Haushofer, Karl

Haushofer, Karl

(kärl hous`hōfər), 1869–1946, German geographer, theorist of Nazi geopoliticsgeopolitics,
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.
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, 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. Among his students was Rudolf HessHess, Rudolf,
1894–1987, German National Socialist leader, b. Alexandria, Egypt; son of a German merchant. In 1920 he became an ardent follower of Adolf Hitler and after the Munich "beer-hall putsch" (1923) shared Hitler's imprisonment.
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, who introduced Haushofer to HitlerHitler, Adolf
, 1889–1945, founder and leader of National Socialism (Nazism), and German dictator, b. Braunau in Upper Austria. Early Life

The son of Alois Hitler (1837–1903), an Austrian customs official, Adolf Hitler dropped out of high school, and
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. Haushofer's influence on Hitler is evident in Mein Kampf, and he remained one of Hitler's closest advisers on foreign affairs. In 1946, Haushofer and his wife committed suicide by taking poison. Haushofer was influenced by Alfred Kjellen, the Swedish creator of the term geopolitics; 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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 and his organismic theories; and Sir Halford John MackinderMackinder, Sir Halford John
, 1861–1947, English geopolitician. Educated at Oxford (1887–1905), he led in the revival of British geographical learning. He established geography as an academic subject, teaching at the universities of Reading and London, and was
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, who put forth the heartland concept. His writings include Geopolitik des Pazifischen Ozeans (1925), Bausteine zur Geopolitik (1928), and Weltpolitik von heute (1934). Haushofer also edited the periodical Zeitschrift für Geopolitik.


See A. Dorpalen, The World of General Haushofer (1942, repr. 1966).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Haushofer, Karl


Born Aug. 27, 1869, in Munich; died Mar. 13, 1946, in Paehl, near Weilheim. German political geographer.

Haushofer became a professor at the University of Munich in 1921. He was the leading exponent of the geopolitical school of German fascism and headed a number of fascist scholarly and political organizations. Haushofer’s version of geopolitics, which drew on the ideas of F. Ratzel and R. Kjellen, became part of the official doctrine of the Third Reich. In his works, Haushofer indiscriminately combined geographic determinism, race theory, social Darwinism, and the notion of the state as a biological organism. He considered geopolitics a guide for political practice and provided a justification for fascist aggression by arguing that Germany lacked sufficient Lebensraum, that its borders were unsatisfactory, and that it had an excessive population density.


Geopolitik des Pazifischen Ozeans. Berlin, 1924.
Bausteine zur Geopolitik. Berlin, 1928. (Coauthor.)
Erdkunde, Geopolitik und Wehrwissenschaft. Munich, 1934.
Grenzen in ihrer geographischen und politischen Bedeutung. Heidelberg, 1939.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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