A Map of Europe Without Germany

Europe's most powerful country is annexed out of existence by its neighbours

Imagine. Italian songs echoing off the Danube shores. The Netherlands big enough not to have to worry about the sea. A French-Polish border. Imagine Europe without Germany. This map does.

During most of the first half of the 20th century, Germany was seen by much of the rest of the world as a rogue state in the heart of Europe, its incorrigible belligerence a problem not only to be defeated but also to be eradicated – somehow. Inevitably, some on the lunatic fringe called for wiping Germany off the map — literally. One such plan was discussed earlier on this blog (#50).

Although that particular plan was real, and even though the Second World War was contested with more apocalyptic zeal than any other modern-era conflict, simply obliterating Germany was never seriously considered an option. The aforementioned Kaufmann scheme was the work of a lone pamphlettist, and profited Nazi propaganda more than the Allied cause.

Even the Morgenthau plan, used to similar effect by the German propaganda machine, never envisioned dissolving Germany — merely dismembering and dividing it, while neutralising its economic capacity to wage war. This is in effect what happened after the war, albeit that on top of this, the two halves of Germany ended up on opposing sides of the ideological fence now dissecting Europe.

This ‘neutralised’ Germany and relegated questions of its right to exist to the dustbin of history. Some of the old anxieties did resurface in 1989, when the Berlin Wall fell and the West Germans steamrollered German Reunification, much to the dismay of many others. “I like Germany so much that I prefer to have two of them”, was the sarcastic sentiment of many European politicians (the quote is attributed to French writer François Mauriac).

Is this what a Europe without Germany could have looked like? For starters, it doesn’t resemble the Kaufmann map (cf. sup.) And it’s unknown which basis in fact (or fiction) it might have. But the re-drawn borders don’t look like an occupation so much as an absorption: German toponyms have been rendered in the idioms of each conquering country.

  • Denmark spills out of Jutland all the way down to Hamborg.
  • Poland‘s new western border corresponds exactly to the old DDR one, with East German cities renamed Drezno (Dresden), Lipsk (Leipzig) and Berolinsk (Berlin), among others.
  • The Czech Republic extends into northern Bavaria, including Nuremhora (Nuremberg).
  • Austria has gone completely Italian (Salzburg is now Salcastello) and has overrun southern Bavaria, including Monaco di Baviera (Munich).
  • France reaches across the Rhine all the way up to Cassel (Kassel), and has frenchified cities like Aix-la-Chapelle (Aachen), Mayence (Mainz) and Charlesrepos (Karlsruhe).
  • The Netherlands reach Hamburg and touch Poland, and include Keulen (Cologne), Dusseldorp (Dusseldorf) and Willemspoort (Wilhelmshaven).
  • Some of the toponyms used here are the accepted translations for German city names already in use in other languages, e.g. Keulen (Dutch), Hamborg (Danish) and Mayence (French). Others are overtranslated: e.g. Eeten for Essen, both of which mean ‘to eat’ in Dutch and German respectively, whereas the city derives its name from a term for the East of for ash trees.

    This map found some time ago on the Kalimedia website, which also publishes The Atlas of True Names, discussed in #334. Many thanks to all those who sent in this map.

    Strange Maps #337

    Got a strange map? Let me know at strangemaps@gmail.com.

    ​There are two kinds of failure – but only one is honorable

    Malcolm Gladwell teaches "Get over yourself and get to work" for Big Think Edge.

    Big Think Edge
    • Learn to recognize failure and know the big difference between panicking and choking.
    • At Big Think Edge, Malcolm Gladwell teaches how to check your inner critic and get clear on what failure is.
    • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
    Keep reading Show less

    Why are so many objects in space shaped like discs?

    It's one of the most consistent patterns in the unviverse. What causes it?

    • Spinning discs are everywhere – just look at our solar system, the rings of Saturn, and all the spiral galaxies in the universe.
    • Spinning discs are the result of two things: The force of gravity and a phenomenon in physics called the conservation of angular momentum.
    • Gravity brings matter together; the closer the matter gets, the more it accelerates – much like an ice skater who spins faster and faster the closer their arms get to their body. Then, this spinning cloud collapses due to up and down and diagonal collisions that cancel each other out until the only motion they have in common is the spin – and voila: A flat disc.

    Trauma in childhood leads to empathy in adulthood

    It's not just a case of "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

    Mind & Brain

    • A new study suggests children who endure trauma grow up to be adults with more empathy than others.
    • The effect is not universal, however. Only one kind of empathy was greatly effected.
    • The study may lead to further investigations into how people cope with trauma and lead to new ways to help victims bounce back.
    Keep reading Show less
    Photo by Alina Grubnyak on Unsplash
    Mind & Brain

    Do human beings have a magnetic sense? Biologists know other animals do. They think it helps creatures including bees, turtles and birds navigate through the world.

    Keep reading Show less