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PRINCIPLES 

of 

POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 



BY 

Hans W. Weigert 

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY 

Henry Brodie 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

Edward "W. Donerty 

DEPARTMENT OF STATE 

John R. Fernstrom 

GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY 

Eric Fischer 

GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY 

Dudley Kirk 

THE POPULATION COUNCIL, INC. 




New York: APPLETON-CENTURY-CROFTS, Inc. 



Copyright, © 1957, by 
APPLETON-CENTURY-CROFTS, INC. 

All rights reserved. This book, or parts 
thereof, must not be reproduced in any 
form without permission of the publishers. 

653-5 
Library of Congress Card Number: 56-9859 




PRINTED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

E-92967 



Introduction 



This study of political geography is not an ordinary textbook. The sub- 
ject is both in the field of political science and of geography, and being 
both it must be analytical in all its aspects; for the attempt to show the 
interrelationship and the blending of political and geographical factors in 
power relations is analytical in nature. The result is a book which con- 
fronts the reader with the facts and problems of political geography, 
stating the facts and posing the problems without, however, attempting 
to find easy answers for the latter. It aims, above all, at making the reader 
realize the importance and magnitude of the problems that arise from the 
interrelationship of political and geographical factors. The emphasis on 
problems accounts for our statement that this volume is not an ordinary 
textbook. 

It is not a well-paved and easy road that we propose to travel in our 
effort to link the two realms of geography and of man's political authority 
and organization within his natural environment. The view, and the 
review, of this relationship is characterized and complicated by the 
dominant fact that the realm of political geography is subject to constant 
change and fluctuation. We have become used to the phrase that ours is 
a "shrinking world." In no phase of history has this shrinking process 
progressed as rapidly as in our time. In this rapid revolution of change, 
instability has become a main characteristic of our political world. The 
factor of instability renders the task of exploring the synthesis of political 
activity and natural environment both difficult and challenging. The 
rapidity with which the shrinking process progresses creates a cultural 
lag, for man, in the words of Vilhjalmur Stefansson, "has learned to change 
the face of nature but not to change his own mind." We have been 
trained to interpret the laws of nature as they reveal themselves in our 
natural environment, but with this knowledge we have not acquired the 
wisdom to discern the relationship and the conditioning effects of natural 



vi INTRODUCTION 

environment and man's political behavior within it. The wisdom of the 
Bible still rings true (St. Luke, XII: 54-56): 

And He said also to the crowds: "When you see a cloud rising in the west, 
you say at once, 'a shower is coming,' and so it comes to pass. And when you 
see the south wind blow, you say, 'there will be a scorching heat,' and so it 
comes to pass. You hypocrites! You know how to judge the face of the sky and 
of the earth; but how is it that you do not judge this time?" 



Aware of the problems and difficulties awaiting the student of political 
geography who is not afraid of taking a hard look at its realities, the 
authors of this book found themselves in full agreement on one basic issue 
of organization: they decided in favor of a functional rather than regional 
approach to political geography. Only in Part 3, on "The Economic 
Factor in Political Geography," did it appear advisable to stress re- 
gional groupings. Mindful of the uneasy balance of political power that is 
the product of varying geographical and economic conditions, the au- 
thors follow the regional approach in the part mentioned to provide a 
useful assessment of the aggregate economic capabilities characteristic 
of certain major countries and regions. 

It is not our intention to present the reader with all the politico- 
geographical facts of each country, or of all political groupings, on the 
globe. Such encyclopedic enumeration of facts and figures, available from 
many published sources and providing a helpful tool in our task, is not 
enough if one tries to penetrate to the roots of the subject. The func- 
tional approach, as we see it, does not supply the reader with easy 
answers to the manifold problems in our field. Nor does it try to illuminate 
each and every scene where political geography has a legitimate place. 
It does, however, tend to sharpen our geographical "view," or what has 
been called "geographical sense," of the world's scene. It undertakes to 
forge the tools with which the political geographer applies general func- 
tional findings to whatever political area he desires to bring into focus. 



That this book is the common labor of six authors requires an explana- 
tion. The borderlines which separate our subject from other related fields, 
as for instance economic geography and demography, are often extremely 
thin and difficult to define. Thus the student of political geography is 
often compelled to step beyond the narrow confines of his realm. The 
necessity to deal with problems requiring specialized skill and background 



INTRODUCTION vii 

convinced us that the co-operation between a number of authors with 
complementary fields of study and interest in the general area of political 
geography would result in a more definitive and constructive product 
than one man's labor could create. On the other hand, this book is not 
a mere symposium. The target of our common venture was a uniform 
and integrated work. The authors have made a conscientious effort to 
write their contributions in close co-ordination. To achieve this task 
it was essential that they subscribe to certain basic principles or to 
what might be called a common philosophy in their treatment of political 
geography. The reader will detect this "philosophy" in and between the 
lines of our book. It is essentially a devotion to objective analysis. It is 
also to be found in the absence of a negative quality (for which the 
pseudo-science of geopolitics has rightly been criticized), namely of 
partisan politics: the authors have no political axes to grind. That their 
target of ideal integration has not always been reached seems to be the 
price one must pay in the endeavor to produce teamwork. The critical 
reader will discover easily that the authors' attempt at reaching uni- 
formity in their presentation has not been carried to the extreme, and that 
no effort was made to suppress their individualities and to harness their 
style and general approach to their specific problems. Whether or not 
they have succeeded in traveling safely the hazardous path between 
the devil and the deep blue sea is for the reader to discover. 



This book presents its material in three main parts, following an in- 
troductory section on the meaning and scope of political geography. These 
distinguish between the spatial, the human and cultural, and the eco- 
nomic factors in political geography. This final part does not attempt to be 
a substitute for a text in economic geography but is limited to the dis- 
cussion of those economic factors in power relations the understanding of 
which we consider essential to the study of political geography. Their 
absence from a book of this kind would make our approach to political 
geography impractical and unrealistic. 

In order to identify the responsibilities of the individual authors it 
may be stated that Mr. Weigert has served as general editor with re- 
sponsibility for the over-all organization of the book and the integration 
of its various sections, and that Mr. Fernstrom has undertaken the 
cartographical work. In particular, Part 1 ( The Spatial Factor in Political 
Geography ) has been prepared by Mr. Fischer and Mr. Weigert ( Fischer, 
pp. 26-208; Weigert, pp. 3-25, 209-290); Part 2 (The Human and Cultural 



viii INTRODUCTION 

Factor in Political Geography ) , by Mr. Kirk, Mr. Fischer, and Mr. 
Weigert (Kirk, pp. 291-341; Kirk and Weigert, pp. 342-382; Weigert, 
pp. 383-404; Fischer, pp. 405-439; Weigert, pp. 440-445), and Part 3 
(The Economic Factor in Political Geography) by Mr. Brodie and Mr. 
Doherty (Doherty, pp. 449-566; Brodie, pp. 567-712). 

It is inevitable that in spite of our endeavor to avoid when possible the 
discussion of temporary developments, certain findings and statements in 
this book, as well as details of the political maps, will have become ob- 
solete by the time this book is published. Therefore, it should be noted 
that the authors have considered events only until early 1956. 

Most of the authors are associated with work for the United States 
Government, and all of them have at some time been in public service. 
For this reason it is pointed out that our book presents the thinking of 
the authors as private citizens only and does not reflect the views of the 
government agencies with which they are, or have been, connected. Our 
materials are based on open sources and no use whatsoever has been 
made of classified documents. 

The authors wish to express their sincere thanks to Professor Kirtley F. 
Mather, who, as Editor of the Century Earth Science Series, guided us 
with patience and wisdom; to Mrs. Claire Brogan, who bore the main 
burden of typing and retyping our manuscript; to Mrs. Mary Dyer, who 
helped us greatly in editing some of our chapters; to Richard P. Joyce 
who contributed generously in the preparation of the index and to Mrs. 
Joyce T. Lutz who typed the index; last but not least, we feel obligated 
to mention gratefully the long and (mostly) silent sufferings of our 
wives, who had to endure the labor and birth pains surrounding this 
effort. 

H.W.W. 



Contents 



CHAPTER 



PAGE 

INTRODUCTION V 



PART 1 
The Spatial Factor in Political Geography 

1 The Meaning and Scope of Political Geography 3 

2 Size 26 

3 Shape 58 

4 The Nature and Functions of Boundaries 79 

5 The Impact of Boundaries 110 

6 Political Core Areas, Capital Cities, Communications . . . 142 

7 Location 174 

8 The Impact of Location on Strategy and Power Politics . . . 209 



PART 2 

The Human and Cultural Factor in 
Political Geography 

9 Population Growth and Pressure 293 

10 Migrations 342 

11 The Political Geography of Languages 383 

12 Religions : Their Distribution and Role in Political Geography 405 

13 Supplement: Other Cultural Factors 440 

ix 



x CONTENTS 

PART 3 
The Economic Factor in Political Geography 

CHAPTER PAGE 

14 The Importance of Economic Factors in Political Geography . 449 

15 The Growing Economic Strength of the Sino-Soviet Bloc . 471 

16 Japan's Economy 519 

17 The Economic Capabilities of Western Europe . . . . . 531 

18 The United States and Canada 567 

19 The Challenge of the Underdeveloped Areas 601 

20 Southwest Asia 624 

21 South and Southeast Asia 643 

22 Latin America 665 

23 Africa: The Last Stand of Colonialism 689 

index 713 



List of Maps 



PAGE 

2- 1. Danzig-1919-1939 32 

2- 2. Short-lived City-states at the Head of the Adriatic Sea ... 33 

2- 3. Portuguese and French (1954) Colonial Holdings in India . . 35 

2- 4. The Ukrainian SSR (1955) 41 

2- 5. Comparative Size of France (superimposed on Minnesota, Iowa, 

and Wisconsin) 42 

2- 6. India and Europe at the Same Scale 43 

2- 7. Comparative Size of U.S.S.R., United States, and Brazil ... 44 
2- 8. Effects of Projections on Appearance of Size: Greenland and 

South America; Ellesmere Island and Australia 45 

2- 9. Canada: Population Density per Square Mile 48 

2-10. Australia-Continental Shelf 49 

2-11. Encircling Growth of Metropolitan Area: Detroit .... 55 

3- 1. Pakistan: A Non-contiguous State Area 59 

3- 2. Basutoland: An Enclave in the Union of South Africa .... 61 

3- 3. Berlin: An Exclave 64 

3- 4. British Influence around the Indian Ocean between World Wars 

I and II . . - 68 

3- 5. Indonesia, an Example of a Contemporary Circum-marine State . 70 

3- 6. The Caribbean Sea: An American Mediterranean .... 72 

3- 7. Portuguese and German Expansion in Central Africa .... 75 

3- 8. The Map as a Weapon of Geopolitics: Czechoslovakia, a "Threat" 

to Nazi Germany 77 

4- 1. The Boundaries of Poland since World War II 82 

4- 2. Antarctic Claims 84 

4- 3. Rub'al Khali, "The Empty Quarter" of Southern Arabia ... 88 

4- 4. The Argentine-Chilean Boundary 91 

4- 5. The Minnesota-Canada Boundary 92 

4- 6. The Bratislava Bridgehead on the Danube 98 

4- 7. The Louisiana Extension on the Mouth of the Mississippi . . 98 

4- 8. The Geometrical Line as Boundary: Alaska-Siberia .... 103 

4- 9. Boundary Disputes between States in the United States . . . 106 
4-10. Germany Divided (1955) 108 

5- 1. The Saar: Coal and Steel Industries 113 

5- 2. The Congo Territory: Exchanges between Belgium and Portugal 123 

xi 



xii LIST OF MAPS 

PAGE 

5- 3. State Boundaries in the Continental Shelf: Louisiana and Texas 125 

5- 4. The Sector Principle in the Arctic Ocean 126 

5- 5. The United States-Mexican Boundary 129 

5- 6. The Satellite Countries of Eastern Europe 133 

5- 7. The Break-up of the Hapsburg Empire after 1918 .... 139 

6- 1. The Shifting Core of Turkey 144 

6- 2. The Core Area of Israel 147 

6- 3. Core Areas in South America 150 

6- 4. Brazil: Shift of Capitals 152 

6- 5. Capitals of China . 154 

6- 6. Core Areas of Japan According to Population Density per Square 

Kilometer 155 

6- 7. Post Roads of France 159 

6- 8. Railroad Pattern in Western Europe 160 

6- 9. Ineffective Rail-net of Czechoslovakia at the Time of Its Forma- 

tion 162 

6-10. Shipping Lanes Radiating from United Kingdom Ports . . 164 

6-11. The St. Lawrence Seaway and the American Manufacturing Belt 166 

6-12. The West Coast Area of the United States Centered on California 170 

7- 1. The Boer States in Relation to British and Portuguese Territories . 177 
7- 2. The Buffer States of Iran, Afghanistan, and Siam before the Par- 
tition of India 178 

7- 3. The Buffer State of Ethiopia before 1935 179 

7- 4. Boundary Conflicts in South America ........ 180 

7- 5. Bolivia to the Sea via Brazil 181 

7- 6. Central Africa: Railroad Competition between Belgium, Portugal, 

and British Rhodesia 186 

7- 7. The Palestine-Syria Corridor 192 

8- 1. Mackinder's Heartland (1904) 210 

8- 2. Relationship of Heartland and North America on the Azimuthal 

Polar Projection 216 

8- 3. Marginal Lands to the West of the Heartland 225 

8- 4. Succession of Marginal and Enclosed Seas— from North America 

to the Indian Ocean 230 

8- 5. The South China Sea 232 

8- 6. The Sea of Japan 236 

8- 7. The Baltic Arena and Its String of Soviet Military Bases . . . 238 

8- 8. The Mediterranean 240 

8- 9. Drake Passage in Relation to the Panama and Suez Canals . . 246 
8-10. Air Routes and Strategic Bases in the Arctic Mediterranean . . 248 
8-11, Sea Routes and Bases in the Arctic Mediterranean .... 252 
8-12. The Partition of Tordesillas: The World Divided .... 254 
8-13. The Shrinking of Main Water Bodies in the Light of Tech- 
nological Progress 260 



LIST OF MAPS xiii 

PAGE 

8-14, The Boundary between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres 

According to V. Stefansson ... 264 

8-15. Greenland and Iceland between the Eastern and Western Hemi- 
spheres . . 265 

8-16. The "American Quarter Sphere" 266 

8-17. The American Perimeter of Defense: Winter 1955 .... 274 

8-18. The Western Security System 280 

8-19. Strategic Railroad Extension in Turkey and Iran 284 

8-20. The Columbo Powers 287 

8-21. Bandung Conference, 1955 289 

9- 1. World, Relative Land Areas 294 

9- 2. World, Relative Population and Birth Rates 296 

9- 3. Population Growth, 1900-1949 315 

9- 4. World Regions by Demographic Type 322 

9- 5. World Population Growth: Actual, 1650-1950; and United Na- 
tions Medium Estimates, 1950-1980 323 

9- 6. Population Growth in the World and Its Major Regions: Actual, 

1920-1950; and United Nations Medium Estimates, 1950-1980 . 324 

9- 7. India: Composition of Population 328 

9- 8. Japan: Composition of Population 328 

9- 9. United Kingdom: Composition of Population 329 

9-10. People, Land, and Food Production 333 

10- 1. Mass Migration of Ethnic Germans into West Germany after 

World War II 360 

10- 2. Net Postwar Overseas Migration, Europe 1946-1952 (in thou- 
sands) 368 

10- 3. Chinese Settlement in Malaya 378 

11- 1. Linguistic States of India 386 

11- 2. Canada: "Les Canadiens" 391 

11- 3. China: Areas of Languages and Dialects 404 

12- 1. Distribution of Religions 410 

12- 2. Distribution of Roman Catholicism 416 

12- 3. Distribution of (a) Protestantism and other non-Catholic Chris- 
tian Churches; (b) Buddhism; (c) Hinduism; (d) Judaism . 420 

12- 4. Countries with Islamic Majorities and Significant Islamic 

Minorities 424 

12- 5. Islamic Countries 426 

13- 1. World: Daily Newspaper Circulation per 100 Persons . . . 442 

13- 2. World: Radio Sets per 100 Persons 444 

14- 1. Atomic Energy Resources 456 

14- 2. World: Arable Land 462 

14- 3. World: Economically Developed Countries 468 



xiv LIST OF MAPS 

PAGE 

15- 1. Railroads, Resources, and Industrial Concentrations in European 

Soviet Union 476 

15- 2. Railroads, Resources, and Industrial Concentrations in Asian 

Soviet Union 478 

15- 3. Railroads, Resources, and Industrial Concentrations of Northern 

China 498 

16- 1. Japan: Industrial Areas and Selected Railroads 520 

17- 1. Railroads, Resources, and Industrial Concentrations in Western 

Europe 540 

18- 1. The Westward Course of the United States as Shown in the Ten- 

Year Shift of the Population Center, 1790-1950 572 

18- 2. Anglo- America: Railroads, Resources, and Industrial Concentra- 
tions 574 

18-3. Regional Extent of TVA Activity 579 

20- 1. Middle East Oil Fields and Pipelines 628 

21- 1. Southeast Asia: Railroads, Resources, and Industrial Concentra- 

tions 652 

22- 1. Central America: Resources 670 

22- 2. South America: Resources 674 

23- 1. Resources, Railroads, and Political Structure of Africa . . . 690 



Part 



1 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR 
IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER 



1 



The Meaning and Scope or 
Political Geography 



POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY AND HUMAN GEOGRAPHY 

Political geography is a legitimate child of human geography. Both deal 
with the interplay of physical and human factors, with the interrelation- 
ship between earth and man. Both try to discover and explain the in- 
fluences of the physical world on human society and the limitations it puts 
on human activities; they deal with diverse manifestations of a symbiosis 
of nature and man. 

The life patterns revealed in this symbiosis are the subject matter of 
human geography. Out of the study of human geography evolves a better 
understanding of human groups within their natural environment, of 
civilizations formed and grown in a variety of environments, and of the 
physical causes which influenced this growth. 1 

It is, perhaps, the roots of human groups in their natural environment 
that most influence their development. These are, however, not the only 
formative factors in human society. Historical and sociological motiva- 
tions, as well as cultural influences, cannot be discounted. Yet to be 
rooted in a natural and cultural landscape and environment is the essence 
of life to the individual and to the group. The roots are manifold; so strong 
and interwoven is their net that man and his natural environment are 
inseparable. Human geography, in its many manifestations, draws its 

1 P. W. J. Vidal de la Blache, Principles of Human Geography (London, 1926), 
p. 19. 

3 



4 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

inspiration from this complex symbiosis. It focuses our attention on man 
and his environment, on man as a geographical factor, thus growing 
beyond descriptive narrative. Human geography evolves as a discipline 
whose primary target is "the study of human society in relation to the 
earth background." 2 As such it ranks alongside of other social sciences 
whose common purpose is to study the structure and behavior of human 
society. 

By this definition of the scope of human geography we have, by im- 
plication, excluded geographical speculations which are not borne out 
by scientific research. Numerous concepts have been developed over the 
last fifty years. These range from "environmental determinism," which 
postulates a causal relationship between the characteristics of the earth 
and the activities of man, to modified theories of "possibilism." which 
grants man and human groups a number of possible choices among the 
limits set and the opportunities offered by the physical environment. In a 
philosophical vein and in lofty language the concept of "possibilism" was 
expressed by Alexis de Tocqueville: 3 

I am aware that many of my contemporaries maintain that nations are never 
their own masters here below, and that they necessarily obey some unsurmount- 
able and intelligent power, arising from anterior events, from their race, or from 
the soil and climate of their country. Such principles are false and cowardly; 
such principles can never produce aught but feeble men and pusillanimous 
nations. Providence has not created mankind entirely dependent or entirely 
free. It is true that around every man a fatal circle is traced beyond which he 
cannot pass; but within the wide verge of that circle he is powerful and free; 
as it is with men, so with communities. 

These theories of determinism and of possibilism, developed mainly by 
geographers in Europe, especially in Germany and France, were also 
accepted readily by several geographers in the United States. Later a 
healthy reaction occurred, primarily based on the realization that al- 
though significant changes in the physical environment will often strongly 
condition human affairs, a positive determinism cannot be demonstrated 
in a relatively stable environment. The general concept commonly ac- 
cepted today is "that the physical character of the earth has different 
meaning for different people: that the significance to man of the physical 
environment is a function of the attitudes, objectives, and technical abili- 
ties of man himself. With each change in any of the elements of the 
human culture the resource base provided by the earth must be re- 

2 C. L. White and G. T. Renner, Human Geography, An Ecological Study of 
Society (New York, 1948), pp. V, VI. 

3 Democracy in America. 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 5 

evaluated." 4 We shall re-examine these ideas later, when distinguishing 
between political geography and geopolitics. 

Political geography, a subdivision of human geography, is concerned 
with a particular aspect of earth— man relationships and with a special 
kind of emphasis. It is not the relationship between physical environment 
and human groups or societies as such that attracts us here but the re- 
lationship between geographical factors and political entities. Only where 
man's organization of space and historical and cultural influences upon 
geographical patterns are related to political organizations, are we in the 
realm of political geography. In contrast to the "natural regions" of 
physical geography, the area units of political geography are those of 
states and nations. To determine how these organizations are influenced 
by and adjusted to physiographical conditions, and how these factors 
affect international relations, is the aim of political geography. 5 

POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY AND GEOPOLITICS 

Since all political landscapes are man-made, they are subject to con- 
tinuous fluctuations. The politico-geographical realities of today may 
easily become the myths of tomorrow, and vice versa. Geography, it has 
been said, does not argue— it simply is. When we examine the changing 
relationships of territory and people, either within a state or between 
states, we are confronted with artificial, because man-made, structures. 
The analysis and evaluation of the problems of political geography are 
definitely not in the realm of natural science. 

Our approach to a field in which physical geography, political science, 
and economics meet should be distinguished from the school commonly 
identified as "geopolitics." The latter goes beyond the objective study of 
politico-geographical factors and is an applied pseudo-science with very 
questionable objectives. As such, it has an axe to grind. The French 
geographer Demangeon correctly labeled geopolitics "a national enter- 
prise of propaganda and teaching." At the point where geopolitics be- 
comes a philosophy ( or rather pseudo-philosophy ) of geographical deter- 
minism, meant to justify the political aims of a specific nation, the 
curtain is drawn which separates it from our field of studies. 

The philosophical basis of geopolitics is rather crude. It tries to draw 
its strength from an identification of state and individual. Like any other 

4 P. E. James, American Geography, Inventory and Prospect (Syracuse, 1954), 
pp. 12, 13. 

5 Cf. W. Fitzgerald, The New Europe (New York, 1945), p. 1. 



6 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

living being, the state is endowed with a will and even with passions of 
its own. Like man himself, the state goes through the stages of birth, 
growth, maturity, aging, and death. 6 Hence, as seen through the glass of 
a "philosophy" of geopolitics, there are in the lives of states "laws" of 
growth and "laws" of decay. Out of these concepts grow terms which 
readily become political slogans, such as "Sense of space," "Folk without 
space," or the one which proved most effective as justification of German 
and Japanese expansionism, "Living space." 

At the risk of somewhat oversimplifying the issues, it can be said that 
the basic difference between political geography and geopolitics exists 
in the emphasis on the effect of geography on the dynamics of states and 
nations. The radical representatives of the German geopolitical school 
held that geographical factors so entirely determine growth and decline 
of states that no room is left for a course which contradicts the alleged 
geographical commands. From a concept which looks upon geography 
as the inalienable cause of human events, it is but one logical step to a 
political philosophy that claims for itself the right to predict the course 
determined by geographical factors, and thus to lead statesmen and 
soldiers alike in the making of strategic decisions. Hence it is not surpris- 
ing to find the German geopoliticians proclaiming that geopolitics "is the 
geographical conscience of the state." But the factors of change and 
fluctuations which daily write anew the map of the world belie the pre- 
tensions of a narrow determinism. More realistically and more modestly 
than the prophets of geopolitics, most students of political geography 
hold that geography does not determine but merely conditions the course 
of states. Geography is but one of many tangible and intangible features 
which form the pattern of a state. A significant note to this concept of 
political geography has been added by French geographers who stress 
the possible modification of geographical features as a result of man's 
technological achievement. 7 

6 W. G. East, "The Nature of Political Geography," Politica (1937), p. 259. It 
should be noted that not only Germans have inclined toward this biological outlook. 
The French geographer Ancel (see the preface to his Geopolitique, 1936) and the 
American geographer Van Valkenburg (Political Geography) were equally impressed. 
"The thesis," R. Hartshorne (in American Geography [Syracuse, 1954], p. 185) writes, 
"has been widely criticized not only because of a lack of demonstration that the life 
processes of any state have led inevitably to the characteristics that can be called old 
age and ultimately to dissolution, but, even more fundamentally, on the grounds that 
it is false to reason from a superficial analogy between a biological organism and a 
social organization operated by men, since men collectively through successive gen- 
erations are at no time older than their predecessors." 

7 In our efforts to distinguish between geopolitics and political geography, a note 
of caution is in order which is due to the semantics of the term geopolitics. Both terms 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 7 

To the reader who has been taken in by the fading glamour of the 
catchword "geopolitics," this brief attempt to distinguish between geo- 
politics and political geography may appear superficial in view of the 
amazing fascination which geopolitics evoked during, and following, 
World War II. To a large extent American interest in, and preoccupation 
with, geopolitics dates from the time of Hitler's military victories. Amer- 
ican acceptance of geopolitics perhaps resulted from the actual and 
seeming successes of the German grand strategy by what then appeared 
to be a doctrine and science on which the Germans could claim to have 
a monopoly. 

It is not without irony that even before Americans looked with anxious 
fascination upon German geopolitics, its German monopolists conveyed 
to their own countrymen the idea that geographers and statesmen in 
Britain and the United States, and even in France, had mastered the 
principles and application of geopolitics much more skillfully than was 
true in Germany. In a symposium by the editors of the Journal of 
Geopolitics, published in 1928, as well as in many editorials, General Karl 
Haushofer sadly commented that geographers like Mackinder and Curzon 
in Britain, Semple and Bowman in America, and Brunhes and Vallaux in 
France had not only understood the teachings of Friedrich Ratzel, the 
father of political geography in Germany, much better than the Germans 
themselves but had also succeeded in utilizing these lessons "for the sake 
of power expansion." 8 

To Haushofer and his school, it was a matter of serious concern that 
German leadership, both in the German Foreign Office and the General 
Staff, excelled in geographic ignorance and overemphasis on legal train- 
ing. Hence the necessity to create a new "science" for would-be statesmen 
and conquering generals, a borderline science with a practical political 
purpose. Borrowing heavily from the disciplines of "geography, history, 
and politics," it would supply statesman and officer alike with the neces- 
sary tools for making political and strategical decisions. 

While the godfathers of geopolitics in Germany cited with admiration 
and envy the achievements of political geographers in the Anglo-American 
countries, to convince their countrymen that a thorough revision of geo- 



are frequently used interchangeably and it cannot, therefore, be assumed that the use 
of the word geopolitics is in itself indicative of the author's subscribing to the beliefs 
of geographical determinism. 

8 Bausteine zur Geopolitik (Berlin, 1928), p. 61; see also, in rebuttal, I. Bowman, 
"Geography vs. Geopolitics," in H. W. Weigert and V. Stefansson, eds., Compass of 
the World ( New York, 1954 ) , pp. 40-53. Bowman branded Haushofer's philosophy of 
power as "utterly dishonest." 



8 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

graphic thinking and training was overdue in Germany, the early vic- 
tories of the German war machine prompted a similar train of thought 
in America. As one American geography professor put it in 1943: "The 
airplane has created a new geography of the world. Axis leaders knew 
this several years ago and have been taking advantage of it, but few 
Americans are yet really aware of it." 9 Believing that the Germans were 
more than a step ahead of Americans in supplying statecraft and strategy 
with tools from the realm of geography, the American proponents of 
geopolitics argued, even as the Germans, that it was high time to learn 
from the enemy and to make geography fashionable by calling it geo- 
politics. Thus the American vogue in geopolitics had its roots less in the 
discovery of a new ( German-grown ) branch of political geography than 
in nebulous conceptions and in the realization that the study and appli- 
cation of geography in America was in anything but a perfect state. 
Viewed against this historical background, the struggle between political 
geography and geopolitics can be seen in its proper perspective. Much 
less than a competition between two clearly discernible schools of human 
geography, it reflects in Germany the efforts, during the ill-fated latest 
phase of German totalitarianism, to use, and often abuse, geography as 
a political device to justify acts of aggression and expansion. At the same 
time, the awareness, in this country, of weaknesses in our own arsenal 
of geographical knowledge and training led to often nebulous and mis- 
guided attempts to bring geography into focus by dressing it as geopol- 
itics. If one visualizes the theme of geography versus geopolitics against 
the historical setting of the years surrounding World War II and the 
ideologies underlying its power struggle, we shall not fail to realize the 
temporary nature of the vastly overblown controversy. This realization 
should make easy the return to the less glamorous but more solid grounds 
of political geography. 10 

9 Actually, the history of World War II teaches the opposite to be true and shows 
the German and Japanese High Commands as prisoners of a fatally mistaken Mercator 
world view which caused them to misjudge completely the geographical relationship 
of the United States to the rest of the world; cf. R. E. Harrison and H. W. Weigert, 
"World View and Strategy," in Weigert and Stefansson, op. cit., pp. 74-89. 

10 For a more detailed discussion of German geopolitics, see H. W. Weigert, Gen- 
erals and Geographers (New York, 1942); R. Strauss-Hupe, Geopolitics (New York, 
1942); E. M. Walsh, "Geopolitics and International Morals," in Weigert and Stefans- 
son, op. cit., pp. 12-40; I. Bowman, "Geography vs. Geopolitics," Geographical Review 
( 1942), pp. 646-658; and Weigert and Stefansson, op. cit., pp. 40-52. See also the dis- 
cussion between M. A. Junis and J. O. M. Broek, "Geography and Nationalism," Geo- 
graphical Review (1945), pp. 301-311. All of these authors try to explain and to de- 
bunk the strange phenomenon of geopolitics in Germany as they saw it from the United 
States and hampered by the fact that their critical evaluation was undertaken during 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 9 

Despite its obvious fallacies, geopolitics in Hitler Germany flourished 
as one of the main roots of a philosophy which almost succeeded in 
becoming a powerful political reality. The British historian H. Trevor- 
Roper has highlighted geopolitics as understood and practiced by Hitler 
in an analysis which we quote in order to emphasize the challenge of 
Hitler's brand of geopolitics: " 

Hitler, like Spengler, saw history as a series of almost geological ages, each 
characterized by a special "culture" and separated from the others by crucial 
periods of transition in which the old era, the old culture, gave way to the new. 
There had been the ancient era of Mediterranean culture, the medieval era of 
frustrated Germanic culture, the post-Renaissance era of wicked capitalist cul- 
ture dominated by the maritime powers; and now at last— did not all the omens 
show it?— that era had in turn reached its fatal period and must be replaced by 
a new. But what would this new era be? Whose culture would dominate it? How 
would it be brought to birth out of the dying convulsions of the old? 

To all these questions Hitler had thought out his answer. The new era would 
be a "geopolitical" era, for the conquest of space had rendered the old maritime 
empires obsolete— that was why he could afford to "guarantee" the irrelevant 
British Empire. It would be dominated— the geopoliticians had said so— by who- 
ever dominated the mass of Central and Eastern Europe. That might, of course, 
mean the Russians, who were more numerous, powerfully organized under a 
totalitarian genius whom he admired, and already there. But Hitler did not want 
it to be the Russians: he wanted it to be the Germans; therefore, in answer to 
the third question, he declared that it would come about not by a natural eco- 
nomic process but by a violent change, a crusading war of conquest and coloni- 
zation, a war of giants in which he, the demiurge of the new age, would bv 
sheer human will power reverse the seeming inevitability of history and plant 
upon conquered Eurasia that German culture which would dominate the world 
for the next thousand years. 

Such was the vast, crude vision which inspired Hitler's demonic career— the 
vision for the sake of which he had revolutionized and rearmed Germany, ruth- 
lessly and cunningly solved all intervening problems, created an elite of mystical 
crusaders, and now, in June 1941, suddenly launched what would be for him 
the ultimate, the only relevant campaign: the Armageddon that was to decide, 
not petty questions of frontiers or governments, but the whole next era of human 
history. 

One further note of warning appears necessary. It would be a serious 
mistake if we minimized the dangers, to American thinking, of a geo- 
political doctrine and ideology so firmly rooted in German soil. It would 



World War II when another Iron Curtain separated Hitler Germany from the Free 
World. It is therefore indispensable for a better and unbiased understanding of Ger- 
man geopolitics to consult a "critique and justification" of geographic science in Ger- 
many during the period from 1933 to 1945, written in 1941 by a ranking German 
geographer, Carl Troll, who had been an uncompromising foe of National Socialism 
(Annals of the Association of American Geographers [1949], pp. 99-135; translated 
and annotated by Eric Fischer ) . 

11 "Hitler's Gamble/' Atlantic Monthly (September, 1954), p. 42. 



10 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

indeed be fallacious to argue that the issue of geopolitics versus political 
geography is purely academic in America for the reason that geopolitics 
was, after all, a German product and not exportable to America. That 
in a few exceptional cases American writers and students of geography 
had been unduly influenced by concepts of geopolitics, it could be argued, 
should not detract from the fact that America is no fertile ground for 
the alien credo. 

However, a comparison between the basic ideas of German geopolitics 
and of the American creed of Manifest Destiny ( extending into Theodore 
Roosevelt's era) rampant between 1830-60, shows that the German mind 
has no monopoly on the kind of argumentation typical of geopolitics. 
Although the two concepts were conditioned by their different environ- 
ments, it appears that similar centrifugal forces have cast them off- 
similar, but not identical, for Manifest Destiny, if one disregards some 
of its more radical proponents, was in its original pronouncements not 
based on militarism. The manifest destiny of the American Republic was 
to expand over the continent of North America by peaceful process and 
by the force of republican principles of government. Yet the similarities 
are striking. Geopolitics, with its basic concept of "Living space," and 
Manifest Destiny alike embraced expansionism as a biological necessity 
in the lives of states and justified it by the conception of the state as an 
organism. Both fed on the theory of "economically integrated large space 
areas." Even as the idea of an economically integrated Central Europe 
( Mitteleuropa ) was part and parcel of German geopolitics, so the ter- 
ritorial expansion of the United States westward, southward, and north- 
ward became a battlecry of Manifest Destiny and found its theoretical 
justification in the principle of geographical unity. In their arguments, 
the proponents of Manifest Destiny embraced geographical determinism 
and vague geopolitical concepts of "natural" frontiers. These played a 
role in the discussions in 1846 over the Oregon question and recurred 
during the Mexican war. They found their strongest expression in the 
geopolitical beliefs of Lincoln's Secretary of State, William H. Seward, 
beginning in 1860 with his speech in St. Paul, Minnesota, in which he 
envisioned the peaceful expansion of the United States over the whole 
continent of North America as the fulfillment of the will of Providence. 
After the Civil War, Seward's geopolitical ideas revolved around an even 
greater American empire. They included the strategic islands in the 
Caribbean, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. Looking forward to possessions in 
the Atlantic and Pacific, he made plans for a canal route through Nica- 
ragua by ensuring transit rights in the treaty of 1867; he hoped that the 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 11 

United States would annex the Hawaiian islands; he favored the annex- 
ation of Canada. As the lone lasting result of his expansionist endeavors 
he was able to show only the acquisition of Alaska from Russia. 12 

With the naval historian Alfred Thayer Mahan, expansion overseas was 
added to the credo of American Manifest Destiny geopolitics which, 
except for Seward's dreams, had remained essentially continental. Mahan's 
influence went far beyond the American scene. It is difficult to say whether 
it was more instrumental in promoting Manifest Destiny concepts in the 
United States, leading her toward world power through sea power, or 
whether it was strongest in stimulating German expansionism, based on 
geopolitical teachings in which Ratzel, influenced by Mahan, had pointed 
to the sea as an important source of national greatness. The concept of 
space, so essential since Ratzel and so distorted and overdrawn since 
Haushofer and his disciples, was also a keynote of Manifest Destiny, 
beginning with the purchase of Louisiana by Jefferson. Coupled with 
large-space concepts we find in latter-day German geopolitics an un- 
healthy contempt for the rights of the small states which stood in the 
way of the expansionist drive of their large neighbors. In a similar vein, 
Henry Cabot Lodge stated, in truly geopolitical fashion, that small states 
had outlived their worth in the progress of the world. Even the racial 
and cultural superiority slogans, which should not be charged to the 
gospel of German geopolitics but which were, however leluctantly, 
accepted and adopted by Haushofer and his group during the Third 
Reich, have their counterpart in the pronouncements of the most radical 
prophets of Manifest Destiny in the United States. For example, Burgess 
foresaw the establishment of a new Christian order through a world 
dominion of Anglo-Saxons. The "philosophical" basis of his prediction 
was the concept that the Teutonic nations, including those considered 
Anglo-Saxon in culture and population, were alone equipped to assume 
leadership in the formation and administration of states and that they 
therefore had not only the right but also the duty to subdue other nations 
and to force organization upon "unpolitical populations." 13 

Both concepts, then, have in common the popular use of environmental, 
especially spatial, factors for the justification of power-political, expan- 
sionist aims. Since their similar creeds mushroomed in different periods 
of history and in different national and natural environments, dissimilar - 

12 F. Parella, Lehensraum and Manifest Destiny, MA thesis, Georgetown University, 
pp. 88-101; our discussion of the relationship between German geopolitics and Manifest 
Destiny is based on this thesis. 

13 J. W. Burgess, Political Science and Comparative Constitutional Law, Vol. I 
(Boston, 1890), pp. 30-39, 44-46. 



12 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

ities are obvious. But the most important distinguishing fact is that basic 
concepts of geopolitics in Germany became the official policy of Hitler's 
Third Reich, whereas Manifest Destiny was never adopted as an official 
policy by the United States; it never went beyond the stage of a popular 
conviction. 14 Yet the readiness with which it was absorbed by the public 
and by many in positions of power should give us pause. The history of 
the Manifest Destiny movement in the United States should warn us not 
to disregard as irrelevant the pseudo-philosophy of geopolitical schools 
abroad, on the theory that this brand of geopolitics was tvpical only of 
the half-forgotten Third Reich in Germany. 

THE IMPACT OF CHANGE AND STABILITY 

Although statistics and other evidence can be assembled to serve the 
study of political geography, we must not lose sight of the fact that its 
realm is affected by constant change and fluctuation. In the first place, 
the physical environment itself, the geographical framework within which 
the destinies of states and nations unfold themselves, is changing every 
day. Changes in climate, for instance, and the resulting effects on vege- 
tation, have affected man's adjustment and consequently his civilizations, 
although the degree of these influences is still an open question. 15 At 
least as significant is the fact that man's response and adjustment to his 
environment has, throughout history, undergone constant change and 
evolution. Man, organized in social and political groups, has learned 
increasingly to adapt himself to the conditioning effects of geography. 
He has countered more and more successfully the influences of geograph- 
ical factors by making the best use of the opportunities offered him by 
his environment. He has gone farther, and by what has been described 
as "geographical surgery," he has molded the landscape to fit his needs 
or wants. 

At the same time, it should be remembered that the manner and degree 
of human adjustment to the natural environment follows no uniform 
pattern. Rather, human societies, whether primitive social groupings or 
highly developed modern states, have always varied in their reaction to 
their environment. To account for the basic differences between nations 
in their response to environment requires an examination of sociological 
and psychological characteristics which are beyond the province of geog- 
raphy. However, an awareness of these factors helps us to realize that 

14 Parella, op. cit., p. 103. 

15 Cf. E. Huntington, Mainsprings of Civilization (New York, 1945); White and 
Renner, op. cit., pp. 240, 241. 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 13 

geographical influence is but one of many conditioning factors; geography 
does not act as an "agent of determinism." 

While "man has found it easy to change the face of nature, he has 
found it difficult to change his own mind" ( V. Stefansson ) . It has become 
a truism to speak of our shrinking world, yet man individually and 
collectively, has proven his inability to adjust his thinking and ideas to 
the changes that have taken place in environmental conditions. The more 
mankind has succeeded in overcoming barriers of terrain and distance, 
thus erasing isolation and bringing about a closely-knit society of nations, 
the less unity has the "one world" of ours produced. It is this cultural 
lag which is a major cause of political instability in our time. One main 
reason for the cultural lag can be seen in the difficulties we encounter 
when we attempt to adjust political realities and ideals to the continuous 
change in the relationship between man and his natural environment. 
Clearly the study of political geography concerns itself with the descrip- 
tion and analysis of the features of instability and change which permeate 
the pattern of relations between earth and state. That necessitates con- 
tinuous re-examination and re-evaluation of only seemingly established 
facts in the spatial relationship between states and political organizations. 

We shall deal on many occasions with the changes that have altered 
the face of the earth and we will find again and again that these changes 
have affected vitally the lives of nations and the power relationships of 
every state in war and peace. It does not matter whether they are the 
result of physical processes or of the activities of man himself. The latter 
include changes that are man-made, such as canals, or man-caused, such 
as the depletion of forested lands or of natural resources, as well as those 
that indirectly result from technological progress. The full impact of these 
transformations, which in our time have succeeded each other more 
rapidly and have shaken the foundations of the globe more terrifyingly 
than in any other epoch of history, defies human imagination. 

We can think of no better illustration of the magnitude of the problem 
of comprehending the changes which our planet is continuously under- 
going than the words spoken in 1827 by the great German poet Johann 
Wolfgang von Goethe. With prophetic imagination he envisaged geo- 
graphical surgery which would alter the face and structure of the earth 
and thus revolutionize the relationships of nations. These are Goethe's 
reflections as expressed in a conversation with his secretary, Eckermann: 

... a passage through the Isthmus of Panama has been suggested. Other points 
have been recommended where, by making use of some streams that flow into 
the Gulf of Mexico, the end may be perhaps better attained than at Panama. 



14 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

All this is reserved for the future, and for an enterprising spirit. So much, how- 
ever, is certain, that if they succeed in connecting the Mexican gulf with the 
Pacific Ocean, innumerable benefits will come to mankind. But I doubt whether 
the United States will pass up the opportunity to get control of this undertaking. 
I predict that this young state, with its decided westward course, will, in thirty 
or forty years, have occupied and peopled the whole tract of land beyond the 
Rocky Mountains. Along the entire coast of the Pacific, which nature has en- 
dowed with the most capacious and secure harbors, important cities will gradu- 
ally arise, for the furtherance of much trade between China and the East Indies 
and the United States. In that case, it will become desirable and even indis- 
pensable that a more rapid communication be maintained between the eastern 
and western shores of North America, both by merchant-vessels and by 
men-of-war, and far superior to the tedious, unpleasant, and expensive voyage 
around Cape Horn. So I repeat, it is absolutely indispensable for the United 
States to effect a passage from the Mexican gulf to the Pacific Ocean; and I am 
certain that the United States will accomplish it. 

Would that I might live to see it!— but I shall not. I should like to see another 
event— a junction of the Danube and the Rhine. But this undertaking is so gigan- 
tic that I doubt the possibility of its completion, particularly when I consider 
our German resources. 

And third and last, I should like to see England in possession of a canal 
through the Isthmus of Suez. Would that I could live to see these three great 
works. It would be well worth the trouble to last some fifty years more. . . . 

This is indeed the future in retrospect. Viewed through the glass of 
an imaginative observer of the world's stage, a scene unfolds which has 
become so obvious a reality in our day that we fail to grasp easily the 
changes which these geographical surgeries have caused. They have not 
only altered our physical world but have transformed basically the power 
relations of the great national states. To foresee the potentialities and 
possibilities of change in state-earth relationships, as Goethe did, is an 
even more vital task today than it was 150 years ago. "Is not the crisis 
of today, which penetrates into every human activity and almost every 
larger thought, essentially geographical in origin?" Halford J. Mackinder, 
an outstanding British geographer, raised this question in 1935. He tried 
to answer it by emphasizing the elementary facts of our shrinking world. 
Mankind, he suggested, has suddenly become world-conscious and has 
taken fright. The nations have run to their homes and are barricading 
their doors. They have realized that henceforth they must live in a closed 
system in which they can do nothing without generating "repercussions 
from the very antipodes." To grasp the world-wide scope of modern 
geography and the pattern of interrelationships which is still growing 
in complexity is one thing. To apply the lessons of this geography, so that 
they will be accepted by statesmen and nations, is altogether different. 
Man finds it easier to change the face of nature than to change his own 
mind. 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 15 

Although we have emphasized the role of change, which precludes an 
easy explanation of how geographical factors change the course and 
destinies of nations, we must now equally stress certain basic geographic 
characteristics that possess the quality of stability. They have remained 
unchanged throughout history, and an understanding of these unchange- 
able geographical features is indispensable to statecraft and military 
strategy. Historical geography verifies that the cost of geographical igno- 
rance, one facet of which is lack of appreciation of these unchangeable 
factors, is immeasurable. Also immeasurable is the cost of geographical 
ignorance due to lack of understanding of changes in the environment and 
their effect on power relations. Especially eloquent are those instances 
where nations fell because of their failure to grasp the size of enemy 
territory and of the manpower of their foes. Such ignorance explains the 
downfall of the Greeks when attacked by Persia, the Jews in their struggle 
with the Assyrians and Babylonians, and the ultimate defeat of Napoleon 
and Hitler in the vast expanses of Russia. If we discount the often re- 
markable changes in the structure of smaller powers occasioned by geo- 
graphical surgery, as in the case of Egypt ( Suez Canal ) or Colombia and 
Panama (Panama Canal), the physiographic foundations of state power 
will in most cases remain unchanged. Foreign policy and military strategy 
will have to accept these foundations as basic; ignorance of these factors, 
both at home and abroad, can prove to be fatal. 

It is a truism that the history of Britain since the Norman conquest 
and her political and military decisions have been clearly based on her 
island fortress position; her world power in the Victorian age and the 
decline of this power since the advent of the submarine and the airplane 
are linked to this geographical fact. In contrast, the geographical position 
of France has always been one of extreme vulnerability. Her exposure 
to invasion has always tempted her neighbors, like the Hapsburgs, who 
laid an iron ring around France and later invaded her territory when her 
internal stability collapsed in the turmoil of the French Revolution. The 
utter insecurity of France because of geographical location— in contrast 
to the security which, until yesterday, characterized the location of the 
British Isles and of the United States— is documented on every page of 
her history. To counteract it, France has always been forced to establish, 
often at high expense, a friend in the rear of her most dangerous enemy, 
so that if war came the enemy would be compelled to fight on two fronts. 16 
Thus the alignments of France with Sweden, Poland, and Turkey to check 
the expansion of the Holy Roman Empire and, after the First World War, 

16 C. Petrie, "The Strategic Concept of Modern Diplomacy," Quarterly Review 
(1952), pp. 289-301. 



16 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the creation of the Little Entente in Germany's backyard to meet a future 
German threat, go back to the simple facts of her regional location 
vis-a-vis her neighbors. Similarly, Germany's strategy in war and peace 
since the nineteenth century has been dictated by awareness of weakness 
stemming from her open frontiers in East and West. Statesmen like 
Bismarck who knew their geography designed a foreign policy for Ger- 
many to insure her against war on two fronts; criminal dilettantes at the 
helm of Germany, like Hitler, disregarded this basic policy and led their 
people into disaster by attacking their neighbors on all fronts. 

These examples can be multiplied, and later we shall discuss the factors 
of size, shape, and location in more detail. They serve here merely as 
illustrations of stable geographical features which in the past have con- 
ditioned internal and external policies of states and which are likely to 
affect the same decisions in the present and in the future. We must view 
a country against this background of geographical fundamentals in order 
to understand its role within the concert of nations. 

THE NEW FRONTIERS 

The study of fluctuating frontiers, boundaries, frontier zones, and "no 
man's lands" is a most important field for the student of political geography. 
The day seems to be distant when nations will have become so inter- 
dependent that separating frontiers will be allowed to wither away. Until 
such time, the study of frontiers remains a vital prerequisite for the under- 
standing of the internal conditions of a state and nation as well as of the 
international relations of states. 

"The Old Europe is gone. The map is being rolled up and a new map 
is unrolling before us. We shall have to do a great deal of fundamental 
thinking and scrapping of old points of view before we find our way 
through the new continent which now opens before us." These prophetic 
words, spoken by Field Marshal Jan Christian Smuts before the Empire 
Parliamentary Association in November, 1943, deserve a much broader 
application. The old world is gone and we must find our way through 
the new continents across new frontiers. 

It is impossible to describe with any degree of stability the contours 
of political boundaries. In studying problems of boundaries and frontiers, 
the focus is therefore on instability, expansion, and retraction. We must 
visualize two radically different world maps of political boundaries: one 
based on the boundaries which are internationally recognized, and the 
other whose lines of demarcation are in dispute, even though they may 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 17 

be affirmed in legally-recognized treaties. The boundaries on this latter 
map reflect the extension of national power by aggressor states. 

The new political map of the world that is unrolling before us is indeed 
so basically different from the map of, for instance, about fifty years ago 
that a comparison of the boundaries of existent "independent" states 
speaks for itself. Nothing illustrates the fluctuating foundations of political 
geography better than the fact that in 1902 the number of "independent" 
states in the world was forty-seven and that, in 1952, it had increased 
by thirty-seven to eighty-four. The following list records these relatively 
new additions to the family of nations. However, in tracing their contours 
on the map we should remember that their inclusion in the list does not 
reveal, and in fact does in some cases cloud, the vital issue of whether 
these states have by their legal recognition achieved true independence 
or, if so, will be able to maintain it. 

In the Americas, two: Canada, Panama. 

In Europe, ten: Albania, Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Finland, 
Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Poland, Yugoslavia. 

In Africa, three: Egypt, Libya, South Africa. 

In Asia, twenty -two: Afghanistan, Australia, Burma, Cambodia, Ceylon, 
India, Indonesia, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Korea, Laos, Lebanon, Outer 
Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Syria, 
Viet Nam, Yemen. 17 

The end is not yet in sight, as is illustrated by no less than three 
territories (Morocco, Tunisia, and the Sudan) winning independence 
during the first quarter of 1956. Beferring to the more than 500,000,000 
people of Asia now living in territories which have achieved national 
recognition since 1945, the Secretary-General of the United Nations wrote 
in 1951 that "one-fourth of the population of the world has gained inde- 
pendence within the span of only six years. The pressure of other depend- 
ent peoples toward freedom and equality has become much stronger since 
the war and continues to increase." 

THE STUDY OF STATE-EARTH RELATIONSHIPS 

Although the limits that distinguish political geography from other 
fields of human geography cannot be clearly defined, we secure a firmer 
basis for our study if we realize that we are primarily concerned with 
the relationship between the state and its natural environment. Territorv 

17 Cf. H. W. Briggs, "New Dimensions in International Law," The American Polit- 
ical Science Review (1952), pp. 680 f. 



18 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

and people are the foundations of the state, but they are much more than 
that because the complex interrelationship between the two molds the 
structure of the state into what distinguishes it from other state organ- 
izations. The physical environment blends with the manifold tangible 
and intangible features which characterize a nation, and out of this legion 
of mosaic stones emerges the picture of a state with an individuality of 
its own. 

The study of political geography deals with the internal geographical 
factors which contribute to the state's individuality and, at the same time, 
with the geographical factors which condition the external relations be- 
tween states. In a "closed system in which any major action within a state 
system must generate repercussions from the very antipodes" (Mackin- 
der), any attempt to differentiate between the two sets of geographical 
factors creates a highly distorted picture. The patterns of internal and 
external political geography are complementary. 

If we then explore the geographical situation of a state, or what is 
often even more important for the understanding of international power 
relations, the geographical situation of a number of states bound together 
by ideological and other bonds, we must probe their main geographical 
characteristics. Among the most important, we may list size (in combi- 
nation with related factors such as productivity of the land, accessibility 
through communications, and climate); location (distinguishing between 
the regional location of a state and the world location' of a state ) ; and the 
influence which shape and topography, in particular the impact of land 
and sea, have on national and international power. 

Although the violent fluctuations affecting areal differentiation of the 
earth's political entities prevents the construction of a pure science system 
of political geography, its study offers one significant advantage compared 
to evaluation by regional or other factors of geography. This advantage 
is one of technique. Statistical and other evidence needed for the appraisal 
of the world's political units can be gathered only within political bound- 
aries. Even where the available data are compiled by international 
agencies, they are nevertheless classified by national units; a population 
census, for instance, cannot be obtained for a natural or cultural region. 

In spite of its man-made and often irrational and fortuitous qualities, 
the state structure of the world, like its physical structure, offers therefore 
a rationale for geographical analysis and interpretation. The presence of a 
political boundary is as significant a geographical factor as are soil, relief, 
or climate. One illustration is the "railway state" organized by Japan in 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 19 

southern Manchuria. When Russia, in 1905, transferred to Japan control 
of the Southern Manchurian Railways, coal and iron mines, and a narrow 
strip of land, 700 miles long but only 100 square miles in area, Japan 
transformed this zone into a new political entity in which industries, 
villages, and towns mushroomed. 18 Similarly, the Soviet Union in 1954 
stepped up its plans to assist Communist China in the development of a 
new industrial base in North China, which, with the help of railway 
construction, would draw Northern China, Inner Mongolia, and Sinkiang 
closer to the Soviet orbit. 

If we thus focus our attention on a political territory within the confines 
of its boundaries, we will understand what distinguishes the study of 
political geography from that of regional geography. Political geography 
deals with the human and physical texture of political territories, whereas 
regional geography concentrates on the features which together create a 
physical and human landscape, 19 achieving, both physically and humanly, 
the characteristics of regional uniformity. 20 

It is important to remember that the "political territory" which we 
have in mind as the basis of politico-geographical investigation does not 
need to be identical with or limited to a state area and its internal political 
subdivisions. International relations and politics are shaped by the exist- 
ence of political units and regions which bind together, sometimes firmly 
but more often loosely and on a very temporary basis, a number of 
individual states professing to share national and economic interests and 
ideologies. Within such political areas, there always exist both unifying 
factors and elements of disunion and diversity. To explore both and to 
arrive at a balanced view of a political region composed of sovereign 
states with common interests is part of the endeavor of the political 
geographer. Here we must distinguish between areas whose physical 
geography alone justifies their study in terms of political unity or disunity, 
and others which as the result of alliances or international agreements 
have been forged into political areas with characteristics of their own 
to complement those of the component states. In the first category belong 
such "units" as Latin America or South East Asia, "Western Europe," the 
Eastern European satellites bloc, the Balkan countries, 21 or such a polit- 
ical grouping as the new British dominion of Central Africa consisting 

18 East, op. cit., pp. 254, 267; but compare the remarks, on p. 19, on the political 
geography of zones not identical with political territories. 

19 Ibid. 

20 White and Renner, op. cit, pp. 638-657. 

21 See Hartshorne, op. cit., pp. 186, 187. 



20 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

of Northern and Southern Rhodesia and Nyasaland. 22 To the second 
group would belong units such as the NATO countries, or the wide 
expanse of nations extending from Pakistan to the Philippines which are 
committed to the South East Asian Collective Defense Treaty (SEATO), 
or the political realm of the United Nations. 



POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY AND RELATED FIELDS 

The close relationship of historical geography and political geography 
is evident. The political geography of today will be the historical geog- 
raphy of tomorrow. A sound evaluation of politico-geographical factors 
is impossible without consideration of historical factors and fluctuations. 
Essentially, the boundary line between the two is one of emphasis only. 
We are concerned with those facts and events of history and politics 
which can be described as "geography set in motion," but which have 
not yet become petrified sufficiently to permit us to appraise them mainly 
from a historical viewpoint. 

More important than the distinction between historical and political 
geography is the intrinsic value of historical geography to the student 
of its sister discipline. For while history may not repeat itself, it is equally 
true that geographical factors repeatedly influence the destinies of nations. 
To follow the pattern of geographical influences historically facilitates 
the task of the political geographer in exploring the relationship of state 
and earth as it exists today and may evolve in the future. We must, 
however, re-emphasize that what in the early stages of human history 
appeared as unchangeable physical facts have been, with more and more 
rapid revolution, altered by human action. Whether we consider major 
accomplishments of geographical surgery, through inland canal systems, 
or the opening of new territories through railroad and highway construc- 
tion, or the clearing of forests and the resulting effect on the conservation 
of moisture, and thereby fertility, in many regions, we will always dis- 
cover new documentations of human action modifying the physical en- 
vironments. Alongside such changes we must consider the development 
and exploitation of natural resources, as well as the settlement of empty 
spaces, in particular the phenomenal effects of colonization policies of 
the major powers— all factors which contribute to affect earth-state rela- 
tionships. 

These changes and their impact on history remind us that we would 

2 2 See pp. 186, 706. 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 21 

be seriously mistaken in taking for granted that the geographical factors 
which conditioned earth-state relations in a given area in the past will 
have the same conditioning effect today. At the same time, the appraisal 
still holds true by which a British geographer, more than thirty years 
ago and before the advent of modern aviation, summed up the relative 
significance of the permanent factors of geography and the man-made 
changes of the earth's surface: "Real as are all these modes in which 
human action has modified the influence of physical factors, they are 
obviously but trifles in comparison with the natural forces which they 
to a slight extent counteract. The Alps have lost their mystery, but they 
still form a barrier which must be crossed: they affect the cost of every 
parcel of goods conveyed into or out of the valley of the Po. Civilized 
enterprise may seek out new localities in which valuable products can be 
made to grow; but the steady working of the great natural forces still 
determines climate, with all its boundless effects on human history. Man 
may drain and plant, redeeming a little space here and there from barren- 
ness or from malaria: but all he has done or even can do is infinitesimal 
beside the influence of the North Atlantic drift, which is only one fraction 
of the world's system of ocean currents." 23 Thus it becomes imperative 
for the student of political geography to view his scene through the glass 
of historical geography; the lessons of the past which explain the con- 
ditioning effect of a country's geography on its inhabitants will often— not 
always— illuminate the clouded scene on today's stage. 

To illustrate the close bonds between historical and political geography, 
enough examples could be cited to fill a voluminous book. The one ex- 
ample we select should lead us to evaluate in retrospect the internal and 
external geography of the United States over a period of less than one 
hundred years. 

In his message to Congress on December 1, 1862, Abraham Lincoln 
spoke of the "Egypt of the West." He defined this region as "the great 
interior region bounded east by the Alleghenies, north by the British 
dominions, west by the Rocky Mountains, and south by the line along 
which the culture of corn and cotton meets. ... A glance at the map shows 
that, territorially speaking, it is the great body of the Republic. The other 
parts are but marginal borders to it . . . [it] being the deepest and also the 
richest in undeveloped resources. . . And yet this region has no seacoast 
—touches no ocean anywhere. ... [Its people] find their way to Europe 
by New York, to South America and Africa by New Orleans, and to Asia 

23 H. B. George, The Relations of Geography and History, 5th ed. (New York, 
1924), p. 19. 



22 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

by San Francisco." What Lincoln thus described as the great body of 
the Republic, the Egypt of the West, is the same Middle West which since 
his day has been destined, by the strength of the natural wealth of its 
broad plains, to play a pivotal role in the internal political geography 
of the United States. To emphasize the decisive part which the Middle 
West has always played in national politics would be to stress the obvious. 
More involved are the problems which confront us if we view the Middle 
West, that region that "has no seacoast— touches no ocean anywhere," 
as a factor in the external political geography of this country, both in 
retrospect and from the ramparts of the atomic age. When Lincoln 
addressed Congress in 1862, this heartland of the Republic was indeed 
safe in its splendid inland isolation. It did not need to fear attack from 
without as long as it wisely refrained from stepping beyond its ideal 
natural frontiers. It is this historical geography of the United States which 
accounts for an isolationism deeply and justly rooted in the country's 
geography of yesterday and therefore a live and a powerful force in our 
national and international policies until yesterday. 

At the height of the last World War, Bernard De Voto, 24 himself no 
isolationist, summed up the atmosphere of the Middle West by saying that 

it is so deep in the vastness of the American continent that it cannot believe in 
the existence of salt water. Still less does it believe that beyond the oceans 
there are other peoples or that what happens to such peoples in any way affects 
what happens to the Middle West. It knows the marginal borders of its own 
province, the States east of the Alleghenies and west of the Rockies; for they 
also belong to its political system. Rut its awareness stops there, somewhere 
inland from tidemark. In its own province it lives an intensive local life, remark- 
ably integrated, absorbing, so rich that it instinctively judges all other variants 
of American life to be less substantial. If the rest of America is insubstantial, 
Europe and Asia and Africa are phantoms or perhaps rumors. The Middle West 
is indifferent to them, even skeptical. Like blizzards and droughts, foreign na- 
tions and foreign wars are temporary and peripheral. When they require action 
we will take action— temporarily and on the periphery. We will take action as 
militia rising to repel a raid, minutemen dropping the plow in ignorance of 
whence the raid came and why, and returning to the plow doggedly uninter- 
ested in any reasons or causes that have made us soldiers, killed our neighbors, 
and burned our crops. 

