“That was the greatest and finest moment of my life,” one of the world’s most brutal tyrants reportedly said after touring the newly Nazi-occupied French capital.
The day after signing an armistice with France, Hitler and his cronies toured Napoleon’s tomb, the Paris opera house, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Sacre Coeur, and the Eiffel Tower on June 23, 1940.
Hitler’s friend and architect Albert Speer was instructed to take note of the city’s design in order to recreate similar yet superior German buildings.
“Wasn’t Paris beautiful?” Hitler reportedly asked Speer.
“But Berlin must be far more beautiful. When we are finished in Berlin, Paris will only be a shadow.”
While sightseeing Hitler also ordered the destruction of two French World War I monuments that reminded him of Germany’s bitter defeat.
The Führer’s first official visit to the “City of Light” was also his last.
In all, Hitler spent three hours in Paris but spent four years occupying northern France.
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