The Maginot Line

Named after French Minister of Defense André Maginot, the Line was a series of permanent fortifications built to protect France's borders with Germany and Italy.

Historians and writers differ over exactly what is meant by the name Maginot Line. The term sometimes describes all of France's pre-WWII border defenses, or just the large, complex forts (termed ouvrages in French) actually facing Germany and Italy. These different interpretations result from the way in which the Maginot Line evolved during its planning and construction, and the final form taken by the fortifications; which was considerably different from what was originally envisioned. The view, that the Maginot Line includes all of France's border defenses, is the one adopted by authors of this website.

Planned in the 1920's and constructed in the 1930's, the Maginot Line was a direct result of France's experience in World War I. The broad purpose of the Line was to halt an invasion long enough for the French Army to fully mobilize, and then act as a base from which to conduct a counteroffensive.

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Keywords: Maginot Line, WWII, Fortifications, France, WWII

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