World Wars

It was during the tail end of third century B.C. that life in Paris began with a tribe in a small fishing village.  How did the city live through the horrors of the First and Second World Wars, right after its long and winded history?  Read on to find out.



Paris during World War I

For the city of Paris, the eve of what will soon be the beginning of the first of the world wars was a welcome opportunity for them. This is due to the fact that the First World War can be considered as an opportunity for revenge for Paris’ defeat during 1870.

However, the Germans arrived a mere fifteen miles from the city. What the government did was to evacuate Bordeaux.  When this was combined with the people’s reinforcement of their lines and the failure of the Germans to home in the attack, Paris was saved.

On May 10, 1940, Adolph Hitler invaded France and merely a month later, Paris fell.  During this time, about two thirds of the country was already under German occupation.

It was on June 23 that Hitler himself arrived on Paris. This signaled the start of the brutal occupation regime on the city.



Paris during World War II

Shortly after the fall of Paris, the Germans began persecuting the Jews. In June of 1944, the Allied forces invaded Normandy and a couple of months later, they managed to break through German lines to advance across France.

It was on August 19, 1944 when an uprising broke out in the city of Paris.  Hitler ordered the commandant of the city to destroy the capital but Von Choltitz stalled.

When the United States arrived on the city, Choltitz surrendered, had his forces retreat, and entered the city of Paris amidst the jubilation.

During the first quarter of the following year, Siegfried Line became the battleground for the First Army, they crossed the Rhine and captured Karlsruhe.

Officially, it was on May 7, 1945 that the Germans signed the Instrument of Surrender at Rheims – which officially signaled the end of war waged in Europe.

The Aftermath of the World Wars

In the aftermath of the two world wars, Charles De Gaulle established a temporary government which stayed until 1946. Right after that, civilian rule was restored and the Fourth Republic was proclaimed in France.
All in all, the city of Paris made a speedy recovery because it had a relatively minimal damage during the war.