Following their breakout from Normandy in late June 1944, the Allies swept across northern France in pursuit of the German army. The Allies intended to bypass Paris and cross the Rhine into Germany. Charles de Gaulle, the leading figure of the Free French government, urged General Dwight Eisenhower to divert forces to liberate Paris. Eisenhower’s most senior staff recommended otherwise, but Ike wanted to help position de Gaulle to lead France after the war. And both men were concerned about partisan conflict in Paris that could leave the communists in control of the city and the national government. Neither man knew that the German commandant, Dietrich von Choltitz, convinced that the war was lost, dissembled and schemed to surrender the city to the Allies intact. In this book, Jean Edward Smith shows how the decision to free the city slowed the Allied momentum and allowed the Germans to regroup.