The purpose of this work is to determine whether present-day German geopolitics is a contribution to modern political theory and human geography, or merely an outgrowth of a distorted National Socialist ideology. My introduction to this field came through one of Karl Haushofer earlier books, Grenzen. Although written in very heavy German and replete with such complicated phrases as "Grenzbewusstsein," the volume immediately impressed me as being something more than ordinary political geography.
The author talked about Geopolitik. I saw that the expression was itself the combination of two well-known Greek words, γέα (earth) and πολιτικός (political). To find any connection between earth and politics seemed to me at the time almost incomprehensible, and yet the author of the book referred to Geopolitik as a renowned and generally recognized science. He also proudly emphasized that it was a German science.
This pretentious claim interested me in German geopolitics but also made me suspicious. Scores of questions came to my mind. Was geopolitics really a science, and, if so, who were the scholars behind it? Was it known only in Germany? Who were the few Englishmen and Americans cited by Haushofer as important contributors to his geopolitics?
I thereupon began to look for an answer and took up the reading of Haushofer's more obscure, and even more complicated, books and pamphlets. They gave me interesting and detailed information, but presented quantities of geographical and political data without any logical internal correlation. When I got through with them I felt like St. Augustine when he was asked for a proper definition of time. Like him, I could not have given a clear and intelligible statement of the nature or essence of the term. After a more careful study of Haushofer's writings and of the Zeitschrift für Geopolitik founded by him, I was convinced that geopolitics could not be classified either as straight geography or as international politics. It had too many peculiarities and contained too much unclassifiable outside material, such as Geomedizin, Geojurisprudenz, or Wehrgeopolitik, to fit neatly into any accepted mold.
At this stage in my research I was certain of one thing only. All these German scholars had a very definite axe to grind: they engaged in endless repetitions of one idea, one sincere desire--that of proving the political, racial, and spatial superiority of Germany. Germany, they maintained, was the only great power destined to achieve world hegemony; it was a youthful nation with unlimited energy and a glorious future. National Socialism, far from being a "revolution of nihilism," was a struggle along both geographic and political lines. Geopoliticians, I thought, considered themselves responsible for charting the future course of this sweeping world-wide struggle.