geopolitics, 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. Geopolitical theorists stress that natural political boundaries and access to important waterways are vital to a nation's survival. The term was first used (1916) by Rudolf Kjeflen, a Swedish political scientist, and was later borrowed by Karl Haushofer, a German geographer and follower of Friedrich Ratzel. Haushofer founded (1922) the Institute of Geopolitics in Munich, from which he proceeded to publicize geopolitical ideas, including Sir Walford J. Mackinder's theory of a European "heartland" central to world domination. Haushofer's writings found favor with the Nazi leadership, and his ideas were used to justify German expansion during the Nazi era. Many expansionist justifications, including the American "manifest destiny" as well as the German Lebensraum, are based on geopolitical considerations. Geopolitics is different from political geography, a branch of geography concerned with the relationship between politics and the environment.

See A. Dorpalen, The World of General Haushofer (1942, repr. 1966); W. A. D. Jackson, ed., Politics and Geographic Relationships (2d ed. 1971); S. B. Cohen, Geography and Politics in a World Divided (2d ed. 1973); P. O'Sullivan, Geopolitics (1986).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2017, The Columbia University Press.

Geopolitics: Selected full-text books and articles

Geopolitics and the Quest for Dominance By Jeremy Black Indiana University Press, 2016
The Geopolitics Reader By Gearóid Ó Tuathail; Simon Dalby; Paul Routledge Routledge, 1998
Librarian's tip: includes "The Geographical Pivot of History" by Halford J. Mackinder
Reordering the World: Geopolitical Perspectives on the Twenty-First Century By William B. Wood; George J. Demko Westview Press, 1999 (2nd edition)
Bordering and Ordering the European Neighbourhood: A Critical Perspective on EU Territoriality and Geopolitics By Scott, James Wesley Trames, Vol. 13, No. 3, September 2009
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
Thin Ice, Shifting Geopolitics: The Legal Implications of Arctic Ice Melt By Mendez, Tessa Denver Journal of International Law and Policy, Vol. 38, No. 3, Summer 2010
The Geopolitics of Super Power By Colin S. Gray University Press of Kentucky, 1988
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