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Biarritz Diary: Beach Blanket Bunkers
Beloved of royals, Russians and surfers, the resort of Biarritz on France’s southern Atlantic coast also bears remnants of WWII. Located a little more than twenty miles north of the Spanish border, its broad beaches were probably too far away from England to support an Allied seaborne invasion of Europe (Normandy and Calais seems to have been the only two serious options), but the Germans did prepare coastal defenses nonetheless:
The two bunkers embedded in the cliff look down the beach at Anglet, just north of Biarritz’ lighthouse. The fortifications are more typical of German beach defenses than the gray, sea-facing bunkers that make it into movies. Military planners know that bunkers directly open to the sea will be easily put out of action by fire from ships; Anglet’s impregnable, obliquely mounted bunkers would resist any naval attack, yet their own gunfire would rake the length of the beach with deadly effect.
The contrast of such purposeful construction with bathing suit-wearing beach-goers never fails to elicit wonder in me.
Addendum: Needless to say, Soviet citizens did not buy much property in Biarritz between 1917 and 1991; Lenin, Stalin and their successors saw to that. But Biarritz still has its own cupola-sporting Russian Orthodox Church that was much used by pre-Revolutionary nobility and other wealthy citizens of the Czarist monarchy, and the memory of that time seems to have survived the Communist Party. Russian real estate investors and tourists were much in evidence during our visit. The same is true, I am told, of the French Riviera. Old traditions do not fail.
August 14, 2013
Breaking: Of Crips and Bloods and Memories of Ghetto Parties
History repeats itself, first as tragedy and then as farce, or sometimes it just repeats itself. From the New York Times on November 30, 1998: At Dartmouth College, white students at a ”ghetto party” dressed…
June 25, 2013
Dean of the College Charlotte Johnson’s War on Students Part (2/2)
Part 1, Part 2 Today’s post again recounts the events that befell the Freshman. However, the content of the Hanover Police department report reproduced in this space yesterday is supplemented by information from my own…
October 18, 2009
When Love Beckoned in 52nd Street
We were at San Francisco’s BIX last evening, enjoying prosecco, cheese, and a bit of music. A full year of inhabitation in Northern California has unraveled to me no decent venue for proper lounging, but…
October 9, 2009
D Afraid of a Little Competish
So our colleague and Dartblog writer Joe Asch informed me that the D has rejected our cunning advertising campaign. Uh-oh. The Dartmouth is widely known as a breeding ground for instant New York Times successes,…
September 4, 2009
How Regents Should Reign
As Dartmouth alumni proceed through the legal hoops necessary to defuse a Board-packing plan—which put in unhappy desuetude an historic 1891 Agreement between alumni and the College guaranteeing a half-democratically-elected Board of Trustees—it strikes one…
August 29, 2009
Election Reform Study Committee
If you are an alum of the College on the Hill, you may have received a number of e-mails of late beseeching your input for a new arm of the College’s Alumni Control Apparatus called…
- The Dartmouth College Case
- 2007 Trustee Election
- Dartmouth Constitution
- Sunday Morning Sinatra
- The Indian Wars
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