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Title: Geopolitics, education, and empire : the political life of Sir Halford Mackinder, 1895-1925
Author: Pelizza, Simone
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 8454
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the long political career of Sir Halford Mackinder (1861-1947), the father of modern British geopolitics, underlining its crucial importance for the origins and evolution of the famous Heartland theory of 1904. Far from having a meta-historical significance, in fact, this elaborate geopolitical vision of Central Asia was the direct product of the cultural and strategic circumstances of the early twentieth century, reflecting Mackinder’s patriotic commitment to the cause of the British Empire, threatened by new powerful foreign rivals like Germany and the United States. Seriously concerned about the future of Britain’s international position, the Oxford geographer tried then to translate his brilliant educational talent in the political domain, supporting the tariff reform campaign of Joseph Chamberlain and fighting relentlessly for the political union of London with the overseas Dominions. Meanwhile he also focused his geographical imagination on the problem of India’s defence, developing a bold containment strategy against the territorial expansion of Russia in Asia. However, both these initiatives failed to influence the official policies of the British government, while the parliamentary career of Mackinder at Westminster knew more frustrations than successes, due to the internal divisions of the Unionist Party and to the bitter constitutional disputes of the last antebellum years. From this point of view, the outbreak of European hostilities in 1914 represented an important turning point for Mackinder’s political and intellectual life, compelling him to partially modify his previous imperialist ethos and to recognise the need of a more balanced and democratic international society at the end of the conflict. Expressed originally in Democratic Ideals and Reality, published in 1919, this new attitude toward international affairs found later its practical application in the activities of the Imperial Committees, successfully directed by Mackinder on cooperative lines for all the interwar years.
Supervisor: Thompson, A. ; Prior, C. ; Whiting, R. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available