Democratic Ideals and Reality

Halford J. Mackinder
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ISBN 9780571253760 Format Paperback
Published 20/08/2009 Length 248 pages

About Book

1919 saw the publication of two major polemical works: The Economic Consequences of the Peace by John Maynard Keynes and Democratic Ideals and Reality by Halford J. Mackinder. The former is famous, the latter much less so - but it was its own way a prophetic book.
Mackinder's message, his warning - addressed to the peacemakers at Versailles - was memorably summarized thus: 'Who Rules East Europe commands the Heartland: / Who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island: / Who rules the World-Island commands the World.'
Mackinder contended that power was shifting from the sea-borne empires to countries that encompassed the great land masses: Eastern Europe he designated as 'the geographical pivot of history.' His thesis made a notable impression on German geopolitician Karl Haushofer who was keenly read, in turn, by Hitler. But Democratic Ideals and Reality has endured as a critical study of imperial ambitions and geographical realities.

  • About Halford J. Mackinder

    Halford J. Mackinder (1861-1947) was a geographer and politician. Although he disliked the term, he was also one of the founding fathers of 'geopolitics', the study of physical and human geography in the context of political power.

    Mackinder was director of the first British university geography department at Oxford (1899). He was involved with Reading, overseeing its elevation from extension college to university, the LSE, establishing the geography department there, and London University.

    He was a Conservative MP from 1910 to 1922. He was an imperialist, though a visionary one believing the empire should become a league of democracies with a common defence policy.

    Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919) was his most important book. An earlier book was Britain and the British Seas (1902).

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