Operation Resurrection

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Operation Resurrection was a planned military operation of the French Army in 1958 that sought to take over the capital Paris in order to force the return of Charles de Gaulle to head the government. Masterminded by General Jacques Massu, the operation was preceded by the "Opération Corse", where French Army paratroopers took over Corsica. The operation was canceled after French politicians immediately arranged for de Gaulle's return to power.


General Charles de Gaulle had headed the Free French Forces that resisted Nazi Germany during World War II, becoming a national and military hero. Upon the liberation of France in 1944, General de Gaulle became prime minister in a provisional government. However, disagreements and political conflicts prompted him to quit and retire from the military and politics in 1946. A decade later, the ensuing political conflicts of the French Fourth Republic, aggravated by the outbreak of the Algerian War and economic discontent led to popular revolts against the government, headed by fractious political parties. The government's policy on Algeria angered the millions of French settlers, army officers and right-wing politicians in France. French army generals in both Paris and Algiers began exerting pressure on French politicians to return de Gaulle to a position of power.

Planned operation[edit]

Revolts and riots broke out in 1958 against the French government in Algiers, prompting Gen. Jacques Massu to create a French settler's committee[1] to demand the formation of a new national government under Gen. Charles de Gaulle, who was a national hero and had advocated a strong military policy, nationalism and the retention of French control over Algeria. Gen. Massu, who had gained prominence and authority when he ruthlessly suppressed Algerian militants, famously declared that unless Gen. de Gaulle was returned to power, the French Army would openly revolt; Gen. Massu and other senior generals covertly planned the take-over of Paris with 1,500 paratroopers preparing to take-over airports with the support of French Air Force units.[1] Armored units from Rambouillet prepared to roll into Paris.[2]

On May 24, French paratroopers from the Algerian corps landed on Corsica, taking the French island in a bloodless action called "Opération Corse".[1][2] Operation Resurrection would be implemented if de Gaulle was not approved as leader by the French parliament, if de Gaulle asked for military assistance to take power, or to thwart any organized attempt by the French Communist Party to seize power or stall de Gaulle's return.


On May 29, 1958 French politicians agreed upon calling on de Gaulle to take over the government as prime minister. The French Army's willingness to support an overthrow of the constitutional government was a significant development in French politics. With Army support, de Gaulle's government terminated the Fourth Republic and drew up a new constitution proclaiming the French Fifth Republic in 1958.


  1. ^ a b c Jacques Massu obituary
  2. ^ a b Crozier, Brian; Mansell, Gerard (July 1960). "France and Algeria". International Affairs. Blackwell Publishing. 36 (3): 310. doi:10.2307/2610008. JSTOR 2610008.