Crowds line the Champs-Élysées as the French 2nd Armored Division rolls down the avenue from the Arc de Triomphe toward the Place de la Concorde on 26 August 1944, following the liberation of Paris. Ruled by Nazi Germany since the signing of the Second Compiègne Armistice in 1940, Paris was freed during a week-long struggle that pitted the French Forces of the Interior, the French 2nd Armored Division, and the United States Third Army against the German 325th Security Division. The battle ended with German General Dietrich von Choltitz surrendering to French forces. More than 1,700 French and 3,200 German soldiers were killed in the fighting.
Photograph: Jack Downey