Chapter 2 - Rudolph Challen and Friedrich Naumann "Central Europe"

2.1 Definition of a new science

The Swede Rudolf Chöllen (1864 1922) was the first to use the concept of “geopolitics”.

Chellen was a professor of history and political science at the universities of Uppsala and Gothenburg. In addition, he actively participated in politics, was a member of parliament, distinguished by an emphasized Germanophile orientation. Chellen was not a professional geographer and considered geopolitics, the foundations of which he developed from the work of Ratzel (he considered him his teacher), as part of political science.

Chellen defined geopolitics as follows:

This is the science of the State as a geographical organism embodied in space (5)

In addition to "geopolitics," Challen proposed 4 more neologisms, which, in his opinion, should have been the main sections of political science:

  • Ecopolitics ("the study of the State as an economic force");

  • Demopolitics ("the study of dynamic impulses transmitted by the people to the State"; analogue of Ratzel's Anthropogeography);

  • Sociopolitics ("study of the social aspect of the State");

  • Cratopolitics ("the study of forms of government and power in relation to the problems of law and socio-economic factors") (6).

But all these disciplines, which Chellen developed in parallel with geopolitics, did not receive wide recognition, while the term "geopolitics" was firmly established in a wide variety of circles.

2.2 The state as a form of life and interests of Germany

In his main work, “The State as a Form of Life” (1916) (7), Chellen developed the postulates embodied in Ratzel’s work. Chellen, like Ratzel, considered himself a follower of German "organism", which rejects the mechanistic approach to the state and society. The rejection of a strict division of the subjects of study into "inanimate objects" (background) and "human subjects" (figures) is a hallmark of most geopolitics . In this sense, the very name of Chellen's main work is indicative.

Chellen developed Ratzel's geopolitical principles in relation to the specific historical situation in modern Europe.

He brought to the logical end Ratzel’s idea of ​​a " continental state"in relation to Germany. And he showed that in the context of Europe, Germany is a space that has axial dynamism and which is designed to structure the rest of the European powers around itself. Chellen interpreted World War I as a natural geopolitical conflict that arose between the dynamic expansion of Germany (" countries The Axis ") and the peripheral European (and non-European) states (Entente) opposing it. The difference in the geopolitical growth dynamics of downward for France and England and upward for Germany determined the main alignment of forces. Moreover, from his point of view, the geopolitical identification of Germany with Europe inevitably and inevitably, despite a temporary defeat in the First World War.

Chöllen consolidated the geopolitical maxim outlined by Ratzel in the interests of Germany (= the interests of Europe) are the opposite of the interests of Western European powers (especially France and England). But Germany is a "young" state , and the Germans are a "young people ". (This idea of ​​"young peoples", which were considered Russian and Germans, goes back to F. Dostoevsky, more than once quoted by Chellen.) "Young" Germans, inspired by the "Central European space ", should move to a continental state of a planetary scale due to territories controlled by "old peoples" French and British. At the same time, the ideological aspect of the geopolitical confrontation was considered by Cellen secondary.

2.3 Toward a Central European Concept

Although Chellen himself was a Swede and insisted on the convergence of Swedish politics with German politics, his geopolitical ideas about the independent integrating significance of the German space exactly coincide with the theory of “Central Europe” (Mitteleuropa) developed by Friedrich Naumann.

In his book Mitteleuropa (1915) (8), Naumann gave a geopolitical diagnosis identical to the concept of Rudolf Challen. From his point of view, in order to compete with such organized geopolitical entities as England (and its colonies), the USA and Russia, the peoples inhabiting Central Europe should unite and organize a new integrated political and economic space. The axis of such a space will naturally be the Germans.

Mitteleuropa, unlike pure “pan-Germanist” projects, was no longer a national, but a purely geopolitical concept, in which the main importance was not on ethnic unity, but on a common geographical destiny. The Naumann project implied the integration of Germany, Austria, the Danube states and, in the distant future, France.

The geopolitical project was confirmed by cultural parallels. Germany itself, as an organic entity, was identified with the spiritual concept of " Mittellage ," "middle position." As early as 1818, Arndt formulated: "God placed us in the center of Europe; we (Germans) are the heart of our part of the world ."

Through Chellen and Naumann, Ratzel's "continental" ideas gradually acquired tangible features.