Raoul Salan bigraphy, stories - French general

Raoul Salan : biography

10 June 1899 - 3 July 1984

Raoul Albin Louis Salan ( 10 June 1899 – 3 July 1984) was a French Army general and the fourth French commanding general during the First Indochina War. Salan was one of four generals who organized the 1961 Algiers Putsch operation and then founded the Organisation de l'armée secrète.


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".Yves Courrière, Les Feux du Désespoir (Paris: Fayard, 1971)

Salan was charged with treason TIME Magazine Friday, 25 May 1962 and condemned in absentia to death. Then, in April 1962, he was arrested TIME Magazine Friday, 27 Apr 1962 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.


  • Légion d'honneur
    • Knight (5 April 1922)
    • Officer (21 August 1940)
    • Commander (10 February 1945)
    • Grand Officer (27 October 1948)
    • Grand Cross (28 August 1952)
  • Médaille militaire (12 July 1958)
  • Croix de guerre 1914-1918
  • Croix de guerre 1939-1945
  • Croix de guerre des Théatres d'Opérations Exterieures
  • Croix de la Valeur Militaire
  • Médaille Interalliée de la Victoire
  • Médaille commémorative de la guerre 1914–1918
  • Médaille de l'Aéronautique
  • Distinguished Service Cross (US)
  • Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) (UK)
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