1940 - 1944

The Grand Palais under the Occupation

Rmn-Grand Palais

14 June 1940, 7 am. The swastika flag is raised on the roof of the Grand Palais. Under occupation, it would become a showcase for the Vichy government: exhibitions and events held within glorified the new social and economic order based on close collaboration between France and Nazi Germany.

Three exhibitions of Nazi propaganda
The first exhibition opened on 31 May 1941. With the title "European France", it aimed to present the agricultural future of France in Nazi Europe. It included a farm and outbuildings installed in the nave.
The second exhibition, "A New Life" opened in April 1942. It was dedicated to Franco-German collaboration and "the flourishing precepts that will be the bases for tomorrow's social community". The entrance to the nave was crowned by a hymn to work: "Live only from work and live well as a result".

The final exhibition, "Commerce and Industry" was dedicated to the "excellent French economic results during collaboration".

Liberation
During the liberation of Paris on 23 August 1944, the Grand Palais was involved in a violent exchange of gunfire between the forces of peace of the military command installed inside and a convoy of German military. The main entrance was breached by German explosives and the circular barricades in the nave were set alight. Outside, the assailants prevented fire fighters from approaching and the besieged were taken prisoner. Restorations to the façades have left visible the impacts of gunfire on the colonnade and the Alexander III rotunda.

Outside, the assailants prevented fire fighters from approaching and the besieged were taken prisoner. Restorations to the façades have left visible the impacts of gunfire on the colonnade and the Alexander III rotunda.

Credits: Story

We would like to thank all the people who have contributed to the construction of this journey through the Grand Palais and those who have given us valuable time and information as well as permission to reproduce their documentation.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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