August 27, 2014–Seventy years ago yesterday General Charles de Gaulle, leader of the provisional government of the French Republic entered newly-liberated Paris for a victory parade. Marching with him were French soldiers of their 2nd Armored Division and American GIs of the 4th Infantry Division. They were in a city that in large part had been freed by the civilian irregulars of the Resistance, also known as the French Forces of the Interior. The actions of the irregulars still stand in history among the most notable achievements of partisans against regular military forces. Indeed, the Resistance frustrated Adolf Hitler’s orders to his Wehrmacht to destroy the City of Light.
The battle of Paris formed the capstone of the long and frustrating Allied slog through Normandy, and their final breakout which resulted in the battle of the Falaise Pocket, all documented in the book Normandy Crucible.
While I don’t have enough time today, and shall have to complete this piece tomorrow or Friday, the Normandy battle and the associated one for Paris have some elements of interest for us today. Stay tuned!