Despite serving in the French armed forces during the two world wars, Algerian Arabs were regarded by many colons—Algerians of European descent—as third-class citizens at best. Their demands for political and economic reforms as a reward for their military service were met with resistance by the colons and their allies in France. In October 1954, the Front de liberation national began an armed revolt against the French. Because of the size of Algeria and the large number of French troops deployed there, it became difficult for the insurgents to wage a rural battle. After failing to gain popular support and mount a large-scale guerrilla warfare in Algiers, the FLN resorted to acts of terrorism. This helped the French army turn many of the civilians against the insurgents, providing information on the identity and location of key personalities and facilities in the Casbah. By September 1957, the terrorists were clearly defeated. In a referendum in 1958, Algeria voted in favor of French President Charles de Gaulle's proposed constitution for a Fifth Republic and, in 1962, was granted its independence.
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