Atlantropa (previously Panropa) was an engineering project devised by the German architect Herman Sörgel (2nd April 1885 – 25th December 1952).
His father worked in a pioneer hydroelectric energy in Bavaria, so in his early years he learnt the importance of the electricity for the growing of the society, industrial competitively.
In the 1920s Sörgel started to develop the idea. He thought that this Project would take a century to be completed, but the labor would required workers, in other words, a solution to the unemployment problems for several decades. The project also would provided food for 150 million people, 365,000 MW by water power and about 600,000 km2 of land for cultivate.
Sörgel followed a social Darwinist and colonialist school of thought, he quote:
The fight for survival is a fight for territory
To solve the problems of overpopulation, Sörgel settled his ambitious project. The main goals were:
1-Built hydroelectric dam across the Strait of Gibraltar to generate electricity and the drain of the Mediterranean Sea (at least get a decrease in sea level about 200 meters, 660 ft) gaining land.
2-Hold back the Black Sea across the Dardanelles with another dam to isolate the Mediterranean Sea.
3-Build a roadway between Sicily and Tunisia.
4-Refill the Chad basin, in Africa, with the Congo river, providing fresh water to irrigate the Sahara. Channel part of the Mediterranean Sea towards the center of Africa, creating an artificial sea.
5-Locks the Suez Canal to keep up Red Sea connection.
6-Neighboring Europe and Africa peacefully.
He was inspired in the Messinian salinity crisis occurred 5-6 million years ago, when the Mediterranean basin dried. For further information, search in this blog the post of Nov 23 “Mare Nostrum”.
He got support from relevant people: architects, engineers. For example, the German architect Peter Behrens. But despite the good reviews and acceptance of his project, the leaders and rulers did not support him. In 1933 with the coming to power of the National Socialist German Workers Party of Adolf Hitler (Nationalsozialismus) the future of the project, turnaround. The III Reich dismissed his project. But the Second World War settled other priorities.
Exists several books and novels based on this idea:
1- Philip Dick, “The man in the high castle”
2- Grigorii Grebnev, “The Flying Station”
3- Gene Roddenberry, “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”
4- Willy Ley, “Engineer’s Dreams”