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Encyclopedia > Geopolitics

Geopolitics is the study that analyzes geography, history and social science with reference to spatial politics and patterns at various scales (ranging from home, city, region, state to international and cosmopolitics). It examines the political, economic (see geoeconomics) and strategic significance of geography, where geography is defined in terms of the location, size, function, and relationships of places and resources. This article is about the study of the past in human terms. ... The social sciences are groups of academic disciplines that study the human aspects of the world. ... Spatial politics refers to the use of spatial terms to simplify and dramatise political differences and actions. ... Broadly, Geoeconomics (sometimes Geo-economics) is the study of the spatial, temporal, and political aspects of economies and resources. ...

The term was coined by Rudolf Kjellén, a Swedish political scientist, at the beginning of the 20th century. Kjellén was inspired by the German geographer Friedrich Ratzel, who published his book Politische Geographie (political geography) in 1897, popularized in English by American diplomat Robert Strausz-Hupé, a faculty member of the University of Pennsylvania. Johan Rudolf Kjellén Johan Rudolf Kjellén (13 June 1864, Torsö – 14 November 1922, Uppsala) was a Swedish political scientist and politician who first coined the term geopolitics. His work was influenced by Friedrich Ratzel. ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s As a means of recording the passage of time, the 20th century was that century which lasted from 1901–2000 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar (1900–1999... Friedrich Ratzels photograph from the University of Leipzig Friedrich Ratzel (August 30, 1844, Karlsruhe, Baden – August 9, 1904, Ammerland) was a German geographer and ethnographer, notable for coining the term Lebensraum (living space). // Ratzels father was the head of the household staff of the Grand Duke of Baden. ... Robert Strausz-Hupé (25 March 1903 - 24 February 2002) was a U.S. (Austrian-born) diplomat and geopolitician. ... This article is about the private Ivy League university in Philadelphia. ...


Halford Mackinder

The doctrine of Geopolitics gained attention largely through the work of Sir Halford Mackinder in England and his formulation of the Heartland Theory in 1904. The doctrine involved concepts diametrically opposed to the notion of Alfred Thayer Mahan about the significance of navies (he coined the term sea power) in world conflict. The Heartland theory hypothesized the possibility for a huge empire being brought into existence in the Heartland, which wouldn't need to use coastal or transoceanic transport to supply its military industrial complex but would instead use railways, and that this empire couldn't be defeated by all the rest of the world against it. Halford John Mackinder Sir Halford John Mackinder PC (February 15, 1861 - March 6, 1947), was an English geographer and geopolitician. ... Overview The Geographical Pivot of History was an article submitted by Halford John Mackinder in 1902 to the Royal Geographical Society. ... Rear Admiral Alfred Thayer Mahan (September 27, 1840–December 1, 1914) was a United States Navy officer, geostrategist, and educator. ... For other meanings of this term, see Heartland. ...

The basic notions of Mackinder's doctrine involve considering the geography of the Earth as being divided into two sections, the World Island, comprising Eurasia and Africa; and the Periphery, including the Americas, the British Isles, and Oceania. Not only was the Periphery noticeably smaller than the World Island, it necessarily required much sea transport to function at the technological level of the World Island, which contained sufficient natural resources for a developed economy. Also, the industrial centers of the Periphery were necessarily located in widely-separated locations. The World Island could send its navy to destroy each one of them in turn. It could locate its own industries in a region further inland than the Periphery could,so they would have a longer struggle reaching them, and would be facing a well-stocked industrial bastion. This region Mackinder termed the Heartland. It essentially comprised Ukraine, Western Russia, and Mitteleuropa. The Heartland contained the grain reserves of Ukraine, and many other natural resources. Mackinder's notion of geopolitics can be summed up in his saying "Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland. Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island. Who rules the World-Island commands the world." His doctrine was influential during the World Wars and the Cold War, for Germany and later Russia each made territorial strides toward the Heartland. This article is about Earth as a planet. ... For other uses, see Eurasia (disambiguation). ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... World map showing the Americas CIA political map of the Americas The Americas are the lands of the Western hemisphere or New World, consisting of the continents of North America[1] and South America with their associated islands and regions. ... This article describes the archipelago in north-western Europe. ... For other uses, see Oceania (disambiguation). ... The approximate area of Mitteleuropa Mitteleuropa (Central/Middle Europe) is a German term approximately equal to Central Europe. ... There have been two World Wars, now more commonly known as World War I or First World War (from 1914 to 1918), and World War II or Second World War (from 1939 to 1945). ... For other uses, see Cold War (disambiguation). ...

