Spatial Relations and the Struggle for Space

Friedrich Ratzel’s Impact on German Education from the Wilhelmine Empire to the Third Reich

in Journal of Educational Media, Memory, and Society
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  • 1 Troy Paddock is a professor of modern European history at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven paddockt1@southernct.edu
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Abstract

This article examines the influence of Friedrich Ratzel’s idea of the struggle for space and its impact on cultural and national development depicted in German geography and history textbooks from the Wilhelmine era to the Third Reich. Ratzel’s concept of bio-geography conceived the state as a living organism that is the product of humanity’s interaction with the land and also facilitates humanity’s spread across the earth. German textbooks promoted a similar concept of the state in their portrayal of geography and history, the implications of which were appropriated by the National Socialists to support their geopolitical goals.