Democratic Ideals and Reality

Halford J. Mackinder

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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.

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…

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Halford J.Mackinder