When the Nazi army was bearing down on Paris the International Herald Tribune continued to publish after no other newspaper remained, out lasting even French papers, making it “the last free newspaper in any language to publish in Paris before the Nazi occupation of June 1940.” Because of this, the International Herald Tribune offers unique insights that cannot be found in any other primary source resource.

The first two weeks of June 1940 were some of the most significant days in modern history. As the Nazi blitzkrieg tore through the north of France, British and French soldiers alike had been routed and surrounded in the port town of Dunkirk – not knowing the miraculous evacuation that awaited them.

Throughout this dire situation, almost all French newspapers ceased operations and stopped publishing – a precaution taken because France was under duress of total war. Knowing their unique position of providing information to Americans still in France, the International Herald Tribune persisted and published issues right up to the Nazi ground assault on Paris.

Browse the issues and articles below for primary source coverage of the Dunkirk evacuation and the Nazi invasion of France. 

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Skip to Part II to explore the final issues published by the International Herald Tribune before the 4-year hiatus during the Nazi occupation.


Our story begins with the end of the Phoney War. The Wehrmacht began their blitzkrieg marching through Belgium and the Netherlands into France. This marked the beginning of the Battle of France. In one month's time International Herald Tribune would shut down and the four year Nazi occupation of Paris would begin.

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May 11, 1940

May 11, 1940 Issue of the International Herald Tribune (Paris Herald)

May 24, 1940 front page of international herald tribune

May 24, 1940

When the Phoney War broke out in September 1939, the International Herald Tribune was cut from eight to four pages due to war rationing.

On May 24, 1940, the International Herald Tribune was forced to reduce the pages of each paper from four to two (a single piece of paper front and back) due to even tighter rationing. Sections of the paper are now entirely blank due to war time censorship to protect sensitive information.

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The International Herald Tribune reporters were closer to the Dunkirk evacuation than any other newspaper in the world. Students and researchers can read the eye-witness accounts of the event that inspired Christopher Nolan's recent blockbuster Dunkirk as it unfolded reported by the International Herald Tribune

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June 2, 1940

June 2, 1940 column from the International Herald Tribune. Dunkirk Evacuation

June 3 1940 column from international herald tribune

June 3, 1940

Editorials from the two weeks leading up to the Nazi occupation of Paris and shut down of the the paper are incredible vestiges of the International Herald Tribune’s pre-war spirit. On June 3, 1940, the editorial laments the restrictions on war reporting, complaining that future historians looking to study newspapers will be hindered by censorship.

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On June 4, 1940, the Nazi's commenced their first bombing run on Paris, killing many civilians, a fact that many other papers ran as headline. The International Herald Tribune however, lead with the positive note "17 Nazi Bombers Shot Down". Despite the now clear and present danger the International Herald Tribune would continue publishing for another week.

The back page of the issue is a mix of news and information for Americans still in Paris. One column informs readers that a cruise ship departing to the US is offering unlimited personal baggage to those fleeing the conflict.

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June 4, 1940


june 4 1940 column from international herald tribune

june 7 1940 column from international herald tribune

June 7, 1940

The front-page reports that in the past 24 hours the French dropped 100 metric tons of bombs on German armored vehicles, but it would not be enough. As the fighting outside of the city intensified, so too did the tenor of the editorials. The June 7, 1940 editorial is testament to the spirit of Paris and Parisians.

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See the final issue published just hours before the Nazi invasion of Paris.

Click here to read Part 2 of the story

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