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The heroic earth: The flowering of geopolitical thought in Weimar Germany, 1924-1933

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Title: The heroic earth: The flowering of geopolitical thought in Weimar Germany, 1924-1933
Author(s): Murphy, David Thomas
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Schroeder, Paul W.
Department / Program: History
Discipline: History
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): History, European Geography History, Modern
Abstract: This work examines the popularization of geopolitical ideas in Germany in the decade before the Nazi seizure of power. It opens by tracing the reception of geopolitical ideas in Germany in the late nineteenth century, and then examines the dimensions of geopolitical rhetoric in the Weimar period. Geopolitical language focused on the concept of geodeterminism, the belief that geography exercises a decisive formative influence on states and societies. The work also discusses the geopolitical concept of the state as an organism, the consequences of a geodeterminist approach to politics, society, culture and history, the relationship of geopolitical thought to Weimar modernism, and such recurrent geopolitical themes as the role of struggle in state relations, the role of geographic factors in Germany's demographic crisis, and the impact of modern technology on geopolitics.The evidence suggests that geopolitical ideas were influential across a much wider portion of the Weimar political spectrum than is generally acknowledged, from the moderate left to the radical right, and that they popularized an organic view of the state which undermined the legitimacy of the postwar state system. The popularity of geopolitics reflected a broad radicalization of Weimar political discourse, which was caused by the experiences of defeat in the First World War and the consequent social and political unrest. Seven individual thinkers (Ewald Banse, Friedrich Burgdorfer, Arthur Dix, Adolf Grabowsky, Karl Haushofer, Manfred Langhans-Ratzeburg and Walther Vogel), including political scientists, government officials, geographers and historians, are examined in detail to show the appeal of geopolitics across political lines and academic disciplines.The dissemination and political function of geopolitical ideas are examined in chapters treating geopolitics in the German colonial revanchist movement, state support for geopolitical education in Prussian schools and geopolitics in textbooks and at German universities. This work also examines the role of geopolitical thought in state-supported revanchist propaganda, and the geopolitical approach to German foreign policy, the League of Nations, and the Pan-Europe movement of the interwar years. It concludes with a chapter which analyzes the graphic language of geopolitical cartography, including over twenty geopolitical maps and sketches, and with a consideration of the recent revival of geopolitical thought in light of the historical uses of geopolitical ideas. The dissertation draws upon an extensive examination of Weimar periodical literature, papers of prominent academics, politicians and geopoliticians, records of political parties and political pressure groups and the official records of government agencies in charge of education, cultural activities and foreign policy.
Issue Date: 1992
Type: Text
Language: English
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/21574
Rights Information: Copyright 1992 Murphy, David Thomas
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog: AAI9236548
OCLC Identifier: (UMI)AAI9236548
 

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