geopolitics

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geopolitics,

method of political analysis, popular in Central Europe during the first half of the 20th cent., that emphasized the role played by geography in international relations. Geopolitical theorists stress that natural political boundaries and access to important waterways are vital to a nation's survival. The term was first used (1916) by Rudolf Kjeflen, a Swedish political scientist, and was later borrowed by Karl HaushoferHaushofer, Karl
, 1869–1946, German geographer, theorist of Nazi geopolitics, including the doctrines that the state is a living organism and that race and territory are linked. After a successful military career he became (1921) professor of geography at Munich.
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, a German geographer and follower of Friedrich RatzelRatzel, Friedrich
, 1844–1904, German geographer. He traveled as a journalist in Europe (1869) and in Cuba, Mexico, and the United States (1872–75). Thereafter he devoted himself to geographical studies and taught geography at the polytechnical school in Munich
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. Haushofer founded (1922) the Institute of Geopolitics in Munich, from which he proceeded to publicize geopolitical ideas, including Sir Walford J. Mackinder's theory of a European "heartland" central to world domination. Haushofer's writings found favor with the Nazi leadership, and his ideas were used to justify German expansion during the Nazi era. Many expansionist justifications, including the American "manifest destiny" as well as the German Lebensraum, are based on geopolitical considerations. Geopolitics is different from political geography, a branch of geography concerned with the relationship between politics and the environment.

Bibliography

See A. Dorpalen, The World of General Haushofer (1942, repr. 1966); W. A. D. Jackson, ed., Politics and Geographic Relationships (2d ed. 1971); S. B. Cohen, Geography and Politics in a World Divided (2d ed. 1973); P. O'Sullivan, Geopolitics (1986).

Geopolitics

 

a bourgeois, reactionary concept that employs misinterpreted data of physical and economic geography to substantiate and propagandize the aggressive policies of imperialist states. The fundamental ideas of geopolitics assert the decisive role of physical-geographic conditions in the life of human society and the inequality of the races. The theories of social Darwinism and of Malthusianism are also employed. Advocates of geopolitics resort to extensive use of the concepts of Lebensraum,“natural boundaries,” and geographic location in justifying militarism and wars of conquest.

The concept of geopolitics emerged in the period of imperialism. One of the first exponents of geopolitics was the Swedish political scientist and Pan-Germanist R. Kjellén, who during World War I (1914-18) proposed the term “geopolitics” for his doctrine of the state as a geographic and biological organism that strives for expansion. Other early exponents were the German geographer F. Ratzel, the English geographer H. Mackinder, and the American admiral A. T. Mahan. During the period between the two world wars, geopolitics was cultivated intensively in Germany. It became the official doctrine of German fascism. The head of the German adherents of geopolitics was General K. Haushofer, the founder and editor (1924—44) of the journal Zeitschrift für Geopolitik, which propagandized ideas of revanche and aggression. K. Haushofer had close ties with the ruling clique of the fascist party. In the USA the ideas of geopolitics were developed in the 1940’s by N. Spykman and other geographers and sociologists.

After World War II (1939-45) geopolitics began to revive in the USA, West Germany, and other imperialist states as a means of justifying the militarization of these countries and their aggressive policies and revanchist ideas, which were directed against the socialist countries and the national liberation movement. Publication of the journal Zeitschrift für Geopolitik was resumed in West Germany in 1951, and the Association of Workers in Geopolitics was reestablished. Contemporary adherents of geopolitics attempt to explain the opposition between the socialist and capitalist countries by geographic determinism.

REFERENCES

Wittfogel, K. “Geopolitika, geograficheskii materializm i marksizm.” Pod znamenem marksizma, 1929, nos. 2-3, 6, 7-8.
Geiden, G. Kritika nemetskoi geopolitiki. Moscow, 1960. (Translated from German.)

P. M. ALAMPIEV and IU. N. SEMENOV

References in periodicals archive ?
See Mert Bilgrin, Geopolitics of European natural gas demand: Supplies from Russia, Caspian and the Middle East, 37 ENERGY POLICY 4482 (2009) [hereinafter Bilgrin].
The Turkish minister highlighted Turkey's geopolitic location as a European Asian, Mediterranean, Black Sea, Caspian, Middle Eastern, Balkan and Caucasian country that had close ties with Africa.
SANLIURFA, May 31, 2009 (TUR) -- The senior Czech diplomat in Turkey saw on Saturday Turkey's geopolitic importance as a reason for European Union (EU) membership.
Filipi enumerated these reasons as Turkey's geopolitic and strategic importance and location.
Delivering a speech at the Eurasia Economic Summit in Istanbul, Yildiz said there were important developments regarding Turkey's geopolitic and geostrategic position, noting that Turkey had to take advantage of these.
En 1946 publico Defence of German Geopolitics, (23) obra en la que reivindicaba la Geopolitik como campo de estudio alejado de la interpretacion nazi, y explicaba que su relacion con Hitler fue fortuita gracias a su amigo comun, Rudolf Hess, pero que siempre se mantuvo al margen de aquel, de sus ideas y sus ofensivas contra los paises europeos.
Un caso destacado de la genesis de la escuela geopolitica estadounidense es el aleman Hans W Weigert, refugiado en Estados Unidos desde 1938, ano en el que se incorporo como docente al Trinity College en Chicago; en 1942 publico su obra Generals and Geographers: The Twilight of Geopolitics, basico en el estudio de este campo de estudios de los principales planteamientos del general Haushofer y para la creacion de la escuela geopolitica estadounidense.
Strausz-Hupe, sin comprometerse con una definicion, (34) sostiene que Geopolitics nos dice como es el poder y como se usa, (35) y con una perspectiva mas bien politica, (36) estudio las ideas de Haushofer.
The Struggle for Power and Peace, de Hans Morgenthau (1948), obra que aun requiere de un estudio minucioso sobre las similitudes entre sus conceptos y los de la Geopolitik (incluso de la Geopolitics en formacion), y que exhibe el estigma negativo que peso sobre ella en la opinion publica estadounidense durante los anos de la guerra, definiendola de la siguiente manera: "(.
En la actualidad se reconfiguran nuevos prismas de estudio de la geopolitica que han propiciado nuevas propuestas de enfoque como Critical Geopolitics, Modern Geopolitics, Posmodern Geopolitics, Contemporary Geopolitics, Nueva Geopolitica, Geopolitica del caos o Geopolitica de la complejidad.
Flint, Colin, Introduction to Geopolitics, Routledge, Nueva York, 2006, 237 pp.