Seventy years ago the strains of a free Paris Radio echoed throughout the Capital, as General Le Clerc and De Gaulle arrived with armored elements of the Free French Army to take up positions in the center of the city. With a combination of martial music and reports, the station, now in the hands of the Free French kept a steady flow of news and accounts – the shortwave service, broadcasting to the world the drama and breathless elation which was unfolding in the streets of Paris on August 26, 1944.
And the very next day, the Free French Army was joined by the U.S. Army, who also entered Paris. As fighting was still going on, with German snipers dug in around the city, celebrations were peppered with the sound of machine guns and rifle fire. The whole surreal scene was captured by film and radio crews who kept reporting the goings on, while dodging bullets and catching breath.
Here are two clips – the first is the initial broadcast from the now-free Radio Paris on August 26, 1944 all in French. And the second is an NBC Radio report from the middle of Paris on August 27th taking cover and trying to maintain and air of cool detachment, all in English.
Seventy years ago this week.
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