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Present wars as catalysts of fragmented memories of past wars: the use of the Algerian War in the context of the French deployment in Afghanistan

Publié le 23 mai 2023 Mis à jour le 1 février 2024

New contribution by Christophe Wasinski in Memory Fragmentation from Below and Beyond the State: Uses of the Past in Conflict and Post-Conflict Settings, 170, London, Routeldge 2023

Abstract: This contribution seeks to understand why and how the collective memory of the Algerian War remains fragmented today. Based on a case study that focuses on the history of “pacification” and the traces it has left in French memory, I aim to show that at the end of the Algerian War, the memory of pacification operations was vertically divided. This situation essentially resulted from the antagonistic positions taken by the officers who participated in the war, and those of anti-war activists and critical historians; this cleavage persists to this day. However, in the context of the “war on terror” of the 2000s, the United States armed forces “rediscovered” French counter-revolutionary military thought; the French military in turn took the opportunity to reappropriate this heritage and published about it, thus allowing the restoration of the “aura” of the action carried out in Algeria. Thus, to the existing vertical fragmentation was added a horizontal dimension that results from the US military interaction with French counter-insurgency thinking.

More information: Routledge
le 23 mai 2023