Siegfried Line
 
Siegfried Line, «SEEG freed,» was the name of two fortified lines of defense established by Germany in the 1900's. German generals Paul von Hindenburg and Erich Ludendorff had the first Siegfried Line built in the winter of 1916-1917, during World War I (1914-1918). The line stretched across northern France and Belgium. The Allies, who called the barrier the Hindenburg Line, smashed it near the end of the war.

During the 1930's, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler built a new Siegfried Line along the border between Germany and France. This chain of forts and tank defenses stood opposite the Maginot Line, a massive line of fortifications built by France (see Maginot Line below). The Allies broke through Hitler's Siegfried Line during World War II (1939-1945). Parts of this line still stand.

 
Maginot Line, «MAZH uh noh,» is a fortified line of defense along the eastern border of France. It was constructed after World War I (1914-1918). Forts stand aboveground, flanked by pillboxes and barbed-wire entanglements. Underground chambers provide space for communications systems, hospitals, storerooms, garages, and living quarters for officers and men. In May 1940, the Germans invaded France through Belgium, passing north of the Maginot Line. In three weeks, they swept past and then behind the line, and captured it from the rear. The Maginot Line was overhauled in the 1950's for possible use in case of atomic war.
 

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