عنوان مقاله [English]
The events that took place on the eve of World War II in Europe were all a reflection of Nazi Germany's territorial expansionist policies. These were rooted in events after the Weimar Republic and even before World War I. However, the role of a German professor, Karl Haushofer, the prominent geopolitician of the Nazi regime which is also known as the father of German geopolitics (Geopolitik), is remarkable. His action led geopolitics to be recognized as a Nazi science and forgotten after the second world war. This paper aims to answer whether German geopolitics as a Nazi-backed science was responsible for the events leading up to World War II and German territorial expansion? Moreover, to what extent Karl Haushofer influenced Hitler and the policies of the Nazi regime?
The research method is descriptive-analytic, and the research was conducted using a library research method. In this regard, it has been tried to evaluate new references about Haushofer s life and his connection with the Nazis.
Karl Haushofer began teaching geopolitics in the early 1920s; He met Hitler through one of his students, Rudolf Hess. He also regularly visited Hitler and Hess during prison to educate them. In these sessions, Haushofer taught them philosophies of Nietzsche and Marx and military topics presented by Bismarck and Clausewitz as well as political geography of Ratzel and Kjellén, including his own works, like Dai Nihon. He believed that Germany could only stand on her fits by thinking geopolitically. Researchers suggest that Hitler learned about concepts such as territory, borders, living space (Lebensraum) from Haushofer. This can be traced in his book Mein Kamp, which played an essential role in Nazi Germany foreign policy in following years.
Haushofer's Lebensraum idea considered a nation's right and duty to provide space and resources for its people. Accordingly, the difference in the rate of population growth would be one of the factors causing friction between the states in international relations, and therefore the task of a strong state is to expand its territory at the expense of occupation of a weak country. Haushofer has also published the Journal for Geopolitics (Zeitschrift für Geopolitik), whose publication after 1933 raised to more than 700,000 copies a year. It is estimated that in particular, it spread the message of the need for new space for the country's territorial expansion for millions of Germans.
The main practical result of Haushofer's geopolitics was the 1938 Munich conference. It was the first time that theory had been put into practice; he called the Munich Conference an important day in the history of geopolitics. He played a major role in the anti-Comintern treaty with Japan and also supported the militarization of the Rhineland. He additionally welcomed the Non-aggression treaty between the Soviet Union and Germany, calling the attack on Poland a "heroic act" and finally played a significant task in the alliance of Berlin and Tokyo.
Haushofer representation has always been evil and exaggerated in the Allied countries. In the United States, for example, Haushofer was considered the mastermind of Nazi Germany, many of whom at the time thought that scientists at his institute were formulating strategies for expanding Nazism. However, according to the documents, despite his influence, Haushofer’s relationship with the Nazis was not always friendly, and in some cases, there were signs of conflict. Contrary to the claim of Life magazine in 1939, Haushofer was not a Nazi scholar, and there was much diversity of viewpoints, including with his emphasis on geographic or spatial relationships—while Hitler, whose racist view of the world formed his geopolitical strategy. Haushofer believed some low-educated Nazi leaders did not even really understand his geopolitical ideas; more importantly, he thought Germany had to support the non-aggression treaty with the Soviet Union. Based on Pan-region theory, he believed a separate sphere of influence for Germany and the united states. The German invasion of the Soviet Union and the declaration of war on the United States were in fact contrary to Haushofer’s ideas. Although the Allies have exaggerated the role of Haushofer in this regard, the Third Reich was not based solely on his ideas, and many other factors were involved.
The findings of this study show that although Haushofer played a notable role in the development of German geopolitics, he was not responsible for the Nazi crimes, as it was examined Haushofer ‘s major impacts and contributions were during the 1930s. Moreover, at least in the final three years of the world war II, he did not collaborate with the Nazis, Haushofer ‘s influence actually stopped following Hess’s flight to Scotland in 1941. So many of the allied narratives have been exaggerated about his role, leading to decades of decline in geopolitics in academia in the following decades. However, Haushofer’s impact on the scientific justification of Nazi Germany’s policies, especially through the radio provided to millions of audiences, on the one hand, and dozens of books and articles dealing with concepts such as the living space needed by Germany, and most importantly educating Hitler on the other hand ultimately transforms Haushofer into a historically controversial figure, with scholars disagreeing on the extent of his responsibility for his Nazi actions.
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