Toussaint Rouge

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Red All-Saints' Day
Toussaint Rouge
Location French Algeria
Date 1 November 1954
00:00 – 02:00[1]
Attack type
30 bomb attacks & sabotage on police and military targets
Deaths 5 Pied-Noir civilians, 2 Algerians.
Perpetrators FLN

Toussaint Rouge (English: Red All-Saints' Day), also known as Toussaint Sanglant ("Bloody All-Saints' Day") is the name given to the series of attacks that took place on 1 November 1954 (the Catholic festival of All Saints' Day) in French Algeria. It is usually taken as the starting date for the Algerian War which lasted until 1962 and led to Algerian independence from France.

Background[edit]

Attacks[edit]

Between midnight and 2 am on the morning of All Saints' Day, 30 individual attacks were made by FLN militants against police and military targets around French Algeria.[1] Seven people were killed in the attack; all except two were white French colonists.

Reaction in Paris[edit]

After hearing of the attacks, François Mitterrand, then Minister of the Interior, despatched two companies (600 men) of the Compagnies Républicaines de Sécurité (CRS) to Algeria. A total of three companies of paratroopers also arrived between 1 and 2 November.[1]

On 12 November 1954, Pierre Mendès France, President of the French Council of Ministers declared that the attacks would not be tolerated in a speech to the National Assembly:

One does not compromise when it comes to defending the internal peace of the nation, the unity and integrity of the Republic. The Algerian departments are part of the French Republic. They have been French for a long time, and they are irrevocably French. ... Between them and metropolitan France there can be no conceivable secession.[2]

The Mendès France government increased the number of soldiers in Algeria from 56,000 to 83,000 men to deal with the situation in the Aurès mountains — the "main bastion of the insurrection," though the sending of the conscripts to Algeria did not occur until one year later after the Journée des tomates (lit: "Day of Tomatoes") on 6 February 1956 under the Mollet government.

Public reaction[edit]

The political reaction notwithstanding, the Toussaint Rouge attacks did not receive much coverage in the French media. The French daily newspaper Le Monde ran less that two short columns on the front page.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "The Algerian Civil War, 1954–1962: Why Such a Bitter Conflict?". University of San Francisco. Archived from the original on 23 April 2006. 
  2. ^ Pierre Mendès France (12 November 1954). Reaction to the Incident in Algeria. Speech made before the French National Assembly, Paris