On August 1944, Parisians and Paris found their liberty. After 4 years of German occupation, and thanks to the work of all the Allies, especially from the United States and United Kingdom, without forgetting the help of the French resistance, troops from London and African colonies, Paris was freed. Here is everything you need to know about the Paris liberation 1944.
After the beginning of Overlord operation in Normandy, on 6th July 1944, Parisians had great expectations to be liberated from Nazi occupation. But, the operation in Normandy was longer than expected, so Parisians were still waiting for the arrival of the Allies’ armies.
Finally, on August 19th, the battle of Paris for its liberation begun, thanks to Parisian resisters who were the first to fight against Nazi soldiers in Paris, while waiting for the arrival of the Leclerc division (France) and Eisenhower one (United States).
Parisians built barricades, to stop Nazi soldiers from getting into the city and to keep them in their position, so that the French and American divisions could enter Paris as soon as possible.
Von Choltitz (second from left), was the Nazis head of Paris during all its occupation. He was staying at The Meurice, which is still today a very famous Paris hotel, and he is an important character of Paris liberation. Hitler’s last order for him, before the Paris liberation, on 24th August 1944, was to destroy all Paris bridges, and all historical monuments, under which German soldiers had put bombs.
During the whole night, Von Choltitz had to think about either doing it or not, and he finally didn’t do it, because he didn’t want his name linked with the Paris liberation. Thanks to that, he was judged innocent of all his crimes of war during the Easter Front.
During the night of August 24th, the Leclerc division entered Paris, and this was followed by fighting in Paris against the Wehrmacht, the Nazi army. On August 25th, Paris was finally free from its Nazi occupation, and American and French soldiers paraded in Paris streets.
Parisians were extremely happy to be liberated, because they had suffered a lot from restrictions during the Nazi occupation; restrictions for food as well as liberties. It was a relief when they recovered their freedom. The American soldiers spent days in the streets, being warmly welcomed by the French.
Last but not least, what to do in Paris to celebrate the Paris liberation of 1944? This year is the 70th anniversary of the Paris Liberation, so there are some exhibitions around the city, especially on the City-Hall (Hotel de Ville, line 1 of the Metro), where there are pictures, etc.
There another exhibition at Carnavalet museum, which is also free. Finally, on the 25th, there will be a huge light and music show, at the city-hall, and after that a “bal populaire”, which is a huge free ball on the city-hall square, where you can have a really great time with your friends!