De Voto, after thus evaluating the frame of mind of the Midwestern 
heartland as he saw it conditioned by its natural environment, ventured 
to predict that the geographical foundations which had shaped the 
political climate of the Middle West in the past would remain the same 

24 Harper's Magazine, June, 1943. 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 23 

in the future. Even as these lines are written, it appears premature to 
pass final judgment on the correctness of these predictions: 

Some day the fighting will stop, the war will, temporarily, be over. On that day, 
with a high and singing heart, with the relief of long-impounded energies com- 
ing back to their own at last, the Middle West will pick up its interrupted 
pattern. It will resume its way of life. It will turn toward the fundamental valley 
of the Mississippi, away from the oceans, earthward from the planes which its 
own sons fly on great circle courses across its own sky to all the continents of 
the globe. It will turn back to the only reality it recognizes and let the rest of the 
world fade out beyond the margins of its consciousness. 

John Smith, in his Generall Historie of Virginia, New England, and the 
Summer Isles, in 1624, memorably phrased an enduring truth: "Geography 
without History seemeth a carcasse without motion, a History without 
Geography wandreth as a Vagrant without a certain habitation." And 
W. Gordon East, in an inspiring book, 25 succinctly defines the bond 
between history and geography in these words : "... in studying the 
inescapable physical setting to history, the geographer studies one of 
the elements which make up the compound, history: he examines one 
of the strands from which history is woven. He does not assert foolishly 
that he can detect, still less explain, all the intricate and confused patterns 
of the tapestry. He does assert, however, that the physical environment, 
like the wicket in cricket, owing to its particularities from place to place 
and from time to time, has some bearing on the course of the game." 
And "Since history must concern itself with the location of the events 
which it investigates," it must continually raise, not only the familiar 
questions "Why?" and "Why then?" but also the questions "Where?" and 
"Why there?" It is primarily to the solution of the latter questions that 
geography can contribute, "for it has been Nature, rather than Man, 
hitherto, in almost every scene, that has determined where the action 
shall lie. Only at a comparatively late phase of action does Man in some 
measure shift the scenery for himself." 26 

As in the case of historical geography, it seems of relatively little 
importance to define the boundaries which separate our field from other 
areas of human geography. Studies in social, cultural, economic, and 
military geography as well as in demography are legitimate parts of our 
explorations of politico-geographical patterns. Without a discussion of 
the factors accounting for population growth and decline, the picture 
of a state area or the comparison of such regions remains colorless. With- 

25 The Geography Behind History (London, 1938). 

26 Ibid., pp. 13 and 15. 



24 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

out a description of the economic resources of a nation, its strength or 
weakness, internally and in relation to other powers, cannot be under- 
stood. 27 This volume, therefore, includes in its chapters an analytical 
treatment of economic factors which form an essential part of the intri- 
cate pattern of political geography ( in spite of the fact that some of them 
appear to be but indirectly related to geography). Without an appraisal 
of the geographical foundations of military strength, as expressed in land-, 
sea-, and air-power, the political area as such remains an empty shell. 
And the manifold manifestations of social and cultural geography, 
whether they are ethnic, linguistic, or religious in nature, form in a mosaic 
the characteristics of a political region whose people in their tangible and 
intangible ways of life account for innumerable features of the region 
not to be described in terms of physical geography. We cannot escape 
the necessity of including these various patterns in our analysis, but we 
must not, by overemphasizing them, lose sight of our principal target. 
We will have to be careful not to be led astray by psychological patterns 
of behavior only remotely related to a subject which, although political, 
still remains essentially geographical. 

There is a fashionable temptation to speculate on the "character" of 
nations and to relate it to their natural environment. We find such dis- 
tinctions as "Latin realism," "French ingenuity," "English tenacity," 
"German discipline," "Russian mysticism," and "American dynamism." 28 
Actually the concept "national character" is part and parcel of a way of 
thinking typical of the age of nationalism. Its generalizations and over- 
simplifications are, from a scientific viewpoint, worthless, the more so 
as they are usually made with the faulty assumption that the character 
of nations has the quality of stability. 29 No safe formula has been found 
by which distinguishing personality traits governing the behavior of 
nations can be measured. It seems more likely that "those nations en- 
danger world peace which, having the necessary demographic and eco- 

27 The blending of political and economic geography is well illustrated by the 
change of a book's title to An Outline of Political (instead of Economic) Geography 
because, as the author pointed out in 1941, some of its chapters lay less stress on the 
relative economic resources of the great world powers, and more on the question of 
the political organization of the world (J. F. Horrabin, op. cit., XI). 

28 A typical example is A. Siegfried's The Character of Peoples, English translation 
L London, 1952). 

29 C. J. Friedrich, Constitutional Government and Democracy (Boston, 1941), 
p. 23; see also the critical essay by G. J. Pauker, "The Study of National Character 
Away from that Nation's Territory," in Studies in International Affairs (Cambridge, 
Mass., June, 1951). 



MEANING AND SCOPE OF POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 25 

nomic resources, are governed by men for whom maximization of power 
is the supreme value, than that the danger comes from 'national character.' 
The threat came from Frenchmen led by Napoleon at one time, from 
Germans led by Hitler, Italians by Mussolini and Japanese by their 
militarists at another time, from Russians and Chinese governed by 
Communist Politbureaus at present." 30 It must therefore be concluded 
that no useful purpose in the exploration of politico-geographical factors 
will be served by the introduction of such nebulous features as "the 
character" of nations. 

Although this warning appears necessary to avoid the introduction of 
sociological and psychological considerations which are but loosely, if 
at all, related to the realm of political geography, it would be equally 
fallacious to take too narrow a view of the geographical confines of the 
study of political geography. Its scene is not necessarily, and not limited 
to, the political area of a state or of interrelated states. Looking beyond 
shifting political boundaries, we will profit from exploring connections 
between physical environment and national groups or nations as distin- 
guished from states. Political geography, if limited to the study of land- 
scapes affected by the activities of a state or of states, would produce 
incomplete and often distorted pictures. As especially a number of French 
geographers have emphasized, the structure and the activities of states 
within their natural setting can be better evaluated if we include in our 
studies the nation and such national groups which account for the strength 
or weakness of a state. The political boundary of a state represents there- 
fore no boundary for our explorations. The ethnic, linguistic, religious 
affiliations of national groups are not altogether halted by political bound- 
aries. In many respects the cultural landscape, which is formed by zones 
of religion, of language, or of ethnic relationships, even of common 
denominators of literacy and illiteracy, acquires the characteristics of a 
political landscape. As such it belongs to the domain which the student 
of political geography will have to explore. 31 

30 Pauker, op. cit., p. 99. 

31 Q. Wright, The Study of International Relations (New York, 1955), undertakes 
in a chapter on "Political Geography" a critique of what he claims has been the hope of 
some geographers that because of the apparent permanence of geographical conditions, 
geography might become the master science of international relations. He states, cor- 
rectly, that this hope seems to be in vain. We agree with his conclusion that political 
geography, in order to develop a general theory of international relations, must be 
combined with demography and technology as well as with "social psychology, soci- 
ology, and ethics." In other words, it contributes, together with other equally signifi- 
cant disciplines, to the understanding of internal and external power relations. 



CHAPTER 



2 



Si 



i^e 



SIZE— A BASIC FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Political geography deals with the political organizations of men on the 
face of the globe. As the globe has only a limited surface, the division 
of this surface between political units— their size— becomes a basic factor. 
Some geographers have shied away from recognizing size as a basic 
factor in political geography. 1 There is however, no escape from the fact 
that political units are of different size and that their political behavior 
is in part determined by the size of their territories as well as the size 
of other, especially of adjacent, political units. In order to understand 
political behavior, it is therefore necessary to evaluate the size of the 
political unit. 

"SPACE" IN GEOPOLITICS 

In the terminology of geopolitics, it became fashionable to talk of space 
(Raum) rather than of size. This concern with space had become, even 
before the Haushofer school achieved prominence, a veritable obsession 
of many German geographers who felt that Germany had too little 
"living space" (Lebensraum). The proponents of geopolitics were con- 
vinced that British and American geographers had come to take for 
granted the spatial advantages of their countries and were apt to overlook 
the importance of space for other countries. However, this dichotomy 
between German and Anglo-Saxon political geographers should not be 

1 R. Hartshorne, "Functional Approach in Political Geography," Annals of the 
Association of American Geographers (lune, 1950), p. 99. 

26 



SIZE 27 

overrated. 2 It was an American geographer, Ellen Churchill Semple, 
inspired by Ratzel and in full agreement with what was to become the 
gospel of the Haushofer school, who wrote: ". . . for peoples and races 
the struggle for existence is at bottom a struggle for space." 3 On the other 
hand, not all students of political geography in Germany succumbed to 
the emotional connotations of the geopolitical school and some continued 
to use the term space (Raum) as a synonym for territory, stressing the 
intimate connection of state and territory. 

The emphasis on "space" in Germany can be traced to Friedrich Ratzel, 
but in his writings it has not yet the character of a slogan and of a political 
battle cry which it acquired with Haushofer. The concepts of space and 
size are not entirely interchangeable, because space is boundless and is 
therefore not mathematically measurable, while size is determined by 
known dimensions. Geographic space, however, implies a definite location 
and an area of a certain size. There is also the mystical and emotional 
connotation which clouds the meaning of "space" in geopolitical liter- 
ature. Because the term space can equally be used both loosely and lit- 
erally, it is possible to use it vaguely and still with the pretension of 
accuracy. From this ambiguous use the mystical connotation of the terms 
space and living space evolved. For this reason, we prefer the use of the 
term size, even where it would be possible to speak of space, and shall 
thus, aware of the semantic implications, use the term space only cau- 
tiously and where it has a definite meaning. 

MOTIVATION FOR EXPANSION IN SPACE 

The size of political units varies within rather wide limits. For a number 
of states the available space within these limits seems too confining. One of 
the motivating impulses in man, though not necessarily the dominant one, 
is the "will to power." 4 Individuals, becoming leaders of nations, often 
try to exert their "will to power" through enlarging the power of their 
nations; in the international sphere the will to power expresses itself in 
the desire to dominate large areas. Even where this motivation can be 
discounted, the fact remains that nations generally strive to improve their 
living standards, or at least try to maintain them despite a growing 
population. From the geographer's point of view, there are three pos- 
sible ways to accomplish such a goal. One is to utilize space within a 

2 See pp. 7 f. 

3 Influences of Geographical Environment (New York, 1911), p. 188. 

4 The German philosopher Nietzsche built a philosophical system around the as- 
sumed pre-eminence of this psychological trait. 



28 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

country's boundaries which was heretofore unused. However, the possi- 
bilities of internal colonization are limited, unless the colonization is 
accompanied by technological progress and a corresponding expansion 
of communications. Internal colonization is therefore often possible only 
in connection with the second method, intensification of available space. 
This second method has been used in all of the great periods of human 
history, from the time when Egyptians and the nations of Mesopotamia 
united to devise their grand river regulations and irrigation canals to our 
modern period of industrialization and urbanization. But nations and 
their leaders have at many times also tried the third alternative and have 
often preferred to reach the desired goal by expanding their territories 
through war, by taking the lands of their neighbors and expelling or 
exterminating the inhabitants, or forcing them to work for their con- 
querors. 

This third method of maintaining and improving living standards 
seemed the only one available to nomadic herdsmen in times of drought 
or when a major population increase and the consequent increase in 
number of their cattle forced them to migrate or to expand. In nomadic 
society there is generally little or no unused space available; intensifica- 
tion of animal husbandry is generally impossible on the nomadic level 
of civilization and technology. Conquest as alternative to starvation thus 
appears as the only solution. In our time, nomadism as a power factor 
has practically disappeared. However, expansion -of territory through 
conquest never was limited to nomads. Whether under the slogan of 
"conquest for living space" or with some other justification, it has re- 
mained the most usual weapon in the struggle to maintain or to improve 
living standards. Because conquest, even if undertaken for the sake of 
escaping starvation, results in increased power, conquering nations have 
often gone much farther than can be justified by their original aims. 
Successful conquerors are led from one goal to the next. Hitler the con- 
queror, and Communism the conquering ideology are embodiments of 
age-old phenomena. 

THE WORLD STATE 

The theoretical extreme limit of size which a political unit can attain 
would be a state embracing the entire world. Whether such a state would 
still belong to the legitimate field of investigation for the political geogra- 
pher is an academic question. However, the problem has some meaning 
in historical geography, if applied in a restricted sense to such world 
powers as the Roman Empire, the ancient Chinese Empire, and possibly 



SIZE 29 

such empires as the Incan and Mayan empires. These occupied what 
indeed was at their time known as the entire world, or what appeared 
worth conquering, thus excluding inhospitable regions, thinly settled by 
despised barbarians. Today the known world coincides, for all practical 
purposes, with the whole surface of the globe. Thus size can never be 
valued absolutely but only in relation to the conditions prevailing in a 
given period. 

POLITICAL UNITS WITHOUT TERRITORY 

On the other end of the scale from world statehood are political units 
without any territorial extent. It is open to question whether such a unit 
can accurately be named a "state"; most political geographers, however, 
will regard a discussion of the geographic problems surrounding such 
organizations as the League of Nations or the United Nations as within 
the scope of their interests. Actually in such organizations the idea of the 
global state and of political bodies without space meet and merge into 
one. 

THE PAPAL STATE 

The organization of the Roman Catholic Church presents another 
interesting marginal problem. There is nothing comparable in any other 
religious organization, not even in the often compared state of the Dalai 
Lama in Tibet. The Pope, as head of the Roman Catholic Church, is 
also the head of a state in central Italy. His temporal power goes back 
to the days of the declining Roman Empire. In 1871, the Papacy lost its 
worldly dominions and these were not restored until 1929, when the 
Church and Mussolini concluded the Lateran Treaty. Since then the Pope 
has ruled again as spiritual head over the Catholics of the world from 
the tiny, independent state of the Vatican City. 

HISTORICAL REMNANTS 

The Papal state can be regarded also as a historical remnant. In 
Germany, until its occupation by Napoleon's armies, many tiny ecclesiastic 
states existed. Very often the secular territory of an archbishop, bishop, 
or abbot was looked upon as the indispensable basis for his spiritual 
dominion. All these ecclesiastic and feudal states have disappeared. Only 
the Papal state remains. 

Other historical size-power anachronisms include the still-used power- 
suggestive titles of emperor, or king of kings by rulers of such countries 



30 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

as Ethiopia, Iran, and Annam. Equally disproportionate in terms of size, 
at least, is the position of Taiwan-based Free China among the Big Five, 
those states which alone exert veto power in the United Nations. 5 

EVOLUTION OF STATE POWER AND THE FACTOR OF SIZE 

In general, military and economic power, size of territory, and rank 
are commensurate. There are states whose size has remained constant, 
but whose power has grown in spite of the lack of territorial growth. 
These are the countries whose spaces have been filled with people, as 
in Argentina; or countries in which new resources have been discovered 
and their use organized for the good of the country, as in Mexico and 
other countries with exploitable oil resources; or in countries such as 
Canada and the U.S.S.R. which succeeded in transforming prairies into 
wheat lands and in extending northward their limits of agricultural 
activities. There are again other nations which, established for many 
centuries within their present boundaries, have maintained the size of 
their territory to the present day. Denmark and Switzerland have almost 
exactly the same size as they had five centuries ago, although their pop- 
ulations have multiplied. Whereas once her territory was sufficiently large, 
populous, and rich to warrant a significant position in European or even 
world affairs, Switzerland's political power potential today has significance 
only because of the defensive possibilities of its mountains, and Danish 
statesmen in the 1930's liquidated their military establishment completely 
because, within the country's small territory, it did not seem possible to 
defend it against aggressors. Both Denmark and Switzerland still rank 
as important members of the European community of nations, but only 
because of their high cultural standing and strong economic position, not 
because of the size of their territory or population. 

REMAINDERS OF SMALL FEUDAL STATES 

Feudal states still exist in Europe essentially in the same form as 
centuries ago. Some of these are tiny sovereign monarchies such as 
Monaco (370 acres), and Liechtenstein (62 square miles). Some are 
republics, such as San Marino (38 square miles), and Andorra (191 
square miles). In India, scores of such small feudal states have disap- 

5 The island of Taiwan ( 13,890 square miles ) is about twice the size of Massa- 
chusetts (7,867 square miles) or New Jersey (7,522 square miles). Its population, 
in 1950, totalled 7,647,000 which equals that of Texas (263,513 square miles). 



SIZE 31 

peared only since the country gained independence in 1948 and merged 
them into princely federations. Others are administered centrally. Even 
after this consolidation process, the Saurashtra Union has a territory of 
only 21,062 square miles in spite of the fact that it succeeded not less 
than 222 states, including dwarf states of several acres. The Patiala and 
East Punjab States Union is still smaller ( 10,099 square miles ) . However, 
a new reform program proposes to wipe out these remnants. Among 
other, centrally-administered, territories, such small states as Tripura 
(4,049 square miles) have not completely lost their identity. Within 
Pakistan a few states, such as Chitral (4,000 square miles), Swat (1,000 
square miles ) , and Khairpur ( 6,050 square miles ) , have retained approx- 
imately the same position they had under British rule. 

In contrast to the consolidation process under way in India and Paki- 
stan, we find in the Malayan Peninsula native, essentially feudal sultanates. 
These have successfully resisted consolidation in their effort to protect 
themselves from Chinese and Indian immigrant communities such as have 
become majority populations in other parts of the Peninsula. In Europe, 
the complicated pattern of close to one hundred dwarf states which once 
constituted the political map of Germany, has changed radically since 
Napoleon I erased most of these states from the map. A few managed 
to survive into the period of the Third Reich and were then finally in- 
corporated into larger political units. It was their very smallness that 
contributed to their preservation for such a long time; their smallness was 
also a factor in the preservation of anachronistic feudal features. The 
smallest modern state which is more than a feudal remnant is Luxembourg 
(999 square miles), which is distinguished for its iron ore deposits, its 
highly-developed steel industry, and its dense population of 290,000. 
Despite its small size, and due to its economic and constitutional devel- 
opment, Luxembourg has been able to preserve its independence, but 
only as a partner of other states in customs and economic unions. At 
present it is one of the three members of the Benelux combination, 
Belgium and the Netherlands being the other partners. 

FEUDAL STATES OF LARGER SIZE 

Where feudal states of larger size have carried over into the twentieth 
century, we can generally observe a process of transformation or breaking 
up into smaller units. In India, the more progressive princely countries, 
such as Mysore and Travancore, survived in but slightly changed form. 
The largest and strongest feudal princely state, that of the Nizam of 



32 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Haidarabad, became a victim of the Indian transformation. This process 
is not limited to Asia. It is paralleled by what happened two decades 
earlier in Europe when the semi-feudal Austro-Hungarian monarchy of 
the Hapsburgs broke up in the turmoil of the defeat of the central powers 
in 1918. The semi-feudal nature of the Hapsburg realm is obvious from 
the fact that in spite of parliamentary institutions it was still regarded 
as the personal estate of the emperor. 

CITY-STATES 

Historically of great importance, and by far the most notable of all 
small states, are city-states. Greek city-states formed the geographical 
basis of the political philosophy of Aristotle and Plato, who extolled the 
advantages of the small state. The failure of the Greeks to develop polit- 
ical power on a scale commensurate with the wide sphere of their cultural 
influence is in part due to their inability to free themselves from the 




10 20 30 40 50 Mi 



10 20 30 40 50 Km 



Fig. 2-1. Danzig— 1919-1939. 



SIZE 



33 




Fig. 2-2. Short-lived City-states at the Head of the Adriatic Sea: (1) boundary after 
World War I; ( 2 ) boundary after World War II; ( 3 ) boundary in 1955. 

limitations of the city-state concept. 6 We can trace city-states in various 
parts of the world, in Phoenicia and Greece, in India, in some American 
Indian areas, and in medieval Germany and Italy. Among many German 
city-states, only Bremen and Hamburg have survived as constituent mem- 
bers of the German Federal Republic. In spite of their great historical 
importance, city-states have largely disappeared as sovereign states. 

In recent years attempts have been made to revive small-sized city- 
states, the express purpose being to avoid creating a state which could 
exert power of its own. Danzig (708 square miles) (Fig. 2-1) and Fiume 
(8 square miles) (Fig. 2-2) were set up after World War I in order to 
give their overwhelmingly German and Italian populations freedom from 



6 Semple, op. cit., pp. 195-196. 



34 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the rule of Poland and Yugoslavia, for which countries the cities served 
as main harbors. Their smallness was expected to remove any danger 
that they would ever be able to cut off these countries from the sea. 
When these city-states did not fulfill the hopes placed in them, they soon 
disappeared. Nevertheless, the experiment was repeated after World 
War II in Trieste. The turbulent history of this experiment illustrates the 
manifold problems resulting from such constructions. 

In an interesting experiment in West Africa, British colonial rule is 
making an effort to preserve the threatened unity of Nigeria by the 
establishment of an autonomous city. Lagos, the capital as well as the 
port of the Nigerian federation of conflicting provinces, was in 1953 
separated from the Western Provinces and given autonomous status, in 
order to preserve its vital services for all members of the federation. 

CITY-STATES AND COLONIZATION 

The declining power of the city-state on the political map of the 
twentieth century should not overshadow the importance of dependent 
city-states in historical geography and in the geography of colonization. 
For a long time, such autonomous city-states with an independent basis 
for trade and navigation have played a significant part as advance posi- 
tions for colonial growth. When the Portuguese, after a voyage of many 
months, reached India, they established along its coast fortified places 
which were destined to carry on trade with the hinterland during the 
long periods between visits of the fleets. These Portuguese factories in 
India were in the medieval tradition of the Italian factories in the Levant. 7 
They eventually grew away from their distant places of origin and as a 
result of various sociological factors and of the ability of the colonizers 
to mix with the native population, a distinctive non-Indian national feeling 
developed, at least among the Goanese, the native inhabitants of the 
largest of these city-colonies. The new India, growing into the role of 
an independent nation, has become apprehensive about what she con- 
siders an outdated continuation of Portuguese colonial rule on Indian soil 
(Fig. 2-3). 

While only Goa, with its population of about 700,000, appears to have 
developed a distinctive individuality of its own, we find along the Indian 

7 The Italian cities Venice, Genoa, and Pisa founded autonomous colonies in Pal- 
estine, in Syria, and on Cyprus, and in the Byzantine Empire at the period of the 
Crusades. 



SIZE 



35 



^3? 

p., 

I 

« 

V 



,.* / v. 



u 



USSR \ 



V 



AFGHANISTAN ;' 7 N—./ 

*J ( Kmm C' 



/ 



nS 



; 






TIBET 



X 



V_. 5IKKIM. ..*■ t I . , 

\. NEPAL "^-Tj/lHUTAN* ly / ,' 

> V "<> } 

X EAST f/l y.<J 

? PA VICT AM \ ., ' 4 



f 

,4 BURMA 




Fig. 2-3. Portuguese and French ( 1954 ) Colonial Holdings in India. 

Coast other city-colonies, small fragments of Portuguese territory which, 
as remnants of trading stations in India, have ironically survived the 
greater empire of Britain. s Other, and more significant, examples are the 
endangered British gate-city to China, Hong Kong, the Soviet Union's 

8 W. G. East and O. H. K. Spate, The Changing Map of Asia (London, 1950), 
p. 152. 



36 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

ice-free harbor in Manchuria, Dairen, 9 and the British guardian of the 
south entrance to the Red Sea, Aden. The Hong Kong situation, in par- 
ticular, is one of instability in the light of constant and growing tensions. 
Pressure for a plebiscite may eventually revert the crown colony to China; 
its population which had totalled 850,000 in 1931 and which as a result 
of the influx of refugees from China was estimated in November, 1952, 
at 2,250,000, included only a total of 13,000 British subjects of European 
race. 10 

Thus, while the balance of power between the major Asian and 
European nations has maintained the city-colony beyond other forms of 
dwarf states, these, too, tend to disappear gradually from the political 
scene. Some city-states have served as the basis for larger colonies and 
states, as Rome did in ancient times. Bombay has expanded into one 
of the largest provinces, now states, of India; the little city-colony of 
New York, because the entrance gate, to a powerful state of the Union. 
This trend toward larger political units is evident if one compares the 
distant past with the present. Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Tyre, and Sidon in 
ancient times, and Venice, Genoa, and Pisa in the Middle Ages, ranked as 
big powers. Today, no nation with so small a territorial basis could be re- 
garded as a great power. Even such states as Portugal or the Netherlands, 
though great powers in the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, could not 
play an analogous role today. 

The discrepancy in size of territory in these instances is much more 
striking than the discrepancy in size of population. Athens in the 4th 
century B.C. finally succumbed to the Macedonian territorial state. How- 
ever, it might be fairly doubted whether Athens ( including its dependent 
island cities in the Aegean, or even without them) was the inferior in 
population of the two powers. Throughout Greek-Roman antiquity 1X in 
the Mediterranean area, the majority of the free population lived in city- 
states. Probably only since the time of the declining Roman Empire has 
the population of territorial units grown, while that of the cities, with 
few exceptions, proportionately shrank. 

9 Dairen was returned to China in May, 1955. 

10 The Statesman's Yearbook, 1955, p. 238; Focus (November 3, 1953), Hong Kong. 

11 It should be noted in passing that antiquity and the Middle Ages had also their 
overlarge states, such as the Persian, Roman, and Mongolian Empires. Nobody, so far, 
has based on the disappearance of such empires ( which embraced most of their known 
worlds) a theory of a trend to a proliferation of independent smaller states. 



SIZE 37 

THE METROPOLITAN CITY 

Far into the nineteenth century urban populations constituted a small 
proportion of the world population. The rapid growth of the modern city, 
which made the largest of them more populous than some medium-sized 
nations, has not found a political expression in the international field. 
Paris, London, or New York have a larger population than Norway, Den- 
mark, Switzerland, or Uruguay— greater New York even more than Bel- 
gium, the Netherlands, Portugal, or a majority of the Latin American or 
Arab nations. Historically, such metropolitan areas sometimes have been 
given the status of provinces or member states. Berlin became one of 
the Prussian provinces, Vienna one of the nine constituent states of the 
Austrian federative republic. Neither can be called a genuine city-state. 
Still less is this true of Washington, D.C., of the City of Mexico, or of 
Canberra, the capital of Australia. 

All this points to the conclusion that under modern conditions the 
growth of metropolitan areas is rather a function of the development of 
the country than an independent phenomenon. However, while the 
growth of metropolitan areas is a function of a growing country (as in 
the doubling of the population, in ten years, of the twin cities of Delhi 
and New Delhi), the decline of a nation is not necessarily indicated by 
a decline of population in its main cities. Only in extreme cases does 
such a development occur, such as in the case of Vienna and Istanbul. 
Both had been capitals of empires of 30 to 50 million inhabitants and 
both went down in World War I. Both cities lost up to 25 per cent of 
their population, with Vienna becoming the capital of the new Austria 
with a population of 6M million, and Istanbul becoming the main port 
city of a country of 12 million. 

THE SUPER POWERS 

The global scene of our time is dominated by the emergence of the 
United States and the Soviet Union as super powers. Both extend over 
large continental areas and both have expanded beyond these boundaries. 
The forms of these expansions are manifold. As in the case of the Soviet 
satellites, they may have taken shape by forcing smaller states to accept 
the leadership of the super state in a manner differing only to a small 
degree from outright subjugation. In contrast, the acquisition of military 
bases overseas plays an important role in the security situation in which 



38 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the United States finds itself. This is an unimportant form of expansion 
in the Soviet Union. 12 



REGIONAL ORGANIZATIONS 

In the face of the power exerted by super states, smaller states have 
increasingly attempted to safeguard their independence and to increase 
their influence by drawing together in unions, regional organizations, or 
federations. Some of these, such as the Pan-American Union, also embrace 
one of the big states, the smaller members hoping thereby to influence 
their big neighbor's policies. Other organizations, as for instance those 
of the Colombo Plan 13 or of the Arab League, try to keep out of the 
U.S.S.R.-United States disputes. Regional organization of smaller powers 
are not all-inclusive, however. We find a number of states which have 
remained uncommitted to some larger organization, in each case for 
peculiar reasons. Austria, for instance, was occupied by four powers until 
1955 and was given no freedom of choice; nor can she join any organ- 
ization now as the result of the terms of the Peace Treaty which reinstated 
her sovereignty. Israel cannot join any organization without making her 
partners unwilling supporters of Israel's unresolved war with the Arab 
bloc. Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, and Eire try to remain independent 
and uncommitted to any bloc. The vast majority of states, however, are 
in one form or another partners in some political grouping of continental 
size. 

The significance of this trend is not challenged by the important fact 
that some of these supra-national organizations are far from being stable. 
It is probable that their size and membership will change rapidly in the 
near future. What connections will the Sudan make after attaining sover- 
eignty? Will the Gold Coast join the British Commonwealth as a do- 
minion? How long will the Union of South Africa remain a member of 
that commonwealth? How long will these small nations that are trying 
to maintain a neutral attitude be able to pursue that policy? Above all, 
will the Soviet Union and the United States be able to win over to their 
power combinations and to their causes member states of the other bloc? 
In any case, the emergence of political bodies of continental size has to 
be accepted as permanent, even though their structures and the extent 
of their boundaries are and will remain subject to change and fluctuation. 

12 The vital role of the strategic base net along the American perimeter of defense 
in the security picture of the United States is discussed in detail in Chapter 15. 

1 3 See pp. 286-290. 



SIZE 39 

CONSOLIDATING AND DISRUPTIVE FACTORS IN THE 
EMERGENCE OF MODERN STATE SYSTEMS 

The industrial revolution of the nineteenth century and modern colo- 
nialism have supported the emergence of large state structures. The 
British Empire, the Russian Empire of the Czars, and the Soviet Union 
have no equals in size in the past. The United States and France are not 
far behind. Canada and Brazil are about to organize and penetrate their 
wide unoccupied spaces as the United States did a century earlier. Some 
states, however— Germany, Italy, Yugoslavia, Rumania— became large 
through the consolidation of several small states. Such consolidations are 
seldom primarily effected for the sake of greater economic efficiency, as 
has often been the case in the industrial field. It is true that the customs 
union was the pacemaker for German national unity, but at the same time 
Italy accomplished her national unity and still has not succeeded in weld- 
ing her territory into a uniform economic unit. The problem of the impov- 
erished south, the Mezzogiorno, plagues Italy continuously. In the unifi- 
cation of Germany and Italy and in some more recent cases, it was not 
the consideration of economic efficiency, but the irrational power of 
modern nationalism which was the driving force. 

Modern nationalism which has become effective since the French 
Revolution has not only contributed to enlarging the size of many political 
units, it has also been a disruptive force. This was the case in the nine- 
teenth century in Europe and the same trend is evident in the twentieth 
century in other continents. The breakup of the Hapsburg and Ottoman 
empires, of the Scandinavian and the Dutch-Belgian unions is followed 
by that of India and the creating of an Indian Union; Pakistan, Ceylon, 
Eire, Burma, the Arab states, preferred to establish themselves as in- 
dependent states, though they had to forego the many economic advan- 
tages of belonging to large empires. The creation of Israel is another 
illustration of this recent trend toward national states, however small. 14 
It is still more significant that the Soviet Union felt it necessary to create 
autonomous national states, even though the autonomy was in many 
respects only make-believe. Although the Soviet Union could suppress 
these autonomous states, even as she has curtailed their function, to do 
so might well mean that she would deprive herself of much of her appeal 
to the colonial nations of Asia and Africa. A new organization of Africa 
is in the making and it is possible, if not likely, that the large African 

14 The area of Israel is 8,048 square miles. 



40 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

colonial empires will be replaced by some smaller national or pseudo- 
national political bodies before the twentieth century draws to an end. 
Size is a variable factor in the life of states and there is no uniform 
trend toward larger or smaller states. There is no optimal size for states, 
not in our time nor in any period of the past. There have been, however, 
very few instances when leaders of nations have regarded their country 
as being too large; the Gladstonian Liberals in Great Britain in the 70's 
and 80's of the nineteenth century are the only well-known case. Striving 
for larger size is, on the other hand, a common historical phenomenon. 

TERRITORIAL AGGRANDIZEMENT AS PRIZE OF WAR 

It is typical of the high value placed on the size of states that territory 
is almost invariably the prize in a conflict between nations. Even in those 
cases in which a war broke out for reasons other than conquest, or in 
which the attacked nation won the victory, the victor commonly asks for 
expansion of his territory. The United States entered the war with Spain 
in 1898 because of the feeling that the strengthening of any European 
position in the Americas would be intolerable, and not for reasons of 
territorial aggrandizement. The war resulted, however, not only in the 
temporary occupation of Cuba, but in the annexation of Puerto Rico and 
even of the remote Philippines, which in no way had been an object 
of contention. Belgium in 1914, the Netherlands in 1941, would have been 
content to be left alone in the conflict of the great powers; nevertheless, 
at the end of the World Wars, they demanded, and obtained, territory 
from defeated Germany. In many cases such demands are disguised as 
compensation for damages suffered. The case of Bismarck who, after 
Prussia had won the war of 1866, persuaded the King of Prussia to 
conclude a peace treaty with Austria without territorial cessions (in 
order to insure Austrian neutrality in the coming conflict with France) 
is a rare exception to this general rule. In a power bloc as large as the 
Soviet orbit which includes many contending nationalities, we find such 
internal territorial changes benefiting one partner at the cost of another. 
The Ukrainian Republic within the U.S.S.R. has a total area of 232,625 
square miles, of which not less than 25 per cent was acquired after World 
War II from Soviet satellites: Eastern Galicia, 34,700 square miles, from 
Poland; Subcarpathian Ruthenia, 5,000 square miles, from Czechoslo- 
vakia; Northern Bukovina and part of Bessarabia, 8,000 square miles, 
from Rumania. In February, 1954, the Crimean peninsula ( 10,000 square 
miles) which had lost its autonomous status at the end of World War II 



SIZE 



41 



77777a ? 

■belorussian s.s.r. 





2 







*& 




Fig. 2-4. The Ukrainian S.S.R. (1955): (1) present Ukrainian territory; (2) pre- 
World War II Rumania; (3) pre-World War II Czechoslovakia; (4) pre- World 
War II Poland. 

because of the alleged co-operation of its people with the Germans, was 
incorporated into the Ukrainian Republic (Fig. 2-4). 

An important motivating power for territorial aggrandizement is the 
prestige with which size endows a country. The mere fact of size gives 
to a state a certain standing in the community of nations. The occupation 
of the western Sahara by Spain, or the claims of Chile, Argentina, and 
other countries to Antarctic wastes, spring partly from this source. If 
the large state is united in one continuous territory, this factor gives to 
its citizens a feeling of security and importance. Being removed from 
contact with other nations, a deceptive feeling of independence, protec- 
tion, and security develops, especially among persons who live in the 
interior. Out of this feeling grows a powerful concept of "splendid iso- 
lation" which clearly has its roots in geographical ignorance. 



THE MAP AS A CAUSE OF GEOGRAPHICAL MISCONCEPTIONS 

A contributing factor to the growth and survival of these geographical 
misconceptions is the map: the average school atlas depicts a student's 
own country, his own continent, in larger scale than other countries and 



42 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 



. 1> 

\ 



( 







100 

I — 



200 
i 



300 Mi 



100 200 300 Km 



J.R.F. 



Fig. 2-5. Comparative Size of France ( superimposed on Minnesota, Iowa, and 

Wisconsin ) . 

continents. Independent countries are given more prominence than even 
large constituent parts of still larger states. Many people have the im- 
pression that France is a very large country, while actually it is about 
the size of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa combined (Fig. 2-5). On 
most maps showing individual continents, Europe is presented in larger 
scale than Asia, although non-Soviet Europe is only slightly larger than 
India ( Fig. 2-6 ) . It is seldom realized that Brazil with its 3,288,000 square 
miles is larger than the 2,977,000 square miles of the United States, and 
that both together are still much smaller than the Soviet Union ( 8,700,000 
square miles). (See Fig. 2-7.) 

This reference to the map as a primary cause of common misconceptions 
of size factors would be incomplete without mentioning the misuse of 
the (in many respects extremely valuable) Mercator projection as largely 



SIZE 



43 




Fig. 2-6. India and Europe at the Same Scale. 



responsible for such errors. Although it shows true compass directions 
and therefore is still the ideal map for ship navigators, the Mercator map 
has serious shortcomings. Except in the vicinity of the Equator, it does 
not even pretend to show the correct relative size of the land areas of 
the globe. The nearer one comes to the North Pole, or to the South Pole, 
the more distorted are the factors of size as shown on the Mercator map. 15 
Richard E. Harrison, with European geographers, has called attention to 
the elementary, yet to most of us surprising fact that on a Mercator world 
map Greenland appears larger than the continent of South America. But 
when shown in its true relative size, we discover that it is only about one 
tenth of the area of South America. An even better example (Fig. 2-8) is 
offered by Ellesmere Island, northwest of Greenland. On a Mercator 
world map with its typical distortions in the polar regions Ellesmere 
Island appears to be almost as large as Australia. Actually, when it is 

15 R. E. Harrison, Maps, 2nd ed. (Consolidated Vultee Aircraft Corporation, 1943), 
p. 7; R. E. Harrison and H. W. Weigert, "World View and Strategy," in H. W. Weigert 
and V. Stefansson, eds., Compass of the World (New York, 1945), pp. 74-88. 



44 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




J.&.F. 



Fig. 2-7. Comparative Size of U.S.S.R., United States, and Brazil. 

shown beside Australia in its true relative dimensions, Ellesmere Island 
dwindles to dwarf size (Fig. 2-8). 



THE VALUE OF SIZE AS A SECURITY. FACTOR 

It is obvious that size is an important factor in the determination of 
economic and political power. However, whether it evolves as an asset 
or as a liability depends on many factors. In a general way, it can be 
stated that size tends to be an asset to military power. Only a large 
country, such as the Soviet Union in World War II, can trade space for 
time and win, after retreating— voluntarily or by necessity— for hundreds 
of miles. The time needed for the enemy's advance is used to build up 
new industries, to train new troops, and to prepare a counteroffensive. 
Only in very large countries can areas still be found which are sufficiently 
remote from enemy bases to be relatively safe from air attack. Only in 
a large territory can an air raid warning system function efficiently. On 
the other hand, large size, coupled with other factors, can pose serious 
problems to military strategy; for instance, outlying parts of a large 
country, if thinly populated and if lacking adequate communications lines, 
are difficult to defend— a problem Russia experienced in the war with 
Japan in 1904 to 1905. For similar reasons, the defense of Alaska is a 
problem to military planning in the United States. 



SIZE 



45 




MERCATOR 



GREENLAND 



TRUE 

COMPARATIVE 

SIZE 




ELLESMERE I 




ELLESMERE I. 



m 



Fig. 2-8. Effects of Projections on Appearance of Size: Greenland, South America, 
Ellesmere Island, Australia (after R. E. Harrison). 

In a country of small size, this factor always is negative if contemplated 
in terms of external security. If invaded, even if ultimately on the winning 
side, the small country will suffer damages affecting its entire territory, 
whereas a large country, even if forced to accept defeat, may still retain 
large areas untouched by the direct effects of war. 

We must always be aware that evaluations of size factors with reference 
to military planning and security can not lead to more than observations 
of a very general nature. This note of caution has never been more timely 
than in our age of potential hydrogen bomb warfare. The development 
of thermonuclear weapons, and the problem of radioactive "fall-out, ' have 
shattered our concepts of security. In a territory of small size, there will 
no longer be left any areas of refuge or safety. But even for areas of larger 



46 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

size, spatial factors such as remoteness and depth have lost much of their 
meaning. The horrifying effects of nuclear warfare make it imperative 
to reappraise the size factor wherever, in yesterday's thinking, it appeared 
to be an asset to the defense position of a nation. 

EFFECTS OF SIZE ON PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, 
ECONOMIC POWER 

There is a relationship between the size of a country and the costs and 
management of its public administration. A large country will have to 
spend relatively less for all centralized services, such as the administration 
of foreign relations, legislation, and the administration of justice. A large 
country may also have more diversified natural resources within its bound- 
aries, thereby reducing its dependency on other nations. The larger a 
country the better are its chances of approximating self-sufficiency. In 
the actual conditions of present-day nations there are, however, important 
exceptions to this general rule. Spain and Czechoslovakia have more, and 
more diversified, natural resources than many countries of much larger 
size; Italy and Norway have fewer than other countries of smaller size. 
Luxembourg, a dwarf state if measured by size alone, has no great diver- 
sity of natural resources, but its wealth of coal and iron, two of the 
modern key resources, make it a valued partner in the Benelux Union 
and a by no means negligible factor in West European power politics in 
peace times. In war its small size prevents it from playing a significant 
role, even as an ally of some other power. 

SIZE AND POPULATION 

The most important factor tending to offset the importance of mere 
size is population. A thinly populated, sprawling country is handicapped 
by the necessity of maintaining costly transportation organizations; 
whereas efficiency is easily attained by much smaller countries having 
similar population figures. On the other hand, the needs of a large pop- 
ulation may tax too heavily the resources of a country and weaken its 
influence among the nations of the world. Only in this case would we 
speak of overpopulation. India and Egypt are cases in point. Densely 
populated Belgium is, without its colonial empire, a small country of 
12,000 square miles, but it is culturally, economically, and even militarily 
of much greater importance than, for instance, larger Austria (32,375 



SIZE 47 

square miles) or Bulgaria (42,796 square miles). That Ethiopia, a country 
one and a half times the size of France, is of almost negligible influence 
and power, is due not only to the scarcity of its population of 11 million 
but also to its relative cultural backwardness. Cultural and technological 
underdevelopment are factors which can hardly be measured, but their 
influence can nevertheless offset completely the influence of large size. 

Apart from the actual numbers of people, their distribution within a 
state is of decisive importance. A striking example is Canada which has 
areas of relatively dense population but also other extensive areas which 
are for all practical purposes uninhabited. Not the map picturing the size 
of Canada but one showing the distribution and density of its population 
of 14,000,000 explains its political geography (Fig. 2-9). This shows 
clearly that Canada's settled areas are along the southern, American 
border, and that they are separated into two groups by the large un- 
inhabited Laurentian wilderness. Each of these groups is divided again 
into two areas of dense population, separated in the western provinces 
by the thinly populated areas of the Canadian Rocky mountains, and in 
the eastern provinces by the thinly settled hill country of southeastern 
Quebec. Nevertheless, it would be erroneous to think of Canada as a 
group of four loosely connected areas strung out north of the 42° parallel. 
The unpeopled spaces between the populated areas are like the tissues 
in the human body between the vital organs. Frequently the sparsely 
settled areas have yielded unexpected natural resources and have thus 
offered new possibilities of development. A Canada without its hold over 
these spaces would not reach the Arctic Ocean except at a few points, 
its role among the world powers would be altogether different. 

Similar conditions exist in other areas. The Australian Commonwealth 
(Fig. 2-10), if it included only the well-settled coastal areas would be 
only a number of barely connected, hardly defensible small settlements. 
Australia is at present a rather influential power because of its continental 
size (2,975,000 square miles), despite its small population. Comparable 
in population ( 8,500,000 in 1951 ) as well as in cultural and technological 
development to Belgium (8,700,000 in 1951), its size among other factors 
gives it a different weight in international affairs. As in the case of 
Canada, the recent discovery of mineral resources ( in particular uranium 
and oil), in hitherto "empty spaces," has had a profound effect on Aus- 
tralia's internal and external political geography. 

Among the major regions of "empty spaces" the Sahara with an area 
of over three million square miles is certainly as much an anecumene as 




W2 

u 
<U 

T3 

C 
9 



to 



© 

Ifi 

I 

in 



m 



© 

© 



© 



© 
in 

i 

© 
© 



w 



© 
© 
in 

i 

© 
in 



© 
© 

m 

■- 

> 

o 



s- 
« 

CO 

hi 

a 



s 
Q 

o 



a 

o 

« 

« 

s 

M 

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cp 

U 



48 



SIZE 



49 



:. :S f * y . 



INDONESIAN REPUBLIC 








110 

■ 1 



120 



130 



1 45 
„L_ 



\ TASMANIA 

\^jf' 150 



Til 



Fig. 2-10. Australia (Continental Shelf: unshaded water portion). 

is the ocean. However, without its firm grip on the Sahara the French 
African colonial empire would lose much of its compactness and defen- 
sibility. 

The political map may grossly mislead the unwary by showing size 
without the necessary qualifications. Political geography cannot rely on 
the political map alone; the physiographic map, presenting deserts, moun- 
tains, swamps, virgin forests, lakes, and large rivers has to furnish the 
necessary qualifications and limitations for the evaluation of size; the 
population maps and maps of resources are other indispensable adjuncts. 
Location, another limiting factor, will be discussed in another chapter 
in more detail. 



THE RISKS OF OVEREXPANSION 



It is obvious that small countries are susceptible to pressure from large 
and powerful nations, but the size of large nations does not exempt them 
from pressure. It is less obvious, perhaps, but large size itself entails 



50 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

certain weaknesses. Countries in the process of vastly expanding their 
territories will eventually enclose national groups which cannot be recon- 
ciled with their absorption into the large states. Whether this is a national 
minority problem in the modern sense, or the stage for the rebellion of 
an ambitious satrap, as happened so often in the old empires on Indian 
and Iranian soil, is of little importance in this connection. In former times, 
due to slow and undeveloped communications, the cultural influence and 
the power of the core area (as for instance Latium in the center of the 
Roman Empire) diminished the farther away from the center a province 
was located. But even today the interests of a dominant central province 
may lead to the neglect of divergent interests of marginal provinces. The 
Iberian peninsula is a case in point. Here the maritime, commercial, and 
industrial interests of Catalonia, Asturia, and the Vascongadas have been 
neglected by a central government which is dominated by the land-locked 
vision and the agricultural interests of the Castilians of the interior. In the 
British Empire not only subject colonial people strive for independence, 
but peripheral English-speaking areas aim at increasing their independ- 
ence as dominions or as loosely federated partners of equal standing. 

Owen Lattimore has shown 16 that Chinese expansion finally reached 
a zone of diminishing returns, where people could no longer be converted 
to the Chinese way of life— to adopt the language, houses, and social 
system of the conquerors— primarily because the adoption of Chinese 
agricultural methods in arid areas proved unprofitable. There was even 
a strong incentive, in these areas, for the Chinese immigrant to become a 
herdsman and to become "barbarized" by accepting the way of life which 
went with nomadic herding. As a result, Chinese political rule in such 
areas did not last long. Lattimore also traced a corresponding limiting 
trend for the Russian expansion in Inner Asia. 



PSYCHOLOGICAL AND CULTURAL FACTORS RELATED TO SIZE 

Large countries breed often a mental attitude which is inimical to an 
understanding of foreigners and may ultimately lead to fatal mistakes in 
dealing with other nations. It is not necessarily narrow-mindedness and 
stress of the particular local interests, it is a geographically induced and 
unavoidable lack of ability to understand others. Even in the shrinking 

16 O. Lattimore, "The New Political Geography of Inner Asia," Geographical 
Journal, Vol. 119 (March, 1953), and more in detail for the Chinese, Inner Asian 
Frontiers of China, American Geographical-Sociological Research Series, No. 21, 1940. 



SIZE 51 

world of today it holds true that part of the population never has the 
opportunity to come in contact with foreigners, or only with a few 
individuals. The mass of the population, therefore, do not develop real 
understanding of foreign thinking and attitudes. Strange as it may appear, 
the larger a country, the less diversified tend to be its foreign contacts. 
The United States is an extreme example, with only two countries as 
direct neighbors. The number of Americans who are continuously aware 
of conditions in a foreign country, even of Mexico or Canada, is very 
small. Both these countries are sorely neglected in most of the textbooks 
on American history used in American schools and the small space and 
time allowed to matters Canadian or Mexican in the average local news- 
paper or radio station illustrates the lack of interest, in the United States, 
in the affairs of the two neighboring nations. However, radio and tele- 
vision and especially the fact that millions of Americans have served 
overseas during and since the war have prompted a greater awareness of, 
and interest in, foreign affairs. 

In contrast, Switzerland borders on four countries, Hungary on five, 
while the U.S.S.R. borders on nine, and the British Empire through its 
colonies on many more. There is hardly a Swiss or Hungarian who is not 
aware in one way or another of happenings in two or even three foreign 
countries. There are none who live farther away from a foreign country 
than sixty-five miles. Cultural interaction is pronounced, knowledge of 
foreign languages— the best means of cultural contact— much more wide- 
spread than in the United States. Thus we find that lack of cultural 
contacts, as a natural consequence of the large size of a country, causes 
the outlook of its citizens to be often more parochial than is true in 
countries of small size. Again this general observation is not without 
exception. 

An oddly similar parochial outlook exists in many small countries where 
the citizens live under the illusion that their co-nationals have done more 
than their share for world civilization. It is a distorted perspective which 
sees things close to home as much larger than remote ones. Most history 
books of small countries depict national inventors, artists, and writers as 
people of international fame, while actually their contributions may be 
unknown abroad. 

In internal politics the size factor has important ramifications, especially 
in large countries where the normal concentration of political activities in 
the capital usually results also in drawing most of a country's cultural 
activities toward the political center. Such concentration is apt to promote 
the development of a provincial, if not backward, outlook among the 



52 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

population in regions remote from the cultural and political nucleus. 
Sometimes we find, as a usually healthy reaction, the growth of several 
and competing cultural centers. Again the size of the country is a sig- 
nificant conditioning factor in this process. The multiplicity of cultural 
centers in the numerous capitals of politically divided Germany in the 
fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, in Italy from the thirteenth to the eight- 
eenth century, or in the many states of India at several periods, as com- 
pared with the overwhelming concentration of intellectual, artistic, and 
scientific activity in Paris, Madrid, Peking, or Tokyo are illustrations. 
A modern example of a deliberate attempt to avoid what was considered 
undesirable political and cultural concentration in one capital is the Union 
of South Africa. South Africa has two capitals, the legislative in Cape 
Town, and the administrative in Pretoria. Even in a federal state like 
the United States, cities such as New York, Washington, Boston, and 
a few others tend to draw all cultural activities into their orbit. A 
French geographer, Jean Gottman, observed that an American "mega- 
polis," four hundred miles long and populated by thirty million persons 
in not more than a half-dozen states, influences thinking, fashions, 
manner of speech, and social relations, as well as political concepts. 
"Although dependent upon the rest of the nation for food and communi- 
cation, this megapolis is becoming an area 'outside' of the United States, 
just as Amsterdam, Naples, Rome, and to a degree, London and Paris 
are entities." 1T 

SIZE FACTORS IN INTERNAL POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Large or small size of a country plays an important role in shaping a 
country's internal political geography, especially in regard to internal 
divisions of states. When the French Revolution abolished the historical 
provinces, and organized rational, but artificial administrative subdivisions 
(departments), it was decided that the size of each unit should be 
determined by the consideration that each citizen should be able to visit 
the seat of the administration and to return to his home on the same day, 
after having attended to his business. The development of modern com- 
munication forms has since rendered this basis for the size of the depart- 
ments meaningless. That they have survived, and that France's internal 
political geography is still basically unchanged, shows how well these 
units became established in French life. Ratzel in his time stressed the 
point that it is much easier to change internal borders than international 

17 New York Times, January 25, 1953. 



SIZE 53 

ones, and gave a great number of examples. 18 It seems remarkable, there- 
fore, how seldom such changes of interior boundaries occur, and then 
usually only under revolutionary or other unsettled conditions. In France, 
after World War II, when everything seemed unsettled, it was decided 
to replace these departments by larger administrative units, more in tune 
with technological advances and the need for larger economic grouping. 
However, before action was taken, life had reverted largely to the accus- 
tomed ruts and nothing was done. 

It can be observed that within states subdivisions tend to be larger 
the thinner the population is spread. The western provinces of Canada, 
the northeastern subdivisions of the U.S.S.R., the southern regions of 
Algeria, are some of the best known examples. Such large subdivisions 
are characteristic of areas that lacked a dense indigenous population in 
the first stages of colonization. The western states of the United States 
were carved out of immense territories, such as the Northwest Territory 
and the Kansas Territory. In Brazil, a similar administrative pattern of 
more recent date is evident, following the progress of colonization. In the 
normal trend of consolidation, boundaries, local loyalties, and the pattern 
of administration become crystallized and no further subdivisions take 
place, or they occur only under extraordinary conditions, as in the sepa- 
ration of West Virginia from Virginia during the Civil War when these 
two states adhered to the Union and to the Confederacy respectively. 
Size as such is no sufficient motive to prompt the breaking-up of admin- 
istrative units. Neither California nor Texas are expected to split into two 
or more states because of the large size of their territories. Thus the 
different size of subdivisions bears and maintains the imprint of con- 
ditions which prevailed when they were formed or which shaped them 
during a revolutionary period. The formative influence may have been 
that of railroads as when the mountain states were formed or that of 
carts and pack animals as when the New England states were colonized. 
The need for defense against sudden attacks across borders accounts for 
the creation of marches, that is, larger territorial units than the usual 
units such as counties or dukedoms. Relics of such medieval marches in 
England are the large counties along the Scottish and Welsh borders; 
similar marches existed in Eastern Germany, and survived as large polit- 
ical subdivisions to the end of World War II. They are the historical basis 
of the independent state of Austria. 

Smaller political subdivisions are, generally, easier to change than large 

18 F. Ratzel, Politische Geographie, 3rd ed. (Munich, 1920). 



54 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

ones. They command fewer emotional loyalties and in many states their 
functions are not important. As a rule, it has been easier to create new 
counties than to change state boundaries. It is true that local loyalties 
exist also in counties, but they exert influence only when they coincide 
with material benefits. 19 With the development of modern communica- 
tions these cases have become rather infrequent. 

On the other hand, larger units have increasingly come into being 
because they alone were able to cope efficiently with the complicated 
problems of modern economic life. The Tennessee Valley Authority is 
perhaps the best-known example of a large territorial unit created without 
replacing traditional state boundaries. The New York Port Authority is 
another example. In the international field the Caribbean Commission 
is one of several examples. It unites American, British, French, and Dutch 
possessions for explicitly defined social, economic, and cultural purposes. 

None of these examples proves convincingly that there is a trend 
toward larger administrative units. In the Soviet Union the Communists 
replaced the large administrative divisions, the gubernivas and their 
subdivisions, the volosts, by oblasts and rayons. Industrialization and 
the increased need for political and economic administration and control 
led to a decrease in the size of these new subdivisions as compared 
with the subdivisions of Czarist Russia. This is another example showing 
how a revolution can overthrow traditional forms no longer fitted to 
modern conditions. While in the first decade of the Soviet state the 
boundaries of these oblasts and volosts remained flexible, the number 
of such transformations shows a decreasing trend as the U.S.S.R. acquires 
traditional values of its own. 

Contradictory tendencies toward increasing and decreasing size can 
even be observed in the size of cities, despite the undeniable world-wide 
trends toward urbanization. Only a few years ago there seemed to be 
no question that cities were growing and that incorporation both of for- 
merly rural areas and adjoining cities constituted a general and inevitable 
trend. Where older communities retained their separate existence, even if 
surrounded by a growing metropolitan area ( such as Highland Park and 
Hamtramck in Detroit (Fig. 2-11), or Brookline in Boston), this was re- 
garded as a temporary delay, which could be explained by special socio- 
logical factors. Even the actual shrinking of some cities by war destruc- 
tion, as in Germany, or by revolutionary change, as in the case of Vienna 

19 Changes of voting districts, the so-called gerrymandering, does not quite belong 
in this category, as in many ways voting districts do not have a separate life or any 
function except during election time. 



SIZE 



55 






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HIGHLAND PARKl 



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l'jd±'l?5AJi?9il.y.jdJdJdX-rrrr 





V/>A > WINDSOR irA/i 



Fig. 2-11. Encircling Growth of Metropolitan Area: Detroit. 



which lost its position as the capital of a great power, seemed not to con- 
tradict the general trend. This belonged in the same category as the 
destruction of Pompeii and St. Pierre by volcanoes, of Yokohama by earth- 
quake. Only recently, and especially pronounced in England after the de- 
struction caused by World War II, the construction of satellite towns 
around metropolitan agglomerations has set in. In most other countries 
such a tendency is still in the discussion stage. However, we witness in the 
United States a novel and recent trend by which suburbs are developing 
their own community life. Distance from the city centers, overcrowding of 
public transportation, lack of parking space, and so on, are the tangible 
causes. The development of suburban shopping centers and cultural facil- 
ities leads to the gradual transformation of "dormitory towns" into com- 
munities fulfilling all administrative and sociological functions of the 
cities. It is interesting to observe that, while this development goes on, 
larger territorial units are created for certain functions better served on a 
broad metropolitan basis. Such functions may be public services, as tele- 
phone, water, sewage, fuel distribution, or sanitary provisions. The United 
States' Census recognized the latter development in 1950 by establishing 
metropolitan areas and thus supplementing the census data usually ob- 
tained only along lines of incorporated city limits. 



56 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

PHYSIOGRAPHIC FACTORS IN THEIR INFLUENCE ON THE 
SIZE OF POLITICAL UNITS 

At first German geographers and later those of other nationalities 
elaborated on the idea that the size of states is largely conditioned by 
their geographical environment. On extensive plains without natural bar- 
riers large empires have developed. They have mushroomed in this en- 
vironment with surprising rapidity; they have also been shortlived in 
many instances. Clearly it is easy to conquer large, uniform plains; it 
may also be easy to organize such uniform spaces, although this statement 
requires qualification. It is by no means certain that such plains will 
eventually be consolidated in large states. The East European plain and 
the Indo-Gangetic plain have not only seen the Russian, the Maurya, 
and the Mogul Empires, but also centuries of political division. The 
plains of the Sudan and of Inner Asia have supported large empires 
during relatively short periods only. No such empire has ever arisen in 
the Mississippi lowland. In the case of the Aztec state of Mexico, and 
of the Inca empire, high plateaus substituted for plains. The Roman and 
the Persian Empires are instances of large and long-lasting empires which 
did not develop around nuclei of large plains. 

There are regions, especially in mountains and on islands, where small 
natural units such as valleys or basins tend to provide a good frame for 
small political units. These may be political units -of secondary impor- 
tance, such as the minute cantons of Switzerland, twenty-two of which 
co-exist in an area not larger than Massachusetts and New Hampshire 
combined. Or these units may be independent countries, such as the 
small states of the Himalayas, the Alps, or formerly of the Caucasus. 
Large conquering nations from the surrounding lowlands have been able 
occasionally to conquer these mountains, but the periods when these 
mountains belonged to large states were short in comparison with their 
long histories as small independent states. However, the Rocky Mountains 
and associated mountain systems will warn the political geographer to 
seek in these physiographic conditions more than a single favorable 
condition. In the mountainous American West not even the political 
subdivisions have tended to be small. 20 Of the ten independent republics 
of South America, three are small countries; however, only one of the 

20 Semple, op. cit., p. 95, speaks of "28 different Indian stocks . . . between the 
Pacific coast and the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range," but she 
speaks neither of states, nor can her historical statement be used as an argument in 
Dolitical geography. 



SIZE 57 

three, Ecuador, is a mountain country; neither Uruguay nor Paraguay 
are in the Andes. 

It has been said that the existence of small or large political units is 
a function of physical geographic factors. This statement can be main- 
tained only in a very generalized and qualified form. Latin America 
seems to present a good case for such a contention. Many small political 
units exist in the islands and the mountainous isthmus of Central America; 
several medium-sized states are in the Andine West; the only two large 
states are in the eastern plains of South America. Even the mountainous 
Central American islands are not entirely politically united. The partition 
of Hispaniola between Haiti and San Domingo may find some justifi- 
cation in both human and physical geography. However, this is largely 
a result of historical accident. History rather than physical geographic 
conditions will explain the irrational mosaic of the political map of the 
Lesser Antilles, or the division of tiny St. Martin between the Dutch 
and French. It may be said that the nature of small islands, like that 
of secluded mountain cantons, makes it easier to administer them as units 
than as parts of larger units. But no conclusion is warranted as to whether 
this unit should be an independent state, an autonomous region, or an 
administrative unit on the same level as other similar units. 

Even such a limited dependency of the size of political units on 
physical geographic conditions can be established only for certain periods. 
The Greek islands were independent kingdoms in the time of Homer, 
they are not even administrative units today. It is undeniable that tech- 
nological progress has made possible the consolidation of larger states, 
and within states, of larger divisions, leading to more efficient political 
and economic administration. Nevertheless, to establish a connection be- 
tween technological progress and a trend promoting units of increasing 
size is possible only with numerous qualifications, as has been shown 
above. Despite technological progress there are also strong tendencies 
in the opposite direction. The size of political units and structures is 
shaped by the action and counteraction of all these diverse forces. 



CHAPTER 



3 



Shape 



CONTIGUOUS AND NONCONTIGUOUS STATE AREAS 

While few people will question the political significance of the size 
of a state, many more will be in doubt as to whether its shape deserves 
special attention. The shape of a state is in many respects a haphazard 
characteristic without much significance. However, in other respects, 
shape has a definite meaning. An obvious example is the distinction 
between states which have a contiguous area and those which have not. 
The average educated person might be inclined on first sight to regard 
a state possessing a contiguous area as the normal form, and noncontig- 
uous state territories as inherently weak. He will probably remember 
states consisting of noncontiguous areas (Fig. 3-1) because they are 
anomalous. Pakistan, with its outlier in East Pakistan, and Germany be- 
tween 1919 and 1939, with its outlier in East Prussia, will come to mind. 
The latter has not survived, and was during its existence a continuous 
source of irritation and complaints. The soundness of the Pakistan solution 
has still to stand the test of history. 

