Between 1954 and 1962, Algeria was devastated by a brutal civil war against French rule. Spearheaded by the Front de Libération Nationale (FLN) [Eng. National Liberation Front], the independence process culminated in the 1962 Évian Accords and an independence referendum.
President Ahmed Ben Bella had the job of overseeing this transition. The war of independence had devastated agriculture and industry. Additionally, over a million Europeans, often educated and holding important jobs, left the country during and after the war of independence. Because of Algeria’s poor situation, mass discontent and rebellions broke out, which were crushed by the ever increasingly authoritarian Ben Bella. Ben Bella had secured his power with the backing of the military, but cracks began to emerge. In 1963-1964, Algeria fought a short border war, the Sand War, with Morocco, and relationships with its neighbor have been frosty ever since.
Ben Bella was deposed by a military coup in 1965. Houari Boumédiène took over and installed what was effectively a military dictatorship. Until his death in 1978, there were many failed coups and attempts to take powers away from the president. Colonel Chadli Bendjedid took over and a new constitution was published in 1989, which allowed the creation of new political parties. As a result, a number of Islamic fundamentalist parties rose and gained electoral success. The military government cracked downed on the Islamic fundamentalist, giving way to a new civil war that began in 1992.
For the Sand War with Morocco, Algeria could only count on a handful of French AMX-13/75s, which were followed by AML-60s. Algeria then turned to the USSR for its armor, receiving T-34/85s, BTR-152s, SU-100s, BTR-40s, T-54s, and T-55s, often second-hand until the late 1960s. Following increased tensions with Morocco over Western Sahara, a second era of Soviet armaments saw the arrival of large quantities of BTR-50s, BTR-60s, T-62s, BMP-1s, BRDM-2s, BMP-2s, and T-72s.