|Allied troops occupying Paris|
The liberation of Paris was a foregone conclusion after the Allied breakout from Normandy in the last days of July 1944 and the abortive German riposte that failed at Mortain a week later. However, that did not make the event any less joyous for the Parisians, who greeted the liberators with gratitude. However, things did not return to normal right away.
|Paris. August 26th, 1944. Crowd on the pavement after snipers in buildings overlooking the Place de l’Hotel de Ville opened fire on the celebrations (photo by Robert Capa).|
There were holdouts long after the liberation. Snipers would open fire at random from the many buildings surrounding public buldings, some partly empty due to their inhabitants having been taken away or on duty with the partisans. It was a form of terrorism, because the city had been declared open long before that. The French have long experience with terrorism that continues to this day.
|American troops in tank passing the Arc de Triomphe after the liberation of Paris, August 1944.|
The Free French Forces of the Interior rose in an uprising on 19 August 1944, and it continued until the first allied formation entered several days later. The Free French General Philippe Leclerc, commander of the 2nd Armored Division, disobeyed his direct superior, American field commander Major General Leonard T. Gerow, and liberated Paris (at least part of it) on his own as of the night of 24 August 1944. He sent a vanguard (the colonne Dronne) to Paris with the message that the entire division would be there on the following day.
|General Koenig and the new leader in Paris|
Raoul Nordling, the Swedish consul-general in Paris, negotiated a truce with the German military governor of Groß-Paris and the commander of the Paris garrison, General Dietrich von Choltitz. On the evening of 19 August, the truce went into effect. The truce was only intended to last for that evening, but conditions did not change and it remained in effect until the main German forces left the city a few days later.
|Parisian girls greet a GI|
Many German troops left the area on 19 August in a mass convoy down the Champs Élysées. However, not all the Germans left at that time, and Hitler clung to hopes that the city would be turned into a fortress and burned to the ground. Neither happened.
|Parisians fighting during the liberation of Paris. August 1944. Note the man with the double-barrelled shotgun in the foreground.|
|Another shot of Simone, this time brandishing her German MP-40.|
|Maybe Simone got her machine pistol from this guy. Paris, August 1944.|
|Parisians express their feelings towards a defaced portrait of German leader Adolf Hitler the day after the surrender of the German garrison in the city, 26th August 1944. They had spent four years having to refrain from anything of the sort.|