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Hitler's GeographiesThe Spatialities of the Third Reich$
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Paolo Giaccaria and Claudio Minca

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226274423

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226274560.001.0001

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In Service of Empire: Geographers at Berlin’s University between Colonial Studies and Ostforschung (Eastern Research)

In Service of Empire: Geographers at Berlin’s University between Colonial Studies and Ostforschung (Eastern Research)

Chapter:
(p.67) 3 In Service of Empire: Geographers at Berlin’s University between Colonial Studies and Ostforschung (Eastern Research)
Source:
Hitler's Geographies
Author(s):

Jürgen Zimmerer

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226274560.003.0004

While historical research has exposed the relationship between academics and other “experts” and Nazi extermination policy, the same research has done little to bring to light the academic traditions belonging to scholars providing “solutions” to Hitler’s regime, the exception perhaps being racial hygiene. This is particularly true for the relationship between colonial science and colonialism, the playing field by definition for “population politics” before the outbreak of World War II. This is also important for geography, since the concept of space was key to both European colonialism and Nazi imperial strategies. European colonialism and, later, Nazi politics of occupation in the East, were in fact operating according to logic based on macro-spatial economies (Großraumwirtschaften), trademarked by their endeavor to tap into the resources of extended dependent. For this reason alone it is crucial to analyze the relationship between academic geography and German politics diachronically, from the foundation of the colonial empire to the eastward expansion under the National Socialists. This chapter attempts to historically trace the manifold connections between universities, politics, and the public based on the research developed by geographers, which contributed in an important way to the rise of colonial enthusiasm long before the founding of the Third Reich.

Keywords:   German colonialism, Ostforschung, Nazi geopolitics, rule of experts, extermination policies

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