Nazi tanks rumble past Arc de Triomphe

By JOSEPH W. GRIGG Jr., United Press Staff Correspondent

BERLIN, June 14, 1940 (UP) -- German troops rolled into the streets of Paris from the northwest today and swung triumphantly down the famous Champs Eylsees in the hear of the French capital, it was stated in authorized German sources.

German tanks -- their blunt-nosed guns ominously dominating the streets -- led the advance into the city that last felt the tread of Prussian boots almost 70 years ago after Bismarck's triumph in the war of 1870.


The swift, dust-stained tanks armored reconnaissance units swung through the suburbs of Argenteuil and Neuilly, into the swank west end of Paris and then past the Arc De Triomphe and down the Camps Elysee.

But, Germans said, the troops probably circled around the Arc De Triomphe as they went down the broad tree-lined avenue.

The advance into Paris began early in the morning -- just five weeks to the day after the German invasion of the Low Countries and the beginning of "real" warfare against the British and French.


There were a few Parisiens along the route. Silent and tense, some of them stood at the curbs and watched the Nazi forces enter their capital, the German advices said. First came the tanks, flanked by armored cars that rolled through the outskirts of the city, fled swiftly across the River Seine and thence into the broad Avenue De Neuilly.

Behind them came anti-tank units still smudged with the grime of battles that had been fought with terrible fury north of Paris.

As the sun rose high, still more units joined the parade of victory through the hostile capital from which French armies had fallen back during the night.

Motorized infantry in steel-shielded trucks and with machine guns mounted to sweep the wide streets (broadened after the French revolution to prevent mobs from erecting barricades) raced across the Seine bridges and southeastward toward the Etoile, where stands the Arc De Triomphe, started during the years of Napoleonic triumphs.

The Etoile is a big hub where almost a dozen streets and avenues join, including the Avenue des Champs Elysees and the Avenue Foch. It was laid out more than a century ago on a plan designed to permit government troops to place their cannon in a circle and sweep the approaching streets in event of repetition of the mob attacks of the French Revolution.


The Arc de Triomphe is 160 feet high, one of the proudest triumphal arches in the world and each stone bears the name of a victory or of a hero in French military history.

The German advices said that the invading troops swung on down the Champs 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 2,800,00 remained in Paris, it was estimated.

As soon as the French troops withdrew from the city, it was stated here, the French police, fire department and other city departments placed themselves at the disposal of the Germans and offered to maintain order and discipline during the march-in of the Nazis.

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