U.S. Army on Champs-Élysées as Paris is Liberated
Crowds of French patriots line the Champs-Élysées to view Allied tanks and half tracks pass through the Arc de Triomphe, celebrating the liberation of Paris from the Germans. In the large version of this rare WW II color photo, you can see many details of the soldiers and equipment, the people in the crowd, and the Paris background.
The exact date of this photo is unclear. The original caption in the National Archives gives the date as "August 25, 1944" which is the date German General Dietrich von Choltitz surrendered the city to General Leclerc's French 2nd Armored Division. Leclerc had been fighting the Germans along with the FFI, the French Resistance, and was given the honor of completing the liberation of Paris. Also on 25 August, French General and leader of the exile government, Charles de Gaulle, returned to Paris and reoccupied the War Ministry. Rallies, speeches to huge crowds, and parades were held over the next few days, notably the victory parade of the French Forces on the Champs-Élysées on 26 August and a separate parade by the US Army 28th Infantry Division on 29 August. Vehicle markings and uniforms indicate that the forces pictured are French. Therefore this photo is probably the French victory parade, the date of which was 26 August 1944, but it could be a celebration on 25 August.
Most of the visible vehicles are M3 Halftracks with an M8 Howitzer Motor Carriage to the left.
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