acte de Justice, Acte de Sagesse Politique’ and ‘Front des démocrates contre le fascisme’; courtesy Jean-Pierre Lledo.

(6) ANOM ALG Alger-4I-18, Renseignement, a/s organisation de cours à Paris par le Parti communiste, 22 February 1939.

(7) Jean-Louis Planche, Sétif 1945: Histoire d'un massacre annoncé (Paris: Perrin, 2006), pp. 42, 328, nn. 89–90

(8) « Une nation algérienne une et indivisible à côté de la nation française », Charles-Robert Ageron, ‘Le Parti communiste algérien de 1939 à 1943’, Vingtième Siècle (October–December 1986), 39–50, 40; Gosnell, Politics, pp. 109–10, 124–8.

(9) Albert Camus, ‘Misère de la Kabylie’, in Actuelles, III: Chroniques algériennes, 1939–1958 (Paris: Gallimard, 1958), 31–90, pp. 38, 63–4, 76, 89; Edward J. Hughes, ‘La prélude d'une sorte de fin de l'histoire: Underpinning Assimilation in Camus's Chroniques algériennes’, L'Esprit créateur, 47, 1 (2007), 7–18, p. 9.

(10) ANOMPCAPour la formation d'un front de la liberté en Algérie contre la pénétration allemande en Afrique du nord

(11) ANOM ALG Alger F407, Commissaire, Chef de la Police spéciale, 25 August 1939; Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 42; Williams, Crisis, p. 73; David Wingeate Pike, In the Service of Stalin: The Spanish Communists in Exile, 1939–1945 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1993), pp. 1–3, 21; Jacques Cantier, L'Algérie sous le régime de Vichy (Paris: Odile Jacob, 2002), pp. 76–7.

(12) ANOM ALG Alger F407, Commissaire, Chef de la Police spéciale, 27 August 1939.

(13) « Nous vaincrons parce que nous sommes les plus forts » The phrase is attributed to Paul Reynaud, an appeasement critic and Prime Minister from March to June 1940. Betts, France, p. 48; Vernadsky, History of Russia, pp. 393, 420–2; B. H. Liddell Hart, History of the Second World War (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1971), pp. 3, 13.

(14) ECCI Secretariat ‘Short Thesis’ on the Second World War, 9 September 1939, in McDermott and Agnew, Comintern, pp. 247, 193, 198.

(15) ANOMGGACominternJackson, Fall, pp. 105, 121–3L'AlgérieMalrauxRêveMémoire

(16) GGALutte socialeCamusModern AlgeriaKhalfa, Alleg and Benzine, Aventure, pp. 24–5Sétif

(17) Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 336–7.

(18) Sivan, Communisme, p. 182; André Marty, ‘La question algérienne’, Cahiers du communisme, 8 (August 1946), 3–29, in Jurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 4, 413–34, p. 431; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 498–9.

(19) Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, pp. 42–3; Boukort, Souffle, p. 118; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 157, 159–61, 457–60, 499–503, esp. 501; Annie Rey-Goldzeiguer, Aux origines de la guerre d'Algérie, 1940–1945 (Paris: La Découverte, 2002), pp. 41–2, 54; Khalfa, Alleg and Benzine, Aventure, pp. 24–5; Zaretsky, Camus, p. 6. On the PCA's response to Boukort's resignation, ANOM FM 81F/752, Rapport politique presenté à la 4ème conférence du parti communiste d'Algérie [1941]; interview (p.140) with Gilberte Sportisse.

(20) Pétain, Appel du 17 Juin, Media Larousse, http://goo.gl/Na0P26; Sowerwine, France, pp. 205–8.

(21) McDermott and Agnew, Comintern, p. 201.

(22) Zaretsky, Camus, p. 56.

(23) FallClaude Francis and Fernande Gontier, Simone de Beauvoir: A Life … a Love Story (New York: St Martin's, 1987), p. 186

(24) ANOML'AlgérieMémoireVernadsky, History of Russia, p. 423OriginesSétifRêve

(25) Martin Thomas, The French Empire at War, 1940–45 (Manchester: Manchester University, 1998), p. 165France

(26) French Empire at WarFranceFranceSecond World WarFallLacouture, Malraux, pp. 293–4RêveOrigines

(27) Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 346–9.

(28) Stora, Messali, pp. 184–6.

(29) Interview with Mostefaï; Cantier, L'Algérie, p. 336.

