The Appian Wall (Midrasian: Paret Appia), named after former Midrasian defence minister Antoine d'Appia and officially known as the Anti-Communist Barrier, is a line of separation barriers, fortifications and obstacles lining the Midrasian border between Veleaz and parts of Wallais. The barrier was constructed at the height of the Asuran red scare under the leadership of the National Coalition government. The fortifications were primarily constructed as military installations to protect the country in the event of an outbreak of war with the Aeian Socialist Union. However the wall also aimed to prevent illegal migration from the communist east into Midrasia which had reached an all time high by 1936.
Despite the collapse of the Aeian Socialist Union and the collapse of Aeian communism in general, the border fortifications remain in place against the only two remaining Asuran communist nations Veleaz and Wallais which the Midrasian government continues to view as hostile nations, making the border one of the most heavily militarised in Aeia. However, the border has come under scrutiny in recent years for its perceived contribution to economic inequality between the three states. A number of human rights groups and anti-war campaigners have called for its demolition and greater cooperation between Midrasia, Veleaz and Wallais.
Planning and Construction
Plans for the construction of a border wall between Midrasia and Veleaz had dated back to the late nineteenth century, where Revanchist politicians had sought to construct fortifications to bolster Midrasian defences in the event of a repeat of the Mydro-Veleazan War. Although a number of defensive structures were constructed throughout the build-up to the Great War, none of these could be classified as a true 'border wall'. It wasn't until the 1920s, with the rise of Aeian Communism that the idea of constructing a fortification wall was seriously considered. With the outbreak of the Bloody Month and the election of the National Coalition, the plan to construct a series of fortifications was put into motion in 1939.
The brainchild of defence minister Antoine d'Appia, the barrier called for three separate walls covering the Midrasian border with the ASU which was not covered by the Avadin mountain range. These fortifications would have integrated military postings, mortar positions and bunkers. Ultimately, the initial project proved too expensive to construct and as such the number of military installations had to be reduced on the final construction. The project ultimately cost around 4 billion Midrasian Ducats, took a total of 8 years to complete, with the fortifications covering around 1368km (850 miles). A number of key infrastructural improvements also saw the border linked with military bases in Eastern Midrasia, allowing for rapid-response by deployed units in the event of war. The border also hosts its own police and fire brigade units housed in on-site facilities.
Opinions of the barrier
Midrasian opinion regarding the barrier has mostly remained positive, with citizens viewing the border as a necessity to prevent illegal migration, smuggling, espionage and to deter any future war. Despite this the border has come under some criticism throughout its history, most notably within the late 1950s and 1980s when attitudes toward Aeian communism began to soften. In 1963 the PSD government was seriously considering demolishing the barriers due to their cost and as a gesture toward the ASU as relations underwent detente. In 1987 the Alydian Democratic Union also considered demolishing the fortifications with Veleaz following the conclusion of the ASU Civil War, however a souring of relations following the Alzur handover saw the government reverse its policy of detente, instead pursuing a hard-line stance aimed at diplomatically and economically isolating the Veleazan state.
In recent years a number of Midrasian pressure groups have lobbied for the demolition of the wall and greater dialogue and cooperation between Midrasia, Veleaz and Wallais. Despite this, an opinion poll conducted in 2003 suggested that 68% of Midrasians believe the Appian Wall to be necessary to their country's security and prosperity.
Veleazan public opinion considers the wall as a waste of money due to the lack of major border infringes in the recent decades, however due to Veleaz not paying for it, it is not a major issue. A series of large military drills are often conducted within range of the border wall in a means to test its stability, while also maintaining a series of defensive posts and underground tunnel networks to ensure any attack from the Midrasian side can be met with resistance.
The wall has been the centre of a series of high profile incidents through its history, with a number of Veleazans caught attempting to flee Veleaz often being shot by Veleazan border guards and leaving the bodies, most notably in the 2002 San Salvador incident where a family of 10 Veleazans were gunned down while attempting to scale the wall, resulting in a major diplomatic fallout between Midrasia and Veleaz due to the disagreement over whether or not they were in Veleazan territory or Midrasian. It has also become a hotbed for smugglers, with hundreds of kilos of food packages being confiscated every month.
On April 13th 2018 the Appian Wall was destroyed in a coordinated attack by Veleaz in preparation for an invasion of Midrasia. Tunnels were believed to have been dug under the barrier by Veleazan soldiers during the night throughout the preceding months, planting explosives below the barrier. At 11:53am these explosives were detonated, destroying significant sections of the barrier. An official declaration of war between the two nations was not declared until after the barrier was destroyed. Despite extensive damage to the barrier, a significant number of military installations such as guard towers and significantly anti-air defences remained undamaged by the attack, posing significant resistance to the Veleazan offensive.