Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958

Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958

Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958

Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958


When Algerian nationalists launched a rebellion against French rule in November 1954, France was forced to cope with a varied and adaptable Algerian strategy. In this volume, originally published in 1963, David Galula reconstructs the story of his highly successful command at the height of the rebellion. This groundbreaking work, with a new foreword by Bruce Hoffman, remains relevant to present-day counterinsurgency operations.


David Galula, the author of this Memorandum and a consultant to RAND’s Social Science Department, has had an extensive military career that includes experience in several theaters of revolutionary warfare. A graduate of Saint-Cyr, he served with the French Army in North Africa, France, and Germany during World War II. In the postwar years, he was able to observe at first hand the strategy and tactics of communist guerrillas, first in China, while serving as his country’s assistant military attaché, and later in Greece, as military observer with the U.N. Special Commission on the Balkans. In his subsequent post as French military attaché in Hong Kong, Mr. Galula maintained close personal contact with many of his fellow officers then serving in Indochina.

In 1956 Mr. Galula, then a captain, volunteered for active duty in Algeria, at the height of the rebellion. For most of the next two years, he had command of a company assigned to the district of Greater Kabylia, east of Algiers, a center of intensive FLN operations. Drawing on his earlier experiences and observations, he succeeded during his tour in clearing the district and restoring it to government control.

Mr. Galula spent the better part of the next four years at national defense headquarters in Paris, working on various aspects of unconventional warfare and, in particular, the war in Algeria—an assignment he interrupted for six months to attend the Armed Forces Staff College at Norfolk, Virginia. In the spring of 1962 Mr. Galula, then a lieutenant colonel, came to the United States to accept a year’s appointment as research associate at the Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

In the present Memorandum, Mr. Galula has reconstructed from memory in considerable detail the story of his highly successful command in Kabylia, and has laid down his theories of counterinsurgency

Note: This is a reprint of the original Preface to Pacification in Algeria, 1956–1958, RM-3878-ARPA, published December 1963 by the RAND Corporation.

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