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Defeat of France -- Compiegne -- Foch's railcar

Film | Accession Number: 2003.458 | RG Number: RG-60.3897 | Film ID: 2687

The narrator announces that is it the "21st of June, day of Compiegne." Franco-German armistice negotiations began at Compiegne, France, on June 21st, 1940. German soldiers are shown draping a French war memorial with a Nazi German flag. German troops holding rifles march into the camera, then into the Glade of the Armistice (a large plaza which was created as a memorial to the French victory in 1918), in the center of which stands the train car of Marshal Foch. This is the location of the signing of the armistice ending World War I, on November 11, 1918. It was destroyed by the Germans three days after France accepted the surrender terms in 1940. The ceremony associated with Hitler's acceptance of France's capitulation is shown. Hitler with his generals reviewing an honor guard and inspecting the French war memorials (including a large plaque) as they proceed toward the train car. The interior of the car: the narrator states that everything in the train car has remained as it was in 1918. The French delegation arrives, including General Charles Huntziger, who would sign for France. The French delegation is seated around the table. The narrator summarizes the terms of the agreement. Hitler and his contingent leave the wagon as the band plays "Deutschland Ueber Alles". The French delegation remains in the wagon to discuss the terms. They eventually exit the wagon and are lead to another building in the woods to telephone others in the government in Bordeaux.

01:19:45 German troops on a road in France as the narrator announces that the capitulation is final on 22nd June. French colonial POWs march along the road. The narrator states that three army leaders and 500,000 POWs are held by Germany. Shots of crowds of French POWs. The camera pans along a line of POWs and focuses on several African (French colonial) soldiers, while the narrator makes disparaging remarks about them and about the way the French "celebrate [the Africans] as their black brothers."

01:21:20 Return to the train car in the Glade of the Armistice. A different narrator says that on 22nd June the French-German armistice was signed. He names the representatives of France and Germany and shows them inside the train car, signing the document. General Wilhelm Keitel signs for Germany; General Charles Huntziger for France. The scene switches to clouds rolling across the screen. Stirring music, with a chorus, plays over shots of tolling bells, German flags waving in the breeze, churches. Ends with brief shot of Nazi eagle.

Event:  June 21-22, 1940
Production:  1940 June 27
Compiegne, France
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, gift of George R. Wheeler
Record last modified: 2022-07-28 21:59:39
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