ALGERIA: The Pep Talk

Heading off for a tour of French army bases in Algeria, Charles de Gaulle kept his itinerary secret, took with him only a handful of aides and a single reporter—Agence France-Presse's Jean Mauriac, son of Novelist François Mauriac. In Paris, wags cracked that the general was traveling more like a spy than a head of state, and in Algiers, disgruntled European settlers jeered that he was afraid to face them. But within 24 hours, diehard French officers in Algeria were gleefully proclaiming: "We've got him!"

Traveling across Algeria's rugged countryside in helicopters and observation planes, De Gaulle ate in...

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