World War 2


Average Joes in T-Shirts Corner Germans and Force Embarrassing Surrender

White flag waving in the wind on flagpole against the sunset sky with clouds. White flag is a symbol of surrender.

Average Joes in T-Shirts Corner Germans and Force Embarrassing Surrender

Few things can demoralize an enemy force like an embarrassing surrender. During the Second World War, there was time for valor and glory. However, there was also time for humbling experiences like you’ll see today.

Setting the Stage

Embarrassing Surrender
The Liberation of France ran concurrent to Operation Overlord.

Six furious days of fighting took place in August of 1944. The Wehrmacht had finally relinquished control of Paris to the French Resistance, Free French Forces, and the rest of the Allies.

A Surrender on a Bed Sheet

Embarrassing Surrender
German forces are begging the French not to shoot on this bed sheet.

While this is certainly an embarrassing surrender, you have to imagine the gall of it. The hastily scrawled message on a bed sheet begs for mercy, even after four years of brutal occupation.

The Power of Average People

Embarrassing Surrender
A German officer is escorted through the streets by normal people.

It wasn’t just men in uniform that forced an embarrassing surrender. As you’ll see, some of the men and women carrying weapons are just average people in plain clothes.

Minimal Damage

Embarrassing Surrender
As far as battle go, the damage here pales in comparison to somewhere like Stalingrad.

While Paris wouldn’t escape unscathed, the infrastructure in place fared well compared to other European cities. Despite furious fighting, men like Dietrich von Choltitz would be forced to step aside.

Curious Onlookers

Embarrassing Surrender
There aren’t many reasons to step out of work, but your city being liberated ranks is good enough for most employers.

Despite being at war for 5 years at this point, the people of France were still forced to live normal lives. The change of the guard inspired curious people to step out and see what the commotion was about in this embarrassing surrender.

Cause for Celebration

Embarrassing Surrender
German control was done in France, ending a nightmarish four years.

The embarrassing surrender of the German garrison and ousting of the military governor was a solid reason to celebrate. While the French people lived under the yoke of oppression, those days were long over now.

A Motorcade for the People

Liberation of Paris
In addition to soldiers, the victory procession included Resistance members.

In addition to men in uniform, you’ll see average people atop these trucks and tanks. While much of the war was fought by professional soldiers, normal people who never lifted a rifle in their lives rose to the occasion.

Victory at Any Cost

Liberation of Paris
Despite Hitler’s threats, the Allies were able to take Paris with minimal loss of life.

While this was an embarrassing surrender for the Germans, the stakes were much higher than you could imagine. German forces were given a strict mandate by Adolf Hitler himself to destroy Paris in the event of the Allies arriving. This led to the French Resistance starting the battle on their own while Allied armies were still engaged in the Falaise Pocket.

A Celebration Cut Short

Liberation of Paris
While German resistance was sparse, the area wasn’t completely safe yet.

Despite the embarrassing surrender, the celebrations are briefly cut short by the sound of gunfire ripping through the air. French Resistance members waste no time returning fire, peppering positions with automatic weapons and rifles.

Courage Among Chaos

Liberation of Paris
Compared to other European cities, the French Resistance led the Liberation of Paris.

The French Resistance was among the largest forces assembled by regular people during the Second World War. Amid the chaos of gunfire, it is striking to see the bravery at hand of those who entangled themselves with the Resistance. One man wades cooly into gunfire, ready to lay down his life for his city.

A Free Paris

Liberation of Paris
While the war was far from over, the Nazis were being pushed back.

Paris would be freed on August 25th, 1944. 9 days of furious fighting erupted. The Resistance was reinforced by General Leclerc of the Free French Forces and other contemporaries like General Raymond Barton and General Bernard Montgomery.

Watch the Full Video

Liberation of Paris
Despite fierce fighting, nearly 13,000 German soldiers would surrender.

If you would like to see the stunning footage of this embarrassing surrender, you can view it here. It is easy to forget the sacrifices made by those who fought in the Second World War. The French Resistance bore the brunt of the battle, losing 1,600 people against overwhelming odds.

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