Hitler in Paris
Upon the Nazi occupation of Paris in 1940, Adolf Hitler posed in front of the Eiffel Tower with his architect Albert Speer (left) and his favorite sculptor Arno Breker. Breker’s monumental neo-Classical figures vividly expressed Nazi racial ideology.
Before the Nazi occupation, the lift cables were cut by the French so that Adolf Hitler would have to climb the steps to the summit of the Eiffel. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war. Hitler indeed stayed on the ground. It was said that Hitler conquered France, but did not conquer the Eiffel Tower. Some German soldiers had to climb to the top to hoist the swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away just a few hours later, and it was replaced by a smaller one. A Frenchman scaled the tower during the German occupation to hang the French flag. In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. Von Choltitz disobeyed the order. The lifts of the Tower were working normally within hours of the Liberation of Paris.
Hitler was a big fan of Paris (despite his eventual demand to have the city burnt down). He rose from the seat of his car as it slowly circled the Place de la Concorde before dawn to see the city he fantasized since boyhood. He climbed up to top of the Parvis du Sacré- Coeur, and looked down at the city he envisioned to recreate in the heart of Berlin.