(30) Interview with Mostefaï; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 72–3; Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 43; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 50.

(31) Interview with William Sportisse, 24 June 2012.

(32) « l'âme du Parti communiste », Einaudi, Rêve, p. 172; Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 43; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, 46; Andrée DoreAudibert, Des Françaises d'Algérie dans la guerre de libération (Paris: Karthala, 1995), p. 88; Marnia Lazreg, Torture and the Twilight of Empire: From Algiers to Baghdad (Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University, 2008), p. 163; Sivan, Communisme, p. 118, claims Ibanez was Spanish; Gallisot (ed.), Algérie, p. 347, states he was born in Oran. Spanish and Spanish-descent communists were important to the PCA during this period. However, Spanish refugees generally worked in Spanish organisations, such as the Spanish Communist Party; Sivan's claim, pp. 118, 126, of Spanish ‘tutelle’, or guardianship, is exaggerated.

(33) Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 44; Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 170–4; Letter from Thomas Ibanez to the central committee of the PCF, September 1940, in Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 267–9; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 347–9, 555–6.

(34) Planche, Sétif, pp. 48–49, suggests that Algerian PCA membership increased in spring 1940 because of the call for independence but declined once it became clear that the party was not actively promoting this slogan. The PCA then fell back on its core membership of dockers, train and tramway workers, and postal and building workers, as indicated in an extract from the Report of Maurice Laban to the central committee of the PCF, January 1941, in Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 271–2. A notable increase in Algerian membership in 1940 is unlikely because the PCA was so far underground. Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 67, 72, states that he and other Young Communists lost contact with the PCA in 1941.

(35) Cantier, L'Algérie, p. 338.

(36) Lutte sociale, 1 (November 1940); Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 44; Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 174–7; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 347–9, 555–6; Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 339–40.

(37) Einaudi, Rêve, p. 179; Einaudi, Algérien, pp. 39–53; Dore-Audibert, Françaises, p. 88; Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 339–40.

(38) Report of Maurice Laban to central committee of PCF, in Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 271–2; Einaudi, Algérien, pp. 9–26 ‘Vive le peuple Algérien uni et libre, vive l'indépendance de l'Algérie’, Lutte sociale, 2 (January 1941); Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 397–403; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 67.

(39) « La bataille d'Alger contre les communistes », Thomas, French Empire at War, p. 166; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 347–9, 397–403, 555–6; Lutte sociale, 6 (June 1941); Einaudi, Rêve, pp. 182, 186–7, 194–5, 21; Einaudi, Algérien, pp. 55–62; (p.141) Dore-Audibert, Françaises, p. 89; Cantier, L'Algérie, p. 334; Sivan, Communisme, p. 118, states that aside from Smaïli, the entire political bureau was arrested.

(40) Vernadsky, History of Russia, pp. 426, 429CominternCrisisSétif

(41) Lutte socialePCAPour la formation d'un front de la liberté en Algérie contre la pénétration allemande;OriginesL'Algérie

(42) Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 45, 66–7, 70–1AlgérieOrigines

(43) « ce n'était pas leur guerre », Alleg, Mémoire, p. 72; Drew, Discordant Comrades, p. 225; Baruch Hirson, ‘Not Pro-war, and not Anti-war: Just Indifferent. South African Blacks in the Second World War’, Critique, 20–1 (1987), 39–56.

(44) ANOM FM 81F/752, Rapport politique présenté à la 4ème conférence du parti communiste d'Algérie [1941]; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, p. 100, dates Belkaïm's death as 30 July 1940.

(45) « Vers l'indépendance de l'Algérie … une nation en formation. Avant Algérie démocratique à côté de la France du Front Populaire. Aujourd'hui, liberté de la France et aussi liberté de l'Algérie », ANOM 81F/752, PCA Comité central, Plan pour la discussion des tâches de la 4ème conférence du P.C. d'Algérie; Lutte sociale, 1 (November 1940); Cantier, L'Algérie, p. 342.

(46) ANOM FM 81F/752, PCA Comité central, Aux Comités régionaux, n.d. [1941], pp. 2–3, 8.

(47) ANOM 81F/752, GGA to Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat à l'Intérieur, Vichy, 19 February 1942 lists the 81 accused; cf. Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 43.

(48) ANOM 81F/752 GGA to Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat à l'Intérieur, Vichy, 24 March 1942. Spanish communists were particularly hard hit. According to Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, pp. 43, 47, of twenty-five communists arrested in November 1941, fifteen were Spanish; nine more Spanish communists were arrested in December 1941.

