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."
When this article was published the war was over and Paris had experienced her second German-free autumn - but life was still difficult in the city. Coal was still rationed, the lines in the shops were long and the average French child was drastically underweight. NEWSWEEK dispatched two gumshoe reporters to get the full picture for the folks at home (where, happily, rationing had ended the the previous August).
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."
An irate editorial concerning the 1945 trial of French General Henri Philippe Pétain (1856 – 1951).
"Whoever is managing the current spectacle in Paris desires us to think that the Petain trial is a revolutionary trial. The thesis is that the whole French nation has risen against the politicians who did not prepare for the war, against the Marshal who signed the the armistice, collaborated with the Germans and betrayed France. And so that trial is not a search for truth, it is a public exposure of truth, it is a simple demonstration...Look at them: Daladier, Reynaud, Weygrand - how they fight each one against the other. Because it is not just Petain who is guilty. It is Petain's trial. But it is also the trial of all the witnesses... Everyone is guilty."
"Neither the prosecution nor the defense wanted Henri Philippe Petain's oily accomplice to testify in the trial of the old marshal. Both sides feared his slanderous tongue and his slimy skill for wriggling out of blame.
"The man who saved France in 1916 was condemned to die for nearly destroying France at Vichy in 1940, but his sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by General Charles de Gaulle."
"Pétain was the twelfth marshal of France to be condemned by a French court since 1440. Eight of them were executed."