Mackinder's geopolitical theory has been criticised as being too sweeping, his interpretation of human history and geography too simple and mechanistic. In his analysis of the importance of mobility, and the move from sea to rail transport, he failed to predict the revolutionary impact of air power. Critically also he underestimated the importance of social organization in the development of power[1].

Other Theories

After World War I, Kjellen's thoughts and the term were picked up and extended by a number of scientists: in Germany by Karl Haushofer, Erich Obst, Hermann Lautensach and Otto Maull; in England, Mackinder and Fairgrieve; in France Vidal de la Blache and Vallaux. In 1923 Karl Haushofer founded the "Zeitschrift für Geopolitik" (Journal for Geopolitics), which developed as a propaganda organ for Nazi-Germany. However, more recently Haushofer's influence within the Nazi Party has been questioned (O'Tuathail, 1996) since Haushofer failed to incorporate the Nazis' racial ideology into his work. “The Great War ” redirects here. ... General Karl Haushofer General Karl Ernst Haushofer (August 27, 1869, Munich - March 13, 1946, Pähl) was a German geopolitician. ... Erich Obst (1886 - 1981) was a German geographer and geopolitician. ... Otto Maull (1887-1957) was a German geographer and geopolitician. ... Paul Vidal de la Blache (1845-1918) was a French geographer considered to be the father of the French School of Geopolitics. ... Year 1923 (MCMXXIII) was a common year starting on Monday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Anton Zischka published Afrika, Europas Gemischftaufgabe Tummer (Africa, Complement of Europe) in 1952, where he proposed a kind of North-South Empire, from Stockholm to Johannesburg. Year 1952 (MCMLII) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see Stockholm (disambiguation). ... This article is about the city in South Africa. ...

Since then, the word geopolitics has been applied to other theories, most notably the notion of the Clash of Civilizations by Samuel Huntington. In a peaceable world, neither sea lanes nor surface transport are threatened; hence all countries are effectively close enough to one another physically. It is in the realm of the political ideas, workings, and cultures that there are differences, and the term has shifted more towards this arena, especially in its popular usage. Traditionally, it strictly applies to geography's effect on politics. Cover of The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order The Clash of Civilizations is a theory, proposed by political scientist Samuel P. Huntington, that peoples cultural and religious identities will be the primary source of conflict in the post-Cold War world. ... This article does not adequately cite its references or sources. ...


In the abstract, geopolitics traditionally indicates the links and causal relationships between political power and geographic space; in concrete terms it is often seen as a body of thought assaying specific strategic prescriptions based on the relative importance of land power and sea power in world history... The geopolitical tradition had some consistent concerns, like the geopolitical correlates of power in world politics, the identification of international core areas, and the relationships between naval and terrestrial capabilities.—Oyvind Osterud, The Uses and Abuses of Geopolitics, Journal of Peace Research, no. 2, 1988, p. 191 Journal of Peace Research is a peer reviewed academic journal publishing scholarly articles and book reviews in the fields of peace studies, conflict resolution, and international security. ...

By geopolitical, I mean an approach that pays attention to the requirements of equilibrium. Henry Kissinger in Colin S Gray, G R Sloan. Geopolitics, Geography, and Strategy. Portland: Frank Cass Publishers, 1999. Henry Alfred Kissinger (born Heinz Alfred Kissinger on May 27, 1923) is a German-born American politician, and 1973 Nobel Peace Prize laureate. ...

