Maginot Line

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Maginot Line

(măzh`ĭnō, Fr. mäzhēnō`), system of fortifications along the eastern frontier of France, extending from the Swiss border to the Belgian. It was named for André Maginot, who was French minister of war (1929–32) and who directed its construction. Although considered impregnable, the line was still not complete at the outbreak (1939) of World War II. Its actual strength was never tested, for the line was flanked by the Germans in their French campaign of 1940. Like fortified lines since the Great Wall of ChinaGreat Wall of China,
series of fortifications, c.3,890 mi (6,260 km) long (not including trenches and natural defensive barriers), winding across N China from Gansu prov. to Liaoning prov.
..... Click the link for more information.
, the chief effect it had was to create a false sense of security; it could not eliminate the necessity for mobile warfare, and that particular lesson was thoroughly learned after the French collapse of 1940.


See V. Rowe, The Great Wall of France (1959); J. M. Hughes, To the Maginot Line (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Maginot Line


a system of French fortifications on the border with Germany, about 380 km long, running from Belfort to Longuyon.

The Maginot Line was built at the suggestion of Minister of War A. Maginot in 1929-34 and was continually improved upon until 1940. It was designed to protect northeastern France against German invasion. It included three fortified regions (Metz, Lauter, and Belfort), the Rhine fortified front, and the Saar obstacle region. It consisted of a security zone (4-14 km deep) and a main zone (6-8 km deep). About 5,600 permanent pillboxes were built on the Maginot Line; this included 520 for artillery, 3,200 for machine guns, and 1,800 others. The pillboxes were joined into strongpoints, and the strongpoints were joined in centers of resistance and ensembles. Deep within the defense were the modernized fortresses of Belfort, Epinal, Toul, and Verdun. The strongpoints and centers of resistance were covered by antitank and anti-infantry obstacles.

In 1936-40 the Maginot Line was extended to the North Sea by construction of the Daladier Line. It was 620 km long and included three fortified regions (Montmedy Maubeuge, and Schelde) and two obstacle regions (Flanders and Ardennes), but it was not completed. The Maginot Line had a garrison of fortress troops (about 200,000), who were reinforced and transformed into an army group at the beginning of World War II (1939-45). In 1940 the fascist German forces reached the rear of the Maginot Line through the Ardennes and after the surrender of France forced the garrison of the Maginot Line to give up. After the war most of the surviving and restored structures were turned into storehouses for military gear.


lakovlev, V. V. Sovremennaia voenno-inzhenernaia podgotovka vostochnoi granitsy Frantsii: Liniia Mazhino. Moscow, 1938.
Karbyshev, D. M. “Mazhino i pozitsiia Zigfrida.” In his book Izbr. nauch, trudy. Moscow, 1962.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Maginot Line

French fortification zone along German border; thought impregnable before WWII. [Fr. Hist.: NCE, 1658]
Allusions—Cultural, Literary, Biblical, and Historical: A Thematic Dictionary. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
However, when the Germans launched their attack in 1940, they simply drove their tanks around the Maginot line defences.
When it comes time to name who "loves" Pecola, for example, the narrator--now definitively Claudia--cites Cholly and the Maginot Line. (7.) Awkward argues that Pecola's "schizophrenia" is a "coded intertext of W.
They describe the background and development both of the Maginot Line between the world wars to protect France from a German ground assault, and of coastal defenses France developed to provide additional security.
This was the start of the phoney war, and lasted until the Germans broke through into France in 1940 by invading Belgium, as the Maginot Line stopped short of covering their border.
The Maginot Line in France prior to WWII seemed like a pretty good idea at the time.
In fact, it's more like the Maginot Line: a strongly defended front that is highly vulnerable to attack from behind.
But a blitzkrieg of takeovers in the 1980s overran this Maginot Line. Stakeholders who formerly got burned were now burning CEOs at the stake in the name of shareholder value.
Their desperately-deluded pleas that it 'does me alreet' brings to mind the hollow assurances given by the French General staff in early 1940, when they promised everyone that the 'tried and tested 'old Maginot line would keep the Nazis and their new fangled 'Blitzkrieg' at bay.
His unit was dug in outside Hottviller, France, near the string of German fortifications known as the Maginot Line. The Nazis attempted to push the Americans back.
In his Maginot Line series, he looks at overgrown and decaying Second World War defensive blockhouses.
QUIZ OF THE DAY: 1 Polish; 2 Nokia; 3 An obi; 4 The Maginot Line; 5 Badger; 6 Galway Bay; 7 Frankie Howerd; 8 Manchester; 9 The 18th century; 10 Peter Lawford.
EU Monetary Affairs Commissioner Joaquin Almunia, the bloc's top financial official, even accused Paris this year of going back to the Maginot Line, the useless defensive network that was swiftly overcome by the invading German army in 1940.