Paris burns bright red
by Steve Payne
says: what if the Paris military governor Major General Dietrich von
Chotitz followed Hitler's orders and destroyed the city? Please note that
the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of
On August 22nd 1944,
on this day Adolf Hitler decreed that if Germany was forced out of Paris
the city and all it's landmarks should be left a smoldering ruin.
"I really can't see the Communists holding onto
Paris, let alone France" - reader's comment
The Führer's order was
relayed by Chief of Staff Admiral Alfred Jodl to Dietrich von Choltitz
(pictured) who had been promoted to the rank of General der Infanterie and
then appointed military governor of Paris just three weeks earlier.
And his instructions were explicit, "The city must not fall into the
enemy's hand except lying in complete debris".To avoid any possibility of
confusion Hitler also phoned him in a rage, screaming, "Brennt Paris?"
("Is Paris burning?"). In effect, Von Choltitz was required to organize a
rapid disengagement of German Forces whilst simultaneously dealing with a
complete uprising of the city's inhabitants.
"in an ATL with greater numbers, [French
Communists] could have been a real problem. " - reader's comment
U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the head of the Allied invasion, had
refused to divert troops to liberate Paris. Resistance forces loyal to De
Gaulle failed to overcome red influence during and after Liberation, and
were unable to prevent communists taking control of the city and then of
Ironically, the destruction of the cultural fabric of the city removed
any symbolic vestiges of the past, ushering in the new and frightening
communist future that Adolf Hitler had predicted.
says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the
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Steve Payne, Editor of
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