Liberation of Paris

Parade passes through the Arc de Triomphe on August 26, 1944, following the liberation of Paris

Victory parade passes through the Arc de Triomphe on August 26, 1944, following the liberation of Paris

On August 25, 1944, German forces surrendered Paris to Allied troops, ending four years of occupation. This day and the battles that led up to it are known as the Liberation of Paris.

Background

As Operation Overlord drew to an end, reclaiming Paris was not considered a main Allied objective. Hitler had threatened complete destruction of the historically and culturally significant city in the event of an Allied attack. But with the approach of the US Third Army, led by General George S. Patton Jr., French Forces of the Interior (the armed division of the French Resistance) rose up against the German garrison in Paris beginning August 15, 1944, while workers throughout the city went on strike

French Army general Charles de Gaulle petitioned the Allies and Supreme Commander in SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) Dwight D. Eisenhower to allow an immediate frontal assault on Paris. Meanwhile, poorly armed Resistance fighters battled with German soldiers in the streets.

Battle and Liberation

On August 22, it was decided that General Jacques-Philippe Leclerc’s 2nd Armored Division, backed up by the US 4th Infantry Division, would march on Paris. They set out the following day and were stalled south of the city by German defenses. 

The 9th Company of the Infantry of Chad entered Paris first through Port d’Italie in the late hours of August 24. The rest of the 2nd Armored Division followed in the early hours of the 25th. Germans forces resisted until German garrison commander Dietrich von Choltitz officially surrendered the still-intact city.

Aftermath

That evening de Gaulle gave a rousing speech to a crowd gathered at the Hotel de Ville. On August 26, de Gaulle and Leclerc joined a parade along the Champs-Élysées to the cheers of assembled Parisians before it was broken up by shots from lingering German snipers. Celebrations continued through the following days, while De Gaulle assumed control as head of the Provisional Government of the French Republic and Allied forces worked to feed the hungry city.

Learn more about the Liberation of Paris through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Articles and Clippings about the Liberation of Paris