These two examples are widely known. Perhaps it is also still remem- 
bered that an attempt was once made to create the new state of Israel 
with several non-contiguous areas and that this attempt miscarried from 
its beginnings. Forgotten, except by a few specialists, are other conflicts 
such as those connected with the Portuguese area— often called an enclave 
—of Cabinda, north of the Congo mouth. As a result of the creation of 
the Congo state, Cabinda was separated from the main Portuguese colony 
of Angola. 

58 



A. 



DISPUTED KASHMIR 

AND THE 

CEASE FIRE LINE 




ti 



N 



-1 

i 



v 



4 



TIBET 



4a3b 

WEST ;MW 



i 



Lhasa 



/■— V 



\ 



Delhi 



v -^\ r*- — - * / / 



BURMA 




Fig. 3-1. Pakistan: A Non-contiguous State Area. 



59 



60 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

The German and Pakistan examples of noncontiguous territories have 
in common the fact that communication between their disconnected parts 
is possible by sea, that this connection is devious and slow, and that land 
connections via the territory of other states, although more convenient, 
were impeded by the irritating restrictions usual to political frontiers. 
The memory of the hostile clashes which gave impetus to these recent 
creations adds to the irritating features of such noncontiguous areas. 

ENCLAVES AND EXCLAVES 

It is striking that little irritation appears to be present in certain small 
areas that are completely surrounded by the territory of another state. 
This lack of conflict is due mainly to the smallness of these areas and 
their lack of importance, but also to the fact that they have been in 
existence for many years and have developed satisfactory ways of co-exist- 
ence. The best known examples are the state of the Vatican City and the 
Republic of San Marino, both within Italian territory. The creation— or 
perhaps better re-creation— of the Papal State ended a period of friction 
going back to 1870 and in some respects to the Napoleonic seizure of 
Rome. The Swiss canton Appenzell (161 square miles), which is com- 
pletely surrounded by the territory of the larger canton St. Gallen (777 
square miles), might be considered a purely internal administrative 
arrangement, if it had not existed before Switzerland became a relatively 
close-knit federation. 

Another case in point is that of the Rritish protectorate Basutoland 
which, with a native population of over half a million, is completely 
surrounded by the Union of South Africa. Originally an organization of 
small Bantu tribes united in defense against the advancing Zulu, Mata- 
bele, and other Kaffir tribes, Basutoland played its role on the frontier 
between Boers, British, and Bantus ( Fig. 3-2 ) . The creation of the Union 
of South Africa left it an enclave in the midst of Union territory. Over- 
grazing, soil erosion, mountainous terrain, as well as government by 
reactionary tribal chiefs and the desire of the Union to annex it make 
the future of this unusual configuration rather doubtful. Similar is the 
position of Swaziland (with a population of close to 200,000), also a 
British protectorate. Although it borders with Portuguese Mozambique 
for a short distance, it is for all practical purposes an enclave and at the 
mercy of the Union of South Africa. The "Apartheid" segregation policy 
of the Union of South Africa government is increasingly changing the 
political map of this country into a checkerboard of white-man territory 



SHAPE 



61 



^ 






Pretoria (V- 



Johannesburg 




50 100 200 Km 



IE 



3 



Lit. 



Fig. 3-2. Basutoland: An Enclave in the Union of South Africa. 



and reserves and compounds of the native population. By strict regulations 
which require travel documents for African males who wish to move 
from district to district, or who want to leave their reserves, or want to 
enter a proclaimed labor area, the separation of white and native within 
the Union has been accomplished to a point where, internally, the native 
territory is composed of noncontiguous enclaves which are firmly and 
centrally supervised by the central government. 

Other enclaves, because of their small area and the lack of international 
friction involved, are likely to escape notice. Within Swiss territory, 
Germany owns the tiny enclave of Biisingen east of Schaffhausen, and 
Italy the enclave of Campione on Lago di Lugano. Spain retains the 
enclave of Llivia in the Pyrenees. Even the tiny Portuguese possession of 



62 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Damao, its main part itself not a true exclave because it lies on the coast, 
includes two outlying territories, Dadara and Nagar Aveli, which are true 
enclaves in Indian territory and are separated from Damao by approxi- 
mately six miles of Indian territory. A modern development is the Swiss 
airport of Basel which is an enclave near the French city of Mulhouse. 
Because no suitable area could be found on Swiss soil a treaty was con- 
cluded which left the sovereignty with France, but ceded the area for the 
airport to Switzerland in every other respect. Still less known because not 
recognizable as exclaves of one country or enclaves of another are the 
areas of Jungbluth and of the Kleine Walser Tal. They belong to Austria 
and seem on the map connected with it; however, due to high mountains 
they are accessible from Austria only via Germany territory. After the 
"Anschluss" in 1938 Germany annexed these two areas to Bavaria, which 
move was only an administrational reorganization under the circum- 
stances. The emergence of Austria as an independent country in 1945 
restored the previous conditions. 

More frequent than on the international scene is the fragmented shape 
of provinces in federal states or other political subdivisions. In its frag- 
mentation into some twenty parts, the German state of Braunschweig 
was an extreme case. It lasted into the Hitler period. India before 1948 
is another area where numerous examples could be found. Here British 
rule had frozen the conditions of the eighteenth century, which had 
resulted from the collapse of the central authority of the Moghuls. This 
anarchical situation, characterized by the breakup of India into a crazy 
quilt of mostly small political units, would not have lasted long if India 
could have solved her problems without foreign interference. Baroda was 
split into five major and some thirty minor parts, some of them still sur- 
viving as exclaves of Bombay in the Saurashtra Union. Cases of frag- 
mentation can be found elsewhere, even in countries that are generally 
and rightly regarded as uniform. In Spain the area of Ademuz is an 
outlier (in the province of Teruel) of the province of Valencia. In Eng- 
land, Dudley, a town of Worcestershire, is an outlier within Staffordshire. 

Exclaves of one political unit are not necessarily enclaves in another— 
they do not always result in a perforated outline within the map of 
another political unit. It is not so in the case of East Prussia or of East 
Pakistan. On the other hand, the existence of enclaves does not necessarily 
imply that they are exclaves of another state. The City of the Vatican and 
San Marino are completely surrounded by Italian territory; they are true 
enclaves without being exclaves. 

Two outstanding examples of enclaves in recent history are the cities 



SHAPE 63 

of Berlin and Vienna, the latter until recently occupied by troops of the 
Western powers, and in part by Russian troops which also occupied the 
surrounding country while in Berlin the satellite East German state rules 
one half of the city and the surrounding country. Public services are 
common to both parts of these cities, and in Vienna the boundary was 
invisible most of the time for the natives. Throughout this period, Vienna 
remained still the capital of Austria and the Austrian government and 
parliament had their seat there. Vienna exerted also in other respects its 
central function. It was an exclave only for the Western occupying forces. 
As such it had the further anomaly that two airfields constituted tiny 
exclaves some distance from the city, administered by the British and 
Americans respectively. 

West Berlin comes closer to the concept of a genuine exclave, 1 both 
for the occupation forces and for the (West) German Federal Republic. 
As its contacts with the surrounding territory have been more and more 
restricted, the boundary of West Berlin has become a true international 
boundary (Fig. 3-3). 

Within provinces, counties, and so forth, perforation frequently results 
from the autonomous administration granted to urban centers in the midst 
of rural areas. This last feature is seldom noticed by the observer not 
directly concerned with local municipal problems and is hardly regarded 
as an anomaly. It may date as far back as those other truly anomalous 
configurations on the international map, but now such features emerge 
continuously as natural by-products of modern economic and political 
developments. Under the law of the Commonwealth of Virginia, settle- 
ments become incorporated cities with administration distinct from that 
of the county as soon as they attain a certain size. Similarly exclaves and 
enclaves have developed quite recently in rapidly growing metropolitan 
areas by incorporation of noncontiguous pieces of land for public utilities, 
or by the resistance of old established communities against incorporation 
(Fig. 2-11, p. 55). 

In contrast to these developments are some exclaves which originated 
far back, in history in some cases several centuries. They are relics of 
what have become obsolete political concepts : princes acquired territories 
for their states in the same manner in which they would have acquired 
private property. As a result a political unit, like an estate or a farm, 
might consist of several unconnected parts. Like modern farmers, sover- 

1 G. W. S. Robinson, "West Berlin: The Geography of an Exclave," Geographical 
Review, Vol. 43 (October, 1953), pp. 541-557; P. Scholler, "Stadtgeographische Prob- 
leme des geteilten Berlin," Erdkunde, Vol. 7 (March, 1953), pp. 1-11. 



64 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




Fig. 3-3. Berlin: An Exclave. 



eigns of such states might try to accomplish contiguity as a convenience, 
but not as a matter of principle. Under feudal conditions traveling from 
one property to another across "foreign territory" did not involve pass- 
ports or, necessarily, customs. In other cases noncontiguous areas have 
been acquired by chance heritage, or in order to get a foothold in an 
area which was desired because of its richness. In time, a deliberate 
policy of acquiring connected territories was pursued. An example in the 
United States is the Western Reserve in present northern Ohio, belonging 
once to Connecticut. In Europe, history records many such incidents: e.g. 
the Hapsburgs, counts in northern Switzerland, became dukes of Austria 
far to the East. This acquisition was a by-product of the elevation of 
the first Rudolf to the royal throne and of the need to replace the domain 
lost during the preceding period of anarchy. The descendants of Rudolf I 
worked consciously to build a land bridge between Austria and their 
Swiss dominions. Carinthia and the Tyrol were acquired, but a gap 
remained and the Swiss territories were finally lost. More fortunate were 
the Hohenzollerns of Rrandenburg who acquired outlying territories on 



SHAPE 65 

the Rhine and in East Prussia by inheritance in the seventeenth century; 
they succeeded in forming a contiguous state territory extending from 
the Rhine to Memel after two centuries of struggle. 

In the feudal age in Europe or India, or wherever a comparable stage 
existed, political allegiance was a personal matter and not a territorial 
one. The Germanic tribes and heirs of their legal concepts carried this 
idea to an extreme. Every person carried the laws of his origin with him. 
The same idea was modified in the system of "capitulations," according 
to which Europeans in many states of Asia and Africa, even if born there, 
could be tried only before the authorities of their country of origin. Only 
twenty years ago a map of Asia would show large areas where the 
sovereignty of the countries was not complete because of the extraterri- 
torial status of foreigners. In the Byzantine Empire and later in Turkey 
it was customary for communities of non-Islamic faith to live in separate 
quarters under autonomous administration (millet). Following this cus- 
tom, the privilege of living together was given to merchants coming from 
the same city, from Venice, Pisa, or Genoa. These quarters maintained 
their own separate laws and were often surrounded by a wall. They 
became a kind of territorial enclave. Turkey never relinquished sover- 
eignty over such areas as did China and India over the factories of 
Portuguese, Dutch, and other Western European powers. Here finally 
the transition from the personal to territorial status was completed and 
enclaves developed. 

The establishment of such extraterritorial trading posts signifies the 
beginnings of modern European colonial imperialism. These colonies 
distinguish modern empires, except the Russian Empire, from ancient 
empires in that they are characterized by a fragmented shape. Fragmen- 
tation of this kind comes clearly into focus when colonies shake off their 
colonial bonds and become independent partners. Then the manifold 
problems of dependent outlying possessions are superseded by the prob- 
lem of equal rights under different conditions. This has led to the breaking 
away of the American republics from England, Spain, and Portugal, and 
in our time threatens with dissolution the British Commonwealth of 
Nations in many parts of the world. 

The nineteenth and twentieth century concept of nationalism has 
had a strong influence in changing the shape of many states as well as 
in determining what constitutes a desirable or undesirable shape. Two 
major instances of fragmented shape are mentioned above, East Prussia 
and East Pakistan. If the concept of nationalism were applied consistently 
to shaping of state territories it could become of immense importance 



66 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

in federal states such as those of the Soviet Union. But despite the Soviet's 
proclaimed adherence to the principle of national autonomy, economic 
advantages of contiguous areas weighed heavier in shaping the feder- 
ated autonomous and constituent republics. Even the subordination of 
Nakhitchevan to the noncontiguous Azerbaijan Soviet Republic does not 
really contradict this fact, as Nakhitchevan is a mountain canton having 
little contact with neighboring Soviet Armenia. 2 

ISLAND STATES 

In a looser sense, noncontiguous states are also those states the territory 
of which is composed partially or entirely of islands. Where such islands 
are coastal islands, or clearly belong to one group, as do the four main 
islands of Japan, lack of contiguity of the political area is hardly felt. 
Where islands are no more than— usually— three miles distant from the 
mainland or each other, they are legally contiguous, because they are still 
within the so-called territorial waters. Norway, with its numerous coastal 
islands, offers a good illustration. 3 Groups of islands such as the Tonga 
Islands, the Hawaiian Islands, the Azores, and many others also form 
obvious units, although the distance between individual islands may be 
scores of miles. It does not matter whether such groups have a history 
of political unity— as do the Hawaiian Islands and the still functioning 
kingdom of the Tonga Islands— or whether they have attained political 
unity only since they were "discovered"— as have the Cape Verde Islands 
and the Azores. 

Large bodies of intervening water constitute a problem which is 
aggravated if other sovereignties are actually nearer to the outlying area 
than the country to which it officially belongs. 

The long-drawn discussions concerning statehood for Hawaii and 
Alaska are an example. Though other issues, such as the racial composition 
and political party inclinations of the inhabitants may be the main cause 
for delay in extending statehood, these factors would not carry weight 
in a contiguous area. On the other hand, the Azores are regarded by 
Portugal as an integral part of the mainland. France even regards northern 
Algeria as part of metropolitan France. 

2 A few small autonomous oblasts, those of the Adyge, Cherkess, and Nagornot- 
Karabakh, are enclaves in other administrative units. The two national Okrugs, the 
Aginskoye Buryat-Mongol and the Ust-Ordyn Buryat-Mongol, are actually exclaves 
of the Buryat-Mongol autonomous Soviet Socialist Bepublic. 

3 Norway, like all the Scandinavian countries, claims a belt of five nautical miles 
as territorial waters. 



SHAPE 67 

THE FACTOR OF COMPACTNESS 

In countries which include island territories and yet constitute a fairly 
compact unit— such as Great Britain, Japan, the Philippines, and to some 
extent Greece, Denmark, and Norway— contact between islands or be- 
tween island and mainland may be easier than between adjacent parts 
of the continental territory. Intercourse was never difficult across the 
Aegean Sea between the Greek Islands and Greece. Even continental 
parts of Greece are today in many cases more easily accessible by boat 
than by mountain trails or winding roads. Similar conditions exist in the 
Japanese Islands, where contacts across the Inland Sea are easy and were 
so before the age of railroads. Yeddo, the northernmost island, though 
separated by the narrow Strait of Hakodate, was joined to the other 
islands very late because, among other reasons, navigation across the 
strait was difficult under the frequently adverse weather conditions. On 
the other hand, intercourse over land routes becomes a difficult problem 
in countries where deserts take the place of a dividing ocean. Such deserts 
are the Sahara between French North Africa and the Sudan, and the Inner 
Asian deserts between Russia proper and Turkestan. In these areas maps 
which do not stress physical features are misleading. Physical factors play 
a part in much smaller countries over short distances. Until a few years 
ago, Vorarlberg, the westernmost province of Austria, could not be 
reached directly from the rest of the country when snow blocked the pass 
route over the Arlberg. Similarly, the canton Tessin was separated from 
the rest of Switzerland when the St. Gotthard pass was closed. In all 
these cases only modern communications have rendered the apparent 
compactness a reality. Powerful governments had also in other cases 
to develop and protect communications across difficult terrain such as 
mountains, forests, and deserts. However, only constant vigilance and 
investment of capital can keep open such routes. 

CIRCUM-MARINE STATES 

Under such conditions it would hardly be justifiable to overlook the 
role of sea transportation in defining the idea of a compact state. It makes 
understandable the fact that circum-marine states can have a fundamental 
compactness. We can envisage the ancient Roman Empire as a compact 
unit, with the Mediterranean Sea as an integral part, if we take into 
consideration that sea lanes in general were more efficient in antiquity 
than land routes, until the Romans built their military road-net. If we 




Fig. 3-4. British Influence around the Indian Ocean between World Wars I and II: 
(1) British colonies; (2) Dutch colonies; (3) Portuguese colonies. 



68 



SHAPE 69 

insist on regarding only the terra firma as constituent part of the Roman 
Empire, one of the oddest shaped territories would emerge. The same 
is true for other circum-marine empires, such as the former Swedish 
empire around the Baltic Sea, and the Turkish empire around the 
Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean. In this category belong even 
countries of shape as familiar as the British dominion around the Irish 
Sea, and in the Middle Ages the British realm on both sides of the British 
Channel. In modern times such circum-marine empires have become rare. 
The British domination, between the two World Wars, of most coastal 
territories around the Indian Ocean is the most recent example, especially 
if one regarded the Dutch and Portuguese colonies, though nominally 
belonging to foreign independent states, as practically at the disposal 
of the British (Fig. 3-4). Today this circum-Indic empire is rapidly dis- 
solving, and the dominions, despite their official ties to the Common- 
wealth, are apparently less closely bound to the policy of the United 
Kingdom. Their territory is not as unquestionably at Britain's disposal 
as those Portuguese and presumably also Dutch foreign colonies once 
were. The only true circum-marine state of today is Indonesia, a state 
around the Java Sea (Fig. 3-5). Its peculiar character is underlined by 
the lack of railroads and highways on all islands except Java. Indonesia 
is dependent upon sea lanes. 4 

SHAPE AFFECTED BY A STRATEGIC BASES CONTROL SYSTEM 

These circum-marine empires have been superseded by a different type 
of control based on the possession of skillfully selected and strategically 
distributed bases. 5 The Mediterranean became a British sea as the result 
of a combination of these bases with political controls. Britain acquired 
Gibraltar in 1704, the Maltese islands in 1800, and Cyprus in 1878. These 
footholds were augmented by two powerful political supports— political 
control of Egypt from 1882 to 1936, fortified by the military base in the 
Suez Canal zone, and "a skilful diplomacy which produced allies and 
neutrals within the Mediterranean basin." 6 These factors are what made 
the Mediterranean a British sea in the nineteenth century, not territorial 
possessions along the Mediterranean shore. In the post-World War II 
world, the growing threat of airpower and submarines has altogether 

4 W. G. East and O. H. K. Spate, The Changing Map of Asia (London, 1950), 
p. 217. 

5 See also pp. 70, 157. 

6 W. G. East, "The Mediterranean: Pivot of Peace and War," Foreign Affairs, 
Vol.32 (1953), p. 623. 




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SHAPE 71 

changed the role of the Mediterranean area, especially of the Mediter- 
ranean-Red Sea route, in world affairs. In recognition of these basic 
changes, we witness today the evolution of a new circum-Atlantic power 
combination of the NATO countries in which the United States and 
Britain are the main partners, and which is based on a broad European 
and African defense. The American Mediterranean, the Caribbean Sea, is 
dominated by the United States from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, 
Guantanamo on Cuba, Panama, and the leased bases on Trinidad, in 
British Guiana, on Jamaica, the Bahamas, Antigua, and St. Lucia (Fig. 
3-6). An American Pacific dominion is taking shape, with Okinawa and 
the bases on the Philippines as westernmost outposts. The Soviet Union 
has tried to create a Baltic dominion, more in the form of the older 
empires, occupying all coasts from Leningrad to Riigen, but also using 
the bases concept by the acquisition of Porkkala-Udd on the Finnish 
coast, which, however, was returned to Finland in 1956. 

THE VALUE OF SHAPE 

Political and military geographers have tried to blame certain unhappy 
events in the history of some countries on the shape of their territories. 
In recent decades it was fashionable to compare such states as France 
and Czechoslovakia and explain the relative stability of the French state 
by its compact, almost pentagonal shape, and blame the endangered 
position of Czechoslovakia on its elongated form. 

Even if it were possible to separate the factors which make for the 
stability or instability of France and Czechoslovakia, and to isolate the 
influence of shape in itself, this influence would still need explanation. 
There was a time when French kings felt that their country was sur- 
rounded by Spanish-Hapsburg possessions and that in order to break the 
threatening encirclement it would be advisable to acquire territory in 
Italy, which would indeed create a tongue-like extrusion from the com- 
pact area of France, but would make encirclement more difficult. Simi- 
larly, the Czechs felt that a compact Bohemian state (plus Moravia) 
would be in constant danger because of being surrounded by the ter- 
ritories of two German-speaking countries, Germany and Austria, whereas 
the odd-looking eastern extension through Slovakia and Podkarpatska 
Rus would provide territorial contact between the main part of their 
country and a friendly power ( Rumania ) , bring their territory into close 
proximity to another potential ally against Germany (U.S.S.R.), and give 
them a long boundary with another Slavic state ( Poland ) . 




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SHAPE 73 

It seems fair to state that shape in itself has little meaning, but that it 
has to be taken into consideration as one factor which, together with 
other factors, constitutes the political geography of a country. 

The problem of shape is especially devoid of meaning if it is regarded 
as a problem of geometrical shape. The claim that a compact and, ideally, 
a circular shape is the best for the safety of a country is a theoretical 
deduction without confirmation in experience. The only meaningful ques- 
tion is, whether and in how far the political shape parallels certain natural 
features and factors of human geography. Chile and Norway have an 
extremely elongated shape, more so than Czechoslovakia, but both have 
displayed a persistency and stability of shape less subject to changes 
throughout the centuries than the compact outline of France. Before 
World War II the idea of boundaries along natural features was much 
used and misused; recently it has been too much discounted. Norway, 
Chile, an island state such as Iceland, or a mountain state surrounded 
by deserts such as Ethiopia or Yemen, are largely congruent with a natural 
geographical region— Norway and Chile to a slightly lesser degree. Where 
Norway reaches in the southeast across the mountains, it includes all 
Norwegian-speaking areas. Czechoslovakia did not attain this unity, its 
physiographic features almost nowhere being congruent with the areas 
of languages and nations in this area. For this reason, and only for this 
reason, its elongated shape is so vulnerable. The same problem of vulner- 
ability has arisen in Spain, and for the same reason, although it is an 
outstanding example of adaptation to physiographic features. Spain had 
to wrestle with repeated attempts at dismemberment in its Catalonian 
and Basque provinces. Its human geography does not fit its theoretically 
perfect shape. 

"FORWARD POINTS OF GROWTH" 

A shape often regarded as a handicap to the economic development 
and military safety of countries is that involving an area connected with 
the bulk of a country only by a narrow neck of land. Such shapes have 
been compared with peninsulas and promontories. An outstanding ex- 
ample of such a shape, and of its almost perennially endangered position 
is that part of Sinkiang known as Chinese Turkestan. For long periods 
this area was connected with the main bulk of the Chinese Empire only 
by the narrow corridor of semidesert Kansu between the desert of Gobi 
and the mountains of Tibet. Some geographers have spoken in this 
connection of a prompted shape. 7 At one time, long ago, this area 

7 C. L. White and G. T. Renner, Human Geography (New York, 1948), p. 588. 



74 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

was acquired by China as a base for further westward penetration. 
German geographers, and not only those of the geopolitical school, spoke 
therefore in this connection of Wachstumspitzen— "forward points of 
growth." They compared such forms with the shoots of plants, or even 
with the advance force of an army. Thus, instead of indicating weakness, 
it appears that such "proruptions" may under certain conditions signify 
an aggressive vitality. If one looks at the former Chinese forward points 
of growth through Chinese glasses, from China's core area, one under- 
stands how, under changed political conditions, such areas can become 
political liabilities and economic liabilities as well. This is especially true 
in the absence of rail and road communications, without which overland 
outposts can scarcely be an integral part of a core area. Sinkiang (which 
has twice the area of France but a population of only about four million ) 
illustrates the withering-away of the "forward point of growth" when an 
expanding neighboring power (the U.S.S.R. ) drives its railroad and high- 
way net closer to the disputed area, in an effort to expand. 

The case of Kashmir has been interpreted as an illustration of a "forward 
point of growth or aggression" being established against the resistance 
of a competing power, in this case Pakistan. It may well be that this is 
rather an attempt to hold on to a "point" which has high emotional value 
and might serve as a sensitive observation post in an area where Pakistan, 
the U.S.S.R., Chinese Sinkiang, and Afghanistan meet. As a Wachstum- 
spitze, the value is probably very small, because communication from 
Pathankot, the nearest important station of India, to the valley of Kashmir 
leads across extremely high, roadless passes that are closed by snow many 
months of the year. 

The tiny princely state of Sikkim (2,745 square miles; population in 
1951, 137,000; cf. Fig. 3-1) offers another example of how such a "forward 
point of growth" degenerates into a proruption which is hard to defend. 
Pointing like an arrowhead toward Tibet (470,000 square miles; popula- 
tion about three million), the Himalayan mountain state dominates the 
main trade route between India and Tibet and thus is the gateway to 
Tibet. From here the British made their successful attempts to win entry 
into Tibet. Today its demographic composition, linguistically and reli- 
giously closely related to Chinese-held Tibet, makes it a weak point in the 
Indian perimeter. On the other hand, the example of the prosperous and 
democratic Indian protectorate may make itself felt in poverty-stricken 
Tibet. The successful agrarian and tax reform in Sikkim, which super- 
seded absolute rule and oppression by autocratic landholders, provides 



SHAPE 



75 



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Fig. 3-7. Portuguese and German Expansion in Central Africa. 



arguments against Communism in the ideological struggle over the future 
of Tibet. 

In some instances, proruptions have been intentionally created for 
purposes of aggression. Several examples of this are the so-called Caprivi 
strip, which extends as a narrow strip from the northeastern corner of 
Southwest Africa— a German colony, when it was devised— to the Zambesi 
river; Portuguese Mozambique expanded inland along the Zambesi at 
about the same period in order to meet Portuguese colonization advanc- 
ing from the Angola West African coast (Fig. 3-7); the narrow coastal 
landscape of Tenasserim, a southern extension of the then British Burma 
toward the northward-growing Malay States and Straits Settlements offers 
another illustration; the Alaskan panhandle, recording the Russian ad- 
vance toward California, is an example from America. 

In each of these cases the Wachstumspitze, the forward point of growth 
or of aggression, lost its essential character at the time when the core 
area and its people underwent basic changes, or when their outlook 
toward the forward point was reversed. The Alaskan panhandle is an 
illustration; its quality as a Wachstumspitze vanished when Russia lost 
interest in American expansion. 

All these examples should make it abundantly clear that the same shape 
may indicate an area of weakness or a forward point of growth or even 



76 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

of aggression. The answer cannot be found by focusing attention only on 
the shape of a political region. Configurations which on the political map 
resemble a Wachstumspitze may be not only a relic, but may actually be 
the result of a flanking or encirclement movement of a neighboring 
expansionist nation or group of nations. This is best illustrated by the 
unhappy spatial relationship in which Czechoslovakia found itself prior 
to 1939 in regard to Germany and Austria, but especially after the Ger- 
mans had occupied Austria, thus closing the pincers on Czechoslovakia. 
To the uninformed, or politically misinformed German onlooker, the 
outflanked or almost encircled small country could be presented as a 
dagger pointing threateningly toward the encircling Nazi Germany. The 
map published in General Haushofer's Journal of Geopolitics in 1934 with 
the caption "Ein Kleinstaat Bedroht Deutschland" (A Small State 
Threatens Germany) offers a good illustration of a complete distortion of 
facts by abusing the map as a weapon. The umbrella of airplanes fanning 
out from the alleged Wachstwnspitze of Czechoslovakia brought home 
to the Germans, fed by the geopolitical propaganda of the Third Reich, 
what seemed to be an imminent danger of German cities being bombed 
by the air force of Czechoslovakia. Haushofer did not stop to think of 
how the same map, with a reversed air-umbrella, would impress the 
citizens of the small nation which was watching helplessly while the 
ominously progressing flanking expansion of the Third Reich reached out 
for more and more Lebensraum (living space) (Fig. 3-8). 

Clearly the mere shapes of Czechoslovakia and Germany on the political 
map of Central Europe do not supply the answer to the question of 
whether and where in their spatial relationships forward points of aggres- 
sion can be detected. The answer can be found only if one weighs the 
manifold historical, cultural, ethnic, and economic factors which have 
contributed to the spatial relationship of neighboring nations and have 
become crystallized, even temporarily, in what the map reveals as odd- 
shape relations. It should be added that the study of mere physical 
expansion deals with but part of the problem. The policy of flanking 
or encirclement can be carried out by means of physical expansion or 
by the conclusion of treaties or alliances. 8 The case of Czechoslovakia is 
not an unusual one. Historical geography supplies many similar illus- 
trations of basic changes of the political map as the result of flanking 
movements of expanding powers. The Mongolian advance on India, the 
Roman drive toward western Germany show the aggressor nations in 

8 N. J. Spykman and A. A. Rollins, "Geographic Objectives in Foreign Policy," 
American Political Science Review ( 1939 ) , p. 394. 



SHAPE 



77 




Fig. 3-8. The Map as a Weapon of Geopolitics: Czechoslovakia, a "Threat" to Nazi 

Germany. 

their flanking operations against the attacked nations, just as classical 
encirclement moves can be seen in the drives of Carthage, and later Rome, 
against the Iberian peninsula, and of the Romans against the Germans. 9 
If a forward point serves the purpose of establishing contact with 
another area it is called a corridor. Such corridors have been established 
by Colombia and Bolivia in order to win access to the Amazon and the 
Parana rivers. Neither of these corridors so far has attracted much traffic. 
Far more important, both politically and economically, was the Polish 
corridor, designed to serve as a real corridor between landlocked Poland 
and the sea in the period between the two World Wars. A large part of 
Poland's overseas traffic passed through this corridor to Danzig and 
Gdynia, as well as some traffic which would have gone more directly 
over land routes but thereby would have had to cross foreign territory. 
A similar function was served by the Finnish corridor of Petsamo, which 
opened a route to the fishing grounds of the Arctic Sea. In the event of 



9 O. Maull, Politische Geographic ( Berlin, 1925 ) , p. 96. 



78 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the closing of the Baltic by ice or by war, Petsamo provided Finland 
with an opening to the west via the open ocean. 

It is obvious from the foregoing that the political geographer will find 
a study of odd-shaped nations— those having noncontiguous areas or 
extenuated shapes— in some cases fairly rewarding. Other shapes have 
little significance and any effort to fit them into a system would be 
artificial. 



CHAPTER 



4 



The Nature and Functions 
or Boundaries 



BOUNDARY LINES AND BOUNDARY ZONES 

We have discussed political units under the tacit assumption that they 
were bordered by sharp, definite boundaries. This is a condition which 
applies at present, at least in theory, to most political boundaries. Yet it 
is in sharp contradistinction to conditions which existed in most of Europe 
in the past and in some non-European continents into the twentieth 
century. Frontier zones, belts of no man's land, and even overlapping 
sovereignties were then the rule. A rather extensive literature 1 deals with 
the development of boundary lines out of such zones or related vague 
features. Somewhat less attention has been paid to the development of 
boundary lines from old property, especially field boundaries. The Romans 

1 No complete list of publications on this subject shall be given. Among the more 
important are S. B. Jones, Boundary-Making (Washington, 1945); P. de Lapradelle, 
La Frontiere (Paris, 1927); O. Lattimore, Inner Asian Frontiers of China (New York, 
1939); S. W. Boggs, International Boundaries (New York, 1940); K. Haushofer, 
Grenzen (Berlin, 1927); O. Maull, Politische Geographie (Berlin, 1925); J. Ancel, La 
geographie des frontieres (Paris, 1927); B. Hartshorne, "Geography and Political 
Boundaries in Upper Silesia," Annals of the Association of American Geography, 
Vol. 23 (1933), pp. 195 ff.; E. Fischer, "On Boundaries," World Politics, Vol. 1, No. 2 
(January, 1949), pp. 196-222; G. N. Curzon of Kedleston, Frontiers, 2nd ed. (Oxford, 
1908); J. Soldi, Die Auffassung der natiirlichen Grenzen in der wissenschaftlichen 
Geographie (Innsbruck, 1924); Thomas Holdich, Political Frontiers and Boundary 
Making (London, 1916); C. B. Fawcett, Frontiers (Oxford, 1918); A. E. Moodie, 
Geography Behind Politics, Ch. 5, "Frontiers and Boundaries" (London, 1947); 
A. Melamid, "The Economic Geography of Neutral Territories," Geographical Beview, 
Vol. 45 (July, 1955). 

79 



80 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

in the time of the republic used the plow to draw the boundary (limes) 
of a newly founded colony or city. With the development of the Roman 
city-state into a territorial state the concept of strict delimitation spread 
and became basic in Roman law. Though these problems will be men- 
tioned, wherever pertinent, the main interest in this chapter is not the 
historical development of the boundary line, but rather the description 
of the presently existing boundary lines, their functions and problems. 
A later chapter will deal with boundary zones in the political conflicts 
of nations today. Although we maintain that there is a basic difference 
between boundary lines and boundary zones, we shall not insist on re- 
garding as boundary lines only the mathematical line of one dimension. 
For all practical purposes a wooden barrier, having a width of a few 
inches, a grassy path between fields, having a width of a few feet, or 
even a lane cut into a forest, having a width of a few yards, are boundary 
lines. Roundary zones exist only where the space between two countries 
is wide enough to permit man to live within it, either actually or poten- 
tially. In lands that are inhabited by sedentary populations, this distinction 
is satisfactory. In the rapidly shrinking areas of nomadism, this distinction 
between boundary zones and boundary lines may lead to border incidents, 
or at least account for a gradual transition from a zone to a line. It is 
sufficiently accurate to serve as definition. 

There is another difference between the boundary line and the bound- 
ary zone. The latter is almost always a feature which has developed from 
the conditions of contact between adjacent countries. In the few cases 
where a boundary zone has been determined by law, actually three inter- 
nationally recognized units exist, sharply divided from each other by 
boundary lines. An example of this is the zones of the Pays de Gex and 
of Haute Savoie surrounding the Swiss canton of Geneva, which are 
outside of the French customs boundary and subject to Swiss military 
occupation in wartime, though in all other respects being genuine parts 
of the French republic. 

On the other hand, a boundary line is always a legally established and 
defined feature, though its legality may not have found recognition in 
international law. The United States has declared that it does not recog- 
nize the incorporation of the three Raltic States, Lithuania, Latvia, and 
Estonia, into the Soviet Union, nor does it recognize several other bound- 
aries drawn after World War II. Nevertheless, these boundary lines exist 
and function as instituted by Soviet action and Soviet law, unaffected by 
international recognition or nonrecognition. The boundaries of the Baltic 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 81 

States function today as internal, or purely administrative boundaries, and 
have been changed in some parts. 



TYPES OF BOUNDARIES 

We have, therefore, to distinguish several types of boundaries: (1) 
boundaries that are recognized in international law, as is normal with 
most boundaries; (2) boundaries that are recognized only by some coun- 
tries, especially by both adjacent countries, (a) This may be the result 
of a shift of the boundary without altering its legal character. The eastern 
boundary of Poland and the northeastern boundary of Rumania are such 
boundaries, (b) On the other hand, the boundaries of the Baltic countries 
are regarded by the United States as de jure international boundaries, 
but are de facto and according to the legal concept of the Soviet Union 
internal boundaries. The practical effects of such a nonrecognition are 
very restricted, and will pertain to passport procedures, immigration 
practice, and similar functions. The term "disputed boundaries" is correct 
for these boundaries, but applies in general usage rather to (3) de facto 
boundaries, the legality of which is not recognized by one of the adjacent 
countries. Parts of the Ecuadorian-Peruvian boundary and of the Indian- 
Chinese boundary belong in this category. Often the two adjacent coun- 
tries claim two different lines as correct, of which only one exists de facto 
(the disputed boundary), while (4) the other can be found on maps but 
has no counterpart in the field. Such a fictitious boundary is the boundary 
between Germany and Poland as it existed before 1939 and is still re- 
garded by the nations of the West as legally valid until such time as a 
peace treaty may change it (Fig. 4-1). Most American maps show this 
line and designate the territory west of it as under Polish administration. 
On Polish maps, and on maps printed in countries which are emotionally 
less involved in this conflict, this boundary has disappeared. 

Both the de facto and the claimed boundary may be recognized or not 
by third powers, strengthening thereby the legal and political position 
of one of the contesting countries, but not immediately affecting the 
material situation. In Trieste from 1946 to 1954 there existed three bound- 
ary lines (cf. Fig. 2-2). One, claimed by Italy, incorporated the whole 
territory of Trieste, including areas administered by Yugoslavia. De facto 
this is an internal boundary. Another part of the boundary line divided 
Yugoslav territory from that administered by Great Britain and the United 
States, though claimed by Italy. A third boundary, which separated the 



82 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




EAST 

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same territory from Italy, was a de facto boundary, but with a different 
status in the eyes of the different powers. The occupying powers regarded 
it as a fully recognized international boundary. The Yugoslavs agreed to 
its designation as an international boundary, but claimed it as their own 
and not that of a Free Territory of Trieste. The Italians finally regarded 
it at best as a temporary de facto demarcation line which has no legal 
standing as boundary. In the same category belongs the 38th parallel in 
Korea which served as a de facto boundary from 1945 to 1951; all par- 
ticipants regarded it as a temporary solution, an armistice line rather 
than a boundary. 

Claimed (fictitious) boundaries are also those on the Antarctic con- 
tinent; 2 but it can hardly be said that they run through a foreign territory 
as all claims are equally theoretical and none fully recognized internation- 
ally ( Fig. 4-2 ) . The United States has not recognized the claims of several 
states on Antarctic territories. Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, 
France, Norway, Argentina, and Chile have made such territorial claims 

2 Cf. L. Martin, "The Antarctic Sphere of Interest," H. W. Weigert and V. Stefans- 
son, eds., New Compass of the World (New York, 1949), pp. 61 ff. (71-73). 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 83 

and fixed by proclamation exact boundary lines. Those of the five first- 
named countries have been mutually recognized, while in the case of the 
Palmer Peninsula, where Britain, Argentina, and Chile are established, 
these three countries continue to dispute their mutual claims. 

These Antarctic sectors have their counterpart in the Arctic. Here, how- 
ever, it is not the discovery of uninhabited territories which forms the 
basis of claims, but an extension of the areas of the countries surrounding 
the Arctic Sea. Though in a different form and more or less assertive, 
Canada, Denmark, Norway, and the Soviet Union rely on the "sector 
principle" (cf. Fig. 5-4, p. 126). Only the Soviet Union went so far as to 
fix the boundaries of its Polar possessions in accordance with the sector 
principle, by decree of April 15, 1926. 3 

The sector principle serves as a good illustration of the intimate relation- 
ship which exists, particularly in the realm of boundary problems, be- 
tween basic concepts of international law and political geography. The 
student of political geography is concerned mainly with the definition 
of the area between the base line which links the meridians of longitude 
marking the limits of its frontiers in the east and in the west, and which 
extends as far north as the final intersection of those meridians in the 
Pole: this is the geographical definition of the sector principle as primarily 
a geometric method to measure the geographical extent of a sovereignty 
claim in the Arctic. To understand the legal, or quasi-legal, foundation 
of this principle one has to turn to basic principles of international law. 
The sector principle, legally, is an expression of basic concepts of sover- 
eignty resting firmly upon geographical foundations, or supposed to rest 
on them. Sovereignty over a territory presupposes normally that a state 
exercises authority over certain territory. Normally, this authority is estab- 
lished and maintained by what is called "effective occupation." In exten- 
sion of this principle, attempts have been made to establish sovereignty 
by contiguity; this concept has been used mainly to determine if islands 
which are relatively close to the shores of a country should belong to the 
country controlling the shores in virtue of their geographical location. 
The sector principle represents a further expansion of the contiguity 
principle. 

If one realizes these features of international law which are at the 
bottom of the sector principle, it is not difficult to find that a basic dif- 
ference exists between the Arctic and the Antarctic in regard to the sector 

3 E. Plischke, "Sovereignty and Imperialism in the Polar Regions," reprinted in 
H. and M. Sprout, Foundations of National Power, 2nd ed. (N. Y., 1951), pp. 727, 
729. 




Fig. 4-2. Antarctic Claims. 



84 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 85 

principle; for this principle, as an extension of the contiguity concept, 
does not make sense in the South Polar regions. 

Here we deal with a continent detached from any other and separated 
from other lands by broad expanses of water from the territories that are 
acknowledged to belong to claimant states. "Inasmuch as there are no 
'contiguous' territories extending into this area, as Canada and Russia 
extend into the Arctic, these Antarctic sector claims must rest upon a 
different theory from the Arctic principle." 4 

The United States has subscribed always to the theory that "effective 
occupation" is required as the basis of a claim of sovereignty over newly- 
discovered lands, including Polar lands. 5 The technological achievements 
of our times lend support to the concept that the principle of international 
law under which "effective occupation" is a prerequisite for the acquisition 
of "title" over a territory merits validity also in the Arctic and Antarctic. 

THE FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 

There is a real gradation in the effective functioning of a boundary 
from serving as an almost absolute barrier through several stages to the 
purely theoretical function of a claimed boundary. The barrier function 
is best exemplified in the Iron Curtain around the countries of the Soviet 
Bloc at present. It is, however, not an absolute barrier. There are not only 
those refugees who escape; more important is that trade is being carried 
on all the time. There are sensitive areas where countries bordering the 
Iron Curtain are not completely identified with either East or West, such 
as Finland and Iran. A big hole appears where until 1955 the Iron Curtain 
crossed Austria, a country that had retained its unity despite the fact 
that parts of it lay behind and others in front of the Iron Curtain. It thus 
appears that the Iron Curtain has not achieved, and, at least as long as 
peace can be preserved, is unlikely to achieve the strength of the walls 
which Japan and China erected around their borders from the seventeenth 
to the nineteenth century. We know, however, that even at the time of 
the most perfect seclusion of Japan, the tiny Dutch foothold in the harbor 
of Nagasaki was sufficient to maintain a certain osmotic exchange. Japa- 
nese artistic influences filtered into the West, as did Western medical 
knowledge into Japan, to mention only two important features. 

4 Hackworth, Digest of International Law (1940), p. 461. The official positions of 
Argentina and Chile are in conflict with the above and their claims are based in part 
on the contiguity concept; at best, a geological but certainly not a geographical con- 
tiguity can be claimed in this case. 

5 Miller. "Rights Over the Arctic," Foreign Affairs (1925), pp. 49-51. 



86 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Boundaries are often closed for certain functions only. Barriers to 
immigration or to the import of merchandise are more frequent than 
those to emigration and exports. The closing of the American border to 
liquors in the era of Prohibition is well remembered. Newspapers and 
books are sometimes excluded from crossing a border. Such barriers may 
be absolute or may be partial. Under the so-called quota system a certain 
merchandise may be allowed across the border in specified quantities only, 
or prohibitive customs may reduce the quantities which would come in 
without such taxation. The high value of a currency may act as a deter- 
rent. It is obvious that the restricting influence of all such factors can 
vary in wide degrees. The system of immigration quotas in the United 
States is based on a general principle, the proportion of resident alien-born 
from each country at a given date. In practice, this law opens the borders 
to any average Englishman, but closes it to the majority of prospective 
immigrants from many other countries such as China or Italy. 

Though almost all degrees of exclusion may be found, there is no 
international boundary which does not constitute an obstacle of some 
kind. Legal systems differ even between countries very close to each other 
in sentiment aid practice. No two countries have the same system of 
taxation. Unavoidably, the teaching of history in schools has slightly 
different emphases. Allegiance is required to a specific flag. The American- 
Canadian boundary is an example of such a minimum function which 
still, in many tangible and intangible ways, has a separating effect. 

It is obvious that such international boundaries do not have a much 
different function than do certain internal boundaries, especially those 
between the states of the United States. In other countries internal bound- 
aries may mean less. In the United States state boundaries have stronger 
separating functions than county boundaries or city boundaries; still less 
important is the function of boundaries of townships or city wards. 
However, there is no boundary which is not separating some feature, 
no boundary without function. 

The modern state is characterized by the great number of functions 
it exercises, functions distinguishing it in all its constitutional forms from 
its earlier predecessors, especially the feudal state. This multiplicity and 
the complexity of organization related to it is one of several reasons why 
accurate, linear boundaries become necessary, and are now the rule. 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 87 

BORDER ZONES 

The status of border territories has been more and more defined and 
transitional border zones have almost disappeared from the map, even 
in South America where they were the rule along the borders only fifty 
years ago. Also the number of undemarcated boundaries is rapidly shrink- 
ing, though as a matter of course not as fast as the number of undelimited 
boundaries or unallocated territories. The only sizeable land area under 
this last category would be— and this only for official American opinion— 
the Antarctic continent. There are a few more undelimited areas in the 
Arabian peninsula, along the land boundaries of China, and those of 
Thailand. Not quite in the same category are disputed areas, such as 
Kashmir, the southwestern corner of Ecuador, and a few others of minor 
importance at present. Among the undemarcated boundaries are several 
African boundaries, such as most boundaries of Ethiopia, or the boundary 
between the French and Spanish Sahara, Libya, and others. 

Even if a boundary has been agreed upon, the old separating zone 
must not disappear. There is still the little known and little exploited 
forest between Brazil and its neighbors to the north and west, the desert 
between Libya and its neighbors, and the high mountain belt between 
Burma and its neighbors. It is, however, the agreed boundary line, and 
no longer an unpassable belt of forest, desert, or swamps which minimizes 
the danger of border clashes. An interesting example is offered by the 
Rub'al Khali (Fig. 4-3), the Empty Quarter of Southern Arabia, which 
serves as frontier or boundary zone between Saudi Arabia to the north 
and west and the Trucial emirates, Oman and Hadramaut, to the east 
and south. In 1913 Turkey and Great Britain agreed to a boundary 
through unknown areas. This boundary still appears on some maps, 
though the outbreak of World War I prevented ratification of the treaty 
and Saudi Arabia never recognized its validity. This was still no matter 
of concern for Britain until Bertrand Thomas in 1927 and St. John B. 
Philby the following year crossed this desert. From this moment the 
dwindling barrier character of the Rub'al Khali became obvious. How- 
ever, Saudi Arabia felt strong enough to press its claim only after it had 
granted oil concessions to the Arabian-American Oil Company ( Aramco ) , 
hoping thereby to force the United States to back her claims. The recent 
conflict over the Buraima oasis between Saudi Arabia and Oman, the 
claims of both the tiny but oil-rich Sheikhdom of Qatar and of Saudi 
Arabia have highlighted a developing dangerous situation in this desert 



88 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 







^ia^lo*** V' Baraimi 



SiiP Dl A RA8IA 




Fig. 4-3. Rub'al Khali, "The Empty Quarter" of Southern Arabia. 

area. 6 Without the establishment of boundary lines,. bloody conflicts may 
become more and more frequent. 

A similar situation existed in the north of the Arabian peninsula. Since 
World War I boundaries have gradually been established and largely 
demarcated between Saudi Arabia and its neighbors, Jordan, Iraq, and 
Kuwait. In two places, where no agreement could be reached, two neutral 
zones between Saudi Arabia on the one side and Iraq and Kuwait on the 
other are policed by both adjacent powers. They are themselves bordered 
by definite lines and owe their continued existence not as much to their 
barrier character as to rivalry and jealousy. They are more closely related 
to buffer states or condominiums than to frontier zones of a primitive 
character. A much discussed area is the tribal area or the frontier region 
of the North West Frontier, an area included by the international bound- 
ary between Afghanistan and Pakistan and the administrative boundary 



6 A. Melamid, "Political Geography of Trucial Oman and Qatar," Geographic Re- 
view, Vol. 11, No. 3 (April, 1953); and the same author: "Oil and the Evolution of 
Boundaries in Eastern Arabia," ibid., Vol. 11, No. 4 (April, 1954). 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 89 

of the North West Frontier Province proper, the Durand line of 1893. 
The British gave only a minimum of administration to this area. 7 

The only other surviving zones lie between India and Tibet in the high 
uninhabited mountains of Himalaya and Karakorum, and between China 
and Burma in the broken plateaus inhabited by Shan tribes. Both adjacent 
countries claim sovereignty over each of these zones and some day some 
delimitation will have to take place. During the nineteenth century many 
countries agreed to draw boundary lines through such unexplored bound- 
ary zones. Such boundaries were drawn on the conference table and 
either used assumed physical features or geometrical lines as boundary 
lines. Assumed physical features were selected as a rule in South America, 
geometrical lines more frequently between European colonies in Africa 
and occasionally in other continents. This method has been denounced 
as artificial and arbitrary. However, it is often unavoidable. Geographers 
refer to this type of boundaries as "antecedent" boundaries, antecedent 
to actual occupation or even exploration. 8 It cannot be denied that this 
method resulted in especially unfortunate results in regions of densely 
settled, somewhat advanced civilizations, though the area might have 
been unexplored by Europeans. Some of the boundaries of Thailand and 
of the western Sudan belong in this category. This applies only to densely 
populated areas, and fortunately they were a minority. One should, 
furthermore, keep in mind that in most of these instances the only 
alternative was either to defer delimitation until demarcation on the 
ground should become possible, or to designate some suspected physical 
feature. To defer delimitation would actually mean to wait until interest 
in the hitherto unknown area materialized and friction evolved. This way 
has rarely been selected, and where it has, results were unfortunate. 

UNDEFINED BOUNDARIES 

The history of the boundaries of Afghanistan throughout most of the 
nineteenth century is an example of frictions which a not clearly defined 
boundary line may cause. The Russian-Afghan-British-Indian relations 
were in a state of nearly open conflict throughout the second half of 
the nineteenth century; the temporary weakness of Russia and world-wide 
political activity enabled a settlement of the boundary conflict in the 

7 There is a large literature on this area starting with G. N. Curzon of Kedleston, 
Frontiers (Oxford, 1907). The latest review is by J. W. Spain, "Pakistan's North West 
Frontier," The Middle East Journal, Vol. 8, No. 1 (1954), pp, 27-40. 

8 R. Hartshorne, "Suggestions on the Terminology of Political Boundaries," abstract, 
Annals of the Association of American Geography, Vol. 26 (1936), p. 56. 



90 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

eleventh hour. However, the solution along the Afghan-British-Indian 
boundary proved workable only as long as the British power in India 
stood on solid foundations. Instead of the usual boundary line to which 
all state functions extend, three lines were established. This resulted in 
the creation of two boundary zones of which only that adjacent to India 
was administered effectively. Even here not all state functions were 
exerted. Another zone adjacent to Afghanistan was not administered but 
was supervised by the British. Since Pakistan has taken the place of India, 
Afghanistan has voiced more vocal claims than ever before for this area, 
which is inhabited by Pushtu-speaking tribes; Pushtu is the language of 
the ruling group of Afghanistan (cf. Fig. 3-1, p. 59 ). 9 

The undefined boundary between Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland 
opened the road to the war of 1935, when both parties advanced into 
no man's land and clashed at Ual-Ual. 

DEMARCATION OF BOUNDARIES 

Designation of unexplored physical features such as water partings, 
mountain crests, and rivers, has caused many conflicts in South America. 
The Argentine-Chilean conflict was ended by arbitration of the British 
monarch who assigned the disputed territories to the contestants. The 
conflict area was described in detail by the British geographer-states- 
man 10 who was engaged in investigating the topographic background. 
In this case it had been agreed that the boundary should follow "the 
highest crest which may divide the waters" (Fig. 4-4). Unfortunately, 
and unknown at the time of the agreement, the highest crest and the 
water-parting do not coincide for a distance of many hundreds of miles. 
The final award found a compromise solution. 

A river was designated as the boundary between French Guiana and 
Brazil, another, the St. Croix river, between Maine and the adjacent 
provinces of Canada, both rivers no longer identifiable 12 when settlement 
advanced and fixation of the boundary became necessary. The nonexistent 
"northwestern corner of the Lake of the Woods" on the Minnesota-Canada 
boundary (Fig. 4-5) required at least sixteen additional conventions 12 
until all the questions were resolved which arose from the original peace 
treaty formulation. 

9 See p. 394. 

10 Holdich, op. cit. 

11 Jones, op. cit., p. 200. 

12 Boggs, International Boundaries, pp. 47-50. 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 



91 



Argentine Claim 

Chilean Claim ___^ 
Boundary Fixed 

0_ 100 200 300 Mi 




Fig. 4-4. The Argentine-Chilean Boundary. 

On the other hand, none of the geometrical lines in Africa has led to 
serious conflicts. It was possible in several cases to create a satisfactory 
boundary by means of exchange of territory and other adjustments. The 
Congo State (cf. Fig. 7-6, p. 186) originally established as a quadrangle, 
at present has a river boundary with French Central Africa, rivers and 
lakes as boundaries with most of the British areas, and very irregular 
boundaries with the Portuguese possessions, the latter created by ex- 
change of territories. 13 

Because each boundary is a result of human selection and action, 



1 3 Ibid., p. 186, 



92 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 







MANITOBA): 
MINNESOTA 



Fig. 4-5. The Minnesota-Canada Boundary: Large inset shows location of Lake of 
the Woods, as used at Paris 1782-83. The lake in its true position is cross-hatched. 
After Boggs, International Boundaries. 

boundary lines are always artificial throughout. 14 A boundary between 
states can exist only where and if man establishes a boundary. Boundary- 
making is done generally in several steps, which Stephen B. Jones 15 
distinguishes as delimitation and demarcation. Some authors 16 distin- 
guish three steps : ( 1 ) allocation of territory in general terms, ( 2 ) delim- 
itation, and (3) demarcation. Only demarcation, though actually only 
the last step, will be considered here. This is the work of the surveyor 
in the field, directed by a commission composed of the diplomatic repre- 
sentatives of the two states concerned, sometimes accompanied or even 
headed by one or several neutrals. The agreement which has been made 

14 Maull, op. cit., p. 143, was apparently the first to stress this point. 

15 Op. cit., p. 5. 

16 Boggs, International Boundaries; and A. Hall, "Boundaries in International Rela- 
tions," in G. E. Pearcy and R. H. Fifield, World Political Geography (New York. 
1948), pp. 521-524. 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 93 

at some conference table as to the site of the boundary has to be trans- 
ferred into the landscape. Whoever has observed the slow, painstaking 
work of a surveyor fixing the limits of private property, will not be sur- 
prised to learn that demarcation of state boundaries takes months or even 
years, not counting delays due to disagreement. Mountains may be 
unscalable, but they are generally less difficult to demarcate than water- 
boundaries. A meandering river with its continuously shifting banks and 
changing channel is a much more difficult problem. Even a stream con- 
fined by rocks to a definite channel poses demarcation problems. Bound- 
ary markers can not be put in the middle of a stream, but must be set on 
the banks and serve only as indicators from which to look for the actual 
boundary. Thousands of soundings had to be made to determine the 
thalweg of the St. Croix river on a short stretch. 17 Decisions of a peace 
conference or boundary conference to use villages as boundaries may 
sound very simple. This may result, however, in dividing the adjoining 
fields of a single proprietor or in a boundary with many protruding 
corners or irrational vagaries. 

Generally boundaries have been demarcated by carefully surveyed 
intervisible markers. In the once valueless, now oil-rich but featureless 
desert in Arabia behind the town of Kuwait the desert is strewn with tar 
barrels deposited by sheiks as local landmarks. 18 On some boundaries, 
where roads or railroads cross them, roadblocks are not uncommon. 
Sometimes a path is cut through forest and bush, a grass strip left between 
fields, or even a fence erected along the whole length of a boundary. This 
is usually regarded as a last resort, if for no other reason than because 
of the high cost of erection and maintenance. The Great Chinese Wall 
and the Roman Limes are unrivaled today. The so-called Teggart Wall 
on the northern border of Palestine, an electrically laden wire fence, was 
a last attempt by the British to keep undesired intruders out. This was 
due to the explosive situation in the last years of the mandate. Such 
fences, only shorter ones, have been erected where boundaries cut through 
towns, such as through Italian Fiume and its Yugoslav suburb Susak 
before 1940, today reunited as Rijeka, or even along the United States 
boundary with Mexico through the city of Laredo. The minefields along 
large stretches of the "Iron Curtain" are less visible but more vicious 
barriers. 

All these devices, however, follow predetermined boundaries. They 
make the boundary visible, but do not establish it. Demarcation is the 

17 Jones, op. cit., p. 117. 

18 The Economist, March 28, 1953, p. 882. 



94 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

legitimate process to make a boundary visible. Sometimes demarcation 
follows allocation of territory and its more detailed delimitation on the 
conference table as soon as possible. That is often the case after wars 
when territories are shifted from one sovereignty to another. Hartshorne 19 
speaks of superimposed boundaries and contrasts them with antecedent 
boundaries which were established long before the land was actually 
taken possession of, or even before it was known. 

"NATURAL" AND "ARTIFICIAL" BOUNDARIES 

Many political geographers have fought against the popular distinction 
between artificial and natural boundaries. 20 The latter are supposed to 
follow natural features such as mountain ranges, rivers, or deserts, the 
artificial ones being created by man without regard for physical features. 
Actually all boundaries are made by man. Whether or not the boundary 
followed or could follow a natural feature depended on many different 
circumstances. It has been suggested that such boundaries should rather be 
called "naturally marked" 21 or "borrowed from nature" (naturentlehnt) , 22 
They are often opposed to straight-line boundaries. The cause for the 
selection of straight-line boundaries may be ignorance of the topograph- 
ical features, as is true of many of the claimed boundaries in the Antarctic 
continent. In other instances, such features as linguistic affinities, popular 
loyalties, or existence of communication lines, seemed far more important 
than the course of a river or a mountain crest. There is little reason to 
call this latter type more artificial than a diplomatically selected mountain 
boundary which perhaps cut off alpine pastures from the villages which 
used them. This happened when the Austro-Italian border was drawn 
after World War I separating German-speaking South Tyrol from North 
Tyrol; and it was claimed that the coincidence of a high mountain 
crest with a parting of waters and strategic favorable circumstances made 
it a perfect "natural" border. The same happened in the Carpathians 
between Poland and Czechoslovakia and a similar situation was described 
for an old established border, that following the Pyrenees. 23 

Interest in boundary problems as a geographical problem was first 

19 "Geography and Political Boundaries in Upper Silesia," loc. cit. 

20 Solch, op. cit.; Hartshorne, "Suggestions on the Terminology of Political Bound- 
aries," loc. cit.; Jones, op. cit., pp. 7-8. 

21 D. Whittlesey, The Earth and the State (New York, 1944), p. 5. 

22 R. Sieger, "Zur politisch-geographischen Terminologie," Zeitschrijt der Gesell- 
schaft fiir Erdkunde, Vol. 52, No. 3 (Berlin, 1917-18). 

23 D. Whittlesey, "Trans-Pyrenean Spain, The Val d'Arran," Scottish Geographical 
Magazine, Vol. 49 ( 1933), pp. 217-228. 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 95 

awakened by Ratzel. Living and writing in Germany, he knew thoroughly 
the problems and artificial character of the boundaries of the German 
states. Indeed, they were to a large degree a product of the Napoleonic 
period and their delimitation was mainly a result of considerations which 
had nothing to do with geography or historical tradition, but aimed to 
give every prince a state of carefully balanced size and taxable income. 
Nevertheless, these artificial boundaries have disappeared only since 
World War II in many parts of Germany and some still survive. 24 

Often the term artificial boundary is used as the equivalent for bad 
boundary. Jones 25 has shown in a very great number of examples that 
any boundary may be good or bad according to the difficulties inherent 
in the type of boundary as well as in the circumstances of the time. While 
mountain ranges are generally regarded as good boundaries, the inter- 
national commission appointed to fix the boundary between Turkey and 
Iraq in 1921 agreed unanimously that the Jabel Sin jar should be allocated 
as a unit. 26 This mountain chain in a semidesert is practically a group 
of oases on both sides of the range, remote from any other permanent 
settlement. 

