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Atlantropa, also referred to as Panropa, was a gigantic engineering and colonisation idea devised by the German architect Herman Sörgel in the 1920s and promoted by him until his death in 1952.

Its central feature was a hydroelectric dam to be built across the Strait of Gibraltar, which would have provided enormous amounts of hydroelectricity and would have led to the lowering of the surface of the Mediterranean Sea by up to 200 metres (660 ft), opening up large new lands for settlement, for example in the Adriatic Sea. The project proposed four additional major dams as well:

- Across the Dardanelles to hold back the Black Sea
- Between Sicily and Tunisia to provide a roadway and further lower the inner Mediterranean
- On the Congo River below its Kwa River tributary to refill the Mega-Chad basin around Lake Chad providing fresh water to irrigate the Sahara and creating a shipping lane to the interior of Africa
- Suez Canal extension and locks to maintain Red Sea connection

Sörgel saw his scheme, projected to take over a century, as a peaceful European-wide alternative to the Lebensraum concepts which later became one of the stated reasons for Nazi conquest of new territories. Atlantropa would provide land and food, employment, electric power, and most of all, a new vision for Europe and neighbouring Africa.

The Atlantropa movement, through its several decades, was characterised by four constants:

- Pacifism, in its promises of using technology in a peaceful way;
- Pan-European sentiment, seeing the project as a way to unite a war-torn Europe;
- Eurocentric attitudes to Africa (which was to become united with Europe into "Atlantropa" or Eurafrika), and
- Neo-colonial geopolitics which saw the world being divided into three blocs, America, Asia and Atlantropa.

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Source: Wikipedia

Active support was limited to architects and planners from Germany and a number of other primarily northern European countries. Critics derided it for various faults, ranging from lack of any actual cooperation of Mediterranean countries in the planning to the impacts it would have had on the historic coastal communities left stranded inland when the sea receded. The project reached great popularity in the late 1920s/early 1930s, and for a short period again, in the late 1940s/early 1950s, but soon disappeared from general discourse again after Sörgel's death.

After the Second World War, interest was piqued again as the Western Allies sought to create closer bonds with Africa and combat communism, but the invention of nuclear power, the cost of rebuilding, and the end of colonialism left Atlantropa technologically unnecessary and politically unfeasible, although the Atlantropa Institute remained in existence until 1960. It is now known that the result of such a plan would mostly be to create salt flats, unsuitable for growing crops.


Source: Wikipedia

Outline map of the various hydroelectricity and land reclamation projects combined in Atlantropa.
Herman Sörgel

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Herman Sörgel (2 April 1885— 25 December 1952) was a German/ Bavarian architect from the early to mid 1900's. He was known for pioneering the Atlantropa project which was initially conceived as a solution to the economic and political turmoil gripping Europe in the early 20th century. Atlantropa called for dams built across the Strait of Gibraltar, the Dardanelles, and between Sicily and Tunisia. The dams would provide hydroelectric power and would be overseen by a newly formed independent body with the authority to discontinue energy to any country posing a threat to peace. Sörgel actively promoted his ideas until his death in 1952.