Wars and Conflicts of France

(1945- Present)


French Surrender

French Troops Surrendered in large numbers at Dien Bien Phu


Wars and Conflicts of France

(1945- Present)

Wars of the French Revolution | Napoleonic Wars | Wars of the Bourbon Restoration | Wars of Napoleon III | Wars of the Third Republic | The First World War | Between the World Wars |The Second World War | 1945-Present

Click this link for information on France's war against the Islamic State, the terrorist group that conducted the Paris Terrorist attacks of November 13, 2015

Flag of France

Since 1945, France has engaged in several large wars (Indochina, Korea, Algeria, Suez, the First Gulf War, Afghanistan) and numerous small colonial conflicts and post-colonial interventions in African nations. To access specific wars or conflicts, click on the blue links. 

Despite popular jokes concerning French military defeats and victories in French military history, France has a fair share of victories in the Third World, and as a valuable member of NATO and the Western allies in the Cold War and now in the ongoing conflict with the Islamic State.

As of the autumn of 2015, the French military was engaged in three active conflicts: The ongoing operations against Jihadist forces in northern Mali, a military intervention in the chaotic Central African Republic, and the multi-national conflict against the Islamic State in the Middle East (Syria and Iraq).


Franco-Syrian War (May, 1945)--At the conclusion of the Second World War, French troops put down a rebellion in the French-controlled Arab nation of Syria.

The First Indochina War (1945-1954)--A French colony since the late 1880s, Indochina was made up of the countries of Vietnam, Cambodia,and Laos. Communist insurgents led by Ho Chi Minh defeated French forces, causing the independence of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. As a result of the peace agreement, Vietnam became divided into Communist North Vietnam and the pro-Western South Vietnam. This conflict was a precursor to the American-Vietnam War.

The Cold War (1945-1991)--France participated in the Cold War as a member of the Western alliance, NATO, and also through its own policies in Africa and elsewhere promoting pro-French and pro-Western attitudes and alliances.

The Madagascar Revolt (1947-1948)--The French military put down a rebellion in the colony of Madagascar.

The Korean War (1950-1953)--France contributed military forces to the UN Army fighting the Communist North Koreans and Chinese.

Tunisian War of Independence (1952-1955)

France Tunisia Independence War 1952-1954 --Guerrilla war of independence against the French began in Tunisia, led by Habib Bourguiba.

Habib Bourguiba, Led Tunisia to Independence From France--Obitiuary for Habib Bourguiba, Tunisian revolutionary leader

Moroccan War of Independence (1953-1956)

Franco-Tunisian Border Conflict (1957)

The Algerian War of Independence (1954-1962)--A French colony since the 1830s, Algeria gained independence in 1962 after a long and violent war against France.

Algerian War of Independence - Algerian War of Independence From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Suez War (1956)--France, Britain, and Israel invaded Egypt in a short-lived conflict.

Basque Separatist Campaign (1958-Present)--The Basque region is divided between Spain and France. The Basque liberation front, ETA, has carried out a campaign of urban terrorism in an attempt to gain independence/autonomy. As most Basque territory is in Spain, the bulk of the campaign has been directed at the Spanish, though French targets have been hit. France and Spain largely cooperate in suppressing ETA.

Second Franco-Tunisian War [The Bizerte Incident] (1961)


Gabon Intervention (1964)

First Katangan War (1977)

Shaba I--Intervention to aid the government of Zaire (now Congo) against Katangan rebels based in Angola and supported by the Soviets, Cubans, and East Germans.

Second Katangan War (1978)-Basically round two of the Katanga/Shaba invasions from Angola.

Weiss | War and Peace in the DRC (VI)

Shaba II

Zaire--Detailed article on the Shaba/Katanga Invasion of 1978.

Shaba II: The French and Belgian Intervention in Zaire in 1978

Central African Republic Intervention (September, 1979)--France organized and aided a coup to overthrow Emperor Jean-Bodel Bokassa. French troops were flown in from Europe and installed former President David Dacko.

Intervention in Lebanese Civil War (1982-1984)--France, along with the United States, United Kingdom, and Italy, sent troops to act as peacekeepers in the Lebanese Civil War and the Invasion of Lebanon by Israel. Dozens of French troops died in Islamic terrorist bombings.


New Caledonian Uprising (1984-1985)

Gabon Intervention (May, 1990)


Second Persian Gulf War (1991)--France contributed military forces to the UN force to liberate Kuwait from the invading Iraqi army of Saddam Hussein.

Intervention in Somalia (1991-1992)--France contributed military forces to the UN peacekeeping force in Somalia.

Central African Republic Intervention (April, 1996)--French troops put down a C.A.R. army mutiny.

Central African Republic Intervention (May, 1996)--French troops put down another C.A.R. army mutiny.

Central African Republic Intervention (Nov. 1996-Jan. 1997)--French troops put down yet another C.A.R. army mutiny.

Kosovo War (1999)-France contributed military forces to the NATO effort to protect the Kosovo Albanians from the persecution by the Serbian military and militias.

Afghanistan War (2001-Present)-France contributed military forces to the Allied/NATO effort to overthrow the Taliban following the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. France continues to supply troops and aircraft to operations supporting the new Afghan government against Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents.

Ivory Coast (Cote de Ivorie) Intervention (2003-Present)-France intervened to bring a halt to the civil war in its former colony. During one clash, the French military avenged the death of several troops by destroying the small Ivory Coast air force as it sat on the ground.

Central African Republic Intervention (2006)--French troops and aircraft aid the government against rebels.

Libyan War (2011)--French forces enforce the Libya No-Fly Zone alongside other Western nations.

Northern Mali War (2013-Ongoing)-In response to continued advances of the Jihadist forces that seized northern Mali in 2012, France launched a military intervention in January, 2013, and successfully drove the Jihadist forces from the population centers of Northern Mali. The Jihadists continued to engage Mali government forces and the French military in guerrilla warfare.


 Central African Republic Intervention (2013-Ongoing)--French troops and aircraft aid the government against rebels.


Islamic State War (2014-Ongoing)-In response to the violent and aggressive advances of the Jihadist Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, France joined a coalition to halt the Islamic State advance. French military aircraft launched the first French attacks on the Islamic State on September 19, 2014 against targets near the Iraqi city of Mosul. French strikes on the Islamic State inside Syrian territory began in October, 2015. The name for the French military operations against the Islamic State is Opération Chammal.

The Islamic State is also frequently referred to in the West as ISIS or ISIL.

Part of this conflict is the attempts by the Islamic State to strike back at the Western powers through terrorist actions.

On November 13, 2015, terrorists working for the Islamic State launched attacks in Paris, targeting multiple sites, including a concert hall, killing nearly 150 civilians and wounding nearly 200. French government officials declared this to be an "act of war," seemingly ignoring the fact that France was effectively already at war with the Islamic State in the Middle East. Given the severity of the attacks in Paris, it is likely that France will escalate its military actions against the Islamic State.


NOTE: The Charlie Hebdo terrorist attacks in Paris in January, 2015, were conducted by the Yemeni branch of al-Qaida, which is separate from, and at times a rival to, the Islamic State.


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