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Sep 22, Check out some of the best war-related sites to see when you visit France below. The Arc de Triomphe is situated right in the heart of Paris. which has since issues an official apology for their actions during the war.
Table of contents
- Site Index
- Neiberg on Lehrer, 'Wartime Sites in Paris: 1939-1945'
- Schoenenbourg Maginot Line Fort
- World War II in Paris - Discover Walks Paris
The renovated building contains offices which appear to be still unoccupied. The property company that owns the building has not answered questions about the plaque.
The Carlingue was set up shortly after the German occupation of Paris in June It is sometimes referred to as the Bonny-Lafont group, after its two most prominent members. Pierre Bonny was a former policeman who had been sacked from the force in , and Henri Lafont was a petty criminal. During the war, they worked in close collaboration with the Gestapo, torturing suspects for information and extorting money and jewels. In , both men were arrested and executed by France's new government. It is not the first time efforts have been made to erase the shameful memory of 93 rue Lauriston.
At the time the building was occupied by the Franco-Arab Chamber of Commerce, whose head - former Foreign Minister Herve de Charette - said: "The history of the address was automatically an embarrassment. But the bid to change the number failed, and the Franco-Arab Chamber of Commerce has since moved. The Labour leader says his pledge to be neutral in a future referendum is "a sign of maturity". Now a few steps from the catacombs, the hope is that the bunker will help the museum become a new tourist attraction in the 14th arrondissement — one that preserves the memory of an important moment in Paris history.
During their tour, visitors learn that the bunker was originally opened in as an air raid shelter, and that its existence was known to the German army. Henri-Rol Tanguy, would take it over in the week leading up to the liberation, and use it as a command post and communications hub. Equipped with its own telephone exchange, the shelter gave Colonel Rol-Tanguy and his staff access to telephones around Paris, including at police headquarters and in air raid shelters, allowing them to bypass official communication lines that were likely to be tapped.
It also served as an effective hide-out, as messengers gained access via the nearby railway line, either to deliver intelligence or receive new orders from Colonel Rol-Tanguy. A continuous soundtrack overhead brings the command post to life, playing recordings of sounds often heard during the war: a haunting wail of the air raid siren; shrill, strident rings of old-fashioned telephones; calls from members of the Resistance; the click-clack sound of running footsteps that conveys a hair-raising sense of urgency.
Under Gen. Charles de Gaulle, Moulin would unify the Resistance across France, coordinating efforts with local factions across the country. Leclerc would lead the liberation of Paris with his 2nd French Armored Division and the help of Allied forces, dealing the final blow to the Germans. Sarcastically, he explained to his superiors that he had placed three tons of explosive in the cathedral of Notre Dame, two tons in the Invalides, one in the Palais Bourbon.
He was ready to level the Arc de Triomphe and clear a field of fire.
He was prepared to destroy the Opera and the Madeleine church. He planned to dynamite the Eiffel Tower and use it as an entanglement to block the Seine. Paris was also the prize in a contest for power within the French Resistance. The city was the hub of national administration and politics, the center of the railroad system, the communication lines and the highways. It was the only place from which the country could be governed.
The overall aim of the Resistance, to get rid of the Germans, bound men of conflicting philosophies and interests together. But there were political differences among them. De Gaulle had organized the Resistance outside France to support his provisional government. Rumors of civil unrest in Paris and talk of a liberation initiated by the inhabitants prompted Koenig to try to stop activities that might cause social and political upheaval.
A revolt in Paris might provoke bloody repression by the Germans.
Neiberg on Lehrer, 'Wartime Sites in Paris: 1939-1945'
Civil disorder might grow into full-scale revolution. By August 18, more than half the railroad workers were on strike and the city was at a standstill. Virtually all the policemen had disappeared from the streets. Several anti-German demonstrations took place, and armed Resistance members appeared openly. There were perhaps 20, Resistance members in Paris, but few were armed. Nevertheless, they destroyed road signs, punctured the tires of German vehicles, cut communication lines, bombed gasoline depots and attacked isolated pockets of German soldiers.
