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There were a number of ex-deportees, however, who felt that UNADIF had not gone far enough, that it had turned a blind eye to France’s own implication in the concentration camp universe. For throughout the 1950s and into the early 1960s, France was engaged in a bitter colonial war in Algeria, and it did not scruple to use internment camps to incarcerate its enemies. Concentration camp survivors like Jean Cayrol (who had been at Gusen, near Mauthausen) and Charlotte Delbo (who had been at Auschwitz) opposed the war, and echoes of such opposition resonate in the commentary Cayrol wrote for Alain Resnais’ pioneering documentary on camp life, Nuit et Brouillard (1956), and in Delbo’s formidable Auschwitz trilogy, Auschwitz et après (1965-1970-1971).
In January 1957, at the height of the Algerian War, Algerian nationalists formed the Algerian Red Crescent to provide aid and humanitarian assistance to civilians and combatants. However, the French Red Cross (CRF) had long been active in Algeria and according to International Committee of the Red Cross guidelines, individual countries are only permitted one national society. The Algerian nationalists were aware of this stipulation, yet they firmly maintained that the CRF was not neutral and actively discriminated against Algerians. This chapter examines CRF activities in Algeria during the Algerian War and analyzes how national society frequently encountered difficult situations that forced its delegates to choose between its humanitarian mission and nationalist (French) politics. More often than not the latter prevailed. Despite being a national society that was supposed to be neutral, its activities were skewed toward the French military and civilian population. The CRF had two faces: one that presented the organization as neutral, and one that prioritized the needs of French soldiers, thus violating the CRF’s core principles. This chapter highlights the intersection of politics and humanitarianism and demonstrates the persistent power of nationalism at the end of empire.
This chapter focuses on Aron's contribution to ‘end of ideology’ theory. Aron played an important role in reorienting the Congress for Cultural Freedom towards this theme in 1955. But, as this chapter shows, the possibility of a post-ideological politics had interested him since the late 1920s. The chapter thus begins by explaining how and why Aron came to be preoccupied with this theme via his involvement in the overlapping peripheries of neosocialist and neoliberal thinktanks in the interwar years. It then considers how his involvement in these circles informed Aron’s writings on the theme of post-war economic planning in some of his writings in the 1940s. After discussing Aron’s involvement in the ‘end of ideology’ debate within the Congress for Cultural Freedom, the chapter considers the implications of this debate for Aron’s views on decolonization, challenging the view that Aron was the theorist of a ‘liberal retreat from empire’. Finally, it considers how Aron’s dissatisfaction with the end of ideology, together with the emergence of the New Left, led him to become increasingly concerned with the need for a revival of normative political theory in the later 1950s.
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