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Liberation of Paris

The Liberation of Paris in World War II took place in late August 1944 after the battle of Normandy.

With the Allies rapidly advancing on Paris, the Paris Metro, Gendarmerie and Police went on strike on August 15, followed by the postal workers the following day. They were joined by workers across the city when a general strike broke out on August 18, the day on which all Parisians were ordered to mobilize. Barricades began to appear, with skirmishes between them and the German occupiers beginning in earnest the following day, reaching its maximum on the 22nd.

Despite orders from Hitler that Paris should be held to the last and to destroy the city, general Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered on August 25, after initially heavy fighting with Leclerc's French 2nd Armored Division . On the same day, Charles de Gaulle, leader of the Free French Forces moved back into the War Ministry on the rue Saint-Dominique, then made a rousing speech to the population from the Hôtel de Ville. This was followed on August 26 by a victory parade down the Champs-Élysées, followed by another for the 28th US Infantry Division on the 29th, by which time the city was secure. Joyous crowds greeted the American and Free French forces as liberators as their vehicles drove down the city streets.

It is estimated that around 1,500 resistance members and civilians were killed during the fighting to liberate the city.

The 60th anniversary in 2004 was marked by two military parades featuring armored vehicles from the era, one representing the French, one the Americans, while people danced in the streets to live music outside the Hôtel de Ville.

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Last updated: 10-31-2004 15:15:34