tv Allied Liberation of Paris CSPAN January 4, 2021 10:49pm-11:54pm EST
correspondent and compton. they focus on betty ford and her impact on american society. in this forum hosted by the white house historical association. watch tuesday beginning at 8 pm eastern and enjoy american history tv. every weekend on c-span 3 u.s. and french soldiers liberated paris after four years of german occupation military historian chronicles the allied operation.
kansas city public library at the u.s. army command -- coast this top. >> good evening everyone. í-%xaldyi'm tally evans, i'm paf the public affairs team here at the kansas city public library. we are thrilled to have you here tonight and have harry waiver as our speaker. tonight's program is the latest with the general staff army college. we've been partnering with them since january in 2008, our programs get more and more popular every month as you can see, we are down here incur colin are brand-new chairs just because we can fit you all upstairs. it doesn't matter the topic, tonight's discussion about a liberation of paris is no different. harry waiver is a professor of military history, he specializes in the american civil war and world war ii europe. he is a full bright scholar, he
spoke at west point and to the idea of military college. so i'm not gonna keep you guys any longer. let's welcome up harry waiver. [applause] >> well good evening. thank you to calibra and the entire staff here at kansas city public library. is this not a great facility? it is really one of the tools of kansas city. we had to staff college are very appreciative of the relationship we have with the library and most of my colleagues. many of whom are here scattered among you. it's one of the great opportunities that we really cherish to come down here and speak at the library. thanks to you as well, for coming out. but a nice crowd.
and having been here before for a number of my colleagues speaking in the past i've spoken here, i see familiar faces. which is great. we appreciate your support and coming out where all those times that we've been down here to do talks. how many of you have been to paris? i got nothing to tell you. how many have you been to paris recently. say in the last 75 years? looks like just about everybody. if you haven't been for the time that we got together tonight let's go to france. let's go back to florence in the summer of 1944. more specifically, august 7th
1944. we're going to meet the man we see in the jeep here. a smile most of us recognize. general dwight eisenhower, supreme commander of all the allied forces in western europe. eisenhower was in france, on august the 7th. published his advanced command post. his headquarters he was going to move his permanent quarters which was in london at the time, he's gonna move it to the continent on september 1st. he was there in normandy, outside the town to establish generally headquarters. an advanced command post as i said. now, the code name for eisenhower's temporary headquarters was shelburne. since the day which had occurred two months before, allied forces had not moved as rapidly across france as
planners had anticipated. but a couple of weeks before, this time when eisenhower was there, with the success of operation cobra, british and american and other allied forces broke out of the normandy beach head, and began to work their way across france. as eisenhower and his staff study the maps, the arrows and unit markers to trace the progress of the units across france, their eyes were drawn in voluntarily like a mauve flame to paris. the french capital. the city of light. paris, the city that world war i veterans spoke of with something of a slight smile and a wink. that was a paris of another time. that was the powers of another generation. for at this point, paris wasn't
occupied city. it had been occupied for four years by the summer of 1944. eisenhower and commanders we see here in the photograph or not the first allied officers to think about the city of paris. even before the day, planners were already thinking about what we do when we get to paris? the plan was when we get to paris, we are not going to move directly into paris. instead, we are going to bypass the city. we're gonna circle it. they thought about things like difficult street fighting. hi casualties, both civilian and military. the distraction away from the real objective which was gonna be the german army. and moving directly into germany. and the possible destruction of many of viruses great
architectural wonders. as well as sustaining a city 4 million people. estimates were would've been 4000 tons a day of supplies for fuel and food. 4000 tons that would have to be diverted from eisenhower's military forces. with those factors in mind, the preliminary planners decided we're gonna bypass parents. well of course the americans and british were not the only ones thinking about paris. the germans had also been considering what to do about paris. especially since they occupy the city in the spring of 1940. adolf hitler had made it clear, or gymnastics on allied forces landed in normandy, paris is going to be held. and it was not going to be surrendered to the germans.
in august the 7th, same day eisenhower was often normandy setting up his headquarters shelburne, this man general van cultists was named the commanding general of paris. create good luck or horrible look. depending on how you might look at it. he had experience in the war including overseeing occupied cities. he was known as a tough guy in the german army. he was hitler's handpicked choice to oversee paris and ensure it remained out of allied hands. from that day, on august the 7th, he began occupying a 20,000 or so german forces under his command to ensure that hitler's decree was going to be carried out. and of course, the french and been thinking about paris.
