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German troops in Paris, collapse of France said imminent

BERLIN, June 14, 1940 (UP) - Germany, with her troops clattering down the Champs Elysee in Paris and smashing ahead on all French fronts, asserted tonight that the total military collapse of France is imminent and that the direct attack on Great Britain will be launched shortly.

The German radio started in with broadcasts designed to convince the French that it was not worth while to carry on the fight longer. Reports were broadcast that a separate peace for France might be expected by the end of next week.

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Military quarters insisted that the total collapse of French military power was imminent, that the defeated French Army could not take another stand with Paris gone, the Seine and the Marne crossed, the Maginot Line attacked from the front and already half-flanked.

Germans called the French position completely hopeless. They said France no longer has a natural barrier against the German advance, and that the great artificial positions of the Maginot Line quickly are losing military value. The Germans said France has lost her best troops, most of her modern military equipment and the bulk of her famous artillery.

With Paris, it was noted, went the most important parts of the French arms industry, the hub of all rail and water transport and the center of her defense system.

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The high command and the Foreign Office denied the early report that United States Ambassador William C. Bullitt had been placed in protective custody in Paris.

At some points today, German quarters said, the retreating French forces are being overtaken by the flying dash forward of German tank columns.

The fall of Paris was described by the Germans as closing the second phase of the war, begun just five weeks ago, May 10. The third, they insisted, would be the annhilation or surrender of the remaining French armies.

The fourth, they said, would be the unleashing of "all the unrestrained fury of the Reich's arms" against Britain.

In the west the big English Channel port of Le Havre fell to the Germans, the high command said.

In the east it is said that the strategically important town of Montmedy was taken as part of an enveloping maneuver around the Maginot Line in co-ordination with a frontal attack in the Saar Basin against the main underground French formations.

The march of German forces into Paris for the first time since Bismarck's armies dictated peace to the French in 1871 shared the German spotlight with the attack on the Maginot Line, which experts had once estimated could be broken only at the cost of a million lives.

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The flanking wedge which the high command said has been driven around the Maginot Line extended southward to Vitry La Francois, 65 miles southwest of Montmedy at the northern end of the defense works.

This spearhead had cut through the main French communications network running through Reims and to the vital military centers of Verdun, Metz, Toul and Nancy behind the $500,000,000 Maginot Line. The Germans claimed that the breakup of these communications lines made it impossible for the French to hold out long in the northern end of the Maginot defenses.

The fall of Paris was announced over the radio and in special editions of the afternoon newspapers which carried huge headlines saying: "March into Paris." German troops were believed to have marched in from the north, through St. Denis.

The Paris radio stations were quickly taken over and German music was played. The German advices said that the invading troops swung on down the Champs des Elysees and the Nazi officers leading the march took over from the French officials left in the city. About one third of the normal population of 2,800,000 remained in Paris, it was estimated.

In this morning's communiqu

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