Liberation of Strasbourg

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Liberation of Strasbourg
Part of Second World War
Date 23 November 1944
Location Strasbourg
Result French victory
France France  Germany
Commanders and leaders
General Leclerc General Vaterrodt

The Liberation of Strasbourg constituted the dramatically symbolic high point for the rehabilitation of the honor of French arms as the Allies advanced across France toward Germany in 1944. Alsace, of which Strasbourg is the capital, had been the focus of French-German enmity since the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71, and General Charles de Gaulle insisted that only French forces should retake it. After the victory of Kufra, General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque and his troops swore an oath to fight until "our flag flies over the Cathedral of Strasbourg".[1][2] The oath was fulfilled on 23 November 1944, when the 2nd French Armoured Division under Leclerc's command liberated Strasbourg.[3]

On November 22, 1944, the hard-fighting French 2nd Armored Division, along with the French First Army, had been assigned the capture of Strasbourg by Allied Supreme Command. That same day, the 2nd Armored moved up to the vital pass at Saverne, which had been taken by the Americans, about 40 km northwest of Strasbourg. This Saverne "gap" is the historic gateway through the barrier of the Vosges Mountains, opening a line of advance on Strasbourg.

On November 23, 1944, units of the French 2nd Armored Division entered the city and raised the Free French tricolore over Strasbourg cathedral at 2:30 pm.


  1. ^ Jurez de ne déposer les armes que lorsque nos couleurs, nos belles couleurs, flotteront sur la cathédrale de Strasbourg. (English: "we shall not lay down our arms before our colours, our beautiful colours, are flying above Strasbourg Cathedral)." Association des Amis du Musée Mémorial de la Bataille de Normandie à Caen, "Cemin de l'Est au cœur de l'histoire", Libération et Mémoire p.2
  2. ^ "The liberation and defence of Strasbourg". Chemins de Mémoire: Review. French Ministry of Defense. December 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2015. 
  3. ^ "Hommage le serment de Koufra" [Honoring the oath of Kufra]. Armée de Terre. French Ministry of Defense. 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2015.