always thinking about paris. for parents to the french was more than just the political capital. it was more than just the economic capital, and the cultural center of france. harris was the spiritual center of france. it's where the france sole resided. even when the city was under the heel of an occupying military force. this man, general charles de gaulle, had emerged by default as the leader of those french who are unwilling to bend to the nazi regime. after leaving some of the few counterattacks against german counter forces, he escaped to london. they're in a broadcast over bbc radio it became known as the appeal of juneteenth.
issued a challenge to frenchman everywhere. to continue their resistance against the nazi invaders would now become occupiers. to continue their resistance against the frenchman in france, who had surrendered their independence and dignity to cooperate with the german forces. he called on frenchman to rally to him. as he had assumed the mantle of free france. truth is, had not been elected by anyone. he was essentially self appointed but in the four years of junior 1940 now to the summer of 1944, said come to recognize him as the leader of free france. one exception was the american
president franklin roosevelt who did not like du gaulle. roosevelt continued to remind people that was not elected. in the united states could not recognize du gaulle as president without a democratic process. we could identify with that to a degree. despite roosevelts reluctance to recognize, de gaulle as president, by the spring of 1944 as i said, most had accepted de gaulle as their leader, including the various resistance factions in france, and there were many, there were many. but they had decided to set aside the political differences for the moment to present a united front against the german occupiers, and they collectively became known as the french forces of the interior, or the ffi, and they
acknowledged de gaulle for the moment as the recognized leader. and he wanted tariffs, as he made clear in the appeal. in france, and more specifically in paris, over that summer of 1944, tensions began to rise in the city, especially after d-day, when the allies landed in normandy. on june the 14th, bastille day, the french equivalent to our 4th of july, in paris spontaneous demonstrations broke out, and parisian started to display the try color french flag, prohibited by the germans since they occupy the city. but the second week of august, real workers went out on
strike. and parisian's began to notice that civilian workers from germany, along with the uniformed women of the german army were starting to take g;heading east out of paris. equally noticeable was in court shirts across the city. there were german government official document burning, sending ash like confetti over various regions of the city. unmistakable sons to the persian's. then on august 14th, the paris police went on strike as well. 15,000 paris policeman. all of them armed, did not show up to work that day.
this certainly had to be disquieting for the occupying german forces, because this 15,000 policeman just disappeared into the civilian population again with their arms, and certainly there had to be some germans that were looking over their shoulders at every moment. clearly, changes coming. brought by the war coming out of the west. not long after the rail workers and police went on strike, postal workers joined in, then workers in the purse subway system, the metro went on strike. the strikes collectively paralyzed the city. in that small trickle of german officials leaving the city, nobody can miss that it was turning into a significant exodus, all again, troubling ñ occupiers.again, troubling and then on saturday, june 19th,
open rebellion, insurrection conducted by the resistance forces broke out in paris. now the resistance wasn't united in his decision to get a insurrection. those who were followers of charles de gaulle advocated waiting we have to be patient. the advocated allies are still miles and miles away from paris, we are going to need to help and support. at that point workers trickling in from the eastern front, specifically in warsaw, where the resistance in warsaw had begun an uprising against the german occupiers, and word was that the germans were inflicting brutal casualties on resistance workers in the hundreds, if not thousands. and there was concern among the followers of de gaulle that that would happen to us. but the communist elements of
the resistance were adamant that now is the time to strike. those followers of de gaulle recognized that if they did not to an, in when liberation came the may well have given up any claim to power because they did not join in on the resistance. so the battle for paris was on. scattered firefights erupted across the city like summer thunderstorms. the resistance forces especially targeted german convoys transiting across the city. and installations were they believed they could gain additional weapons. and then early that morning, a striking police man clambered up on top of a car in front of the precinct of the police. the police headquarters. a stone's throw from notre dame. he got on the top of the car
and proclaimed he was seizing the police headquarters in the name of charles de gaulle, and the provisional republic of france. now there were a couple hundred other striking policeman with them, and they moved into the police headquarters. no resistance from the germans. germans had not anticipated this, and they did not have forces available. that evening, in an attempt to bring peace to a city that was erupting in violence, this man, raul nordley, who was the swedish counsel general in paris work to broker a truce between the two sides. he met with the general and the agreement they reached was that the germans would recognize the resistance fighters as regular soldiers, and for them all the rights commensurate with a
