Monday, August 25, 2014

Liberation of Paris, August 1944

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
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.

Liberation of Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
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.

Arc de Triomphe liberation Paris 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
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.

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Partisans

The colonne Dronne was named for its commander. The 9th Armored Company, composed mainly of veterans of the Spanish Civil War, equipped with American M4 Sherman tanks, M2 half-tracks, and General Motors Company trucks from the United States, was commanded by Captain Raymond Dronne. He became one of the first uniformed Allied officers to enter Paris in 1944.

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
General Koenig and the new leader in Paris

General Charles De Gaulle, the leader of the French government in exile since 1940, was among the first allied leaders into the freed French capital. Nazis mostly abandoned the city by 20 August, not wishing to destroy it (though Hitler ordered it), but a few holdouts could not let go and remained as snipers until 26 August and, in some cases, even later.

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com

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.

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
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.

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Parisians fighting during the liberation of Paris. August 1944. Note the man with the double-barrelled shotgun in the foreground.

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
18 year old French Résistance fighter, Simone Segouin, during the liberation of Paris. She is a member of a patrol to rout out Germans snipers. The girl reportedly had killed two Germans in Paris two days previously. She adopted the war name Nicole Minet. She had come from Chartres to help liberate the capital. Paris, August 19, 1944.
Another shot of Simone, this time brandishing her German MP-40.

Paris worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Maybe Simone got her machine pistol from this guy. Paris, August 1944.

Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
Liberation Paris August 1944 worldwartwo.filminspector.com
The Liberation of Paris, August 1944: In the shadow of the Arc de Triomphe, two soldiers of the 2nd French Armored Division, the first unit into Paris, exchange fire with German snipers and pro-German French militia who were making an abortive attempt to free German prisoners. The latter lie dead on the Champs Elysees.
Parisians express their feelings towards a defaced portrait of Nazi 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.






2014

4 comments:

  1. Hi,
    The first picture in color is not De gaulle but general Koënig. He is general with four star (général de corps d'armée), De Gaulle have only two (général de brigade)
    Patrick Fleuridas

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you very much for the correction. My source was wrong, and I did not notice that level of detail. Appreciate the contribution.

      Delete
  2. Picture with crying man is wrong as found movie http://footage.framepool.com/mov/340-999-409.mp4 in folder Militaire française / Résistance / Seconde Guerre Mondial / Afrique du Nord / 1942 - 1943 (Stock Video # 340-999-409)
    Waldemar Bęben

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I took it out. He was there representing the feelings of France at the time, not just Parisiens. However, the page might as well stay on point about Paris, so thanks for the input.

      Delete