On August 19, as Allied forces approached, resistance fighters in Paris incited a rebellion against their Nazi and Vichy rulers and street skirmishes between the French and the occupiers broke out. Realizing that the rebellion could be crushed if military reinforcements were not sent, Charles de Gaulle sent a division of the Free French Forces, the 2nd Armored Division, to Paris, which Eisenhower had already decided to bypass. But on the morning of August 24th, both American and French tanks rolled into Paris down the Champs-Élysées, finally ready to free France from four years of occupation. According to this article, however, the liberation force was purposely made all-white. Wanting the liberation to be seen and remembered purely white, French victory, De Gaulle insisted that black troops (who made up a large percentage of the Free French armies) be excluded. 

Paris’s Nazi military governor was ordered to bomb Paris into debris before letting it fall into enemy hands, but he never carried these orders out. Instead, he surrendered at a Paris hotel on August 25. That same day, Charles de Gaulle delivered a fiery speech to the newly-liberated people of Paris:

Paris! Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated! Liberated by itself, liberated by its people with the help of the French armies, with the support and the help of all France, of the France that fights, of the only France, of the real France, of the eternal France!

Over the following days, large groups of American and French troops and vehicles paraded through the streets of Paris.


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