regular soldier. the germans agreed not to attempt to retake any buildings the resistance had seized. on the part of the resistance, they agree not to attack any german convoys that were clearly leaving the city. and they agreed not to try to seize any german strong points. the following morning, sunday august, 20th, outside the hotel, the center for the municipal government of paris, mrs. stunts forces mimicking with the police had done the previous day, moved in and occupied the hotel again, little german resistance to this. bit by bit, block by block, him and his men were starting to lose control of paris. but he still had significant
military power in the city he could draw on. really the question was what with the germans to? and that would determine the fate of paris. that's a morning, when the resistance seized the hotel, charles de gaulle returned to france, from his provisional government headquarters in algiers. when he returned to france, he met with general eisenhower right outside the town. now the two men had met any number of times previously in the war. in late december of 1943, just a few months before this point, they had met as eisenhower was beginning to transit from the mediterranean back to england to prepare for operation overlord, the day. at that point, eisenhower
agreed that when the time for the liberation of pierce came, french forces would be the first ones in. well now, that time had come. at least in de gaulle's estimation. eisenhower wasn't so sure. he was still sticking to the pre-d-day plan of bypassing paris. now these two men are really a study in compare and contrast. they were only about a month apart in 1890. they both came from large families. they both were of readers of military history. they both attended their countries respective military academies. eisenhower of course attending west point. de gaulle just outside of paris. in world war i, their careers diverged to some degree. de gaulle served as a infantry
commander who was wounded three times, and left for dead on the battlefield. he was then taken prisoner. as most of you know i think, eisenhower was ordered to stay stateside during world war i, and train up troops who that have the good fortune to travel across the atlantic into the trenches of the western front. at this point, both of them knew that they were approaching this war from very different perspectives. eisenhower from the united states, virtually all recognized was a world power ready to take the stage. eisenhower new american history and knew that in the relatively short history of the knitted states that the country had suffered really only in a minor way from foreign invaders. whereas the gall looked at
france and sought them on the verge of disappearing from the world stage as a independent nation. he looked at francis history over centuries for longer than the united states, and recognized that france had been invading from the memorial, the english, the professions, the germans under the kaiser, the germans under hitler, and de gaulle saw himself at this point as props variances last best hope to survive as a nation. he described himself as a man of destiny. eisenhower saw himself as a soldier with a drop to do, and described himself as a man of the kansas planes. so now that man of destiny was
pressing that man from the plains of kansas to move on paris. it's too early, eisenhower responded. de gaulle with a report said why is it too early? if allied forces have crossed the sea river north of paris, and allied forces have crossed the same river south of paris why cannot they cross the river at paris. he told eisenhower that at this point purse was fundamental. it was essential to the governing of france at that point and in the very near future. as and how are responded that he would do what he could. but at this point he can make no promises i've won he would cut loose. pardon the allies to move into paris.
the following day, de gaulle -- general pierre cohen, when he told eisenhower is information that the french were receiving from paris was that the city was on the verge of anarchy. there was no police presence. transportation had completely stopped. food shortages said the city on the verge of fame in. and de gaulle argued that if the allies did not move now they were risking a humanitarian disaster and perhaps the destruction of purse itself. as it happened a number of times early in the war, de gaulle and eisenhower were two extraordinary personalities putting the relationship to the test. but events in paris would drive eisenhower's decision making as much, if not more, so than de gaulle's urgings.
the next day, on monday, august 21st, that tentative truce that the swedes had organized completely fell apart. more radical elements in the resistance forces -- refused to recognize the truce. the fanatical elements of the german forces, the ss agreed and refused to acknowledge the truce of the battles were on once again. it seemed they began to construct barricades out of whatever they could find. a banded vehicles to stones, tearing up paris is well known cobbled streets. a german sergeant wrote his wife that day, i have a feeling things are going to get bad here. very fast.
the effectiveness of these barricades, not manned by soldiers, and no rhyme or reason to the hundreds that appeared across the city. history holds the fact they have had in slowing german movement across the city. but what those barricades did demonstrate was that the precautions were not merely an audience. not bystanders to a drama that was unfolding in their streets and parks. they were participants in the liberation of their city. they are contributing to the liberation of their own lives. as the parisian's where constructing there is barricades across the city, in his office in the hotel murray's just across the street from the gardens, the general continue to receive directives from marin.
