Liberation of France

September 1944 - ...

The liberation of France in the Second World War was accomplished through diplomacy, politics, and the combined military efforts of the Allied Powers, Free French forces in London and Africa, and the French Resistance.
Nazi Germany invaded France in May 1940. Their unstoppable advance through the undefended Ardennes caused a crisis in the French government; the French Third Republic dissolved itself in July, and handed over absolute power to Marshal Philippe Pétain, an elderly hero of World War I. Pétain signed an armistice with Germany with the north and west of France under German military occupation. Pétain, charged with calling a Constitutional Authority, instead established an authoritarian government in the spa town of Vichy, in the southern zone libre. Though nominally independent, Vichy France became a collaborationist regime and was little more than a Nazi client state that actively participated in Jewish deportations.
Even before France surrendered on 22 June 1940, General Charles de Gaulle fled to London, from which he called for his fellow citizens to resist the Germans. The British recognized and funded de Gaulle's Free French government in exile based in London.
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