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An Illegal Comedy in Occupied Paris <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)An Illegal Comedy in Occupied Paris
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
In Nazi occupied Paris there was a secret underground movie theater (93 Champs Elysees) operating throughout the entire four year period and it charged an excessive sum of francs to gain entry. Guess which Chaplin film was shown?

Paris Cheered When Berlin Fell <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)Paris Cheered When Berlin Fell
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
An eyewitness account of all the excitement that was V.E. Day in Paris:

"On the Champs Elysees they were singing 'It's a Long Wat to Tipperary,' and it was a long way even the few blocks from Fouquet's restaurant to the Arc de Triomphe if you tried to walk up the Champs on V-E Day in Paris. From one side of the broad and beautiful avenue to the other, all the way to the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe in the Place de l'Etoile, there was hardly any place to breathe and no place at all to move. That was the way it was in the Place l'Opera and the Place de la Republique and all the other famous spots and in a lot of obscure little side streets that nobody but Parisians know."

Paris After the Liberation <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)Paris After the Liberation
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
"The capital of France, as of September 1944, is not the same nervous, triumphant paradise city that it was when the Allies first made their entry."

"The welcome has died down. When you enter the town, today, whether on foot or in a car, everyone is glad to see you, but there are no more mob scenes of riotous greeting exploding around each jeep. Shows are opening again, and the people are beginning to breathe easier...On the other side, Parisians appear as a very grateful but proud and self-reliant population."

Remembering the Americans Who Didn't Make It to Paris <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)Remembering the Americans Who Didn't Make It to Paris
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
YANK correspondent Saul Levitt was eyewitness to all the merriment that kicked-in when Paris was liberated. Regardless of the gaiety, he could not forget all the American blood that had so liberally been spilled during the previous weeks:

"Despite all the bottles of champagne, all the tears, and all the kisses, it is impossible for those of us who are here to forget that we are here for the men of the American divisions who died or were wounded on the way to Paris... for all of those men who started out toward Paris but are not here to see it. We are here for the men of the 48 states who dream of home, and for whom the freeing of Paris is the way home."

Click here to read about the celebrations that took place in Paris the day World War One ended.

The Liberation of Paris <br />(Yank Magazine, 1944)The Liberation of Paris
(Yank Magazine, 1944)
Two YANK MAGAZINE reporters rode into Paris behind the first tank of the Second French Armored Division, following the story of the city's liberation in their recently liberated German jeep. Here is a picture of Paris and the reaction of Parisians to their first breath of free air in four years.

"As they caught site of the American flag on our car, people crowded around and almost smothered us with kisses..."

Blitzkrieg: In the Words of Nazi Officers   <br />(American Legion Weekly, 1940)Blitzkrieg: In the Words of Nazi Officers
(American Legion Weekly, 1940)
An article by military historian and biographer Fairfax Downey (1894 - 1990) concerning the unique manner of mechanized warfare that the Germans had introduced to the world during the opening weeks of the Second World War:

"Thunder rumbles, lightening flashes and strikes. Incredibly swiftly it is over. So, compared to the campaigns of the First World War, was the German Blitzkrieg, rumbling, flashing and striking down Poland, Norway, Holland, Belgium, and France. How did it work? What made it click?"

With the French as Their Army Collapsed  <br />(American Legion Weekly, 1940)With the French as Their Army Collapsed
(American Legion Weekly, 1940)
Attached is an article by the noted war correspondent Frederick Palmer (1873 - 1958) who observed the French and British as they attempted to hold-off the Nazi juggernaut of 1940. In this article, Palmer referred a great deal to walking this same ground with the American Army during the 1914 - 1918 war just twenty-one years earlier; he found the French to be confident of a decisive victory. The column is complemented by this 1940 article which reported on the wonders of "Blitzkrieg" and the fall of France.

Click here to read the observations of U.S. Army lieutenant Louis L'Amour concerning 1946 Paris.

Vichy Government Flees Paris <br />(The Stars and Stripes, 1944)Vichy Government Flees Paris
(The Stars and Stripes, 1944)
Published in the STARS AND STRIPES issue marked August 19, 1944 (the official date of the Paris liberation) was the attached notice concerning the hasty disappearance of the Nazi-collaborators who lorded over the French during the occupation:

"Laval, Darnand and other Vichyites fled from Paris to Metz, according to a United Press report quoting a French resistance leader who reached the British front from Paris. The whereabouts of Marshal Petain were not known."