In conclusion, "there are no intrinsically good or bad boundaries ... all 
international border lands are potentially critical. A boundary may be 
stable at one time, unstable at another, without a change of a hairsbreadth 
in its position." 27 

BOUNDARIES MARKED BY PHYSICAL FEATURES 

Because of the widespread preference for such naturally marked bound- 
aries, those physical features shall be briefly reviewed which are most 
often quoted and used for such purposes, especially mountain crests, 
water partings, and rivers. Mountain crest boundaries exist in all con- 
tinents with the exception of Australia. It has been noticed that the 
perhaps oldest group of political boundaries, the boundaries of the his- 
torical eighteen provinces of China, in general follow mountain crests 
or traverse other sparsely populated zones; only occasionally do they 
utilize rivers. 2S But even in New Guinea the boundarv between the 
Australian territory of Papua and the trusteeship territory, the former 

24 F. Metz, Siidwestdeutsche Grenzen (Remagen, 1951). 

25 Op. cit., pp. 121-162. 

26 Ibid., p. 98. 

27 Ibid., p. 3. 

28 H. J. Wood, "The Far East," in W. G. East and O. H. K. Spate, The Changing 
Map of Asia ( London, 1950 ) , p. 268. 



96 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

German New Guinea, was placed on the central mountain axis of the 
island. Where a sharp crest exists and where it coincides with the parting 
of waters, such a boundary line is of the most stable and satisfactory 
type. The mountains often have formed an uninhabited and mostly unused 
zone between two countries long before a boundary line was established. 
One of the few surviving examples of such a state exists in the Himalayas 
between India and China. Frequently mountain valleys and high pastures 
have been slowly included in the economic system of the adjacent areas 
and the actual boundary line developed gradually. Such boundary lines 
do not necessarily coincide with the crestline— it may be practical to reach 
high pastures by means of a mountain-crossing pass; or, people living on 
one side may have used, and be entitled to, areas on both sides of the 
crest; or, a common economic way of life may bring together a population 
living on both sides of the crestline. The usual small-scale map is mis- 
leading because it cannot show small but significant deviations. Thus the 
Pyrenees, often cited as a perfect mountain boundary of this type, 
separate France and Spain only on part of the actual boundary. 29 

In mountain ridges which lack sharp, continuous crests, it can be shown 
that the boundary line is usually a late development, developing from 
an original frontier zone. The mountains may not even be the primary 
frontier zone, which may be dense forests. 30 Bohemia, often called a 
mountain fortress, is surrounded by rather low mountains, mostly short 
ridges with gaps between them. One of them, the Ore mountain ( Erzge- 
birge to the Germans, Krusne Hory to the Czechs), is devoid of the 
original forest cover, and it appears that the very old boundary deviates 
almost throughout its whole length from the rather sharp divide between 
the gentle north-western Saxonian slope and the steep escarpment leading 
into the interior of Bohemia. The boundary is located on the gentle north- 
western slope, though it is evident that this slope constitutes the lesser 
obstacle to penetration. However, it was not the desire for tillable land 
or political expansion which brought man onto the mountain, but the 
quest for precious minerals. Mining attracted settlers into the mountains 
and the need of timber and charcoal for the mines is responsible for the 
disappearance of the forests. The boundary line, however, became stabi- 
lized in general where the miners from both sides met. 

In general, it still holds true that virgin forests, uninhabited mountain 

29 Whittlesey, "Trans-Pyrenean Spain, The Val d'Arran," loc. cit. 

30 At least one recent author denies entirely the protective function of the Bohemian 
mountain rim, J. A. Steers, "The Middle People: Resettlement in Czechoslovakia," 
Geographic Journal, Vol. 102 ( January, 1949 ) . 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 97 

ridges, swamps and deserts fulfill their function as natural boundary 
zones, as, for instance, is still the case in the undefined deep boundary 
zones which separate the border of Sinkiang from Tibet and the similarly 
inaccessible 1800-mile-long border which separates Tibet from India, 
Sikkim and Bhutan. At the same time, it is true for many areas that the 
intensification of agriculture, technological progress, the improvement of 
communication systems, and the spreading population have narrowed 
the extent of no man's land serving as boundary zones. Forests have been 
cut down or taken under management. Regular policing has extended 
far into the largest desert of the world, the Sahara. Permanent meteoro- 
logical and a chain of radar stations are ringing the Polar regions. Swamps 
have been drained, as happened to the Bourtanger Moor on the German- 
Dutch border. Under a five-year plan presented in 1952, the U.S.S.R. 
intends to drain about 25,000 square miles, or an area roughly the size 
of Connecticut, Massachusetts and Delaware combined, in the Pripet 
marshes in Byelorussia and the Ukraine, with the goal of adding about 
nine million acres of fertile peat soil lands to the Soviet cultivated area. 

RIVERS AS BOUNDARIES 

In many cases preference has been expressed for rivers as boundaries. 
Boggs 31 and Jones 32 have shown the difficulties arising from the use of 
rivers as boundaries. Most boundary conflicts between states of the United 
States have been caused by river boundaries. 33 Also the international 
boundary disagreements of the United States have been concerned with 
rivers. There was the question concerning the course of the St. Croix river 
which had been designated as the boundary between the state of Maine 
and the Canadian Maritime Provinces, and there are the continuing prob- 
lems which the continuously shifting Rio Grande has created at the 
Mexican border since it was adopted as boundary in 1848. An agreement 
in 1934 settled most, but not all controversial points. The conflict over 
the use of the waters of the Colorado river by California and diminution 
of their volume for Mexico is not strictly a boundary problem. 

In Kashmir, a similar controversy lent strength to the claim of Pakistan 
for a boundary which would give to that country control over waters it 
needs for irrigation. This type of conflict becomes a genuine boundary 
case if a river which is necessary for irrigation is used as a boundary 

31 International Boundaries, pp. 179-182. 

32 Op. cit., pp. 108 ff. 

33 See map, Jones, op. cit., p. 109. 



' I 




Fig. 4-6. The Bratislava Bridgehead on the Danube. 




Fig. 4-7. The Louisiana Extension on the Mouth of the Mississippi. 



98 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 99 

line, as is true of the Jordan river between Syria and Israel. To the use 
of waterways for navigation, irrigation, and flood control, recently has 
been added their use as a source for power. In all these cases not only 
the management of the river along the border, but that of tributaries far 
away may influence its usability. 

It appears that rivers are less manageable as boundaries than any other 
feature. Any tampering with them, even the construction of badly needed 
flood dykes, influences the opposite, foreign shore and possibly affects 
areas farther downstream. To leave a river alone is not practicable, because 
of the general tendency of rivers to undercut portions of their banks, silt 
up channels, or shift their beds. Only common management in a friendly 
spirit can minimize the frictions resulting from the separating boundary 
function. 

Actually, rivers unite rather than divide the opposite banks. River basins 
are essentially units and the unifying function of a drainage basin is in 
many cases indistinguishably joined to the separating function of the 
divides. Historians and political geographers have long recognized the 
essential unity of the Paris basin of the Seine river, of Bohemia, of the 
Danubian basin, the Vistula basin, the Amazon basin, the Gangetic plain, 
and many others. On the other hand, where river boundaries have been 
established there is frequently the desire to create at least a bridgehead 
on the most important crossing point. The Bratislava bridgehead on the 
Danube (Fig. 4-6) and the Louisiana extension across the lower Missis- 
sippi (Fig. 4-7) may suffice as examples. 

Many attempts have been made to unite entire river basins for the 
purpose of flood control, irrigation, and power development. Bv the 
inclusion of the whole river basin in such a scheme, these projects differ 
basically from international river regulation agreements for navigable 
rivers such as have been devised for the Danube and the Rhine. In this 
context the spectacular success of the Tennessee Valley Authority ( TV A ) 
project comes to mind (cf. Fig. 18-3, p. 579). But the achievements of the 
TVA reveal both the potentials and limitations of this type of river basin 
control project, especially if one tries to use the TVA example as a yard- 
stick for other river and flood control plans. In the case of the TVA it was 
possible to overcome gradually the reluctance of a number of states 
within the Union which gave up some of their state rights in favor of the 
interstate agency. 

Since the TVA came into existence, dozens of 'TV As" have been 
planned within the United States and abroad; scores of missions from 
foreign countries have studied the American TVA and American experts 



100 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

have explored the possibilities for similar projects in foreign countries. 
However, while the economic advantages achieved by the TVA in many 
respects are impressive, no other attempt to imitate this project has been 
successful and political obstacles have proved too formidable to be over- 
come. This is primarily true for projects in internationally disputed areas 
as along the Jordan river or in the area of the principal rivers of the 
Indus Basin which provide water for irrigation in Pakistan and originate 
in, or flow across India, Kashmir, or Jammu. 34 In spite of the often- 
expressed hope that the execution of such river basin projects would 
result in significant economic advantages to all contestant powers and 
would pave the way for political reconciliation, political issues have 
maintained their priority as a separating factor. It appears that such 
ambitious projects can be undertaken successfully only if the international 
situation between the interested nations is on a firm and peaceful basis. 
Even within the United States objections to unification raised by local 
and special interests have proved to be a most formidable obstacle. 
Neither the Missouri Basin nor the Columbia Basin Authority have 
developed beyond the blueprint stage. Most of the international projects 
have not even entered the blueprint stage, and some of them, though 
entirely sound and important from the economic point of view, are at 
this time not more than speculations in the harsh light of political 
realities. 

OCEANIC BOUNDARIES 

A special type of water boundaries are the oceanic boundaries of all 
states bordering the sea. The shoreline is often regarded, especially for 
statistical purposes, as the boundary of a country. The definition of the 
shoreline may lead to difficulties, particularly on low coasts adjacent to 
shallow seas with high tides. Should the mean water level, the average 
low-water mark, or the mark at spring tide be regarded as the boundary? 
Different countries have claimed each of these lines. More important, 
however, is the claim of most nations to sovereignty over their territorial 
waters. This is a zone of water several miles wide. A majority of countries, 
among them countries which in 1950 registered four-fifths of all com- 
mercial shipping tonnage, claim a zone three miles wide. 35 Another almost 
10 per cent of commercial tonnage was registered in Scandinavian coun- 
tries which claim a four-mile limit. The remaining countries are by no 

34 See p. 97. 

35 S. W. Boggs, "National Claims in Adjacent Seas," Geographical Review, Vol. 41 
(1951), p. 202. 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 101 

means negligible, as they count among them the Soviet Union which 
claims a twelve-mile belt. 

The United States, on September 28, 1945, proclaimed that it would 
regard the "natural resources of the subsoil and the sea bed of the con- 
tinental shelf beneath the high seas but contiguous to the coasts of the 
United States as appertaining to the United States, subject to its juris- 
diction and control" (cf. Fig. 5-3, p. 125). This assertion of rights, which 
is based on the geological unity of the shelf and the adjacent land, re- 
ceived legislative sanction by the Outer Continental Shelf Act of August 
7, 1953. 36 A number of states, most of them in the Americas and around 
the Persian Gulf, have followed the American example and claimed cer- 
tain rights over the continental shelf. Australia followed suit in 1953, by 
proclaiming sovereignty over her entire continental shelf reaching in 
places more than two hundred miles off her coast. The Japanese were thus 
precluded from fishing for pearl shell in the waters off Australia's northern 
coast. Countries such as Chile, Peru, San Salvador, and Honduras have 
substituted for the claim to the continental shelf a claim to a two hundred- 
mile zone. All these countries border the Pacific Ocean— except the north 
coast of Honduras— and the continental shelf under any definition would 
be of insignificant width. Many countries have established special purpose 
claims of different width, ranging from the six miles claimed for customs 
and coastal defense by Poland, to a security zone of at least three hundred 
nautical miles around the Americas proclaimed by the Consultative Meet- 
ing of Foreign Ministers of the American Republics at Panama on October 
3, 1939. 37 The present situation is confusing and gives rise to international 
conflicts in many oceanic boundary areas. The International Law Com- 
mittee of the United Nations is therefore attempting to clarify the prob- 
lems involved by emphasizing that a coastal nation exercises sovereignty 
over the continental shelf, but subject to the principle of the freedom 
of the seas. 

In reviewing such claims, boundary lines emerge which can not be 
demarcated but which are nonetheless real. Boggs has shown 3S that except 
in the rare instance of a straight coastline, it is not easy to be definite 
as to where a line should be drawn. Bays, 39 islands and rocks, even curva- 

36 See Boggs, "National Claims in Adjacent Seas," loc. cit., pp. 185-209. 

37 Department of State Bulletin, Vol. 1 (1939), pp. 331-333. 

38 In several publications, among them in International Boundaries, pp. 178-85, 
and "Delimitation of Seaward Areas under National Jurisdiction," The American 
Journal of International Law, Vol. 45 (April, 1951), pp. 240-266. 

39 Boggs, "National Claims in Adjacent Seas," loc. cit.; and A. L. Shalowitz, "The 
Concept of a Bay as Inland Waters," The Journal, Coast and Geodetic Survey, Depart- 
ment of Commerce, No. 5 (June, 1953), pp. 92-99. 



102 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

tures of the coastline justify different points of view. If two islands 
of different sovereignty are closer together than six miles, the definition of 
the median line is by no means simple. Even an interior boundary, such 
as that in Lake Michigan between Michigan and Wisconsin, took long- 
drawn litigation and investigation and finally a decision of the Supreme 
Court in 1936 to define the line. Presumably this boundary had been well 
described in preceding legal acts which were, however, shown capable 
of different interpretation under the actual conditions of a complicated 
coastline. The situation is particularly difficult if two adjacent countries 
claim a different width of their territorial waters. Boggs has tried success- 
fully to develop methods to find the best line. 40 Whether these will be 
adopted in international law seems questionable, at least as long as the 
present tension remains. 

Even less clear is where the continental shelf ends. The usual definition 
of the continental shelf as the area less than a hundred fathoms deep 
and adjacent to dry land is only a rough approximation. In some cases, 
such as the cited example of Chile, the slope of coastal mountains is 
continued below the ocean surface and there is, geographically, no con- 
tinental shelf. In other cases, the gradual slope may reach much farther 
than the hundred-fathom line before the sharp declivity of the continental 
slope starts. Rarely will continental slope and continental shelf join in 
such a sharp break that it could be called a line. Even the determination 
of the hundred-fathom line, though possible with modern means of echo 
soundings, would be a tedious job. We do not even know how stable 
this line is. 

DIVIDING LINES 

A review of maps shows that all these various lines have seldom been 
mapped. Occasionally, however, we find simple lines, often geometrical 
lines, dividing sovereignties over islands or in narrow seas. Most of these 
lines are used as a convenience by the cartographer. Some, however, 
have or have had international legal meaning, such as the line separating 
Alaska from Siberia (Fig. 4-8), the line dividing the islands belonging to 
Indonesia and the Philippines, or the now obsolete but famous dividing 
line of the Papal decision and the Treaty of Tordesillas between the 
Spanish and Portuguese overseas empires. The Alaska-Siberian boundary 
was established by the purchase treaty of 1867, by which the United 
States acquired Alaska. It consists of two straight lines joining at an 
obtuse angle in Bering Strait. The north-south aligned part follows the 

40 Boggs, "Delimitations of Seaward Areas Under National Jurisdiction," loc. cit. 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 



103 




Fig. 4-8. The Geometrical Line as Boundary: Alaska-Siberia. 



meridian 168° 58' 5" west of Greenwich and is not problematic. The 
northeast-southwest aligned part connects the southern terminus of this 
line in 65° 30' northern latitude with a point about halfway between the 
westernmost of the Aleutian Islands and the Soviet Komandorskie Islands 
in 54 degrees north latitude, 170 degrees east longitude. It never was 
agreed whether this line is part of a great-circle line or a rhumb line, 
probably because no practical dispute arose. It was adopted as part of 
the defense perimeter of the Americas at the conference in Rio de Janeiro 
in 1947 and was defined there as a rhumb line. 41 This Alaskan-Siberian 
boundary line appears on many maps not as a true political boundary, 
which it is, but as part of the International Date Line. This is the line 
where ships— and presumably airplanes— crossing the Pacific Ocean west- 
ward skip a whole day, or if bound eastward, start the past twenty-four 

41 The Treaty was published and the pertinent article 4 is most accessible in F. O. 
Wilcox and T. V. Kalijarvi, Recent American Foreign Policy (New York, 1952), p. 210. 



104 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

hours over again. This line follows the 180° meridian except in this area 
and east of New Zealand, where it deviates eastward to include several 
island groups. 

GEOMETRICAL BOUNDARIES 

It is no accident that where geometrical lines have been established as 
boundary lines, lines of the geographical grid were preferred. They are 
the easiest to establish. Other geometrical lines exist but are rare. The 
boundary between California and Nevada from Lake Tahoe to the 
Colorado near Mohave city, and that between Arizona and Mexico from 
the Colorado to Nogales are straight lines but not geographical grid lines 
and as such are rather exceptional. Still less common are curves, such as 
the parts of a small circle which separates Delaware from Pennsylvania, 
and that which limited the former German, later Japanese concession of 
Kiaochao (Tsingtao). 

It is too little realized that many of the winding boundaries shown on 
our small-scale maps are often a series of very short, straight lines. This 
may surprise many people, because we are inclined to regard straight 
lines in the countryside as unnatural. We expect rivers to be winding, 
coasts to have bays and promontories, and the edges of natural forests 
to be far from straight. However, new boundaries are often agreed upon 
at a conference table by attributing towns and villages to different sover- 
eignties. These local boundaries are often boundaries between fields and, 
as often as not, are straight lines. 42 In other cases a winding line is divided 
by the surveying field party into short straight stretches to make it 
practicable. 

In Africa and between the states of the United States straight lines 
originally were nothing more than temporary demarcation lines. In the 
United States such boundaries have often degenerated into exclusively 
administrative lines. Different laws, especially different state tax systems, 
liquor laws, and so on, keep them in the consciousness of their citizens. 
In a few instances they have won emotional values comparable to Euro- 
pean boundaries— the Mason-Dixon line and, internationally, the 49th 

42 Only one interesting illustration will be mentioned to show the interplay of man- 
made features and natural features and their influence upon local boundaries. In 
eastern and southeastern Wisconsin "in general the small rectangular" woodlot is pre- 
dominant, following the lines the surveyor has drawn dividing the quadrangle. But in 
central Wisconsin "the rectangular land survey shows only rarely in the present wood- 
land cover. . . . Slope and rock outcrop are much more critical in aligning the woodland 
location." L. Durand, Jr., and K. Bertrand, "Forest and Woodland of Wisconsin," 
Geographical Review, Vol. 45 (1935), p. 270. 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 105 

parallel. Eisenhower has denounced the shopworn use of the slogan of 
the "unfortified boundary." He did not intend, thereby, to minimize the 
value of this boundary, nor would it be possible or desirable to erase 
the connotation of pride in this boundary from the American conscious- 
ness. Americans, who are often impatient of geometrical boundaries in 
other continents, are often unaware that forty-seven of their states 43 have 
such geometrical boundaries and that disputes between the states over 
such boundaries have been far less frequent than, especially, those over 
river boundaries (Fig. 4-9 ). 44 

The straight line has definite advantages over a winding line that 
follows some physiogeographic feature. This occurs in deserts, where land 
values are practically nil. It is very expensive and difficult, if not outright 
dangerous, to follow some winding hill range or dry wadi bed. It may 
be quite simple to draw a straight line. A curious incident was settled 
in 1952 between Italy and Switzerland. The boundary at one place in 
the high mountains crossed a glacier. Demarcation by stones on the glacier 
was possible, but the moving glacier continuously displaced these bound- 
ary markers. Finally a straight line was adopted which needed for fixation 
only two intervisible markers on the firm rock on both sides of the 
glacier. 45 

This does not imply that geometrical boundaries are always and every- 
where preferable. Apart from other problems they are not even always 
easy to demarcate. The 49th parallel is a ready example, especially as its 
demarcation was undertaken in a spirit of good will and neighbor liness. 
A parallel is, however, a curve and as such not very convenient in the 
field. Instead of following such a curved line, the boundary commission 
followed the sensible procedure of fixing only the boundary markers in 
the astronomically correct position on the parallel and drawing straight 
lines between them. It is easily recognizable that such straight lines are 
the chords of an arc and shorten not only the distance but cut off small 
pieces of land actually north of the 49th parallel. 46 Jones has shown that 
the area involved is not large but neither is it negligible. 47 Probably not 
very often can such a spirit of compromise be expected. 

43 South Carolina is the only exception. 

44 See Jones, op. cit., p. 109. 

45 Convention of Martigny, July 4, 1952. 

46 Jones, op. cit., p. 154. 

47 Ibid., p. 157. 




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THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 107 
BOUNDARY CHANGES 

An unfortunate quality of political boundaries is that they are so 
difficult to change. The longer a boundary exists the less flexible become 
economic ties of the frontier regions to their respective hinterland. Admin- 
istrative practices and legal systems become ingrained in the life of almost 
every person, as in the case of inheritance or marriage laws and customs. 
Emotional values and questions of prestige are added. Still it is not clear 
why boundaries should remain unchanged while man and all his insti- 
tutions change. It has been shown 48 that there are, indeed, occasions 
when a boundary becomes obsolescent, loses part or all of its functions 
and its international status. Such was the case when Italian and German 
princely states joined to make a unified or federal state. Created as prop- 
erty boundaries of feudal powers, these boundaries crisscrossed the land- 
scape in such an irrational way, especially in Germany, that they could 
not fulfill their function in a modern state. They degenerated until after 
World War II they lost all meaning and were no longer a serious obstacle 
for the redrawing of the internal German map. 49 Only Bavaria remained 
mainly within its prewar boundaries. However, such a change of inter- 
national boundaries is rare without resort to war. It is somewhat more 
often found in internal boundaries, where a peaceful change in the loca- 
tion of a boundary can often be effected. The growth of modern metro- 
politan cities shows the frequency of such changes on a low level, but 
also the obstacles which exist even on this level. 

International boundary changes are usually effected by violence. The 
38th parallel in Korea is the most recent example of an unsatisfactory 
boundary resulting from war. However, when the 38th parallel boundary 
was established, following World War II, it was not thought of as a 
boundary line of any duration, but as a momentary demarcation line 
between the occupying forces of the Soviet Union advancing from the 
north, and the Americans advancing from the south. 50 No natural features 
would have commanded immediate recognition as outstanding, as shown 
by the widely divergent suggestions for regional boundaries which had 
been advanced under peaceful conditions. 51 Old administrative boundary 

48 Fischer, loc. cit., p. 208. 

49 Metz, loc. cit. 

50 S. McCune, "The Thirty-eighth Parallel in Korea," World Politics, Vol. 1 (Janu- 
ary, 1949), pp. 223-225. 

51 Review of such suggestions, especially by the Russian geographer V. T. Zaichikov 
in 1947 and the German geographer H. Lautensach in 1942, by S. McCune, "Geo- 
graphic Regions in Korea," Geographical Review, Vol. 39 (October 21, 1949), pp. 
658-660. 



108 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




Fig. 4-10. Germany Divided (1955). 



lines offered another alternative. In the light of experience in Europe it 
must be doubted whether any of these alternatives was preferable. The 
Oder-Neisse line follows physical features. The boundary line between 
Eastern and Western Germany follows pre-existing administrative bound- 
aries. Both have been denounced vehemently. If so far they have not 
played the same unfortunate role as the 38th parallel, this is hardly to 
be attributed to intrinsic merits but rather to political circumstances. 
The violation of the 38th parallel could be expected to lead to a conflict 
between minor powers, South and North Korea only; as a matter of fact, 
despite the activities of the United Nations, and especially of American 
troops, the war remained localized. In Germany any clash over the bound- 
ary would have meant the immediate outbreak of another World War. 
It is to be regretted that immediate independent negotiations for a 
boundary to replace the temporary 38th parallel demarcation line, were 
not entered into. Again the German example is significant (Fig. 4-10). 
Despite all protests there is a strong possibility that the Oder-Neisse line 
will remain for some time. Even more ominous is the gradual crystalliza- 
tion of the boundary between the two Germanies. The establishment and 
development of two totally different economic, ideological, and political 



THE NATURE AND FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 109 

systems can no longer be extinquished by a political act of reunion. The 
allegiance of the two economies to two different systems is leading to 
many competing developments in industry and elsewhere which can not 
coexist in a reunited Germany. A youth educated and indoctrinated by a 
Communist regime will speak a language which, despite the same vocab- 
ulary, will have little meaning in the West. The longer the boundary con- 
tinues to exist the more difficult it will be to erase it. 

It has been suggested that it is easier to change boundaries that have 
not had time to crystallize— to become associated with prestige, historical 
traditions, or material interests. 52 Geometrical lines as boundaries through 
unknown territory correspond best to these conditions. They may, there- 
fore, for the purpose of a preliminary division fulfill the purpose. Danger 
arises if they are allowed to crystallize before a necessary adjustment can 
be accomplished. Such a danger line is the boundary partitioning the 
Ewe tribe in Africa between French and British sovereignty and kept 
by both powers despite all protests by the Ewes themselves. In the 
same area, namely Togoland and the Gold Coast, an early adjust- 
ment made possible the reunion of two other tribes, the Dagomba and 
Mamprusi in 1946. 53 

The 38th parallel is no longer used as a boundary in Korea. The new 
demarcation line, the armistice line of 1953, has replaced it at least 
temporarily. This line follows ridges and associated physical features for 
large stretches. It is based on the results of the fighting, and has been 
proved by its history as a strategically acceptable boundary. Who would 
state, however, that this one factor is so preponderant as to make it a 
"good" boundary? At least it does not coincide with any of the lines 
suggested previously. 



54 



52 Fischer, loc. cit., p. 203. 

53 G. Padmore, The Gold Coast Revolution (London, 1935), pp. 153-154. 

54 See McCune, "The Thirty-eighth Parallel in Korea," loc. cit. 



CHAPTER 



5 



The Impact or Boundaries 



THE BOUNDARY AS FUNCTION OF THE STATE 

Whether we like it or not, we are living in a period when the state 
is assuming more and more functions. Americans, traditionally, do not 
like it. Population increase, technological progress, especially develop- 
ment of communications, progressive differentiation and stratification of 
social groups, increase of population groups of proportionally greater 
mobility, rising standards of living, and need for raw materials from all 
over the world, have combined to make life more complicated. They 
have forced more functions upon the state because the individual or even 
the small integrated group is no longer capable of performing them, and 
is also incapable of existing without them. At the same time people are 
becoming more and more conscious of the omnipresence of the state, its 
functions, and its institutions. We have become accustomed to the national 
mail service. Today we write and receive more Christmas cards than all 
the correspondence our great-grandfathers had in a whole year, or perhaps 
in a lifetime. We use money coined and printed by the government. 
But in many other respects we regard government as irksome or as an 
unavoidable nuisance. 

Boundaries are national institutions and fulfill functions that a hundred 
or more years ago were unthought of. 1 Some of the functions, such as 
high tariffs, are asked for by interested groups of the citizenry. Others 
are demanded by considerations of national welfare, such as the exclusion 

1 An almost complete list of functions is given by S. W. Boggs, International Bound- 
aries (New York, 1940), pp. 9-10. 

110 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 111 

of diseased animals. Some functions are simply taken for granted, and are 
hardly noticed by the great majority of citizens. The average citizen is 
little concerned with the fact that on the other side of the border different 
laws and customs regulate the punishment of crime, inheritance of prop- 
erty, and many other things. When he attempts to cross a boundary, 
however, many functions are felt and resented as restrictions of his free- 
dom and independence. That a passport is necessary to cross most bound- 
aries, that a tourist can take out of a country only certain items, and 
similar boundary restrictions are resented by the average traveler. These 
are, at least potentially, sources of friction. 

To remove these boundary frictions two solutions seem possible: 
diminution of the functions of boundaries until they finally disappear, 
or redrawing of boundaries. Theoretically the first way seems the better; 
in practice, it is the second solution which is almost exclusively aimed at. 

We must start with the admission that the complete abolition of inter- 
national boundaries is a Utopian concept at present. Apart from practical 
difficulties, as long as nationalistic ideologies are so deeply ingrained and 
are still increasing in many parts of the world, the chances for "One 
World" seem very remote indeed. Realistic advocates of gradual dimi- 
nution of boundary functions look to results of their work with satisfaction 
only if they take a very long-range view. It must be realized that the 
current trend of development goes rather in the opposite direction and 
it may be that to keep boundaries functioning within traditional limi- 
tations is sometimes beyond practical possibilities. 

DIMINISHING FUNCTIONS OF BOUNDARIES 

Still, it is possible to draw a long list of functions which have been 
suspended for the benefit of international organizations, thereby relieving 
international boundaries of some of their functions. The most far-reaching 
undertakings in this respect are truly world-wide in purpose, such as 
many of the functions of separate committees of the United Nations. 
Some of the most successful of such organizations antedate the United 
Nations and even the League of Nations. The Red Cross, founded in 
1859, is still outside the United Nations, as is a late-comer, the World 
Council of Churches of Christ. 2 Their effect on boundary functions may 
be small or intangible; however, the Red Cross has been able to send 
rapid help across boundaries in disaster areas without regard of boundary 
restrictions, and the recent assembly of the Council enabled Church func- 

2 Founded 1948. 



112 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

tionaries who would have been excluded by law, to come to the United 
States. Some older institutions have become special agencies of the United 
Nations, such as the Universal Postal Union, 3 the International Court of 
Justice, 4 and the International Labor Office; 5 but most of these interna- 
tional organizations have originated as special agencies of the United 
Nations. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organi- 
zation, the Food and Agricultural Organization, the International Mone- 
tary Fund, and the World Health Organization are the best known. 6 
Others, aiming at common standards in certain aspects of life, are con- 
tinuously added. Only recently a World Meteorological Organization, 7 
and a few years earlier an International Telecommunications Union, 8 have 
been founded. These two agencies are remarkable because they include 
among their members all states of the Soviet bloc. 9 

Even where common standards are accepted by several nations or all 
nations concerned, the member nations will often continue to perform 
their functions differently. For instance, the same standards adopted in 
educational matters do not necessarily lead to the different states admin- 
istering them similarly. Yet such agreements gradually lead to the simpli- 
fication of functions which eventually are no longer irritating and sources 
of friction in their differences. Sometimes the diminution of boundary 
irritations is not always obvious in the disappearance of functions; their 
effects are intangible but not less real. 

OBSOLESCENCE OF BOUNDARIES 

It seems easier to conclude international agreements between two or 
a few states than to make multination agreements. Agreements between 
the United States and Canada about the utilization of the waters of the 
Great Lakes, or between the United States, Great Britain, France, and the 
Netherlands concerning economic co-operation in the Caribbean region 
come to mind. However, it should not be overlooked that regional pacts 
may carry with them the danger of substituting a larger and stronger or- 
ganization for several smaller and weaker ones. There is the danger of 
making some boundaries less obnoxious by strengthening the outer bor- 

3 Founded 1874. 

4 Created 1945 as successor to the Permanent Court of International Justice. 

5 Founded originally 1919, reorganized 1944, accepted into the U.N. 1946. 

6 Founded between 1944 and 1948. 

7 Founded 1951. 

8 Founded 1934. 

9 For a complete list of organs, special agencies of the U.N., and other international 
organizations see The Statesman's Yearbook, 1953. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 



113 



10 Mi 




□ £D 



Fig. 5-1. The Saar: Coal and Steel Industries: (1) coal field; (2) steel mills. 

ders of the regional organization. Such development occurred when the 
continuously quarreling, but rarely fighting, small German and Italian 
princely states were replaced by a strong Germany and Italy. Their wars 
endangered Europe and finally the world. Similarly, we can discern that 
the replacement of the Arab states by a well-organized league would cer- 
tainly end the petty squabbles between them, but might strengthen them 
for a great war. 

So far it is easier to show for internal than for international relations 
that obsolescence of boundaries may be a way of progress. The develop- 
ment of the Ruhr industrial area across the boundaries of the Prussian 
provinces of Westphalia and Rhineland led to the organization of the 
Ruhr Planning Authority in 1920. 10 After Germany's defeat in 1945 the 
road was open to unite the two Prussian provinces in one state. Similarly 
two cities, the Free City of Hamburg and the Prussian city Altona were, 
with several smaller communities, reorganized as a land (state) under the 

10 For a detailed discussion of the Ruhr as an integral part of the European economy, 
3 N. J. G. Pounds, The Ruhr ( Bloomington, Ind., 1952), pp. 237-239. 



see 



114 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Hitler regime in 1938, after the boundaries had lost almost all sociological 
functions. 

There are some slight indications that the increasing interdependence 
between the Saar area and France and the old-established close cultural 
and social connections between the Saar and Germany are tending to 
make the boundaries gradually obsolete (Fig. 5-1). Should these bound- 
aries lose further economic and sociological functions they would be 
reduced to political and national ones, and a solution of the vexing Saar 
problem may be easier. 

UNCONTESTED BOUNDARIES 

Desirable as the taking-over of boundary functions by international 
organizations may be, it is largely a matter of future developments and, 
therefore, still outside of the field of political geography. On the other 
hand, political boundaries have been redrawn on a large scale all the time, 
mostly under pressure by the stronger country and very rarely by mutu- 
ally satisfactory agreements. Conquest is still the main factor in boundary 
changes. We have to accept as a fact the phenomenon that there are 
strong forces working for change of existing boundaries. It is tragicomic 
that a stronger country often justifies its expansion with the argument that 
for its own protection it needs border areas belonging to a weaker neigh- 
bor. If boundaries remain unchanged this may be caused by the absence 
of forces which work for change. Although Americans will immediately 
be reminded of the United States boundary with Canada, it should be 
stressed that stability due to absence of these forces is rather the exception 
than the rule. It has been pointed out 11 that the line separating the United 
States from Canada is generally referred to as "the boundary," while the 
line separating this country from Mexico is called "the border." It is be- 
lieved that the distinction stems from the fact that there has been more 
friction between the United States and Mexico than with Canada. There 
has also been more lawlessness on both sides along the southern line, 
which the word border suggests. We may translate it into our terminology 
by saying that there has been less pressure against the invisible but rigid 
boundary, causing conflicts and violation of laws, than against the south- 
ern border, creating along the latter a zone in which the repercussions are 
felt. 

«W. P. Webb, The Great Frontier (New York, 1952), pp. 2ff. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 115 

BOUNDARIES UNDER PRESSURE 

More significant than the absence of forces is the presence of conflicting 
forces which exert pressure against the boundary from opposite sides. 
Working singly, either would tend to displace the boundary; operating in 
opposition, they tend to neutralize each other. The attempt has been made 
to define international boundaries as the continuously changing line where 
the pressure from two adjacent political bodies attains a momentary bal- 
ance. 12 Last, but not least, there are strong forces at work to preserve 
established boundaries. Before discussing these two types of forces, those 
working for change and those working for stability, it is necessary to point 
out some features of boundaries which are characteristic for a zone of 
varying width adjacent to a boundary. This zone is commonly called the 
frontier. 

FRONTIER AND INTERIOR 

It has become common usage to speak of frontiers or frontier zones in 
two different meanings. One is the frontier as a border area without exact 
delimitations, usually preceding the delimitation and demarcation of a 
boundary. This use of the term in the designation of the western frontier 
of the United States is well known. We have seen in a preceding chapter 
that this type of frontier has almost disappeared. We are here concerned 
with the second type of frontier: the zone which extends inland from a 
boundary line and generally merges gradually with the interior of the 
country. Small countries, of course, have no interior in the sense that there 
is an area where the influence of the frontier is not felt at all. However, 
even in such a tiny country as Israel the difference between the frontier 
and the interior is apparent. The inhabitants of the villages on the border 
are not only in daily danger of life by raids across the frontier, but they 
also resent the seemingly unconcerned behavior of the big-city dweller. 
However, measured by standards of other countries, these same city 
dwellers are acutely aware of boundary problems, if for no other reason 
than the space they occupy in the daily news. 

In large countries the dwellers of interior areas are unaware of and 
indifferent to boundary problems. The Middle West of the United States, 
once the "frontier" par excellence, has become the prototype of a country 
where people do not know anything of foreign countries, are not inter- 
ested in them, and do not want to have anything to do with them. Appar- 

12 J. Ancel, Geographie des frontieres (Paris, 1938). 



116 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

ently this type of isolationism is receding; it is still enough of a life force 
to illustrate our point. 13 

In this connection, mention may be made of the fact that the very size 
of the country and the basic difference of psychological attitudes in regard 
to border problems between the people of the Middle West are, for in- 
stance, the people of the Eastern Seaboard regions, account for the fact 
that "in the United States the word frontier . . . becomes a concept with 
such wide ramifications and so many shades of meaning that it cannot be 
wrapped up in a neat definition like a word whose growth has ceased and 
whose meaning has become frozen. It is something that lives, moves geo- 
graphically." 14 

FRONTIER PSYCHOLOGY 

Willingly or not, people living near a boundary have their lives shaped 
by its influence one way or the other. In past periods border provinces 
received greater autonomy because it was impossible to defend them 
against a sudden attack if their authorities had not enough power to do so 
of their own accord. There are many examples where the population of 
a border area was organized in a permanent semimilitary organization, 
called a "march" in Europe. The Cossacks, along the Russian and Ukrain- 
ian frontiers, were organized against Turkey and the Tatars and are per- 
haps the best known. Their semimilitary autonomy survived to the 
Bolshevist revolution. Austria, another medieval "march," has survived as 
a separate body politic, but its citizens are still unsure how far they have 
developed a separate national awareness. At times they liked to think of 
themselves as Germans because of their German language and certain 
traditions; but every time they come in close contact with the Germans, 
they feel vividly the differences in their way of life. 15 

Inhabitants of frontier zones are in many cases conscious of the fact 
that they live in an exposed situation. This is not only true in half-civilized 
environments such as the Frontier Province of Pakistan and Afghanistan, 
but people of Lorraine and Alsace feel the neighborhood of a potential 
attacker very strongly. It is not incidental that some of the most national- 
istic, but also most gifted political leaders of France came from this politi- 
cally-conscious frontier. Many similar cases can be cited- One may suffice. 

13 See pp. 21-23. 

14 Webb, op. cit., pp. 2 ff. 

15 There exists a voluminous literature on this problem. See especially H. W. Wei- 
gert, Generals and Geographers (New York, 1942), pp. 115 ff., and the book of the 
chancellor Schuschnigg, Drei Mai Osterreich (Innsbruck, 1938), written before 
Hitler's conquest of Austria in 1938. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 117 

The population of Finnmark and Troms, the two northernmost provinces 
of Norway, suffered most heavily from war destruction in World War II 
because of their proximity to the Russian border. Now they are more con- 
scious than ever that they would be the first victims of a violent East-West 
conflict. 



EFFECTS OF THE FRONTIER ON ECONOMIC LIFE 

The endangered frontier situation is brought home to people also in 
regard to their freedom of movement. Not only the boundary itself but 
military installations and regulations affecting so-called defense areas re- 
strict this movement. This leads also to restrictions hampering the eco- 
nomic life of such a region. Market towns, which normally would be in the 
center of an agricultural area, may have a lopsided trading area. In gen- 
eral, because of boundary restrictions, a city close to a boundary will be 
cut off from "natural," that is, nearby, customers by the boundary. Less 
normal, but still quite frequent, is the city that because of differing prices 
and money values has a trading area across the border larger than in its 
own country. During the last few years we have seen how in Berlin people 
from the western sectors of the city flocked into East Berlin because of the 
lower exchange value of the East Mark; 16 later this trend was reversed 
when wares became scarce and the people from the Soviet sector came 
into West Berlin to purchase things unavailable in the East. Eventually 
movement in both directions slackened because of the political difficulties 
put in its way X1 (cf. Fig. 3-3, p. 64). On a smaller, but instructive scale 
it was shown that new businesses concentrated at the points of crossing 
from one to the other zone, while at the same time established businesses 
—barbers, grocers, cobblers, and others— located along the boundary but 
away from the crossings, had to close up because many of their customers 
could not reach them across the street, or at least could not pay the prices 
in a different currency. 18 What happened, dramatically, in Berlin within a 
short period and in a small area is but an illustration of what occurs in one 
or the other form along almost any boundary. Even if economic conditions 
on both sides of a boundary are approximately equal, prices on the same 
level, and boundary formalities at a minimum, the unavoidable formali- 
ties will influence the mutual movement. 

16 P. Scholler, "Stadtgeographische Probleme des geteilten Berlin," Erdkunde, 
Vol. 7, No. 1 (1953), p. 6. 

17 G. W. S. Robinson, "West Berlin, The Geography of an Exclave," Geographical 
Review, Vol. 43 (October, 1953), p. 549. 

18 Scholler, loc. cit. 



118 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Movement occurs not only in the form of trade, but also in commuting 
from the place of residence to the place of work. Some boundaries make 
commuting of this kind impossible or difficult; others invite it. Mexicans 
come across the border as seasonal labor and their heavy influx has 
created the problem of the so-called "wetbacks." On the Canadian bor- 
der, especially in the Detroit area where social conditions on both sides 
of the border are similar, the problem of commuting across the boundary 
is of insignificant proportions. French mines and industries located in 
France, but along the Belgian and the Saar borders have attracted labor 
from across the border (cf. Fig. 5-1). There is a zone close to the border 
where daily commuters live; in a second, slightly overlapping zone we 
find commuters who return home only over the weekend; a third zone, 
that of seasonal migrants, is not distinctive, partly because of their small 
number in this particular area, and partly because their habitation can not 
be localized so distinctly. 19 We do not have comparable data for the 
French side of the border. It can only be assumed that there also a sub- 
zone of factories and mines which employ daily commuters can be dis- 
tinguished from another wider, but overlapping zone with weekly com- 
muters. Similar conditions exist on other boundaries. 



FRONTIERS AND MEANS OF COMMUNICATIONS 

Among the factors emphasizing the dividing function of the boundary 
is, in many cases, a country's communications system, the extension of 
which is halted by the boundary. Railroads often have their terminals at 
some distance from the boundary, or have more restricted service across 
it than in the interior. Good roads may deteriorate near the boundary into 
badly maintained secondary roads and trails. Even internal boundaries 
may have similar effects. The eastern Rhode Island-Massachusetts bound- 
ary was superimposed as a straight line on an area which had already 
developed irregular road and subdivisional patterns. Though roads may 
not be affected in this case, services such as gas, electricity, and water 
end abruptly at the border. School districts may have an inconvenient 
shape. 20 

There are, however, frontiers where the opposite effect occurs. On 
heavily fortified boundaries, military roads, built for heavy loads, form 
a dense net close to, and occasionally lead to, the very boundary where 

19 R. Capot-Rey, La region sarroise (Nancy, 1934). 

20 E. Ullman, "The Eastern Rhode Island-Massachusetts Boundary Zone," Geo- 
graphical Review, Vol. 29 ( 1929), pp. 41 ff. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 119 

they terminate. Before World War II the Italians pursued such policy on 
their European boundaries, and extensive road-building preceded their 
attack on Ethiopia. 21 Another illustration is the six thousand-mile trans- 
Siberian railway which was pushed to completion in 1904, mainly for the 
purpose of defense. Military considerations also account for other railroad 
developments in Soviet Asia after World War II. Another influence of 
boundaries can be observed along every administrative boundary. People 
in small towns or on dispersed farms have business to transact with au- 
thorities, as for instance the tax collector, the courts, the school board, or 
the county agent. They will visit the seat of the local government more or 
less regularly and, on the occasion of these visits, do their shopping. The 
administrative centers therefore attract the population even if other towns 
may be in closer proximity. 

THE FRONTIER AND ITS IMPACT ON 
LOCATION AND INDUSTRIES 

Frontier zones are to a certain degree at a disadvantage as far as their 
economic activities are concerned. A new boundary is a strong deterrent 
to new investments and may even cause some industries to migrate farther 
inland. However, mines, primary agricultural production, industries de- 
pendent upon raw material, and in general industries whose histories and 
needs are closely linked with their geographical location cannot easily 
move away from boundaries. Other industries are less intimately wedded 
to a certain location, especially defense industries, and will be transferred 
to safer locations inland, especially when war or danger of war moves the 
frontier too close for comfort. Well known is the example of the Soviet 
Union, where whole industries have been moved east from the western 
frontier zones into the Volga region, behind the Urals, and into Asia. This 
movement reached its climax in the years of World War II. It seems to 
have slowed down considerably since then, partly, no doubt, because the 
satellite states have largely taken over the boundary functions of the west- 
ern provinces, partly also because of the difficulties of this wholesale mi- 
gration. In the United States, a trend can be observed to establish new 
critical defense installations far inland, in the Tennessee valley, in the 
deserts of the western plateaus, but nowhere near the borders or coasts, 
which can be easily reached from across the sea. In comparison, Sweden, 

21 D. Whittlesey, "The Impact of Effective General Authority Upon the Landscape," 
Annals of the Association of American Geography, Vol. 25 (1935), pp. 85 ff, has 
described the formation of defense zones or shells. 



120 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

lacking large spaces remote from boundaries such as exist in the United 
States, has effected a transfer of critical, especially aircraft, industries to 
underground locations offering relative safety against attacks from the air. 
The Swedish example emphasizes the limitations, in aerial warfare, of a 
policy bent on establishing and transferring industrial plants inland and 
far from coasts and borders, since these locations do not necessarily deter 
an aggressor striking from the skies. 



22 



CROSS-BOUNDARY INFLUENCES 

Hardly any frontier has escaped being influenced from across the 
boundary. The influence may be only a few words of the foreign language 
helping to shape the local dialect, or a few borrowed habits in custom and 
food. It may lead to a more or less pronounced bilingualism, to likes or 
more often dislikes of the neighbor, to rare or frequent intermarriages, or 
at least to knowing more than one way of life. Frontier people, consciously 
or not, willingly or not, absorb some of the ways of their neighbor. 23 Or 
they retain and cling to older customs which have disappeared elsewhere, 
developing a cultural lag in areas remote from centers of a different and 
often more rapid cultural growth. The gaucho of the Argentinian Pampa 
has in some respects customs similar to those of his neighbors across the 
frontier in Bolivia, Paraguay, or Uruguay— customs which have disap- 
peared from the vicinity of Buenos Aires. Sometimes such similarities 
across a frontier are remnants of former political alignments. Nobody will 
doubt that California is American in its way of life despite the Spanish- 
Mexican atmosphere suggested by some missions, churches, or place 
names. But few people realize that water rights in California, and else- 
where in the southwest, are still governed by law derived from Roman 
law in its Spanish-Mexican tradition and not by the Anglo-Saxon common 
law. 24 

CONTINUATION OF FEATURES ORIGINATING FROM 
BOUNDARIES NO LONGER IN EXISTENCE 

However the frontier man may differ from his co-national in the interior, 
he will also differ from the people across the boundary, even if he should 
belong to the same linguistic or other minority group. This is due to his 

22 See p. 189. 

23 Boggs, op. cit., p. 10, speaks in this connection of osmosis. 

24 Whittlesey, "The Impact of Effective General Authority Upon the Landscape," 
loc. cit., p. 54. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 121 

necessary adjustment to the economy and administration of the state of 
which he is a citizen. Economic activity, however, shapes the cultural 
landscape so deeply that, should such an international boundary cease to 
exist, many former features tend to persist. 

One such feature which tends to persist are trade areas. In theory, a 
town of a certain size will dominate a more or less circular or hexagonal 
trade area. Such circular areas of different radii overlap according to size 
and extent of services offered by various urban areas. Political boundaries 
tend to distort such trade areas and these distortions disappear only some 
time after the disappearance of the political boundary. This is true also of 
the road and railroad systems. Although roads and railroads can be built 
quickly, it is seldom done as fast as is technically possible. Certain remind- 
ers of an old boundary may survive for centuries. The street plan of many 
German cities west of the Rhine and south of the Danube is still deter- 
mined by the original location of the walls and main streets of the Roman 
castle on the site of which the city developed, while north and east of the 
ancient Roman boundary other patterns prevail. 

Also psychological factors may be very persistent. The open, optimistic, 
neighborly ways of the American West are an inheritance of frontier days, 
where life would have been impossible without the unorganized but very 
efficient help of the neighbors. On the other hand, the aggressive nation- 
alism of the French of Lorraine reflects a frontier mentality of an alto- 
gether different kind in this much-fought-over country. 

In regions which have been fought over through long periods we often 
find that the contest has been instrumental in forcing certain characteris- 
tics upon the frontier population which distinguish them, in spite of their 
linguistic and religious bonds, from their neighbors. 25 The Saar is an illus- 
tration of a frontier area whose population has been wooed by French and 
Germans. As elsewhere under similar conditions, we find here nationality 
traits reflecting consciousness of a frontier situation which is precarious 
and, at the same time, offers opportunities for bargaining on a political 
and economic plane. 26 

IMPRINT OF THE BOUNDARY UPON THE LANDSCAPE 

A boundary becomes more ingrained in the landscape and in the ways 
of the people the longer it exists. This, and not special topographic fea- 

25 Ibid. 

26 C. C. Held, "The New Saarland," Geographical Review, Vol. 41 (1951), esp. 
pp. 603 ff. 



122 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

tures, is the main reason why old established boundaries seem often so 
much better than newly established ones. It has been asserted that if 
boundaries retain their locations through centuries, or reassume them 
when displaced, this is in itself a proof of the peculiar fitness of their 
location. That may be true in a few instances. Usually, however, it is the 
very existence of the boundary which shapes the human landscape and 
makes it advisable to retain old boundary sites or to readopt them. This 
is also the factual background for the argument for "historical" bound- 
aries, specious in some cases, but very real in others. On the other hand, 
a new boundary, however artificial, acquires separating features of its 
own by prolonged existence. 27 Boundary-makers, especially those of the 
Versailles and St. Germain, Trianon and Neuilly treaties of 1919, have 
often been accused of geographical ignorance, of imperialistic greed, or 
of callous disregard of the popular wishes. Some of these accusations may 
be well founded. However, it should not be overlooked that every new 
boundary cuts through some older unit, requires adjustments, and will 
thereby cause a painful transition for some groups. In areas of old bound- 
aries such birth pains are forgotten; they may even never have been felt 
painfully because boundaries had so few functions in former centuries. 
The human, if not the physical landscape has changed since the boundary 
was established. If there are valid reasons for a boundary change there is 
no way out of the dilemma; both the retention of the old or the creation 
of a new boundary will hurt. 

THE PRESTIGE FACTOR 

These factors of human geography, developed over a lengthy period, 
are a force working for preservation of an existing boundary. This force 
may in some cases be only one of several factors and in itself not very 
strong; it is, however, closely connected with nongeographical conditions, 
such as questions of prestige. Prestige has often hindered agreement by 
nations on boundary changes, even if they did not inconvenience the one 
partner and brought obvious advantages to the other. Only where the 
factor of prestige does not enter into the picture are such arrangements 
possible. It was possible in 1927 for Belgium to give up an area of 480 
square miles of the Congo in return for a cession by Portugal of ( Fig. 5-2 ) 
little more than one square mile near Matadi in the estuary of the 
Congo 28 — an area of uncrystallized boundaries. But it seems impossible 

27 G. Weigand, "Effects of Boundary Changes in the South Tyrol," Geographical 
Review, Vol. 40 ( July, 1950 ) . 

28 The Statesman's Yearbook, 1953, p. 807. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 



123 




OCEAN 

DILOLO.BOOT 

111^''' j:l::::EiiaabcthviUi 

I 

^..-_..^jj| NORTHERN |j RHODESIA j 
20 jjiiii I&&] 

Fig. 5-2. The Congo Territory: Exchanges Between Belgium and Portugal. 



for Austria to give up the almost-exclave of Jungbluth, containing a ham- 
let in mountainous terrain. 29 Other exchanges in colonial regions have 
been effected, hardly noticed in the metropolitan area and hardly realized 
by the natives of the area. Once a territory has acquired an emotional 
value, no economic quid pro quo can satisfy. When Switzerland needed 
the headwaters of a tributary of the Rhine, the Val di Lei, for a power 
plant, it was possible to reach an agreement over this uninhabited tiny 
area concerning use and indemnities, but not concerning the transfer of 
the sovereignty from Italy to Switzerland. If boundaries of a lower order, 
that is, not international boundaries, are to be corrected, however, such 
rectification is no longer uncommon though by no means easy. 



EMOTIONAL ATTACHMENT 

It is difficult to distinguish between questions of prestige and true emo- 
tional attachment based on long common history, memories, or symbolical 
values. The Italian people have easily forgotten the loss of Savoy, which 
was ceded to France as the price for Napoleon Ill's help in bringing about 
the unification of Italy in the war with Austria. Savoy was the home of 
the kings of Italy, but was not Italian in language or tradition. In most 
parts of Italy the identification with the dynasty was never strong. The 

2 9 See p. 63. 



124 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

simultaneous cession of Nizza was resented more strongly, but still did not 
influence Italian politics to a large degree. On the other hand, the question 
of Trieste is still one to stir up widespread emotions. Trieste is only partly 
Italian-speaking, is economically ill-fitted for a union with Italy, and has 
belonged to Italy for only twenty-seven years. However, it had long been 
a symbol of success or failure, and any attack on its status evokes feelings 
of resentment. 

At one time the slogan "Fifty-four forty or fight" could bring America 
to the brink of war. It is forgotten. Nothing binds the overwhelming 
majority of Americans to the once claimed territory. If there exists some 
antagonistic, often unreasoned anti-British feeling, it has other sources. 
The Revolutionary War and the colonial period is still fought over in the 
schools and remembered at Fourth of July celebrations. In the east it left 
a few tangible monuments. Many Americans pride themselves on being 
descendants from the fighters of this time. Yet no boundary questions are 
involved. In contrast, in Europe, and occasionally in other continents, such 
historical memories are usually somehow connected with boundary prob- 
lems. This makes boundary changes, except by war, extremely difficult. 

COASTAL BOUNDARIES 

Despite all these forces working for the status quo there are, on almost 
every boundary, also forces which work for change. Stability, stronger or 
weaker pressure, and actual change result from the interaction of all these 
forces. There is hardly any boundary the stability of which is absolute. 
Problems exist even at boundaries such as coasts which by their very 
physical nature seem destined for stability. We have referred briefly to 
the proclamation by the United States that it would regard the continental 
shelf as pertaining to the United States. 30 We have mentioned in the same 
place that other states took this as an occasion to expand their claims 
seaward. In one case, that of Australia, the motive is to keep the Japanese 
fishermen away, a very understandable desire in view of the events of the 
last war, but a one-sided act subject to challenge at some future moment. 
The issue of the ownership of the submerged lands was settled, at least 
temporarily, by act of Congress of May 22, 1953. This act gives owner- 
ship to the coastal states within a zone of three miles between the low- 
water mark and the outer limit of the coastal waters, and ten and a half 
miles along the coasts of Florida and Texas ( Fig. 5-3 ) . It does not apply 
to tidal land— the zone lying between mean high and mean low water 

30 See p. 101. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 



125 




TEXAS 



MEXICO 

J.R.F. 



Fig. 5-3. State Boundaries in the Continental Shelf: Louisiana (3 miles), Texas (10^ 
miles): (1) High Seas of Gulf of Mexico; (2) Continental Shelf; (3) Salt Dome 
Oilfields. 

which is submerged only temporarily generally twice a day. Fishing rights 
have played a considerable role in the development of the concept of 
territorial waters. France has retained two tiny islands off the coast of 
Newfoundland— Saint Pierre and Miquelon— as bases for its fishing fleet, 
and until 1904 clung to the right, acquired by the Treaty of Utrecht in 
1713, for its fishermen to land on the coast and dry their catch within 
definite periods. France still retains fishing rights within the territorial 
waters. Similarly, American rights, cause of many recriminations, were 
fixed— and curtailed— only in 1910. Fishing rights in territorial waters and 
conflicts arising therefrom have also contributed to acerbate the relations 
between Japan and Russia. 

One would hardly expect the coast circling the Arctic Ocean to be the 
stage for similar problems. Actually, nowhere else have coastal powers 
extended their claims so far seaward as here. Starting in 1927, the Soviet 
Union proclaimed the sector principle, claiming sovereignty over all the 
sea, including undiscovered islands, in a sector with its base on the coast 
extending from Murmansk to the Chukchee Peninsula and having its 
apex at the North Pole. The United States government has never recog- 
nized the validity of this legal construction, although all other powers 



126 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




Fig. 5-4. The Sector Principle in the Arctic Ocean. 

having interests in the Arctic or Antarctic have recognized it 31 (Fig. 5-4). 
Coasts are not only a basis for expansion, they are also open to all kinds 
of intrusion. It has been said that coastal peoples have a wider horizon, 
are more influenced by foreign thought than people inland, not excluding 
those on land boundaries. There is a difference, however, between differ- 
ent types of coasts. Steep, rocky coasts; straight, sand-dune girded coasts 
on shallow waters and mangrove-grown tropical coasts may be practically 
inaccessible. High mountains a short distance behind the coast may re- 
strict the influences coming from overseas. They may also force the coastal 
population to look for their livelihood on the water. Phoenicia and Greece 
are the classical examples; Norway, Iceland, and to a certain degree 
Japan, the modern ones. However, not every population takes to the sea. 
Neither the Indians of California nor the Araucanian Indians of Chile 



31 See pp. 82-84. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 127 

ever became seafaring, though confined by mountains and sea to an in- 
hospitable narrow strip of land. 

All these Pacific Indians remained culturally secluded because they 
never were able to reach an opposite coast. 32 Phoenicians and Greeks 
brought home cultural achievements from many coasts. There is no doubt 
that any accessible coast is open to varied influences, while land borders 
are open only to influences from one neighbor. 

The negative factor in such accessibility is that coasts are open also to 
military invasions. Great Britain has been invaded by Celts, Romans, 
Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Norsemen, and French with results still to be found 
in the British demographic, linguistic, and cultural heritage. With the 
great outburst of European activity in the period of the Renaissance and 
overseas explorations, Europeans invaded the coasts of all other conti- 
nents. Following invasion, the course of development depended on physi- 
ographic factors in the other continents, political and demographic condi- 
tions in the European homelands, and cultural levels of the non-European 
countries. Escarpments and rapids in rivers kept the European explorers 
on the coasts of Africa, whereas the accessible St. Lawrence and Missis- 
sippi led the French rapidly into the interior of America. A low level of 
civilization of the indigenous population kept the Europeans between 
mountains and sea in eastern Australia, while the advanced civilization of 
Peru and Mexico lured the Spaniards across tremendous mountain bar- 
riers. Few Frenchmen were available for the penetration of North 
America, while the coastal string of British colonies soon became the basis 
for westward migration on a broad front. In the highly civilized Asian 
countries, colonies along the coasts remained either purely commercial 
bases— Hongkong and Macao are relics on the coast of China— or became 
bases for political domination but not mass immigration. In India, Indo- 
nesia, the Philippines, and Burma this process has run its full course; 
political domination has vanished, but not without leaving a deep cultural 
imprint. 

An interesting example of a country with coastal boundary is offered by 
Palestine. Invasions from all directions have penetrated into this country. 
Invasions from north and south usually passed through, using this poor 
and small country as a corridor between sea and desert to more alluring 
goals in the great river valleys. To the nomads from the east, however- 
warlike but small tribes— it appeared a "country flowing with milk and 
honey." From Abraham to the Arabs these intruders settled there. Less 

32 German geographers have a special term, Gegenkiiste, which recently has found 
entry into English-language geographical writing. 



128 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

successful have been the intruders from the sea, Philistines as well as 
Crusaders. Their latest successors are the Jews, whose state in its con- 
figuration resembles that of its historic predecessors with its domination 
of the coastal plain and odd-shaped extensions inland. 

As mentioned before, the successful resurrection of long-abolished 
boundaries has been regarded as proof of their location in a geographi- 
cally favorable location. Such a statement can not be maintained as a 
general rule. The example of Palestine (cf. Fig. 7-7, p. 192) demonstrates 
its fallacies especially clearly, but also shows the extent of its validity. 
The eastern boundary of Palestine has been the edge of the desert time 
and again. However, this desert boundary shows a continuous change, de- 
pending upon the mutual strength of nomads and settlers, as well as upon 
the changes of climatic conditions, expressed in a series of moist or dry 
years. In western Palestine invaders from the sea could penetrate the 
plains, while the natives, pushed into a defensive position, held on to the 
high plateaus. Saul and David held the Judean plateau against the Philis- 
tines; but at the same period the Jebusites still maintained their stronghold 
on the least accessible part of the plateau, Jerusalem and Mount Zion. 

BOUNDARIES AND POPULATION PRESSURE 

It would be strange if ancient boundaries, even those that served well 
in the past, would fit equally well into modern conditions. Hardly any of 
the human conditions have remained unchanged. Almost everywhere, 
population, its increase and its pressure, has undergone basic changes. 
Again Palestine— indeed, all the countries of the Fertile Crescent— offers 
a good example. In the steppe and desert, living room is sparse. Nomadic 
tribes have to migrate as soon as their herds have eaten all edible food in 
one locality. They can return to the same place only after the pasturage 
has had a long period of recovery. They need, therefore, much space. If 
the tribe increases, it has to increase its herds or starve. Increased herds 
need more pasture. Soon the size limit is reached and quarrels with other 
tribes over pasture follow. Each tribal group alone is small and not able 
to conquer the fertile land of the settlers. This land lures them, however, 
and finally many tribes unite to conquer the settled land, originally to 
convert it into pasture, usually ending by becoming sedentary themselves. 
Akkadians and Aramaeans, Hebrews and Chaldaeans, Elamites and Hyk- 
sos, all repeated the same story. Mohammed united the Arabs with a re- 
ligious idea and his successors led the Arabs farther afield than any of the 
preceding waves of nomadic conquerors had been able to penetrate. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 



129 




Fig. 5-5. The United States-Mexican Boundary. 

The same story is repeated in all the steppe and desert countries of the 
world, and in other primitive societies. Overpopulated Pacific Islands 
sent their surplus population to people uninhabited islands. The Maoris 
reached New Zealand only a short time ahead of the white man. 

Under conditions of technological progress countries can occasionally 
absorb part or all of a population increase. England at the time of the in- 
dustrial revolution is the classic example. But the Greeks, in the period 
of their largest cultural progress, sent out scores of colonies. The early 
medieval German tribes, at the time when they were adopting the more 
productive three-field agricultural rotation, and had started using the iron 
ax for clearing the forest, were pushing into the sparsely settled Slavic 
countries to the east. 

Population pressure is still one of the most powerful forces causing emi- 
gration, immigration, and conquest to win "Lebensraum." This urge to 
obtain new living space can be abused dishonestly, as it was by Hitler and 
Mussolini who, at the same time clamored for new space for their popula- 
tion surplus and initiated a program for a more populous nation at home. 
This can not disguise the fact that population pressure is a real problem. 
In this chapter we do not deal with the question of whether population 
pressure can be relieved by other measures than boundary changes; here 
it must suffice to point out that population pressure still accounts in our 
time for major boundary problems. 

