Coastal defence and wartime industry

In 1942 Hitler ordered the fortification of the Atlantic shoreline with 15,000 blockhouses in order to counter Allied landings from the West. Work on the Atlantic Wall was contracted to the Todt Organisation which constructed almost 8,000 blockhouses on the Atlantic coast prior to the landings. Similar fortifications were also built on the Mediterranean coast. After the construction of the Siegfried Line the Todt Organisation took over from the engineers of the Wehrmacht. They built air fields for the Luftwaffe and submarine bases for the Kriegsmarine as well as thousands of fortifications for the army and the ramps for the launching of V1 and V2 missiles. The organisation also built Hitler's HQ, laid out underground factories for the SS and rebuilt the dams in Germany destroyed by the Allies. They also built hydro-electric plants, roads and railways in the USSR, in Norway and in Yugoslavia as well as countless air-raid shelters throughout the Reich.

The workforce was mainly recruited from foreigners, either volunteers or requisitioned and forced labour. This led to very wide differences on the various sites, from the volunteers attracted by the salaries in a time of need to forced labour. The management instituted a strict hierarchy among the various nationalities following the racial ideology of the Nazi regime.

Source: Thesis Peter Gaida

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