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Geopolitics, study of politics in relation to geography and demography. The term was originally applied to the theories of the biologist and geographer Friedrich Ratzel (1844–1904), who sought to apply evolutionary theory to the rise and fall of nations. In the 1900s the British geographer Sir Halford Mackinder extended these, seeing the international struggle for survival as hanging on control of the heartlands, or interior lands, of the world's great landmasses, particularly the “world island” of Eurasia. The German geographer Karl Haushofer combined these theories to preach the eventual regeneration of Germany through its inevitable demand for Lebensraum (German: “living space,” space for expansion), which would require sacrifice by the seaboard countries to the more dynamic countries of the heartland. Haushofer's theory was seized upon by Adolf Hitler and became a cornerstone of Nazi doctrine.

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