Excerpt from article on strikes in Paris in days leading up to liberation, August 1944Excerpt from article on strikes in Paris in days leading up to liberation, August 1944 Fri, Aug 18, 1944 – Page 2 · The Brooklyn Daily Eagle (Brooklyn, New York) · Newspapers.comGeneral Philippe Leclerc coming ashore in Normandy in the months preceding the Liberation of ParisGeneral Philippe Leclerc coming ashore in Normandy in the months preceding the Liberation of Paris Sat, Aug 19, 1944 – Page 1 · The Gaffney Ledger (Gaffney, South Carolina) · Newspapers.comCharles de Gaulle meets with General Eisenhower in anticipation of the Liberation of ParisCharles de Gaulle meets with General Eisenhower in anticipation of the Liberation of Paris Mon, Aug 21, 1944 – Page 5 · The Chillicothe Constitution-Tribune (Chillicothe, Missouri) · Newspapers.comGeneral Charles de Gaulle commanding French troops fighting for Paris' Liberation, Aug 1944General Charles de Gaulle commanding French troops fighting for Paris' Liberation, Aug 1944 Fri, Aug 25, 1944 – 1 · El Paso Times (El Paso, Texas) · Newspapers.comReports from London of Paris' liberation from German occupation shared worldwide, Aug 25, 1944Reports from London of Paris' liberation from German occupation shared worldwide, Aug 25, 1944 Fri, Aug 25, 1944 – Page 1 · Denton Record-Chronicle (Denton, Texas) · Newspapers.comGerman surrender of Paris announced in Spokane paper, Aug 25, 1944, along with de Gaulle's arrivalGerman surrender of Paris announced in Spokane paper, Aug 25, 1944, along with de Gaulle's arrival Fri, Aug 25, 1944 – 5 · Spokane Chronicle (Spokane, Washington) · Newspapers.comHeadline following liberation of Paris in August 1944 celebrates German surrender of cityHeadline following liberation of Paris in August 1944 celebrates German surrender of city Sat, Aug 26, 1944 – 1 · The Tampa Tribune (Tampa, Florida) · Newspapers.comMap of Paris as shared following the Liberation of Paris, August 1944Map of Paris as shared following the Liberation of Paris, August 1944 Sat, Aug 26, 1944 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comParisians joyfully greet Allied forces entering the newly liberated city, August 1944Parisians joyfully greet Allied forces entering the newly liberated city, August 1944 Sat, Aug 26, 1944 – 2 · Des Moines Tribune (Des Moines, Iowa) · Newspapers.comParisian citizens greet Allied troops entering the city following its liberation in August 1944Parisian citizens greet Allied troops entering the city following its liberation in August 1944 Sat, Aug 26, 1944 – 1 · The Californian (Salinas, California) · Newspapers.comGermans in Paris surrender to Leclerc and FFI, de Gaulle arrives, makes speech, August 1944Germans in Paris surrender to Leclerc and FFI, de Gaulle arrives, makes speech, August 1944 Sat, Aug 26, 1944 – 5 · The Guardian (London, Greater London, England) · Newspapers.comWar Correspondent article comments on hunger, joy, welcome in Paris following Aug 1944 liberationWar Correspondent article comments on hunger, joy, welcome in Paris following Aug 1944 liberation Sat, Aug 26, 1944 – 1 · The Californian (Salinas, California) · Newspapers.comReports from Paris shared worldwide following the liberation of the city from German occupationReports from Paris shared worldwide following the liberation of the city from German occupation Sat, Aug 26, 1944 – 1 · Press and Sun-Bulletin (Binghamton, New York) · Newspapers.comDe Gaulle's speech following liberation of Paris celebrates France's place in peace to comeDe Gaulle's speech following liberation of Paris celebrates France's place in peace to come Sat, Aug 26, 1944 – Page 1 · Argus-Leader (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) · Newspapers.comGeneral Jacques Leclerc, leader of French Second Armored Division, chats with Allied tank crewGeneral Jacques Leclerc, leader of French Second Armored Division, chats with Allied tank crew Sun, Aug 27, 1944 – 1 · The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) · Newspapers.comFinal surrender of Paris signed following city's liberation from German occupation on Aug 25 1944Final surrender of Paris signed following city's liberation from German occupation on Aug 25 1944 Sun, Aug 27, 1944 – 1 · Hawaii Tribune-Herald (Hilo, Hawaii) · Newspapers.comNew government set up in Paris after August 1944 liberation, with de Gaulle at headNew government set up in Paris after August 1944 liberation, with de Gaulle at head Mon, Aug 28, 1944 – 1 · The Dothan Eagle (Dothan, Alabama) · Newspapers.comGeneral Charles de Gaulle as shared in an August 1944 paper days after the Liberation of ParisGeneral Charles de Gaulle as shared in an August 1944 paper days after the Liberation of Paris Mon, Aug 28, 1944 – Page 1 · The Bend Bulletin (Bend, Oregon) · Newspapers.comFrench girls greet American Allied soldiers entering Paris with Notre Dame in background, Aug 1944French girls greet American Allied soldiers entering Paris with Notre Dame in background, Aug 1944 Tue, Aug 29, 1944 – Page 1 · The Decatur Herald (Decatur, Illinois) · Newspapers.comSeveral citizens killed during victory parade shooting following liberation of Paris, August 1944Several citizens killed during victory parade shooting following liberation of Paris, August 1944 Tue, Aug 29, 1944 – Page 3 · The Des Moines Register (Des Moines, Iowa) · Newspapers.comParade passes through Arc de Triomphe in Paris' August 26 victory parade for city's liberationParade passes through Arc de Triomphe in Paris' August 26 victory parade for city's liberation Thu, Aug 31, 1944 – 2 · Sioux City Journal (Sioux City, Iowa) · Newspapers.com
"Liberation of Paris," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/world-war2/liberation-of-paris/ : accessed August 24, 2019)