186 - Europe, If the Nazis Had Won
One of the mainstays of speculative history (together with “What if the South had won the US Civil War?”) is: What would the world have looked like if the Nazis had won the Second World War? And yet I’ve never seen a map showing what the Nazis’ post-war plans (for Europe of for the world) were, neither from their own files or reconstructed by war historians.
Which is very strange, considering that the Second World War is one of the most studied conflicts in world history. Maybe that’s because the Nazis didn’t have any concrete plans for after their victory – not because they didn’t believe in it themselves, but because of the chaotic nature of Nazi governance. The institutional overlap, competition and resulting chaos in the Third Reich is a well-established historical fact that contradicts the traditional notion of Germans as careful and thorough planners and which may well have prevented a German victory.
How the world would have looked like if such a victory had occurred, is a question that has been answered often in fiction, for example in the (passable) Robert Harris novel ‘Fatherland’ and the (brilliant) Philip K. Dick book ‘The Man in the High Castle’. Harris’ book includes a map, of a 1960s Europe dominated by Germany. This Nazi state, greatly expanded towards the East, doesn’t include Alsace-Lorraine. This rather puts a dent in the map’s credibility: it’s quite unthinkable that a victorious Nazi state would not annex these territories on the Rhine’s left bank, for so long disputed between France and Germany. Dick’s book, which focuses on the Japan-dominated West Coast of the (former) USA, sadly isn’t illustrated with a map. Not my copy at least.
This map does give what seems to be a well-considered vision of a Europe-wide Nazi state as it might have emerged after a German victory. German supremacy is ‘concealed’ by the construct of Neuropa (‘New Europe’), a sort of evil twin of the European Union in this universe.
• Linchpin of Neuropa is the Greater German Empire (Grossdeutsches Reich), consisting of Germany in its 1937 borders, plus Alsace-Lorraine (from France), the entire Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, the Belgian German-speaking area of Eupen-Malmédy (from Belgium), all of Austria (Ostmark in Nazi parlance), a large part of present-day Slovenia, the Sudeten areas of former Czechoslovakia, and large parts of pre-war Poland. • Some areas are not part of the Reich, but nonetheless under direct ‘Protectorate’: Bohemia-Moravia and the Polish ‘General-Gouvernement’. • So far, nothing deviates from the situation as it was at the height of Nazi power in Europe. Different are two Reich exclaves in the East, implying Germany won the war with Soviet Russia: Gotenland (on the Krim peninsula) and St Petersburg. • Presumably outside the Reich in a technical sense, but still administered civilly by the NSDAP (Hitler’s National Socialist party) are large areas in the East: Estonia and Latvia, both enlarged by annexing parts of Russia, Lithuania, and Belarus. • There are also three autonomous NSDAP areas in the west: the Netherlands, Flanders and Wallonia (those two successor-states to Belgium also gaining territory, in this case to the detriment of France). • So far the areas under direct German control (either under the Reich or under the Party). Next in the map legend are other European states, major allies of the Nazis and “instigators of the New European Union”: Greater Finland (almost doubling in size by grabbing parts of Norway and Russia) and the Italian Social Republic, covering just the northern half of Italy but gaining the Savoy and Nice areas of France and the environs of Istria from Slovenia. • This is where the map’s colour scheme gets a bit confusing: the states signing up to the European Declaration in 1946 and later are indicated in one of several shades of brown and green used in the legend. To the best of my visual abilities, the 1946 ones are: Norway, Denmark, France, Slovakia, (Greater) Hungary, (Greater) Croatia, (Greater) Romania and (Greater) Bulgaria – those last four Balkan states enlarged at the expense their neighbours (sometimes including each other). • A second wave of member states signing the European Declaration in 1951 are (again, as far as I can see): Spain (also holding on to its possessions in Morocco), (Little) Serbia, Greece (losing part of Macedonia to Bulgaria and also some territory to Albania, but retaining an enclave at the Turkish border) and Ukraine, which, having lost some land to Romania and the General-Gouvernement, is extended eastward all the way to Saratov. • Later in the 1950s, Albania (enlarged also with a good part of Kosovo) joins the European Declaration. • A third wave of Neuropa members joins in the 1960s: Portugal, Montenegro, and several formerly Soviet areas in or near the Caucasus: Kuban, Kalmykia, Georgia (enlarged with North Ossetia), Armenia and Azerbaijan. • In the 1970s, three new states join: Dagestan in the Caucasus, and Udmurtia and Volga-Tatarstan further north. • Incorporated in Neuropa, but without voting rights are the areas of Moskova and an area in the Caucasus, somewhat conforming to where Chechnya is now (maybe corresponding with the former, larger Soviet autonomous area of Chechnya-Ingushetia).
