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Organizing the terrain: the Maginot Line in the natural world, 1919-1939

Passmore, Kevin ORCID: 2024. Organizing the terrain: the Maginot Line in the natural world, 1919-1939. Environmental History 29 (1) , pp. 86-117. 10.1086/727788
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The Maginot Line fortifications represented a hubristic attempt to harness nature to the purposes of French national defense, thus creating an “envirotechnical object.” French military engineers drew on an early version of managerial science known as the “science of organization.” They conceived of the Maginot Line as an integrated human, mechanical, and natural whole, in which nature was treated like a human “crowd,” which they believed to be chaotic and formless unless an elite provided structure. In the end, the engineers’ plans were frustrated by rival organizers of nature, notably commercial interests, tourists, and the Forest and Water Authority, and by the very properties of the forest, water, and air.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 1084-5453
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 28 July 2023
Date of Acceptance: 26 July 2023
Last Modified: 07 Mar 2024 15:57

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