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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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A Morality Tale of Two Location Theorists in Hitler’s Germany: Walter Christaller and August Lösch

A Morality Tale of Two Location Theorists in Hitler’s Germany: Walter Christaller and August Lösch

(p.198) 9 A Morality Tale of Two Location Theorists in Hitler’s Germany: Walter Christaller and August Lösch
Hitler's Geographies

Trevor J. Barnes

University of Chicago Press

Hitler’s project was fundamentally geographical, with space, place and landscape pressed into horrific service. Consequently, the Nazis managed, planned, organized and contorted geography. Partly this was achieved by the Nazis drawing on academic labor, that of geographers, urban and rural planners, landscape architects, and agronomists. Each of these academic specialties possessed expert knowledge about geography, as well as theories, concepts and practical methods that could be used to meet the purposes of National Socialism. Some have argued that such German academics served the Nazi regime willingly and enthusiastically, with no resistance. This paper suggests that was not true. It argues that there was a range of responses by German academics with geographical expertise that varied from enthusiastic support to opposition and subversion. As well there were a range of motivations. The argument is made by drawing especially on the lives and works of two contemporaneous German academics with expert geographical knowledge, Walter Christaller (1893-1969) and August Lösch (1906-1945), but who each had a very different relationship with the Nazis. On the surface, Christaller was a Nazi collaborator, and Lösch was a Nazi resistor. Such a judgment is too simple, however. The reality, the paper suggests, is less starkly black and white than shades of grey.

Keywords:   Walter Christaller, August Lösch, central place theory, Konrad Mayer, Generalplan Ost

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