This iconic photograph – captured on June 23, 1940, shows Adolf Hitler and his personal architect, Albert Speer, in Paris shortly after the fall of France.
Despite his eventual demand to have the city burnt down, Hitler was a great fan of Paris. It is recorded that he rose from the seat of his car as it slowly circled the Place de la Concorde before dawn to see the city he had fantasized about since boyhood. He climbed to the top of Parvis du Sacré-Coeur, and looked down at the city he envisioned to recreate in the heart of Berlin.
Before the Nazi occupation, lift cables to the Eiffel Tower were cut by the French. The parts to repair them were allegedly impossible to obtain because of the war. Hitler indeed stayed on the ground. Some German soldiers later climbed to the top to hoist the swastika, but the flag was so large it blew away a few hours later, and was replaced by a smaller one.
A Frenchman scaled the tower during the German occupation to hang the French flag. In August 1944, when the Allies were nearing Paris, Hitler ordered General Dietrich von Choltitz, the military governor of Paris, to demolish the tower along with the rest of the city. Von Choltitz disobeyed the order. The lifts of the Tower were working normally within hours of the Liberation of Paris.