Maginot Line Mentality

Like a disjointed, moss-covered, concrete serpent, the Maginot Line snakes some 800 miles, from the Mediterranean border with Italy northward, until it disappears near the North Sea. The serpent’s blank, unseeing eyes—from which the barrels of cannon and machine guns once unblinkingly stared toward France’s traditional enemy—today gaze across a bucolic landscape that gives little hint of the historic events that transpired along its length over six decades ago. The serpent, constructed over a period of 11 years at a cost of some seven billion prewar francs, was France’s last, best hope to avert another German invasion, another devastating war. The serpent is the largest remaining artifact from World War II. It is the Maginot Line.

Considered by many to be an expensive failure, a symbol of French passivity and retrenchment, of her “bunker mentality” and unwillingness to boldly face the growing Nazi menace in the 1930s, the Maginot Line was an incredibly costly and highly controversial project. In one sense, however, it did exactly what it was designed to do: It forced the enemy to invade France at a different place.

30 Prior German Invasions Into France

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