An American problem is that of the "wetbacks" on the southern bound- 
ary between the United States and Mexico 33 (Fig. 5-5). Mexico with its 

34 See p. 377. 



130 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

rapidly growing population, especially among the poorest groups and in 
the poor provinces of the arid northern part of the country, can not pos- 
sibly absorb all its people. In the American states north of the border is a 
large labor market for unskilled, seasonal labor. The result is a heavy pres- 
sure of would-be immigrants from the relatively overpopulated Mexican 
area. The boundary problem is a social, administrative, and local problem 
at present, because the Mexican government has not espoused the cause 
of the "wetbacks" so far. But the boundary has to be guarded heavily, its 
maintenance is costly, and still it remains a problem. We may compare 
with this situation the population pressure of Puerto Rico. 34 A poor, 
poorly educated, Spanish-speaking, landless, agricultural proletariat is 
attracted by New York, because even the least paying jobs in the great 
metropolis appear as a great improvement compared with the living con- 
ditions at home. There is no international boundary to hinder or make 
difficult migration or to threaten international complications. That does 
not eliminate the problem. It pushes the boundary problem, that of an 
administrative boundary, into the background, and emphasizes the prob- 
lem of social and racial discrimination and adjustment. 

BOUNDARIES AS SOCIAL DIVIDES 

Even social boundaries may be mapped. Occasionally a street is a very 
distinct boundary between a "restricted" area and one peopled by a racial 
minority. However, such boundaries have less staying power than inter- 
national ones. 

Under the racial policy of the Union of South Africa the native Bantus 
are theoretically confined to reservations which have insufficient resources. 
The Bantus are forced to migrate into the mines and compounds of the 
South African gold fields or, less often, to farms to find their living. 
In order to maintain the artificial social order the Union is forced to 
strengthen its segregation policy. Enclaves or neighboring areas which do 
not conform to the South African pattern are an actual or potential threat 
to the social order of the Union. This has already led to the practical 
annexation of South-West Africa, despite the protest of the United Na- 
tions. There is also a mounting pressure for incorporation of the British 
protectorate in Basutoland, Swaziland, and Bechuanaland (cf. Fig. 3-2, 
p. 60), and for expanding the Union to the Rhodesias. 

Social boundaries of the kind existing in the United States can, politi- 
cally and sociologically, be highly disturbing, and the social boundaries 

33 See p. 377. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 131 

in South Africa which are the expression of the Apartheid principle may 
contribute at some future date to explosive developments affecting African 
lands far beyond the boundaries of South Africa. Population pressure, 
more than ever before, affects boundary structures seriously. It was popu- 
lation pressure, combined with an open-door policy of the British colonial 
administration, which led to mass immigration of Indians into Burma, 
Ceylon, and the Malayan Peninsula; into the latter Chinese came in even 
greater numbers (cf. Fig. 10-3, p. 378). World War II and its aftermath 
has stopped this migration, and forced many Indians, especially from 
Burma, to flee their new home. India and Ceylon are in negotiation about 
the repatriation of a large part of the Indians. But in Malaya the creation 
of a plural society can no longer be undone. 35 

STABILITY OF BOUNDARIES OF SPARSELY-POPULATED AREAS 

We can not neglect the fact that boundaries between areas of rapidly 
increasing population and areas of sparse population are threatened in 
their stability. A case in point is the relationship of Australia to the over- 
populated lands of Southeast Asia and of Japan. We may agree with Grif- 
fith Taylor's assertion that "the empty lands" of Australia are a burden to 
the Commonwealth rather than an asset, and their vast potentialities exist 
only in the mind of the ignorant booster. 36 Although he estimates that 
Australia could, mainly in the southeast, sustain twenty million people 
under the present standard of living, he admits that with the lower stand- 
ards of Central Europe this number could be doubled and trebled. At 
present only seven million are living there. Thus it may still, for a long 
time, appear an empty continent to the overcrowded Asian nations. 37 

The villages of France have been depopulated by the combined 
effects of low birth rates and migration to the cities. Gradually Italian 
and Spanish immigrants are taking the place of the Frenchmen who 
are moving into the cities. As long as the cultural attraction of France 
is strong enough to absorb these humble immigrants, this process is 
healthy and is not likely to cause friction. However, should France no 
longer be able to assimilate the immigrants, and large Italian and Spanish- 
speaking areas develop on the French side of the boundary, the boundary 

35 J. Morrison, "Aspects of the Racial Problem in Malaya," Pacific Affairs, Vol. 22 
( December, 1949 ) . The official census of 1947 showed that the Federation of Malaya 
had a population of 4,908,000. Of this total the Malays made up 49.5 per cent, the 
Chinese 38.4 per cent, and the Indians 10.8 per cent; see also pp. 379, 380, 

36 G. Taylor, Australia, 6th ed. (London, 1951), p. 477. 

37 On immigration to Australia, see p. 375, 



132 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

will become less secure despite its location along the high ranges of Alps 
and Pyrenees. 



ECONOMIC REASONS FOR BOUNDARY OBSOLESCENCE 

Population is not the only factor for change. Significant changes which 
affect the economic structure of a country are likely to affect its boundary 
structure as well. The development of commercial cities and later of a 
capitalistic economy has been responsible to a large degree for the obso- 
lescence of the ill-defined boundaries between small feudal principalities. 
This process has been going on since the Renaissance, when in Italy a few 
powerful cities, republics, or city states, some ruled by military dictators 
called condottieri— Venice and Florence, as well as Milan or Ferrara— 
established viable territorial states reaching beyond their city limits. This 
happened in France at approximately the same period, when autocratic 
kings deprived the nobility of their actual rule and left them only titles 
and income, but no power. The unification of France in administrative 
respects was not complete as long as the kings retained the feudal system 
of levying tolls on many stations along the main trade routes. The French 
Revolution opened the way for the transformation of the artisan and mer- 
chant citizenry into a capitalistic society by sweeping away also these 
internal boundary-like obstructions together with other obsolescent insti- 
tutions. A continuous boundary around France was established, indicating 
not only a common political allegiance but also economic uniformity. 

This process has not yet come to an end. Economic and technological 
development has made the economic position of the small and weak coun- 
tries rather precarious. Immediately after World War II, three small 
countries, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, agreed to enter 
into an economic Union, Benelux. 38 Although the implementation of the 
Union is proceeding at a much slower pace than was anticipated, 39 it has 
become a reality. Larger unions of the European countries have proceeded 
even more slowly, especially if seen with the impatient eyes of many Ameri- 
cans who recognize the advantages of such international groupings on an 
economic plane but are too distant to appreciate the numerous intangible 

38 The agreement was entered into in September, 1944, became effective in October, 
1947, and the common customs tariff was activated on January 1, 1948. 

39 Among the retarding factors the following are worth mentioning: (a) Belgium's 
situation after World War II was much better than that of the Netherlands, which 
had to overcome the loss of its colonial empire and had to repair the severe damage 
caused by the opening of the dykes by the Germans during the war; ( b ) Belgium, 
Luxembourg, and the Netherlands were in many ways competitive economic systems; 
(c) the mentality of the Belgian and Dutch nations differs in many ways of life. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 



133 




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/f\: Poland!: ' 

■)**■•< west foctf :■);.. . ; . ■ 
FRANCE .A-v _/ %- : 's. i S<* 

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Fig. 5-6. The Satellite Countries of Eastern Europe. 



factors which the unifying process has to overcome. Another important 
development in Western Europe was the conclusion of the European Coal 
and Steel Community 40 preceded by the Organization for European Eco- 
nomic Co-operation ( 1947 ) , and the European Payments Union ( 1950 ) . 



OBSOLESCENCE OF BOUNDARIES IN THE SOVIET ORBIT 

From an altogether different political, social, and ideological point of 
view, the Communist regime in the Kremlin has embarked on an integra- 
tion program aimed at drawing closer to the Russian center the satellite 
countries of Eastern Europe (Bulgaria, Albania, Rumania, Hungary, 
Czechoslovakia, Poland, and East Germany [Fig. 5-6]). Under this pro- 
gram, the requirements of the U.S.S.R. were to dictate the food produc- 
tion and the industrial output (including expansion and relocation of 
industries) within these countries. This long-range policy has affected in 
many ways the boundary system within the Soviet orbit. Economically, it 
has expedited the withering-away of economic boundaries within the 
Soviet sphere of interest, while tightening the same boundary against the 

40 The Treaty, proposed by French Minister for Foreign Affairs Schuman, was 
signed on April 18, 1951 and instituted on August 10, 1952. 



134 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

West. Politically, the Iron Curtain has affected both external and internal 
boundaries; for the same Soviet regulations which strangled the freedom 
of movement of citizens desiring to visit countries of the West prevented 
them from traveling freely from one satellite country to the other. 41 

OTHER INSTANCES OF OBSOLESCENT BOUNDARIES 

Outside of Europe the obsolescence of feudal boundaries has led to 
large-scale territorial reorganization, particularly in India. The emergence 
of the new international boundary between India and Pakistan should not 
obscure the revolutionary, yet peaceful disappearance of almost all of the 
small princely states and of thousands of miles of boundaries. Such bound- 
aries often separated areas still retaining the social and economic condi- 
tions of a feudal order— some tiny, some quite large— from other territories 
of much more advanced social and economic development, areas standing 
at the threshold of modern industrial growth. Although the political im- 
portance of these boundaries had declined under British overlordship, 
local laws, differing systems of taxation, and occasionally varying condi- 
tions of access to markets, tended to increase the economic differences on 
the two sides of these boundaries. On the other hand, the reorganization 
of the internal political geography of India was found to have significant 
consequences in the economic field. In the western hemisphere, the at- 
tempts of Argentina to eliminate the customs boundaries between itself, 
Chile, Bolivia, and Uruguay point to analogous developments. 

Differential economic growth changes the value and the functions of 
boundaries in other respects also. For instance, from the viewpoint of 
Egypt, it has at times been possible to regard the boundary between 
Egypt and the Sudan with equanimity. Modern hydrological develop- 
ments, such as the construction of dams, reservoirs, and flood control 
projects, have made the Egyptians more and more aware that their agri- 
culture depends entirely on the water supply systems originating in the 
Sudan. It has been said succinctly that Egypt "lives on borrowed water," 
and it is for this reason that the goal of Egypt's policy now is to control 
the Sudan, preferably by eliminating the boundary between this area and 

Egypt- 
Interest in the southern and southeastern boundaries of what is now 

Saudi Arabia has been dormant for centuries (cf. Fig. 4-3). Oman, Ha- 

41 How difficult it is even for a totalitarian regime such as the Soviet Union to keep 
an Iron Curtain truly intact is evidenced by the fact that between 1950-54 not less 
than 1,800,000 people, or 10 per cent of East Germany's population, fled to West 
Germany! (See also p. 362.) 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 135 

dhramaut, and the smaller sheikhdoms were looking toward the Indian 
Ocean, the tribes of Inner Arabia were concerned with the west and 
north. The wide desert between them was of little concern to anyone. 
The discovery of oil has changed the picture. Saudi Arabia now asserts its 
sovereignty over the "Empty Quarter," in order to be able to lease its 
suspected hidden oil treasures to oil companies. 

In this instance modern economic developments often have the effect 
of forcing neighboring countries to break up a vaguely delimited border 
area by definite boundary. In contrast, established boundary lines can 
become an obstacle to efficient management of mines under modern sub- 
surface exploitation conditions and as a consequence, new boundary 
agreements will be effected between two adjacent countries. Occasionally 
in such instances, the new subterranean boundary changes agreed upon 
will deviate from the surface boundary. This was the arrangement in the 
salt mines of Hall and Reichenhall at the Austrian-German boundary and 
in some coal mines north of Maastricht at the German-Dutch boundary. 

Expansion of industry leads to the quest for new markets, new sources 
of raw materials, and new areas of capital investment. The acquisition of 
new markets and new sources of raw materials by colonial expansion and 
imperialistic conquest has been responsible for the disappearance of many 
boundaries. The independence of quite a few states has been undermined 
or impaired by their dependency on foreign capital for development of 
their industrial potential. Thus the existence, side by side, of states on a 
different level of industrial and technological development has led in some 
cases to conquest, in others to a change of the boundary function. 

THEORIES OF ORGANIC GROWTH OF STATES 

The conditions of differential population growth, population pressure, 
differential economic and technological development and the influence of 
all these factors upon the political fate of countries attracted attention 
very early, and led to the organic theory of the state. Friedrich Ratzel 
developed this theory and applied it to human geography. 42 He was the 
first to popularize the idea that "there are boundaries which change so 
fast, e.g., boundaries of expanding peoples that it is possible to speak 
directly of migratory boundaries. . . . The apparently rigid boundary is 
only the stoppage of a movement." 43 

42 The first chapter of F. Ratzel's Politische Geographie (Miinchen and Berlin, 
1897), is called: "Der Staat als bodenstandiger Organismus" (The State as Organism 
tied to the Soil ) . 

43 Ibid. (3rd ed. by E. Oberhummer), p. 386. 



i36 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Ellen Churchill Semple, Ratzel's best known American disciple, ex- 
pressed the same thought in the sentence: "As territorial expansion is the 
mark of growth, so the sign of decline is the relinquishment of land that 
is valuable or necessary to a people's well-being." 4i She exemplifies this 
idea among other examples by saying: "Japan's recent aggression (refer- 
ring to the Russian-Japanese war of 1904/05 ) against the Russians in the 
Far East was actuated by the realization that she had to expand into 
Korea at the cost of Muscovite ascendancy, or contract later at the cost 
of her own independence." 45 

Ratzel described the change of boundaries in the spirit of the scholarly 
observer. So did Miss Semple. Some of Ratzel's followers, however, tried 
to use such geographical observations as guide for political action. They 
could refer to statements of the master, 46 quoted here in the translation 
by Miss Semple: "The struggle for existence means a struggle for 
space." 47 Thus emerged geopolitics. 48 Its leading exponent, Haushofer, 
has incorporated such ideas in many articles and in his book on bound- 
aries. 49 He writes: "we recognize the boundary through empirical obser- 
vation as an organ, a living being, destined either to shrink or to push 
outward, not rigid, in no case a line— in contrast to the theoretical con- 
cept . . ." 

The French geographer Ancel, an outspoken foe of German geopoli- 
tics 50 and of the use of pseudogeographical arguments as base for claims 
for natural boundaries, 51 nevertheless arrives at a concept which does not 
differ basically from that of the geopoliticians. He states that "a boundary 
is a political isobar which indicates the momentary equilibrium between 
two pressures." 52 Like those he means to criticize, he overstresses the 
factors working for change and neglects those working for stability. He 
also overlooks the fact that the pressure exerted from one or both sides 
upon a boundary may not result in a dislocation of the boundary, but in 
the change of its function. As important as such a change of function may 

44 E. C. Semple, Influence of Geographic Environment (New York, 1911), p. 163. 

45 Ibid., p. 66. 

46 F. Ratzel, Der Lebensraum (Tubingen, 1901), p. 157. Ratzel, however, was 
speaking of plants and animals and only by implication of man. 

47 Semple, op. cit., p. 170. 

48 General problems of geopolitics (versus political geography) are discussed on 
pp. 5 ff . Here we are concerned with boundary problems as seen through the 
glasses of geopolitics. 

49 K. Haushofer, Grenzen ( Berlin-Grunewald, K. Vowinkel, 1927), p. 13. 

50 J. Ancel, Geopolitique (Paris, 1936). 

51 J. Ancel, Manuel geographique de politique Europeenne, Vol. I: "L'Europe 
Centrale" (Paris, 1936), pp. 12 ff. 

52 J. Ancel, Geographie des frontieres (Paris, 1938). 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 137 

be, it is not always visible on a map, and because of its gradual nature is 
not even always realized immediately by the frontier people themselves. 



IDEOLOGICAL JUSTIFICATIONS OF EXPANSION 

Concepts which helped the conquering white man to forget lingering 
pangs of his conscience have found their expression in slogans such as 
"the White Man's burden," or "Manifest Destiny." 53 Though it was de- 
nounced later as hypocrisy, at one time hundreds of thousands of English- 
men honestly believed that it was their moral duty, burden though it was, 
to expand the boundaries of the British Empire to include the poor 
pagans, to educate them to an industrious life, and to administer their 
lands according to the West's advanced concepts. 54 In 1900, a great ma- 
jority in the United States believed in their divine destiny to spread Ameri- 
can civilization westward. 55 

The communist ideology, also, is a messianic doctrine, bent on "improv- 
ing" the whole world. While in the psychological make-up of many of the 
Soviet elite the lust for power is stronger than the belief in their aposto- 
late, there can be little doubt that among some of the leaders and certainly 
within the ranks of communist youth a deep conviction in the messianic 
destiny of communism exists. 

There are probably very few wars of conquest in which the ideological 
factor is absent. Very often, as in the Soviet example, it can not be sepa- 
rated from other motives. Some historians and political scientists are 
inclined to neglect this ideological factor. Marxian philosophy is inclined 
to stress the economic causes and to neglect or to minimize as superstruc- 
ture, if not as outright fraud, ideological reasons. In some cases it may be 
impossible to come to an agreement. If one primitive tribe raids another, 
it may be impossible to refute the claim that the underlying cause is the 
opportunity to loot, while it appears that the tradition of the nation does 
not accept the young man into the community as a full-fledged member 
before he has proved his courage and valor in a fight. The human trait of 
aggressiveness has been investigated thoroughly in respect to the indi- 
vidual since Freud drew attention to it as basic; its significance as motive 
power in international relations is still rather obscure. Fortunately, it is 
not necessary in this connection to prove or disprove the claim that certain 

53 See pp. 10-12. 

54 D. Whittlesey, The Earth and the State (New York, 1944), pp. 127-128. 

55 Although a popular slogan since the 1840's, "manifest destiny" was clearly en- 
dorsed by a majority of the voters as late as the presidential elections of 1900. From 
then on it lost rather quickly its unsophisticated appeal; see also pp. 10-12. 



138 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

ideological motives are superstructures according to Marx and his follow- 
ers, or sublimations according to Freud and his school, or primary facts. 
Ideologies are subject to change. The feudal economic and political 
order was possible and secure only as long as undeveloped transportation 
allowed and even forced every small area to lead an isolated existence; as 
long as social stratification was regarded as willed by God; and as long 
as loyalty was regarded as a purely personal bond. The feudal order dis- 
appeared long ago, but remnants have existed into the twentieth century. 
Until 1918 the Prince of Liechtenstein was sovereign in his tiny country, 
but subject to the Austrian Empire in his other much larger estates. Polish 
noblemen were simultaneously subjects of the Austrian Emperor and the 
Russian Czar. Similar conditions survived in India until 1947. In general, 
however, the territorial state replaced the feudal state all over the world 
wherever it existed. 



TERRITORIAL STATE BOUNDARIES AND NATIONAL STATES 

Our concept of boundaries is essentially still that of the territorial state, 
inherited from the concept that the state belongs to the ruler. Much con- 
fusion has been created in our minds by the unrealized fact that this 
concept does not fit present conditions. Men regard themselves no longer 
as primarily subjects of a lord. The development of the democratic idea 
was insolubly connected with that of the nation. Men are emotionally 
bound to their nation and feel that they owe allegiance to it. The national 
state has replaced the territorial state in the minds of men. It has not yet 
replaced the territorial state and its boundaries on the surface of the 
earth. Fortunate is the country where state and nation coincide as is the 
case in the United States and in most American republics. In Europe, 
however, and more recently in Asia and Africa, nation is more and more 
identified with a common language. 56 Minorities develop a double 
allegiance. As long as in their system of values allegiance to the 
state, to the people with whom they share common traditions, takes prece- 
dence over allegiance to the people who speak the same language, the 
inherited framework of the territorial state is adequate. Switzerland in 
Europe is the best example of this order of values. The overwhelming 
majority of Swiss are first Swiss, and then German, French, or Italian. As 
a consequence the boundaries of Switzerland have not changed in this 
age of nationalism. 

56 See Chapter 11 on the Political Geography of Languages. 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 



139 



GERMANY 



U. S. S. R. 




Fig. 5-7. The Break-up of the Hapsburg Empire after 1918. 

Another outstanding example of a state that has won the allegiance of 
its citizens of foreign tongue is the United States. Despite individual de- 
fections of German-speaking Americans during both World Wars, and 
despite the widespread suspicions against "hyphenated" Americans during 
World War I, the American community has stood the test of time. Actually 
most immigrants desire for themselves or at least for their children to 
become Americans not only in allegiance, but also outwardly by adoption 
of the English language of the majority. A favorable condition is also that 
non-English speaking groups do not as a rule occupy contiguous terri- 
tories in the United States. 

In many cases, from the time of the French Revolution to the most 
recent claims of Franco for Gibraltar, and of Afghanistan for the Pushtu- 
speaking areas, the linguistically uniform national state could not be fitted 
into borders created under different conditions. Wars and revolutions fol- 
lowed. Boundaries were changed, either by unification, as in Germany 
and India, or by breakup of large states, such as the Hapsburg (Fig. 5-7) 
and the Ottoman Empires, or by conquest of border areas, such as Alsace- 



140 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Lorraine or Southern Tyrol and Trieste, to name only a few better-known 
examples. 

Linguistic boundaries are rarely sharp. Usually a zone of linguistically 
mixed areas exists. Nor do language boundaries as a rule follow lines 
which for economic or other reasons would be more convenient. Hitler 
tried to solve this problem by two devices; first, by asserting that in case 
of irreconcilable claims, that of the "higher race," meaning that of ethnic 
Germans, had to prevail; and secondly, by transfer of populations. In 
other words, the stability of a traditional boundary was regarded more 
important than other factors. 

IDEOLOGICAL GROUPINGS 

While the strife for national boundaries is still spreading to other con- 
tinents, a new evaluation of boundaries is developing as a concomitant of 
a changing order of values. For an increasing number of people allegiance 
to some political ideology— democracy, communism, or fascism— seems to 
stand first in their order of values. With Hitler and Mussolini this striving 
to unite in one state ideologically-uniform people was not reconciled with 
traditional national values. The policy of the two dictators was a mixture 
between extreme nationalism and the attempt to regroup nations on the 
basis of their adherence to fascist ideologies. 

Present-day alignments follow not only ideological groupings, but have 
tremendously changed the function of boundaries. Czechoslovakia's 
boundaries— with two small exceptions— may be the same as before 1939. 
However, the boundary between Czechoslovakia and Western Germany 
has become a part of the Iron Curtain and almost all traffic has stopped 
across it. Barbed wire barricades on all roads have replaced the old simple 
signs announcing the existence of a boundary. On the other side, with the 
progressing integration of Czechoslovakia into the Soviet economic bloc, 
the boundaries of Czechoslovakia with the U.S.S.R., Poland, and Hungary 
are losing some of their functions. We have mentioned this process before 
in its economic aspects which lead to the creation of large economic units 
in Eastern as well as in Western Europe. With the creation of the Soviet 
bloc the boundaries lose also some of their political and military functions. 
Soviet troops may not actually cross the boundary into Czechoslovakia; 
they could do so in case of need without provoking an international con- 
flict. 

Perhaps even more significant, education on both sides of the boundary 
is organized along the same lines. The Russian language is being taught 



THE IMPACT OF BOUNDARIES 141 

so thoroughly that engineers and probably other professional people in 
the future should have no difficulty in exerting their skill in other countries 
of the Soviet orbit without preparatory adjustment. The legal systems are 
rapidly shaped after a uniform pattern. The Russification program which 
at present sweeps through the lands of the Soviet orbit would, if con- 
tinued radically, gradually erase the cultural distinctions within the large 
family of nations of the Soviet Union and its satellite nations. 

In the tearing-down of cultural boundaries which characterize the 
Soviet system, the religious differences that were factors in the conflicts 
between Roman-Catholic Czechs and Poles on the one side, Russians and 
Ukrainians on the other side, would, according to Soviet planning, gradu- 
ally decrease and make way for the uniformity of materialistic-Marxian 
philosophy. 

This development in the communistic ideological orbit is not matched 
in the democratic world. Here the trend to unification has found its ex- 
pression, as pointed out before, in weakening certain boundary functions 
in the economic and military-political realms. Here the ideological factor 
has played a subsidiary role, not vigorous enough to modify strong eco- 
nomic considerations. In the United States, tariff questions and immigra- 
tion restrictions are regarded by many as of such overriding importance 
that their ideological repercussions are hardly taken into consideration. 
If, nevertheless, a democratic community of states is emerging, it is mainly 
as a result of resistance to the fascist and communist pressures of the last 
two decades. Such a state lacks the cohesion which religious communities 
have achieved occasionally in the past. 

CONCLUSIONS 

We arrive, therefore, at the conclusion that human progress and natural 
changes are continuously at work to change the functions of boundaries 
and their value for the bounded areas. Demographic, economic, and ideo- 
logical developments interact in this process. Nevertheless, boundary 
changes occur only at intervals and usually as the result of wars, conquest, 
or revolution. There are strong forces, economic, historical, and ideologi- 
cal, which work for stability. Stability does not mean absence of change; 
it includes change of function. An existing boundary may not only acquire 
new functions, it may also gradually lose functions to the point, if not of 
complete vanishing, of being reduced to the performance of unspectacular 
functions, as in the case of internal boundaries which do not give cause 
for armed conflicts. 



CHAPTER 



6 



Political Core Areas, 
Capital Cities, Communications 



INTERIOR ZONES AS "CORE" AREAS 

Interior areas form as a rule the main body of a political unit. Only in 
small political units of elongated form do we find territories consisting 
mainly of frontier zones. Whereas frontier zones play a definite and spe- 
cific role in the political geography of any country, interior areas differ 
widely and can not in their manifold ramifications be discussed as units 
which share the same characteristics. Large parts of the interior are of 
interest to the political geographer only insofar as they add bulk to the 
political unit, either in size or in population, in raw materials or in finished 
products, in distance or in diversity. There are, however, parts of a politi- 
cal unit, usually parts of its interior, which have special significance for 
the body politic. These parts are called core areas. 

THE CORE AREA IN REGIONAL AND POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

In regional geography the core area is usually considered that part of 
a region in which the characteristic features of a region can be observed 
best because they prevail over other incidental features. Thus the core of 
the Middle West corn belt is in areas where other types of agriculture do 
not play a significant role and where industry also is dependent on or 
serves largely this particular form of agriculture. Hog raising, slaughter- 
houses, and farm machinery factories are characteristic of the corn belt. 

142 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 143 

A political core area is somewhat different. Within its often relatively 
small area is concentrated the political power of a state or of a secondary 
political unit. 1 What happens in the core area has ramifications far beyond 
the area itself. 

THE CAPITAL 

For a preliminary identification of the core of a political unit it is gen- 
erally sufficient to identify the capital city. 2 The capital city contains the 
central executive organs of a political unit and commonly other central 
institutions, judicial, legislative, educational, and cultural. A differentia- 
tion should be made between those institutions closely connected with 
the function of a capital and those that are in an area irrespective of 
whether the capital is there. On the other hand, these latter features may 
provide the explanation for the location of many a capital in a specific 
area. 

RELATIONSHIP OF CORE AND CAPITAL AREA 

A significant interrelationship exists between the core area of a country 
and the location of its capital. But, as is pointed out above, to focus on the 
capital city of a country provides only a preliminary identification of its 
core area. In the following discussion an attempt is made to trace certain 
general trends as they reveal themselves in the comparison of capital and 
core areas. Sometimes the two are identical. Sometimes the initial selection 
of a place as site of the capital results in the consequent growth of a politi- 
cal, and in some cases also of an economic core area. In other instances we 
find that a new political and economic core area develops at a distance 
from the capital area. Then the problem arises inevitably as to whether 
intangible factors, such as tradition and prestige, prove strong enough to 
maintain the capital location at its original place, or whether the centripe- 
tal forces of the core area are stronger and will eventually result in the 
shift of the capital to a new site. The following discussion is limited to a 
few outstanding examples that are treated in terms of political geography 
only. The reader who wishes to study the role of capital cities on a broader 
plane and in its historical and cultural impacts is referred to the stimulat- 
ing treatment of this subject by A. J. Toynbee in A Study of History. 3 

1 D. Whittlesey, The Earth and the State (New York, 1944), pp. 2 and 597, de- 
fine the core or "nuclear" core as "the area in which or about which a state originates." 

2 W. G. East, in his essay on "The Nature of Political Geography" ( Politico, 1937, 
p. 273), defines therefore the core, or as he calls it, nuclear region, as the one "which, 
lying around the capital, contains the major endowment of the state in respect of 
population, resources and political energy." 

3 A. I. Toynbee, A Study of History, Vol. VII (New York, 1954), pp. 193-239. 



144 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




Fie. 6-1. The Shifting Core of Turkey. 



SHIFT OF CAPITAL: TURKEY 

In contrast to the situation prevailing during World War II when the 
Soviet government, for purely military reasons, evacuated Moscow and 
made Kuibyshev the temporary capital, we observe in Turkey the genuine 
shift of a capital from Istanbul to Ankara where the government of Kemal 
Ataturk moved it. A provincial city began immediately to develop as a 
focal point for the Turkish Republic 4 ( Fig. 6-1 ) . This shift can only in 
part be explained by what appeared to be an arbitrary decision of the 
government to remain in Ankara, even after the emergency that had 
caused the shift had passed. The real reason for the shift must be seen in 
the fact that the Straits and Istanbul had lost many of the factors that had 

4 See E. Fischer, "Southern Europe," in G. W. Hoffman, ed., A Geography of 
Europe (New York, 1954), pp. 463-465. 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 145 

made them the core of the old Ottoman Empire. They were no longer in 
a central position for Turkey (Fig. 6-1). After the loss of the European 
provinces Istanbul's bridge position was of no peculiar value. The impor- 
tant trade between the Black Sea countries and the Mediterranean since 
antiquity came to an almost complete standstill when the Bolshevist 
Revolution had replaced a wheat-exporting Russia by a Soviet state striv- 
ing for autarchy. Istanbul had never been a manufacturing center. It had 
been a gathering point for all the nations of the Ottoman Empire and had 
a very strong Greek element. This had been an advantage for the Ottoman 
Empire, which used Turks as soldiers and governors but filled many ad- 
ministrative positions with Greeks and Armenians. This national composi- 
tion made Istanbul unfit to serve as the core of a national Turkish state. 
When Ankara was chosen as its capital, a number of favorable factors 
contributed to the development of a new core. It was in the approximate 
center of the state, in an area of pure Turkish population. To this were 
added the governmental functions, and gradually some industry, and rail- 
road and road connections were established in all directions. 



LACK OF IDENTITY BETWEEN POLITICAL CORE AND 
CAPITAL: THE GROWTH OF WASHINGTON, D.C. 

We find in the example of Istanbul and Ankara almost all of the features 
which are the characteristics of a political core. These stress the degree 
to which a capital can serve as the indication of a political core. However, 
not every capital is the real core of a country. Newly-founded capitals 
may need a long time to attract other than purely governmental functions. 
An outstanding example is the development of Washington. It is obvious 
that in a federal state the functions of the federal government are of less 
importance than in a centralized state. Therefore, the influence of the 
governmental functions in creating a political core area is less in a federal 
state. Washington's growth as a political center was retarded by these 
factors, until during World War I, and later, especially under the New 
Deal, the functions of the federal government grew in size and impor- 
tance. Never before had the central direction of the armed forces played 
such a role. Furthermore, because of the relatively small influence Ameri- 
can naval or military power exerted upon relations with other countries, 
the actual influence the United States exerted abroad had little to do with 
a power-backed foreign policy. This influence originated rather from the 
growing economic power of the United States and because it had become 
the principal haven for immigrants. Consequently, the area of highest 



146 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

political power, the political core, was not centered in the capital but in 
the area of the most intensive economic activity, in the coastal belt extend- 
ing from southern New England to Baltimore. This was also the area 
where many products of other regions converged for export, where the 
immigrants landed and a large proportion of them stayed, and where the 
population was the densest. 



STABILITY OF CAPITAL LOCATION IN THE LIGHT 
OF POLITICAL CHANGES 

One major reason for the original selection of Washington as the capital 
site was its central location between the northern and southern states. 
With the expansion of the United States westward and, at the same time, 
with the rapid increase of population in the north, Washington lost this 
locational advantage. Yet no shift of the capital was contemplated be- 
cause a capital has the tendency to remain in the place where it was 
founded. This is partly a matter of convenience and the costs involved in 
the abandonment of buildings designed for special purposes with the re- 
sulting necessity of erecting new ones; mostly, however, it is due to tradi- 
tion and prestige. Rome, Jerusalem, and Mecca are prime examples. Mecca 
has nothing to recommend it except its religious significance. It is at pres- 
ent only the second capital of Saudi Arabia and shares the capital position 
with the more centrally located Riyadh. Mecca emerged from periods of 
obscurity several times in its long history for no other apparent reason 
than the intangible impact of its tradition. It is a moot question whether 
Rome would have been selected as the capital of an Italian national state 
except for its tradition as the seat of the Roman Empire and the Papacy. 
In these eighty-odd years since it became the capital of Italy it has in- 
creased in stature, but not solely by reason of the concentration of govern- 
ment functions. It became one of the foci of the Italian railroad system, 
though Milan and perhaps some other cities are rivaling its importance in 
this respect. Subsequently Rome has become a seat of industry, but there 
is still little indication that it may become the center of an industrial dis- 
trict, as are Turin and Genoa. 5 

Still more significant is the case of Jerusalem. The capital of the revived 

5 According to official Italian statistics, Rome's population has more than doubled 
since 1921, when it was 692,000. It has increased ten times since 1850, when it was 
175,000. It totaled 1,791,000 in 1954, and is approaching the 2,000,000 mark which 
it reached at the height of the Roman Empire when it was the political, economic, and 
social capital not only of the Mediterranean areas but likewise of the western world, 
including a Transalpine annex extending to the Rhine and the Tyne. 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 147 




Fig. 6-2. The Core Area of Israel. 



Jewish state of Israel is located in the new part of the city, which has no 
real tradition. Its historical prestige is derivative. It is located on the tip 
of a salient, surrounded on three sides by hostile Jordan territory, cut off 
from possible trade routes and even from a local trade area. Industry is 
little developed and that in existence is an artificial growth fostered for 
political reasons. To speak of Jerusalem as a core area is only possible in 
a psychological sense because of the emotional appeal to the Israelis as 



148 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

well as to the Jewish and to the Christian world outside. The center of 
economic activity is the coastal strip between Haifa and Tel Aviv; here 
we find the actual core of the country ( Fig. 6-2 ) . 

These examples show also that the core area of a country or a state is 
not necessarily its administrative center nor its area of origin. The Italian 
example is one among several others which demonstrate that a country 
is not necessarily limited to one core area. 

THE RUSSIAN CAPITALS 

While the examples discussed above point to the stabilizing influence of 
intangible factors, such as tradition and prestige, which account for the 
continuation of the capital at its ancient site in spite of drastic political 
and economic changes in the domain of the country, we find in contrast 
instances where ideological factors and changes motivated a shift of the 
capital. Ideological factors, more than any other, have determined the 
designation of capitals in Russia and the Soviet Union. The capital which 
Peter the Great laid out in 1703 (St. Petersburg) close to the Baltic Sea 
as a window to the West, and the transfer of the seat of government from 
Moscow in the heart of Russia, gave testimony of a new political philoso- 
phy in Russia intent on opening Russia to Western cultural influence. In 
Toynbee's words, 6 "the seat of government of a landlocked empire was 
planted in a remote corner of the empire's domain in order to provide the 
capital with easy access by sea to the sources of alien civilization which 
the imperial government was eager to introduce -into its dominions." 
Peter's decision was, as Toynbee puts it succinctly, both "spiritual and 
geopolitical" in purpose. 7 It lasted for more than two hundred years. 
After the beginning of the war between Germany and Russia in 1914, 
St. Petersburg was rechristened Petrograd in an outbreak of Slavophil 
nationalism, only to be renamed Leningrad in 1918 by the Bolsheviks. 
When the disciples of Lenin transferred the capital from Leningrad to 
Moscow, they were motivated not only by the more conveniently located 
site for the administrative capital of the Soviet Union as a whole; they 
also intended to symbolize the break, culturally and power-politically, 
between the Soviet empire and the West. 

6 Op. cit., Vol. VII, p. 221; see also pp. 222, 223; 690-691. 

7 Ibid., p. 238. 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 149 

THE "NATURAL" CORE: CENTRAL AND 
PERIPHERAL LOCATION 

In some countries (such as France and Portugal in Europe, Argentina, 
Uruguay, and Chile in South America, and many others) there exist 
relatively simple conditions favoring the development of the core area. 
Paris is the undisputed center of French intellectual and social life; 
Paris and the He de France have been France's political center for 
many centuries; Paris is by far the largest city of France. Furthermore, 
the main industrial and mining districts of France are practically adjoin- 
ing. All this makes the north and northwest of France together with Paris 
the core area of this country 8 (cf. Fig. 6-7, p. 159). This also indicates 
that a core area is not necessarily in the center of a country, though such 
a location undoubtedly favors the development of a core area. 

Peripheral location of a core area is especially frequent among seafar- 
ing nations. Lisbon in Portugal, and London in the British Isles are ex- 
amples. Where the adjacent sea represents one major field of economic 
activity of a nation, such a location of a capital and core area may be even 
more significant than a central position. 

LATIN AMERICAN CORE AREAS 

Slightly different is the case of those South American countries that 
were mentioned before. Their capitals and the core areas surrounding 
them are the points of entry into these countries and still mirror the history 
of colonization ( Fig. 6-3 ) . In general it is true that other parts of a coun- 
try are the less advanced the farther they are from these points. In the 
areas of old Indian civilizations, the capitals of Spanish vice-royalties and 
audiencias, and later of the independent states, tended to replace old In- 
dian centers, or at least to stay in the areas of population agglomeration. 
These core areas are still surrounded by areas of very sparse population. 
Thus Quito, Bogota, and Mexico City became capitals of Ecuador, Co- 
lombia, and Mexico. 9 In Peru, Lima, the city near the port of entry, be- 
came predominant over the older capital, Cuzco, situated centrally in the 
densely inhabited Indian highland. However, in the other countries, in 
Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay and Venezuela, and in almost all of the 
Central American countries, the capitals are the center of the only, or 

8 Whittlesey, op. cit., p. 429. His discussions of other capitals are scattered through- 
out the book. 

9 P. E. James, Latin America (New York and Boston, 1942), p. 4. 



Cayenne 



Georgetown 

iramaribo 

BR. GUIANA / 




Rio de Janeiro 



200 400 600 Ml 



J.R.F. 



Fig. 6-3. Population Centers of South America. 
150 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 151 

the predominant, population cluster and the boundaries, with only few 
exceptions, 10 are laid in the extremely sparsely populated zones. 

STATE CAPITALS IN THE UNITED STATES 

It is interesting to compare with this development the history of many 
of the thirteen original states of the United States. The capitals and core 
areas of the thirteen states were originally the points of entry, and, there- 
fore, with the exception of Hartford, Connecticut, port cities. When the 
territories of the states filled up, the capitals moved in many cases to some 
central location in the state. It is rather an exception that Boston, because of 
its predominance in the small Commonwealth of Massachusetts, retained 
its capital position. Neither New York nor Philadelphia continued as capi- 
tal cities. Annapolis, still the capital of Maryland, is rather atypical. It 
certainly does not indicate the core area of the state. 

INDIA AND AUSTRALIA 

In India the shift of the capital from Calcutta to New Delhi in 1911, the 
creation for this area of a separate status resembling that of the District 
of Columbia by the Government of India Act in 1935, and the sudden and 
tremendous increase of population of the twin cities Delhi and New Delhi 
after 1941, all signify the progress from a British colony, ruled from across 
the sea, to a self-governing political body and final independence. 11 Here 
the political power can no longer be exerted from the periphery. 

In Australia, the realization that the interests of a federated state would 
be better served by a capital near the anticipated population center of the 
country than by one in a peripheral location led to the selection of Can- 
berra instead of one of the coastal state capitals when the six colonies 
formed the Commonwealth in 1901 (cf. Fig. 2-10, p. 49). 

BRAZIL AND ARGENTINA 

In Brazil, quite similar considerations have prompted plans to shift the 
capital from Rio de Janeiro on the coast to a central inland location. The 
new site has been blueprinted on the watershed between the Amazon and 
the Parana, in a region rich in mineral resources and coffee plantations; 
but it remains to be seen whether the growth and concentration of eco- 

10 Ibid., James names the boundaries between Venezuela and Colombia, Colombia 
and Ecuador, and Peru and Bolivia as the only ones which run through population 
clusters. 

11 O. H. K. Spate, Geography of India and Pakistan (London, 1954), pp. 491-493. 



152 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




Fig. 6-4. Brazil: Shift of Capitals. 

nomic interests in the interior will prove strong enough to unseat Rio as 
capital 12 (Fig. 6-4). Such a change is characteristic of a dynamic and 
growing new nation and is not without historical precedent in Brazil. 
Brazil's first capital was Salvador, located near the easternmost point of 
land in the state of Bahia. Salvador was founded in 1510 and remained 
the capital of Brazil until 1792, when the shift of economic interests 
southward led to the selection of Rio as capital, about midway along 
the coastline. 

In contrast to the changing fortunes of the political and economic core 
areas in Brazil, Argentina's capital, Buenos Aires, has maintained its rank- 
since 1580, showing a phenomenal growth in the last 150 years (1800: 
30,000; 1950: 3,445,000). The vision and geographical sense of Don Juan 

12 In this connection, it is interesting to compare the population growth of Rio de 
Janeiro from 1,787,000 in 1940 to 2,600,000 in 1954 with that of Sao Paulo, during 
the same period, from 1,323,000 to 2,500,000. 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 153 

de Garay who resettled the deserted town of Nuestra Senora Maria de 
Buen Aire in 1580 accounts for Buenos Aires' safe position as the country's 
core over the centuries, for he understood that not gold and silver but the 
agricultural wealth of the city's hinterland assured its future. Although his 
party consisted of only 66 persons, de Garay drew plans for a metropolis 
large enough to house 4,000,000 inhabitants. 13 

SPAIN 

The political function of Madrid accounts predominantly for its position 
as the core of Spain. This is an especially striking example that the politi- 
cal core does not necessarily coincide with the economic core or a central 
population cluster. Areas of higher economic importance, denser popula- 
tion, and, even more significant, very old tradition of political importance, 
are ruled from this center. These other areas are handicapped by their 
excentric and more or less isolated location, and by their different lan- 
guages (Basque, Catalan) or dialects (Andalusia, Asturias, Galicia). These 
factors would hinder any attempt by such areas to become the political 
core of Spain. The most they could strive for, and for which all except 
Andalusia challenged the core area in the Civil War, is some status of 
autonomy. In this they have been thwarted. The only principal area 
which, on the strength of firmly embedded traditions, retained its inde- 
pendence from Madrid and Castile is Portugal. 

CHINA 

If potential core areas are more equally balanced, the outcome may be 
different. In China three core areas have been the seat of capitals 14 (Fig. 
6-5) the Wei valley, the Yangtse valley, and northeast China. The Wei 
valley, where Sian (today called Changan) is located was placed most 
favorably in a China which neither included all of South China nor large 
parts of the coasts. Capitals in the Yangtse valley were characteristic for 
periods when the north was either lost to inner-Asiatic conquerors or the 
south could assert its preponderance for other reasons. Hankow and 
Nanking have been capitals in the past and again for short periods in the 
seesaw battle of opposing forces in twentieth century China. Nanking as 
capital has not only historical associations but as a harbor city symbolized 
also the connection with the western powers. Places still farther away, on 
Formosa or even the important city of Canton, have never been nor are 
likely to become more than local centers. In the north Peiping (Peking) 

13 F. A. Carlson, Geography of Latin America (New York, 1952), p. 153. 

14 W. G. East and O. H. K. Spate, The Changing Map of Asia, 2nd ed. (New York, 
1953), pp. 270-272. 



_, — 

♦ 

r 

w 

Peiping ( Peking);/ 



11 



Changan (Sian) 




ISLANDS 



Fig. 6-5. Capitals of China. 



154 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 155 




Fig. 6-6. Core Areas of Japan according to Population Density per Square Kilometer: 
(1) over 625; (2) 210-625; (3) 130-210; (4) 70-130. 

represents the opposite principle to that represented by Nanking. At all 
periods it emphasized the predominance of Chinese interests in Central 
Asia and the prevalence of influences originating there or working 
through Central Asia, as at present from Soviet Asia. This is the more 
remarkable, as Peking is not located on a geometrically straight route to 
Central Asia, but on a dominant point of the circuitous route which leads 
from China to Central Asian centers without having to cross a desert. 
This location makes Peking a convenient capital for a Communist China. 
Chinese westernization had caused industrial centers to mushroom in the 
coastal cities, Shanghai, Canton, and Nanking. The direct result of the 
new industrial developments in the north and in regions which are acces- 
sible to the Soviet borders has been that the older industrial centers along 
the coast of southeastern China have practically ceased to function. 15 



JAPAN 

In Japan, the transfer of the capital in 1868 from Kyoto, for many cen- 
turies the country's major city in the west, to Tokyo or, as it was then 

15 C. M. Chang, "Five Years of Communist Rule in China," Foreign Affairs ( 1954), 
pp. 98-110 (109); see also R. Murphy, "The City as a Center of Change: Western 
Europe and China," Annals of the Association of American Geographers (1954), pp. 
349-369 (360-361). 



156 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

called, Yedo, on the shores of Yedo Bay in the east, symbolized the end of 
Japan's feudal isolation and the nation's readiness to embark on its new 
course as a world power 16 (Fig. 6-6). In the Kwanto plain, with its twin 
cities of Tokyo and Yokohama, in a core area of only 5,000 square miles, 
fifteen million people or less than one-fifth of Japan's population is now 
concentrated. 

GERMANY 

An interesting competition between rival core areas for the location of 
the capital is under way in Germany. It is overshadowed by the numerous 
and more pressing problems of today's East-West struggle but is still 
clearly recognizable. Throughout many centuries Germany had no politi- 
cal core, and economically the Rhine core area was only ill-defined. 17 In 
the Middle Ages kings and emperors came from different parts of Ger- 
many and moved with their courts from castle to castle and from city to 
city. When the Hapsburgs established a semi-inheritance of the crown, 
their residence, Vienna, could not qualify as a core area for Germany be- 
cause of its excentric location. 18 When in the nineteenth century the kings 
of Prussia succeeded in uniting Germany, their capital Berlin dominated 
Prussia politically, while the lower Rhine valley around Cologne and 
Diisseldorf and the Ruhr area had many characteristics of a true economic 
core area but lacked political tradition. In the German Empire politically 
favorable conditions tended to strengthen Berlin's position. Not only did 
its administrative functions increase strongly with the centralization cul- 
minating under Hitler; a railroad net focusing in Berlin was constructed; 
more and more banks established their main offices in the capital, and 
many flexible industries gravitated to Berlin in spite of its rather incon- 
venient location in the northeast of the Reich. Today, despite all that has 
happened, Berlin is still regarded as the "natural" capital of Germany. It 
may be made the capital again as soon as Germany is reunited. Therefore, 
attempts are made 19 to prove the continuing core function of Berlin, even 
though its location in present Germany would be very close to what is 
now the Polish boundary on the Neisse and Oder rivers (cf. Fig. 4-10, 
p. 108). 

16 G. B. Cressey, Asia's Lands and People, 2nd ed. (1951), pp. 210-216 (map); 
East and Spate, op. cit., pp. 298, 299; see also Toynbee, op. cit., Vol. 7, pp. 220-221. 

17 R. E. Dickinson, Germany (Syracuse, N. Y., 1953), passim. 

18 Today, Vienna's role as the core of Austria, is illustrated by the fact that one- 
fourth of its population of 7,000,000 is concentrated in the capital. 

19 Institut fiir Raumforschung, Bonn (ed.), Die iinzerstorbare Stadt (Cologne- 
Berlin, 1953). 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 157 

When the question of the seat of government for West Germany was 
decided, Bonn won over Frankfurt. Frankfurt is much more centrally lo- 
cated between north and south and is an important communications cen- 
ter; it is also the center of an economically important district. Frankfurt 
even has a political tradition as the long-time coronation city of the First 
Empire and the seat of its impotent diet. For all these reasons it was feared 
that if Frankfurt were made temporary capital it might become a serious 
rival for Berlin after reunion. Bonn, on the other hand, was clearly a place- 
holder for Berlin. A small university town without much economic ac- 
tivity, adjacent to but outside of the Cologne-Ruhr area, it could not 
seriously threaten Berlin's expected reappearance as capital. 20 

LOCATION OF CAPITALS NEAR FRONTIERS 

Some political geographers have noted the position of several capitals 
near a frontier of conquest or also near an endangered frontier. Berlin, 
Vienna, and Peking have been named in this connection. Location near 
a frontier may have been an advantage in an era of slow communications. 
It is a distinct disadvantage in the era of mobile and air warfare. So far 
only the Soviet Union and Turkey, have removed their capitals perma- 
nently from an endangered frontier to a safer place; in other cases the 
factors favoring permanence, especially ideological factors, have defeated 
those favoring change. 

THE EFFECT OF COMMUNICATIONS NETS ON CORE AREAS 

A core area as an area where the political power of a state is concen- 
trated requires the means to make its influence felt in the other parts of 
the political body. It needs a well-developed communications net. Stu- 
dents of transportation geography have been primarily concerned with the 
economic aspects of communications; the political and power aspects have 
been treated only incidentally. Without a properly developed system of 
communications the prolonged existence of a territorial state— as opposed 
to a tribal territory, a feudal agglomeration, or a city-state— is almost im- 
possible. It is a common characteristic of most ancient states that they 
were strung out along rivers— the Nile, Tigris, Euphrates, Indus, Wei, and 
Hoang-ho. It was much later that ocean shipping was developed enough 
to allow the existence of coast-based or circum-marine states. The Athe- 
nian and the Roman empires are the best known examples, although older 

20 See also p. 156. 



158 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

ones, like the Cretan and Carthaginian, have existed. Roads, designed 
from the beginning for military purposes and administrative efficiency, 
were built in the Persian Empire, and brought to a stage of perfection in 
the Roman Empire unequaled until modern times. The flagstone trails and 
canals of the Chinese Empire and the roads of the Incas should also be 
mentioned in this context. 

Compared with these long-lived and well-organized empires most other 
great states of the past have been either short-lived, such as the Mongolian 
Empire, or they were so loosely organized and their communications 
systems so disintegrated that their activities as consolidated units in re- 
lation to other powers evolved only in rare instances and after long pe- 
riods; the medieval states of France or Germany are good examples. Or 
they had to be reconstructed periodically because of the continuous proc- 
ess of disintegration— such a state was the Assyrian kingdom, whose kings 
were continuously on the warpath in order to exact overdue tributes, sub- 
due rebellious vassals, and re-establish their control. This type of empire 
has survived in a few instances into the twentieth century. To the very 
eve of the conquest by Italy, the rulers of Ethiopia were wont to send 
tax-gathering and punitive expeditions into such outlying areas as the 
Ogaden and Kaffa. Sinkiang, formerly called Chinese Turkestan, had to 
be reconquered time and again. It has been estimated that out of about 
2,000 years of Chinese rule, this control was effective only approximately 
425 years. 21 

The significance and importance of paved roads for the stability of 
states has changed only slowly since antiquity. The compass, sea charts, 
and nautical instruments, together with developments in ship designs, 
enabled not only the great discoveries since the sixteenth century, but also 
the establishment of far-flung colonial empires. Besides these forms older 
ones persisted and until the second half of the nineteenth century Russian 
rule in Siberia, and also Canada's development, were based on river navi- 
gation by small vessels, supplemented by portages. 

Hard-surfaced roads— the chaussees of the French (Fig. 6-7 ) —railroads, 
canals, and ocean highways are among the indispensable bases of the 
modern state. The twentieth century has added the internal-combustion 
engine and its use in the automobile and the airplane. 

This short historical review permits the conclusion that small states are 
far less dependent on internal communications than are large ones. Within 

21 O. Lattimore, Inner Asian Frontiers of China, American Geographical Society 
Research Series No. 21, 1940, p. 171. 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 159 



BELGIUM l^ - 

IV U 



7 V. J LUXEMBOURG 



GERMANY 



Brest 



Mulhouse 1 / O"*— • 




ATLANTIC 
OCEAN 



200 Mi "^■•— I -v.^ 

23 SPAIN *-* 



MEDITERRANEAN 



Fig. 6-7. Post Roads of France. 



the latter, the political core is strong only if it is served adequately by 
communications. We must distinguish between the economic and political 
functions of the communications net within a core area and those connect- 
ing it with other parts of the body politic. In the Ruhr area, in England's 
"black country," in the area extending between Baltimore and Boston, the 
road, railroad, and in places the canal net is very dense; indeed these areas 
could not exist as economic centers without this highly developed trans- 
portation network. On the other hand, Madrid in Spain, or Ankara in 
Turkey, are in the centers of a radiating pattern of roads, railroads, tele- 
graph and telephone lines, but there is hardly a network, except the 
normal communications network within the big city. 

It is not incidental that the first important rail line in Russia linked 
St. Petersburg and Moscow. The return of Moscow to its role as seat of 
the government and political core was heralded by the construction of 
railroads to the Volga cities; "they soon established the pattern of radiat- 




100 200 300 Mi 

— i i 1 ' 



100 200 300 400 Km 



r~\ 



m. 



Fig. 6-8. Railroad Pattern in Western Europe. 



160 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 161 

ing lines centered at Moscow which became the dominant feature of the 
pre-revolutionary railroad geography of the country." 22 The continuous 
extension of the railroad network by the Soviet government, especially the 
slowly proceeding eastward extension, has not altered Moscow's role as 
the main hub of the Soviet Union (cf. Figs. 15-1, 15-2, pp. 476, 478). 
Moscow's core quality is further emphasized by its strategical location 
within the economic core area fed by the principal inland canals of the 
Soviet Union: the Mariinsk system, the Moscow Canal, and the White 
Sea-Baltic Canal (see Fig. 8-7, p. 238). 

The radiating communications pattern is characteristic for a political 
core area. A highly centralized country like France or Great Britain shows 
this pattern in perfect form ( Fig. 6-8 ) . Berlin and Vienna are in the center 
of radiating communications which, however, are no longer congruent 
with the new political map. When after World War I new states emerged, 
their political problems were aggravated by the incongruence of the po- 
litical and the communication patterns, that is, the lack of a communica- 
tion system focusing upon the new political centers. A severe case of 
maladjustment because of an inherited communication system developed 
in Czechoslovakia (Fig. 6-9). The railroads and roads of Moravia and 
even of large parts of Bohemia had been constructed for easy traffic with 
Vienna. Some of the main lines by-passed Prague, the capital, at a short 
distance. Slovakia's railroads and roads focused on Budapest, the capital 
of Hungary, and were only tenuously connected with Moravia and 
Bohemia. In Yugoslavia the situation was even worse. In order to 
travel from the capital, Belgrade, to some parts of the country detours 
were necessary which more than doubled the actual distance. In both 
cases, but especially in Yugoslavia, the problems of federalism, and of 
provincial autonomy versus centralism, were aggravated by these con- 
ditions. 

In underdeveloped countries the extent of backwardness is clearly re- 
flected in the communications net. Neither Brazil nor Colombia has a 
railroad or road pattern radiating from Rio de Janeiro or Bogota ( cf. Fig. 
22-2, p. 674 ) . Both countries have suffered from recurring revolts originat- 
ing in economically advanced, but politically not well integrated, outlying 
areas. Repeatedly Sao Paulo, Rio Grande do Sul, Medellin, or Barranquilla 
refused to accept the policy decreed at the political center. Large parts of 
the Amazonian lowlands belong still only nominally to Brazil, Bolivia, 
Peru, or Colombia. Some of their Indian tribes have never heard the name 
of the country to which they supposedly belong. The advent of the air- 

22 T. Shabad, pp. 82-92 (83). 




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CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 163 

plane has, however, strengthened the influence of the central authority. 

Generalized maps, as small-scale maps necessarily are, sometimes give 
only an inadequate picture of the actual conditions. On a small-scale map 
France seems to be covered with a web of lines, with Paris clearly in the 
center. Adequate provisions for direct connections between the provincial 
centers apparently exist. But this picture is deceiving, because the traffic 
on most of these lines is slow, trains are infrequent, and through-trains 
are not everywhere available. A road map shows the generally better qual- 
ity of the roads focusing on Paris and the secondary character of most 
others. Similar maps of Germany would not easily and unmistakably re- 
veal the political core of the country. They would indicate several centers, 
among them Cologne, Halle and Leipzig, Frankfurt am Main, all of them 
as prominent as Berlin. The first three places are also in the midst of a 
very dense local pattern, the sign of an economic concentration, while an 
analogous pattern is absent from the Berlin area, indicating its predomi- 
nantly political role. A similar picture emerges on a communications map 
of Italy. The dense network in the Turin-Milan-Genoa triangle, and in a 
second triangle, Verona-Venice-Bologna, is clearly distinguished from the 
radial pattern of Rome, which is the political core. 

In the United States, Chicago is far more important in terms of its com- 
munications pattern than Washington. Cleveland, New York, Philadel- 
phia, Omaha, and several other places are at a par or ahead of Washing- 
ton. Somewhat different is the pattern in Great Britain. London, being a 
great economic center as well as the political core, dominates Great Brit- 
ain's communications system. 

SHIPPING LANES AND CORE AREAS 

The picture would be incomplete without the shipping lanes. Once one 
includes them in the consideration, the routes between ports of the 
United Kingdom are not very prominent. However, the shipping lanes 
and also the air routes from other countries lead to a number of British 
ports and, though London is the most frequented, the general pattern is 
not that of focusing on London (Fig. 6-10). Rather Great Britain as a 
whole appears as the core of the Commonwealth. It may be useful to dis- 
tinguish between several types of routes radiating from the ports of the 
United Kingdom. There are those which serve only or primarily commer- 
cial interests. The routes to the United States and most of the routes to the 
European continent belong in this category. Other routes serve both polit- 
ical and economic interests and it would be difficult to separate those 




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CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 165 

functions. The routes across the Atlantic to Bermuda and Canada exem- 
plify such a composite function, with the economic function prevailing. 
The route through the Gulf of Biscay a, the Strait of Gibraltar, the Med- 
iterranean Sea, and the Suez Canal to Southern and Eastern Asia and 
Australia has often been called the lifeline of the Commonwealth, stress- 
ing thereby its political function. The alternate line around the Cape has 
had its phases of strength and weakness; it showed strength especially 
when political considerations made it appear safer than the Suez Canal 
route. 

Another group of routes would never have come into existence if not for 
political reasons, though economic interests may be served. The economic 
functions, however, are clearly incidental. This is especially obvious in the 
case of analogous shipping services of other powers. Why should a French 
line extend to Madagascar, Martinique, or Guadeloupe, a Portuguese to 
Angola, a Belgian to Matadi on the mouth of the Congo, if not because of 
the political affiliations of these countries? The fact that there is no regular 
established service between Portugal and Goa or Macao is anomalous. 

On the other hand, a number of world routes are frequented by 
vessels under many flags and are thereby of major importance in inter- 
national trade relations. Such routes are the transatlantic routes from 
the ports of Western Europe to North America and also to South 
America. The Mediterranean and Suez Canal route is a main artery. 
So is the route through the Panama Canal, which is also of greatest politi- 
cal and military significance for the United States. When the construction 
of the Panama Canal was undertaken, President Theodore Roosevelt sent 
the American fleet on a world cruise. Its first lap was from the Atlantic 
Coast around Cape Horn to the Pacific Coast of the United States, dem- 
onstrating thereby the feasibility— and the disadvantages— of this world 
sea route and the strategic-political importance of the Panama route. 

The construction of major canal systems leads inevitably to significant 
dislocations of economic and political core areas. We can anticipate such 
changes and dislocations within the United States and Canada upon com- 
pletion of the St. Lawrence Seaway (Fig. 6-11). Involving expenditures of 
about $300 million to provide a 27-foot deep channel from the Atlantic to 
Lake Ontario, the Seaway is scheduled to be completed in 1958. The bitter 
and long fight which preceded the agreement between the United States 
and Canada was a vivid illustration of the hopes and fears expressed by 
competing coastal and port areas in the two countries. For instance, the 
port director of Milwaukee, the waterborn foreign commerce of which 
totaled in 1953 only 35,000 tons, has estimated it to rise, after 1958, to 



166 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




St Louis 



Fig. 6-11. The St. Lawrence Seaway and the American Manufacturing Belt. 

over a million tons annually, while the port director of New York fears a 
loss of about 3,500,000 tons a year, one-sixth of the port's foreign com- 
merce in general cargo and grain. 23 

The Seaway may also prevent the "American Ruhr" ( Detroit's automo- 
bile industries, Chicago's farm equipment plants, Milwaukee's heavy ma- 
chinery industries) from losing its economic core area rank as the result 
of the dwindling of its iron ore reserves in the mines at the head of the 
lake system around Lake Superior. With the completion of the Seaway 
iron ore from Labrador, Quebec, and foreign sources could be supplied, 
and at competitive prices. The serious blow which the Seaway may deal 
to the railways in the eastern part of the United States should also be 
mentioned. The future changes in the location and strength of economic 
core areas which can be envisaged as the result of the St. Lawrence Sea- 
way construction may also make themselves felt in the internal political 
geography of the United States and its competing political cores. 24 

Maritime routes are to a certain degree flexible. They can be relocated 

2 3 The Economist, August 28, 1954, pp. 663-4. See also below, pp. 588, 589. 
24 See pp. 170, 171 on the development of a political core area in California, 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 167 

at short notice. Submarine warfare forced ships to change their course 
continuously. Large vessels, with their independence of weather condi- 
tions and greater capacity for provisions, can afford direct travel without 
use of ports-of-call. On the other hand, they are restricted to fewer har- 
bors. Nor can the largest ocean liners use the great inter-oceanic canals. 
Venice, once a political and economic center of a far-flung organization, is 
unable to serve modern shipping because of its shallow lagoon. No large 
seagoing vessels are able to sail up the Potomac. But this development has 
not affected the role of Washington as a political core. 

