Zone rouge

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For other uses, see Red Zone (disambiguation).

Coordinates: 50°22′N 2°48′E / 50.36°N 2.80°E / 50.36; 2.80

Map showing totally destroyed areas in red, areas of major damage in yellow and moderately damaged areas in green
A German trench and Delville Wood, near Longueval (Somme), that were destroyed in 1916 in the Red Zone

The Zone rouge (French for "Red Zone") is the name given to about 1,200 square kilometres (460 sq mi) of land in northeastern France that was physically and environmentally destroyed during the First World War. Because of hundreds of thousands of human and animal corpses and millions of unexploded ordnance that contaminated the land, some activities in the area such as housing, farming or forestry, were temporarily or permanently forbidden after the war by French law. Some towns were never permitted to be rebuilt.

Restrictions in the zone rouge still exist today although the controlled areas have been greatly reduced.

See also[edit]


  • Smith, Corinna Haven & Hill, Caroline R. Rising Above the Ruins in France: An Account of the Progress Made Since the Armistice in the Devastated Regions in Re-establishing Industrial Activities and the Normal Life of the People. New York: GP Putnam's Sons, 1920: 6.
  • De Sousa David, La Reconstruction et sa Mémoire dans les villages de la Somme 1918-1932, Editions La vague verte, 2002, 212 pages
  • Bonnard Jean-Yves, La reconstitution des terres de l'Oise après la Grande Guerre: les bases d'une nouvelle géographie du foncier, in Annales Historiques Compiégnoises 113-114, p.25-36, 2009.
  • Parent G.-H., 2004. Trois études sur la Zone Rouge de Verdun, une zone totalement sinistrée I.L’herpétofaune - II.La diversité floristique - III.Les sites d‘intérêt botanique et zoologique à protéger prioritairement. Ferrantia , 288 pages

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