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Abstract

The fortification of the British coastline under threat of German invasion is a neglected dimension of the Second World War. While the various national defence programmes enacted during the conflict are well known, the mechanisms by which these schemes were actually established are poorly understood. This article sheds new light on the origins of Britain's coastal ‘crust’ via a case study of Walberswick in Suffolk. It demonstrates that the defences erected during the invasion crisis of 1940 were as much a product of local decisions made on the ground as they were of top-down planning.