AIR COMMUNICATIONS 

Air communications have resulted in significant shifts, though none to 
the present moment have affected the standing of political cores and 
hardly of secondary political units. Alaska and Hawaii have been brought 
in closer contact with the continental United States, although, at the writ- 
ing of these lines, statehood has not yet been granted to either of them. 

SIGNIFICANCE OF RAILROAD SYSTEMS 

Least flexible are land communications. It is for this reason that certain 
roads and railroads have acquired great political significance. The Soviet 
—formerly Russian— empire in Asia would be impossible in its present 
form without its strategic railroads (cf. Fig. 15-2, p. 478). The Trans- 
Siberian railroad linked the Far East to the distant core; it initiated the 
Russification of wide areas; it enabled the penetration of Manchuria and 
paved the way for influence in China. The Turkestan railroad enabled, 
accompanied, and secured the Russian domination of Central Asia. A spur 
from this railroad into the oasis of Merw alarmed the British rulers of 
India. The Turksib railroad, connecting the Turkestan and Trans-Siberian 
railroads and paralleling the Chinese boundary, was a powerful instru- 
ment in bringing Russian economic, social, and political influence to 
Sinkiang, the most remote of the provinces of China. 

The dependence of Russia, and later of the Soviet Union, on supplies 
from its western allies during both World Wars led to the construction of 
the Murmansk railroad in World War I and the Trans-Iranian railroad in 
World War II. The first of these two lines acquired a critical importance 
for Finland and caused the Soviet Union to insist on the cession of 
sparsely inhabited, climatically adverse areas which appeared to the So- 
viets in too-close, threatening neighborhood to the railroad. The construe- 



168 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

tion of the Trans-Iranian railroad threatened to destroy the shaky inde- 
pendence of this country, which was occupied by forces of the allied 
Powers. 

Perhaps in no other part of the world have railroads played such a 
political role as in the Near and Middle East. The short railroad from the 
Russian boundary to Tabriz signalized one step in the repeated attempts 
of Russia to win control of Persian Azerbaijan. 

The Republic of Turkey (cf. Fig. 8-19, p. 284) for a long time, was 
hesitant about allowing railroad construction by foreign syndicates. Its 
reluctance was due to the realization that generally investment of foreign 
capital in undeveloped countries has resulted in making such countries 
dependent upon the lending country. Investment in railroads— or port 
installations— has been in many cases the main instrument by which con- 
trol of an area could be obtained, and the railroad lines were built more 
in the interest of the lending than in that of the borrowing country. In 
pre-World War I Turkey, the Trans-Anatolian and the Baghdad railroads 
were constructed to facilitate German expansion southeastward to the 
Persian Gulf. British capital succeeded in building a railroad from the 
Gulf to Baghdad, bringing lower Mesopotamia under Anglo-Indian in- 
fluence and paving the way for the creation of post-war Iraq as a British 
mandate. 

With the Hedjaz railroad, Turkey attempted to counteract foreign in- 
terference in what it considered its own sphere of influence. Sultan Abdul 
Hamid II appealed to the religious feelings of the Mohammedans in order 
to promote the construction of a railroad which would facilitate the pil- 
grimage to the holy places of Islam. Thus he was able to keep foreign 
capital out and to build a railroad which allowed him to send troops to 
Hedjaz and on to Yemen, thus by-passing the Suez Canal. However, it was 
too late to strengthen the ties of these remote areas with the political 
center. 



MEASURES AIMED AT REDUCING THE INFLUENCE 
OF THE POLITICAL CORE 

In discussing the relationship of the core to its outlying parts we have 
also to consider constitutional problems. In a compact country of some 
size the political core in some respects may be compared with the center 
of gravity in a physical body. While all parts of the body have weight, 
they exert pull upon other bodies through this center of gravity. The de- 
cisive difference is that in nations and countries the core generally has 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 169 

more weight than any other comparable part of the body politic. How- 
ever, in many instances this is hardly reflected in the organization of the 
state. Democratic parliamentary countries allow the core area as much 
but not more representation than any other area with a comparable popu- 
lation. Nevertheless, the impact of the agglomeration of people in the 
capital, and of a central bureaucracy, exerts a special influence. Several 
devices have been tried to avoid or to reduce this influence. The French 
moved their parliament to Versailles on different occasions to remove it 
from the influence of the "street mob." In the United States the creation 
of a federal district apart from the large cities has fulfilled its purpose for 
a long period; but more recently Washington, D. C, as the seat of the 
national power, has tended to attract great numbers of people, institu- 
tions, central offices of unions, and so on. In several of the forty-eight states 
the same device has been used. Annapolis in Maryland, Lansing in Michi- 
gan, Springfield in Illinois, Harrisburg in Pennsylvania, and Sacramento 
in California are cases in point. At least in the last two examples a devel- 
opment comparable to that of Washington, D. C, has set in. The Ameri- 
can example has been imitated elsewhere, in Canberra, the capital of the 
Australian Commonwealth, in Toronto in Canada, and in Brazil with the 
designation of a Federal District, though in this country so far nothing 
has been done to move the government. 

In other countries an attempt was made to split the central organization 
between several cities. The Netherlands has the seat of the court and 
some central organs in The Hague, while the parliament convenes in Am- 
sterdam. In the Union of South Africa the parliament has its seat in Cape- 
town, the government in Johannesburg, and the Supreme Court in Pre- 
toria. In Switzerland the seat of the government rotated between Zurich, 
Basel, and Lucerne. Despite a long tradition this arrangement was finally 
abandoned; however, the distinction between the economic core in and 
around Zurich and Lucerne and the political core in Berne remained alive. 

COMPETITIVE CORE AREAS IN OUTLYING REGIONS 

For countries endowed with large-size territories, the opening-up of 
new lands in the outer regions and population growth often leads to the 
development of new core areas that compete with the older areas eco- 
nomically, without necessarily growing into a competitive political core 
except in certain matters of internal politics. California, in its position 
within the United States and among the western states of the Union, is an 
interesting case in point (Fig. 6-12). California has become an important 



170 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




M. 



Fig. 6-12. The West Coast Core Area of the United States Centered on California. 



economic core area of the West Coast which includes, in addition to 
California, the two coastal states of Oregon and Washington and the four 
"mountain states" of Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona. With a total 
population of more than eighteen million, this area has come to represent 
a clearly defined economic bloc within the economy of the country. This 
fact of course has not led to a weakening of the political structure of the 
Union but has brought about a strengthening of the specific political in- 
terests and viewpoints of this area in national politics, as for instance in the 
question of United States policy toward Asia. It is also interesting to note 
that the development of an economic core area within California, far from 
having found its final center of gravity, is still in a state of fluctuation. The 
center is shifting from the north to the south. In 1900 only one-fifth of 
California's population was to be found in southern California; at present 
its share is more than one-half. The congested area of San Francisco had 
to pay the price for its geographical disadvantages in the competition with 
the metropolitan areas of Los Angeles and San Diego, which nature had 
endowed with more ample "living space" and less fog— factors which 
attracted especially the new aircraft industries. 

The growth of the new core area in California finds significant expres- 
sion in the rise of its electoral votes. Their number in a state is based on 
the state's representation in Congress, which again is based on the state's 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 171 

relative gain or loss in population during a decade. California has pushed 
its electoral vote up farther and faster than any other State in the Union. 
After the 1940 census it boosted the figure from twenty-two to twenty-five. 
After the 1950 census, California gathered in seven more— half of the four- 
teen- vote increase registered by all the states. The election of Richard 
M. Nixon to the office of Vice President in the Eisenhower Administration 
underscored the importance of the California secondary core area in the 
internal political geography of the United States. 



CHECKS AND BALANCES IN FEDERAL STATES 

Another device by which the influence of the core area can be balanced 
consists of giving to less populous areas a stronger representation in the 
parliament and government. This is done especially in federal states. In 
the United States, Canada, Australia, and in Europe in Switzerland, each 
of the component federal states has legal representation in one chamber, 
thus giving more weight to thinly settled rural states. In some of the forty- 
eight states of the United States the "unit system" accomplishes a similar 
end. The frequent victory, in Georgia, of a numerical minority of conserv- 
ative rural voters over a progressive city population has had repercussions 
for the entire United States. 



THE POLITICAL CORE IN TOTALITARIAN COUNTRIES 

The less democratic a country is, the more pronounced is the impact of 
the political core. In absolute monarchies or in dictatorships the core 
literally rules over the other parts. Although the Nazi party in Germany 
or the Fascist movement in Italy originated outside the political core and 
the capital, the victory of totalitarianism brought about the concentration 
of power in Berlin as well as in Rome, where the "march on Rome" cli- 
maxed the Fascist victory. In other countries also the final success of 
revolution has been marked by the fall of the capital. This is true of almost 
all the numerous Latin American revolutions, and also of the pattern of 
revolutions in Europe. The more than two years of civil war in Spain 
ended with the conquest of Madrid, and the Bolshevik regime came into 
the saddle with the conquest of Leningrad and Moscow. The years of 
civil war which followed did not change the outcome. Neither the Ukrain- 
ian breadbasket nor the vital Donets industrial and mining area ever 
competed with Moscow as fountainheads of the central political power. 



172 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

COLONIALISM AND CORE AREAS 

As mentioned before, in colonial empires the metropolitan area as a 
whole has to be regarded as the political core. It has been noted by several 
authors that colonial dependencies are not necessarily located in other 
continents. The Amazonian forests and their little-developed tribes are 
typical colonial areas for Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia. So are the 
cold areas of Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego for Argentina and Chile, the 
Tundra regions for Canada, Lapland for Norway and Sweden. Chinese 
Turkestan (Sinkiang) was a colonial overland possession of China. Con- 
stitutional or legal definitions do not always reflect the actual conditions 
prevailing in a dependent area in relation to the main body. In some cases 
such areas are treated like the usual administrative divisions. In other 
cases they are administered as "territories." That is the way in which the 
United States administers the undeveloped parts of Alaska together with 
its civilized fringe. 

None of these areas is officially recognized as a colony. The term 
"colony" has become unfashionable, and designations such as Overseas 
France or Overseas Portugal have replaced it. For the political geographer 
the varying terminology is more confusing than helpful. However, there 
is a great variety in the degree of dependency. The Dominions are only 
in a very loose connection with the British core. India has led the way 
toward a still looser connection, abrogating the symbolic bond of the 
common crown and declaring itself a republic. Ireland and Burma actu- 
ally left the Commonwealth. 

The constitution of the Soviet Union includes an article which grants 
to the full-fledged Soviet republics the right to secede. History has yet to 
prove if this "right" exists on paper only. What has become a reality in 
the British Commonwealth, has so far remained an empty promise in the 
Soviet Union. 

The Soviet Union has established a whole hierarchy of dependencies 
from the national okrug through the national oblast and the autonomous 
soviet republic to the sixteen constituent soviet republics. It allows the 
satellite people's republics to be designated as independent states, al- 
though in fact they are less free than many parts of the British Common- 
wealth, especially the Dominions. 



CORE AREAS, CAPITAL CITIES, COMMUNICATIONS 173 

RELATIONS BETWEEN DEPENDENCIES AND CORE AREAS 

It is very difficult to bring the dependencies of Great Britain under a 
comprehensive system. Almost every area is somewhat differently placed 
from all others. There are crown colonies, administered by London- 
appointed officials, and naval bases such as Gibraltar under strict military 
rule. In a crown colony there may be an advisory body, wholly or par- 
tially elected, and elected by white settlers only or by natives. There are 
different types of self-governing colonies, protectorates where native 
rulers and native administration govern, guided by British advisers. Some 
dependent areas are not dependent on London, but on one or the other 
of the Dominions. 

Although the colonial structure of other powers— French, Belgian, 
Portuguese, or Dutch— is much simpler, they all represent an attempt to 
organize large areas, scattered over at least two continents, not because 
they form a natural geographic physical unit, but from a core which 
dominates by political means. Whatever the economic motives for acqui- 
sition and retention of colonies, the political factor is in the end decisive. 

There is another group of dependent areas, those territories designated 
as Mandates by the League of Nations after World War I, and as Trustee- 
ships by the United Nations. Theoretically their overriding loyalty should 
go to the United Nations. However, though certainly an object of study 
for the political geographer, the United Nations are no political body and 
lack any organized area of their own, therefore also any core area. Actu- 
ally all the trust territories are dependent on the core areas of their ad- 
ministering nations. 



CHAPTER 



7 



Location 



INTERACTION OF STABLE AND CHANGING CONDITIONS 
AFFECTING THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 

For a century the United States was on the periphery of the world; only 
in the last generation has it moved to the center of the stage and, on a 
world-wide basis, has become a core area. Similarly it is a generally 
accepted notion that until the discovery of America, the British Isles lay 
on the very edge of the known world, but that thereafter they were at the 
world's center for the next four centuries. In regard to their relations with 
the European continent a British historian has pointed out that "to invade 
Britain was singularly easy before the Norman Conquest, singularly diffi- 
cult afterwards . . . safe behind the Channel ... no invasion hostile to the 
community as a whole has met with even partial success owing to the 
barrier of the sea. But . . . ancient Britain was peculiarly liable to invasion 
for geographic and other reasons." 1 

From a geographical point of view one should express the same thought 
slightly differently: although the location of a place on the earth is fixed, 
the political value and implications of this location are continuously 
changing. It is this interaction of stable and changing conditions which is 
at the basis of political geography. People have been fascinated by the 
apparent stability of the "well-grounded earth," as it was called three 
thousand years ago by Hesiod. They are apt to look at geographic loca- 
tions and their relations without taking account of changes in time. 

It is the function of the political geographer to point out this integration 

1 G. M. Trevelyan, History of England, Vol. 1 (Garden City, N. Y., 1953), pp. 14 ff. 

174 



LOCATION 175 

of time and space factors and to be aware of the time-conditioned ele- 
ments which affect his findings. Certain politico-geographical statements 
or, in the true sense of the word, "views" have had great poignancy at one 
time, but were relevant for a short period only. Others have kept their 
validity over long periods. Both types of statements are of interest, but 
should not be confused. Confused thinking on basic concepts of location 
in political geography, affecting not only the ordinary citizens but states- 
men and military strategists alike, is only due to the failure to distinguish 
properly between the time-bound validity of a politico-geographical con- 
cept and its, in many cases only seemingly, timeless application. Such 
misinterpretation of spatial relationships in location can distort, and has 
distorted the outlook of international relations which forms the basis of 
the foreign policy of the great powers. 

LANDLOCKED AND INTERIOR LOCATION 

One of the most persistent concepts of political geography is concerned 
with the location of countries in close contact with the sea or far away 
from it. This is the long-range basis of the Heartland theory 2 which must 
be seen as a special, period-bound example of the politico-geographical 
conditions of landlocked or interior location which have been tested by 
History time and again. In antiquity a landlocked Macedonia remained 
dependent upon Athens, until Philip, the father of Alexander the Great, 
conquered the coastal cities. It is generally believed that landlocked loca- 
tions are a serious disadvantage to the state concerned. This is correct in 
many respects; however, in a strictly strategic sense a landlocked position 
may provide a nation engaged in war with the advantage of the "inner 
line." Given a system of good communications, a well-developed system 
of intelligence, and good armies under able leadership, a country can use 
its interior location to shift troops from one front to another and thus win 
victories by local superiority. Frederick of Prussia, Napoleon, and also the 
Bolsheviks during the Civil War of the Bevolution made the best use of 
location factors of interior location which, except for the advantages they 
offered in war strategy, were highly disadvantageous. 

The disadvantages of interior location are manifold, particularly in that 
a landlocked country is deprived of the opportunity to have direct contact 
with any country except those with which it has common boundaries. This 
is still true, although it must be realized that the great advantages which 

2 For a discussion of the relationship of Heartland expansion to marginal lands and 
narrow waterways, see pp. 113 ff. 



176 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the seafaring peoples enjoyed over those of the interior lands before the 
full establishment of mechanical transport on land and in the air are no 
longer as distinctive as was the case only fifty years ago. But even though 
the progress of technology has aided greatly in the utilization of diversi- 
fied land areas and in establishing continuity and compactness of the 
territory, the fact has not been altered that every country remains depend- 
ent on one or all of its neighbors. Modern industrialization and modern 
commerce with their dependence on a great variety of raw materials have 
rather sharpened this relation. 

BOUNDARIES AND NEIGHBORS 

The question has been raised as to whether it is more favorable for a 
country to border with many or with few other countries. Experience has 
shown that the fact that the United States has only two neighbors has 
simplified many problems. Germany, in contrast, has suffered from the 
fact that it has had to deal with a great number of neighbors. It requires 
a very skillful handling of foreign affairs to maintain tolerable relations 
with neighboring countries of different, often contradictory interests. The 
situation is aggravated by the fact that a coalition of several of these 
neighbor countries is always a possibility. Bismarck, himself a master in 
the diplomatic game of coalitions, confessed that during his chancellor- 
ship he was continuously plagued by the "nightmare of coalitions." Hitler 
thought himself strong enough to neglect this possibility and led a poten- 
tially victorious Germany into catastrophe. 

For a landlocked state, to have only very few neighbors may equally be 
a great disadvantage. The extreme case of a country with only one neigh- 
bor, which would mean that it is completely surrounded, is seldom found 
in recent history. The Boer states offer as close an example as possible. 
Save for a short boundary in remote terrain with an undeveloped Portu- 
guese colony, the two Boer states, Transvaal and the Orange Free State, 
were at one time completely surrounded by British territory (Fig. 7-1). 
In the ensuing struggle the Boers succumbed. However, in this struggle 
even the remote connection with Portuguese Laurenco Marques was of 
great value. 

BUFFER LOCATION 

To be placed between only two states is a location which seriously 
affects the power position of any state but especially of a weak one. At 
best it becomes a buffer state. Its continued existence depends on the 



LOCATION 



177 




Fig. 7-1. The Boer States in Relation to British and Portuguese Territories. 



agreement between the two neighbor states or at least on stable relations 
between them. Persia, Afghanistan, or Siam in the first years of the twen- 
tieth century are examples. All three states owed their continuing inde- 
pendence not so much to internal strength, but to treaties between Britain 
and Russia, and Britain and France, based on the desire to keep the other 
power out of the respective area and still to maintain good relations with 
this power (Fig. 7-2). A similar agreement, in this case between three 
powers— Britain, France, and Italy— kept the independence of Ethiopia 
intact for some time ( Fig. 7-3 ) . When France and Britain were no longer 
ready or able to wage war for Ethiopian independence, and when Italy 
was ready to risk friendly relations with these powers, Ethiopia became a 
victim of Italian expansion in 1935. If buffer countries become strong 
enough to be able to defend their independence themselves with some 



178 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




Fig. 7-2. The Buffer States of Iran ( Persia ) , Afghanistan, and Thailand ( Siam ) 

before the Partition of India. 



chance of success, they cease to be buffers. Switzerland, favored by its 
natural and easily defensible environment in the midst of high mountains, 
with its people cherishing the tradition of liberty, with its economy geared 
to war-preparedness, can hardly be called a buffer state. However, its 
favorable position is also due to the fact that it has four competing neigh- 
bors. When Germany annexed one of these neighbors, Austria, in 1938, 
and occupied the territory of the second, France, in 1940, Switzerland had 
to make some concessions which might have compromised its neutrality; 
but it was forced to these concessions in order to preserve the essence of 
its neutrality and independence. 

A country becomes a buffer and maintains this quality not by its loca- 
tion alone. An additional and intangible requirement is the will to remain 
independent despite powerful neighbors. Finland, between East and 
West, is a splendid example of such a buffer state determination. In con- 
trast, the chain of states from Poland to Bulgaria were consolidated by 
the U.S.S.R. in a bloc organization, and virtually ceased to be independ- 
ent states when a relatively large sector of their population, after 1945, 
was blinded by the might of the Soviet Union and did not regard national 
independence a supreme value. They exchanged their status as buffer 
states, which they had maintained in the period between the two World 
Wars, for that of satellites. 

Not all buffer states are landlocked; neither Iran, nor Thailand, Finland, 
or before their inclusion in the Soviet bloc Poland, Rumania, or Bulgaria 
can be called landlocked in the strict sense of the word. However, the 
coasts of most of these states are on an inland sea, the exit of which to the 
open ocean is practically closed. Iran's coast is very remote from the set- 
tled centers of the country, separated from them by high mountains and 



LOCATION 



179 




Fig. 7-3. The Buffer State of Ethiopia before 1935. 



hot deserts. If it were not for the very short coastal stretch near the mouth 
of the Shatt el Arab, Iran despite its many hundred miles of seacoast 
would be a maritime state only in name. 

A peculiar situation develops if a country is penned in between a large 
neighbor country and the anecumene. In this context the ocean can not 
be regarded as part of the anecumene as the navies of all countries are 
free to approach all its coasts. Thus the above description could with slight 
qualification apply to Portugal which, in the past, in a typical buffer-state 
position between the larger neighbor Spain, and a British dominated sea, 
and in the true spirit of independence, retained its freedom against re- 
peated onslaught. Like the ocean much earlier, now deserts and the Arctic 
are beginning to loose their true character as anecumene. It is doubtful 
whether Greenland and Iceland, with their back to the Arctic, and Lybia, 
with its back to the Sahara, will retain this character much longer. Perhaps 
Oman and Hadramaut in Southern Arabia are the last perfect examples. 
In the not too distant past such countries as England, Japan, or the Philip- 
pine Islands were in this position. And Ireland, Australia, and New Zea- 
land are accommodating themselves to new relationships under our very 
eyes. 



180 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 



•^' R A Z I L 



\ ..-6 y 

Rio Branco ,-S 

R . ° r r 



PERU 




~v 



BOLIVIA 




Cochabamba 






"N..-.V • 



PA R A G U A ¥ 



\ 



ARGENT1 NA 



«...-<, 



Fig. 7-4. Boundary Conflicts in South America: the Acre dispute; Bolivia's 

lost access to the sea. 



BACKDOOR" AREAS 



The classical example of a basically landlocked country is Russia and 
its successor the U.S.S.R. Its Arctic coast and especially its harbors of 
Murmansk and Archangelsk have often been called Russia's backdoor. 
That designation does not refer as much to the difficult access from the 
sea, as to their remote distance from the core areas of the U.S.S.R., indeed 
from any economically significant part of the country. Large, almost unin- 
habited, and inhospitable areas of virgin, swampy forest, the taiga, and 
moss-covered wind-swept cold steppe, the tundra, separate the few coastal 
settlements and a few mining districts from the rest of the country. 



LOCATION 



181 



*-n 



i 



PERU 



BOLIVIA 5 , 



Cochabamba 




Santa Cruz;^**_^ } 

__ : . ^"*£:Corumba 

/— " NT 



ARGENTINA 

i 




Fig. 7-5. Bolivia to the Sea via Brazil: (1) existing railroad; (2) proposed railroad; 

( 3 ) highway link. 

In South America every country except Uruguay has such boundaries, 
remote, difficult to reach through tropical forest or over towering moun- 
tains. Though, seemingly, the exact location of these boundaries could not 
be of great value to these countries, their national pride and the hope of 
finding hidden natural resources hindered them from compromise. The 
remoteness of these boundaries also prevented their exact delimitation and 
demarcation and thus caused many conflicts. Brazil, Bolivia, and Peru 
quarreled over the Acre territory when wild rubber rendered this hitherto 
unknown area a country of great potential value ( Fig. 7-4 ) . Peru, Colom- 
bia, and Ecuador for similar reasons competed for the Oriente, an area 
which in addition gives access to the Amazon. Bolivia and Paraguay went 
to war over the Chaco. Bolivia, for economic reasons, and reasons of pres- 
tige, wanted access to the Rio Parana. This would be a typical inconven- 
ient backdoor through steaming, practically uninhabited tropical forests 
to an undeveloped river port far inland and to an outlet to the sea on the 
other side of the continent. It would still be a valuable gate to the outer 
world, as the main entrance from the Pacific Ocean is firmly in the hands 
of Peru and Chile. The corridor to the ports of Tacna and Arica, once 
owned by Bolivia, was lost in the Pacific War of 1884 and seems beyond 
hope of recovery ( Fig. 7-4 ) . In 1955, Bolivia at last took a step in easing 
its landlocked position, when a highway-railroad link between Brazil and 
Bolivia was completed (Fig. 7-5). 

Even in densely populated European states such as Portugal, the Neth- 



182 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

erlands, Norway, Sweden, and Finland, all of which front the sea, the 
backdoor areas are in thinly inhabited inland areas. Much less frequent 
is the country facing inland with its coast containing the backdoor. Such 
is Yugoslavia. Though the interests of its coastal population are definitely 
bound up with fishing and shipping, the main bulk of the country and its 
population has little contact with this coastal area. Rugged, karstic moun- 
tains are a powerful barrier to settlement and communications. 

Neither Chile nor Peru have significant interests on or across the sea. 
But Chile is, nonetheless, a coastal country, looking toward the sea, while 
for Peru the interior is as important as the coast. In Europe, Belgium's 
land boundaries are much more important than its short coast. The one 
great Belgian harbor, Antwerp, is accessible only through the Scheldt 
river, the mouth of which Belgium shares with the Netherlands. 

THE URGE TO THE SEA 

It is understandable that interior states try to reach the open sea. His- 
tory is full of conflicts between interior states and coastal powers blocking 
their road to the sea. Ethiopia has been cut off from the sea by Italian, 
British, and French colonies since the second half of the nineteenth cen- 
tury (cf. Fig. 7-3, p. 179). Only their rivalry kept it from losing its political 
independence, while economically its underdeveloped condition made it 
less vulnerable to economic pressure. Thus it faced the dilemma of 
whether to remain undeveloped and fall prey for this very reason to more 
highly developed countries sooner or later, or to slide into economic de- 
pendency in the course of its own progress. Many factors contributed to 
Ethiopia's involvement in the ideological world conflict, to its conquest 
by Italy, and finally to its liberation. Together with its freedom, Ethiopia 
won the coveted exit to the sea (cf. Fig. 7-3, p. 179). 

A much older and still lasting struggle for free access to the sea is that 
of Russia and, since 1917, the Soviet Union. 3 Interior location is, in Russia, 
usually assumed under the implied or acknowledged supposition that the 
ice-barred Arctic coast does not have any practical value. Even today, this 
assumption can be accepted as correct in a general way despite the prog- 
ress which the Soviet Union and Canada have made in the utilization of 
the Arctic Sea and coast by means of icebreakers, aviation, and weather 
stations. This utilization has been favored by recent climatic changes. In 
the last half century the Arctic Ocean has become warmer and the ice 

3 R. J. Kerner, Russia's Urge to the Sea (Berkeley, Calif., 1942), and his chapter 
on "The Soviet Union as a Sea Power," in H. W. Weigert, V. Stefansson, and R. E. 
Harrison, eds., New Compass of the World (New York, 1949), pp. 104-123. 



LOCATION 183 

border has receded, making navigation and living conditions possible in 
some formerly closed areas. Whether this climatic amelioration will re- 
main a permanent feature we do not know. In any event, certain technical 
advances, such as the use of radio, radar, and aviation for ice reconnais- 
sance, the use of strong icebreakers, and so on, will further contribute to 
the utilization of the Arctic. In terms of strategy both the U.S.S.R. and 
Canada are interested in strengthening their control of the Arctic coast 
(cf. Fig. 8-11, p. 252). Whether this effort will bear economical fruit in 
time of peace remains to be seen, despite the spread of settlement north, 
which goes forward on a small scale and at great cost. 4 We shall discuss 
developments in the Arctic "Mediterranean" later in greater detail. 5 

Located originally in a secluded forest area of Eastern Europe, the state 
of the princes of Moscow developed near the source of several rivers, 
flowing to different seas. Much of Russia's history can be understood if we 
see it as a continuous struggle, kindled time and again by the urge to the 
sea. In earliest times this urge was limited to attempts to utilize the navi- 
gable rivers. The first time Russia reached the sea it was at the Arctic 
Ocean and this proved to be of very limited value, both because of the 
inhospitable and remote nature of the sea, and of the long and difficult 
access to the coast from the interior. Only since World War I has Mur- 
mansk been connected by a railroad with the interior. Gradually, several 
seas were reached: in the southeast, in 1557, the Caspian Sea at Astrakhan; 
in the east, in 1635, the Sea of Okhotsk; in the west, about 1700, the Baltic 
Sea at St. Petersburg (today Leningrad); in the south, in 1713, the Sea 
of Azov and through it, in 1783, the Black Sea. All these exits proved un- 
satisfactory. Either they led into enclosed seas, such as the Baltic and the 
Black Sea, or over immense, almost uninhabited stretches, as to the Pacific 
Ocean. Although the frontages at the sea have expanded, they have re- 
mained basically unsatisfactory. The Soviet Union, as the heir of Russia, 
has established itself as the paramount, hardly challenged power in the 
Baltic, Black, and Caspian Seas, but still the exits from the first two seas 
are in foreign hands, 6 and the Caspian Sea has no outlet. Therefore the 
pressure is still mounting, also and significantly in directions where not 

4 The fact that the North American nations lag behind the U.S.S.R. in Arctic re- 
search and development should not detract from their achievements in recent years. 
To mention one significant development, two American and one Canadian icebreakers 
navigated in the fall of 1954 the Northwest Passage leading from the Atlantic Ocean 
to the Beaufort Sea, thus laying the groundwork for the development of the mineral 
and biological resources in the Canadian North, of which the vast iron ore deposits in 
northern Labrador are most important. 

5 See pp. 246 ff. 

6 See pp. 242 ff . 



184 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

even a limited success has been achieved so far, as across Iran to the Indian 
Ocean. The recurrent pressure on Turkey to deliver the Straits into Soviet 
hands and the pressure on the Scandinavian States and Denmark to open 
free access to the Atlantic cannot be explained by Communist ideology or 
temporary constellations (cf. Fig. 8-7, p. 238); they are inherent in the 
disabilities of a landlocked position. A further means to combat the dis- 
advantages due to landlocked position is the canal system of the U.S.S.R. 
which permits small navy vessels to go from the Arctic Ocean to the Baltic 
Sea, and from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. 

In general each coastal state has potential contact with all other coastal 
states of the globe, that is, with more than 90 per cent of all independent 
states. In situations where it appeared impossible to establish a route to 
the sea over a country's own territory, occasionally the substitute of a free 
harbor was chosen, sometimes with shipping privileges secured on a river. 
Czechoslovakia owned and still owns free harbors in Hamburg and 
Szescszin (the former Stettin), Austria in Trieste, and Yugoslavia poten- 
tially in Salonica, a commentary on the above-mentioned inaccessibility 
and remoteness of her own coast ( see pp. 33, 198 ff . ) . But only Czecho- 
slovakia has the right to dispatch ships or barges on an internationalized 
river to these ports. Though few rivers have been put under an inter- 
national regime to secure access to the sea from interior states, these few 
are of importance, and among them, of primary importance, the Rhine. 
Switzerland has a growing Rhine merchant fleet, based on Basel, and even 
a few seagoing vessels. Both France and Germany built canals from the 
Rhine through their own territory to national harbors; nevertheless, for 
both countries the Rhine traffic on the internationalized river to its mouth 
in Dutch territory has always remained of greater interest than the canal 
traffic to the Rhone and Marne or the Ems and the port of Emden. 

The Danube has always played a lesser role. Several reasons account 
for this, among them the geography of the rapids which alternate with 
sections of shallows and sandbars, its mouth in the closed-in Black Sea, 
and the little-advanced economic conditions of much of its drainage basin. 
Political causes have contributed to this stagnant condition. Until 1914, 
and to a lesser degree from 1919 to 1938, an international organization 
controlled the Danube. The post-1945 conditions for a while cut the 
river in two parts. Gradually navigation along the whole river has been 
resumed, first by Yugoslav shipping. Lately Austrian and German ships 
were admitted in parts of the Soviet area, but the eastern Danubian coun- 
tries form a separate international organization completely dominated by 
the Soviet Union. 



LOCATION 185 

When the Congo State (Fig. 7-6) was founded, Britain tried to hinder 
the creation of this new political body by inducing Portugal to reassert 
century-old claims to the whole West African coast from a point north of 
the mouth of the Congo. In 1785, the Portuguese had established a fort 
at Cabinda, about thirty miles north of the mouth of the Congo. The 
French explorer de Brazza reached the Congo near what is today Brazza- 
ville and claimed the northern bank of the lower Congo for France. 
Finally at the Congo Conference in Berlin, 1884 to 1885, an agreement was 
reached which left the newly-founded Congo State, the present Belgian 
Congo, with an outlet to the sea on the northern bank of the Congo River, 
conceding the southern bank and the territory of Cabinda to Portugal, 
and most of the western bank of the lower Congo farther inland to France. 
This outlet proved to be so unsatisfactory when a railroad to the port of 
Matadi was to be constructed, that in 1927 Belgium exchanged with Portu- 
gal 1350 square miles of inland territory for only one square mile near 
Matadi (cf. Fig. 5-2, p. 123). 

As it turned out, the southeastern corner of the Belgian Congo became 
the most valuable part of the colony because of its rich mineral resources. 7 
Transportation to the coastal port of Matadi is very inconvenient because 
of the necessary transloading several times between river and rail and 
because of the long distance. Thus, despite the tariff advantages which 
this all-Belgian line offers, the Portuguese railroad through Angola and 
to the port of Benguela and the connection with British Rhodesia could 
tap a large part of the traffic going to either distant South Africa or to the 
Portuguese East African port of Beira. 

In most of these cases the railroad outlets were constructed with mutual 
agreement and to the mutual advantage of the powers concerned. How- 
ever, where such arrangements are unfeasible, the blocked state may 
force an unwilling neighbor by territorial annexation or by boundary re- 
adjustments to supply the railroad outlet. The best known example is that 
of the South Manchurian Railroad and the Chinese Eastern Railroad to 
Dairen. Here Czarist Russia forced upon China an outlet to the ice-free 
sea, only to lose it to the stronger power of Japan. 8 

The new British dominion of Central Africa, formed as recently as 1953 
and including Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyassaland 

7 The Congo produced in 1954 more than 50 per cent of the Free World's uranium, 
80 per cent of its cobalt, 70 per cent of its industrial diamonds, 8 per cent of its copper, 
and 8 per cent of its tin. 

8 R. B. Johnson, "Political Salients and Transportation Solutions: as Typified by 
Eastern North America and Manchuria," Annals of the American Association of Geog- 
raphers, Vol. 39 (March, 1949), pp. 71, 72. 



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LOCATION 187 

(cf. Fig. 23-1, p. 690) is also a landlocked area. Most of the conventional 
political maps do not depict clearly its landlocked quality as they show 
Central Africa as well as the British Mandate of Tanganyika and the 
Union of South Africa in the same color. The Union of South Africa has 
made major efforts to extend its ideology and its economic system over 
this area. It is in a position to exert strong economic pressure since it is 
the main customer of the Central African territories and because the main 
railroad link leads into the Union. Thus the railroad into Portuguese 
Mozambique to Beira and even by way of Katanga to Angola wins polit- 
ical importance. The river-links to the sea, the Zambesi and its tributary 
the Shire— the latter the only direct outlet of Nyassaland— are obstructed 
by cataracts and are without sufficient depth during the dry period. 

How important a river can be as outlet, if it has no obstacles to navi- 
gation, is shown by the Paraguay and Plata rivers. They are for Bolivia 
potentially an important outlet to the sea, and function as such for Para- 
guay. An even more striking example is the Amazon. Although it involves 
long transport from a Peruvian Pacific port by way of the Panama Canal, 
Peruvian shippers find this river route a more convenient, cheaper, and 
faster way for bulk wares than the difficult and tedious transport of wares 
across the high Andes and through the steaming forests to the Oriente of 
Peru (cf. Fig. 22-2, p. 674). 

The Great Lakes are drained by the St. Lawrence River but the barrier 
of the Niagara Falls has enabled other routes to compete as shipping out- 
lets. Through the Illinois River ships pass to the Mississippi. Through 
Georgian Bay and the Ottawa River, and from Lake Erie through the 
Mohawk and Hudson rivers, they go to New York. Gradually canals and 
railroads have replaced the ancient portages. The struggle for the St. 
Lawrence Seaway (cf. Fig. 6-11, p. 166) is only one phase in the age-old 
struggle to direct the area around the Great Lakes inland or outward to 
the Sea, to use a favorable coastal position to dominate, or at least to 
exploit this area of interior position. This struggle for the domination of 
the Great Lakes' traffic has become quite complex. At one time it was suf- 
ficient to occupy a coastal station like Manhattan Island or Montreal to 
assure control of the access to the Great Lakes. Today a combination of 
transportation improvements and economic inducements is necessary to 
secure for any port a share in this profitable traffic. 9 

9 See also pp. 165, 166 on the role of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the develop- 
ment of economic core areas in the United States. 



188 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

SEA POWER POSITIONS AND EXPANSION INLAND 

The domination of large continental areas has been attempted many 
times by sea powers. In the past the occupation of a coastal island or of 
a headland was sometimes sufficient to assure complete domination of the 
hinterland. Phoenicians, Greeks, medieval Italian cities, the Portuguese, 
Dutch, French, and British succeeded each other in this type of locational 
struggle. Few relics of such sites exist today. The British crown colony of 
Hongkong is probably the most important. However, its function has 
changed. It no longer dominates China by its trade, but has become the 
main point of contact between China and the West. At one time Port 
Arthur in Russian hands assumed a similar position in regard to Man- 
churia. Portuguese Macao, the Portuguese colonies on the Indian coast, 
and international Tangier in Morocco have become fossils without impor- 
tant functions. 

Other somewhat similar places, especially in Africa, became the starting 
points for expansion inland. Mombasa in Kenya and Bathurst in Gambia 
have retained their protected location on an island close to the coast, re- 
sembling the location of Manhattan Island. So did Lagos in Nigeria on an 
island in the lagoons, and Dakar in French West Africa at the tip of a 
peninsula. Their present functions, however, are no longer the same as in 
the past. These places are no longer the trading posts of a foreign power, 
assuring an economic stranglehold on the hinterland. With the strengthen- 
ing and political consolidation of the hinterland these coastal sites have 
become the trade outlets of what in most cases has become a politically 
integrated area. Bombay and Calcutta in India also come to mind. Certain 
of these coastal towns have become the capitals of their territories. More 
indicative of the real situation are the capitals that have been transferred 
to inland cities, as to Nairobi from Mombasa or to New Delhi from Cal- 
cutta, stressing thereby the politically subordinated position of the harbor 
town. 

A similar process, though under slightly different conditions, took place 
in the United States towards the end of the colonial period. As the original 
colonies expanded, capitals also were moved inland from the first coastal 
settlements, from New York to Albany, from Philadelphia to Harrisburg, 
from Jamestown to Richmond, from Charlestown to Columbia, and from 
Savannah to Atlanta. Of course, these cities were from the beginning the 
centers of European agrarian settlement as well as trading posts for the 
overseas trade. Dutch New Amsterdam, today's New York, bears the 
closest resemblance to the African examples. 



LOCATION 189 

LOCATION AND NATIONAL SECURITY 

A related modern problem concerns the advisability of removing indus- 
trial and political centers from frontier zones for security reasons. Political 
shifts resulting from such a relocation can not be assessed at the moment, 
as most such plans have not progressed beyond the blueprint stage. Ex- 
amples of the past show the military and economic implications of such 
shifts, but do not reveal much about their influence on politico-geographi- 
cal conditions. The history of World War II offers several examples of 
countries trying to relocate industries in areas considered safe, or rela- 
tively safe, from enemy action and remote from the frontier zones which 
were, or seemed to be, more exposed to enemy interference, especially by 
air power. In line with this kind of strategy, the Soviet Union withdrew 
and re-established important industries behind the Urals and in Western 
Siberia during World War II in order to protect them from conquest or 
destruction by the German invader. 

The new tools of atomic and biological warfare provide mankind with 
means of total destruction which stagger the imagination and render 
hopeless the task of rewriting the location pattern of a country in order 
to create areas of "safety." 

Actually, none of the great powers seems to have been able to work out 
a new locational pattern for the purpose of meeting the threat of atomic 
warfare. It is true that in countries like the Soviet Union and the United 
States industrial planning in recent years has attempted to refrain from 
making the country as a whole dependent on one or a few vital industrial 
production centers. But except for this, preoccupation with the urgent 
problems of the day has militated against the carrying out of radical plans 
for protecting areas of high concentration of population and industry. 
So-called "ribbon developments" along the lines of a grid of transportation 
and communication lines 10 or plans to set up small detached production 
units instead of a cluster of industries and to assure these units of uninter- 
rupted transportation have remained in the blueprint stage. According to 
newspaper reports in smaller countries with a more simply arranged and 
highly concentrated industrial location pattern, such as Sweden, plans 
have been executed successfully to protect strategic industries by relocat- 
ing them underground. 

10 E. H. Hoover, The Location of Economic Activity (New York, 1948), p. 296. 



190 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

LOCATION ALONG NARROW MARINE STRAITS 

Another type of dominating location has survived without much change 
in function, namely, location along an indispensable route, a route which 
cannot be by-passed, especially along narrow marine straits. Istanbul and 
vicinity along the Straits (Bosporus and Dardanelles), Copenhagen on 
The Sound (cf. Fig. 8-7, p. 238), Singapore at the Straits of Malacca, 
Aden at the entrance to the Red Sea, and Gibraltar at that to the Mediter- 
ranean have been vital points for centuries and are still so. The Straits 
and The Sound are in the hands of relatively minor powers, Turkey and 
Denmark, but other powers are vitally interested in their free use. Among 
the interested powers, Russia, and now the Soviet Union, has ranked first 
for about two centuries. This fact accounts for the continuous pressure 
put by this power on the two smaller nations. Great Britain controls the 
three other places mentioned and draws part of its strength as a world 
power from this fact. The same is true for the interoceanic Panama Canal, 
controlled by the United States. 

The Suez Canal (cf. Fig. 8-8, p. 240), in 1954, has ceased to be a British 
zone of influence and direct power. With the exodus of the British gar- 
rison, to be completed in 1956, Egypt will reach one of the goals of her 
national ambition. The Suez Canal remains an international waterway 
open to all peaceful navigation. Only the future can tell what role it will 
play in a serious international crisis in which Egypt may have to take 
sides. In 1954, the new power position of Egypt in the Canal Zone was 
illustrated by the fact that she was in a position to continue, in spite of 
the disapproval of the United Nations, her blockade measures against 
Israel, in regard to which a state of war continued to exist. 

Turkey, or Egypt, or Denmark cannot help but be interested in these 
passages because of their location astride them. In contrast, Gibraltar, 
Singapore (cf. Fig. 8-5, p. 232), and Aden are so important only because 
they have been transformed deliberately into strongpoints for the protec- 
tion of what has been called a vital artery of the British Empire. 11 In the 
hands of weak powers, they would lose much of their importance. 

It is the general area along the waterway which is important, not a 
specific point. The straits of Gibraltar (cf. Fig. 8-8, p. 240) were domi- 
nated in the past from Cadiz and not Gibraltar, those of Malacca from 
the city of Malacca and not from Singapore. In both cases distant, but not 

11 C. B. Fawcett, "Lifelines of the British Empire," in Weigert-Stefansson-Harrison, 
op. cit., pp. 238-249 (244). 



LOCATION 191 

too distant bases sufficed for a strong naval power to control the actual 
narrow passage. In the same manner the United States supplements its 
hold on the Panama Canal by its bases in the Caribbean area ( cf. Fig. 3-6, 
p. 79), such as the Virgin Islands, Guantanamo on Cuba, and the leased 
bases on Trinidad and other British islands. Similarly the broad connec- 
tion between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans south of South Africa is 
controlled from rather distant bases on the coast of the Union of South 
Africa, especially Simonstown. 

Harbors, strategically well-located as they may be, if they are in the 
hands of powers without a strong navy have little actual value for the 
domination of these waterways. Neither Spanish Ceuta nor neutral Tan- 
gier along the Strait of Gibraltar, nor French Djibouti at the exit of the 
Red Sea, nor any of the many potential island bases around the Caribbean 
Sea, nor the Portuguese Lourenco Marques in South Africa, nor the Indo- 
nesian Medang at the Straits of Malacca are comparable to, for instance, 
Gibraltar. The city of Hormuz which once dominated the entrance into 
the Persian Gulf has found no successor. It is the peculiar combination 
between naval power and mercantile opportunities that makes sites along- 
side straits so important and that explains why their fortunes change with 
the passage of time and changes in world conditions. 12 

NARROW PASSAGES ON CONTINENTS 

Narrow passages for traffic exist also on the continents. Where long 
mountain chains cross whole continents, pass routes across these chains 
are of decisive importance. As a rule they cannot be controlled from posi- 
tions at some distance, but only alongside or astride such passages. Af- 
ghanistan is the country of the Khyber Pass, the most important pass 
leading from India to its Asiatic neighbor states. Included in this pass 
region are also a few less important nearby passes, which all together 
form this unique pass zone. The unifying force of this route has proved 
strong enough even in the present contest of the great powers to preserve 
Afghanistan as a political unit. 

Similarly Switzerland grew up around the St. Gotthard Pass and gradu- 
ally included some nearby passes. It is significant that Switzerland is also 
one of the few multinational states which have withstood so far the infec- 
tion of nationalism. East of Switzerland, Austria developed as a pass state 
in the Middle Ages and after a spectacular development in the Hapsburg 

12 For an elaboration of this topic and its strategical implications see pp. 227 ff. 




EJ^ Y p J^j^k -^/ <£—= 







20 40 



60 



80 Mi 



40 



80 






120 Km 

3 



— — — 1TBI ■ MiMii' ■■ ■' c ''■'*- 




JJtf 



Fig. 7-7. The Palestine-Syria Corridor. 

192 



LOCATION 193 

Empire is reduced again to an Alpine pass state. The analogous pass state 
of the western Alps, Savoy, disappeared not quite a century ago after an 
existence of many centuries. The autonomy, acquired for the Val d'Aosta 
in 1945, is a weak aftermath. In contrast it should be noted that in the 
long chain of the American Cordilleras no pass state has developed. The 
Republic of Panama, of recent birth, comes closest to this concept. 

Location around a pass does not by itself signify independence, or even 
different development of a region. Quite the opposite, such pass areas are 
much sought after and coveted by adjacent countries in the plains. The 
easier the route through them, the easier they fall prey. The Iroquois were 
able to base their federation on the gap of the Mohawk valley through the 
Appalachians, but this political body did not exist very long. Many others 
never became the center of states. One such gap, which has long been 
a cradle of conflict— the area around Trieste— either belonged to some 
strong state or was divided between two of them. It was too important 
to be left to the control of the local inhabitants, and too wide and open 
for them to preserve their independence against other strong powers. 
There are other such pass regions. One of the most fateful in European 
history is the gap between the southern end of the Urals and the northern 
end of the Caspian Sea which opens into the steppes of Central Asia. Too 
broad and flat to be defensible, it proved to be definite enough to channel- 
ize movement of nomadic tribes. Time and again Huns, Magyars, Tatars 
and many others broke into Europe, and occasionally mass movements in 
the opposite direction also occurred. However, the Russian peasants mi- 
grated into Siberia in numbers of many hundreds of thousands not 
through this gate but over low passes farther north in the Urals. Today 
this region, though not very far from the geometrical center of the Soviet 
Union, is still a region off the main roads. 

The same fateful role which the Ural-Caspian gate plays in European 
history was assigned to the Palestinian-Syrian corridor in the history of 
the Near East ( Fig. 7-7 ) . It is a narrow piece of cultivable land between 
the Arabian desert and the Mediterranean Sea connecting Egypt with the 
mountains of Asia Minor and the fertile plains of Iraq. Nomads and other 
peoples, forced to migrate, have used it since prehistoric times. Merchants 
and other peaceful travelers followed. Armies trod the corridors under 
obscure leaders or under world-famous generals and kings from the Ram- 
ses and Alexander to Napoleon and Allenby. A number of nations have 
tried to make their home in this corridor and defend themselves in its 
narrow confines and its rugged hills and mountains. Recurrent wars and 
annihilating catastrophes were their repeated fate. 



194 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

A much broader corridor that time and again played a role of fateful 
importance in European history is the western continuation of the broad 
Russian Plain through Poland, Northern Germany, Belgium, and into 
western France. Cultural influences, tribes and nations, commerce and 
armies have moved through this corridor. Large rivers cross it, and at the 
few points where these rivers can be crossed, important cities have sprung 
into existence. In its narrowest part— in Flanders— the meeting of diverse 
influences has created one of the centers of European civilization. Here 
also an unusually large number of famous battlefields can be found. 

Parallel to this corridor there is another south of the Alps, the Po valley. 
However, the great centers of civilization are neither west nor east of it, 
but Rome to the south and the French and German core areas- to the north 
of it. The stream of east-west movement in the corridor was crossed by 
a more important one on the points where routes over the Alps and the 
Appenines open. The great centers tend to lie on such cross routes. 

ISTHMUSES 

Isthmuses, those narrow pieces of land which connect two continents 
or larger land masses, look on the map like natural corridors. Only detailed 
maps show that this is rarely the case. The Isthmus of Panama, or even 
the whole of Central America, have never served as a corridor between 
North and South America. High rugged mountains and the unhealthy 
climate of the lower parts account for this. It is still debated whether the 
two pre-Columbian high civilizations of the Mayas and the Incas had any 
contact over this land route. The Pan-American highway system is still 
incomplete. 13 

Other isthmuses, like that of Kra at the base of the Malayan peninsula 
(cf. Fig. 8-5, p. 232), are only slightly favorable for the movement of men 
and goods. Cultural influences and invaders entered the Greek Pelopon- 
nesus and the Crimea, to name only two examples, as often across the 
narrow sea as through the isthmuses which connect these peninsulas with 
the mainland. 

More important than the negative function of isthmuses as land routes 
is the fact that the narrow waist of an isthmus is a minor obstacle for 
crossing from sea to sea. The construction of canals only accentuates a 
pre-existing favorable condition. The canals of Suez and Panama are the 
two main examples. 



13 



See Fig. 22-1, p. 670. 



LOCATION 195 

ISTHMUSES AND CANALS: SUEZ AND PANAMA 

The Suez Canal (cf. Fig. 8-8, p. 240) cuts through the only isthmus 
which is a major historical highway. This canal separates the Eurasian 
and African landmasses, connecting the Mediterranean at Port Said with 
the Red Sea at Suez over the short distance of about one hundred miles. 
This short cut which obviates the necessity of transloading has completely 
replaced the old land route from Alexandria to the Red Sea, as well as 
that from the Syrian ports to Basra at the Persian Gulf. It has, thereby, 
increased the key position of Egypt and Sinai, and made Syria's position 
as an intermediary between East and West a matter of the past, impair- 
ing its standing among the countries of the Near East. During recent 
decades, however, the construction of pipelines from Iraq and Saudi 
Arabia to the Syrian and Lebanese ports has tended to return to Syria 
some part of its key position. 

Constructed by the French, the Suez Canal has been under British 
control from 1875 to 1954, a period roughly contemporary with the flour- 
ishing of the so-called third British Empire. As long as India was an in- 
tegral part of this Empire the Suez Canal was indispensable to it and has 
long been an important link in the "life line" starting at Gibraltar in the 
West and leading into the Indian Ocean at Aden. During and after World 
War II India, Pakistan, Burma, and Ceylon loosened their ties with Great 
Britain. As a result, the Canal, though still a valuable asset, is no longer 
the indispensable link. At the same time the development of air power has 
made the Canal vulnerable to enemy attack. With the transfer of the 
Canal to Egypt the Canal and the country on its banks is in the hand of 
the same power. Its control has strengthened the position of Egypt, both 
economically and politically. 

The Panama Canal (cf. Fig. 3-6, p. 72) offers an interesting similar 
example. Though of equally great importance, the isthmus of Panama in 
the hands of weak and small nations, first Colombia, later of the Republic 
of Panama, was rather a cause of weakness for these countries. Like the 
Suez Canal, the Panama Canal has great importance for international 
commerce. Its role is even more significant than that of the Suez Canal 
because of its importance for the commerce and the political position of 
the United States. However, while the Suez Canal could justly be called 
a part of the life line of the British Empire, the cohesion of the United 
States would not be threatened without the Panama Canal. It enables the 
United States Navy to operate the American fleet in two oceans and to 
concentrate naval strength in the face of the greatest danger. Because of 



196 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

this hemispheric defense role of the Panama Canal, the United States has 
established bases for the protection of the Canal on the island approaches 
in the Caribbean and in the Pacific. This necessitated a change in its 
political relations to the areas concerned, which were either British col- 
onies or independent states. It has strengthened the economic and polit- 
ical ties in all cases, but it has also evoked unfavorable repercussions. 
Some groups in the Republic of Panama could base their political prestige 
on the popularity of the fight against encroachment by the Americans. 
However, nowhere did the opposition take forms of open hostility com- 
parable to that shown by the Greek majority on Cyprus since the British 
have shifted their Suez Canal installations to this island. 

The Panama Canal was not the only canal site which has been con- 
sidered by the Americas at one time or another. Canals have been pro- 
posed across Nicaragua, Honduras, and across Mexico's Isthmus of 
Tehuantepec. Probably earliest was the proposal to use the Atrato River 
and on the Pacific side the San Juan River. While this project never 
came near serious consideration, primarily because of geographical and 
technical difficulties, in all the other proposals political considerations 
were at least as important as the technical problems, and all were so inti- 
mately interwoven that they can not well be separated in the discussion. 
Perhaps the clearest case is that of the Tehuantepec project which would 
have put American forces, already deployed along the northern boundary 
of Mexico, into the southern frontier zone and would have deprived this 
country potentially of all direct contact with any other neighbor. What 
was tolerable and even to a certain degree an insurance for its independ- 
ence for such a small country as Panama, would have been considered an 
impairment of its sovereignty by a larger country with the proud tradition 
of Mexico. 

THE KRA CANAL PROJECT 

The Kra isthmus on the Malayan Peninsula ( cf. Fig. 8-5, p. 232 ) is the 
potential site of an interoceanic canal. Though plans for such a canal 
never have passed beyond the blueprint stage, their existence alone has 
been helpful for Thailand in its struggle to maintain its independent 
buffer position against France, Britain, and Japan. Opposed to such a 
canal were the local interests of Singapore and the larger interests of 
Great Britain, whose supervision of the traffic through the Strait of 
Malacca would be challenged. The construction of a canal through the 
Isthmus of Kra would shorten the route around the Malayan Peninsula by 
600 miles and, therefore, despite canal fees, be a heavy competitor of the 



LOCATION 197 

Singapore route. The importance of Singapore is only about 150 years old. 
Before the advent of the Europeans in the sixteenth century and also 
later, as long as shipping preferred routes not too far from land, the route 
from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea led this way. The route 
was dominated by a site farther north, that of the city of Malacca. When 
the Dutch came and ventured a direct route from the Cape of Good Hope 
across the Indian Ocean, the Sunda Strait and Batavia grew in impor- 
tance. Singapore's importance was finally confirmed when the opening of 
the Suez Canal made the northerly straits the more convenient route to 
the Far East. 

The minor importance of the Kra route, and that of the only other exist- 
ing interoceanic canal, that of Kiel in Germany at the base of the Jutland 
Peninsula, is geographically caused by the fact that the saving in shipping 
time is relatively small compared with that brought about by the con- 
struction of the Suez and Panama canals. The latter obviate the necessitv 
of circumnavigating a whole continent, the first two only of peninsulas. 

PENINSULAS 

The importance of peninsulas must be seen in their isolation potential 
caused by their semidetachment. This sometimes meant that these penin- 
sulas remained culturally backward and politically of little importance. 
A striking example is that of the peninsula of Lower California, where 
isolation is aggravated by a desert or semidesert climate. As early as in 
pre-Columbian times it was inhabited by one of the most backward Indian 
groups and this backwardness, in relation to other parts of Mexico, has 
remained characteristic. Even in Europe some peninsulas, such as Corn- 
wall, Wales, or Brittany, have been able to preserve their identity, even 
some remnants of a separate nationality, but have remained somewhat 
backward. Mountains, everywhere in the world favored as refuge areas, 
accentuate this function of peninsulas— and of islands— because there is no 
longer any other possibility of retreat. 

In large peninsulas we speak of favorable conditions for development 
of separate nationalities and independent states such as Italy, Spain to- 
gether with Portugal, Denmark, or Korea. However, this condition should 
not be overrated, as the long history of political divisions in Italy, the 
Iberian Peninsula, and even in Korea shows. The Balkan Peninsula, 
Arabia, and others never accomplished political unification. 

However, due to the geographical accident that many peninsulas are 
continental protrusions reaching close to some other continent, historically 



198 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the most important function of peninsulas has been that of steppingstones 
for migrations and invasions. From the prehistoric immigration of man 
into the Western hemisphere by way of the Chukotsk peninsula of north- 
eastern Asia and Alaska, and into Europe by way of the Iberian Peninsula 
—and through the lowland between the Urals and the Caspian Sea— to the 
invasion of Europe by the Allies through the Italian Peninsula and Nor- 
mandy there is a continuous stream of such movements. Oriental ancient 
civilization found its way west along the coasts of Asia Minor and Greece. 
This bridge situation has created a psychological and political attitude 
which is similar to the buffer-state psychology, but differs in that the polit- 
ical bodies on such peninsulas feel— rightly or often wrongly— much more 
secure, and very often culturally superior. Koreans, Greeks, Italians, and 
even Spaniards have displayed this feeling of superiority, and it has led, 
sometimes, to disastrous overestimation of their own political potentiali- 
ties. Italy's dream of a mare nostro is only the last instance. 

ISLAND CHAINS AND LAND BRIDGES 

Much better steppingstones for cultural or migratory movements have 
been provided by island chains. As a rule, such island chains are open 
from all sides, thus inviting invasion at many points. In Japan, cultural 
influences have entered as well through the harbor of Nagasaki at the 
southern end as through Tokyo, situated roughly in the center of the 
chain. Land bridges, though mostly entered from the end, can be open to 
occasional invasion from the sides. People moving through such a corridor 
are confined to it by the accompanying mountains, sea, or desert. Thus 
they are open to attack from the flank by raiders striking from the desert 
or from the sea, who are accustomed and equipped to move through these 
inhospitable spaces. Syria and Palestine are the classical examples of such 
a corridor, attacked time and again by the wandering nomads of steppe 
and desert from the east, and from the west by seaborne invaders. The 
days of nomadic invaders are apparently past. However, modern Jews 
have followed the path of Philistines and Crusaders who, coming from 
beyond the Mediterranean, founded a state based on the coast, but like 
their predecessors are unable to control the entire width of the corridor. 

SEACOASTS OF CONTINENTS 

Seacoasts, depending on their physical character and configuration, are 
open to raid and invasion to a smaller or larger degree. Invasion across 
the sea is a powerful factor in the history of modern states. Almost all the 



LOCATION 199 

states of the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand, as well as most of the 
colonies or semi-independent political bodies of Africa bear the mark of 
their maritime origin in the distribution of their populations, cities, re- 
ligions, and cultural ties. Coasts, of course, differ greatly in terms of 
accessibility. The Atlantic coasts of North and South America are easily 
accessible and natural harbors are within easy distance of each other. On 
the other hand, many African coasts are exposed to heavy surf, have few 
natural indentations, and are backed by almost impenetrable, dense, wet 
forests. No seafaring nations grew up on any part of this coast. The factor 
of distance from other coasts, and especially from any opposite shore at 
a reasonable distance, contributed to render these coasts of West Africa 
a backwater of history. Even when the Europeans appeared, they occu- 
pied only a few coastal points and built forts where slaves were collected 
for shipment to America. The invaders were kept from penetrating inland 
by the forests, swamps, and diseases of the coastal plain, as well as by the 
slopes of the plateau and the cataracts of the rivers farther inland. The 
resistance of the natives could be discounted. 

It is interesting to compare with these West African coasts those in East 
Africa in approximately the same latitude. The general character of the 
coast is similar, though there are a few more natural harbors in the east. 
The immediate hinterland is similarly uninviting. Well-organized native 
states nowhere reached to the coasts. However, West Africa remained 
apart from the currents of world history to the end of the nineteenth 
century, when the scattered trading posts finally developed into exploita- 
tion colonies where raw materials were developed systematically, native 
labor trained, and markets for European products found. In East Africa 
this condition had been reached almost one thousand years ago and 
mass colonization from overseas had even been attempted. The decisive 
distinguishing factor is that East Africa is close to coasts where seafar- 
ing peoples have developed. Since the times of the ancient Egyptians, 
traders and occasionally colonists have come continuously to these 
coasts. Though neither colonizing Arabs nor Europeans ever came in 
great numbers, the Arabs to the coast, the Europeans to the Kenya High- 
lands, they have won a firm foothold. Perhaps numerically strongest was 
the invasion of Madagascar by Malayans from the opposite shores of 
Indonesia. Though large, the Indian Ocean proved to be not too large 
to prevent its crossing by men in considerable numbers even before the 
age of the modern ship. Thus it was nothing specifically novel when the 
British founded their circum-oceanic empire around the Indian Ocean 
in the nineteenth century. 



