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Raoul Salan
Nickname The Mandarin or Chinese
Born June 10, 1899 (1899-06-10)
Died July 3, 1984(1984-07-03) (aged 85)
Place of birth Roquecourbe, France
Place of death Paris, France
Allegiance Flag of France.svg France,
Oas logo public.svg Organisation de l'Armée Secrète
Service/branch French Army
Years of service 1917 - 1959
Rank Général d'Armée
Commands held 6th Senegalese Tirailleur Regiment
14th Infantry Division
French Far East Expeditionary Corps
French forces
Battles/wars World War I
World War II
First Indochina War<br
Awards Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor
Other work Leader of the OAS

Raoul Albin Louis Salan (French pronunciation: ​[ʁaul salɑ̃]; 10 June 1899 – 3 July 1984) was a French Army general and the fourth French commanding general during the First Indochina War. operation and then founded the Organisation de l'armée secrète.

Biography[edit | edit source]

Salan was born in Roquecourbe, Tarn. After the Second World War, he became commander of French forces in Tonkin and signed agreements regarding the disposition of French troops within Vietnam. By 1948, he was commander of all French land forces in East Asia; after the death of Jean de Lattre de Tassigny in 1952, Salan became the commander-in-chief in Indochina. Although he was probably the most experienced officer in Indochina, the new government led up by René Mayer wanted a new policy in Indochina and replaced him in January 1953 with Henri Navarre, who was previously in charge in the intelligence service, not on field operations. On 16 January 1957, while commander of the 10th military area and interarmy commander in Algiers, Salan was the target of an assassination attempt using a bazooka, resulting in the death of a French major. Salan was warned minutes before the attempt by his military Attaché, Michel Houet; (21 March 1926). The attackers were French residents of Algiers who wanted to replace Salan with General René Cogny, whom they saw as a more energetic leader. The group's leader blamed the influence of a group of six prominent French politicians, which included future French Prime Minister Michel Debré (a senator at the time of the incident), as inspiration for the assassination attempt. However, he did not present any evidence to support the claim, and an investigation did not produce any definite answers about their involvement in the attack.

On 13 May 1958 as part of the Résurrection operation, Salan led an insurrection of the French military fighting in Algeria which called for the return to power of Charles De Gaulle. After his successful return to power, Charles De Gaulle appointed him general inspector of the army, forcing him to return to mainland France. After being put in early retirement by Charles De Gaulle, Raoul Salan went to Spain where he met with Ramón Serrano Súñer. He returned to Algeria to organize the putsch on 21 April 1961 with André Zeller, Edmond Jouhaud and Maurice Challe. After the failure of the putsch, he became (under the name Soleil, "sun") the chief of OAS, a terrorist group which attempted to disrupt the April 1962 Peace Evian Accords. He was seconded by Edmond Jouhaud, Soleil-Bis, "sun no. 2".[1] Salan was charged with treason[2] and condemned in absentia to death. Then, in April 1962, he was arrested[3] in Algiers. The death sentence on him was commuted to life imprisonment. A July 1968 act granted him and others amnesty; a November 1982 law reintegrated the surviving generals into the Army and Salan with seven others benefitted from this law.

Decorations[edit | edit source]

Bibliography[edit | edit source]

  • Mémoires Fin d’un empire (4 volumes), Editions Presses de la Cité, 1970–74
    • Le sens d’ un engagement, 1970
    • Le Viêt-minh mon adversaire, 1971
    • Algérie française, 1972
    • L'Algérie de Gaulle et moi, 1974

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Yves Courrière, Les Feux du Désespoir (Paris: Fayard, 1971)
  2. Silence in the Dock TIME Magazine Friday, 25 May 1962
  3. To the guillotine TIME Magazine Friday, 27 Apr 1962

Further reading[edit | edit source]

General Paul Aussaresses, The Battle of the Casbah: Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in Algeria, 1955-1957. (New York: Enigma Books, 2010) ISBN 978-1-929631-30-8.

External links[edit | edit source]

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