Geopolitics is studying geopolitical systems. The geopolitical system is, in my opinion, the ensemble of relations between the interests of international political actors, interests focused to an area, space, geographical element or ways. - Vladimir Toncea, Geopolitical evolution of borders in Danube Basin, PhD 2006. For other uses, see Border (disambiguation). ... This article is about the Danube River. ...

Institutions on Geopolitics

An increasing number of (inter)national institutions exist that work on (aspects of) Geopolitics:

  • International Centre for Geopolitical Studies (I.C.G.S.) located in Geneva (Switzerland):

Founded in June 2001, I.C.G.S. has the objective of reinforcing international stability and security through the promotion of a better understanding of the causes of conflicts and tensions. As such, I.C.G.S. engages in analysis and studies of world geopolitical issues in order to facilitate a more complex reading of the evolutions taking place in contemporary international relations. It organises a successful annual Summer University Course Geopolitical Analysis of International Relations (two weeks in July each year).

  • Institut Français de Géopolitique (I.F.G.) located in Paris (France):

Created in 1989 out of the journal 'Hérodote. Revue de Géographie et de Géopolitique', the I.F.G. is embedded within the University Paris VIII. It offers a Diplôme de Géopolitique (DEA).

  • Instytut Geopolityki (Institute of Geopolitics) located in Czestochowa (Poland):

Created in June 2007.


  1. ^ O Tuathail (2006) page 20


  • Ankerl, Guy, Coexisting Contemporary Civilizations: Arabo-Muslim, Bharati, Chinese, and Western Geneva: INUPRESS, 2000, ISBN 2-88155-004-5.
  • O'Loughlin, John / Heske, Henning. From 'Geopolitik' to 'Geopolitique': Converting a Discipline for War to a Discipline for Peace. In: Kliot, N. and Waterman, S. (ed.): The Political Geography of Conflict and Peace. London: Belhaven Press, 1991
  • O'Tuathail, Gearoid, etal. (1998). The Geopolitics Reader. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-16271-8. 
  • Spang, Christian W.: “Karl Haushofer Re-examined – Geopolitics as a Factor within Japanese-German Rapprochement in the Inter-War Years?”, in: C. W. Spang, R.-H. Wippich (eds.), Japanese-German Relations, 1895–1945. War, Diplomacy and Public Opinion, London, 2006, pp. 139–157.
  • Diamond, Jared, Guns, Germs, and Steel (1997)
  • Amineh, Parvizi M. and Henk Houweling, Central Eurasia in Global Politics, (London, Leiden: Brill Academic Publishing. Introduction and Chapeter 1.
  • Criekemans, David, Geopolitiek, 'geografisch geweten' van de buitenlandse politiek?, Garant, Antwerpen/Apeldoorn, 2007.- 848 p.: ill..- ISBN 90-441-1969-9

See also

  Results from FactBites:
geopolitics: Definition and Much More from Answers.com (1323 words)
Geopolitical theorists have sought to demonstrate the importance in the determination of foreign policies of considerations such as the acquisition of natural boundaries, access to important sea routes, and the control of strategically important land areas.
Geopolitical factors have become less significant in the foreign policies of states because of improvements in communications and transportation.
Geopolitics is different from political geography, a branch of geography concerned with the relationship between politics and the environment.
Geopolitics - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1007 words)
Geopolitics is the study which analyses geography, history and social science with reference to international politics.
In the abstract, geopolitics traditionally indicates the links and causal relationships between political power and geographic space; in concrete terms it is often seen as a body of thought assaying specific strategic prescriptions based on the relative importance of land power and sea power in world history...
The geopolitical tradition had some consistent concerns, like the geopolitical correlates of power in world politics, the identification of international core areas, and the relationships between naval and terrestrial capabilities.
  More results at FactBites »



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