200 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

There are no shores which have no opposite shore, in geometrical 
terms. For practical purposes, however, the Pacific Ocean is so wide that 
neither Chile nor Peru have ever been influenced in their political think- 
ing by the awareness of their opposite shore. The same is true of those 
shores of Eurasia and North America which face the Arctic Ocean. In 
the days of the "air age," this situation is changing rapidly and Americans 
have discovered to their discomfort how close is the opposite shore across 
the frozen sea for military aircraft. The importance of new locational 
factors in the Arctic regions is discussed in Chapter 8. 

COASTS OF ISLANDS 

What is true for the coasts of continents is equally valid for coasts of 
islands. The British Isles afford an example which is of interest in more 
than one respect. The close proximity of the European continent to the 
southeastern coast of Great Britain made this coast the repeated entrance 
for invaders and the earliest inhabitants were pushed northwestwards 
into the mountains. Vestiges of these subsequent invasions can be found 
in many peculiarities of the cultural landscape. But politically only the 
Irish in Eire have been able to shape the map, and to a slight degree 
the Celtic-speaking remnants in Wales and the Scottish Highlands. In 
Ireland the struggle between the invaders and the indigenous Celtic 
group is still going on. Despite the apparent victory of the Irish, it should 
not be forgotten that the English language is spoken by the majority and 
that it is far from decided whether it will lose or win ground in the com- 
ing decades. 14 Ireland's north, west, and south coasts and the western 
coast of Great Britain, facing the apparently endless ocean, were a coast 
without an opposite coast up to the time of Columbus. It was close 
enough to the European continent that Vikings could attack and even 
settle here. That remained an isolated instance. After the discovery of 
America the west coast of Great Britain lost this character of a back 
door, but the Irish western coast largely retained it. 

ISLANDS AS AREAS OF REFUGE 

Despite this threat of invasion due to their location, many islands have 
become refuge areas. The Irish in Ireland, the Ainos on Hokkaido, the 
aborigines in a Chinese Formosa, or the Singhalese on Ceylon are island 
peoples in areas of refuge and it is little realized that all these peoples 

"See pp. 392 ff. 



LOCATION 201 

once occupied much larger areas. They have tended to develop special 
traits, or rather to retain older traits which have disappeared elsewhere. 
The language spoken by the people of Iceland is much closer to the 
Norwegian spoken a thousand years ago in Norway than is the modern 
Norwegian. The Eskimos of Greenland, until quite recently, were able 
to preserve old customs over many centuries. Islands have often, and 
partly because of these cultural peculiarities, retained a special political 
status even when conquered. Such conquests did not always come from 
culturally related nations nearby, but from countries far away. Malta, 
Cyprus, or Ceylon are bound to the British Isles under different consti- 
tutional forms; Madagascar belongs to France, although it is far from 
France as well as from any other French colony; Sicily has its separate 
status within Italy; Ireland, Iceland, Cuba, Santo Domingo have attained 
independence after centuries of foreign rule. 

It would, however, be misleading to regard islands as refuge areas by 
their very location in the midst of the sea. Many islands are not refuge 
areas at all. Others are refuge areas not as such, but because their 
mountains have offered the sought-for protection. Ceylon, separated from 
India by a strait only some twenty miles wide, is an especially clear ex- 
ample. Here the primitive, dark-skinned, small Veddas live in the least 
accessible parts; the Singhalese have retreated to the mountains and the 
southern parts of the islands, while the northern half of the island was 
invaded by Tamils. They in turn were confined to dry, mountainous areas 
by Singhalese recovery. The latest to come were people from different 
parts of southern India and some Europeans. Like the Irish, the Sin- 
ghalese seem to have succeeded in reasserting their preponderance on 
the island. However, Ceylon is a refuge area also in another sense. This 
is the only part of the Indian subcontinent where Buddhism remained 
the dominating faith. The historical background is reflected in its politi- 
cal status since 1948 as an independent nation, although retaining some 
ties to Great Britain as well as to India. While India was able to absorb 
mainland areas of very different background, such as those of the hill 
tribes, and gave up other areas to Pakistan only after prolonged struggle, 
it permitted Ceylon to go its own way. The geographic factors of in- 
sularity, of the physical qualities of the island, and of its prominent posi- 
tion on vital shipping lanes in the Indian Ocean account for Ceylon's 
being able to chart its own political course, independent of India. 15 

Another example of islands as the basis of independent statehood, 

15 B. H. Farmer in O. H. K. Spate, Geography of India and Pakistan (London, 
1954), pp. 743 and 782. 



202 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

although it has still to pass the test of history, is offered by the South 
Moluccas (also called the Spice Islands), where a secessionist "South 
Moluccas Republic" was established in 1950 (cf. Fig. 3-5, p. 70). Indo- 
nesia, which had gained independence from the Netherlands in 1949, 
recaptured the port of Amboina where the secessionist movement origi- 
nated, but the rebels escaped to the island of Ceram and neighboring 
islands where they have continued to resist. 16 One important feature in 
the current struggle between Indonesia and the South Moluccas is the 
religious cleavage, since Indonesian nationalism was essentially a Java- 
nese movement in its early stages, and as such closely associated with the 
Moslem religion, while the pagan population of Amboina and the neigh- 
boring islands, isolated from the main islands, had been converted to 
Christianity by the Dutch. 17 Afraid of mass immigration from overpop- 
ulated Java, the people of the South Moluccas have chosen to resist the 
substitution of Dutch by Javanese rule in their island refuges. 

Another example is offered by Formosa. The native population was 
displaced and forced into the mountains by numerically overwhelming 
Chinese, and during the Japanese rule, by Japanese immigration. How- 
ever, recently, even their hold on their mountain refuge seems to weaken. 
Numerically the situation appears hopeless. While the number of the 
156,000 aborigines, reported in 1938, remains almost stationary, the 
Chinese population increased from 3,156,000 in 1905 to 5,747,000 (plus 
308,000 Japanese) in 1938, and to 8,000,000, which is the estimate in 
1955. More significant, Formosa now for the second, time has become a 
refuge area for traditional China. The first instance occurred in the sev- 
enteenth century, after the Manchus had overrun the mainland, the 
second in our own time in the face of Communist rule on the mainland. 

REFUGE AREAS ON CONTINENTS 

The problem of the Formosan aborigines in a refuge area for a primi- 
tive group is not so much that of an island as a problem within an island. 
In that it is not different from the problems of other primitive groups, such 
as the Veddas in Ceylon, the Ainus in Hokkaido, the Dyaks in Borneo, the 
Igorots in Luzon, and many others. In all these instances mountains 
and forests rather than the islands themselves offered the refuge area 
both for culturally backward and for numerically weak populations. On 
the continents such mountain refuges and forest areas were sought out 

16 See Fig. 3-5, p. 70. 

17 See pp. 423 ff. 



LOCATION 203 

by small groups, and served in a few cases to shelter independent states. 18 
Ethiopia and Nepal are the best remaining examples, or among highly 
civilized nations, Switzerland. More frequent are instances where such 
units have preserved some form of autonomous self-government under 
foreign domination. The autonomous Soviet republics in the Caucasus, 
or the Basque area in Spain are well-known examples. Less known is the 
case of the "Autonomous Region" which the Rumanian constitution of 
1952 granted to a Hungarian minority in northeastern Transylvania. It 
seems significant that this autonomy was not granted to the majority oi 
Hungarians within the confines of Rumania, but to these so-called Sziks 
(Szeklers) who form only about two-fifths of the Hungarian minority in 
Rumania, but have led a separate existence in their mountains since the 
tenth century. In the diet of Transylvania they formed a separate nation 
from the Magyars (Hungarians) until 1848. 

It is improbable that a new state would arise today and receive its 
shape from such local conditions of topography. That states formed under 
primitive conditions in the protection of mountains and forests have been 
able to survive into the present is largely due to the power of tradition 
and to the national pride which prompts people to cling to every piece 
of land they have inherited, or even to the fact that divisive features in 
the landscape have developed because there was a boundary. In con- 
trast, Poland offers an example of a nation with very strong national 
concepts and traditions but without the benefit of established boundaries 
fortified by physical features. The boundary changes which took place 
after World War II were the result of its precarious location between the 
U.S.S.R. and Germany and of its new status as a Soviet satellite (cf. Fig. 
4-1, p. 82). Poland its industrial and agricultural base and its population 
were moved many miles westwards in a generally featureless plain. Only 
its southern mountain boundary along the Carpathians remained basically 
unchanged. 

The classical example of a state whose boundaries seem to conform to 
a mountain configuration is Bohemia, the western part of the Czecho- 
slovakian republic. The Slavic tribes, which coalesced to the Czech people 
in the early Middle Ages, settled in the treeless, fertile basin where they 
enjoyed the protection of the uninhabited, forested mountain rim. Ger- 
man colonists, moving east, by-passed this mountain fortress to the north 
or south, moving through more inviting plains. However, these conditions 

18 G. B. Cressey, Asia's Lands and People, 2nd ed. (New York, 1951), pp. 138-139; 
W. G. East and O. H. K. Spate, The Changing Map of Asia, 2nd ed. (New York, 
1953), p. 278. 



204 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

disappeared long ago. 19 The forests have been cleared in wide areas, the 
low mountains are no longer an obstacle for modern road or railroad 
construction, and German settlers penetrated over the mountains to the 
edge of the interior basin. Nevertheless, the medieval boundary on 
the crest of the mountains remained essentially unchanged throughout 
the centuries. When Hitler opened the world conflict and attempted to 
replace the historical boundary by a linguistic one, this spelled in the 
end only disaster for the Germans within this boundary. It appears that 
the present location of the boundary is essentially defined by history and 
by the different development which areas take on the two sides of a 
long-existing boundary, but that the location along ridges has lost all 
independent meaning. 

THE ROLE OF DESERTS 

The physical factors which seem least variable in determining the loca- 
tion of boundaries are deserts. The Sahara, the Gobi, the Rub' al Khali 
in Arabia determine the location of political bodies even in our day. The 
French colonies south of the Sahara are clearly different from the French- 
dominated areas north of the desert. The Atlas countries are predomi- 
nantly settlement colonies, and areas of political domination, those south 
of the Sahara are colonies of economic exploitation. However, even this 
clear-cut divisive force of the desert may eventually come to an end 
under the impact of modern technical civilization. The oasis of Buraimi 
in the Rub' al Khali has become the object of a conflict between Saudi 
Arabia, from which it is separated by hundreds of miles of sandy desert, 
and Oman, from which it is separated by dry inhospitable mountains ( cf. 
Fig. 4-3, p. 88). It is, however, in an area which may contain oilfields. 
Its importance for modern technological civilization, and at the same time 
the means which this civilization offers to overcome the desert, make this 
conflict significant. It is a sign that we may stand at the end of the period 
when deserts were a nearly insuperable factor. Whether air or surface 
motor transport will play the decisive role in this change can not be 
predicted. 

Some people believe that the construction of railroads will be more im- 
portant than motor or air transport. This idea is primarily advanced in 
France by the promoters of the construction of a Trans-Saharan railroad. 
In any case the time seems near when three so far quite disconnected 

19 J. A. Steers, "The Middle People; Resettlement in Czechoslovakia," Geographical 
Journal, Vol. 102 (January, 1949). 



LOCATION 205 

centers of power can be linked together. These areas of present and 
potential power concentration are the French North African territories 
(Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia), the Central African Tchad, Ubangi. 
and Congo regions, and lastly the British East African colonies. Their 
linking would be of special significance since these regions are likely to 
play a primary role in a future conflict involving the defense of western 
Europe and the Near and Middle East against attack from the north 
and the east. 

SEDENTARY AND NOMADIC WAYS OF LIFE 

To the same degree as uninhabitable, or uninhabited, or at least un- 
claimed zones tend to disappear, nations of different ways of life become 
close neighbors. Thereby the causes of friction are greatly increased. 
Conflicts arising from different ways of life have existed since times im- 
memorial. However, the essential features of ways of life have changed, 
too. One of the oldest and most frequent sources of conflict has been 
the conflict between the sedentary peasant and the nomadic herdsman. 
Encroachment of the land-hungry tiller on the steppe and pasture, and 
raids on the settlements by the easily moving nomads are a recurrent 
theme in all these border zones between "sown and desert." Within the 
last half century the roving herder has ceased to be a potential threat 
to the peasant settler in any part of the world. Motorized police patrols 
and airplanes have reduced this problem in the French Sahara to a mere 
police problem. In Arabia King Ibn Saud succeeded in settling large 
parts of the nomads by the shrewd employment of new political and 
religious ideas. In Central Asia, the Soviet policy of totalitarianism has 
changed drastically the ways of life of nomadic herdsmen. In North 
America, under different conditions, the once-roving Sioux, Apaches, and 
Comanches now live in reservations. 

THE CONFLICT BETWEEN THE COMMUNIST AND THE 
FREE WORLD IN TERMS OF LOCATION 

In place of these ancient problems new ones have arisen. Communist 
and non-Communist states must get along as close neighbors. While it 
was still possible after World War I to attempt to minimize frictions 
between Communism and the rest of the world by creating a cordon 
sanitaire around the Soviet Union, this solution has become obsolete 
today. The countries of South and East Asia are for all practical purposes 
close neighbors of Australia and New Zealand today, as are those of 



206 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

North America, Asia, and Europe lying across the Arctic Ocean from each 
other. The danger of friction arising from such location in close prox- 
imity is great. 



ADJACENT LOCATION OF LARGE AND SMALL NATIONS 

Adjacent location of a small country and a large or strong one always 
influences their relationship. Whether the politics of the small country 
takes the form of more or less voluntary subordination to and accommo- 
dation of the stronger neighbor, whether it tries to find independence in 
coalition with several other small countries in a similar position, or in an 
alliance with a distant but strong country, or whether it chooses isolation 
and withdrawal from all problems of the community of nations, depends 
on many nonlocational factors and on their interplay with the implica- 
tions of location. Mexico is a country that has tried different policies in 
its relations with its neighbor in the north— from invoking the sympathies 
of other relatively small Latin American states, to the more recent at- 
tempt to follow a course which avoids antagonizing the United States 
without letting the powerful neighbor actively influence Mexican internal 
political decisions. A great variety of attitudes is shown by the North 
European countries toward the Soviet Union. Finland is trying hard to 
accommodate its policy to the whims of Soviet policy, making it clear 
at the same time that she is not ready to pay the high price of becoming 
a satellite. Sweden tries to steer a more independent, course. She is in a 
better locational position as she has no land boundary with the Soviet 
Union and takes encouragement from the not too conclusive fact that 
she succeeded in remaining neutral during both World Wars. Norway, 
on the other hand, chose an alliance with the great powers of the West. 
An attempt by Denmark made immediately after World War II to pro- 
mote an alliance of the Scandinavian powers was met by failure. 

The inland country blocked from access to the sea by other countries 
has been discussed in another connection. It remains to mention the less 
frequent situation in which a weak country is pinned between the sea 
and a strong but landlocked country. The Baltic republics did not re- 
main free for long under such conditions. Another example is offered by 
the Netherlands. They are located across the mouth of the Rhine which, 
although not the only outlet to the sea for large parts of Germany, is 
by far the shortest and best. Skillful statesmanship, an obviously peaceful 
and sincere neutrality, willingness to fulfill all reasonable German wishes, 
and the preparedness to refuse any demands which would impair Dutch 



LOCATION 207 

sovereignty made the Netherlands apparently secure throughout most of 
the nineteenth century and through World War I. Hitler, in World War 
II, upset these carefully developed balances. 

It may be of minor importance whether two countries have a long or 
short common border; the fact that they border at all is of primary 
importance at least to the interested parties. In 1954, a flurry of excite- 
ment arose when a Soviet newspaper hinted that in the high Pamirs the 
Soviet Union had a common boundary with Kashmir, though in almost 
impassable terrain and for the length of a few miles only. This would 
deny China direct contact with Afghanistan. China, however, seems eager 
to retain its common boundary with Afghanistan (cf. Fig. 3-1, p. 59). 



ADJACENT LOCATION AND CULTURAL, IDEOLOGICAL, 
AND OTHER DIFFERENCES 

Sometimes countries of different cultural level face each other across 
the border, and these differences can create political problems. Usually 
the country of lower economic, technological, or cultural development 
will feel endangered, while the neighboring country may embark on a 
"mission" to bring the advantages of higher civilization to the under- 
developed neighbor. In the not too distant past this took the form of 
church missionary activity which in turn called for protection by state 
authority. In other instances merchants and planters maintained that by 
expanding their occupations they were spreading European civilization, 
lifting natives to a higher level by teaching them, or forcing them, into 
the habit of regular work. If they met with resistance they appealed to 
their national authorities and such disputes often ended in war and 
conquest. At present the repercussions of this policy are felt in quite dif- 
ferent ways; they range from the relatively minor problems of the United 
States with its Indian wards to the serious Mau Mau revolution in Kenya. 
There are, however, instances where such conquest led to the acceptance 
of the former colonial subjects as equals. India may always have been 
spiritually the equal of Europe; today she is also an equal in economic 
methods and technological approach, even though much may still have 
to be done to spread technological achievements over the country. The 
Gold Coast and Nigeria may still harbor primitive tribes, but they are 
regarded as ready, or almost ready, to enter the Commonwealth as 
equals. There is still an expanding frontier of civilization, and even of 
white settlement in the interior of Brazil, in Canada, in Siberia, but this 
is no longer a question of war and conquest, but an internal problem of 



208 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the countries concerned. For perhaps the last time a Christian power 
openly proclaimed its cultural mission as justification for conquest when 
Italy attacked Ethiopia in 1935. 

The Soviet Union holds or at least proclaims that every extension of 
its control is a feat of liberation. From this point or view any such con- 
quest, with whatever means accomplished, is justified as a part of 
inevitable and preordained progress. There is, however, a decisive dif- 
ference between Communist conquest and other conquests accomplished 
under the slogan of civilization for backward nations. Amerindians, 
Siberian natives, negro tribes in Inner Africa, and even Ethiopians, though 
they cherished their own way of life, regarded Europeans as superior, 
at least in certain respects. The non-Communist world, on the other 
hand, considers its way of life not only equal but in many respects defi- 
nitely superior to the Communist order. As participants in this struggle 
we may not claim impartiality. However, the Soviets acknowledge at 
least in some respects this superiority of the West, spurring on their 
workers to imitate and finally to improve American methods, concealing 
certain aspects of Western society from their subjects, keeping them away 
from Western literature and any contact with foreigners, showing by 
this method their actual evaluation of the attractive features of Western 
civilization which they could not denounce as inferior if free access to 
the knowledge of Western ways were possible. 

Thus there exist not only politically enforced but very real though 
intangible boundaries which separate people and areas of different politi- 
cal ideology. Where there are conflicting ideologies each party is con- 
vinced of its superior way of life. Confusion between these two concepts 
is old. The ancient Greeks felt dimly that the disparity between their 
ways of life and those of the highly civilized peoples of the Persian em- 
pire was of another order than the gulf which separated their way of life 
from that of the illiterate primitive tribes of most of Europe. They 
recognized that Marathon was more than a military-political event, and 
that it decided for many centuries to come which type of civilization 
should be dominant in Europe. Nevertheless, they persisted in calling 
Persians, Egyptians, Babylonians, and others by the same deprecative 
name they used for Thracians, Numidians, and Celts— barbarians. 

The main conclusion to be drawn from our discussion of factors of 
location in the realm of political geography is that location must be re- 
garded as a basic factor which, certainly, can not be neglected, but 
which never can be considered alone. Its implications are changing con- 
tinuously in response to other factors. 



CHAPTER 



8 



The Impact or Location on 
Strategy and Power Politics 



A. The Heartland and the Rim Lands: A Study in Location 

Among the large-space concepts of location which fascinate the student 
of political geography, that of the Heartland has been most emphasized 
in recent times. It has received both enthusiastic and scornful reception. 
Often the disciples as well as the critics of the Heartland theory have 
been led astray by their unwillingness to recognize the factor of time 
and change that erodes this concept in so far as it affects any other con- 
cept of location in the fluctuating realm of political geography. 

We propose to deal at some length with the Heartland concept and to 
investigate to what extent it has proved its long-range validity, and where 
in retrospect it appears to be depicting only a temporary situation. As a 
study in location, the interpretation of the Heartland, representing a 
significant philosophy of political geography, can serve to sharpen our 
thinking on factors of location in general. 

INFLUENCE ON POLITICO-GEOGRAPHICAL THINKING 

Although often misunderstood and loosely applied by armchair strat- 
egists, the Heartland theory has had nevertheless a profound influence on 
politico-geographical thinking in our time. In discussing what the British 
geographer Sir Halford J. Mackinder termed in 1904 as "the pivot region 
of the world's politics" ( Fig. 8-1 ) and later described as the "Heartland" 

209 




210 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 211 

we shall observe the truly revolutionary changes of a world history in 
terms of geography set in motion. But while ten-dollar terms such as 
Heartland and World Island have been readily accepted in the dictionary 
of geopolitics, they share the fate of the American Security Sphere or of 
the American Perimeter of Defense in remaining hazy concepts when it 
comes to exact geographical definition and evaluation. We must be care- 
ful not to be found napping in the nineteenth century when we attempt 
to organize our "world view" and to define the political boundaries sep- 
arating the globe's land and sea masses which really matter in world 
politics. We still like to visualize the political map of the world as a 
mosaic, the contours of which follow the boundaries of the national states. 
Quite naturally we feel uncomfortable when confronted with a novel map 
of the world on which the feeble boundary lines and the colors which 
distinguish the national states are minimized, with the emphasis placed on 
certain geographical regions which endow the powers controlling them 
with the very assets needed in the struggle for world power. In a con- 
stantly and rapidly shrinking political world, politico-geographical en- 
tities comparable to the American security sphere have achieved a new 
meaning due to significant changes in the realm of transportation and 
communication. The Heartland of Eurasia is therefore more than a dusty 
concept of the historical geography of the Victorian age. 

THE HEARTLAND CONCEPT AND THE 
VICTORIAN SEA POWER AGE 

The new world view evolved slowly. Mackinder, at the threshold of 
the new century, began to grasp the fact that the geopolitics of the Vic- 
torian age was no longer based on geographical realities. Only if we 
project Mackinder's concepts against the panorama of the Victorian age, 
with world politics revolving around Britain's successful struggle for con- 
trol of the high seas and of the pathways of seaborne traffic, can we 
perceive the force of a new way of thinking in which land power out- 
flanked sea power and new industrial powers were rising on the con- 
tinent of Eurasia. These concepts loomed large enough to challenge the 
basic ideas of the political philosophy and the political geography of an 
age of sea power. The transition from a political philosophy revolving 
around the "age of sea power" concept to one stressing land power re- 
flects a new look at basic factors of location. 

In the United States, the political geography of the sea power age had 
long been dominated by the thinking of Alfred Thayer Mahan, an Ameri- 



212 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

can naval officer. His work, The Influence of Seapower Upon History, 
1660-1783, is one of the rare books which profoundly affected history. 
While his writings lack systematic organization, his political philosophy 
clearly preaches the gospel of the new American Imperialism drawing 
its strength from sea power, and a new Manifest Destiny based on 
America's future role as the leading maritime nation in the world— lead- 
ing, because he envisaged the day when the United States would replace 
Britain in its rating as the world's supreme naval power. The oceans had 
become inland seas of the British Empire, and the trade routes of the 
world its life lines. The growing maritime power of the United States was 
to inherit these concepts. Coupled with this feeling there was a convic- 
tion that power based upon land and its overland transportation systems 
could never compete, either commercially or stategically, with movement 
by sea. 1 There is no doubt that Mahan's doctrines gave a lift to military 
and political planners throughout the world who readily adopted his 
formula for the achievement of world power through sea power. Even 
in Imperial Germany, under Wilhelm II, it kindled a hectic enthusiasm 
for what appeared to be a new shortcut for Germany to world power. It 
is not surprising to find that Germany's outstanding political geographer 
of these times, Friedrich Ratzel, who had received a practical geographi- 
cal training in the United States, published a book called The Sea as a 
Source of National Greatness which was broadly influenced by Mahan's 
thinking. 2 

From the ramparts of England, Halford J. Mackinder agreed with the 
thinking of Mahan in one important aspect: he, too, could not help 
realizing that Britain had, in the twentieth century, lost its leading posi- 
tion of naval power and control of the seas. In 1901 Mackinder wrote 
in his Britain and the British Seas: "Other empires have had their day, 
and so may that of Britain. But there are facts in the present condition 
of humanity which render such a fate unlikely, provided always that the 
British retain their moral qualities . . . the whole course of future history 
depends on whether the Old Britain beside the Narrow Seas has enough 
of virility and imagination to withstand all challenge of her neighbor's 
supremacy, until such time as the daughter nations shall have grown to 
maturity." 

But aside from agreeing on the future respective parts which Britain 
and the United States were to play in the struggle for naval supremacy, 

1 H. and M. Sprout, Foundations of National Power, 2nd edition (New York, 1951), 
p. 154. 

2 R. Strausz-Hupe, Geopolitics: The Struggle for Space and Power (New York, 
1942), p. 245. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 213 

the basic concepts of political geography of Mahan and Mackinder have 
little in common. For it is exactly Mahan's exaltation of sea power which 
was challenged by Mackinder who, viewing the growing strength of 
Russia and Germany on the continents, became more and more alarmed 
by the challenge to sea power in a new age in which land power could 
outflank it and in which the mushrooming growth of industrialization 
and the extension of railroad nets on the continent were successfully com- 
peting with Britain's economic position in the world. 

THE NEW ROLE OF ASIA 

Mackinder 's consciousness of the passing of the Victorian sea power 
age made him see Europe and its political geography as subordinate to 
Asia. 3 It is in Asia that land power and (as Mackinder did not anticipate 
originally) land-based air power have had their greatest opportunities to 
challenge established power positions in the world at large. The mobility 
of land power (not land power as such), in competition with the mo- 
bility of sea power, evolved as a decisive geopolitical feature of the 
twentieth century. By evaluating the competition and possible clash be- 
tween sea and land power, Mackinder discovered the "pivot region of 
the World's politics": the Heartland of Eurasia. He did not hesitate to 
project the effects which an increasing mobility of military and economic 
power in this area is bound to have on the rest of the world. In 1904, 
he saw that "the century will not be old before all Asia is covered with 
railways. The spaces within the Russian Empire and Mongolia are so 
vast, and their potentialities in population, wheat, cotton, fuel, and metals 
so incalculably great, that it is inevitable that a vast economic world, 
more or less apart, will there develop inaccessible to oceanic commerce." 

This pivotal area Mackinder projected as an organic unit within the 
world unit. Inaccessible to ships but covered with a network of railways, 
the continental basins of Eurasia are seen as the homeland of a new 
Russia which is successor to the Mongol Empire. From its central posi- 
tion, Russia can exert pressures on Finland, Scandinavia, Poland, Turkey, 
Persia, and India. The centrifugal force which drove the horse-riding 
nomads of the steppes westward and southward against the settled 
peoples of Europe is still a living force in the Russian Heartland. If ever 
it succeeded in expanding over the marginal lands of Eurasia, if ever 
it were able to use its continental resources for fleet-building, then, 

3 H. W. Weigert, Generals and Geographers (New York and London, 1942), pp. 
115-139. 



214 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Mackinder felt, "the empire of the world would be in sight." And to 
leave no doubt about the direction of his fears, fifty years ago he added: 
"This would happen if Germany would ally herself with Russia." 

CRITIQUE OF MACKINDER: THE HEARTLAND AS VIEWED 
OVER THE TOP OF THE WORLD 

When Mackinder, at the close of the first World War, re-examined his 
original thesis in his famous address (called Democratic Ideals and 
Realities) to the peacemakers about to assemble in Paris, he found that 
his "thesis of 1904 still sufficed." He voiced this warning: "Who rules East 
Europe commands the Heartland; Who rules the Heartland commands 
the World Island; Who rules the World Island commands the World." 
It became much too smooth a slogan when it was dusted off in our day. 
Most of those who used it persistently were fascinated more by the gen- 
eral appeal of the slogan than by its geographic realities. 

The Heartland of Europe and Asia had essentially the same frontiers 
in 1918 as Mackinder's "Pivot Area" of 1904. It comprised the vast ex- 
panse of the continental island basins of arctic and continental drainage 
which measure nearly half of Asia and a quarter of Europe, and which 
are inaccessible from the ocean. As a strategical concept, the Heartland 
includes all regions which can be denied access by sea power. Railways, 
growing and expanding inward, have changed its face continuously since 
1904 and have tested Mackinder's thesis. Above all, the airplane has since 
upset the unstable balance between land and sea power; Mackinder 
greets it as an ally to land power in the Heartland. 

The first World War Mackinder sees as the climax in the eternal con- 
flict between continental land power and marginal power, backed and 
fed by sea power: "We have been fighting lately, in the close of the war, 
a straight duel between land power and sea power. We have conquered, 
but had Germany conquered she would have established her sea power 
on a wider basis than any in history, and in fact on the widest possible 
basis." 

The third and final test of the Heartland formula was undertaken by 
Mackinder in the article, "The Round World and the Winning of the 
Peace," which he wrote in 1943 for Foreign Affairs.* To Mackinder, the 
test was positive; he found his concept "more valid and useful today than 
it was either twenty or forty years ago." 

* Foreign Affairs (1943), pp. 595-605; in H. W. Weigert and V. Stefansson, eds., 
Compass of the World (New York, 1945), pp. 161-173. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 215 

Yet while the original concept of the Heartland remained basically 
intact, its frontiers were significantly revised. The revisions were re- 
quired in order to accommodate certain major changes in the political 
geography of the world since 1904 and 1918. The territory of the U.S.S.R. 
remains equivalent to the Heartland. But there is one rather important 
exception. A vast area within the Soviet Union which begins east of the 
Yenisei River and whose central feature is the Lena River has now been 
exempted by Mackinder from the original Heartland. "Lenaland Russia" 
has an area of three and three-quarter million square miles but a popula- 
tion of only some six millions, in contrast to "Heartland Russia" which 
covers four and a quarter million square miles and has a rapidly growing 
population numbering one hundred and seventy millions. 

Heartland Russia, backed by the natural resources of Lenaland, fore- 
shadows greater power than the Heartland Mackinder envisaged in dec- 
ades past. What earlier had seemed to be mere speculation had now 
grown into reality, and Mackinder could state as a fact that "except in 
a very few commodities the country is capable of producing everything 
which it requires." Again he views the open western frontier of the Heart- 
land. His conclusion that "if the Soviet Union emerges from the war as 
conqueror of Germany, she must rank as the greatest land power on the 
globe'" is slightly less emphatic than his vision of the approaching "em- 
pire of the world" ( 1904 ) . Otherwise, the Britisher's view of the geo- 
political relationship of Russia and Germany had remained unchanged. 

Any attempt at a critique 5 of Mackinder's powerful generalizations 
should begin with the acknowledgment of our indebtedness to the man 
who did more in our time than anybody else to enlist geography as an 
aid to statecraft and strategy. The fundamentals of his closed-space con- 
cept stand so firmly today that we almost forget how revolutionary the 
concept was when first formulated forty years ago. The same observa- 
tion applies to Mackinder's land power thesis which, appearing at what 
seemed to be the height of the Victorian sea power age, seemed shocking 
and fantastic to many in the English-speaking world. But in reviewing 
his thesis today, we should remember that it is the concept of a man 
who viewed the world from "England . . . that utmost corner of the West." 
Only a Britisher could have written as Mackinder did. Recognizing this 
and taking account of the technological changes which have surpassed 
even Mackinder's imagination, we should have sufficient perspective to- 
day to speak critically of the theory of the Heartland. 

5 Cf. H. W. Weigert, "Heartland Revisited," in H. W. Weigert, V. Stefansson, and 
R. E. Harrison, New Compass of the World (New York, 1949), pp. 80-90. 




J.g.r 



Fig. 8-2. Relationship of Heartland and North-America on the Azimuthal Polar Projection. 



216 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 217 

It is perhaps not incidental that the logic of Mackinder's Heartland 
seems to reveal itself best on a Mercator world map (such as Mackinder 
used when he first laid out his blueprint). Here the Heartland lives up 
to its name. We see it surrounded by a huge arc forming an inner crescent 
which includes Germany, Turkey, India, and China. Beyond the crescent 
of peripheral states, Mackinder envisaged an outer crescent which em- 
braced Britain, South Africa, Australia, the United States, Canada, and 
Japan. Again the Mercator projection lent a helpful hand in constructing 
what seemed to Mackinder a "wholly oceanic" and "insular" crescent. 

However, we find it difficult, if not impossible, to visualize this rela- 
tion of the Heartland to a surrounding inner and outer crescent if we 
exchange the Mercator map for the globe or any azimuthal-equidistant 
map (Fig. 8-2). The concept of North America as part of a chain of in- 
sular powers distant from the Heartland now becomes a geographical 
myth. In terms of air-geography the Heartland and North America appear 
in destiny-laden proximity. As viewed over the top of the world, the 
Heartland assumes a location different from that which Mackinder as- 
signed to it, plotting it from Britain, and with the destinies of Britain fore- 
most in his mind. While time has verified Mackinder's concept of Russia's 
growing importance as a land power in a pivotal area, and while the polit- 
ical and military control of the U.S.S.R. over the Heartland and Eastern 
Europe are at present more firmly established than ever, the skyways of 
the Arctic Mediterranean give validity to a new way of regarding the geo- 
graphical relations of North America and the U.S.S.R. The inaccessibility 
of the vast inland spaces of the Heartland became evident when the 
Heartland power was attacked by Germany in the west, where the Heart- 
land opens itself to invasion. But seen from North America, and in terms 
of new communications reaching out from many points in the far-flung 
"perimeter of defense" line, inaccessibility and vastness no longer conceal 
the Heartland from us. It no longer lies behind an impenetrable wall of 
isolation. 

In his article in Foreign Affairs, Mackinder seems to have made major 
revisions in his original concept of the relationship of the rest of the 
world to the Heartland. We have noticed that the original Heartland 
thesis remained basically unaltered, although the emphasis on the thinly 
populated Lenaland area has been toned down. But the surrounding 
crescents (and particularly North America as a member of the outlying 
insular power group ) are viewed by the Mackinder of 1943 in a different 
light. This is significant. The original British view which left North 
America seemingly isolated and beyond the sphere of power zones di- 



218 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

rectly linked with the Heartland, has now been replaced by an Anglo- 
American world view. 

Has Mackinder thus silenced his critics? Those who questioned the 
validity of his thesis 6 stressed uniformly the pivotal importance of the 
densely populated regions of the marginal coast lands or rim lands. The 
overemphasis, however, on either inland or rim-land location neglects the 
complementary character of the two, as well as their constantly changing 
values. Mackinder understood these dynamics clearly. He re-examined 
and revised his appraisal of the relationship between interior and periph- 
eral; he perceived from Britain that the peripheral felt, more than ever, 
the shadow of the continental land mass in its expansionist movement. 
Thus he projected a new vision of the Heartland in its relation to the 
surrounding zones. In doing so, he envisaged the geographic link be- 
tween the Heartland and the Anglo-American world in a new light. 
From Mercator he turned to the globe. Around the north polar regions 
he hung a "mantle" of deserts and wildernesses. From the Sahara Desert, 
the mantle extends to the deserts of Arabia, Iran, Tibet, and Mongolia. 
From there it spreads out across the "wilderness of the Lenaland" to the 
Laurentian shield of Canada and to the subarid belt of the United States. 

Thus he constructed what seems to be a new "pivot of history"; a zone 
including both the Heartland and the basin of North Atlantic. Thereby 
Mackinder reveals a new fulcrum of world power, and a new relation- 
ship between the Heartland and the outer world. The enlarged pivotal 
area of 1943 is made apparent by drawing a great circle arc from the 
center of the Yenisei River across the mid-ocean to the center of the Mis- 
sissippi valley. The arc leads across the bridgehead of France, over the 
stronghold of Britain— "a Malta on a grander scale"— to the vast arsenal 
of the eastern and central United States and Canada. This North 
American-British-French-U.S.S.R. bloc comprises a power fulcrum of one 
billion people. It neatly balances that other thousand million in the mon- 
soon lands of India and China. "A balanced globe of human beings. And 
happy, because balanced and thus free." 7 

THE BALANCE-OF-POWER FORMULA 

This balance was too neat and perfect to be true. The power bloc 
within which Communist China and the Soviet Union are allied, has 
upset Mackinder's balance, if it ever was a reality. We shall not deal 

6 See especially N. J. Spykman, The Geography of the Peace (New York, 1944). 

7 Mackinder, "The Round World and the Winning of the Peace," loc. cit. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 219 

in detail with Mackinder's final balance-of-power vision, a world divided 
into two equal hemispheres of one billion human beings each, because 
it was from the beginning a structure built upon shifting sand. Like 
other neat balance-of-power formulas, it did not work, not because a 
North American-British-French-U.S.S.R. bloc appears utterly unrealistic 
at this time, but because one cannot, in terms of geographic realities 
and of human and natural resources, construe a balance-of-power formula 
which can be applied permanently to the world relationship of one 
major area, such as the Heartland. The relativity of power relations be- 
tween human areas was demonstrated clearly in the history of Mac- 
kinder's own thesis. During the fifty years in which he was allowed to 
watch and revise his Heartland thesis, new pivot areas have evolved 
and still others are due to emerge. New areas and their peoples have 
come of age, and will continue to come of age. New lines of communi- 
cation will transform international relations. 

The revised Heartland concept of 1943 wisely acknowledged a signifi- 
cant geopolitical fact by including with the coast land of Europe the 
North American rim lands and central regions in the enlarged pivotal 
area. Since it is our purpose to clarify in terms of relative location the 
relationship between North America and the Eurasian continent by fol- 
lowing Mackinder's changing vision of this relationship, we might empha- 
size the fact that his enlightened view still remained a view through 
British glasses. Britain is the vital link in his concept of the "Mid-Ocean" 
as the main artery making the United Nations bloc (without China) a 
life force. Does he not try to prove too much? Do not his own lessons of 
a phase of history in which land power ( plus land-based air power ) chal- 
lenges the remnants of the Victorian age, guide us to additional routes 
which extend from North America to the Heartland? 



NEW LINKS BETWEEN HEARTLAND, NORTH AMERICA 
AND NORTHERN ASIA 

These routes do not touch Britain, although they touch, through Can- 
ada, life lines of the British Commonwealth of Nations. Mackinder's 
latest vision pushes the Lenaland and with it the whole of Soviet Asia 
into the background. This seems logical if one views the Heartland from 
the British Isles. However, a view of the Heartland from any place in 
North America exposes the fact that the mid-ocean avenue is by no 
means the only one connecting North America and the Heartland. The 
established sea lanes of the North Atlantic are and will probably remain 



220 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the cheapest avenues; but, in years to come, traffic will mount on the 
new highways and skyways to the Heartland and to Western and North- 
ern Europe across both the Alaska and the Greenland-Iceland bridges. 
While we are aware of the climatic barriers which always may hamper 
an American and Russian expansion northward and a large-scale col- 
onization and land-utilization of their Arctic possessions, we can not 
eliminate the northern links from the blueprint of a new world view. 
These links are represented not only by skyways but also by new inland 
communications and by sea lanes, opened by weather stations, planes, 
and ice breakers. 8 

It has been suggested that such emphasis on the frozen, desolate lands 
of ice and snow which form the new frontier of contact between the Old 
and the New World is unrealistic because "the Polar Mediterranean and 
its surrounding territory represent the greatest inhospitable area on the 
surface of the globe." 9 Such criticism would be justified were it directed 
only at the loose thinking which indeed often ignores the physical ob- 
stacles to large-scale human settlement in the American and Russian Far 
North. However, the attempts at de-emphasizing the growing significance 
of these regions miss their target when it comes to a consideration of 
not only (admittedly limited) agricultural potentials but especially the 
vast mineral resources and, above all, the tremendous timber resources 
of the polar regions; the latter loom even larger in the light of develop- 
ments in the field of wood and cellulose technology. 

Of greater importance in the evaluation of the global picture of the 
Arctic regions is the strategic consideration. 10 In case of a military con- 
flict between the United States and the Soviet Union, it is obvious that 
important military operations would take place north of 50° and a con- 
siderable portion, and possibly a decisive one, within the Arctic Circle. 
To emphasize that in spite of man's efforts to push northward every- 
where, digging for mineral resources in the eternally frozen soil of the 
tundra and even growing barley beyond the timber line, the Polar ter- 
ritory remains essentially inhospitable to human settlement, is beside the 
point when it comes to locating the areas of paramount strategic impor- 
tance on the world map. For wars are not necessarily fought and decided 
in densely populated regions, as is shown by the role of North Africa 
and New Guinea in the history of World War II. Strategic location can, 
and often does, outweigh population and resources in determining not 

8 See pp. 246 ff. 

9 Spykman, Geography of the Peace, pp. 56, 39. 

10 Ibid., pp. 43-45. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 221 

only battle sites but the over-all importance of a region in a global pic- 
ture. It goes without saying that the factor of strategic location would 
loom larger than ever in nuclear warfare. For this reason, the link be- 
tween North America and Europe across the mid-ocean avenue is par- 
alleled significantly by the links to the Heartland across the Alaska and 
the Greenland-Iceland bridges. 

Similarly, it would be mistaken to view the geographical relationship 
between the Heartland and China too much in terms of sea communica- 
tions. Of growing importance are the new inland roads, already either 
in operation or in the planning state, which together with new airways 
bring the Heartland gradually closer to China, 11 whose old front doors 
on the Pacific coast, in Hongkong and Shanghai, are disintegrating. One 
significant achievement in this development was claimed in the Soviet 
Union in November, 1954, when Pravda reported the completion of the 
easternmost section of the Baikal-Amur railroad from Lake Baikal to the 
Pacific near Khabarovsk. 12 Equally the growing net of Arctic air routes 
between North America and Japan and the Asian continent de-emphasizes 
a spatial relationship based in the not-so-distant past entirely on the link 
of Pacific sea lanes. 

These connections, both actual and potential, disprove any construc- 
tion based on an alleged position of North America as part of an outer 
crescent surrounding the Eurasian land mass or, as Mackinder postulated 
in 1943, based on a maritime link only, leading from the Heartland across 
France and the British Isles to the eastern and central United States and 
Canada. The new connecting links across the Arctic Mediterranean and 
its surrounding regions emphasize the fallacy of any world view focused 
on an alleged geographic isolation of the United States within the 
allegedly secure confines of an equally mystical "Western Hemisphere." 13 
But they also stress the significance of the Heartland zone itself. The 
incessantly growing net of interior lines of communication— railroads, 
highways, inland canals, and airways across its skies— adds consistently to 
the strength of a Soviet Union endowed with the geographic advantage 
of a central position and growing interior lines of transportation. 

Viewing this growing land power from a Britain whose empire, based 
on the control of the sea, he saw declining, Mackinder in his final ap- 
praisal found his thesis as sound, and as portentous, as ever; for "the 
Heartland— for the first time in history is manned by a garrison sufficient 

11 Ibid., p. 42. 

12 New York Times, November 21, 1954. 

13 See pp. 258 ff. 



222 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

in both numbers and quality." 14 He compared the Eurasian land mass, 
its central position and all its advantages of interior lines of communica- 
tion connecting it with the regions which he had described as the "inner 
crescent," with the exterior lines of British naval power "running from 
Great Britain through the circumferential highway around the Eurasian 
rimlands." 15 The comparison did not favor Britain. The Heartland loomed 
larger than ever. 

It looms large and is in close and increasing propinquity to the north- 
ern borders of North America, a propinquity which renders useless, be- 
cause unrealistic, any attempt at picturing the Western Hemisphere in a 
state of remoteness and isolation as part of an outer crescent surrounding 
the Heartland. As a glimpse of the globe or any world map not inspired 
by Mercator makes clear, the two "mainlands" almost merge in their 
northern expanses. It is here that the land power and the land-based air 
power of the North American nations and of the U.S.S.R. are now maneu- 
vering for positions in anticipation of a possible major conflict. 

REASSESSMENT OF THE POSITION OF RUSSIA AND U.S.S.R. 

Mackinder's new arrangement of the political map of the world— the 
Heartland itself, the marginal lands of the inner crescent, the lands of 
the outer crescent beyond that of the peripheral states— served (as we 
have seen) above all the purpose of reassessing in geographical terms 
the position of the Russian empire in the world at large; in political 
terms this reassessment was to serve as an eloquent warning to the West- 
ern world aligned with British sea power. It recognized as the signal 
geopolitical development of the young twentieth century the increasingly 
powerful position of Russia due to her central position and steadily grow- 
ing communication system of railroads, highways, and inland canals. 
These interior lines of communication were seen as a rising challenge to 
powers relying on sea communication. On the other hand, it must be 
realized that the railroads of the U.S.S.R., while playing the major role 
in the transportation economy of the country, are still far from satisfac- 
tory, 16 in spite of the fact that the Soviet regime which inherited a net- 
work of 36,300 miles has since increased the railroad mileage to about 
78,000 miles. But especially in Soviet Asia, the railway system is still 
skeletal in nature and the supply situation, especially from a military 



14 Foreign Affairs, July, 1953. 

15 Spykman, Geography of the Peace, p. 40. 



16 T. Shabad, Geography of the U.S.S.R. (New York, 1951), pp. 83-88. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 223 

point of view, of the far-flung corners of the empire— Central Asia, East- 
ern Siberia, and the Maritime Provinces— can be described as crucial 17 
(cf. Fig. 15-2, p. 478). 

THE RIM LANDS 

In this comparison of geographical foundations of land power and sea 
power we are taught to distingush between interior lands inaccessible to 
navigation, and coast lands or, as they have also been called, marginal 
lands or rim lands, which are accessible to the shipmen, sailing from 
beach to beach and harbor to harbor round the west, south, and east 
coasts of the Old World, and sailing up its navigable rivers. 18 Nicholas J. 
Spykman has justly criticized Mackinder for oversimplifying the land 
power versus sea power conflict. The historical alignment, he pointed out, 
has always been in terms of some member nations of the European rim 
land with Great Britain against Russia in alliance with other members of 
the rim land; or it has been a conflict between Great Britain and Russia 
together against a rim land power which, as for instance France or Ger- 
many, dared to gamble for the domination of the continent. Hence Spyk- 
man's formula in critique of Mackinder's: "Who controls the rimland, 
rules Eurasia; who rules Eurasia controls the destinies of the world." 19 

There are a number of significant geographical factors which justify 
the attempt to classify, in terms of political geography, the marginal lands 
(or rim lands) as distinctive units differentiated in many ways from the 
interior lands that are inaccessible to sea power and form the basis of 
the Heartland. These regions have in common three major character- 
istics distinguishing them from the interior lands. 

( 1 ) With the exception of the Heartland's north, where west winds 
carry a considerable amount of rainfall across the plains as far inland as 
the Altai Mountains, the inland areas are at a disadvantage in regard 
to water supply as compared with the marginal lands which can count 
on reliable rainfall sufficient for agriculture. 

(2) The marginal lands are centers of population density. It should 
also be noted that, within the Soviet Heartland region, the greatest con- 
centration of population, agricultural and industrial concentration, and 
power potential is in the western regions of the inland area, close to the 
marginal lands. 

17 W. G. East, "How Strong Is the Heartland?" Foreign Affairs (1950), pp. 78-93, 
87. 

18 Cf. C. B. Fawcett, "Marginal and Interior Lands of the Old World," in Weigert- 
Stefansson-Harrison, op. cit., pp. 91-103. 

19 Spykman, Geography of the Peace, p. 40 ff. 



224 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

(3) The marginal lands, in terms of political organization, lack the. 
political unification and centralization of power which characterizes the 
Heartland power. They are broken up into a number of more or less in- 
dependent national units which, however, strive in the face of aggression 
threats toward new forms of supranational unification. 20 

Thus we are led to that crucial cradle-of-conflict zone which extends 
along the western frontier of the Soviet Union and, continuing westward, 
forms in an irregular peninsula the center of the so-called continent of 
Europe. As seen from Moscow, or London, or Washington, the nations of 
this broad rim-land zone, while politically lacking uniformity and unifica- 
tion, share certain basic advantages due to their geographical rim-land 
position. To a large extent these account for the concentration and growth 
of their population and their agricultural and industrial wealth. They 
are the rim lands the control of which, it was claimed, endows the ruling 
power with control over Eurasia and, consequently, of the world. Mar- 
ginal as these lands are to the Heartland, they must be viewed in their 
role of actual and potential extensions of the Heartland itself. We have 
seen how Mackinder developed his thesis along strategic considerations; 
sea power and land power required new appraisals based on geographic 
facts and new lines of communication. Thus the strategic Heartland be- 
came the region to which, under modern conditions, sea power can be 
refused access by a locally dominant land power. 

In the light of this strategic concept, it becomes evident that certain 
marginal areas are needed to achieve the security objective of the Heart- 
land, namely, to extend its perimeter to a line which would assure the 
Heartland of the exclusion of sea power. We shall note immediately that 
emphasis on the land power-sea power conflict meant even before the 
advent of air power a gross oversimplification, as it is the accessibility to 
both sea and land and the power deriving from it which gives the mar- 
ginal regions growing importance. In the second half of the twentieth 
century, the impact of air power makes a new appraisal of the marginal 
lands mandatory, in their relationship to the Heartland as well as to other 
areas. 

THE HEARTLAND AND EASTERN EUROPE 

In attempting to define the major strategic areas forming the marginal 
lands to the west of the Heartland and having enough in common to be 
treated as entities, the political divide created by the Iron Curtain makes 
it necessary to distinguish between the regions of Eastern and Central 

20 Fawcett, "Marginal and Interior Lands of the Old World," loc. clt. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 



225 



i L L 

2 1 

3 




Fig. 8-3. Marginal Lands to the West of the Heartland: (1) U.S.S.R.; (2) satellites; 

(3) marginal lands. 



Europe and the rest of Europe (Fig. 8-3). As was stressed previously, a 
major distinguishing factor between the lands of the interior and the mar- 
ginal regions to the west of them is a negative one and one strictly related 
to political geography: whereas in the middle of the twentieth century the 
Heartland interior is a politically integrated unit fully controlled by the 
Kremlin, the countries of Eastern and Central Europe are characterized 
by the existence of politically conflicting structures, with both East and 
West attempting to mold them into a unified sphere. In political terms, 
this region includes Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Rumania, Austria, 
Hungary, Bulgaria, Albania, and on their periphery, Finland, Yugoslavia, 
and Greece. It goes without saying that in this pivotal area of centuries- 
old clashes between the East and the West any attempt at visualizing this 
area as a political unit of some broader meaning defies proper geographi- 
cal definition. Its typical state is one of fluctuation and transition; its 
human geography was rewritten many times in history as a result of wars 
and migrations sweeping westward and eastward. Yet, if only we apply 
the term marginal area in a broad sense, we can appreciate it as a large- 
space concept complementary to the interior lands of the Heartland. 



226 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

It would be futile to try to define the location of the thin boundary line 
which separates the Western extension of the Heartland from the eastern 
border regions of the marginal lands. Therefore, it is immaterial to deter- 
mine whether certain highly important regions in this broad frontier zone 
between Heartland and rim lands belong to either category. What mat- 
ters is the fact that in spite of the impressive pace of U.S.S.R. develop- 
ment in what the Russians refer to as "the eastern regions," the Volga- 
Ural region and Soviet Asia beyond it, 21 European Russia and certain 
areas adjacent to it are indispensable to the Heartland power. Regardless 
of whether the Baku oilfields, the Rumanian oilfields, the breadbasket 
and industries of the Ukraine, or the coal mines and industries in Upper 
Silesia form an annex of the Heartland area or an outpost of the marginal 
region, their location is such that they are extremely vulnerable to attack 
from without, especially from bases located in the "perimeter of defense" 
belt, in Britain, Scandinavia, the Western European mainland, North 
Africa, or the Middle East. The result is that the top-heavy concentration 
of population, agricultural and industrial assets of the Soviet empire along 
the western and most vulnerable border regions of the Heartland reduces 
the intrinsic value of the Heartland as a whole and of the power connota- 
tions it implies. 

The concentration of economic power and power potentials in the west- 
ern fringe areas of the Heartland, which is still, in the second half of the 
twentieth century, a major characteristic of the Heartland power, has thus 
fully confirmed Mackinder's thesis that he "who rules East Europe com- 
mands the Heartland." At the same time, we must not lose sight of the 
marchlands along the eastern border of the Heartland. As in the case of 
Eastern Europe, to focus attention on the Heartland per se, with its cen- 
tral position in Eurasia, its physical inaccessibility from the oceans, its 
seeming security from attack due to the natural bastion provided by the 
frozen waters of the Arctic and the mountain ranges and steppes of Cen- 
tral Asia, leads to an underestimation of the rim lands in the east which 
play a significant role in linking the Heartland with the rest of the world. 
The conquests of Alexander the Great and of the Arabs remind us of the 
role of the marginal areas of Southwest Asia in historical efforts aimed at 
controlling the Heartland. Even more important was the challenge to the 
Heartland by the empire of the Mongols. Its nucleus of power located in 
the steppes of Mongolia, it broadened its basis to include, in the thir- 
teenth century, China proper. 22 In reverse, and as seen from Moscow, the 

21 East, "How Strong Is the Heartland?" loc. cit., p. 90. 

22 Ibid., pp. 83, 84. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 227 

same marchlands, like those in Eastern Europe, provide stepping stones 
for the expansion of the Heartland power itself. Lenin's prediction that 
the road to Paris leads through China and India still rings ominously. The 
slow growth of railroads in Siberia and toward the Pacific coast as well 
as in Central Asia links the Heartland more and more with marchlands of 
great strategic portent, even more strategic in as much as the correspond- 
ing railroad system developed by China and linking its mainland with the 
outer regions remained (as, for instance, in the case of Sinkiang) utterly 
weak and vulnerable. 



THE INTERRELATIONSHIP OF HEARTLAND AND 
MARGINAL LANDS 

It must, therefore, be concluded that the study of location which the 
investigation of the Heartland and its physical qualities entails, while con- 
tributing greatly to the understanding of its strength, is not enough and 
is even misleading if it amounts to a preoccupation with the Heartland 
concept. In order to arrive at a balanced view, the study must be extended 
to include the marginal lands along all of the frontiers of the Heartland. 
In these regions where the Soviet sphere of expansion and influence is met 
and challenged by the "perimeter of defense" 23 organized by the Free 
World, it is frequently the concentration of populations and the wealth of 
resources, rather than geographical position by itself which accounts for 
their pivotal role. The combination of power based on the Heartland's 
central area and greatly increased control over vital parts of the marginal 
belt, not the central nucleus of the Heartland alone, would represent a 
unit which could challenge with a high degree of success the power posi- 
tion of the rest of the world. However, it must be realized that the impact 
of time and change, due to progress in technological achievement, is such 
that this formula holds good but in general terms and must be re-examined 
whenever makers of policy or planners of strategy put it to test at a given 
time. 

B. Strategic Implications of the Location of Marginal Seas 

and Narrow Waterways 

Marginal seas and narrow waterways occupy today, as in past history, 
a highly important position in the struggle for powers and rank high 
among the geographical foundations of political and military power. In 

23 See page 272 ff. 



228 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the present conflict between the Soviet orbit and the West, the evaluation 
of the opposing power systems makes it mandatory to understand the 
effect of the locational factors of marginal seas and narrow waterways on 
the respective powers— their geography granting decisive qualities of 
strength and weakness, qualities which have molded historical geography 
and which define political geography today. A glimpse at the map of 
water bodies does not always disclose easily power and control factors of 
the nations competing in these areas. The locational impact of these water 
bodies on the countries bordering them does not reveal itself on the map 
as clearly as is the case in regard to the factors of location which define 
the areal situation of a country and its relations to other countries across 
land borders. Their role becomes apparent only if projected against larger 
space configurations. Both the importance of the location concepts of these 
water bodies and the complicating factors which render difficult the ap- 
praisal of their geopolitical values make it appear advisable to discuss the 
major marginal seas and narrow waterways in some regional detail. 

Stretching around the vast littoral of the Eurasian land mass, from 
Spitsbergen to the Kuriles, is a chain of islands and archipelagoes, some 
delimiting, others within a series of marginal seas and narrow waterways. 
These control vital sea communications of the world and are likely to be 
pivotal areas in any conflict between the two power blocs that is not im- 
mediately decided by atomic-thermonuclear weapons of air power. The 
marginal seas are peculiar to the Eurasian continent. The only similar 
instance of enclosed sea in the North and South American continent is 
that of the Caribbean Sea, which is defined by the Bahamas and the 
Antilles. 

The significance of these marginal seas and the narrow straits within 
them cannot be overemphasized. So long as intermediate bases are main- 
tained by the Free World in the coastal regions of Eurasia, they function 
as a cordon sanitaire around the expanse of the Soviet domain. Once this 
line of sea communications is breached by Soviet penetration, the entire 
peripheral strategy of the Free World would be endangered. The sea com- 
munications of the Free World are secure only if the seas through which 
they pass and the narrow straits on which they converge are secure. The 
potential threat of such penetration must not be seen in the possible rise 
of the Heartland power to the stature of a maritime power able to chal- 
lenge Anglo-American naval supremacy, for geography is prohibitive to 
such development. Rather the threat is against the sea lanes from aircraft 
based in the Heartland itself and in satellite rim lands. Nicholas J. Spyk- 
man's observation still holds true: "there is no geopolitical area in the 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 229 

world that has been more profoundly affected by the development of air 
power than this one of the marginal seas." 24 The development of air 
power has not reduced the importance of these seas and communications 
focal points, but it has made them more difficult to defend. Besides the 
defenses located in the immediate vicinity of the waterway, it is now 
necessary to establish bases hundreds of miles away. A case in point is the 
entire Caribbean, which is now a part of the defensive perimeter of the 
Panama Canal. 

In the period between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries it was pos- 
sible to keep enemy ships and troops outside artillery range of a narrow 
waterway. This is no longer true, since aircraft can now make the water- 
way untenable even to the nation which controls it. Although that nation 
remains in a position to prevent enemy traffic from passing through it, 
hostile aircraft can render it too costly to send friendly ships through the 
channel. Early in World War II Britain did not dare to send its ships 
through the Suez Canal because of the threat of German air power. Such 
an air threat necessitates the maintenance of distant air bases to provide 
adequate aircraft interception. A discussion of these waterways and their 
distinguishing geographic characteristics enables us to see in true per- 
spective the marginal problems of the Heartland power itself and equally 
those of the nations in the perimeter of defense zones. 

THE GEOGRAPHICAL PATTERN 

If a strip map were constructed extending from the northwestern North 
American coastline and the eastern Asiatic coastal area it would reveal 
a succession of marginal seas defined by an almost interminable chain of 
islands and archipelagoes ( Fig. 8-4 ) . This is particularly true of the imme- 
diate continental margin, where from the Arctic Circle to the Equator, 
and beyond, there is a regular repetition of the same simple geographical 
pattern. The continental mainland is separated everywhere from the open 
oceans by a succession of partly enclosed seas, each protected and easily 
defended on the Pacific side by curving peninsular and island barriers. 
These loop-like barriers, swinging toward the mainland at either extrem- 
ity, not only define and separate the marginal seas but lead to a sequence 
of straits and narrows that have great strategic significance. 

Beginning in the Alaska peninsula, and continuing through the Aleu- 
tians, the first arc ties in to the shore of Kamchatka, shutting in the Bering 
Sea and covering the most accessible entries into the Yukon and Anadyr 

24 Spykman, Geography of the Peace, p. 54. 




Fig. 8-4. Succession of Marginal and Enclosed Seas — from North America to the 

Indian Ocean. 

230 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 231 

valleys. Near the Alaskan end the United States has a strong naval base 
at Dutch Harbor, while the corresponding Russian base is at Petropav- 
lovsk on Kamchatka. 

The second unit in this pattern begins with the Kamchatka Peninsula 
and is continued without a break by the Kurile Islands, which follow a 
running curve and then tie in with the northeastern extremity of Hok- 
kaido. The last of these islands, Paramushiro, is a northern Gibraltar in 
sight of Kamchatka. These islands are controlled by the U.S.S.R. and 
make of the Sea of Okhotsk a virtual Russian lake, controlling the north- 
ern access to the Amur basin. 

The third arc begins with Sakhalin, which is separated by less than 
twenty miles from the continental coast, and extends southward for over 
seven hundred miles to the northwestern tip of Hokkaido. From this point 
Japan itself forms the outer arc, which at its southwestern extremity ap- 
proaches within sixty miles of the Korean coast. Enclosed within this arc 
is the Sea of Japan. Mid-way along the continental shore is the Soviet 
naval base of Vladivostok, guarding the eastern terminus of the Trans- 
Siberian railroad and projecting Soviet naval power toward the chain of 
Japanese islands. 

