Fortress Europe (German: Festung Europa) was a military propaganda term from the Second World War which referred to the areas of Continental Europe occupied by Nazi Germany, as opposed to the United Kingdom across the Channel. The term was used by both sides but, due to their respective geographic locations, in a very different sense.
In British phraseology, Fortress Europe meant the battle honour accorded to Royal Air Force and allied squadrons during the Second World War, but to qualify, operations had to be made by aircraft based in the British Isles against targets in Germany, Italy and other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe, in the period from the fall of France to the Normandy invasion.
World War II defenses
Simultaneously, the term Festung Europa was being used by Nazi propaganda, namely to refer to Hitler's and the Wehrmacht's plans to fortify the whole of occupied Europe, in order to prevent invasion from the British Isles. These measures included the construction of the Atlantic wall, along with reorganization of the Luftwaffe for air defense. This use of the term Fortress Europe was subsequently adopted by correspondents and historians in the English language to describe the military efforts of the Axis powers at defending the continent from the Allies.
Currently, within Europe, the most common use of the term is as a pejorative description of the state of immigration into the European Union. This can be in reference either to attitudes toward immigration, or to the system of border patrols and detention centers that are used to help prevent illegal immigration into the European Union.
For conservative parties (e.g. The Freedom Party of Austria) 'Fortress Europe' is a positive term. They mostly claim that such a fortress does not really exist yet and that illegal immigrants can gef far to easy into Europe. They often charge the southern states to not protect their borders properly, because they know that the immigrans want to go to western/northern states that have a better wellfare system (Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Sweden, etc.). Conservatives all over Europe want to end the Schengen Agreement and to reinstall border controls again because they say it did not only lead to mass immigrations of illegals but also to free traffic of crimminals. Actually changes of the Schengen contracts have already been made.
Controlled external borders
- Ceuta and Melilla (Morocco)
- Italian and Maltese coast
- Canary Islands (from Morocco)
- Maritsa (Turkey)
- East border of the European Union
- Strait of Gibraltar (Morocco)
- Hindenburg Line, German defences on the Western Front of World War I
- Siegfried Line, German defences against France in World War II
- Maginot Line, French defenses against Germany constructed for World War II
- Iron Curtain, dividing line through Europe during the Cold War