to assess officers appear in is office saying they had orders from their commander to take the famous medieval bay tapestry that was being stored in the louvre museum back to berlin. he told them well, the resistance has iq by the louvre museum. you are welcome to go and get it. not surprisingly, the tapestry did not leave the louvre museum. more seriously though, was in reiterating is a man defense directive paris. at that point, he put in a call to his commanding officers headquarters. already telephone he outlined what he was going to do should the allies make it to paris.
the destruction of the arctic detail. the opera house where napoleon is very, not paradigm cathedral. then not trump dame church. and of course he said we will fill the eiffel tower it's twisted steel will prevent the allies from getting in the city. in truth he had no intention of doing such thing. knowing that the phone lines were probably tapped by the gestapo, he was being very careful in what he said. because he recognized that paris was one of the most beautiful cities in europe if not the world. he had no intention to being the man known to history who destroyed it and all those architectural wonders.
his resolution on the telephone though was to protect the best he could his family who was still in germany. . he feared that soon enough, we would have to carry out hitler's directive or he would be replaced by an officer who would certainly would carry out its directive. he commented to his staff rather jokingly, ever since the enemies have refused to listen to our viewer, the war has gone badly. indeed it was going quite badly for him. and soon enough, he received the order that he had been anticipating and fearing. directly from hitler. the strongest measures must be taken against that first signs of insurrection, including public execution of ring leaders, demolition of the sand rivers must be prepared. paris must not fall into enemy
hands except as a field of ruins. time was running out for the general and by extension and by extension falls running out for parents as well. closely following the deterioration of conditions in paris as best they could with the limited information they had was the senior allied military commanders. eyes in ours right, -- ike's direct american subordinate. so eisenhower's left is general du gaulle immediate commander. these men on the morning of august 22nd as the truce was falling apart with paris, had a discussion and data made a determination in the conditions in paris were such they could not bypass the city.
eisenhower sent word to the combined chiefs of staff, the senior british commanders, informing them of this decision. to eisenhower's credit, he couched this message to the chiefs of staff that precluded debate, that precluded counter orders coming down saying you're not going into fires. what he said in essence, if we bypass paris the germans have sufficient combat power to continually threaten our frank our flanks and rear. if the germans evacuate paris, without a fight, it's hours anyway. what eisenhower did he made the decision to move into paris militarily based decision rather than one made on political considerations. eisenhower had already given approval for the man in the
center of this photograph. general phillip leclerc. the commander of the second french armored division, to be the first forces into paris. in the evening after eisenhower they met on august 22nd, orders went out for the movement into paris. leclerc's second armored division was gonna be joined by the fourth infantry division. there would be two columns to move to paris. one approaching the city from the southwest, made a primarily leclerc second armored division, the other approaching paris directly from the south, made up primarily of the fourth infantry with the spearhead of french forces. . the following day, when the german general was receiving his field ruin orders from
berlin, the french second armored division was about 120 miles outside of paris. they set out that morning, for paris. 16,000 men, 200 tanks, and hundreds of other vehicles all moving. a journalist i was traveling with leclerc's force wrote in the heart of every frenchman, here there is a name. paris. paris. paris. and by the evening of that day, the two columns leclerc's force and the u.s. fourth infantry division were on the outskirts of paris. they had met minimal resistance shows how the germans would evacuate the city. save additional allied casualties, can spare paris that had suffered so much misery and destruction for four years.
all of that heartache. following morning, on august 24th, very light summer rain was falling as the two columns began to move forward again. the plan was they would meet at one of the great public squares in paris, blast elect concord. -- but stiff german resistance slowed their progress as the two columns moved into the city. by the end of the day, neither column had still broken into paris itself. general bradley, overseeing all this was getting impatient. one of his subordinates said, the french are still in paris. they're dancing towards paris. bradley is furious he fired off a telegraphed eisenhower and he
sends a message to the fourth infantry division commander, bypassed the french. well of course, general leclerc and his men and not been dancing with the germans. they had encountered stiff resistance, and suffered significant casualties that day. that evening, leclerc was still determined to get french forces into paris. he found one of his best young officers. a captain and told them, take a small force and get into the city. any asked him you want me to bypass any german strong points? yes get into the city anyway you possibly can. so at about 8:30, he went on with a small force and the help of the french resistance, wound their way up the avenue, across the sand river to the hotel where the resistance was headquartered.
