Paris to celebrate 70 years since liberation from Nazi occupation, with little contribution from US or UK
The exception was a parade on Saturday by French and American forces to mark the entry into the capital of the French 2nd Armoured Division and the 4th US Infantry Division.
There was little mention of the deportation to the Buchenwald concentration camp of more than 2,500 “political prisoners” from a suburb of the capital on the day the uprising began, and even less of the arrests of nine Jews by Paris police only four days earlier.
“The French government has made the Liberation of Paris a purely French celebration,” two young French commentators, Fabrice d’Almeida and Sophie Roche, wrote in the Huffington Post.
Gen. Charles De Gaulle (AP Photo/Constance Stuart Larrabee)
De Gaulle used the liberation of the capital as a way for France to begin recovering from the dishonour of its surrender in 1940 and the years of collaboration.
In his victory speech, he said: “Paris liberated! Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the support of the armies of France, with the help and support of the whole of France, of the France that fights, of the only France, of the true France, of the eternal France!”
The historian Jean-Pierre Azéma noted de Gaulle accorded “only perfunctory thanks to the soldiers of the 4th US Infantry Division who accompanied the (French) 2nd Armoured Division.”
A tank from the French Armored Division passes the Arc de Triomphe during the final hours of the struggle to liberate Paris from German occupation (AP)
The novelist Ernest Hemingway, who entered Paris in uniform as a war correspondent with American forces, gave a rather different version, reporting that thousands of Parisians lined the streets to welcome them, shouting “Vive l’Amérique, Vive la France” and waving American flags.
Hemingway created his own legend of liberation by taking command of the bar at the Ritz hotel, requisitioned by the Nazis in 1940.
“Where are the Germans?” he reportedly demanded when he arrived at the hotel with a group of Resistance fighters. “I have come to liberate the Ritz.”
The manager, Claude Auzello, replied: “Monsieur, they left a long time ago and I cannot let you enter with a weapon.” Hemingway duly put down his gun and is said to run up a tab for 51 dry Martinis in the company of his “irregulars”.
French poet, journalist, and a member of the French Resistance Madeleine Riffaud (AP)
Three weeks earlier, Madeleine Riffaud, a Resistance fighter who was not yet 20, encouraged Parisians to rise up by shooting dead a German officer on a Paris bridge on a a Sunday afternoon.
“Everyone saw that a young girl on a bicycle can do this,” she told the Associated Press.
Fred Moore, the son of a former Royal Navy officer who was born and brought up in Amiens, northern France, said he was welcomed with warm embraces by the women of Paris when he entered the city as a French soldier on August 25.
“One of them later became my wife,” said Mr Moore, 94.