Hitler and the Eiffel Tower

Adolf Hitler and his entourage pose in front of the Eiffel Tower shortly after the fall of France.

One of the most recognized structures in the world is located in Paris, France. With just those clues alone (well and the title of the post…) many have already guessed that this post is about the Eiffel Tower. A prominent element of the Paris skyline since 1889, it intercepted German radio communications and worked as a communication relay during the First World War.

When Paris fell to German occupation on June 14, 1940, French resistance fighters allegedly cut the elevator cables to the Eiffel Tower. This meant that if Hitler wanted to hoist a swastika flag, a soldier would have to climb the roughly 1710 stairs to the summit platform.

As Allies neared Paris in August 1944, a Frenchman scaled the tower and hung the French flag. When it became obvious that the Germans would lose Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to turn the city into rubble – including the Eiffel Tower. General von Choltitz did not carry out the command. Reportedly, within hours of the Liberation of Paris, the Tower’s lifts worked again.

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