Critical Geopolitics by Gearoid O. Tuathail

By Gearoid O. Tuathail

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Haushofer was involved in the founding of two significant institutions in this decade. The first was the establishment of the German Academy, which was formally opened in May 1925. ”56 Haushofer, who headed up the “Practical Department” of the Academy, became its president in 1934 in a move designed 36 • GEOPOLITICS to appease the newly entrenched Nazi leaders of Germany. Slowly over the next five years the organization was taken over and made to serve Nazi ends with Haushofer’s help. During the war the organization was placed under the auspices of the Propaganda Ministry.

57 Geopolitics, for Haushofer, was an objective science based on the study of natural phenomena and the laws of nature. Its methods were the methods of evolutionary biology and natural science, which, as we have already noted, were panoptic and spatializing in their conception. Geopolitics studied the state as an organism and the inevitable competition among state-organisms for living space. In conceptualizing political processes in this way, Haushofer perpetuated Ratzel’s biologization of international relations.

My purpose is simply to introduce these figures because they are part of the geopolitics story (they reappear in subsequent chapters) and to begin to 28 • GEOPOLITICS problematize the gaze they deployed to organize the production and scripting of global space. Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904) and the Biologization of Global Space A founding figure and towering intellectual of the discipline of geography in Germany, Friedrich Ratzel began his academic career with a doctorate in zoology in 1868. 28 Forced into journalism to make a living, he became a travel correspondent for a series of moderately liberal newspapers who occasionally supported conservative causes and were generally deferential to the Bismarckian state.

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