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What happened in Setif; why did US troops respond?

Discussion in 'Non-World War 2 History' started by davidbfpo, Dec 16, 2020.

  1. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Member

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    What happened in Setif, French Algeria when a post-VE-Day (so 8th May 1945) march by Algerians became a riot and there was a massacre of Europeans over five days, with one hundred dead? The French military and I suspect civilians killed six thousand Muslims over the next few weeks. This is all known and Wiki has a short account: Sétif and Guelma massacre - Wikipedia

    What is almost unknown is that American forces had a role too.

    Professor Andrew Hussey has written in his 2014 book 'The French Intifada: The Long War between France and Its Arabs' that:
    Hussey also has written that in an earlier incident in another city Philippeville, US troops had stopped French African troops firing on mass violence, in which thirty locals died. I use earlier as the date he uses is clearly wrong.

    I am curious if anyone has ever heard of this episode or discovered any information. Given what happened in the massacre the US forces having a part in evacuating European civilians I do not criticise. Whether it enables the French military 'free rein' is a moot point.

    By 1945 the French colony of Algeria (even a Department of France) had a Free French administration, so Allied forces were there as allies and the French had primacy in maintaining order. Looking around I am aware that contrary to my expectations American and British rear elements remained in Algeria up to VE-Day and beyond.

    Now a few years ago after reading Hussey's book - which I do recommend - I posted a RFI for help on another website, it had 31k views and alas no replies. Google alas so far has not helped.
     
  2. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    David,

    As being from a small country sometimes I think these are thought as being acts of order. I cannot say how my countrymen would have acted but I was really shocked how locals were treated in Congo. Just one example. Alll the best
     
  3. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Why does KKK exist or does it after Obama?
     
  4. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Hadn't heard of the American involvement before either. Remember finding a translated French account, but can't remember it's exact wording.
     
  5. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Come on GRW, you can do better. If I can about Eastern Carelia, so you can abot the book. I know we'd never forget truly forget. Sorry but I this of know of us. The medium life time of British civilians in india who wrote details? That is 2-3 years until a tropical disease killed them. For a 20-year old today that woud never be an answer 2 years. But it is.how things were in the 19h century.t
     
  6. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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  7. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Actually, this might be it-
    "“Four policemen on duty stood in front of us,” says old Aïssa. At the sight of the demonstrators, Europeans rushed there. They are furious because a strange flag, green and white, has mingled with the displayed banners (French, American, British and Soviet), those of the victorious Allies of Nazi Germany. Also furious because a banner, on the two brandies, suggested a “heresy”: “Free Algeria”! The other called for the release of Messali Hadj, a leading figure in the nationalist movement."
    www.algerie-dz.com/article611.html
     
  8. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    ĢRW, thanx for your pain and gain. Norwich?
     
  9. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Member

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    I will be writing to Professor Hussey (I did in 2013 on another topic) and asking him for his sources. Standby.

    There is a thread here referring to an earlier time, November 1942-April 1943:
    From: Use of Troops for Rear Area Security. Russia,France.North Africa

    It appears likely that the US military in Algeria were not combat troops, so rear area support, including airfields, even hospitals. French North Africa by May 1945 was a 'secure' area governed by a fully committed ally. Presumably some were aware of the underlying tensions and hostility towards the colonial power.
     
  10. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Looking back what areas were not colony countries to start with in Africa? Sorry but how many were shipped and how many died after being sent to America? The series 'Roots ' made my eyes open wide. The Belgians cut hands if the people did not reach their Daily rubber amounts. To be honest we are children of killers. Just face it. All the countries that had colonies did the same. How come People could do that? What is the reason? Racial reasons? There are none truly . None.
     
  11. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Member

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    A quick update after a moment searching:
    Found in a footnote on pg.162 in an Official US History 'Rearming the French'. Link: https://history.army.mil/html/books/011/11-6/CMH_Pub_11-6.pdf

    The French General in charge was General Raymond-Francis Duval. From: https://apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a500221.pdf
    Started again on him: Raymond Duval - Wikipedia

    From an obituary this US Army officer was in Setif in July 1945: U.S. Army Captain Wally Masteller. So one day I will try to identify what unit he served with, unless anyone here can help. From: Obituary for Jeanne M. Masteller | Cromes-Edwards Funeral Home & Crematory, Inc., Sidney, OH
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
  12. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Member

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    From a US Army officers 2009 dissertation, not in an easy to read format I found this:
    From: Full text of "DTIC ADA512481: Law, Ethics, and Morality in War During the Battle of Algiers"
     
  13. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Member

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    Professor Hussey has responded and his account is based on three sources:

    One book is 'La guerre commence en Algérie' by Mohammed Harbi (Published 1954), and summarised (in English) by him here, without any mention of the US military. I note that Setif, part of Constantine Province, was under military control at the time and after disorder earlier in 1945 there was a militia formed from the settlers : From: Massacre in Algeria

    The second book is 'Le 8 mai 1945 en Algérie' by Ainad Tabet (Published 1985 or 1987) and no English translation was found.

    A third book is 'Algeria: France's Undeclared War' by Martin Evans (Pub. 2012), well reviewed and a copy is nearby, albeit in a university library.

    This a very useful commentary, with lots of details - except the US military - and I note, plus my bold, it refers to
    See: Setif and Guelma (May 1945) | Sciences Po Mass Violence and Resistance - Research Network

    A more academic article (post COIN as it cites McMaster) is 'Massacres and Their Historians: Recent Histories of State Violence in France and Algeria in the Twentieth Century' https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/08...2933.839962250.1608400338-28659670.1608400338
     
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  14. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Thanks David. My late father was in Setif during the war with the Royal Signals. He always said he was thankful he was well gone before that all kicked off.
     
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  15. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Nothing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2020
  16. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    Wars of 'liberation' are usually vicious beyond 'normal' warfare. Even the AWI had atrocities performed by both sides*. Perceived differences in ethnicity and/or religion serve as magnifiers for these. The Algerian wars particularly reflect this.

    * There is an interesting set of correspondence between Washington and Cornwallis each accusing the other side of doctoring ammunition to create expanding bullets (what in the next century came to be called dum dums) - it becomes clear that both sides were using them!
     
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  17. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    The KKK (Ku Klux Klan) has existed since shortly after the American Civil War, founded by many Confederate veterans as a political response to 'reconstruction' after the war. It's membership and influence have waxed and waned over the years dependent on the economic times and racial issues. Probably reaching their strongest position in the late 1920's, early 1930's when they reached a Governor's house in the US midwest, but collapsed due to a sex scandal.

    Much like a virus it will probably always be with us in a small form but flair up anytime our economic/political health is compromised. When bad things happen to you, the search for a scapegoat becomes paramount.
     
  18. Kai-Petri

    Kai-Petri Kenraali

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    Is it just you make an x to the bullet head añd it is a dum dum?
     
  19. ARWR

    ARWR Active Member

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    More or less. Dum dum comes from the fact that the arsenal at Dum dum India for a short time made some 303 rounds with un jacketed bullet tips. In the AWI a cross was cut in the lead musket ball. These tended to expand on impact in any case.
     
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  20. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Said who?! :D:p
     
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