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The Blood of Free Men:

The Liberation of Paris, 1944

Hardcover (352 pages), kindle
As the Allies struggled inland from Normandy in August of 1944, the fate of Paris hung in the balance. But Paris endured, thanks to a fractious cast of characters, from Resistance cells to Free French operatives.

The Blood of Free Men:

As the Allies struggled inland from Normandy in August of 1944, the fate of Paris hung in the balance. Other jewels of Europe—sites like Warsaw, Antwerp, and Monte Cassino—were, or would soon be, reduced to rubble during attempts to liberate them. But Paris endured, thanks to a fractious cast of characters, from Resistance cells to Free French operatives to an unlikely assortment of diplomats, Allied generals, and governmental officials. Their efforts, and those of the German forces fighting to maintain control of the city, would shape the course of the battle for Europe and color popular memory of the conflict for generations to come.

In The Blood of Free Men, celebrated historian Michael Neiberg deftly tracks the forces vying for Paris, providing a revealing new look at the city’s dramatic and triumphant resistance against the Nazis. The salvation of Paris was not a foregone conclusion, Neiberg shows, and the liberation was a chaotic operation that could have easily ended in the city’s ruin. The Allies were intent on bypassing Paris so as to strike the heart of the Third Reich in Germany, and the French themselves were deeply divided; feuding political cells fought for control of the Resistance within Paris, as did Charles de Gaulle and his Free French Forces outside the city. Although many of Paris’s citizens initially chose a tenuous stability over outright resistance to the German occupation, they were forced to act when the approaching fighting pushed the city to the brink of starvation. In a desperate bid to save their city, ordinary Parisians took to the streets, and through a combination of valiant fighting, shrewd diplomacy, and last-minute aid from the Allies, managed to save the City of Lights.

A groundbreaking, arresting narrative of the liberation, The Blood of Free Men tells the full story of one of the war’s defining moments, when a tortured city and its inhabitants narrowly survived the deadliest conflict in human history.

The Fall and Liberation of France...

Related Scanning WWII dates...

  • 22 Jun 40: Defeated France signs armistice with Germany
  • 26 Aug 44: General Charles de Gaulle leads a parade to celebrate the liberation of Paris
  • 29 Aug 44: Resistance patrols continue to route out German snipers in Paris

French Resistance...

Related Scanning WWII dates...

  • 21 Aug 41: First violent act of resistance against the Germans in Paris
  • 22 Oct 41: Fifty local hostages are shot in Nantes in reprisal for Resistance assassination
  • 24 Oct 41: Jean Moulin meets in London with Charles de Gaulle
  • 01 Jan 42: Jean Moulin organizes French Resistance groups
  • 27 May 43: First unified meeting of French Resistance groups takes place
  • 21 Jun 43: French Resistance leader Jean Moulin is arrested
  • 08 Jul 43: French Resistance leader Jean Moulin dies from torturous interrogations
  • 19 Dec 43: French Resistance battles German troops in Bernex in eastern France
  • 10 May 44: French Resistance claims they have over 100,000 fighters
  • 20 May 44: Eisenhower broadcasts groups in preparation for the invasion
  • 01 Jun 44: BBC broadcasts first line of poem to signal invasion within two weeks
  • 05 Jun 44: BBC broadcasts second line of poem to signal invasion within 48 hours
  • 19 Aug 44: French Resistance fighters rise up in Paris against occupying troops
  • 29 Aug 44: French Resistance continues to route Germans following liberation of Paris

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