they got there about 9:30. he then sent a couple of people over to the prefecture police, the police had seized sundays earlier to let them know, american french forces would be in the city and strength the following day. not surprisingly, where it spread from the prefecture to police, just hardly a block away to not thread them cathedral. and it's bell that had been silent for four years sent a cascade across the city -- in his office, in the hotel maurice. the german general was hosting somewhat of a farewell dinner for his staff officers. when the bells began to ring, a
young second lieutenant wondered out loud, what's the meaning. and he knew the allies are here. he rang up his headquarters all the phone up so they could hear and said the french and the americans are moving into the city. when morning came on august 25th, the friday the next day. the clouds and rain showers for the previous day had dissipated. and many of the germans in the city recognize the game was up. and began withdrawing to the eastern side, almost like a receding tide. by midmorning, french and american columns or moving through the streets of paris, almost like rivers of iron and steel. some vehicles with white american stars on them, others with a silhouette of france,
with the cross of lorraine super imposed. over the map. but all the germans had not left. and so fighting continue. between german tanks and german infantry in the resistance forces. in the intimacy of urban combat from the shot, to the arc detrimental, to the louvre museum. at 12:30 the french flag triumphed over the eiffel tower. you can only imagine what went through the french mines when they saw that. the french flag appeared at arc de triumph french soldiers made their way to the hotel maurice, fought upside broken the door
to the generals office and the first french soldier challenged him, he responded yes and probably better than you. at that point, he surrendered. she shortly after he signed the document surrendering all the remaining german forces there in paris. not far away, a small column of trucks pulled up in front of the hotel rates. an american reporter working cñ american reporter working earnest hemingway. he got out, and with a group to be generous fear and say a group of french irregular soldiers, made their way into the bar where hemingway by
legend at least ordered 73 dry martinis for himself and his newfound friends. the celebrations were beginning in paris. well, charles du gaulle arrived in paris late that friday afternoon. the first place he went to was the train station. there's a photograph of him with the cigarette, he went there intentionally. because that is where general leclerc corey see here to his left had the army headquarters. he went there to emphasize the role of the french army had played in liberating the city. and to downplay the role of the resistance that was made up to such a significant degree of
communists that he knew he was gonna have a political battle with. they're atg6@ñt the train statn there was a lieutenant from the second armored division, philippe du gaulle he was able to share this moment with his father. from there, he traveled to the ministry of war where he had had an office in 1940. 40 made his escape to london. and there he symbolically as well as in a very practical sense, said the wheels in motion for the governing of france once again from its capital in paris. he then made his way to the prefecture police, as an acknowledgment of the role. the striking police played in liberating the city. and only then did he go to the hotel where the resistance was
headquartered. but when he got to the hotel, he gave a impromptu addressed the crowd outside. the address is arguably one of his more important and effective speeches that he gave in his career. but i hope to do if the technology works is to show you in less than a minute of de gaulle's address on the day that paris was celebrated, he's speaking in french, there are subtitles, i'll give you a summary of what he says it's very short. as you're watching the french, pay attention to his body language and the emotion that we see from de gaulle at this point when his finally returned to his beloved fans.
armies. with the help and support of all of france. the friends that fights. the only france of the real friends of the eternal france. really what de gaulle was doing is proclaiming a return of a free and independent france. taking its place once again in the world community. as well as giving back to the front population the private dignity of being france, and discounting that french governments that collaborated and cooperated with the germans. de gaulle and this government was the real france, the eternal france. that same evening, de gaulle began organizing a prayed for the following day. a parade that was to celebrate the liberation of paris.
