In the interwar period, Czechoslovakia expanded its powerful network of fortifications along the border with Germany. Today we look at the ghosts of Czech border fortifications captured by Czech photographer Roman Kubeček.
Work on the fortifications began in 1935 because of fears of a German invasion at the border (number 1545 kilometers). The huge project aimed to build thousands of bunkers and defensive positions along the border with Germany, Austria and Hungary.
These Czechoslovakian fortresses were managed by elite soldiers, so called border regiments, who had to abandon and surrender their their posts because of the Munich Agreement. Unfortunately, these fortifications have never helped in the defense of their southern neighbor.
Roman Kubeček has created a series of incredible photographs depicting the fortifications during the war and today. (*The captions are his.)
It’s important to note that even the enemy himself showed a great deal of respect to the Czechoslovakian fortress system.
When you will be standing by a single bunker, you wait out, while a crew salutes you, because – as veterans of border regiments often used to say – our bodies had to retreat, but our souls linger on there.
Sadly, the huge fortifications that were supposed to protect the country became a symbol of their failure and subsequent submission to Nazi Germany.
After the takeover by the Germans, most of the fortifications were occupied and used, especially in the final phase of the war against the advancing Soviet forces.
Today almost all of the remaining light objects of the fortresses are freely accessible and open to the public. Some of the heavy objects are also accessible, others may be rented or sold to enthusiasts. A certain number were turned into museums and very few into depots.
The “Hanička” Artillery Fort was being rebuilt into a modern shelter for the Ministry of Interior between 1979 and 1993, but declared unneeded in 1995. A museum has been created there.
Roman Kubeček, Czech photographer, made a series of great pictures combining old photographs with contemporary. He calls them
More pictures can be found on the photographer’s website and Facebook fan page. He also has a gorgeous album entitled Československo 1938. (Note that Roman also thanks and acknowledges Franta Bauer for the period/vintage photos.)
You can also see some video footage of the fortifications here:
Information Source: Smart Age
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