After a one month blitzkrieg by the Wehrmacht, Paris fell to Nazi Germany on June 14, 1940. An armistice with Germany subsequently established a French puppet government with its capital at Vichy. The Nazi occupation of Paris lasted four years until the city was liberated by the French 2nd Armored Division and the U.S. 4th Infantry Division.
In August 1944, German defense of occupied Paris was minimal and an order by Adolf Hitler to destroy the city was ignored by General Dietrich von Choltitz, the commander of the German occupying force.
On August 26, Free French General Charles de Gaulle led a joyous liberation march down the Champs d’Elysees.