Under the Second Empire (1852–1871), the Code de l'indigénat (Indigenous Code) was implemented by the Sénatus-consulte of July 14, 1865. It allowed Muslims to apply for full French citizenship, a measure that few took, since it involved renouncing the right to be governed by sharia law in personal matters and was considered a kind of apostasy.
Second Battle of El Alamein was followed up shortly after by Anglo-American landings (Operation Torch) in French North Africa, which resulted in the region joining the Allies. Operation Torch took place between 8 to 16 November 1942.
At first, and despite the Sétif massacre of May 8, 1945, and the pro-Independence struggle before World War II, most Algerians were in favor of a relative status-quo. While Messali Hadj had radicalized by forming the FLN, Ferhat Abbas maintained a more moderate, electoral strategy.
Effectively started by members of the National Liberation Front (FLN) on November 1, 1954, during the Toussaint Rouge ("Red All Saints' Day"), the conflict led to serious political crises in France, causing the fall of the Fourth French Republic (1946–58) replaced by the Fifth Republic with a strengthened Presidency.
The FLN adopted tactics similar to those of nationalist groups in Asia, and the French did not realize the seriousness of the challenge they faced until 1955, when the FLN moved into urbanized areas. "An important watershed in the War of Independence was the massacre of Pieds-Noirs civilians by the FLN near the town of Philippeville (now known as Skikda) in August 1955. Before this operation, FLN policy was to attack only military and government-related targets. The commander of the Constantine wilaya/region, however, decided a drastic escalation was needed. The killing by the FLN and its supporters of 123 people, including 71 French,S including old women and babies, shocked Jacques Soustelle into calling for more repressive measures against the rebels.
Abane Ramdane ordered immediate reprisals against the French and Yacef Saâdi, who had assumed command in Algiers following Bitat's arrest was ordered to "shoot down any European, from 18 to 54. No women, no children, no elder." A series of random attacks in the city followed with 49 civilians shot by the FLN between 21 and 24 June.
On the night of 10 August 1956, helped by members of Robert Martel's Union française nord-africaine, Achiary planted a bomb at Thèbes Road in the Casbah targeted at the FLN responsible for the June shootings, the explosion killed 73 Algerian.
On the evening of 30 September 1956, a trio of female FLN militants recruited by Yacef Saâdi, Djamila Bouhired, Zohra Drif and Samia Lakhdari, carried out the first series of bomb attacks on three civilian targets in European Algiers. The bombs at the Milk Bar on Place Bugeaud and the Cafeteria on Rue Michelet killed 3 and injured 50, while the bomb at the Air France terminus failed to explode due to a faulty timer.
On 28 December 1956, on the orders of Ben M'hidi, Ali La Pointe assassinated the Mayor of Boufarik and President of the Federation of Mayors of Algeria, Amedee Froger outside his house on Rue Michelet. The following day, a bomb exploded in the cemetery where Froger was to be buried; enraged European civilians responded by carrying out random revenge attacks (ratonnade), killing four Muslims and injuring 50.
On 7 January 1957, Governor-General Robert Lacoste summoned General Salan and General Massu commander of the 10th Parachute Division (10e DP) and explained that, as the Algiers police force was incapable of dealing with the FLN and controlling the Pied-noirs, Massu was to be granted full responsibility for the maintenance of order in Algiers.
On the afternoon of Saturday 26 January, female FLN operatives again planted bombs in European Algiers, the targets were the Otomatic on Rue Michelet, the Cafeteria and the Coq-Hardi brasserie. The explosions killed 4 and wounded 50 and a Muslim was killed by Pied-Noirs in retaliation.
In late January the FLN called an 8-day general strike across Algeria commencing on Monday 28 January. The strike appeared to be a success with most Muslim shops remaining shuttered, workers failed to turn up and children didn't attend school. However Massu soon deployed his troops and used armored cars to pull the steel shutters off shops while army trucks rounded up workers and schoolchildren and forced them to attend their jobs and studies. Within a few days the strike had been broken.
On 9 February, paratroopers of the 2nd Parachute Chasseur Regiment (2e RCP) arrested a prominent young lawyer and FLN sympathiser Ali Boumendjel. After attempting suicide Boumendjel volunteered everything he knew, including his involvement in the murder of a European family.
