B. de Pater
H. van der Wusten
- Duitse geopolitiek in vooroorlogs en bezet Nederland: tussen welwillende ontvangst en resolute afwijzing in de wetenschap
- Translated title
- The German science of geopolitics in the Netherlands, 1920-1945
- Volume | Issue number
- 5 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
In the 1920s, Karl Haushofer founded Geopolitik in München as a form of applied political geography. German geopoliticians perceived territorial loss of their country after 1918 through the social darwinist lens. They considered states as types of organisms that rivalled over territories (Lebensraum). ‘Natural’ selection determined the outcome. Geopolitics was aligned with the nazis despite theoretical differences (space vs. race).
The reception of German geopolitics among geographers in Dutch universities (especially in the geography departments of Utrecht and Amsterdam) during the Interbellum and the German occupation varied. Keen interest in the highly reputed sister-universities across the border did not result in uniform reactions to the academic implications of the nazi rise to power, as was also evident in other ideologically sensitive fields such as archeology and eugenetics. This article analyses the cooperation of S.R. Steinmetz and L. Van Vuuren, the main chair holders in Dutch human geography, in German geopolitical publications and the reactions of their successors. While H.N. ter Veen, Steinmetz’ eventual successor, strongly rejected the geopolitical project, J.G. Loohuis, Van Vuuren’s erstwhile student, reacted approvingly. He was the only academic geopolitician to work at a Dutch university, nominated during the war at the strong request of the occupation authorities.
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