but also a parade to let everyone know, both friend and foe alike, that de gaulle was the leader of france. there could be no question. and so, the next morning it was a saturday. again it was a warm, sunny day. word spread across the city that at 3:00 there was going to be a grand parade. precisely on time, one de gaulle arrived at the arc of triumph, there's a photograph of him in front of the french landmark. were he first placed flowers on the tomb of the unknown french soldier, and where he relived france is eternal flame that the germans had extinguished
for years earlier. he then set out, leading up parade of his military commanders, the general, along with civilian leaders, and leaders of the resistance. the estimates of the crowd very. de gaulle so there were 2 million. maybe. i think we can see in this photograph, there are tens of thousands of parisian's. as he made his way from the arc de triomphe, as de gaulle and the rest of his followers approached the city square,
roaring fire -- there was chaos. nobody knew where the gunfire was coming from, and who was doing the shooting. de gaulle, however, was absolutely unshaken. never flinching. he continued to move forward, across the square to the car that was by design meant to take into notre-dame cathedral. when he got to notre dame, he was bad outside by city officials, other military officers and church leaders. as they continue to make their way to notre dame, gunfire erupted outside and the square of the cathedral, souls inside the cathedral. and once again, de gaulle didn't flinch.
standing wrecked, he stand by the altar while others were seeking cover among the pews. where the gunfire came from? was it celebratory? were there still a few germans? were there resistance forces? no one knows for certain. with we do know is that when de gaulle emerged from notre dame that afternoon, he had become the embodiment of france. his determination over four years, standing up to all powers including winston churchill and franklin roosevelt, and his personal bravery that day, both on the french accord and no trump that day, established is the undisputed now leader of france. in the these that followed de gaulle sent a letter to
eisenhower, thanking him for the support, the resources, and the man power that he committed to deliberation of paris. he also committed eisenhower to give him additional support to stabilize the city. eisenhower agreed to leave the second division of the paris force by a mile, but he failed to commit any other persian forces, because the germans are still on the eastern -- of paris, it will continue for years to come. but eisenhower did agree to have the united states 28 infantry division on their way to the front, march through paris, and a parade. a few days later, the 28th division did just that. from the arc to triumph through the place de concord, where
they were revealed by the generals, and scores of other military and civilian officials. eisenhower did this. want to show support for de gaulle, second, to remind parisian's that the united states played a pretty significant role in the liberation of their city as well. when eisenhower, in another photograph of the 20th division, there is video. when eisenhower and general badly visited paris, just the day after de gaulle's parade, the first thing they did was to call on de gaulle in his office at the war ministry. this was another gesture by eisenhower to show support for de gaulle, to acknowledge him as the legitimate leader, provisional president of the republic of france.
later said i wanted to show people my support for de gaulle, and that i believe de gaulle was the boss of france. that's the effect that i wanted, and that's the effect that i got. eisenhower also told de gaulle that he was going to establish his military headquarters on the outskirts of paris. not in the middle of the city. but in support of de gaulle, because if eisenhower had established supreme command there in the city that would likely overshadow away from de gaulle's efforts to establish a french government, so another way that eisenhower and de gaulle appreciate, and the relationship that these two men built over the course of the war. it wasn't all roses. it did payoff even later in the war. both of these men would become the elected leaders of their respective countries and have
to work together, there's some very difficult times in the cold war that was not very far away. i and so, parish had been liberated. ernie pile, the famed journalist who wrote about the war from the gi's perspective. and painted for his readers a word picture of the filth and degradation and horrors of war. equally well captured the essence and the motion of a liberated paris. he wrote, it was the lovely assist, brightest story of our time. who deserves the credit? for liberating paris? is it the senior military
commanders eisenhower bradley, general leclerc, du gaulle who orchestrated the military advance into the city? or zch2is it the french and american soldiers who drove the last vestiges of german military power out? how about the resistance? really set the table for the allied advance into the city and in fact accelerated the allied advance into the city. maybe a dark horse candidate, the german general, who refused to follow hitler's field of ruin border. whatever his motivations might have been. well, for all of you we've been to paris and experience paris, maybe it doesn't matter. who gets the credit for paris.
because if you've been to paris, was perhaps most important is paris is still paris. i thank you all for coming tonight. [applause] thank you, thank you. i believe we have time for some questions. when i get from the public library and c-span if you have a question you have to come up to the mic so c-span can i'm a world war ii historian out a french historian. so you have a question. >> yes i apologize in advance
everything i know about this i learned from the movie >> all true all true. >> did he truly factually play any role in the advance on paris? >> the liberation of paris. take them and have to say perhaps not. in that the forces that moved into paris where of course under bradley's command and up under the fifth corps commander. so paton was in directly involved, but it was all a team effort right? we'll say yes. he kept the germans occupied elsewhere. sir? >> my mother was in the west.
