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How fond was General Dietrich von Choltitz of Paris?

In my reading of WW2, I learned about General Dietrich von Choltitz who was the German military governor of Paris during the closing days of the German occupation of that city during World War II. He disobeyed Hitler's order to leave Paris in rubble during this last stage of the war.

On 1 August 1944 von Choltitz was promoted to the rank of general of infantry, and on August 7, he became the military governor of Paris. He arrived at Paris on 9 August. In the following 16 days, he disobeyed several direct orders from Adolf Hitler to destroy the city
Hitler's order from 23 August 1944 said: "The city must not fall into the enemy's hand except lying in complete debris." A common accounts holds that Hitler phoned him in a rage, screaming, "Brennt Paris?" ("Is Paris burning?")

Von Choltitz prevented a complete uprising of the city's inhabitants and direct battles within the city by a mix of active contact with his enemies, negotiation with the Resistance, and demonstrations of power, ultimately preventing any major damage to the famous city. He and 17,000 men under his command surrendered to French general Philippe Leclerc de Hautecloque and the Resistance leader Henri Rol-Tanguy at the Gare Montparnasse on 25 August 1944. For preventing a second Stalingrad, von Choltitz was regarded as "saviour of Paris" by some.

Since he was bold enough to disobey Hitler's orders of holding Paris till the last man and until Paris was so damaged from fighting that it was rubble, Iam curious of why General Choltitz. I mean when he was a POW in Trent Park in England, he admitted in a conversation with fellow prisoners that when he was fighting in the Eastern Front that he had to execute the most difficult order he ever had while in the Eastern Front, which was to massacre Jews. He actually followed that order and indeed Jews were ordered to be killed under his command!

I will admit don't really know much about this topic,however seems to indicate to me that he was quite fond of Paris considering he refused to obey Hitler's order not to surrender the city and fight to the end(which would have destroyed Paris) but was willing to obey Hitler's orders to kill Jews in Russia.

So how come General Dietrich von Choltitz was not willing to let Paris get destroyed by fighting the Allied armies?Was it because he was fond of Paris and didn't want the magnificient city to get destroyed? Or was there another reason?
eanne94 by eanne94
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Congratulations on your question which is highly pertinent. This link will take you to a very interesting article which suggests that von Choltitz did not obey Hitler because he realised that H was insane and that the military strategy of destroying Paris would be disasterous.…

This site:…
indicates that he was a pragmatic and logical man and, seeing which way the wind was blowing so to speak, decided to capitulate.

I share your fascination for this period!
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Asker's Comment:
Interesting answer espcially the links!

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  • Cabal by Cabal
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    In a book called Paris brule t'il (the title is based on the question Hitler asks von Cholitz), it is said that von Cholitz knew perfectly well what would happen if he tried to destroy Paris. The Allied troupes were already surroundering the city, the FFI were fighting with the German troupes inside Paris, there was no way to escape, and there were a million Parisians ready to tear any German to pieces given the opportunity. Given that, only a madman would have tried to destroy Paris, murdering a few hundred thousands inhabitants on the way, and then surrendered to troupes which included French soldiers. They few Geman survivors would have been shot on the spot and their commander would have been the first in line to be shot. Von Cholitz knew that in the end he would have to surrender anyway, he decided to save the lives of his men (and of the civilians) by not obeying an order dictated by vengeance and not military tactic. Another thing was that as a prisoner he would be out of reach of Hitler, while as a commander on the east front he would have had to answer to Hitler for not obeying orders. Yet it still took courage in disobeying that madman, he knew that he was risking the lives of his whole family for Hitler was known for taking his revenge on kin of 'traitors'.

    They even made a film out of the book

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