The coastlines of nations bordering the Mediterranean have stayed pretty much as they always were. However, one man’s vision might have radically altered the map of Europe for the better had World War Two not intervened.
Few people have heard of Herman Sörgel. Hardly the first great thinker to champion a united and prosperous Europe he was arguably the most recent. Born in Regensburg, Germany in 1885, this Great War pacifist cut his milk teeth on a continent laid bare by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse; conquest, war, famine and death.
In 1918 a war weakened Europe was caught in a vice between expansionist Bolshevism to the east and dollar imperialism to the west. This talented German architect faced a grim life at the epicentre of Europe’s disaster; a nation impoverished and vanquished under the terms of the Versailles Treaty.
Europe’s desperate plight inspired Sörgel to a visionary concept. This would lead him to devising a plan that within a single generation would create a European continent equal in wealth, power and influence to that of the Roman Empire.
The futurist devoted his life to promoting a scheme that would see the building of vast hydroelectric dams spanning the Mediterranean Sea. Massive turbines, driven by pressure from the Atlantic Ocean, would provide Europe with a surplus of power. The consequence would be to turn the arid North African landscapes into wetlands. This would provide unlimited produce to the peoples of the northern hemisphere. North Africa before WWII was made up of European colonies.
The German visionary was no eccentric; Herman Sörgel attracted the attention and support of many who shared his vision for an independent self-sufficient European super state.
At the time there was real fear of the enormous power wielded by the American and pan-Asian economies. Furthermore, there was to be feared revolutionary Bolshevism invested in by U.S corporations. Wall Street’s Gulag Plantation during the 1920s was spreading like wildfire from Siberia to the Baltic Sea. Not surprisingly, Europe was distracted by the omnipotent forces of Jewish racist Jewish mania rampant in Russia and the economic demands and threat of the petrodollar.
Project Atlantropa’s cheap, exploitable and renewable hydroelectric power was the first great green revolution. Sörgel was contemptuous of the comparatively puny power sourced from dammed rivers. In terms of scale his proposal equalled the exploitation of space but the solution to him was under their noses. Managing the Mediterranean would bring untold wealth to both Europe and North Africa.
His Project Atlantropa proposed building an eighteen-mile long dam spanning the straits of Gibraltar. A second dam would halt the Bosporus by blocking the Black Sea. Many rivers feed the Mediterranean but most of the Mediterranean flows in from the Atlantic Ocean. Water pushing through cutting edge turbines would create sufficient power to provide for all the needs of both Europe and Africa.
Simultaneously the scheme would lower the level of the Mediterranean by 100 metres; 90,000 square miles of new land would result. Today’s beachfront homes, towns and fishing villages would steadily expand seawards bringing the two continents just a little closer to each other.
The seabed between Sicily and Italy would become dry land, and a third dam situated between Sicily and Tunisia would simultaneously serve as a bridge allowing for easier access to African resources.
It is thought Adolf Hitler considered the scheme favourably but rejected it as it would put much of Germany’s power sources beyond his control. Ironically modern Germany is fatally now hooked up to Russia for its energy needs.
Sörgel articulated his vision through four books, thousands of publications and countless lectures. From the massive supply of electricity Europe’s nations would become inter-dependent of power from a single-grid thereby reducing tensions.
Sörgel reasoned that his visionary scheme would curb lust for war by freeing up living space, allowing the densely packed northern European peoples to expand southwards bringing investment and prosperity to North Africa. This was a period when colonisation was universally considered as acceptable as it benefited the peoples of the colonised countries.
For all of its appeal the Atlantropa project never moved off the design desks. His Atlantropa Institute did survive the Second World War but gradually lost most of its funding and its political and scientific impetus. Post-war Europe had more pressing things on its mind.
Herman Sörgel never gave up on his dream and he passionately pushed on with it until Christmas Day, 1952. He was on that fateful day cycling along a perfectly straight and clear road near Munich.
The scientist was on his way to an important meeting when he was mown down by a hit and run motorist. The identity of the driver was never revealed.
The death of the gifted visionary was a carbon copy of the death of T. E Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia). In 1935, the English adventurer and writer had been killed in a similar ‘accident’. Had Lawrence’s meeting been kept with the leader of the British Union of Fascists, Sir Oswald Mosley, in all likelihood England’s war with Germany would have been avoided.
In 1960 the Atlantropa Institute was dissolved. Today as never before access to energy heightens world tensions. According to Herman Sörgel and his supporters it never had to be that way.
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