A Look at How Paris Looked Like When It Was Liberated From the Nazis 70 Years Ago

About 70 years ago, Paris was liberated from the Nazis and images captured by a photographer at the time tell the story of how the French capital looked at the time the Second World War was fought between France and Germany.

In 1944, When French and American military men took over Paris in a bid to free the city from Hitler’s Nazi rule; one photographer that was present at the scene was Ralph Morse of LIFE.com. He documented the moment with images that tell the story of the city at the time.

Before the troop swept into the capital, Paris had been under German rule for about four years (1940 – 1944). To end Germany’s four years occupation of Paris, the French Resistance spearheaded an uprising against their German occupiers. And on the 25th of August 1944, Paris was reclaimed by the French Resistance fighters and the Allied forces of the Second World War.

As part of the 70th centenary of the city’s liberation, a series of photos from Morse photo journalism has been published by LIFE.com. The images capture many scenes that include fighting, as well as moments of festivity and merriment, The Huffington Post reports.

Ralph Morse, who is now 96, told LIFE.com that the sight and feeling of it all was simply amazing.

The photos showed people doing different things on that fateful Second World War liberation day. On the street, a lot of them where holding hands. Also very interesting is the fact that everybody were marching toward Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe. Their reaction is similar to that of the Americans in New York who always march to the Time Square to celebrate a historic moment, Morse remembered. “It really was . . . well, liberating.”

Speaking about the one thing that stood out on that day, Morse said it was the “feeling of certainty” as the inhabitants were convinced it was finally over and they were free. According to him, he said the feeling was not because Paris was freed, but that the Second World War has come to an end.

Explaining further, he said everyone knew there were still other battles to be fought. This was evident in the Battle of the Bulge that followed a few months after the liberation.He said there were also uncertainties about what was going to happen in the pacific. But in all, they felt it was not going to be long before Berlin will be taken over after the Germans were made to surrender Paris.

To see more photos taken by Morse on the day Paris was liberated, visit Life.com

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE