We are staying in a hotel perhaps two block off of Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris (sha’-mi-lay’ I am told is the pronunciation). We are but a few blocks from the Arch de Triumph. It is an imposing piece of architecture.
We were told today that this was where Allied troops marched into the city in triumph in 1944, and where one million people celebrated as the French won the 1998 FIFA soccer cup. Below is a photo of the 1998 gathering, but it is perhaps 999,000 short of a million.
So they faked it up a little bit in 1998. That is no big deal. We were told that a million people gathered in Denver to celebrate this year’s Superbowl win. I have not seen photographs, but would bet it was perhaps more like 100,000. That is just how they do things in news – they supercharge these events to make them more meaningful.
I was far more curious about the March of Allied solders into Paris in 1944. So many things about that war were a lie, so I suspected that was a lie too. Here’s a photo:
Several things to note about this photo:
- If it is a “liberation” going on, few French people took notice. Sidewalk spectators on either side of this procession are, as best as I can make out, sparse. It is hard to tell. On the left, a few people appear to be milling in small clusters, but are not much involved with the passing troops. And, those people are tiny compared to the troops, as if far far distant from the column.
- The logistics of the march are complicated. Soldiers would have to march up to the Arch, and then around it and then reform the wide marching procession. Only a small swath of the large column would actually go through the Arch. It is not designed for that. (See the photo above for a better perspective, as this photo makes the opening in the arch appear bigger than it is. It is just poor photo pasting.) But all I can see is a straight column of troops and an overexposed sky behind the Arch, as if the troops merely dropped in place from above. The arch appears to be wider due to extension of light, but notice how a straight line descends where the natural wall would be. They monkeyed with it.
- Oh crap, I am not going to pretend anymore. The photo is fake, military propaganda. Just stand back from it and you will see a a clear line of demarcation across the back of the troops that extends down the sides where the trees blend. That is the cut-off used in the photo, below and inside of which which are troops, above which is the Arch, and outside of which are people in the sidewalk on a normal day, much further away than the superimposed column of troops. This is two photos (at least) pasted together.
The military needed this event, and so manufactured it out of whole cloth.
What at else about World War II is fake? Lots. But I will leave it at that for now.