How German Geopolitics Passed Through the Netherlands, 1920–1945: A Case Study in the Geography of one of Geography's ‘Projects’

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Abstract

German geopolitics emerged from the early 1920s. It was noticed in the Netherlands but not broadly embraced. In public discourse the term ‘geopolitics’ was hardly ever used between the First and Second World Wars but it became a bit more common with the looming threat of a second war and during the German occupation. Meanwhile Dutch geographers took note of the efforts of Haushofer and his circle. Around 1930, their initial reaction to this project took various forms – constructive criticism, co-operation and indignant dismissal – but the attention waned over the decade. During the occupation Nazi-friendly geographers discussed the launching of a new geopolitics. The generally shared Dutch preference for aloofness, neutrality and recourse to international law as the way to approach international relations precluded the formation of a large, responsive public for German geopolitics. The high status of German academia provided an initial audience of Dutch academic geographers.

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