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Liberation of Paris

Institutions and values

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  • Liberation of Paris

    Liberation of Paris

    This event marked a crucial stage in the end of the Second World War. © AFP

  • Liberation of Paris

    Liberation of Paris

    In spite of the skirmishes that still continued for several days, on the 26th of August, jubilant Parisians flocked to see General de Gaulle and the armies of liberation parade along the Champs-Élysées. © AFP

  • Liberation of Paris

    Liberation of Paris

    On the 25th of August each year, Paris commemorates its Liberation from the Nazi occupation. © AFP

On the 25th of August each year, Paris commemorates its Liberation from the Nazi occupation. This event marked a crucial stage in the end of the Second World War.

Encouraged by the advance of the allied troops, after the Normandy landings on the 6th of June and Provence landings on the 15th of August, the Parisian population rose. Following on from the actions taken by the underground (metro) workers, gendarmes, policemen and postmen, a general strike broke out on the 18th of August. Barricades were thrown up, violent combats broke out as the internal Resistance fought against the 20,000 Germans present in the capital.

On the 25th of August, the 2nd armoured division of the French General Leclerc and the allied troops entered the city. For the first time since 1940, the tricolour flag was flown from the top of the Eiffel Tower. In the afternoon, General von Choltitz signed the surrender of the occupiers while General de Gaulle entered Paris and set up the seat of the Provisional Government of the French Republic at the War Ministry. At 7:00 pm, he gave his famous speech from the balcony of the Hôtel de Ville: "Paris insulted! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated!".

In spite of the skirmishes that still continued for several days, on the 26th of August, jubilant Parisians flocked to see General de Gaulle and the armies of liberation parade along the Champs-Élysées.