Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Seventy-five years ago in Paris

 Seventy-five years ago in Paris tumultuous events were leading up the Libération. After four years of German occupation, in August 1944 ordinary Parisians rose up, led by resistance fighters supported by workers, women and even priests to throw off the Nazi yoke after four years.

Following six days of street clashes, random attacks and armed barricades, they were joined by French and US soldiers and victory was confirmed.
 On August 19th, trains and Metros ground to a halt in a general strike.

Men and women in small groups attacked German soldiers and vehicles. There were bloody street clashes.

About 16,000 German soldiers and 80 tanks were in the city under the command of General Dietrich von Choltitz, who was holed up at the central Hotel Meurice. Under Hitler's orders he'd mined the city with explosives,
If you've seen the film or read the book, Is Paris Burning? you'll recognize those words as Hitler's as he kept calling von Choltitz with that question. To his credit von Choltziz disobeyed the Fuhrer. He never issued the command to blow up Paris.

From August 22nd barricades started going up, made out of burned-out vehicles, manhole covers and even Paris' infamous street urinals.

The Resistance gradually extended control over whole neighbourhoods and took city hall, confining the disorganised Germans to certain areas.

Around 3,000 policemen, already on strike, occupied their headquarters at the Préfecture, across from Notre Dame. Fighting there over the following days claimed the lives of nearly 170 policemen.

Today, you can see bullet holes in the Préfecture's walls if you look close enough.
Cara - Tuesday

1 comment:

  1. What sort of madman would order the destruction of such vital human institutions as Paris just to satisfy his ego-maniacal anger at the world. Wait, wait, don't tell me.