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World War Two - France


The AWOL GIs in the Black Market of Paris (Yank Magazine, 1945)

Attached is a four page article that reported on the deserters of the U.S. Army who organized themselves into Chicago-style gangs in post-occupied Paris, replete with gun-molls, hideouts, fencing contacts and all the trimmings of a third-rate-blood-and-thunder detective story.

 

Vichy Government Flees Paris (The Stars and Stripes, 1944)

Published in the STARS AND STRIPES issue marked August 19, 1944 (the official date of the Paris liberation) was the attached notice concerning the hasty disappearance of the Nazi-collaborators who lorded over the French during the occupation:

"Laval, Darnand and other Vichyites fled from Paris to Metz, according to a United Press report quoting a French resistance leader who reached the British front from Paris. The whereabouts of Marshal Petain were not known."

 

Remembering the Americans Who Didn't Make It to Paris (Yank Magazine, 1944)

YANK correspondent Saul Levitt was eyewitness to all the merriment that kicked-in when Paris was liberated. Regardless of the gaiety, he could not forget all the American blood that had so liberally been spilled during the previous weeks:

"Despite all the bottles of champagne, all the tears, and all the kisses, it is impossible for those of us who are here to forget that we are here for the men of the American divisions who died or were wounded on the way to Paris... for all of those men who started out toward Paris but are not here to see it. We are here for the men of the 48 states who dream of home, and for whom the freeing of Paris is the way home."

Click here to read about the celebrations that took place in Paris the day World War One ended.

 

An Illegal Comedy in Occupied Paris (Yank Magazine, 1945)

In Nazi occupied Paris there was a secret underground movie theater (93 Champs Elysees) operating throughout the entire four year period and it charged an excessive sum of francs to gain entry. Guess which Chaplin film was shown?

*Watch a Quick Clip from that Movie...*

 

Paris Cheered When Berlin Fell (Yank Magazine, 1945)

An eyewitness account of all the excitement that was V.E. Day in Paris:

"On the Champs Elysees they were singing 'It's a Long Wat to Tipperary,' and it was a long way even the few blocks from Fouquet's restaurant to the Arc de Triomphe if you tried to walk up the Champs on V-E Day in Paris. From one side of the broad and beautiful avenue to the other, all the way to the obelisk in the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe in the Place de l'Etoile, there was hardly any place to breathe and no place at all to move. That was the way it was in the Place l'Opera and the Place de la Republique and all the other famous spots and in a lot of obscure little side streets that nobody but Parisians know."

 

Louis L'Amour on Post-War Paris (Rob Wagner's Script Magazine, 1946)

During the course of the Second World War, Western fiction writer Louis L'Amour (1908 1988) served as a U.S. Army lieutenant in a transport unit. He penned this nifty article about 1946 Paris while waiting to return home:

"It is cold in Paris now. There are chill winds blowing down those wide streets. The fuel shortage is serious, and will probably continue to be so as transportation is not yet what it should be."

"Vivid with historical background, the city somehow remains modern. It has kept step with the world without losing its beauty or its patina...Easy enough when riding along the Rue St. Antoine to forget that where the jeeps and command cars roll now, there were once Roman chariots. No corner of Paris is without its memories."

 


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