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 dramatic story of the liberation of Paris during World War II—a triumph that was achieved through the remarkable efforts of Americans, French, and Germans, all 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 most senior staff 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, perhaps even causing a bloodbath like the Paris Commune. Neither man knew that the German commandant, Dietrich von Choltitz, convinced that the war was lost, dissembled and 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 this dramatic event 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 his superb, dramatic history of one of the great events of World War II—published seventy-five years after the liberation.

Title:The Liberation of Paris: How Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and von Choltitz Saved the City of Light
ISBN:9781501164927
Format Type:

    The Liberation of Paris: How Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and von Choltitz Saved the City of Light Reviews

  • Jill Hutchinson

    I was surprised that this book was so short (204 pages) and wondered how the author could capture one of the great moments of WWII in such truncated form. Somehow he did but it is somewhat lacking in...

  • Peter Mcloughlin

    This book takes a more granular look at an aspect of WWII, the liberation of Paris. After briefly covering the fall of France and the German Occupation in 1940 and after it comes to events around the...

  • Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com

    For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.comThe Liberation of Paris: How Eisenhower, de Gaulle, and von Choltitz Saved the City of Light by Jean Edward Smith takes place...

  • Joe Keefhaver

    This is a tremendous book. It is small, only 205 pages, but it is packed with a great deal of information about the events leading up to the German surrender of Paris. The volume covers essentially th...

  • Michael Travis

    This easy but educational historical read was wonderful, especially coming on the heels of our visit to Paris which we hold in high esteem. I found what von Choltitz did to be so admirable, brave and ...

  • Jen

    Although I usually read nonfiction slowly, The Liberation of Paris proved one of those books that caught my interest early and refused to let me quit reading until I was finished."Jean Edward Smith (b...

  • Sara

    I’ve been wanting to become more knowledgeable about history and the major events that have helped to shape the world as we know it today. This book helped provide me with an overview of a seemingly...

  • Andrew

    Quick read about world war II with a focus on Paris. The author is concise and provides a great deal of intrigue throughout the book. I enjoyed the way the author retold the sequence of events leading...

  • John Munro

    A fascinating look into the intersection of war and politics and how it determined who would march down the Champs Elysses in late August of 1944. Von Choltitz, the German commander of the Paris occup...

  • Steve

    At age 86, Smith is proof that you don't need youth or even middle age to write a cracking good book. He does a masterful job of sorting out the personalities, conversations, actions, and communiques ...