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The German western campaign into the Low Countries and France shattered Allied lines. Within six weeks, Britain evacuated its forces from the Continent and France requested an armistice with Germany. Paris, the French capital, fell to the Germans on June 14, 1940. In this footage, triumphant German forces raise the swastika flag over Versailles and over the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Versailles, the traditional residence of French kings, was deeply symbolic for the Germans: it was the site of both the declaration of the German Empire in 1871 and the signing of the Treaty of Versailles of 1919. The Treaty of Versailles had imposed humiliating peace terms on Germany after its defeat in World War I. Germany would occupy Paris for the next four years, until 1944.
One day after France signed an armistice with Germany in June 1940, Adolf Hitler celebrated the German victory over France with a tour of Paris. Here, Hitler's train arrives in Paris. Hitler's tour included the Paris opera, the Champs-Elysees, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. After visiting Napoleon's tomb and the Sacre Coeur, Hitler left Paris. In all, Hitler spent about three hours in the city. In July, Hitler returned in triumph to Berlin, Germany.
Jubilation over the liberation of Paris: US troops parade along the Champs-Elysees and French civilians celebrate. General Charles de Gaulle and General Omar Bradley review the troops.
Germany's formal surrender on May 7 and VE-Day (Victory in Europe Day) on May 8, 1945, were marked by joyous celebrations all over Europe. This footage shows streets in Paris and London filled with people celebrating the unconditional Allied victory over Nazi Germany and the winning of the war in Europe.
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