This Adam Tooze post about Egyptian surrealists mentions the curious way the era of the World Wars put British-occupied Egypt, a peripheral, semicolonial territory, into the middle of the world. The logistical circuits of the First Globalization had been cut across and reconfigured. Although Suez had been important for decades, now there was also a major shipping route direct from the US, another route into the Soviet Union, the terminus of the Takoradi air route across Africa. Richard Hoggart was serving in Egypt when he observed that if you saw a soldier with a Penguin stuffed into a battledress pocket you’d probably found a like-minded soul.
I was reminded of this by the Tube Map newsletter. Here’s an excuse to post this!
There you have it – right in the middle of the network, at least on a weighted basis. I also wonder what the Gulf Country of northern Queensland did with a weekly direct air service to London. Midcentury aviation’s need for staging posts had a weird way of making the most unlikely places hyper-connected. Also, I did not know that the route across the Sahara was being flown by civilian airliners as early as 1937 – I thought it was a WW2 innovation.