Unfortunately mainly in Finnish, it’s impossible (for a non-Finnophone like me, anyway) to determine which is the POD (point of divergence) of this timeline: what was the turning point allowing the Nazis to win the war?
What can 3D printing do for medicine? The "sky is the limit," says Northwell Health researcher Dr. Todd Goldstein.
- Medical professionals are currently using 3D printers to create prosthetics and patient-specific organ models that doctors can use to prepare for surgery.
- Eventually, scientists hope to print patient-specific organs that can be transplanted safely into the human body.
- Northwell Health, New York State's largest health care provider, is pioneering 3D printing in medicine in three key ways.
Can dirt help us fight off stress? Groundbreaking new research shows how.
- New research identifies a bacterium that helps block anxiety.
- Scientists say this can lead to drugs for first responders and soldiers, preventing PTSD and other mental issues.
- The finding builds on the hygiene hypothesis, first proposed in 1989.
Are modern societies trying too hard to be clean, at the detriment to public health? Scientists discovered that a microorganism living in dirt can actually be good for us, potentially helping the body to fight off stress. Harnessing its powers can lead to a "stress vaccine".
Researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder found that the fatty 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid from the soil-residing bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae aids immune cells in blocking pathways that increase inflammation and the ability to combat stress.
The study's senior author and Integrative Physiology Professor Christopher Lowry described this fat as "one of the main ingredients" in the "special sauce" that causes the beneficial effects of the bacterium.
The finding goes hand in hand with the "hygiene hypothesis," initially proposed in 1989 by the British scientist David Strachan. He maintained that our generally sterile modern world prevents children from being exposed to certain microorganisms, resulting in compromised immune systems and greater incidences of asthma and allergies.
Contemporary research fine-tuned the hypothesis, finding that not interacting with so-called "old friends" or helpful microbes in the soil and the environment, rather than the ones that cause illnesses, is what's detrimental. In particular, our mental health could be at stake.
"The idea is that as humans have moved away from farms and an agricultural or hunter-gatherer existence into cities, we have lost contact with organisms that served to regulate our immune system and suppress inappropriate inflammation," explained Lowry. "That has put us at higher risk for inflammatory disease and stress-related psychiatric disorders."
University of Colorado Boulder
This is not the first study on the subject from Lowry, who published previous work showing the connection between being exposed to healthy bacteria and mental health. He found that being raised with animals and dust in a rural environment helps children develop more stress-proof immune systems. Such kids were also likely to be less at risk for mental illnesses than people living in the city without pets.
Lowry's other work also pointed out that the soil-based bacterium Mycobacterium vaccae acts like an antidepressant when injected into rodents. It alters their behavior and has lasting anti-inflammatory effects on the brain, according to the press release from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prolonged inflammation can lead to such stress-related disorders as PTSD.
The new study from Lowry and his team identified why that worked by pinpointing the specific fatty acid responsible. They showed that when the 10(Z)-hexadecenoic acid gets into cells, it works like a lock, attaching itself to the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR). This allows it to block a number of key pathways responsible for inflammation. Pre-treating the cells with the acid (or lipid) made them withstand inflammation better.
Lowry thinks this understanding can lead to creating a "stress vaccine" that can be given to people in high-stress jobs, like first responders or soldiers. The vaccine can prevent the psychological effects of stress.
What's more, this friendly bacterium is not the only potentially helpful organism we can find in soil.
"This is just one strain of one species of one type of bacterium that is found in the soil but there are millions of other strains in soils," said Lowry. "We are just beginning to see the tip of the iceberg in terms of identifying the mechanisms through which they have evolved to keep us healthy. It should inspire awe in all of us."
Check out the study published in the journal Psychopharmacology.
We were gaining three IQ points per decade for many, many years. Now, that's going backward. Could this explain some of our choices lately?
There's a new study out of Norway that indicates our—well, technically, their—IQs are shrinking, to the tune of about seven IQ points per generation.
An ordained Lama in a Tibetan Buddhist lineage, Lama Rod grew up a queer, black male within the black Christian church in the American south. Navigating all of these intersecting, evolving identities has led him to a life's work based on compassion for self and others.
- "What I'm interested in is deep, systematic change. What I understand now is that real change doesn't happen until change on the inside begins to happen."
- "Masculinity is not inherently toxic. Patriarchy is toxic. We have to let that energy go so we can stop forcing other people to do emotional labor for us."
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