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Liberation of Paris – August 25, 1994

The Liberation of Paris from Nazi Germany took place on this day 75 years ago. Also known as the Battle for Paris and Belgium, the Liberation of Paris was a battle that took place from August 19, 1944, until the Germans surrendered the French capital on August 25, 1944.

During World War II Paris had been occupied by Nazi Germany for more than four years. On August 25, 1944, Paris was finally liberated from Nazi Germany by the U.S. 4th Infantry Division and the French 2nd Armored Division.

Thankfully, German resistance to the liberating forces was light. Not to mention, the German General, Dietrich von Choltitz, defied the orders of Adolf Hitler to destroy Paris’ landmarks and burn the city to the ground if it were to be liberated. Choltitz signed a formal surrender on the afternoon of August 25. The following day, August 26, 1944, the French army officer and future President of France, Charles de Gaulle, led a triumphant march down the Champs-Élysées celebrating the long-awaited Liberation of Paris.

On August 26, 1944, the French army officer and future President of France, Charles de Gaulle, led a triumphant liberation march down the Champs-Élysées. On August 29, 1944, the U.S. Army’s 28th Infantry Division, also had a parade up the Avenue Hoche to the Arc de Triomphe, then down the Champs Élysées. Celebratory crowds greeted the troops as they marched through Paris on their way to their assigned positions northeast of the French capital.

De Gaulle chaired the Provisional Government of the French Republic until retiring in 1946. In 1958, he was appointed as President of the Council of Ministers by President René Coty. On June 1, 1958, De Gaulle was elected President of France and served until January 8, 1969.

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