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What Happened To The Maginot Line After France Fell?

What Happened To The Maginot Line After France Fell?


Very few of the underground fortresses of the line became seized by the Germans during fighting. When France’s government fell to the Nazis, the men who defended the Maginot Line had orders from their own government following the armistice to exit the fortifications and to surrender as prisoners of war.

What was the Maginot Line?

The Maginot Line consists of a system of fortifications and defensive barriers built by France in the 1930s to protect against an invasion by Germany.

Consisting of a series of concrete fortresses, bunkers, and other defensive structures equipped with artillery, machine guns, and other weapons. As a result, the Line’s theoretical design assumed impregnability. And the French intended to deter Germany from attempting an invasion of France.

However, the Maginot Line ultimately proved to be ineffective.

In 1940, Germany invaded France through the Low Countries (Belgium, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands), bypassing the Maginot Line entirely. The Line was also unable to prevent the German Army from quickly advancing through France and defeating the French military. As a result, the Maginot Line has often been criticized as a wasteful and misguided defense project.

The term “Maginot Line” is often associated with both cutting-edge military technology and one of the most serious misplanning incidents in the history of war. The French built a defense system consisting of a line of bunkers along the French border with Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, and Italy that was built between 1930 and 1940.

The system is named after French Defense Minister André Maginot. The main purpose of the defense system was to deter German invasion. 

The individual bunkers of the Maginot Line were more than ordinary military bases. Most of these bases had their own hospital, recreation center, kitchens, living areas, ammunition bunkers, and their own diesel engines for power. 

Large parts of the bases were additionally equipped with air filtration systems against gas attacks. At the time, the budget for construction was far overdrawn at three billion francs, which accounted for many unfinished bases. Most of the architecture was built primarily on the basis of experience in the First World War.

In order to preserve Belgium’s neutrality, the border with Belgium was only very thinly defended by the Maginot Line. 

As an alternative, French and British generals devised a counterattack plan in the event of a German attack through neutral Belgium: While numerous elite troops would defend the Line, several French armies and the British Expeditionary Corps would march into Belgium in the event of war and, together with Belgian troops, repel the Wehrmacht at the Deyle River.

The pre-planned scenario of an attack by the Germans through Belgium actually came to pass.

Reinforcing the Allies’ belief that the Germans would attack France through neutral Belgium just as they had done in World War I. 

As a result, they moved most of their best formations into Belgium, which made it possible for the Germans to penetrate through the weakly occupied Ardennes and bypass the Maginot Line completely. 

The French were forced to surrender and faced a massive defeat.

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The Maginot Line, which put a massive economic burden on France and failed to prevent the German attack. Turns out to become one of the biggest miss-planning decisions ever. As well as a waste of money and troops throughout the history of war. Over $3 billion French Francs became spent on construction. Or about $60 billion in today’s money.

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Written by Bernhard Böck

What Happened To The Maginot Line After France Fell?