(49) ANOMSétifDore-Audibert, Françaises, pp. 89–90MémoireAlgérieL'AlgérieDiscordant Comrades

(50) Abdelhamid Benzine, Lambèse (Dar el Idjtihad, 1989), pp. 209–12Messali

(51) ANOM 81F/752, GGA to Chef du Gouvernement Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat à l'Intérieur, 4 July 1942, and Chef du Gouvernement Ministre Secrétaire d'Etat à l'Intérieur to Général de Corps d'Armée, Secrétaire d'Etat à la Guerre, n.d., c. July 1942.

(52) Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, p. 48; Planche, Sétif, p. 49; Cantier, L'Algérie, pp. 340–41; ‘Renseignements − a/s de la situation du Parti communiste algérien’; Lutte sociale (15 September, 11 November 1942); Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 158–9; Jurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 3, pp. 317–18, n. 85.

(53) Thomas, French Empire at War, pp. 159–90; Betts, France, p. 55; Liddell Hart, Second World War, pp. 324–8; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 72, 77, 79; ‘8 novembre 1942 − Des résistants français lors du débarquement allié: Entretien de Jacques Cantier avec José Aboulker, compagnon de la libération’, in Jean-Jacques Jordi and Guy Pervillé (eds), Alger 1940–1962: Une ville en guerres (Paris: Autrement, 1999), pp. 70–5; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 41–3; interviews with Henri Alleg, Paliseau, 11 May 2001, 23 June 2010; interview with Gilberte Sportisse.

(54) Thomas, French Empire at War, pp. 159–63; Sowerine, France, 209–10.

(55) Ruedy, Modern Algeria, p. 145SétifSecond World WarFranceOriginesLutte sociale

(56) Interview with Mostefaï.

(57) Modern AlgeriaFrench Empire at WarCollot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, pp. 153–5

(58) Salort, ‘Témoignage’, pp. 211–12.

(59) ‘Tout pour la victoire sur l'Allemagne hitlérienne’, Lutte sociale (21 February 1943), in RGASPI 517.1.1966, Sur le matériel reçu d'Algérie, n.d. [1943], pp. 4–5; Lutte sociale (3 April 1943); Sivan, Communisme, 119; Khalfa, Alleg and Benzine, Aventure, pp. 31–5; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 536–8, 549–51.

(60) « assez grande … hors la loi », interview with Mostefaï.

(61) Manifeste du peuple algérienCollot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, pp. 155–64French Empire at War

(62) Collot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, 165–70Modern AlgeriaModern AlgeriaFrench Empire at WarMemory

(63) Sowerwine, France, p. 210; Janet Flanner (Genêt), Paris Journal, 1944–1965, ed. by William Shawn (New York: Atheneum, 1965), pp. 14, 158–9, 349; Francis and Gontier, de Beauvoir, p. 202; Alistair Horne, Seven Ages of Paris (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002), p. 363; Zaretsky, Camus, p. 59; Viallaneix, ‘First Camus’, p. 4; David Carroll, ‘Foreword’, in Lévi-Valensi (ed.), Camus at Combat, pp. vii–xxvi, vii.

(64) ‘For a Free Algerian Republic’, p. 29; Sivan, Communisme, p. 120. Other communists went abroad: Lucien Sportisse joined the French resistance in Lyons; Caballero, Mahmoudi and others joined the Free French in Italy; Wood, ‘Remembering’, p. 259.

(65) Interview with William Sportisse; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 562–3.

(66) « C'est par l'union avec vos camarades français que vous obtiendrez vos droits. Nous refusons de collaborer avec ceux qui trompent la masse et essaient de l'engager sur une voie dangereuse », Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, pp. 48–9; ANOM ALG/Alger 4I–18, ‘Note succincte sur les principaux leaders musulmans du Parti communiste algérien dans le Département d'Alger’, 3 May 1943; Lutte sociale, 21 (1 May 1943), quoted in Sur le matériel reçu d'Algérie, pp. 5–7. See Alleg's view of Ouzegane, Mémoire, pp. 121–2.

(67) Lutte socialeSur le matériel reçu d'AlgérieLutte socialeDore-Audibert, Françaises, p. 90

(68) Sur le matériel reçu d'Algérie, pp. 1–4, suggests that the Comintern promoted the call for equal rights in November 1942 and that this was broadcast on Radio France and discussed in an article by André [Marty?].

(69) FranceLibertéLibertéSétifMémoireRuedy, Modern Algeria, pp. 146–7; Ageron, Modern Algeria, p. 100Communisme

(70) Betts, France, pp. 58–9; Planche, Sétif, p. 64.

(71) Planche, Sétif, p. 67; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 59–64, esp. 61; cf. Ageron, ‘Parti communiste’, pp. 49, n. 6, 50.

(72) Planche, Sétif, pp. 68–9; Betts, France, p. 56.

(73) « un grand parti d'Etat », Planche, Sétif, p. 66; McDermott and Agnew, Comintern, pp. 204–8; Vernadsky, History of Russia, pp. 438–9.

(74) RGASPI 517.2.2, Télé Beyrouth (17 September 1943); Planche, Sétif, p. 66.

(75) Interview with Sadek Hadjerès, Paris 24 March 2011, interview with Mostefaï.

(76) Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 89–91; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, p. 501, dates the conference as 14–15 August 1943.

(77) « La rencontre émouvante d'André Marty et de ses fidèles compagnons, les 27 députés communistes », Liberté (21 October 1943), p. 1; Planche, Sétif, p. 66; Alleg, Mémoire, p. 117; Wood, ‘Remembering’, p. 259; Pike, In the Service, p. 344, n. 68.

(78) LibertéJurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 3, pp. 321–8, 329–44, 344–50AlgérieRêveSétif

(79) Neil MacMaster, Burning the Veil: The Algerian War and the ‘Emancipation’ of Muslim Women, 1954–62 (Manchester and New York: Manchester University, 2009), pp. 33–4; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 215; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 91, 94; Sivan, Communisme, p. 121; Jurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 3, pp. 317–18, n. 85; Dore-Audibert, Françaises, pp. 28–33.

(80) « J'ai été internationaliste avant d'être national … Plus de barrières, plus de juifs, de musulmans, de chrétiens. Nous étions l'humanité », Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 60–1, 552–3, 568–70, quote p. 568; Alleg, Mémoire, pp. 91–5, 99–100, 105–6; Biographie de Gilberte Serfaty, Mouvement social algérien: Histoire et perspectives, http://goo.gl/oAI0SN (accessed 8 May 2011).

(81) Alleg, Mémoire, p. 92; Planche, Sétif, pp. 66–7, 69; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 39–40.

(82) ‘La Commission des réformes musulmanes’ and ‘Audition de M. Omar Ouzegane (23–12–1943) représentant du Parti communiste algérien’, in Collot and Henry (eds),Mouvement national, pp. 171–5;Ageron, Modern Algeria, p. 100.

(83) Ruedy, Modern Algeria, p. 147; Thomas, French Empire at War, pp. 178–9; Betts, France, pp. 63–4; MacMaster, Burning, p. 33.

(84) Sivan, Communisme, p. 131

(85) Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, pp. 216, 222–3; Ruedy, Modern Algeria, pp. 147–8; Ageron, Modern Algeria, p. 101.

(86) Ruedy, Modern Algeria, p. 147; Evans, Memory; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, pp. 59–61, 65–8, 226–8, 233; Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 568.

(87) Liberté (13 April 1944), p. 2.

(88) « Alger n'est pas à la température française … les menées anticommunistes ont trop de prise … la question de l'indépendance en ce moment ne serait qu'un mot d'ordre de l'ennemi », RGASPI 517.2.2, Délégation du Comité Central en Afrique du Nord (Session plénière du 30 Mars 1944), 27 April 1944.

(89) Planche, Sétif, p. 69; Einaudi, Rêve, p. 237; Einaudi, Algérien, pp. 90–9; ‘La mort de SMAILI Ahmed’, Liberté (3 February 1944), p. 2.

(90) ‘De la résistance à la révolution’, Sowerwine, France, pp. 213–15; Williams, Crisis, p. 74; Thomas, French Empire at War, p. 183; Carroll, ‘Foreward’, p. xiv; Zaretsky, Camus, pp. 60, 66; Francis and Gontier, de Beauvoir, pp. 206, 211–12.

(91) ‘Manifeste des Amis de la démocratie’, Liberté (14 September 1944), p. 3; Manifeste des Amis de la démocratie, 14 Septembre 1944, in Collot and Henry (eds), Mouvement national, pp. 188–91; Amar Ouzegane, ‘Rapport présenté à la Conférence centrale du Parti communiste algérien, le 23 septembre 1944’, in Jurquet, Révolution nationale, vol. 3, pp. 387–402.

