Operation Torch and Free French imperial supremacy in Africa, 1942–45
in The French empire at war 1940–45
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By the time Operation Torch commenced, the Vichyite regimes across French North Africa had long since suppressed nationalist parties in all three Maghreb territories. In the two North African protectorates, Vichy's extension of the etat de siege martial law provisions enacted in 1939 allowed Resident Ministers Nogues and Esteva to employ military law to curb nationalist activity. Unable to influence events in Axis-occupied Tunisia, after Darlan's murder, the Free French reserved their most violent criticism for General Nogues. Whereas the Americans were the first to arrive in French North Africa, the British maintained an efficient economic infrastructure across West Africa. French vengeance upon the Muslim population of eastern Constantine was immediate and massive. Aside from its intrinsic importance as a dreadful landmark in the history of French Algeria, the Setif uprising perhaps exposed four issues of lasting historical significance.


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