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June 15, 1940 – News reports, bulletins, commentary – NBC – Gordon Skene Sound Collection –
June 15, 1940 – The day started with bulletins – At 5:30 in the morning of June 14, the first German advance guard entered the city at Porte de La Villette and took the rue de Flandres toward the center. They were followed by several German columns, which, following an established plan, moved to the principal intersections. German military vehicles with loudspeakers circulated, instructing Parisians not to leave their buildings. At eight in the morning, delegations of German officers arrived at the Invalides, headquarters of the military governor of Paris, Henri Dentz, and at the Prefecture of Police, where the Prefect, Roger Langeron, was waiting. The Germans politely invited the French officials to put themselves at the disposition of the German occupiers. By the end of the afternoon, the Germans had hung a swastika flag at the Arc de Triomphe and organized military parades with a marching band on the Champs Élysées and Avenue Foch, primarily for the benefit of the German army photographers and newsreel cameramen.Paris was now in the hands of the German Army. News that Verdun was rapidly being overtaken and that France was perilously close to capitulation. The German Army was pressing west, heading to the French Coast and the English Channel. Reports and commentary from Berlin that Britain would be next and the timetable was set to somewhere around August 15th that London too would offer surrender.
Word from London that British troops were still evacuating France. but some units continued fighting with their French counterparts, day and night to stem the advance of the Germans. RAF bombers were continuing to attack German supply lines. All the bridges from Rouen to Mantes had been destroyed by the RAF to stop the enemy bringing up material and reserves. German aircraft responded with air raids east of Paris and at Evreux and Mantes, west of the capital. The voluntary evacuation of Children from London and other areas of potential harm was now about to become compulsory.
German troops marched into Paris in the early hours of the morning as French and allied forces retreated. The enemy met no resistance as it entered the capital, which was declared an open town the day before by the city’s French military governor, General Hering.
French troops withdrew to avoid a violent battle and total destruction of Paris. They were believed to have taken a new line of defense south of the city.
The Germans advanced from the north-east and north-west and shortly afterwards tanks rumbled past the Arc de Triomphe down the Champs Elysees to the Place de la Concorde.
Here is an hour’s worth of reports, as they were being relayed from points overseas to the NBC newsroom in New York all on this June 15, 1940.