Maginot Line (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: Military significance: This static line of fortifications complemented and determined French military strategy during the 1930’s.
In 1925, the decision to construct a line of permanent fortifications along France’s eastern and northern frontiers took shape when Minister of War Paul Painlevé established the Commission de Defense des Frontiers (commission for the defense of the frontiers). However, it was not until five years later, under Painlevé’s successor, André Maginot, that construction on the Maginot Line began in earnest. French military planners had been impressed by the ability of fixed fortifications, such as those at Verdun, to withstand assault and many saw in such defenses the means to protect the country against a sudden, surprise attack from Germany. This fear was acute in 1930 when Allied occupation troops were pulled out of the Rhineland five years ahead of schedule. In addition, during World War I, more than 1.3 million French died, creating a dip in the birth rate. The resulting manpower shortage caused the length of compulsory military service to be reduced in 1927 to one year, making offensive action against Germany less likely. A static line of permanent reinforced-concrete fortifications seemed the perfect way to compensate for such French weakness.
The Maginot Line was made strongest in its northeastern sector where it consisted of three interdependently fortified girdles....
(The entire section is 493 words.)
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