Aug 23, 2013

Drain the Mediterranean

During the 1920s, Herman Sorgel, a German architect, proposed creating a dam across the Strait of Gibraltar, turning the area into a massive hydroelectric plant, creating enormous amounts of renewable energy. A natural byproduct of the dam would be to drain much of the Mediterranean Sea by restricting the flow of water into it. The idea was to create much new land for Germany to grow into. They called the project Alantropa.

During the early 1900s, many German leaders were espousing a political science theory called Lebensraum, literally “space of life.” Lebensraum advocates argued that overpopulation required a solution, and that solution should simply be to acquire more space. While the easiest and most straightforward way to spread is to take over the land of others, there could be another way, to create new land. Doing so would require a public works project larger than anything the world has ever seen, like draining the Mediterranean Sea.

Sorgel’s top objective was to stem the flow of water into the Mediterranean and over time, the water level would drop, creating more inhabitable land in both Southern Europe and Northern Africa. Low-lying lands would emerge basically everywhere, as hundreds of square miles of habitable space would be reclaimed from the sea. Europe and Northern Africa would, effectively, merge.

The Atlantropa Project’s support was strongest toward the end of the 1920s and into the 1930s, but waned as Hitler rose to power and in 1942, the Nazis banned Sorgel from publishing his plans further. Atlantropa was dead.