L'Opera, Sacre Coeur Piqued Hitler's Interest on Paris Tour

L'Opera, Sacre Coeur Piqued Hitler's Interest on Paris Tour
(AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Germany's invasion of France culminated in France's surrender in a formal ceremony held in a railroad car in Compiegne Forest on June 22, 1940 (see France Surrenders, 1940). The terms of the surrender called for all hostilities to cease on June 25. Shortly after this ceremony, Hitler summoned Albert Speer - his favorite architect - to join him at his headquarters in a small village in northern France. The village had been cleared of its inhabitants and many of its homes commandeered as living quarters for Hitler and his staff.

German troops enter Paris
June 14, 1940Upon arrival, Speer was informed by Hitler that he intended to take a tour of Paris in a few days and wanted the architect to accompany him. Speer remained in the village and joined Hitler and his entourage in a peasant's cottage on the evening of the formal end of hostilities between France and Germany. As the time of the armistice approached, 1:35 AM June 25, Hitler ordered the lights in the home turned out and the windows opened. Sitting silently in the darkness, Hitler and his entourage listened to a thunderstorm in the distance and to a bugler blowing the traditional signal for the end of fighting. Hitler then ordered the light turned back on.

Three days later, Speer accompanied Hitler as he flew in the early morning hours to an airfield near Paris.

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