20 Jun 2014 - 27 Sep 2014

Paris 1944, Fight for Freedom

Paris City Hall

Liberation of Paris
19 - 26 août 1944


Being occupied during four years, Paris lives in an expectation of its liberation. Starting from the allies arrival in Normandy on the 6th of June 1944, the hope was reborn. As of August 10th, the resistant force feels that this a right moment for its mobilization. Stimulated by the initiative of the Paris Committee of Liberation, chaired by André Tollet, they decided to proceed with a series of strikes of workers. This was done to paralyze the activity of the occupant and gradually lead to the insurrectionary general strike. Continuing bombings and alerts, food supply difficulties and transportation problems were following. The daily life of Parisians, already marked by years of deprivation, becomes even more difficult. The call to mobilisation that was passed on the 18th of August by Colonel Rol-Tanguy, head of the French Internal Forces of Ile-de-France with the approval of Georges Bidault, President of the National Council of Resistance and CPL, accelerates the insurrectionary process.

For Americans Paris could still wait. They are afraid to fight the murderous streets if Germans will cling there and decide to get around Paris through Mantes, on the north, and Melun, on the south, being convinced that the capital will fall by itself. Capital’s liberation would delay their march, would be inconvenient for their logistics and would cause food supply problems.

However, Paris, “the heart of the captive country,” is the obsession of General de Gaulle. The liberation of Paris bears the name of the temporary government of Algeria. Appointed on the August 14th, Alexandre Parodi the Minister of Occupied Territories, Charles Luizet, the police chief,  and Marcel Flouret, the head of the temporary government, intend to control the insurgency. Despite the arguments in the rows of Resistance regarding the immediate actions and the reluctance of the Allies to liberate the city, all of the parties agree in their intentions to save Paris.

Coll.Gandner, Museum of General Leclerc / Jean Moulin, Museums of Paris

The City Hall, headquarters of the Seine prefecture, is busy at the Sunday dawn of August 20th having there Léo Hamon, from CPL, Pierre Alekan, Roger Grenier, from the Resistance, youth from the national teams and policemen, on behalf of the temporary government. Few hours later they welcome a new prefect, Marcel Flouret. Roger Stephane, from the Combat Movement, ensures the defense led by Aimé Lepercq. The Paris Committee of Liberation settles there on the 22nd of August.

Small tank Renault made by the FFI of the City Hall to Germans. Resistants have put on it Cross of Lorraine, a symbol of Free France and of the Resistance. Coll.Gandner, Museum of General Leclerc / Jean Moulin, Museums of Paris
Léo Hamon sitting close to the phone in the office of the Prefect of Seine. Closely watched over by one of the young man from the national army, Charles Pegulu de Rovin (here on the left), who was engaged into the 2nd Armoured Division after the Liberation of Paris. Coll.Gandner, Museum of General Leclerc / Jean Moulin, Museums of Paris
Meeting at the City Hall. From left to right: Roger Stéphane, military commander of the City Hall (arm in a sling), Marcel Flouret, in the center, new prefect of the Seine, Deniau and Leo Hamon (half-face), both members of the CPL, August 20th 1944. AFP PHOTO
FFI in a fighting position in the gates leading to the City Hall.  Coll.Gandner, Museum of General Leclerc / Jean Moulin, Museums of Paris
Paris - city-companion of the Liberation. On April 2nd, 1945, at the City Hall decked with flag, ceremony of the cross of Companion of Liberation in Paris led by General de Gaulle. The museum of the Order of the Liberation
Credits: Story

Musée du Général Leclerc de Hauteclocque et de la Libération de Paris - Musée Jean Moulin —
Paris Musées —
Musée de l'Ordre de la Libération  —

Credits: All media
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