The Algerian war for independence, 1954-1962, also known as the War Without a Name due to its lack of recognition as a war by the French government, remains an indelible scar on the face of France. The Algerian war represents one of the most critical moments in modern French history since the French Revolution (Le Sueur 256), putting into question the motto of the French republic, "liberté, égalité, fraternité". This thesis will show that although the French won the war militarily they lost the war of ideas, that of propaganda and persuasion. Thus, this thesis will demonstrate that propaganda by the French for the aims of maintaining a French Algeria should have played a larger role than is evident. The use of propaganda and persuasion dates from the beginning of Greek analysis of rhetoric and has been used in various environments and circumstances throughout the ages in order to persuade the masses of the opinions and ideals of the propagandist. In Algeria, the message presented by the French through propaganda did not attain the desired result: maintaining a French Algeria. The combination of the Algerian determination for independence and the ineffective propaganda by the French resulted in a humiliating loss for the French forces and the loss of territory deemed integral to French society. After over 130 years of colonial rule, and eight grueling years of revolutionary war, Algeria received its independence.



College and Department

Humanities; French and Italian



Date Submitted


Document Type





France, Algeria, War, Propaganda, Decolonization