The AWOL GIs in the Black Market of Paris <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)The AWOL GIs in the Black Market of Paris
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
Attached is a four page article that reported on the deserters of the U.S. Army who organized themselves into Chicago-style gangs in post-occupied Paris, replete with gun-molls, hideouts, fencing contacts and all the trimmings of a third-rate-blood-and-thunder detective story.
Pierre Laval: French Premier and Traitor <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1943)Pierre Laval: French Premier and Traitor
(Collier's Magazine, 1943)
French collaborator Pierre Laval (1883 – 1945) is remembered as the Nazi tool who presided over France between 1942 and 1944, allowing for the deportation of Jews and French laborers into Germany. On D-Day, Laval stood before the radio microphones cautioning his countrymen not to join in the fight against the German occupiers. His many sins would be known a year later during the liberation of Paris, but this writer was very accurate in cataloging all his many failings, both as a citizen of France and as a Human Being.

CLICK HERE to read about Laval's Norwegian counterpart: Prime Minister Vidkun Quisling...

Louis L'Amour on Post-War Paris <br />(Rob Wagner's Script Magazine, 1946)Louis L'Amour on Post-War Paris
(Rob Wagner's Script Magazine, 1946)
During the course of the Second World War, Western fiction writer Louis L'Amour (1908 – 1988) served as a U.S. Army lieutenant in a transport unit. He penned this nifty article about 1946 Paris while waiting to return home:

"It is cold in Paris now. There are chill winds blowing down those wide streets. The fuel shortage is serious, and will probably continue to be so as transportation is not yet what it should be."

"Vivid with historical background, the city somehow remains modern. It has kept step with the world without losing its beauty or its patina...Easy enough when riding along the Rue St. Antoine to forget that where the jeeps and command cars roll now, there were once Roman chariots. No corner of Paris is without its memories."

The Streets of Paris When Japan Quit <br />(Yank Magazine, 1945)The Streets of Paris When Japan Quit
(Yank Magazine, 1945)
An eyewitness account of VJ day as it was celebrated in Paris:

"The GIs had managed to keep their VJ spirit bottled up through most of the phony rumors, but when the real thing was announced the cork popped with a vengeance. A spontaneous parade, including jeeps and trucks and WACs and GIs and officers and nurses and enlisted me, snaked from the Red Cross Club at Rainbow Corner down to the Place de l'Opera and back..."

Marshal Pétain on Trial   <br />(Commonweal, 1945)Marshal Pétain on Trial
(Commonweal, 1945)
An irate editorial concerning the 1945 trial of French General Henri Philippe Pétain (1856 – 1951).

"Whoever is managing the current spectacle in Paris desires us to think that the Petain trial is a revolutionary trial. The thesis is that the whole French nation has risen against the politicians who did not prepare for the war, against the Marshal who signed the the armistice, collaborated with the Germans and betrayed France. And so that trial is not a search for truth, it is a public exposure of truth, it is a simple demonstration...Look at them: Daladier, Reynaud, Weygrand - how they fight each one against the other. Because it is not just Petain who is guilty. It is Petain's trial. But it is also the trial of all the witnesses... Everyone is guilty."

Why France Fell <br />(Omnibooks Magazine, 1942)Why France Fell
(Omnibooks Magazine, 1942)
On assignment for the Hearst papers, H.R. Knickerbocker (1898 – 1949) witnessed the total collapse of the French Army. He made his observations and conclusions available to American readers in his 1941 book Is Tomorrow Hitler's?, which hit the bookshops shortly after Pearl Harbor.

"If [The French] had ignored their low birth rate, been willing to spend lives, had retained the old offensive spirit traditional in the French Army, had known that they had to win or perish, had a Churchill to inspire and lead them, and had no traitors in their ranks, their comparative lack of weapons would not have mattered; they would still be fighting the Germans in France."

Click here to read the observations of U.S. Army Lieutenant Louis L'Amour concerning 1946 Paris.

Another article about a French general who collaborated with the Nazis can be read here...

The French-German Non-Aggression Agreement <br />(Current History, 1938)The French-German Non-Aggression Agreement
(Current History, 1938)
Attached is a translation of the text of the Franco-German declaration signed in Paris on December 6, 1938.

Click here to read about the Hitler-Stalin Non-Aggression Pact.

