Seven Decades Pass Since French Liberation

During the Second World War, French liberation was one of the Allies’ key goals. One of the primary goals of D-Day and the assault on Normandy was for the Allies to work their way up to Paris and attempt to end the Nazi occupation, thereby ending one of the Nazis’ major strongholds. It has now been seventy years since French liberation was attained, and France has erupted in a series of celebrations.

The primary celebration was in Paris. People gathered outside City Hall for a celebration of the city’s freedom, during which the nation’s sons who fought and perished were honored. Surprisingly absent from this celebration, however, was any great mention of the role played by the Allies. Paris was a major victory in the Allies’ fight for French liberation, yet for some reason the celebrators did not largely focus on efforts outside of their own.It should be noted that ending the Nazi occupation in Paris did not even end the Nazi occupation in the whole of France. While the fight in Paris was important, the Allies still had a long struggle ahead of them.

While the Allies may have not received much time in the spotlight, those on whom the celebration focused are still worthy of attention. There were many freedom fighters and other civilian forces. These men and women risked their lives for French liberation despite the fact that the grand majority of them had little or no training. When speaking of the city’s freedom in 1944, Charles de Gaulle used the memories of such heroes to bolster national pride.

It would not be fair to say that the Allies were not mentioned in the celebrations at all. In fact, members of the United States military took part in a parade alongside military men and women from France. This parade celebrated an important moment in the French liberation fight, the actual entry into Paris by Allied forces. The Allies had worked hard to get there, and had suffered numerous setbacks that kept them from arriving when they originally thought they would. Nonetheless, their arrival helped to stamp out the Nazis, The Telegraph reports.

Seventy years after French liberation was attained, France is largely celebrating the contributions of its own people. This is in keeping with the speech made by Charles de Gaulle, in which he referred to France as being “liberated by itself.” Which nation made the biggest contribution to French liberation is not, however, as the freedom itself. The Nazis were defeated, and France and the other Allies achieved a goal that had been some time in the making. The end result was ultimately far more important than who receives credit for the accomplishments.

Ian Harvey

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