(92) « gardé une attitude communiste … d'abandonner le fruit de 15 ans de militantisme et d'éducation Marxiste–Léniniste parce qu'il s'est trompé dans l'appréciation d'un évènement … si l'on sait se débarrasser d'un certain sectarisme », PCF 261 J7, box 1, file 3, Boukort to Berlioz, 20 November 1944, pp. 2–3.

(93) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275 [United States Military Intelligence Service], ‘Notes on the Moslem Nationalist Movement in Algeria’ [c. February 1945], p. 6; Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 568; Alleg, Mémoire, p. 104; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, p. 462; Sivan, Communisme, pp. 121, n. 15, 122; Lévi-Valensi (ed.), Camus at Combat: Writing (p.144) 1944–1947 (Princeton, NJ, and Oxford: Princeton University, 2006), p. 215.

(94) Lévi-Valensi (ed.), Camus at Combat, pp. 70–1; Zaretsky, Camus, p. 59.

(95) Sivan, Communisme, p. 123; Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, pp. 568–70; Ageron, Modern Algeria, p. 101.

(96) Interview with Hadjerès; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 332–6.

(97) Jean Lehadouey, ‘La Casbah et sa misère’, L'Humanité nouvelle, 6 (March 1944)

(98) Ruedy, Algeria, p. 148; MacMaster, Burning, pp. 35–6; interview with Noureddine Abdelmoumène, Algiers, 25 September 2011.

(99) [United States Military Intelligence Service], ‘Notes on the Moslem Nationalist Movement’, p. 8.

(100) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, British Consul General, 21 February, 8 March 1945.

(101) « le journal “Liberté” continue, de même qu'une petite feuille communiste diffusée à Ghardaïa et intitulée le “Mzab de demain” à attaquer les caïds prévaricateurs et autres féodaux », Exhibit, Museum of the Armed Forces, Algiers (23 September 2011), GGA à Monsieur le ministre des affaires étrangères (Afrique-levant), a/s -situation politique en milieu musulman à la date du 1er Avril (3 April 1945), Cabinet du GG de l'Algérie, no. 614, CDP; Ouzegane, ‘Rapport présenté’, p. 400; Kitab El-Ferkad (Algiers, 1937), author's possession; interviews with Mustafa Mella, Aissa Bellalou, Fafa Boudjenah and Mohamed Boudjenah, September 2011, Ghardaïa.

(102) Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, pp. 225–6, 231; Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 570; ‘Déclaration commune du Parti socialiste et du Parti communiste algérien’, Liberté (29 March 1945), p. 2.

(103) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275 [Parti populaire algérien], Bulletin intérieur no. 3 [c. March 1945].

(104) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, British Consul-General, 16 March 1945; Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, pp. 216, 222–3, 237–9.

(105) Les Syndicalistes algériens: Leur combat de l'éveil à la libération, 1936–1962Stora, Dictionnaire, pp. 268–9Algérie

(106) Joanny Berlioz, ‘L'Afrique du nord, foyer d'activité prohitlérienne et antifrançaise’, Liberté (6 April 1945), p. 3; Liberté (26 April 1945), p. 3.

(107) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, British Consul-General, 29 April 1945.

(108) Lévi-Valensi (ed.), Camus at Combat, pp. 216, 163–5; Zaretsky, Camus, pp. 72, 123; Martin Evans, Algeria: France's Undeclared War (Oxford: Oxford University, 2012), p. 82.

(109) Camus, Combat, pp. 202–3

(110) « Libérez Messali, libérez les détenus. Indépendance », Interview with Mostefaï; Gallisot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 566–7.

(111) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, H. M. Consul-General to Foreign Office, 8 May 1945, and Z5591/900/69, Consul-General Carvel, 3 May 1945.

(112) TNA: PRO FO 371/49275, H. M. Consul-General, 14 May 1945.

(113) Ageron, Histoire, vol. 2, p. 572; Ruedy, Modern Algeria, p. 148; Sivan, Communisme, p. 139; Khalfa, Alleg and Benzine, Aventure, p. 39; Gallissot (ed.), Algérie, pp. 388–90.

(114) Rey-Goldzeiguer, Origines, p. 251, pp. 229, 241–2, 247–52

(115) Flanner, Journal, pp. 9, 46