A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria's Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era

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A Diplomatic Revolution: Algeria's Fight for Independence and the Origins of the Post-Cold War Era

by Matthew Connelly
Oxford University Press, 2002
400 pp. $45.00
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As this nuanced account shows, the long, brutal Algerian war for independence (1954-62) was never just a bilateral struggle pitting the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN) against France. A major FLN tactic from its earliest days was to gain international support that would pressure France to grant independence. And indeed, the FLN did eventually win, not militarily in Algeria but diplomatically in France after Charles de Gaulle took his country on a tortuous political path leading to Algerian independence. In concentrating on the international dimension, Connelly weaves into his story the changing roles of the United States, Gamal Abdel Nasser's Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia; the ebb and flow of FLN relations with the Soviet bloc; and much more. He also shows the strains and disunity characterizing both France and the FLN during these years. That the Algerian case prefigures "the emergence of a new, transnational system," as Connelly argues, seems less certain. The war can be more accurately presented as a Cold War variant of venerable multilateral diplomacy as old as the Eastern Question.