The Liberation Of Paris: How Eisenhower, De Gaulle, And Von Choltitz Saved The City Of Light

The Liberation Of Paris: How Eisenhower, De Gaulle, And Von Choltitz Saved The City Of Light


Prize-winning and bestselling historian Jean Edward Smith tells the “rousing” (Jay Winik, author of 1944) story of the liberation of Paris during World War II—a triumph achieved only through the remarkable efforts of Americans, French, and Germans, racing to save the city from destruction.

Following their breakout from Normandy in late June 1944, the Allies swept across northern France in pursuit of the German army. The Allies intended to bypass Paris and cross the Rhine into Germany, ending the war before winter set in. But as they advanced, local forces in Paris began their own liberation, defying the occupying German troops.

Charles de Gaulle, the leading figure of the Free French government, urged General Dwight Eisenhower to divert forces to liberate Paris. Eisenhower’s advisers recommended otherwise, but Ike wanted to help position de Gaulle to lead France after the war. And both men were concerned about partisan conflict in Paris that could leave the communists in control of the city and the national government. Neither man knew that the German commandant, Dietrich von Choltitz, convinced that the war was lost, schemed to surrender the city to the Allies intact, defying Hitler’s orders to leave it a burning ruin.

In The Liberation of Paris, Jean Edward Smith puts “one of the most moving moments in the history of the Second World War” (Michael Korda) in context, showing how the decision to free the city came at a heavy price: it slowed the Allied momentum and allowed the Germans to regroup. After the war German generals argued that Eisenhower’s decision to enter Paris prolonged the war for another six months. Was Paris worth this price? Smith answers this question in a “brisk new recounting” that is “terse, authoritative, [and] unsentimental” (The Washington Post).


  • 001 TheLiberationOfParis Open
    Duration: 43s
  • 002 TheLiberationOfParis I ParisOccupied
    Duration: 37min
  • 003 TheLiberationOfParis II DeGaulleAndTheResistance
    Duration: 38min
  • 004 TheLiberationOfParis III TheAlliesAdvance
    Duration: 35min
  • 005 TheLiberationOfParis IV TheGermanDefense
    Duration: 41min
  • 006 TheLiberationOfParis V TheResistanceRises
    Duration: 43min
  • 007 TheLiberationOfParis VI EisenhowerChangesPlans
    Duration: 33min
  • 008 TheLiberationOfParis VII LeclercMovesOut
    Duration: 29min
  • 009 TheLiberationOfParis VIII AFieldOfRuins
    Duration: 32min
  • 010 TheLiberationOfParis IX DayOfLiberation
    Duration: 35min
  • 011 TheLiberationOfParis X DeGaulleTriumphant
    Duration: 41min
  • 012 TheLiberationOfParis Credits
    Duration: 01min