While females had not previously been searched in Algiers; following the Coq Hardi explosion one of the waiters identified the bomber as a woman. Accordingly, female suspects were subsequently searched by metal detectors or physically, limiting the ability of the FLN to continue the bombing campaign from the Casbah. In February Bigeard's troops captured Yacef's bomb transporter, who under extreme interrogation gave the address of the bomb factory at 5 Impasse de la Grenade. On 19 February the 3e RPC raided the bomb factory finding 87 bombs, 70 kg of explosives, detonators and other material, Yacef's bomb-making organisation within the Casbah had been destroyed.
On 23 March following a meeting between Massu, Trinquier, Fossy-Francois and Aussaresses to discuss what was to be done with Ali Boumendjel, Aussaresses went to the prison where Boumendjel was being held and ordered that he be transferred to another building, in the process he was thrown from a 6th floor skybridge to his death.
The use of torture was not restricted to Muslims, French FLN sympathisers were also picked up and subjected to it. Maurice Audin a Communist university professor was arrested by the paras on 11 June on suspicion of harboring and aiding FLN operatives, Henri Alleg the Communist editor of Alger républicain was arrested by the Paras at Audin's apartment the following day and was told by Audin that he had been tortured, Audin was never seen again and it is believed that he either died while being interrogated or was summarily executed.
On 3 June Yacef's forces planted bombs in street lamps at bus stops in the centre of Algiers, the explosions killed eight and wounded 90, a mix of French and Muslims., the explosions killed eight and wounded 90, a mix of French and Muslims.
On 9 June a bomb exploded at the Casino on the outskirts of Algiers killing nine and injuring 85. Following the burial of the dead from the casino, the Pied-Noirs started a ratonnade that resulted in five ِAlgerians dead and more than 50 injured. As a result of this upturn in violence, the 10e DP was again deployed to Algiers.
On 26 August following intelligence gained by Colonel Godard's operatives, the 3e RPC raided a house in the Impasse Saint-Vincent where Yacef's new bomb-maker and deputy were believed to be hiding. After suffering several casualties trying to capture the two alive, both men were eventually killed.
At 5am on 24 September the 1e REP commanded by Colonel Pierre Jeanpierre sealed off Rue Caton and raided Yacef's hideout at No. 3. Yacef and Zohra Drif hid in a wall cavity, but this was soon located by the French troops. Yacef threw a grenade at the French troops but they were eager to take him alive and he and Zohra Drif eventually surrendered. Across the street at No 4, Ali La Pointe escaped the French cordon and went to another safe-house in the Casbah.
On the evening of 8 October the 1e REP surrounded Ali La Pointe's hideout at 5 Rue de s Abderames. The paratroops laid charges to blow away the false partition behind which Ali and his comrades were hiding, unfortunately the explosion detonated a store of bombs destroying the house and several neighbouring buildings, killing Ali, his two comrades and 17 other Muslims in neighbouring houses.
The loss of many ultra leaders who were imprisoned or transferred to other areas did not deter the French Algeria militants. Sent to prison in Paris and then paroled, Lagaillarde fled to Spain. There, with another French army officer, Raoul Salan, who had entered clandestinely, and with Jean-Jacques Susini, he created the Organisation armée secrète (Secret Army Organization, OAS) on December 3, 1960, with the purpose of continuing the fight for French Algeria. Highly organized and well-armed, the OAS stepped up its terrorist activities, which were directed against both Algerians and pro-government French citizens, as the move toward negotiated settlement of the war and self-determination gained momentum.
De Gaulle convoked the first referendum on the self-determination of Algeria on January 8, 1961, which 75% of the voters (both in France and Algeria) approved and de Gaulle's government began secret peace negotiations with the FLN. In the Algerian départements 69.51% voted in favor of self-determination.
On 22 December, the government provided the PFLP and 42 hostages an airplane and flew them to Algiers, as demanded for the hostages' release. Ex-Royal Navy pilot Neville Atkinson, at that time the personal pilot for Libya's leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, flew Carlos and a number of others, including Hans-Joachim Klein, a supporter of the imprisoned Red Army Faction and a member of the Revolutionary Cells, and Gabriele Kröcher-Tiedemann, from Algiers.
The hostage crisis ended with the signing of the Algiers Accords in Algeria on 19 January 1981. The hostages were formally released to United States custody the following day, just minutes after Ronald Reagan was sworn in as the new American president.