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Between Passéisme And Modernisation? The Case Of The Belgian Fortification System 1926–1940

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Chapter Summary

The fortification system provides a fine example of the preparation of the Belgian armed forces in the inter-war period on the one hand, and of the relationship with the broader political debates, on the other. This chapter analyses the modernisation of the defensive system not by describing the forts and bunkers as such. Using the case of the fortification system the chapter also analyses the impact of the many foci of power, the areas of tension within the Belgian society and their relevance for the decision-making process as well as the military options taken. The exogenous and endogenous actors and factors that influenced the establishment of the so-called 'permanent defences' will be examined. The chapter shows that the options taken are not merely the result of the military orientation(s) as such, but reflect the deeply divided Belgian society as well.

Keywords: Belgian armed forces; decision-making process; fortification system; modernisation



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