she was stationed in paris after these events had occurred, i knew she was there and being in december. she was given leave to go to brussels to visit her english born anthem cousin who had been there in the occupation. do you know when such a non combatant unit like telephone operators would be in paris? not obviously a few days after this. >> especially for u.s.. i don't know for certain. i couldn't say when, with american forces eventually moving in and especially, let me backtrack a little bit. eisenhower's headquarters, which i said he established on the outskirts of paris, were actually at versailles. as that started to grow and become the central brain for the rest of the allied fighting the war, they would eventually be yes those kind of support personnel that would show up.
i expect not too long after he established his headquarters there, the exact timing i couldn't say. i would be at risk saying exactly >> it's a late september. >> at that point just a few weeks after the liberation of paris. that wouldn't surprise me. >> thank you >> thank you. >> sir >> yes sir. i believe general vaughan, after he was taken prisoner, understanding was he was sent to mississippi, and he spent the rest of the war as a prisoner of war camp. could you talk about what happened to him after you surrendered paris what he did you know how he came out where he went? >> pretty much what you said is what i know. he ends up in a prisoner war camp in mississippi. i sue means released in late 1945. i don't believe it was involved in any war crimes trials are that sort of thing. what he did in paris help them
out. what happens to him at that point, the disappears from the historical radar screen. great question. what does he do in retirement? lives in paris may be? sir. >> i'd like for you to comment on knee grows that were in world war ii. >> could you repeat that? >> knee grows that were in world war ii in world war ii. there was a pilot in world war i, i forget his name. >> i could only say briefly. paris prior to the war was a much more liberated city as far as race was concerned. much of the united states josephson baker as an example of someone who did not have the challenges he would've had in the united states. as far as african american
soldiers in world war ii. the army was still segregated at the time. serving in various units. most of you are probably familiar with the tuskegee airmen, they had an extraordinary combat record in fighting fire support for american bombers. a number of african american veterans from world war one served in world war ii as well. again, still facing the segregation that they had experienced in the u.s. army and world war i. that's about the best i can do on that question. anything else? sir? >> how tall was du gaulle? [laughs] >> the nickname the americans gave him was two meters. it was about six foot six.
in the video, we saw he wasn't standing on a platform. he was simply that much taller than most of the other people. he was quite a tall individual. yes sir. >> what was antlers response when we learned the destruction of paris had not taken place? >> furious. he anticipated that he was gonna carry out those orders. which i suspect for the general taken prisoner, going back to germany taken prisoner would've been the better choice. he was furious. there is nothing you can do at that point. the war was going badly and i was gonna go much worse from that point forward. yes ma'am. >> i want to make a comment. we were in paris, well the whole country, for 16-day trip four years ago. you cannot believe how many
times, we were stopped and said thank you for what you did for us in world war ii. i mean a lot of times. especially in the small villages. it was amazing i was amazed. >> which i would concur with that. we here in the united states oftentimes don't have the best impression of france and the french. i've been to friends quite a bit. i've been to normandy about a dozen times now. i got to take some of our students from the staff college there. in paris aim at some root people. i met some people in kansas city, as well. but for the most part, even in paris, when i would take undergraduate civilly and students, any number of times most shuns would tell me somebody stopped and asked if they can help them find what they were looking for. especially out in the countryside my experience has
been the same. when you go to normandy, there are american, british, and french flags everywhere, i think in about every trip somebody has done the same thing to myself and the group, thanking the u.s. for their contributions to the war. so i confirm your experiences very much. yes ma'am? >> i was just wondering, did hitler ever actually go to paris? >> did hitler ever go to paris? he did. soon after paris was occupied in late spring, early summer of 1945 you want to paris. i can bet you that everyone in this room did what's hitler did when he went to paris. [noise] you got your picture made with the eiffel tower in the background. exactly what hitler did when he went to paris. it's a photograph that most people would go -- where you can find this pretty
quickly. you can do a side by side of your picture there, next to hitler. so he did the tourist thing. as far as i know that's only time you went to paris. he went to paris as a sort of conquering hero, and then he went back to germany. that was a good question. if anybody has other questions, i will stick around for a little bit. thank you again for your continual support, and for coming out tonight. have a good rest of the week. [applause] weeknights this week we're featuring american history tv programs to preview what is available every weekend on c-span 3. tuesday night we look at first ladies, susan ford bails, daughter of gerald ford and betty forward reflects on time in the white house with former