The Liberation of Paris: 'The Loveliest, Brightest Story of Our Time'

Harry S. Laver
Military historian Harry S. Laver of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College looks back at Paris’ deliverance in 1944 from more than four years of German occupation and brutality. It didn’t come easily.
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Reception: 
6 pm
Program: 
6:30 pm
Event Audio

It wasn’t a significant military victory. But when American and French soldiers, along with members of the French Resistance, liberated Paris after more than four years of German occupation and brutality on August 25, 1944, it touched off a celebration for the ages.

The City of Light was free at last. Jubilant Parisians filled streets and squares, welcoming their deliverance and the troops who procured it.

Military historian Harry S. Laver of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College looks at the World War II milestone, which did not come easily. Allied Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower had planned to bypass Paris before being persuaded by French Gen. Charles de Gaulle to enter the city. Politics, personalities, and the vagaries of war all played into what reporter Ernie Pyle would call “the loveliest, brightest story of our time.”