paris san german

Preach it! Today’s the day, in 1944, that Parisians finally said “fuck it” to Germany’s occupation during WWII. This struggle to free Paris, known as the Battle for Paris or the Liberation of Paris, began on 19 August and lasted until 25 August.

So to set things up, the Germans had occupied Paris since 22 June 1940, when Paris surrendered to the Germans. They figured then, rather than to fight tooth and nail and still lose - already in a still-weakened state since WWI - to better surrender now, lay low, build up a badass Resistance team, and then kick Germany in the balls when it wasn’t looking and take back what was theirs.

There was one problem - they wanted to liberate Paris, however Hitler had threatened to blow it up if Allies stepped foot inside the city.

Because of that, and because the Western Allies wanted to focus only on Berlin before the Soviets got there and mucked everything up, they decided to hold off on Paris for the time being.

Well General Charles “Total Badass” de Gaulle, told the Allies to go suck it, and convinced the Allies to make Paris a priority (probably with his fists).

On the 19th, the attack began. Germans and French - any French who could hold a weapon - skirmished in the streets. Barricades were set up, flags were waved, Javert killed himself probably, the Nazi prison Fort de Romainville was liberated, the Grand Palais was set on fire by the Germans, and after several days of fighting it looked as if things might be at a standstill - the Germans lacked the numbers to go on the offensive, and the French lacked the weaponry to really drive the Germans out.

AND THEN, on the 24th of August, all of Paris (sans the Germans) celebrated with the arrival of the 2nd Armoured French Division and the 4th US Infantry division - aka actual help!

The French 4th Divison plowed through Western Paris, like an aggressive Roomba attacking a cat, and the Americans took out the east of the city.

The next day, on the 25th of August, the Germans decided they weren’t paid enough for this bullshit, and surrendered. Hitler was over in his bunker in Berlin screaming at them NOT to surrender but the Germans in Paris pretty much reacted to that with:

The French took 12,500 German POWs, and the next two days were spent in celebration.

Hooray!