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Unformatted text preview: Geostrategic Ideasof HalfordMackinder " Sir Halford Mackinder (1861-1947) has perhaps been the best known geographer in the. non- , geographic circles, and his has definitely.been the best known global strateg: scheme in modern times. But his views have not necessarily been the most respected. Many believed that, "It would be difficult to find an essay of comparable length and reputation that is more indefensible in ter- 102 PoliticalGeography: TheDiscipline andItsDimensions minologyandideasthanMackinder's" (Malin,1959,pp.339-363).But this is generally trueof most other ideas that area rendered out of date by the rapid march of events and technology. A Scot by birth, Mackinder was professor of geography at the University of London, Director of the London School of Economics and a Member of the British Parliament. In a more organized and pointed way than Mahan, Mackinder provided a fresh political perspective on the geographical distribution of land masses and water bodies on the earth's surface. He interpreted history as essen- tially a struggle between land and sea power. The geopolitical concepts and hypotheses of Mahan and Mackinder are by no means as far apart as has often been asserted. Drawing a contrast between their theories of sea and land power is a false antithesis, since, their basic propositions are in certain respects so similar as to revoke at once a conjecture that Mahan , and Mackinder must have avidly read each other's books and magazine articles...But it w3'sMackinder rather than Mahan who methodologically ordered the conceptsand hypotheses,propounded an interpreta- tion of history in the grand style, and drew a geopolitical blueprrnt of the future which for better or for worse still grips the imagination of men in many lands (Sprout and Sprout, 1964, p. 320). Fundamentals of Mackinder's Concept of Pivot-Area (1904) In 1904, Mackinder presented before the Royal Geographical Society of London, his seminal paper entitled "The Geographical Pivot of History". It is in this paper that the basic ideas of his "heartland" thesis were, for the first time, put forward in an organized manner. Mackinder wrote that in the opening decade of the twentieth century the geographers were for the first time in a position to attempt, with some degree of completeness, a correlation between the larger geographical and the larger historical generalizations, and could seek therefrom, a formula of "geographical causation in universal history". This seemed possible to him because in the post-Columbian era, international politics had become a closed system of worldwide scope. Mackinder presented his paper in order ~ elucidate his formula of "geographical causation" in world history....
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- Spring '08