Algeria is found in the Maghreb region dominated largely by Arabs and Kabylie speakers. It was colonized by France in 1830. In November 1954, a liberation war led by Ahmed Ben Bella, Belkacem Krim, Ferhat Abbas, Messali Hadj under the FLN umbrella started war against the French colonial rule and raged on until 1962.


  • Desire for independence caused the Algerian war of liberation. The Algerians were under the French from 1830 – 1962 (132 years) and were therefore tied of foreign, oppressive and exploitative rule.
  • The rise of Algeria Nationalists e.g. Ferhat Abbas, Messali, Hadji, Houri Boumedienne, Ben Bella etc led to the independence struggle. These formed friends of the Manifesto of liberty which organized the setif demonstration of 1945. Ben Bella and other young radicals formed organization secrete (0.S) to fight against the French also formed F.L.N which was used to fight the French from 1954.
  • The failure of constitutional means of struggle led to the war of independence in Algeria e.g. on 10th February 1943, Ferhat Abbas and 55 other Muslims signed the manifesto of Algerian people calling for an Algerian constitution, but the French remained adamant and instead Abbas was arrested and imprisoned for inciting people. This provoked public anger resulting into liberation struggle.

  • The people of Algeria wanted their liberty and freedom observed. The French were
    oppressive to the extent that freedom was a rare commodity. There was no freedom of press, expression, assembly and anybody who tried to assert his freedom was dumped in prison. Therefore Algerians emerged on the war stage to claim their rights and liberties.
  • Influence of cold war politics caused the Algerian war of independence. The communist bloc fully supported the Algerian war of independence providing military logistics, economic assistance, moral backing and financial aid to F.L.N to dispose off the capitalist France.
  • Impact of World War II caused the war of independence in Algeria. It equipped
    Algerians with military tactics, skills and it was an eye opener against colonialism e.g. Ben Bella a leading nationalists in Algeria participated in world war II on the side of France and acquired military experience that he used to wage a war against France in Algeria.
  • The Declaration of Algeria as an overseas province of France caused the war of
    independence. In 1951, France declared Algeria as her metropolitan/overseas province despite geographical differences. This meant that whatever happens, Algeria would never be independent because it was part and parcel of France. This was unacceptable to the Algerians they preferred to be treated as a colony which would have a right to demand for their autonomy.

  • Impact of the VE day celebrations of 1945 resulted into the independence struggle in
    Algeria. On 8th May 1945, Algerians were celebrating their victory in Europe and used the celebrations to demand for Algeria‘s independence, they moved with banners chanting, “Long live free Algeria down with French colonialism.. This did not please the French, they resorted to indiscriminate killing of Algerians, they killed between 18,000 – 30,000 demonstrators.
  • The formation of radical political parties e.g. National Liberation Front (F.L.N) in 1954 caused the war. Radical nationalists in Algeria grouped themselves under F.L.N, mobilized and politicized the masses against the French, declared war in 1954 and sustained it up to 1962 with the view of redeeming Algeria.
  • The influence of the American troops in morocco inspired the war of independence in Algeria. The Americans in Morocco convinced the conservative sultan to demand for Morocco’s independence from the French and cause viable changes in the country, this inspired the Algerian to demand for similar changes against the French in Algeria [decolonization / twin independence of Morocco and Tunisia in 1956].
  • Success of the 1952 Egyptian revolution caused the independence struggle in Algeria.
    Egypt under Nasser was against foreign colonial rule. She funded the activities of
    Algerian nationalist against the French colonial rule. Algerian nationalists were given asylum in Cairo, gave military training, arms, etc in order to root out colonial rule from Algeria.
  • Influence of the Vietnamese war of independence against the French caused the war of independence in Algeria. The Vietnamese began the independence struggle in 1946 -1954 with the Vietcong under the Chiminh and defeated the French at the famous battle of Dien Bien Phur therefore Ben Bella witnessed their defeat in the Vietnamese war and concluded that the Algerian would defeat the French in the Algerian desert hence forming FLN in 1954 Cairo to dislodge the French.
  • Influx of white settlers into Algeria caused the war of independence. France encouraged poor and elderly whites from Malta, Spain, Corsica to settle in Algeria and put pressure on Algerian resources, by 1954 there were over 1 million white settlers. They enjoyed urban life employment, took African land, etc which did not please the Algerian Nationalists.
  • The independence of Syria and Lebanon from French imperialism inspired the Algerians to fight for their own independence. They reasoned that if their fellow Arab countries could get independence, they why not the Arab Algerians hence the war being inevitable

  • The imposition of the French culture onto the Algerians caused the liberation war. The French imposed the French language onto the Algerians and undermined Arabic, they required the Algerians to dress, speak and behave just like the French did through the policy of assimilation. This was resented by the Algerians hence the war of independence.
  • Religious differences between the Arab Muslims and the catholic French colonialists
    caused the liberation war in Algeria. The French forced Algerians to convert to the
    catholic faith and abandon Islamic practices. The quaran was replaced by the Bible,
    Mosques were turned into churches and Islamic names were substituted with Christian names. The Arab Muslims in Algeria hated being ruled by “infidels”- catholic and were annoyed by the French. This compelled the Algerians to stage the war of independence.
  • Racial discrimination against the Algerians caused the liberation war. The French
    practiced discriminatory measures in employment and promotion, favouring majority the white settlers e.g. Ferhat Abbas which rekindled the opposition to French colonialism, got discontented with the discrimination he experienced in the promotion in the French army. Besides the Arabs were pushed to the country side and urban life was monopolized by the white race.
  • Over taxation of the Algerian resulted into the war of independence in Algeria. In order to sustain the ever growing white population, heavy ad multiple taxes were imposed on Algerian natives, the method of tax collection, simply dehumanized the tax payers. It often involved public flogging of suspected tax defaulters those who failed to pay were often dumped in jail. The heavy taxes worsened poverty among the local people thus misery was a common feature among the natives.
  • Forced labor/exploitation of peasants caused the Algerian war of independence. The
    colonialists subjected Africans to forced labor, Africans worked without pay on public projects, they were harshly supervised, many times the Africans fainted/suffocated in the process of working on private and public projects of colonialists, this paved way for the war of independence.

  • Land alienation caused the war of independence in Algeria. From 1830 when the French occupied Algeria, there was an influx of poor whites into Algeria. The white settlers monopolized the agricultural land and mineral resources especially in the Constantine valley. All land with water was taken over by the white settlers living Africans in dry and unproductive areas. This created a war mood in Algeria.


Published by


IAM experienced geography teacher with more than three years of teaching and creating content related to geography and other subjects for both high school and college students. hope you will find the content of this website useful to your studies and daily life

2 thoughts on “15 CAUSES OF THE ALGERIAN WAR OF INDEPENDENCE (1954-1962)”

Comments are closed.