HISTORY

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

S. & S. Jul. 2019. 256p. illus. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781501164927. $27; ebk. ISBN 9781501164941. HIST
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From June 1940 to August 1944, the capital of France was an occupied city. Although its surrender had been bloodless, it was unclear how the city would fare as World War II drew to a close. Many feared, with reason, that Adolf Hitler would order the destruction of Paris. According to historian Smith (Eisenhower in War and Peace), it was three military men on both sides of the conflict who were instrumental in ensuring that Paris survived liberation without catastrophic damage. As critical as Allied commander Dwight Eisenhower and French leader Charles de Gaulle were to the success of the operation, it may have been the courage of Dietrich von Choltitz, the German commander of Paris who played the largest role. Based on a close reading of memoirs by many of the key figures profiled, Smith dramatically presents a historical biography of a defining moment in time.
VERDICT A fitting celebration and remembrance marking the 75th anniversary of the liberation of France and Paris. Recommended for readers of military history.

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