The Maginot Line is not a particularly well-known part of French history. André Maginot was a minister under the 3rd Republic. When he became Minister of War on 3 November 1929 he enjoyed great popularity as he was an ex-serviceman. On 28 December of the same year, Maginot presented a military programme before Parliament and its funding was adopted in record time (less than 5½ hours of debate).
Now move on to Fort de Mutzig. Fort de Mutzig was built by the Germans on a hill near the town of Mutzig. It looked out over the region and allowed access to the Plain of Alsace to be blocked in the case of attack from French troops. This fort has an incredible maze of underground passages which can be visited during interesting guided tours which last about 3 hours. The visit starts at the outside where a huge access ramp dug out of the hill leads to the rooms and tunnels inside. These ramps were defended by several machine guns which could mow down advancing enemy troops before they reached the entrance.
Next stop is Four à Chaux, part of the Maginot Line. Four à Chaux is on a hill overlooking the village of Lembach and is named after the nearby lime kiln. It has 3km of galleries 30 metres below ground. 24 officers and 600 men of one of the Fortress Infantry Regiments were stationed there. They were mobilized on several occasions before returning to their post at the end of August 1939. As there was no military action between September 1939 and May 1940, they organized themselves and took possession of the livestock found roaming through the streets of Lembach whose population had been evacuated !