When French and American troops swept into Paris in 1944 to liberate the capital from German rule, LIFE.com photographer Ralph Morse was there to document the moment.
The French capital had been under Nazi control since 1940. After four years of occupation, the French Resistance led a revolt against German occupiers, and on Aug. 25, 1944, Allied forces retook the city. To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the liberation, LIFE.com has published a series of photos from Morse, who captured everything from scenes of fighting to moments of celebration.
Morse, now 96, told LIFE.com that it "was an amazing sight, an amazing feeling."
"So many people in the streets, holding hands, everyone headed for the Champs-Élysées and the Arc de Triomphe, the same way that everyone in New York heads to, say, Times Square when something momentous happens," he recalled. "It really was . . . well, liberating."
Take a look at Morse's photos below and see the full gallery on Life.com.
A "Free French" soldier races to aid a Resistance fighter firing at a German sniper, Paris, August 1944. The sniper had opened fire during a tour of the city by Gen. Charles de Gaulle. (Ralph Morse—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
A family seeks safety beside a Jeep as French Resistance fighters and Free French troops try to take out a German sniper during the liberation of Paris in August 1944. (Ralph Morse—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Parisians fill the streets on Aug. 25, 1944, after occupying German forces surrender. (Ralph Morse—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Allied troops and journalists — including photographers Robert Capa (on the back of a Jeep with a camera in front of his face) and George Rodger (with camera, wearing a beret) — in the streets of Paris during the city's liberation, August 1944. (Ralph Morse—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
Parisians celebrate the liberation of the City of Light, August 1944. (Ralph Morse—The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)