August 19, 1944: The Battle for Paris begins.
After Allied forces landed on the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944, the recapture of the French capital was actually not considered a task of high importance. A siege like that of Leningrad or a destructive city battle like Stalingrad would be too costly and too risky, especially to the civilians living in Paris; getting bogged down in Paris would keep the U.S. and British forces from reaching Berlin before the Soviet Union; and it was not of much real strategic importance - although as the cultural center of France and as Europe’s most romantic city, its liberation would be a great symbolic event.
On August 19, resistance fighters, encouraged by reports of the approaching Allied forces, rose up against their German (and Vichy) rulers, forcing the Allies to reassess the Paris situation. At the urging of Charles de Gaulle, the French 2nd Armored Division and the American 4th Infantry Division entered the city and the battle a few days later, and together, they swept through the western and eastern halves of the city (apparently, the Americans demanded that the liberation force be all-white - so black French soldiers were excluded). Meanwhile, as the Allied forces approached, Hitler gave orders to Paris’s German military governor, Dietrich von Choltitz, to crush the city into “a field of ruins" should Germany’s enemies take it; Choltitz never carried out the task. Although his reason for directly defying the orders of Adolf Hitler was probably not his sense of honor, he saved Paris from destruction, nevertheless.
On August 25, the city was officially liberated after four years of occupation.
(Source: unhistorical, via l-amour-a-trois)