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22-26 of August, 1944

Crowds of French patriots line the Champs Elysees to view Allied tanks and half tracks pass through
the Arc de Triomphe, after Paris was liberated on August 25, 1944.
Photographer: Jack Downey. Washington, Library of Congress
Ann Ronan Picture Library collection

On August 26, 1944, the Allied forces enter Paris, putting an end to the Battle of Paris and liberating the city from the German occupation which lasted 4 years. However the liberation of Paris wasn't a major objective for General Eisenhower, who wanted to reach Berlin first. But General De Gaulle convinced him that Paris was a symbol: on August 26, he triumphantly enters the city, putting an end to the World War II and nazism. 

'Paris outraged, Paris broken, Paris martyred, but Paris liberated!'

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The Battle of Paris

On August 19, Colonel Rol, commander in chief of the French Forces of the Interior (FFI), calls the Parisians to resist and fight against German divisions in Paris. Spontaneously, Parisians erect barricades to slow down the German progression: the city is in state of siege during 6 days.

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The German surrender

After the signature of the act of surrender by General Von Choltitz, German officers and troops are arrested all around the city.

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'Legal' purge

Before official trials were established, the post-liberation purge known as the Epuration légale in French, concerned all presumed collaborator. Among the hunted ones, many women were accused of 'horizontal collaboration'. They had their heads shaved and publicly exhibited , some were even mauled by mobs, eager for revenge.

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