The Heartland lay at the centre of the world island, stretching from the Volga to the Yangtze and from the Himalayas to the Arctic. Mackinder's Heartland was the area then ruled by the Russian Empire and after that by the Soviet Union , minus the Kamchatka Peninsula region, which is located in the easternmost part of Russia, near the Aleutian Islands and Kurile islands. The Heartland's size and central position made it the key to controlling the World-Island. The vital question was how to secure control for the Heartland. This question may seem pointless, since in the Russian Empire had ruled most of the area from the Volga to Eastern Siberia for centuries.
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He was knighted in Mackinder was the son of a physician of Scottish descent. In he entered Christ Church, Oxford, where he studied natural sciences with a preference for biology; he obtained first-class honours in and, one year later, a second-class in modern history. He was president of the Oxford Union, the principal debating society at the university.
His Britain and the British Seas , 2nd ed. At that time, a group of men at the Royal Geographical Society were making strong efforts to raise the status of geography as an academic discipline in Britain and to secure for it an adequate place in the educational system.
In he had become reader in geography at Oxford, the first such appointment in a British university. When in the Royal Geographical Society and the university established the Oxford School of Geography, it was almost inevitable that Mackinder should be the first director. It was typical of the man that in the same year he organized and led an expedition to East Africa , where he made the first ascent of Mt.
Mackinder, working also at Reading and London, continued at Oxford until , when he was appointed director of the recently founded London School of Economics and Political Science , a constituent body of the University of London. There, for four years, he devoted his energies to its administration and to that of the university. He played a prominent part in ensuring that the university centre was established at Bloomsbury in the heart of London and not on the periphery of the metropolis.
Though he continued as reader in economic geography for another 18 years, his resignation as director marked the beginning of the third phase of his career. Holding strong imperialist views, he included in his circle of friends similarly minded men, among them the politician L. Amery and Lord Milner , the imperial administrator. In the House, Mackinder did not make a strong impact. His extended views were set out in a short book, Democratic Ideals and Reality, published early in while the Paris Peace Conference was in session.
The role of Britain and the United States, he considered, was to preserve a balance between the powers contending for control of the heartland. As a further stabilizing factor, he urged the creation of a tier of independent states to separate Germany and Russia, much along the lines finally imposed by the peace treaty. The book included, apart from the main theme, many farsighted observations— e.
The book attracted little attention in Britain but rather more in the United States. There was an unexpected sequel, however, for the concept of the heartland was seized upon by the German geopolitician Karl Haushofer to support his grand design for control of the World Island.
More sober evaluation disposed of this absurd notion, and, though developments have affected some of the arguments, the thesis is recognized as an important view of world strategy. In Mackinder went as British high commissioner to southern Russia in an attempt to unify the White Russian forces and was knighted on his return in After the close of his academic career in , he served as chairman of the Imperial Shipping Committee in —45 and of the Imperial Economic Committee in — Daly Medal of the American Geographical Society Halford Mackinder.
Article Media. Info Print Cite. Submit Feedback. Thank you for your feedback. Written By: Gerald Roe Crone. See Article History. Britannica Quiz. Who wrote Notre-Dame de Paris? Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. Halford John later Sir Halford Mackinder, appointed in , was trained in the natural sciences and history and felt the need to prove his geographical credentials by climbing Mount Kenya in He is best known for his contributions to political geography; his concept of….
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A hundred years ago this week, the statesmen in Versailles were building a new world. But on 1 February , a British geographer completed a book which argued that if they did not consider how politics was shaped by land and sea, their settlement would collapse. Yet ever since, his ideas have played a striking, sometimes disturbing, role in international affairs. But in a rapidly changing international scene, he was increasingly drawn into politics. Democratic Ideals sometimes reads like imperialist post-liberalism: he lambasts laissez-faire policy for letting London suck the life out of the country, but at the same time he is against socialist centralisation. He hymns neighbourliness at every level, from local communities to the League of Nations.
Sir Halford John Mackinder 15 February — 6 March was an English geographer , academic and politician, who is regarded as one of the founding fathers of both geopolitics and geostrategy. While continuing his academic career part-time, he was also the Member of Parliament for Glasgow Camlachie from to An avowed racialist who compared Swahili people to 'human camel', Halford became infamous after murdering eight of his African porters during his expedition of Mount Kenya. At Oxford he started studying natural sciences, specialising in zoology under Henry Nottidge Moseley , who had been the naturalist on the Challenger expedition. When he turned to the study of history, he remarked that he was returning "to an old interest and took up modern history with the idea of seeing how the theory of evolution would appear in human development".
The Geographical Pivot of History