Geopolitics and the World of Tomorrow

Geopolitics (from Greek γῆ gê "earth, land" and πολιτική politikḗ "politics") is the study of the effects of geography (human and physical) on international politics and international relations. 
Geopolitics is a method of studying foreign policy to understand, explain and predict international political behavior through geographical variables.
These include area studies, climate, topography, demography, natural resources, and applied science of the region being evaluated.
Geopolitics focuses on political power in relation to geographic space.
In particular, territorial waters and land territory in correlation with diplomatic history. Academically, geopolitics analyses history and social science with reference to geography in relation to politics. 
Topics of geopolitics include relations between the interests of international political actors, interests focused to an area, space, geographical element or ways, relations which create a geopolitical system.

Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904), influenced by thinkers such as Darwin and zoologist Ernst Heinrich Haeckel, contributed to 'Geopolitik' by the expansion on the 'biological conception' of geography, without a static conception of borders.
Positing that states are organic and growing, with borders representing only a temporary stop in their movement, he held that the expanse of a state's borders is a reflection of the health of the nation—meaning that static countries are in decline.
Ratzel published several papers, among which was the essay "Lebensraum" (1901) concerning 'biogeography'.
Ratzel created a foundation for the German variant of geopolitics, 'Geopolitik'.
Influenced by the American geo-strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan, Ratzel wrote of aspirations for German naval reach, agreeing that sea power was self-sustaining, as the profit from trade would pay for the merchant marine, unlike land power.

Post World War I Developments

After World War I, the thoughts of Rudolf Kjellén and Ratzel were picked up and extended by a number of German authors such as Karl Haushofer (1869–1946), Erich Obst, Hermann Lautensach and Otto Maull.
In 1923, Karl Haushofer founded the Zeitschrift für Geopolitik (Journal for Geopolitics).
The key concepts of Haushofer's Geopolitik were 'Lebensraum', 'autarky', 'pan-regions', and 'organic borders'.
States have, Haushofer argued, an undeniable right to seek natural borders which would guarantee 'autarky'.

Karl Haushofer

Karl Ernst Haushofer (27 August 1869 – 10 March 1946) was a German general, geographer and politician.
Through his student Rudolf Hess, Haushofer's ideas influenced the development of Adolf Hitler's expansionist strategies.

Early Life

Haushofer belonged to a family of artists and scholars.
He was born in Munich to Max Haushofer, a professor of economics, and Frau Adele Haushofer (née Fraas).
On his graduation from the Munich Gymnasium (high school), Haushofer contemplated an academic career, however, service with the Bavarian Army proved so interesting that he stayed to work, with great success, as an instructor in military academies and on the general staff.

Military Career

In 1887, Haushofer entered the 1st Field Artillery regiment "Prinzregent Luitpold" and completed Kriegsschule, Artillerieschule and War Academy (Kingdom of Bavaria). In 1896, he married Martha Mayer-Doss (1877–1946).
They had two sons, Albrecht Haushofer and Heinz Haushofer (1906–1988).
Haushofer continued his career as a professional soldier, serving in the army of Imperial Germany and rising through the Staff Corp by 1899. In 1903, he began teaching at the Bavarian War Academy.
In November 1908, the army sent him to Tokyo to study the Japanese army and to advise it as an artillery instructor.
He travelled with his wife via India and South East Asia and arrived in February 1909.
He was received by the Japanese Emperor, and became acquainted with many important people in politics and the armed forces.
In autumn 1909, he travelled with his wife for a month to Korea and Manchuria on the occasion of a railway construction.
In June 1910, they returned to Germany via Russia and arrived one month later.
Shortly afterwards, he began to suffer from several severe diseases and was given a leave from the army for three years.

Academic Career

From 1911 to 1913, Haushofer would work on his doctorate of philosophy from Munich University for a thesis on Japan titled 'Dai Nihon, Betrachtungen über Groß-Japans Wehrkraft, Weltstellung und Zukunft' ("Reflections on Greater Japan's Military Strength, World Position, and Future").
By World War I, he had attained the rank of General, and commanded a brigade on the western front. He became disillusioned after Germany's loss and severe sanctioning; he retired with the rank of major general in 1919.
At this time, he forged a friendship with the young Rudolf Hess, who would become his scientific assistant.
Haushofer entered academia with the aim of restoring and regenerating Germany.
Haushofer believed the Germans' lack of geographical knowledge and geopolitical awareness to be a major cause of Germany’s defeat in World War I, as Germany had found itself with a disadvantageous alignment of allies and enemies.
The fields of political and geographical science thus became his areas of speciality.
In 1919, Haushofer became Privatdozent for political geography at Munich University and in 1933 professor.

Haushofer and the Occult

It has been suggested that Haushofer was a former student of George Gurdjieff.
Other researchers proposed that Haushofer created a 'Vril' society, and that he was a secret member of the 'Thule Society'.
Stefan Zweig speaks warmly of him but says history will have to judge how far he knowingly contributed to National Socialist doctrine, as more documentation becomes available.
Zweig credits him with the concept of 'Lebensraum', used in a psychological sense of a nation's relative energies.

Haushofer and National Socialism

After the establishment of the National Socialist Government, Haushofer remained friendly with Hess.
During the pre-war years, Haushofer was instrumental in linking Japan to the Axis powers, acting in accordance with the theories of his book 'Geopolitics of the Pacific Ocean'.
At the end of the Second Worls War, beginning on 24 September 1945, Karl Haushofer was informally interrogated by Father Edmund A. Walsh on behalf of the Allied forces to determine whether he should stand trial at Nuremberg for war crimes; Walsh determined that he had not committed any.
On the night of 10–11 March 1946, he and his wife committed suicide in a secluded hollow on their Hartschimmelhof estate at Pähl/Ammersee.
 To be continued........

1 comment:

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