Could the following possibly be true? Quote from Andrew Roberts, The Storm of War, 2009, p. 330:

enter image description here

The original quote can be found here:

The Beginning of the Road, by Vasili I. Chuikov, p. 158. (Translated from the Russian by Harold Silver)

1 Answer 1


On June 5th, 1940, the Wehrmacht launched Fall Rot, the second stage of the invasion of France. The French front was rapidly breached along the Somme and the German armies reached the Seine at Rouen on June 9th (from which one only has to follow the Seine to the south-east to enter Paris). The French government fled Paris, first to Tours, then Bordeaux. General Maxime Weygand, the supreme commander of French forces, made clear his intention to see Paris being declared a "ville ouverte" (an open city that would not be defended) on June 10th (contrary to the opinion of General Pierre Héring, the military governor of Paris). On June 14th, the Germans entered without military resistance and no acts of personal resistance were recorded.

The number of German casualties in taking Paris appears to have been zero, and the quote is thus true.

  • 6
    Very interesting! So it would also be correct to say that my 1 year old nephew has "killed [as many] enemy soldiers as the Germans lost in taking Paris."
    – user3521
    Mar 7, 2014 at 0:53
  • 3
    But then again, the Germans took Paris by breaching the front.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 7, 2014 at 7:45
  • @SteveMuster Yes, very sorry about this stupid typo. Also, the original version claimed that Héring had declared Paris ville ouverte. In fact, Héring disapproved of this choice and was ready to fight; it is Weygand who took the decision.
    – Olivier
    Mar 7, 2014 at 9:33
  • @Annoyed Why, yes: taking Amiens was hard, and there the Germans suffered the loss of dozens of Panzers. Even going through Pont-de-l'Arche (a village I know only because this is where my then 14 year old grand-father was living) was hard. But once this was done, taking Paris was easy. I don't think Chuikov was claiming that Pavlov had inflicted more casualties than the whole of Fall Rot, that would be silly.
    – Olivier
    Mar 7, 2014 at 10:38
  • 2
    @Olivier Semantically, I think the quote works precisely by playing on the two interpretations. That's what makes it startling, technically correct and yet a bit silly at the same time. The full story is a lot more boring and wouldn't make for a good dialogue.
    – Relaxed
    Mar 7, 2014 at 10:45

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.