1958 – The Algiers Putsch begins

Against the background of the troubled Fourth Republic of France and the ongoing Algerian War of Independence (which ran from 1954 to 1962), a group of French officers in Algiers mounted a coup with the twin goals of humiliating the current French government and creating a powerbase for the return of former French President Charles de Gaulle to power. They captured Algeria with little difficulty, and on May 24, invaded and captured the island of Corsica, another French possession.

They conspirators were very successful – De Gaulle was returned to power on May 29, little more than a fortnight later. De Gaulle immediately began a policy of sweeping reforms, including constitutional changes, and on October 5, the Fifth French Republic was proclaimed, with De Gaulle at its head. Things could have gone quite differently, though – the Gaullist faction had made plans for a military assault and seizure of Paris if their goals were not met.

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We Didn’t Start The Fire – Billy Joel