Men and Women during the Liberation of Paris

August 25, 1944

Recommended: Eleven Days in August.

On their way to Paris.  The French metropolis was militarily going to be bypassed initially, although after some debate and a civilian uprising, Allied generals decided to liberate it. Many hoped to get into a convoy bound for the direction of Paris (silent, merci atelierdesarchives Best Of).  Among them were Ernest Hemingway, Ernie Pyle, Charles Wertenbaker, female reporters Lee Carson of INS and Helen Kirkpatrick of Chicago Daily News, in a beret, among others.  Field Marshall Montgomery detested female reporters. Wes Gallagher of AP it is said beat everybody into Paris (about 7 mins, but you could skip to August, after 36 seconds advance to 5 min mark.)  Wes Gallagher was a good friend of Ernie Pyle.  With the camera team is Hollywood director George Stevens, holding a pencil.  Next is Gen. Leclerk in French kepi cap conversing with his troopsand the moments before the grand liberation.

Two thousand years of history on the cusp of destruction.

On the left are three German vehicles set on fire. Next to the Arc de Triumph is a German truck hightailing it out of Paris.  Next to that is a burning tank amidst the trees. A shot of a critical operation in the hospital in Paris named Hotel-Dieu. A scene of the barricades. Forces Françaises de l'Intérieur.

A burning Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

The Resistance was composed of different political factions.  The Resistance arose, a cease fire arose, a negation of sorts disagreeing with the convention sprang and events were driven by incongruent elements.      The Germans agreed to adhere with the Geneva Convention, a crucial point.  This did not include the SS.

But, the occupation was to end in 1944.

A priest from the abbey Foliet, a champion of FFI, encouraged young fighters. The Resistance and the people of Paris were brave and were in dire straits, and asked for help (merci libertyshipbe.)  The situation was serious. 

An episode in time for posterity, (in b-w) scenes of the Resistance.  In color is 18-year old Simone Segouin.  During the war, many changed their names, and she adopted the name Nicole Minet.

Before the curtain would close in August, (below in b-w) time ticked away for these Allied soldiers, the dark and dreary truth.  These series of actual, but sad photos, show part of a tank crew removed after their Sherman was hit. This was actual war. They were inside the tank and there was the gruesome task of removing the bodies, one of the dead has no head.  Tank column was hit hard before reaching Paris, and was part of a column attached to the Fr. 2nd Armored Division that came from the south to liberate Paris, via Rambouillet and Versailles.  War is tragic.

The next three pictures are essential: from the vicinity of Avranches reinforcements pour in. With the soldiers were the cameramen and reporters.  The FFI, in this case the Resistance in Chartres.

Aug 25—At dawn, Fr. 2nd Arm Div troops enter Paris.  Paris (above) is liberated, becoming the third European capital to be liberated, by both French and U.S. forces; Liberation of Paris in color, with occupation shown first.  Pretty good colorization of history that is 75 years old.  Note German language on the walls, and if you think video is a bit chaotic, brother you better believe that is the way it was.  One day a cease fire, the next day no cease fire, then back again to cease fire, when you see a guy with a white flag and a red cross walk and boom, he gets shot by a German.  Anything and everything happened, before the Allied troops arrived.  On top of that you had rumors flying left and right, as bullets flew left and right.  With the German soldiers out of Paris, electricity began to flow regularly.  GIs of the 4th Inf Div entered Paris by the Porte d'Italie; by 7:30 am radioed they are at Notre Dame.  People are estatic, lengthy 8.58mins in b/w.   Gen. von Cholitz, Paris military governor, lied to his superiors and left the city's landmarks intact.  Gen. de Gaulle arrived at the Porte d'Orleans by 9:30 am.  In the afternoon, an element of the British 30th Assault Unit entered via the Porte d'Orleans. Allies gathered at the Arc de Triumph by 3:30 when the German garrison of Paris also surrendered and the Allies received Von Choltilz as a prisoner, while other French units kept streaming into the capital.  There was no time for parties as there were numerous Germans in the city, still.  Combat of Leclerc's 2nd armored, the 4th and their tanks helped the FFI liberate their city by 8 pm, and all day stretcher bearers were busy tending to the injured from regular fire and by snipers. (danke et merci to Blitzkrieg_WW2, Romano Archives, BritishMovietone, ProjektErinnerung 1939-1945, and Ina Paris Vintage.)  Avignon liberated by U.S. and French forces.  In some of the following photos, you see people that hit the deck to avoid stray bullets.  War is also bittersweet.  The pounding hearts of thousands and thousands echoed August 25—a moment Paris was finally free from the Nazis.

General Charles de Gaulle triumphantly returned to Paris.  Sgt. Sandy Hirschhaut, an American, was there with de Gaulle, evening Aug. 25, 1944. My deep gratitude to the Palm Springs Air Museum and DR.DAVE THOMPSON.  De Gaulle on radio, from the Hôtel de Ville said, “Since the enemy which held Paris has capitulated into our hands, France returns to Paris, to her home.”  Yet, skirmishes continued in Paris.  Battle For Paris United News, Aug. 25 this is a newsreel what the people back home saw (12 mins).  Notice how large the metropolis of Paris is.  In color as Paris was safer, Aug. 25: Narrated by Jack Lieb who was there 75 years ago, shooting with both color and b-w film (4.25 min combo); on assignment for News of the Day and shot in bw; the color film was his personal film, also in 16mm.  The later shot of GIs marching down Champs-Élysées was not Aug. 25 but Aug. 29, when the U.S. 28th Inf Div was given the luck to march in Paris however, they right away went to the Front and taken to fight in the Huertgen Forest, a very nasty place to fight, as is described in the 1944 commemorative.  We are grateful his sharing what he remembered. Beautiful Paris Aug. 25, 2019 parade festivities (about 2 mins, merci Franck Bindefeld).  U.S. 9th A.F. challenges Luftwaffe over Beauvais and Reims in fierce combat air duels, destroy 127 German aircraft, damage 33; the back of the Luftwaffe breaks over France.  U.S. 4th Arm Div, Third Army, tanks charge old wild West Calvary style and secure city of Troyes, after crazy city battling.  Another of 3rd Army’s units reaches Louviers and finds it abandoned.  1,191 heavies of the U.S. 8th A.F. bomb factories in Germany including huge synthetic oil plant at Politz.  Allied reconnaissance took photos of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp.  Musical Parade: Halfway to Heaven released in Technicolor, not to be confused with The Halfway House.  Rumania declares war on Germany.  U.S. sub Picuda sinks destroyer Yunagi and merchant tanker Kotoku Maru near Philippines.  U.S. sub Tang sinks Japanese merchant tanker No.8 Nanko Maru off Honshu.  In profile is Jack Lieb.