Schoenenbourg Maginot Line Fort
But being inadequately armed, members of the Resistance feared open warfare. To avoid it, Resistance leaders persuaded Raoul Nordling, the Swedish counsel general in Paris, to negotiate with Choltitz. That evening, August 19, the two men arranged a truce, at first for a few hours, then extended it indefinitely. The arrangement was somewhat nebulous. Choltitz agreed to recognize certain parts of Paris as belonging to the Resistance. The Resistance, meanwhile, consented to leave particular areas of Paris free to German troops.
But no boundaries were drawn, and neither the Germans nor the French were clear about their respective areas. The armistice expired on the 24th.
The truce was advantageous to the French because the Resistance was uncertain when Allied troops would arrive. The truce was advantageous to the Germans because it maintained order in the city and let Choltitz devote his attention to defending the outskirts of Paris against Allied troops without having to worry about a civilian insurrection within.
During his negotiations with Nordling, Choltitz had made a significant pronouncement. He could not be expected, he said, to surrender to irregular troops like the French Resistance. This appeared to mean that in order to save his honor and protect his family he would make a show of fighting before capitulating to Regular forces.
Resistance emissaries left the French capital to seek Allied commanders and de Gaulle. Some made contact and delivered exaggerated reports of disorder in Paris. De Gaulle feared civil unrest in the city. It might cause violent German reaction.
World War II in Paris - Discover Walks Paris
It might bring unreliable radical Resistance elements to power. The parties of the left were especially strong in Paris. The commander of the Resistance in the capital was a Communist.
On August 21, de Gaulle and Koenig conferred with Eisenhower. The Supreme commander told them of his intention to bypass Paris. Later that same day, de Gaulle sent Eisenhower a hand-carried letter. In it, de Gaulle threatened politely to order Leclerc to Paris himself.
Most Frenchmen, it was becoming increasingly clear, approved of de Gaulle. On August 21, Eisenhower telephoned Bradley and asked him to come and meet with him on the following morning. The meeting was intended to be a discussion on the previous position on liberating Paris. Marshall to explain his dilemma. It was desirable, Eisenhower said, to defer the capture of Paris, but it seemed this was no longer possible. If the Germans held Paris in strength, they would menace the flanks of the Allied troops bypassing the capital. He could turn Leclerc loose to liberate the capital any way the French desired, but he could not approve a political diversion of part of his military forces.
Nor could he afford to lose control of the 2nd French Armored Division. He had to have a military reason why the Allies should liberate the city. If the Germans were ready to quit the city without giving battle, the Allies should enter—for the prestige involved, to maintain order in the capital, to satisfy French requests and to secure important Seine River crossing sites. According to de Gaulle, a few cannon shots would disperse the Germans. Bradley agreed.
As Eisenhower and Bradley talked, conflicting rumors of the state of affairs in the city continued to arrive. Was Choltitz ready to capitulate or destroy the city? According to Resistance envoys, they controlled most of the city and all of the bridges. The bulk of the Germans had already gone, the defenses outside Paris were inconsequential. The armistice expired at noon on the following day, August To avoid bloodshed and destruction, Allied troops had to enter the capital immediately. The information supplied by the Resistance provided Eisenhower with the military reason he needed for liberating Paris.
Since reinforcement was a military action, the liberation was to be Allied rather than French. When he landed, Bradley found Leclerc waiting, as he had been all morning. Bradley told Leclerc to start immediately for Paris. Leclerc gave a joyous shout, then immediately jumped into his own airplane and flew back to his division. Bradley then asked Hodges what troops could accompany Leclerc. Lawton Collins had been D-Day commanders. Since then, Collins had had the honor of liberating Cherbourg.
Now Gerow was to have his moment of glory. Liberating Paris was no longer a strictly French occasion—it was an Allied event. Eisenhower had telephoned Montgomery and asked him to send a British contingent. Leclerc and his men were to have the honor of the initial entry, but American and British troops would also enter. All were to display their national flags. That evening, Gerow telephoned Leclerc and told him he expected no serious opposition.
He ordered the Frenchman to start for Paris that night. Contrary to this order, however, Leclerc waited until early on the morning of August 23 to move. The southern column consisted of a French combat command, most of the U.
British troops failed to show up. The columns made good progress. By nightfall on the 23rd they were less than 20 miles from the capital. The northern column was beyond Rambouillet on the road to Versailles. The southern column was in similar position.