The General Who Failed France <br />(Coronet Magazine, 1941)The General Who Failed France
(Coronet Magazine, 1941)
General Maxime Weygand (1867 – 1965) is remembered as the French military commander who allowed himself to be out-maneuvered and out-generaled when France was invaded by the German Army in May of 1940. The Battle for France lasted roughly 42 days before Weygrand's forces collapsed.
Paris Occupied <br />(Tricolor Magazine, 1945)Paris Occupied
(Tricolor Magazine, 1945)
Shortly after the German exit from Paris, French writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905 – 1980) put pen to paper in an effort to help explain what the citizens of that city were feeling throughout the German occupation of Paris:

"At first the site of them made us ill; then, little by little, we forgot to notice them, for they had become an institution. What put the finishing touches to their harmlessness was their ignorance of our language. A hundred times I've seen Parisians in cafes express themselves freely about politics two steps away from a blank looking German soldier with a lemonade glass in front of him. They seemed more like furniture than like men."

Pétain: ''Life in Prison'' <br />(Maptalk, 1945)Pétain: ''Life in Prison''
(Maptalk, 1945)
"The man who saved France in 1916 was condemned to die for nearly destroying France at Vichy in 1940, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by General Charles de Gaulle."

"Pétain was the twelfth marshal of France to be condemned by a French court since 1440. Eight of them were executed."

France Falls Back <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1939)France Falls Back
(Newsweek Magazine, 1939)
The French knew as early as 1916 that they would have a man power crises in their future. The Second World War was barley two weeks old when they made it clear to all that they were not going to launch any major offensives against the Germans, but would immediately assume a defensive posture.
''The French Withdrawal'' <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1939)''The French Withdrawal''
(Newsweek Magazine, 1939)
An editorial by retired U.S. Army Major General Stephen O. Fuqua (1874 - 1943) in which he stresses the difference between a "retreat" and a "withdrawal" in an effort to emphasize that the recent disengagement exercised by the French Army on October 19 [1939] was purely voluntary - and that they were not forced back by the Germans. Additionally, the general sums up other aspects of the nascent war and explains their meaning.
The Execution of French Traitors <br />(Collier's Magazine, 1944)The Execution of French Traitors
(Collier's Magazine, 1944)
"The apathetic France of 1939 is dead. Collier's correspondent, journeying across southern France, found high hope of unity and determination to punish all collaborationists. France, he feels, is reborn."
The Betrayal of French Jewry <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1942)The Betrayal of French Jewry
(Newsweek Magazine, 1942)
"The Nazis quickly extended the dread Nuremberg laws to the occupied territory. Jews lost jobs, businesses, property, liberty, even their lives. They were flung into primitive concentration camps and deported to Polish ghettos. And with them the Nazis brought the usual wave of Jewish suicides."
Laval's France <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1942)Laval's France
(Newsweek Magazine, 1942)
An article from the Spring of 1942 concerning the efforts of Premiere Laval to fool the French citizenry into loving their Nazi occupiers and hating the Allies.

"Laval's handicaps in reconciling the nation to the 'new order' are his personal unpopularity - careful observers estimate that 90 to 95 percent of the population spurn his policies - and the determination of the Nazis to stamp out resistance with terrorism."

The Capture of Laval <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)The Capture of Laval
(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)
"The game was up. At the Prat de Llobregat airfield outside Barcelona the traitor sat heavily on a camp stool, waiting for the reprieve. It did not come. The Franco government had found Pierre Laval too hot to handle... Laval shrugged: 'I suppose if Petain can face the music, I can'. But later he shouted: 'It is unfair... delivering me to my country.'"
Laval Testifies in the Petain Trial <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)Laval Testifies in the Petain Trial
(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)
"Neither the prosecution nor the defense wanted Henri Philippe Petain's oily accomplice to testify in the trial of the old marshal. Both sides feared his slanderous tongue and his slimy skill for wriggling out of blame.
Dreading the Winter <br />(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)Dreading the Winter
(Newsweek Magazine, 1945)
When this article was published the war was over and Paris had experienced her second German-free autumn - but life was still difficult in the city. Coal was still rationed, the lines in the shops were long and the average French child was drastically underweight. NEWSWEEK dispatched two gumshoe reporters to get the full picture for the folks at home (where, happily, rationing had ended the the previous August).