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Date: Friday, 14 June 1940
Place: Avenue Foch, Champs-Élysées, Paris, France
Photographer: Kriegsberichter Folkerts
Generalleutnant Kurt von Briesen (Kommandeur 30. Infanterie-Division) reviewing his troops in a parade at Avenue Foch, Paris, 14 June 1940. The German 30. Infanterie-Division was approaching Paris from the north, but its original intention was to by-pass the city and continue its pursuit of the French forces retreating southward. When the commander of the division, Kurt von Briesen, heard that Paris had been declared an "open city", he decided to send units into the city outskirts to test whether the declaration was genuine. Those units reported back that there was no French resistance, and that all French forces had left the city. At that point, von Briesen decided to change the 6th Army's line of advance, and route through the city centre.When the advancing German units had reached the Champs Elysees, von Briesen decided to hold an extempore parade, so the 6th Army marched down the Champs Eysees accompanied by a band, with von Briesen taking the salute. The film footage of that parade is well known, but is usually mistakenly presented as the German victory march after the French surrender. In fact, after the parade the 6th Army kept on moving, exiting Paris from the south and continuing its pursuit of French forces. The case of Paris in 1940 is an example of a genuine "open city". The French Government and military forces had left the city, and no resistance was presented to the approaching German forces. The German response to the French declaration was appropriate. By contrast, regardless of any declaration that the Yugoslav Government may have made, that Government was still located in the city, and at least part of its war effort was still being directed from there. That made it a military target.
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