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On June 7, 1940, the soldiers who just a week ago were awaiting a miraculous evacuation from the beaches of Dunkirk were home in the relative safety of Great Britain. In France, the fighting intensified, the German army threw in their reserves and 2,000 Nazi tanks were pummeling the French defenses north of Paris. In four days, the Nazi army would be marching down the Champs-Élysées and the International Herald Tribune would cease production for four years. Undeterred by the increasingly perilous situation editors and writers at the International Herald Tribune remained.

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Despite the continued and growing threat of the looming Nazi invasion, the International Herald Tribune continued to publish the Sporting Gossip column written by the legendary Sparrow Robertson

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June 7, 1940 cont.

june 8 1940 column from international herald tribune

june 9 1940 column from international herald tribune

June 9, 1940

While reports on the front page were dedicated to reports French army “stubbornly [battling] for every inch,” a story ran on the back of the single sheet issue with the headline “Hitler Is asked to Return Copy of the Liberty Bell”.

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 On June 10, the French government fled the city as the Nazi invasion of Paris became imminent.

On this day the International Herald Tribune published an article above the fold titled “Paris Little Changed As Battle for Control Roars 50 Miles Off,” describing the mood of the city, “There were no signs of hysteria. Even at the railroad stations the bustle of departure was matter-of-fact. There was no confusion and few tears.” By the time the issue hit newsstands all of that would be changed.

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June 10, 1940

june 10 1940 column from international herald tribune

june 11 1940 front page of international herald tribune

June 11, 1940

The final issue of the International Herald Tribune published before the 4-year Nazi occupation of Paris. One more issue was written and printed, but delivery trucks in route to their destinations were trapped in the traffic of people fleeing the city and the issue never made it to newsstands. The lead headline is Italy’s declaration of war on France, a decisive turning point in the Battle of France. The article “Parisians Leave in Countless Thousands as City Realizes Dangers,” describes the human tragedy of Parisians exodus from the city.

“All day long streams of cars and trucks loaded down until the springs gave way poured out of the city. It was heartbreaking to watch them for here once more was that sad old story that has been told many times, of twisted lives, of poverty, of flight before an invader, of separation perhaps forever from mothers and fathers and children”

 “Paris before dawn yesterday was a city of men, women and children fleeing to safety, of countless thousands of families joining the millions of refugees from the north who have fled before the German mechanized army in these last few weeks.”

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Historical newspaper paper content is an invaluable resource in teaching and researching history. It allows students to immerse themselves in the day-to-day drama of historical events and gain a visceral understanding of what it was like for the people who lived through them. Owing to the International Herald Tribune’s unique position in the newspaper industry during the dawn of WWII the International Herald Tribune Historical Archive, 1887-2013 offers and unparalleled account of a tremendously important period of time.

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