Doux Liberté: Paris Celebrates Liberation from Nazi Occupation 70 Years LaterPosted: August 25, 2014
“Paris! Paris outraged! Paris broken! Paris martyred! But Paris liberated! Liberated by itself. Liberated by its people.”
— Charles De Gaulle’s famous speech at City Hall
President Francois Hollande led tributes to the French Resistance on Monday, as Paris celebrated the 70th anniversary of its joyful liberation after four long and bitter years of Nazi occupation in World War II. Soaked by a torrential downpour on the Ile de Sein off northwestern France, Hollande hailed the bravery of the tiny island’s population, who refused to accept their country’s occupation and fled to Britain to join the fight for France’s liberation.
“A tiny parcel of land in the ocean, the Ile de Sein was in the vanguard, an example, an illustration of French patriotism.”
— President Francois Hollande
“The message from Ile de Sein is that there is no danger, no difficulty we cannot overcome as long as the will is there, as long as people gather together,” said Hollande, who made no reference to his own political difficulties only hours after his prime minister handed in his government’s resignation.
Hollande’s speech on the island kicked off a day of celebrations that will climax with Parisians marking their city’s liberation just as their parents and grandparents did seven decades ago — with a gala dance at City Hall.
There will also be an altogether more modern twist to the ball later Monday, with a sound and light show and huge projections of previously unseen photos on the facade of the imposing building in central Paris.
However, present-day politics conspired to force Prime Minister Manuel Valls to cancel his scheduled appearance, as he put the finishing touches on his new-look cabinet after tendering his government’s resignation amid a row over economic policy.
Hollande stuck to his engagements, though, and unveiled a plaque at the police headquarters to those office who “from 1940 were engaged on the path of courage and Resistance”.
The uprising began in earnest on August 19 when up to 3,000 police officers retook their old headquarters and hoisted the French flag, starting a domino effect that would see a succession of public buildings fall into the hands of the French Resistance.
The Nazi military governor of Paris, General Dietrich von Choltitz, negotiated a shaky truce with the Resistance that failed to hold, but famously disobeyed Hitler’s orders to destroy the capital’s monuments and bridges.
On August 25, as Allied troops flooded into the city, von Choltitz signed his capitulation at Gare Montparnasse…(read more)
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- Sacré Bleu! France’s Socialist Government Dissolves in Internal Feud (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
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