La Liberation

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La Liberation ( German for  liberation ) refers to the liberation of Western Europe from German rule by Allied troops and parts of the local resistance movements in the Second World War in the years 1944 and 1945 in the francophone- speaking area of ​​Europe . In a narrower sense, the term refers to the liberation beginning in Corsica France or the liberation of the capital Paris ( Liberation de Paris , August 25, 1944) applied.

Liberation of France

In France , the liberation ended the German occupation and the Vichy regime collaborating with Nazi Germany under Marshal Philippe Pétain and broke with the Third Republic as a form of government.

To the historical context

The Second World War began with the attack on Poland in September 1939 . The German attack on France began on May 10, 1940 and ended on June 22, 1940 with the signing of the Compiègne Armistice . This marked the beginning of the occupation of the northern zone of France and the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine . In the unoccupied part of the country, the Vichy regime established itself under Marshal Pétain .

General De Gaulle fled to London on June 17, 1940 . From there he made a fiery appeal by radio to all French not to stop the fight against the occupation but, if necessary, to continue the fight from exile and from the colonies . He founded the Free France Committee . Inside France is gradually formed from the political parties, organizations and trade unions of the Third Republic opposition groups crossing services rendered and gave out underground newspapers. An important date was June 22, 1941 . The fronts were cleared by the German attack on the Soviet Union . The considerable disorientation on the left , particularly in the ranks of the communists , which arose in 1939 as a result of the Hitler-Stalin pact , had been resolved. With growing bitterness about the collaboration of the Vichy regime, the humiliation by Germany and forced labor , the willingness to become politically and militarily involved in the Resistance , which was organized by Jean Moulin , also grew in a broader political spectrum . Prisoners of war escaped from German captivity and joined the Resistance. It expressed itself in passive resistance, but also militant acts of resistance of sabotage , hostage liberation , raids and the intelligence service , which testified to the unity of the fighting France and supported the liberation by Free France on the side of the Allies .

Expiry of the Liberation

In France:

November 8, 1942
Landing in French North Africa
  • Operation Torch - The success of the landing in North Africa was a prerequisite for all subsequent military actions.
October 13, 1943
Landing in Corsica
  • Landing of the Free French in Corsica and expulsion of the Italian troops
June 6, 1944
Landing in Normandy
Parade after the Liberation de Paris
August 15, 1944
The landing in Provence
19.-25. August 1944
Liberation of Paris
  • The Liberation de Paris begins with the deployment of Allied troops around Paris on August 15th. Resistance and police start the strike and uprising on the 19th, which, together with the entire military situation, leads to the liberation of the city on the 25th.
September 16, 1944
General Elster surrenders to a US general when the German rearguard withdraws (with 18,850 soldiers and 754 officers) at Beaugency
March 17, 1945
Northern Alsace is completely liberated


  • Puration / purification, purification of the state apparatus and public life in a disorderly manner or in court proceedings (Commission d'Épuration) during and shortly after the liberation of France.

Liberation of Belgium and the Netherlands

In the Netherlands, the liberation of the Netherlands on May 5, 1945 is commemorated with the " Bevrijdingsdag ".

Feb. 9, 1945: Liberation of Alsace

  • February 9, 1945: Alsace is largely liberated by Allied troops.
  • March 17th: Northern Alsace is also completely liberated as part of Operation Undertone .

Liberation of the last fortresses

After the unconditional surrender of the Wehrmacht , the last German garrisons of the Atlantic fortresses such as La Rochelle and Saint-Nazaire, encircled for months, surrender .

German surrenders


The hope of many French that with liberation also the end of hunger and general shortage had come, turned out to be an illusion. Grocery cards were part of everyday life until 1949. This led to expressions of displeasure towards politicians, farmers and middlemen who were accused of excessive prices. Looting was often the result.

The euphoria after the victory over Nazi Germany subsided within a few months after the liberation. Tensions began to develop between the French and American military personnel stationed in the country. American service members soon appeared to the locals as arrogant and flaunting their wealth. Locals, on the other hand, were seen as proud and resentful. Fighting broke out with increasing frequency and fears have been voiced even among senior civil servants that the situation could lead to a collapse of civil order.

Handbuch (1945): Addressed to the American soldiers.

In 1945, a manual 112 Gripes About the French was issued by the United States military authorities to U.S. soldiers arriving in France after the liberation. It was intended to ease the growing tension between the American military and the locals. The Handbook on the French took up a number of evaluated complaints about the French and sought to provide answers. The aim of the authors was to help the average American soldier better understand their hosts.

Although May 8th has been a public holiday again since 1981 , the memory of the “Liberation” has a stronger impact on the French than the day of the German surrender . In the capital Paris, August 26, 1944 is unforgettable when De Gaulle walked along the Champs-Elysées as a liberator .

The earlier efforts to reorganize France politically were particularly important to De Gaulle. The aim was to prevent the military administration planned by the USA. After he had prevailed against his rival Henri Giraud , he made it clear to the Americans that only a self-government of France was in question.

See also

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Jürgen Lotz: Obedience in a lost position . the time January 21, 1994.
  2. Beyond Freedom Fries: The Roots of American Francophobia. Retrieved September 6, 2018 .
  3. Plus ca change in Franco-US ties. Archived from the original on January 30, 2010 ; accessed on September 6, 2018 .
  4. In France, the day of liberation is more important than the end of the war. Retrieved September 6, 2018 .
  5. ^ End of the war in France. Retrieved September 6, 2018 .