Dietrich von Choltitz Was The German General Who Refused To Destroy Paris, Hitler Wanted Him Shot


Dietrich von Choltitz was a German soldier born on November 9, 1894. He is greatly remembered for his role in the protection of the beauty and heritage of Paris, when he defied direct orders from Hitler to completely destroy the city. Hitler was known for these war tactics, which meant that if he could not have a city for himself, why should his enemy?

Thus, whenever the Nazis were unable to claim a city during battle, they would destroy it, leaving no stone unturned so that by the time the enemy was coming to reclaim it, there would be hardly anything to reclaim. Dietrich von Choltitz had built a reputable for destroying enemy cities, earning him the name `wrecker of cities’.

This is quite evident from a time when they were retreating from the Russian Front after losing most of his men to the enemy, and he then ordered his remaining men to destroy everything that could be of use to the enemy.

Soldiers of German Wehrmacht in front of the Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the occupied Paris, 1940. Photo Credit

Thus, when Hitler gave orders for Paris to be destroyed, he knew that Dietrich von Choltitz was the man for the job. However, in a twist of events, Dietrich defied Hitler`s orders and surrendered Paris to the Free French Forces on August 25, 1944.

This was a unique occurrence because he did the unexpected and his reasons for sparing the city were even more interesting, depending on who you ask.

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