After four years of occupation, Paris was a source of great guilt in the free world. After the Allied Normandy landings on 6 June 1944, the French capital impatiently awaited its deliverance. On all sides, resistance fighters, urged on by the Parisian Committee of the Liberation (CPL), initiated strikes. Air raid warnings and bombings, a dearth of food supplies and general paralysis of all transport made day-to-day life even harder for the inhabitants. The penetration of the German front in Normandy, and the rapid advance of the Anglo-American 1st Army up the Rhône Valley obliged the enemy to revise their plans. Paris was at the heart of strategy and policy. The uprising was accelerated by a call for general mobilisation by Colonel Rol-Tanguy, commander of the French Forces of the Interior, with the approval of Georges Bidault, president of the Conseil National de la Résistance and the CPL.
From 19 August, Paris rose up against the enemy. It continued until General De Gaulle’s parade down the Champs-Elysées on 26 August 1944. Barricades were hastily erected. Trees were cut down, and men, women, and children formed chains to pass cobblestones to one another, heaping them up to create barriers. By 24 August 1944, some 600 barricades had been built in Paris and its suburbs. In addition to the traditional mobilisation of the working class areas in the east and the north of the city, the comfortably-off districts in the west were also involved. Thanks to these barricades, the Parisians became the agents of their own liberation. And so, through the spontaneous commitment of its inhabitants, it was indeed Paris itself which rose up against the enemy.
On 24 March 1945, the City of Paris was made a Compagnon de la Libération. On 2 April, General De Gaulle bestowed the Cross of the Order of Liberation on the city at a ceremony on the steps of the Hôtel de Ville. This major event in the history of Paris has left many traces that can still be seen today. A considerable number of roads were renamed in honour of the defenders of Paris, and on various walls in the city, there are some 500 plaques commemorating those who died defending it.