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By Richard I. Lawless

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But in the highly charged situation his first pronouncements on the political future of Algeria were cautious and highly ambiguous. It was not until September 1959 that he spoke of self-determination for Algeria, an announcement Page xxvi which inevitably provoked the opposition of those who had contributed to de Gaulle's return to power in the belief that he would follow a single policy of integrating Algeria with France. Europeans in Algeria and segments of the French army formed the Organization de l'Armée Secrete (OAS) to resist a negotiated settlement and the transfer of power from European hands, and in April 1961 a group of senior army officers, including Generals Challe, Zeller, Jouhaud and Salan, planned a new army putsch to halt the progress towards negotiation and an 'Algerian republic', a phrase which de Gaulle had used for the first time on 4 November 1960.

Later Algeria's extensive mineral resources, notably phosphates, iron ore and - at the very end of the colonial period - Saharan oil and gas, were exploited by the French, but there was little industrialization and only Page xxii those activities which did not compete with French industry were permitted. The European population reached its peak in 1954 when the settlers, known locally as pieds noirs, numbered just over one million or one-tenth of the country's total population. By that time about four-fifths of the European residents lived in towns, many of which were French creations, where they were mostly administrators, bankers, technicians, traders, professional men and skilled workers, though some had lesser jobs, and their influence was far in excess of their numbers.

It was not until September 1959 that he spoke of self-determination for Algeria, an announcement Page xxvi which inevitably provoked the opposition of those who had contributed to de Gaulle's return to power in the belief that he would follow a single policy of integrating Algeria with France. Europeans in Algeria and segments of the French army formed the Organization de l'Armée Secrete (OAS) to resist a negotiated settlement and the transfer of power from European hands, and in April 1961 a group of senior army officers, including Generals Challe, Zeller, Jouhaud and Salan, planned a new army putsch to halt the progress towards negotiation and an 'Algerian republic', a phrase which de Gaulle had used for the first time on 4 November 1960.

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