The Alantropa concept may seem preposterous to many people now, yet it was regarded seriously by engineers, legislators, architects, and even the United Nations at one point in the 1920s when it was first proposed. Numerous articles in the German and worldwide press supported the initiative, and a unique section of the Deutsches Museum in Munich’s collection contains thousands of publications and lectures related to Alantropa, which is currently open to the public. According to the grandiose proposal, the Mediterranean Sea would be largely drained in order to unite Europe and Africa into a single supercontinent.
Herman Sörgel, a German architect who was the driving force behind the project, believed that his strategy was the only way to avoid another battle. Europe had been thrown into chaos as a result of World War I at the time. Europe’s long-term viability was in doubt. After suffering a great deal during the war, the country was now confronted with huge unemployment, poverty, and overpopulation, all while facing the threat of an impending energy crisis.
All of this had left Sörgel persuaded that his Alantropa concept, which would among other things increase the amount of land available for the development of infrastructure, would aid in the reduction of European problems while maintaining peace in Europe. Here’s how to do it.
After being inspired by earlier massive engineering projects such as the Suez Canal, a 42-year-old Sörgel conceived his plan for Atlantropa, which he originally dubbed Panropa. He was 42 at the time of its development. The plan called for the construction of a network of dams. Those with the greatest ambitions would construct a bridge across the Straits of Gibraltar, which would connect Spain and Morocco and separate the Mediterranean Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. A second barrier would be constructed across the Dardanelles, which would effectively cut off the Black Sea from the rest of the world. It is also proposed to build a third dam across the Strait of Sicily, which would connect Italy and Tunisia while dividing the Mediterranean into two halves with varying water levels on either side.
It was mentioned in a report that these dams would, when combined, create a road and rail link between Europe and Africa, easing the movement of African minerals and oil to European processing and manufacturing hubs. Furthermore, each of the dams would generate hydroelectric energy, allowing Europe to generate all of the electricity it required. Due to the predicted reclamation of 660,200 km2 of new land from the sea, Europe would have a plentiful supply of food sourced from new farms, while its nations would have additional opportunity for expansion.
In his statement, Sörgel asserted that the scope of the Alantropa project, which necessitates international cooperation in terms of money and human force, will dissuade countries from considering themselves as potential participants in future battles. Again, labor would be required for the project, resulting in work opportunities for the numerous unemployed people who existed at the time.
The German architect was so certain of Alantropa’s potential that he not only zealously promoted it through the press, films, conferences, exhibitions, and poetry, but he also formed the Atlantropa Institute to make his blueprints available to the general public as well. But he avoided discussing the “racial roots” of his undertaking, which was a mistake.
The Congo River would be dammed as part of Alantropa, causing floods throughout Central Africa and its inhabitants. In the end, Alantropa envisions Europeans governing as the dominant race, with Africans serving as a source of labor for Europeans. They would also have access to Africa’s natural resources and agricultural territory.
Fortunately, despite the project’s widespread interest, no one expressed an interest in investing in it, which was a relief for Sörgel. To achieve their goal, the Nazis, who believed in the notion of Lebensraum (an area that would give space for its citizens), believed that taking the initiative was impossible and instead chose to attack occupying countries to accomplish their goal. The world’s powers were likewise more interested in nuclear power than in hydroelectricity at the time of the Cold War. As a result, Alantropa never came to fruition. However, after Sörgel’s death in 1952, his concept continued to be explored in science fiction, as evidenced by Phillip K. Dick’s novel The Man in the High Castle and Grigory Grebnev’s novel The Flying Station, among other works.