The fourth geographical unit can be traced from the Korean peninsula 
through Kyushu ( part of Japan proper ) and the Ryukyu chain which ties 
in to the island of Formosa. The enclosed China Sea has a secondary inner 
basin, the Yellow Sea, and two innermost recesses, the Gulfs of Chihli and 
Liaotung, behind the Kwantung Peninsula. This whole outer arc, nearly 
two thousand miles long, faces toward the entrances to Manchuria, the 
North China Plain, and the Yangtze Basin. Within this arc on the main- 
land is the port city and naval base of Shanghai. In the southern entry to 
the China Sea the Formosa Strait is narrowed further by the Pescadores. 
They are located within the United States perimeter of defense as defined 
in January, 1955. 

The fifth repetition of this geographical pattern is drawn on a larger 
scale than its northern counterparts. Beginning with Formosa, an outer 
protective barrier runs through the Bataan Islands (part of the Philip- 
pines), Luzon, Mindoro, Palawan, Northern and Western Borneo, Billiton, 
Banka, and eastern Sumatra. The last swings in toward Malaya and thus 
completes the enclosure of the South China Sea while defining its southern 
entry through Malacca Strait. Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi and Hong Kong 
all lie within this barrier. The area is honeycombed with shallows and 
treacherous waters which confine ships to well-defined sea lanes. 

Thereafter, this configuration of marginal seas is lost in the Indian 




INDIAN OCEAN 



100 ZOO 300 400 500 Ml 

l 1 I 1 1=1 



200 400 600 Km 



< ^\\ f TIMOR 




m. 



Fig. 8-5. The South China Sea. 



232 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 233 

Ocean (unless one considers the Andaman and Nicobar Islands chain as 
sufficient to define the contours of a marginal sea ) , only to reappear in a 
different pattern in the Middle East and Western Europe, in the Persian 
Gulf, the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea, White 
Sea and the Barents Sea. With the exception of the Red Sea and the 
Persian Gulf all of these seas wash the shores of Heartland— or Heartland 
controlled— marginal territory; the North Sea in this sense is seen as form- 
ing a unit with the Soviet-dominated Baltic Sea. As marginal seas they 
have immediate importance in any effort by the Soviet Union to gain clear 
access to the open Atlantic, the Mediterranean, and the Indian Ocean. 
Such an effort would presuppose control, by the Heartland power, of the 
narrow straits which must be passed to reach the open sea. 

Scattered along the chain of islands and archipelagoes in the Pacific 
and dotting the system of marginal seas in Europe and the Middle East 
are those focal points between land masses which provide egress from the 
interior or marginal seas. These straits and channels are not as numerous, 
however, as one might expect. In many instances where they do exist sea 
traffic is impeded or strictly channeled by the nature of treacherous 
shoals. A graphic illustration of the importance of deep straits occurred 
after the Battle of the Java Sea in 1942. All the deep exits from this sea 
were guarded by Japanese vessels, which sank or captured most of the 
Allied ships. The shallower craft were able to make the passage between 
Java and Bali Island (Bali Strait), and were able to escape the lone Japa- 
nese guard. But the larger ships that tried to escape through the Sunda 
Strait (between Sumatra and Java) and Lombok Strait (between the 
islands of Bali and Lombok in the Indonesian archipelago) encountered 
armed forces too large to evade or conquer. 25 

Most of the strategic waterways— the narrow passages— of the world can 
be divided into two general classes: those which are maritime highways 
between two of the great oceans; and those giving access to enclosed or 
semienclosed seas. In the first group are: 

(1) The Mediterranean system, including the Strait of Gibraltar, the 
Sicilian Straits, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, and the Strait of Bab-el- 
Mandeb. This is the vastly important water passage through the Eurafri- 
can land mass to India and Southeast Asia— vitally important in the 
peripheral strategy of the Free World. 

(2) The Panama Canal, connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, 
with its antechamber, the Caribbean Sea and the passages which connect 

25 E. G. Mears, Pacific Ocean Handbook (San Francisco, 1944), p. 43. 



234 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

the latter with the Atlantic Ocean. Of these, the Windward Passage is of 
first importance. 

(3) The waterways linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans (Fig. 8-5). 
These include the Strait of Malacca, Sunda Strait, and Singapore Strait, 
which provide access from the Indian Ocean to the South China Sea; San 
Bernardino Strait and Surigao Strait, which connect the South China Sea 
with the Pacific; Lombok and Macassar Straits, which connect the Indian 
Ocean with the Java and Celebes Seas; and Torres Strait, which connects 
the Arafura Sea to the Coral Sea. 26 

In the second category— passages providing access to enclosed seas or to 
seas which for all practical purposes are enclosed— are the following: 

(1) The Turkish Straits, including the Dardanelles, the Sea of Mar- 
mara, and the Bosporus, which provide access to the Black Sea from the 
Mediterranean. 

(2) The Straits at the entrance to the Baltic Sea. These are the Kattegat 
and Skagerrak, The Sound, and the Great Belt. The Kiel Canal is an alter- 
nate entrance to the Baltic Sea. 

( 3 ) St. George's Channel and the Irish Channel, which are the southern 
and northern entrances to the Irish Sea. 

(4) The entrances to the Sea of Japan. These include the Tartary Strait, 
La Perouse Strait, Tsugaru Strait, Tsushima and Shimonoseki Straits. 

(5) The Strait of Ormuz, giving access to the Persian Gulf from the 
Indian Ocean. 27 

Perhaps still a third group of vital waterways can be distinguished in 
the narrow channels which pass between insular areas and the mainland. 
Certainly the most important of these is the English Channel. In addition, 
the Strait of Formosa connects the East and South China Seas, Hainan 
Strait separates the island from the mainland, Palk Strait separates Ceylon 
from the southern tip of the Indian mainland, and the Straits of Messina 
lie between Sicily and the Italian toe. The Strait of Bonifacio, between 
Sardinia and Corsica, and the Strait of Otranto, between Albania and 
Italy, have a secondary importance. 

For the past century it has been Britain which has dominated the sea 
lanes and sea communications, but it must be stressed that, in the spring 
of 1956, the British naval and air base position between Aden and Aus- 
tralia appeared to be crumbling: Bombay passed from British control in 

26 G. F. Eliot, "Strategic Waterways," United Nations World (September, 1947), 
pp. 30-35. 

27 Ibid. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 235 

1950; the government of Ceylon requested in 1956 an early evacuation of 
the British base at Trincolamee; its air bases in Malaya are threatened by 
Communist infiltration; and Britain's control of Aden is under pressure 
both from within the colony and from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen. 
Britain had established its domination of the sea lanes by seizing all but 
three of the strategic gateways or bottlenecks between the oceans. Of the 
remaining three, that at Panama remained in the friendly hands of the 
United States, while two others in the Indonesian archipelago— then held 
by the Netherlands— were also under friendly control. Controlling the 
strategic sea lanes in this manner, "not a ton of interocean shipping could 
move on the earth without going past British or United States points of 
naval control." 28 A globe-girdling chain of strategic naval bases was con- 
structed to safeguard these points of control. Although constructed or 
acquired in days of the sailing vessels, the foresight in their selection 
made them equally valuable once steam and oil-powered vessels sup- 
planted sailing ships. As already noted, the most severe challenge to their 
usefulness and the usefulness of the narrow waterways is to be seen in the 
ability of air power to neutralize them. 

Today these narrow straits are still under the dominant control of 
Anglo-American naval power or of smaller nations friendly to, or even 
dependent on, that power. A discussion of these waterways will point this 
up although the precarious position of the British base net and the under- 
mining effect of this weakness on the security of the United States and 
the free world as a whole must be kept in mind. 

THE SEA OF JAPAN 

Of the entrances to the Sea of Japan (Fig. 8-6) all except the Strait of 
Tartary and La Perouse Strait are wholly controlled, on both shores, by 
American forces occupying Japan and South Korea. The northern shore of 
La Perouse Strait is formed by the Russian island of Sakhalin. The Tartar 
Strait is wholly Russian, but ice closes it during a great part of the year. 
Despite the U.S.S.R. naval base at Vladivostok the Sea of Japan is effec- 
tively counterbalanced by the United States so long as occupation forces 
continue to remain in Japan and South Korea. Whether, and if so, to what 
extent, submarine warfare and the mining of port entrances would in a 
war necessitate a reappraisal of this situation is in the realm of specu- 
lation. 

28 G. T. Renner and associates, Global Geography (New York, 1944), p. 618. 



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Cftina Sea 



Fig. 8-6. Sea of Japan. 



236 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 237 

FROM INDIA TO THE PACIFIC 

The waterways linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans are still domi- 
nated by British naval power at Singapore. In conjunction with United 
States naval forces in the Philippines the entire Southeast Asian series of 
narrow waterways is effectively dominated. The only immediate threat to 
Singapore is a Communist drive down the Malayan peninsula comparable 
to the successful Japanese thrust in the Second World War. The network 
of sea communications in this area is second only in importance to that 
of the Mediterranean. Not only is it the vital hub of communications be- 
tween the Indian and Pacific Oceans, but also it controls communications 
extending north through the Formosa Strait to the Japanese Islands. The 
access of the maritime powers to all of Southeast Asia and a considerable 
part of the Far East thus depends on friendly control of this sea communi- 
cations hub. The Bering Strait to the north, separating Alaska and eastern 
Siberia, is difficult of access both by sea and from the interior. 

THE PANAMA CANAL AND CARIBBEAN AREA 

This area is wholly controlled by the United States (cf. Fig. 3-6, p. 
72). The Caribbean Sea is the key to the Panama defenses and includes 
three independent republics and possessions of the United States, Britain, 
France, and the Netherlands. As a practical matter, however, it is an 
American lake, dominated by sea and air power. The outer zone of sec- 
ondary bases stretches from Exuma in the Bahamas to Antigua and St. 
Lucia in the Lesser Antilles, both leased bases. The inner zone of main 
defense covers an arc reaching from Guantanamo Bay on Cuba in the 
west to San Juan in the north and Trinidad in the southeast. On the west- 
ern approaches, leased bases in the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador protect 
the canal from a distance of a thousand miles away. The canal is vital in 
the East- West communications of the entire free world, and as such is the 
only narrow waterway of great strategic importance in the North and 
South American continents. The rest of the world's strategic waterways 
are found in the marginal seas ringing the Eurasian land mass. 

THE BALTIC SEA 

Following the long coast line of the U.S.S.R., from the westernmost of 
its Arctic seas, the Barents Sea, and its southern annex, the White Sea 
which has become increasingly important as outlet of the Baltic-White 



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(Porkkala returned to Finland 1956); (2) neutral; (3) NATO bloc. 



238 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 239 

Sea inland waterway, we reach the Baltic Sea, Russia's window toward 
Scandinavia and the Atlantic (Fig. 8-7). Slowly but systematically, the 
Soviet Union has increased its direct control of the Baltic littoral which 
had been for a long time limited to the easternmost section of the Gulf 
of Finland. Ice-bound half of the year, the old Russian zone seemed 
too weak to assure the safety of Leningrad, the Soviet Union's second 
city. The Baltic States were incorporated in 1940. With their annex- 
ation, the Soviet Union organized new seaports which are more favor- 
ably located than is Leningrad's naval base, Kronstadt, which is ice- 
bound for five to six months: Tallinn, the main port of Estonia, is 
practically ice-free; the important port of Riga in Latvia is icebound 
for about three months, whereas the naval base of Libau is relatively 
ice-free. Farther south, the U.S.S.R. extended her Baltic power posi- 
tion through control of Memel in Lithuania and the port city of Kalin- 
ingrad, the former Konigsberg, which is ice-free most of the year. In 
satellite Poland, the twin ports of what, after World War I, formed 
the Free City of Danzig and of Gdynia, as well as Szczecin (Stettin), 
not threatened by ice, are the natural outlets of the Vistula and Oder 
basins for the agricultural and industrial products of Poland, the western 
Ukraine, and Silesia. In 1955, the Soviet Union's grip around the Baltic 
included the coastline of satellite East Germany with its naval stations on 
the island of Riigen and at the port of Rostock. Its flanking expansion 
along the Baltic littoral ends in sight of the West German port of Liibeck. 
This extension of Soviet Union control since the end of World War II 
has greatly improved its over-all defensive position as well as its po- 
tential role as an aggressor in the Baltic arena. On the other hand, the 
strength of NATO prevents further expansion and bars the Soviet Union 
from turning the Baltic Sea into a Russian lake from which its naval 
power, especially its submarines, could penetrate into the Atlantic. West 
Germany controls the ports of Liibeck and Kiel on the Kiel Canal which, 
in its length of fifty-three miles, cuts through Schleswig-Holstein and en- 
ters the Elbe river, fifteen miles east of Cuxhaven. Denmark, the natural 
goal of a Russian attempt to gain full control of the Baltic Sea and access 
to the Atlantic, still controls, through land fortifications, the strategically 
important island of Bornholm, and through mine fields, The Sound and 
the Belts. Sweden, in its important outlet to the North Sea, the naval base 
and port of Goteborg, shares with Denmark in the defense of the Kattegat. 
Sweden is not as exposed a Baltic Power as is Denmark. Its bases in 
Stockholm, Karlskrona, and on the island of Gotland are a strong protec- 




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THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 241 

tion of its southern lands and have served as an effective deterrent to a 
challenge of Sweden's neutrality. Finland, on the other hand, in spite of 
the boundary changes effected after the Russo-Finnish war, is in a pre- 
carious position because of its close proximity to the Soviet Union's life- 
center of Leningrad. Its Aland islands which control the entrance to the 
Gulf of Bothnia have been neutralized. In conclusion, we find the Baltic 
arena a strategic area of great significance both to the Soviet orbit and the 
Free World. Seen from the standpoint of Soviet Union security, the Baltic 
defense line protects the vital agricultural and industrial concentrations 
between Leningrad, Moscow, and the eastern Ukraine and the increas- 
ingly important mining districts of Upper Silesia. In terms of aggression, 
the U.S.S.R. position along the Baltic coast could be seen as a stepping 
stone for Russian expansion into the Atlantic, with the consequent threat 
of dangerous submarine warfare against Allied shipping. Conversely, the 
location of NATO strength in its littoral member states and the strong 
position of Sweden produce a balance of power which halts further ex- 
pansion by the U.S.S.R. and helps to maintain peace because the Free 
World occupies strategically favorable positions from which, in retaliation 
to aggressive moves by the Soviet Union, air blows or even an invasion 
could be started against vital industrial centers and communications lines 
in the European expanses of the Soviet Union. 

THE MEDITERRANEAN NETWORK 

The western entrance to the Mediterranean (Fig. 8-8) is commanded 
by the Gibraltar fortress, its British rule being vainly challenged by Spain. 
The narrow waist is dominated by the British fortress-island of Malta, and 
to some extent by the French base at Bizerte in Tunisia and the American 
air base at Wheelus Field at Tripoli. Sicily and other neighboring Italian 
islands are de-neutralized under the Italian peace treaty. The most critical 
control point in the Mediterranean vital passageway is the Suez Canal. 29 
The concession of the joint-stock company which operates the canal does 
not expire until 1968, but since 1954 the canal is no longer under British 
control. 30 A possible alternative control point for the eastern Mediterra- 
nean is the British island of Cyprus and naval installations in the Isken- 
deron area of southeastern Turkey. However, the control over the last 
British-ruled bastion in the Middle East, Cyprus, appeared to be seriously 

29 A. Siegfried, "The Suez: International Roadway," Foreign Affairs (1953), pp. 
605-618. 

30 See pp. 639, 640. 



242 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

threatened in late 1955 by the mounting hostility of 400,000 Cypriotes of 
Greek descent, who were fighting for "self determination". Other narrow 
waterways of strategic value in this network are the Turkish Straits, the 
Strait of Otranto, the Strait of Messina, and the Strait of Bonifacio. The 
latter two are not of critical importance, but are available as convenient 
alternate ship routes. 

However, such listing of the ramparts that guard the Mediterranean 
Sea would be misleading if we lost sight of the fact that the Mediterranean 
in its true power connotations, and as a "pivot of peace and war," 31 must 
be looked upon as a continuous waterway made up of two unequal parts, 
which until 1869 functioned separately— the Mediterranean proper and 
the Red Sea— tenuously linked at the isthmus of Suez. 32 It should be noted 
that the loss of Egypt as kingpin of the Middle East defense position has 
accentuated the critical defense position of the Western powers in the 
Middle East area as a whole, which is in sharp contrast to their firmly 
established security system in the Mediterranean arena itself. 



33 



THE "GEOGRAPHICAL BLOCKADE" OF THE HEARTLAND POWER 

The control of the sea communications throughout the maritime world 
and the network of intermediate bases counterbalance the power concen- 
tration in the Soviet-dominated Eurasian land mass. 34 We have stressed 
before that with only one or two exceptions the most vital narrow water- 
ways are controlled by Anglo-American naval power. This naval domi- 
nance extends to most of the marginal seas as well. The immediate 
advantage to the Free World in this pattern of political geography is the 
complete accessibility by way of sea communications to the land area 
dominated by the Soviet Union. In contrast to the Eurasian land mass, 
the shores of the North and South American continents fall into the sea 
without a pattern of marginal seas or insular ramparts, which fact accounts 
for the vastly superior defense position of the American nations. Geog- 
raphy endows with great advantages powers whose naval strength, sup- 
ported by air bases, controls the marginal seas and narrow passageways, 
as long as this control is not challenged successfully by naval and air 
power based on the Eurasian Heartland or rim lands under its control. 

31 W. G. East, "The Mediterranean: Pivot of Peace and War," Foreign Affairs 
(1953), pp. 619-633. 

32 Ibid. 

33 W. G. East, "The Mediterranean: Pivot of Peace and War," loc. cit., pp. 631-633; 
see especially the observations on the alternative of a British defense-in-depth system 
in and around the Indian Ocean. 

s* See p. 214 ff. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 243 

This observation leads to the conclusion, borne out by history, that the 
Heartland power, even if succeeding in the establishment of a firm strong- 
hold over the Eurasian marginal lands, will try to extend its perimeter of 
defense— or aggression— to include the marginal seas and narrow water- 
ways off its shores. In its urge toward the open seas, 35 the Soviet Union, 
as formerly Russia, meets with formidable barriers: the Soviet Baltic lake 
is bottled by the Skagerrak and the Kattegat ( cf. Fig. 8-7 ) ; her Black Sea 
outlet to warm waters is choked by the Turkish Straits; the Bering and 
Okhotsk Seas are fogbound and icebound a great part of the year; the Sea 
of Japan is subject to American naval power in Japanese bases; and the 
succession of Anglo-American naval bases along the whole of the insular 
rampart to Singapore would serve to nullify potential Soviet naval power 
ranging from Tsingtao, Shanghai, Vladivostok, and Petropavlovsk. 

If one considers a possible break-out from this "geographical blockade," 
with the factors of geography foremost in mind, the two most likely areas 
are the Baltic and Black Seas. The former brings to the U.S.S.R. most of 
her imports, while the latter carries most of her exports to world markets. 
In both situations the Soviet Union is confronted with a narrow waterway 
which is subject to Anglo-American naval control. The acquisition, by the 
Soviet Union, of the Finnish coast beyond Viborg, her annexation of the 
Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania and also of a strip of East 
Prussia which includes Kaliningrad, are evidence that the Baltic is to 
become, if it is not already, something of a Russian lake, its security 
threatened, however, by air power from the ring of bases which surround 
it. Furthermore, a concentration of Soviet naval power in the Baltic serves 
no great interest of the Soviet Union unless it can reach out beyond the 
Kiel Canal, The Sound, and the Great Belt to the North Sea and beyond. 

A similar joining of rival naval forces would occur in the Aegean if the 
U.S.S.R. were ever successful in breaking out from the Black Sea through 
the narrow Bosporus into the Sea of Marmara, and from there through the 
winding channel of the Dardanelles into the Aegean Sea. Anglo-American 
naval power would appear to be highly sensitive to Russian intrusion on 
the eastern Mediterranean sea lanes, not to mention the neutralization of 
Turkey that would result from such a successful breaching of this geo- 
graphical barrier. Hanson N. Baldwin stated the case clearly in saying 
that "geography is the Russian Navy's undoing" and that, even if the 
Dardanelles were to fall to Communist armies, the maze of islands in the 

35 See the comprehensive account by R. J. Kerner, "The Soviet Union as a Sea 
Power," in Weigert-Stefansson-Harrison, op. cit., pp. 104-122; see also, F. Uligh, Jr., 
"The Threat of the Soviet Navy," Foreign Affairs (1952), pp. 444-455. 



244 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Aegean and the closed waters of the Mediterranean would make a sortie 
by Russian surface ships or submarines a desperate adventure. 36 

If one views the Baltic and Black Seas and their narrow passageways 
through the glass of the Heartland power that is trying to render the land 
mass itself and the marginal lands it dominates secure against attack from 
without, it is evident that they play as important a part in the security 
system of the Heartland complex as do the marginal lands adjacent to its 
borders. These marginal areas, as well as the western territories of the 
Heartland, are accessible at both ends from the sea. Any power equipped 
with the ships and with air cover to penetrate into the Baltic and Black 
seas would create a serious threat to the security of the Heartland-rim 
land structure as a whole. Clearly these marginal seas and their pathways 
loom large in the strategy of both the Soviet Union and the West. The case 
histories of the Black Sea and of the Baltic Sea, as well as those of the 
other marginal seas discussed, offer significant evidence that the appraisal 
of any security and power position remains incomplete unless the margi- 
nal seas, and their passageways, be given proper consideration. As a foot- 
note to this general appraisal, it should be added that the strong emphasis 
on submarine construction in the Soviet Union— which, in 1955, was re- 
ported to have three hundred submarines in service— is clearly its attempt 
at partial solution of the geographical problems of the Heartland-rim land 
structure. In an appraisal of the geographical barriers which obstruct the 
Soviet Navy, Hanson W. Baldwin concluded in 1955 37 that its construc- 
tion program 

. . . will reach really dangerous proportions only if two or more of the following 
developments occur: (1) If Soviet long-range planes with an operational radius 
of at least 1,000 miles and a capability for effective attack upon shipping learn 
to co-ordinate their operations with Soviet submarines; 

(2) If Russia acquires new open- water naval, submarine and air bases on the 
coasts of Western Europe by land conquests ( as Germany did in World War II ) ; 

(3) If the industrial facilities of Soviet Siberia are strengthened so greatly as 
to be capable of the self-sufficient support of a very much more powerful Far 
Eastern Fleet; 

(4) If a breach in the Western Pacific island chain is achieved by Communist 
conquest or political action so as to provide Soviet Russia with a warm-water 
port fronting on the open Pacific. 

The Achilles' heel of Soviet Russia's deep-sea power today is her naval base 
complex. Her most important and best bases are bottled up in narrow seas; the 
few that give access to the open ocean are subject to the vagaries of Arctic 
weather and are vulnerable to atomic or conventional bombing attack by land- 
based or ship-based aircraft. 

36 "The Soviet Navy," Foreign Affairs (1955), pp. 587-604 (590, 591). 
■« Uiid., p. 604. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 245 

Soviet Russia's naval might cannot be dismissed as a factor in her present 
global power. But it is not a major factor. Her submarine strength and in par- 
ticular her minelaying capabilities deserve increasing respect. But it is still true 
today as it was in the days of the Tsars that if Russia is to challenge the United 
States or Great Britain for primacy upon the high seas she must, besides 
strengthening her maritime power with increased export trade, acquire warm- 
water ports fronting upon the open oceans of the world and expand her ship- 
building industry and the vast industrial complex to support it. 



NARROW MARINE STRAITS IN THE ANTARCTIC 

Our discussion of the strategically significant narrow passages would 
be incomplete without mentioning the increasingly important role of 
the Drake Passage between South America and Palmer Peninsula (Fig. 
8-9), ominously important because of the vital role this passage would 
assume if in a future conflict passage through the Panama Canal or 
the Suez Canal, or through both of them, would be barred. In such a 
case ships would have to plough the Antarctic Seas on their way from 
the Pacific to the Atlantic, or on their way from the Atlantic to the 
Indian Ocean. The political geography of the Antarctic sphere of in- 
terest has come into the picture very late, 38 but the possible blocking 
of the passages through the Suez and Panama Canals has made the 
Drake Passage, between Tierra del Fuego and the Falkland Islands 
to the north and the outer reaches of Antarctica to the south, a po- 
tentially decisive strategic area. Many nations are now competing for 
sovereignty rights in the Antarctic arena. Argentina has established 
stations at both ends of the Drake Passage. Competing with Argentina 
are Chile, Great Britain (which, in 1908, set up her Falkland Islands 
Dependencies), and the United States, as well as other nations with 
more or less specific claims. Significant battles for the control of these 
Antarctic waters were fought in World Wars I and II when in both wars 
the Germans succeeded in playing havoc with Allied shipping in southern 
waters. Forewarned by the experiences of the two wars, Argentina, Chile, 
and Britain have established themselves in the Palmer Peninsula area and 
are competing in their sovereignty claims. The United States in 1955 com- 
pleted a non-military Antarctic exploratory mission (the U.S.S. Atka 
expedition) and has good ground for sovereignty claims of its own in the 
Palmer Peninsula. The Soviet Union, in an ominous move late in 1955, 
announced plans to establish three bases near the South Pole. These plans 
could be interpreted as the possible beginning of a double flanking of 

38 L. Martin, "The Antarctic Sphere of Interest," in Weigert-Stefansson-Harrison, 
op. cit., pp. 65-73 (65). 



246 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 




Fig. 8-9. Drake Passage in Relation to the Panama and Suez Canals. 

Australia and New Zealand by the Soviet Union. It has been argued 39 
that a considerable Communist air power might gain a foothold in Indo- 
nesia in the next ten to fifteen years, unless the influence of the Free World 
prevails. If the Soviet Union would establish Antarctic air bases, Australia 
and New Zealand would be vulnerable from the West, too. Forty nations 
will take part in the Geophysical Year, 1957-58, with the United States' 
expedition under the command of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd as a 
major participant. Time will tell whether and in what respects the objec- 
tives in the fields of pure science will be overshadowed by strategic, 
political, and economic developments in the vast and empty Antarctic 
arena. 

LOCATIONAL FACTORS OF THE ARCTIC: THE 
ARCTIC MEDITERRANEAN 

The Arctic Ocean is in actuality a part of the Atlantic Ocean whose 
littoral includes the land masses of the Northern Hemisphere. It has been 
rightly termed the Polar Mediterranean. When Vilhjalmur Stefansson 



39 New York Times, November 20, 1955. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 247 

coined this phrase in 1922, he defined it in terms which, if examined in 
retrospect, appear to be visionary: 



40 



A map giving one view of the northern half of the northern world shows that 
the so-called Arctic Ocean is really a Mediterranean sea like those which sepa- 
rate Europe from Africa or North America from South America. Because of its 
smallness, we would do well to go back to an Elizabethan custom and call it not 
the Arctic Ocean but the Polar Sea or Polar Mediterranean. The map shows that 
most of the land in the world is in the Northern Hemisphere, that the Polar Sea 
is like a hub from which the continents radiate like the spokes of a wheel. The 
white patch shows that the part of the Polar Sea never yet navigated by ships 
is small when compared to the surrounding land masses. In the coming air age, 
the. . . Arctic will be like an open park in the center of the uninhabited city of 
the world, and the air voyagers will cross it like taxi riders crossing a park. Then 
will the Arctic islands become valuable, first as way stations and later because 
of their intrinsic value— minerals, grazing, fisheries . . . 

The Arctic Mediterranean is an excellent example of an area in which 
technological progress, especially in aviation, has caused far-reaching 
changes which make imperative a reorientation and a new evaluation of 
locational factors of the area. Because of these aspects of location, a review 
of some of them is necessary in order to appraise the new role of the Arc- 
tic in the relationships of the northern powers. 

As the air age has developed, more and more attention has been focused 
upon the Arctic, for over the Arctic pass the great circle routes connecting 
the United States and Canada and the Far East in one direction and in the 
other direction linking the United States with Northwestern Europe. The 
great circle is the flyer's short cut, for the arc of a great circle is the short- 
est distance between two points on a sphere. 

In laying out a great-circle course between New York and Moscow, or 
between Chicago and Peiping, the great-circle routes pass over the Arctic 
(Fig. 8-10). Until 1954, in most cases, the implications were more 
significant for military planning than in the field of commercial avi- 
ation. Prior to 1954 the airlines of commerce followed the longer courses 
of trans-oceanic flight in an effort to serve an optimum of population 
centers. Civil aviation succeeded late in 1954 in making the Arctic 
short cut to Europe a regular airline route. The Scandinavian Airlines 
initiated scheduled flights from Los Angeles to Copenhagen, with stops 
at Winnipeg, Canada, and Sondre Stromfjord, Greenland. The distance 
measures 5,085 nautical, or about 5,800 statute miles, being 465 nautical 
miles ( 535 statute miles ) shorter than the trip by way of New York. The 
timetable calls for the eastbound polar flight to take about twenty-four 

40 "The Arctic as an Air Route of the Future," National Geographic Magazine 
(1922), p. 205 ff. 




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THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 249 

hours, a saving of three or four hours over the conventional route. This 
regular "over the top" service is likely to be the forerunner of many 
more such airline routes and it is reported that the Scandinavian Airlines 
has blueprinted a transpolar service from Oslo to Tokyo that would cut 
the run from fifty-three hours to twenty-four. This example shows the 
impact of new transpolar air routes in civil aviation upon peacetime 
relations of the nations which these routes are to link so much more 
speedily and, as a result, more firmly. The new links between California 
and the Scandinavian countries offer a good illustration of the radical 
changes in the locational relationships of "distant" countries as the result 
of the opening of new skyways above the Polar regions. 

In terms of locational relations of the great powers we are still strug- 
gling to grasp the changes which Polar aviation has caused in the loca- 
tional relationships of the powers of the West and East, by turning the 
Arctic Mediterranean and its frozen lands into a pivot area and strategic 
center. This concept reveals itself best on a north-polar version of a great- 
circle chart. With its great-circle projections, this is the kind of map the 
aviator needs. To him the idea of our Polar Mediterranean is familiar. To 
many navigators and to those who have grown up in the shadow of the 
Mercator projection (with the poles at infinity) this vision has appeared 
strange and almost inconceivable not so long ago. In terms of flying, the 
grouping of the nations around the Polar Mediterranean reveals the ele- 
mentary truth that the direct route between any of these nations is in some 
northerly direction; on the cylindrical Mercator world map (with the 
poles lost in its open ends) the logical flight direction is seemingly east 
or west. 

It is over this Arctic Mediterranean that air strikes upon the United 
States and retaliatory raids may be expected. Even the exchange of guided 
missiles would take place over the Arctic great-circle routes, not only be- 
cause these offer the shortest distance, but also because the Arctic area is 
difficult to defend. 41 

The air distance from New York to Moscow is 4,675 miles by way of 
the Arctic. The air distance from San Francisco to Peiping by way of the 
Arctic is 6,600 miles, 3,000 miles shorter than the trans-Pacific route. These 
distances appear formidable, but this is not the distance aircraft would 
have to travel in the event of an East- West war, for the Arctic Mediterra- 
nean is being ringed with bases by both the United States and the Soviet 
Union (see pp. 249 ff. ). The distance over the Arctic from the important 

41 J. W. Watson, "Canada: Power Vacuum, or Pivot Area?" in Weigert-Stefansson- 
Harrison, op. cit., pp. 40-60. 



250 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

United States base at Thule, Greenland, is only 2,752 miles to Moscow, 
whereas the nearest Soviet base at Rudolf Island, one of the Franz Joseph 
groups, is 3,800 miles distant from New York City. 

This is a reflection of the greater depth of the United States from the 
pole as compared with the U.S.S.R. The core area of the Soviet Union is 
centered along the 55th parallel. It is 15 degrees closer to the pole than the 
United States core area, which is centered along the 40th parallel. How- 
ever, it would be fallacious to conclude that this locational relationship 
gives North America a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union. It must 
be realized that the polar ice pack, and the advance positions it offers to 
all Arctic powers, puts the weapon-bearers of our time in closest prox- 
imity. 

The polar ice pack, although it develops areas of open water, is a vast 
ice landing field; a field which also contains floating ice islands more 
stable than the pack of ice itself. The first of these ice floes was reported 
by the U.S. Air Force in 1946 and named T-l; subsequently, two more 
were located in 1950 (T-2 and T-3). According to Soviet claims their 
airmen had noted earlier the presence of these ice islands and estab- 
lished the identification of certain other floes in the sector claimed by 
the U.S.S.R. as "North Pole One, Two," and so on. 

These islands may last for years and perhaps even for centuries. 
However, the islands discovered by the U.S.S.R. are not as large as the 
ones reported by the United States Air Force, and the Soviet Union has 
had to make the best of ice floes a mile or so in length and perhaps ten feet 
thick. Both the United States and the Soviet Union use the ice islands as 
bases of operations for their Arctic research. 42 

Another vast ice landing strip is the Greenland Ice Cap which is also 
a possible refueling base; uninhabited, with the exception of radar sta- 
tions in the vicinity of Thule, the ice cap presents a good location for 
caching fuel. With the exception of the crevassed edges of the Greenland 
Ice Cap aircraft landings can be made almost anywhere, especially on its 
ice lakes. The strategic importance of this uninhabitable section of the 
world cannot go unrecognized and the long-term strategic implications 
are equally significant both for offense and defense. This was demon- 
strated during World War II when the Germans maintained a series of 
weather stations along the Greenland Coast. These weather observation 
stations in the North Atlantic "weather factory" for Northwestern Europe 

42 The dangerous overlapping of American and U.S.S.R. ice island zones is illus- 
trated by newspaper reports in February, 1955, according to which the Soviet per- 
manent research base North Pole Two has drifted eastward toward Greenland across 
Canadian waters. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 251 

enabled the Germans to forecast conditions to some extent over the Brit- 
ish Isles. 

Effective means and types of transportation have been sought since 
historical times to defend the Arctic and to exploit its resources. It has 
been the aim of many explorers to discover northern sea routes across the 
top of the Eurasian land mass, as well as the Northwest Passage, which has 
been sought for since 1610 as a short cut to Asia (Fig. 8-11). Discovery of 
such passages and the opening of new sea lanes have paralleled the devel- 
opment of skyways and contributed to the important change in the spatial 
relationship of the great Arctic powers. The use of a northwest passage 
from the Atlantic to Asia has lagged considerably behind that of the 
Northern Sea Route, which the Soviet Union initiated to cross the Arctic 
Sea from Murmansk through the Bering Strait. However, in 1954, United 
States and Canadian icebreakers succeeded in navigating the passage 
leading from the Atlantic Ocean to the Beaufort Sea. 

By using more than a dozen icebreakers, several dozen freighters, and 
its own aviation patrol, the Soviet Union keeps its sea lane open nearly 
three months each year. In this way, it lifts a burden from the overworked 
Trans-Siberian railroad, enables the Soviet Navy to move between the 
Atlantic and the Pacific, and facilitates the all-out exploitation of the ex- 
Finnish nickel mines, the Vorkuta coal mines, and the Kolyma gold fields, 
along with the forest and other natural resources of Siberia. 

These Arctic sea routes solve one phase of the problem of Arctic trans- 
portation. A second solution, and one which may increase in importance 
as an aid to the exploitation of the natural resources within the Arctic, is 
the use of tractor trains in winter, and during the short summer the use 
of barges on the inland waterways of the northward flowing rivers. Both 
methods are seasonably limited, however, and in spite of the high cost, 
aircraft are used increasingly even for transport of bulky goods in the 
Arctic regions. 

In the face of the growing strategic importance of the Arctic Mediter- 
ranean, the competing powers have been forced to make the extension of 
the defensive and offensive capabilities of the Arctic an integral part of 
their over-all defense system. The Soviet Union is ringing the Arctic Sec- 
tor with air and naval bases, and with radar and weather stations. Simi- 
larly, the United States, in co-operation with Canada and the nations of 
NATO— particularly Denmark, which owns Greenland— has set up air 
bases, weather stations, and a radar net along the coasts of Alaska and 
Labrador, in order to establish an Arctic line of defense. The Thule Air 
Base in Northwest Greenland is the key to the new strategy. 




II. .1 ( 



New York 



Fig. 8-11. Sea Routes and Bases in the Arctic Mediterranean: (1) permanent ice; (2) Green- 
land ice cap; (3) land-fast ice, summer; (4) land-fast ice, winter; (5) navigable sea routes; 
( 6 ) general direction of ice island drift. 



252 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 253 

The Danish-American Agreement of April 27, 1951, under which the 
Thule defense area was developed, is worked out as a part of the North 
American defense of NATO. A concept of the present polar strategy is 
to build the interceptor and radar defenses as far north as it is possible to 
support them, and to build striking bases in the same areas from which 
to mount attacks if the need should come. 43 Its fulfillment will continue to 
depend on the close co-operation between the United States and its north- 
ern neighbors, Canada, Iceland, and Denmark, and on great expenditures 
of money to develop this northern defense perimeter. 

This sketchy picture of the Arctic Mediterranean as an ominously im- 
portant cradle-of-conflict area in which modern technology has changed 
radically the locational relationship of the Soviet Union and the North 
American powers would be incomplete without mentioning that the Arc- 
tic ice-cover provides also a camouflage for Soviet long-range submarines. 
Their range of operations could extend from bases within the Arctic to 
the trade routes of the Atlantic and the Pacific, to the very shores of the 
Canadian Arctic and, perhaps, even into Hudson Bay where they might 
launch guided atomic missiles. Submarines enabled by atomic power to 
cruise indefinitely under ice, and equipped with machines for cutting 
through when they wish to surface, might become a considerable threat 
to the northern defense of the American nations. This is only another 
illustration of the fact that, as a result of the development of new weapons 
of total warfare, the Arctic Mediterranean has grown greatly in impor- 
tance as a pivotal area. Both the Communists and the Free World no 
longer look only east and west, but northward to the Pole and the danger 
that lies beyond. 44 



C. The "Western Hemisphere" and the United States 
"Perimeter of Defense" 

THE "CONTINENTS" AND OTHER LARGE-SPACE CONCEPTS 

"We think today in continents," wrote Oswald Spengler, the German 
philosopher of doom, in 1920; "but that is too little today. We must have 
the global, the imperial view." Since these words were written, political 

43 "Survival in the Air Age," Report by the President's Air Policy Commission 
(Washington, D. C, 1948). 

44 A. J. Toynbee paints a dark picture of the consequences which "the approaching 
conquest of the Arctic," may have on the destinies of the United States and the 
Soviet Union, "the two still standing gladiators of the Christian Era"; A Study of 
History, Vol. IX (New York, 1954), pp. 483-485. 



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THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 255 

and geographical thinking throughout the world have experienced a sig- 
nificant trend toward revising and readjusting basic concepts of world 
geography. These revisions often cut across established lines of areal and 
continental demarcation, in order to keep pace with the shifting relation- 
ships of a continuously shrinking world. Often we find the shrinking proc- 
ess proceeding at such a rapid pace that the necessary adjustments in 
geographical thinking are sadly left behind. As a result of such cultural 
lags we can detect a great amount of loose thinking, especially in connec- 
tion with large-space concepts, and we can trace seriously misleading 
political, economic, and cultural concepts to this difficulty in the redefi- 
nition of continental and other space relationships. 

What is, for instance, the Western Hemisphere? Where is the dividing 
line between Europe and Asia? Where is the not-so-Far East, the not-so- 
Far North; do they assume different meanings if seen from Washington, 
Moscow, or London? Or, if we look at the problem in terms of the security 
position of the United States, what concept should be adopted for the 
defense of the United States— should it be continental, or based on what 
is called the "Western Hemisphere," or should it be global? Between these 
concepts there is a wide range of possibilities, from a strategy of defense 
based on the continental United States to an offensive projection of Ameri- 
can strength on a global scale. 45 While we are not concerned here with 
the strategical problems themselves, we must realize that in order to un- 
derstand them it is essential to see clearly the underlying factors of 
geography. 

THE PARTITION OF TORDESILLAS 

The present confusion may be correctly compared with that existing in 
1493 when Pope Alexander VI issued his famous Bull which disregarded 
the basic lesson in geography that the earth is a sphere (Fig. 8-12). 
The Papal ruling was indeed one of the most important geopolitical 
decisions determining the course of world history. As the final arbiter 
of Christian Europe, the Pope was called upon to divide the world 
outside of Europe between the rival rulers of Spain and Portugal. One 
of his predecessors had already acknowledged Portugal's claims to the 
African coast when Columbus returned from his first expedition. In 
the Partition of Tordesillas, Pope Alexander drew the line by which 
the two great colonial powers of this time were assigned their spheres 

45 Major Problems of United States Foreign Policy, 1952-1953, The Brookings In- 
stitute (Washington, D. C, 1952), pp. 149 ff. (159). 



256 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

of interest: The line was drawn from pole to pole one hundred leagues 
west of the Cape Verde Islands. All new discoveries west of this were 
to go to Spain; all the new lands east of this line were Portugal's. 
No provision was made for what would happen when the two should 
encounter each other on the other side of the globe. Under this agree- 
ment, which the two Powers formalized in 1494, slightly modifying the 
Bull of 1493, all of the American continents (the existence of which 
was then entirely unknown to everybody concerned), except for the 
eastern part of Brazil, were Spain's, while India and the major part of 
Africa were within the Portuguese sphere of influence. Greenland also 
would have fallen into the Portuguese sphere had that country's explorers 
come so far. The Portuguese origin of the name Labrador shows that they 
were not completely inactive in this direction. In 1606, the first Antarctic 
sector claim was made in the name of King Philip of Spain. 46 These man- 
made hemispheres continued to function until, in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries, the British and Dutch settlers successfully put an 
end to this arbitrary map-making. 

It is useful to recall this not-so-short-lived episode if we are to embark 
on the task of trying to draw a map of the world which shows the sensitive 
lines— the "perimeter of defense"— of the Great Powers. In so doing, we 
find that we need to clarify certain basic concepts. 

Where is this hemisphere of ours, and where are all the others that 
matter? Which are the realities, and which are the myths surrounding the 
"continents"? 

MACKINDER'S VIEW OF THE EAST AND WEST 

In a memorable lecture, "The Human Habitat," which Mackinder gave 
in 1931, he defined what, in the world view of a geographer, are the major 
features of humanity and the human habitat, of the East and the West. 
His attempt to set in perspective some salient facts is still a classical piece 
of geographical definition and is quoted here at some length because it 
sharpens our thoughts on a subject of basic importance in the study of 
political geography: 



47 



The monsoon winds sweep into and out of Asia because that vast land lies 
wholly north of the equator and is, therefore, as a whole, subject to an alterna- 
tion of seasons. Over an area of some five million square miles in the south and 

46 Martin, op. cit., pp. 66, 67. 

47 H. J. Mackinder, "The Human Habitat," Records of die British Association for 
the Advancement of Science (London, 1931), 15 pp. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 257 

east of Asia, from India to Manchuria, and in the great adjacent islands, the 
monsoon drops annually a rainfall amounting on the average of years to some 
18 millions of tons. Half of mankind, 900 million people [1931], live in the 
natural regions of this area; about 180 to the square mile. The rainfall is, there- 
fore, of the order of some 20 thousand tons annually for each inhabitant. There 
is considerable traffic between the regions of this group, and there are the fish- 
eries; in order to see it whole let us add three million more square miles for the 
marginal and land-locked areas. Then we shall have a total of eight million 
square miles, or 4 per cent of the globe surface, carrying 50 per cent of the 
human race. The annual increase of population may amount to some seven or 
eight millions, and as compared with this figure both emigration and immigra- 
tion into and from the outer world are small. In the main we have here vast 
stable peasantries, "ascript to the globe," if we may use a medieval expression; 
tied to the soil; a tremendous fact of rain, sap and blood. That is the East. 

The West lies in Europe, south and west of the Volga, and in that eastern 
third of North America which includes the main stream of the Mississippi and 
the basin of the St. Lawrence. Europe within the Volga boundary measures 
some three million square miles, and eastern North America some two million 
square miles. The two together are, therefore, equivalent in area of land to the 
group of regions which constitutes the East. If we add three million square miles 
for the fisheries and the oceanic belt which contains the "shipping lanes" be- 
tween Europe and North America, we shall again have a total of 4 per cent of 
the globe's surface, and this is the main geographical habitat of western civiliza- 
tion. Within this area are 600 million people, or 120 to the square mile of land. 
Notwithstanding the oceanic break it may be regarded as a single area, for the 
distance from E.N.E. to W.S.W., from the Volga to the Mississippi, measures 
only some seven thousand miles, or little more than one-quarter way around the 
globe along the Great Circle. The rainfall on the land is drawn from the same 
source both in Europe and eastern North America; it comes mainly from the 
south, from the Atlantic, and is of the order of 12 thousand tons per human 
inhabitant per annum. There is an annual net increase of population of some 
four or five millions and, as compared with this, emigration to the outer world 
is small, for the movement of a million emigrants a year from Europe to North 
America in the dozen years at the commencement of this century was, of course, 
internal to the area. 

Thus we have two areas, measuring together less than 10 per cent of the 
world's surface, but containing more than 80 per cent of the world's population. 
Outside of these areas is some 90 per cent of the world's surface, but containing 
only 20 per cent of the population. On some forty million square miles of land, 
outside the East and the West, you have an average density of population of 
only 10 to the square mile as contrasted with 120 on the five million square miles 
of the West, and 180 on the five million square miles of the East. The moisture 
upon the land areas, outside the Western and Eastern rain zones, varies from 
Sahara drought to Amazon and Congo deluge, but it is a remarkable fact that 
South America has upon its six and a half million square miles a population of 
only 10 to the square mile, or the average for the world outside West and East. 
This vacancy of South America and Africa may be regarded perhaps as a third 
great feature of the habitat of man; it must be set alongside the extraordinary 
and persistent self-containedness of the East and West. The increase in the 
world's populations outside of the "East" and the "West," even though rein- 
forced by some immigration, is relatively insignificant. The main growths, the 



258 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

spread of the sheet of human blood, have been merely overflows from the 
anciently occupied regions into adjacent areas— into North and North-Eastern 
Europe, into Eastern North America, and into Manchuria— and in each case the 
natural frontiers of drought and frost have now been approached, except for 
relatively narrow outlets along the wheat belts of North America and Siberia. 
Even in North America the center of population has ceased to move appreciably 
westward. 

In this continued growth of population in the East and the West in far 
greater actual number than in the rest of the world, we have an instance of 
geographical momentum. The momentum, though issuing from the past, is a 
fact of the present, an element in the dynamic svstem of today's geography. 

Mackinder's daring illumination of the East and West as the globe's 
outstanding features of human geography displays the kind of geographi- 
cal sense which draws its strength from the blending of a profound geo- 
graphical and historical knowledge. To Mackinder geography was, to use 
his own words, "an art of expression parallel to and complementary to the 
literary arts ... it ranges values alongside of measured facts. Hence out- 
look is its characteristic." 

THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE 

We shall need geographical sense— outlook— if we undertake to define 
the contours of what is perhaps the most important term of political 
geography to Americans, the Western Hemisphere. 

It should be clear that hemisphere can be understood here only in a 
figurative meaning like the "East" or the "West." The hemisphere in a 
strictly geometrical sense is untouched by this discussion.- It will remain 
an indispensable concept for the astronomer, the geodesist, and the sur- 
veyor. Here we speak of the Western Hemisphere as a household term 
and a myth. This Western Hemisphere is not a clearly defined concept. 
We associate it loosely with the Monroe Doctrine. Because of this associa- 
tion we are aware of its important historical and political implications, 
which should make it obvious that we cannot afford to define it in nebu- 
lous terms. However, if we make the attempt to trace its extent in terms 
of unmistakable geographical boundaries, we find ourselves immediately 
confronted with insurmountable barriers. We discover that, like the Holy 
Roman Empire, which in the words of Voltaire was neither holy nor 
Roman nor an empire, this Western Hemisphere is neither western nor a 
hemisphere. Political catchwords like "hemispheric solidarity" and "con- 
tinental brotherhood" lose some of their glamour in the light of geographi- 
cal facts. They must be interpreted according to what, under changing 
political conditions, is meant by reference to terms such as the "Western 
Hemisphere" or the "American Continent." 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 259 

CANADA AND SOUTH AMERICA 

North and South America are linked by an isthmus. That strip of land 
gives but the illusion of geographical contact, "because of man's odd habit 
of thinking that only land is a connecting element." 48 An illusion it is 
because there is little or no traffic along that strip of land. If Canadians, 
for instance, visit South America, they must travel by water or air; Canada 
is farther from most of South America than from Western Europe. 49 Be- 
cause of this fact of geography it is logical to find that Canada has con- 
sistently refrained from direct political association with the Pan-American 
movement and "Hemispheric Security." The Canadian outlook has been 
summarized as follows: "even in mileage Canada is nearer to Europe than 
to South America. So remote a mass of land— unless the poorest geopolitics 
were to obscure the richest history— can never match that to which the sea 
and air give better access. From the Anglo-Russian or Franco-Russian 
alliances, for whose regional aims she has twice sacrificed so much, 
Canada abstains; under what compulsion of major policy, simple geogra- 
phy or common ideas should she discriminate regionally in favor of a 
Pan-American security pact? Her relationship with Latin America is 
wholly unlike her partnership in the British Commonwealth and her 
entente with the United States." 50 

Such thoughts and political conclusions are the logical expression of 
geographical sense among British seafaring peoples who look at the sea 
and at sea routes as their life arteries and highways. Only to continental 
and land-bound nations the sea appears as a barrier to intercourse. 

THE NORTH ATLANTIC AS LINK RETWEEN EUROPE 
AND THE AMERICAS 

In terms of geographical realities, the concept of the Americas allegedly 
bound together by a hemispheric solidarity is influenced by such conti- 
nental thinking. It neglects the growth, during the last three centuries, 
of the North Atlantic Ocean as a core area of western civilization and 
the resulting fact that the links across it between northwestern and south- 
western Europe on the east and north and South America to the west have 
become more important than any of the great transcontinental routes. It 

48 V. Massey, "Canada and the Inter-American System," Foreign Affairs (1948), 
pp. 693-701. 

49 Ibid. 

50 L. Gelber, "Canada's New Stature," Foreign Affairs (1946), p. 287. 



260 



THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 






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Fig. 8-13. The Shrinking of Main Water Bodies in the Light of Technological 
Progress ( after New York Times ) . 

is not incidental that, in stressing this basic geographical and historical 
trend, a British geographer, C. B. Fawcett, emphasized that "there is now 
in many cases a greater unity of culture and traditions, and a greater vol- 
ume of intercourse, between countries on opposite shores of the Midland 
Ocean than between others situated on the same continent and separated 
by a shorter distance. Probably both Argentina and Colombia have more 
in common with Spain than they have with each other. Norway has more 
contacts with North America than with Italy. Portugal is more closely 
linked with Brazil than with central Europe." 51 And Portugal and Spain 
rank among Iceland's main customers, as the sea is not a separating bar- 
rier but a natural link which is important in their respective economies. 

ECONOMICS AND THE MYTH OF THE CONTINENTS 

Economic sense based on geographical realities has consistently taught 
that the oceans are broad highways of commerce serving to connect 
rather than to divide or separate. The normal exchange of bulk commodi- 
ties between any two political entities with equal access to both sea and 
land routes has always been accomplished with the greatest ease and 
lowest cost by sea. In terms of "cost distances," the spatial relationships 
between, for instance, New York City and either continental or overseas 
points appear altogether different from those which present themselves 
if we neglect the cost factor and compare distances only. 

51 C. B. Fawcett, "Life Lines of the British Empire," in Weigert-Stefansson-Har- 
rison, op. cit., pp. 238-249. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 261 

The cost of shipping one hundred pounds of wheat by rail from Kansas 
City to New York in 1939 was 33/2 cents to 42M cents, while it cost only 
13 cents to ship the same wheat from New York to Liverpool, a distance 
three times as great. In the same year it cost only $1.50 to ship a bale of 
crude rubber from Singapore to New York as against a cost of $1.03 to 
ship a similar bale from New York to Akron, Ohio by rail, even though 
the latter distance is only y 25 that of the former. 52 

From these examples it is evident that, in terms of wheat and rubber 
distances, Liverpool and Singapore are closer to New York than are Kansas 
City and Akron. The significance of these relationships in economic geog- 
raphy has been summarized by Eugene Staley in the following manner: 
"Land connections, which would appear to establish easy contact between 
peoples on the same continent, may be barriers as well as connections, 
while bodies of water, appearing superficially on the map as barriers, may 
actually be the most important connecting links. Because this has been so 
distinctly true in the past, the existing patterns of culture, tradition, politi- 
cal affiliation, and economic interdependence which confront us in the 
world of today are as often oceanic as they are continental." 53 Techno- 
logical progress in sea transportation, as indicated in Figure 8-13, has 
rapidly accelerated the shrinking process of the connecting links of bodies 
of water. 

The most vivid illustration of the problem in its application to inter- 
American economic relationships was offered by Costa Rica which, "when 
it suffered a shortage of rice had found it cheaper to import from Saigon 
via Hamburg and the Panama Canal than to get it from Nicaragua, a 
stone's throw away." 54 Grotesque situations such as the one described 
here served to promote the Inter-American Highway project in which the 
unrealized dream of a Pan-American Railway had shifted to the more 
feasible goal of joining the existing roads and trails to form a continuous 
modern highway. 



55 



52 E. Staley, "The Myth of the Continents," in Weigert and Stefansson, op. cit., 
p. 93. 

53 Staley, op. cit., p. 96. 

54 M. E. Gilmore, "Pan-American Highway," Foreign Commerce Weekly (October 
20, 1945), p. 42. 

55 It should be emphasized that large sections of the highway which will eventually 
extend from the United States-Mexican border to the southern tip of South America 
are still in the blueprint stage. At the lowest estimate in 1955 at least fifteen years 
will pass before the entire route of the Pan-American Highway will be finished. Only 
the Mexican section is virtually completed. The next steps are to fill gaps in the 1,590 
mile road through Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and 
Panama. See also p. 670 and Fig. 22-1, 2, p. 670. 



262 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

A clear understanding of the role of the sea in economic terms and an 
application of the surrounding principles to the Western Hemisphere 
make it easier to appreciate the geographical reality that the North and 
South American continents are really overseas in relation to each other, 
and that, in terms of shipping distances, their great commercial centers 
are respectively closer to Northwestern and Southwestern Europe than 
they are to each other. Such an understanding, moreover, helps to explain 
in geographical terms why the economic, political, and cultural roots of 
the various American states are more closely bound to the soils of Europe 
than to each other. It is in the light of such geographical realities as these 
that we must view the attempts to define this Western Hemisphere of 
ours. 

THE MYTHICAL BOUNDARIES OF THE WESTERN 
HEMISPHERE: ICELAND 

A good illustration of the insurmountable difficulties confronting any 
attempt to draw the boundaries of the Western Hemisphere in strictly 
geographical terms is afforded by Iceland which, in the spring of 1956, 
decided to press for the liquidation of the NATO base at Keflavik, half- 
way between Moscow and New York and of vital importance to the Free 
World as it controls the northern approaches to North America (cf. Fig. 
8-10). When, on July 7, 1941, American troops took over the protection 
of the island of Iceland, which at that time, and until June 1944, was 
still formally part of Denmark, President Roosevelt declared in a message 
to Congress: "the United States cannot permit the occupation by Ger- 
many of strategic outposts in the Arctic for eventual attack against the 
Western Hemisphere. Assurance that such outposts in our defense fron- 
tier remain in friendly hands is the very foundation of our national 
security." 

We chose this example because it shows how, in the words of President 
Roosevelt and in similar pronouncements by American statesmen and 
military men in the years that followed, the terms "This Hemisphere" or 
"The Western Hemisphere" were used as if they were clear regional con- 
cepts, on the basis of which it could be defined geographically how far 
the United States should go in defending its security zone. Actually, Ice- 
land is a good case in point because in recent years it has been often and 
vainly argued among statesmen and geographers whether Iceland is part 
of the Western or Eastern Hemisphere. Before, approximately, 1930 
nobody doubted that because of the facts of human geography Iceland 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 263 

belonged to Europe. 56 From a physiographic point of view it belongs 
neither to Europe nor America, but is a typical oceanic island; only for 
geometricians was it always in the Western Hemisphere. Vilhjalmur 
Stefansson has suggested that one "de facto" boundary between the East- 
ern and Western Hemispheres should be "the middle of the widest chan- 
nel" in the Atlantic Ocean between the American continents on the one 
hand and the European and African continents on the other 57 (Fig. 8-14). 
This boundary would run to the east of Iceland, but such a geographical 
delineation would not conform to the political boundaries of our day. The 
Rio Treaty of 1947 tried to redraw the boundaries of the Western Hemi- 
sphere by including in its compass the entire American land mass, the 
Antarctic, the Aleutians, Newfoundland and Greenland; but Iceland was 
left out. The reason for this omission was entirely political. At the time 
the treaty was drafted, the danger that these fictitious boundaries would 
overlap with those of the Soviet Union seemed even greater here than 
elsewhere. 

As the map shows, the easternmost edge of Greenland extends beyond 
the easternmost edge of Iceland, which fact would tend to refute the 
popular assumption that Greenland is within the Western and Iceland 
within the Eastern Hemisphere (Fig. 8-15). 

Suppose geographers and statesmen alike were to agree on a "middle 
of the widest channel" rule for determining the Atlantic boundary be- 
tween the hemispheres; what then of the Pacific boundary? Stefansson's 
suggestion does not offer a solution because it is based on confusion of the 
geometrical and the metaphorical meaning of the term hemisphere. Thus 
he asserted that any hemisphere must by definition include one-half of the 
terrestrial globe, while overlooking the fact that such a mathematical 
hemisphere is always limited by "great circles." His projection of the de 
facto boundary of the Atlantic to the region of the Pacific is, geometrically 
speaking, not a projection but an attempt to arrive at a symmetrical con- 
struction without the indispensable axis. It would result in the inclusion 
within the Western Hemisphere of parts of Siberia, the islands of Micro- 
nesia and Melanesia and all of New Zealand (cf. Fig. 8-14). 

56 Even during the early phase of World War II, Franklin D. Roosevelt is reported 
to have rejected the State Department's view that Iceland was "largely" (?) a part 
of the Western Hemisphere. He is supposed to have based this rejection on the inter- 
esting theory that "the strain on the public idea of geography would be too severe." 
(B. Rauch, Roosevelt From Munich to Pearl Harbor [New York, 1950], pp. 194-196, 
as quoted in A. P. Whittaker, The Western Hemisphere Idea: Its Rise and Decline 
[Ithaca, New York, 1954], p. 160.) 

57 V. Stefansson, "What Is the Western Hemisphere?" Foreign Affairs (1941). 




Fig. 8-14. The Boundary Between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres According 

to V. Stefansson. 

264 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 



265 




Fig. 8-15. Greenland and Iceland between the Eastern and Western Hemispheres. 



THE HEMISPHERE IN MATHEMATICAL AND 
POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

The confusion surrounding the proper place of Iceland on the political 
map of the hemispheres illustrates the fact that extreme caution is re- 
quired in the use of certain types of maps for the purpose of proving 
points which are only seemingly geographical but are actually political. 
In particular, one should not confuse the metaphorical use of the term 
"hemisphere" with the well-established method of dividing the world 
into two symmetrical halves for mathematical purposes. The selective 
term Western Hemisphere for one such hemisphere defies definition in 
terms of mathematical geography. To grasp the term Western Hemisphere 
as one of human geography, and especially of political geography, one 
must be constantly aware that its human and political connotations ac- 
count for the fact that its content is subject to continuous change. If one 
realizes this fact one will understand that it is a dangerous fallacy to con- 
fuse the Western Hemisphere cliches with the static concepts of mathe- 
matical geography. This realization is an important step toward a better 




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THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 267 

understanding of the politico-geographic factors which govern the foreign 
policy and the military strategy of this country. 



"THE AMERICAN QUARTER-SPHERE" 

In an effort to find a compromise between the mathematical and meta- 
phorical concepts of the Western Hemisphere, S. W. Boggs 58 has offered 
an interesting solution. It consists in boiling down the "Western Hemi- 
sphere" to an "American Quarter-Sphere" (Fig. 8-16). Its boundaries are 
arrived at by taking the western half of a hemisphere centered in the 
Atlantic Ocean at 28° north, 31° west. The dividing center line deviates 
slightly from true north and south, passing through Denmark Strait, be- 
tween Greenland and Iceland, and just east of the bulge of Brazil. The 
quarter-sphere to the west of the line contains all of continental North 
America, the islands to the north, even a piece of eastern Siberia, and all 
of South America. Sea power enthusiasts of the Mahan School would be 
reluctant to adopt this quarter-sphere as a useful American security zone, 
because its arrangements omit Iceland, most of the Aleutians, the Hawai- 
ian chain, and Antarctica. They would further object to the exclusion of 
most of the Atlantic and Pacific water masses. This may serve as one more 
argument in favor of the thesis that no arbitrary imposition of a geomet- 
rical form on the tortured configuration of the continents will result in a 
usable political and geographical definition. "The atlas makers are the 
real creators of this artificial dilemma— they cannot free themselves from 
the ancient habit of dividing the world into two symmetrical halves." 59 

IDEOLOGICAL FACTORS: ARGENTINA AND THE UNITED STATES 
IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE 

In addition to the geographical factors which argue against the unity 
of the Western Hemisphere, the objective of hemispheric integration is 
defeated by power factors which are economic, political, and, as a combi- 
nation of both, ideological. When, in 1942, Nicholas J. Spykman analyzed 
the World War II realities of power relations in the Western Hemisphere, 
he focused his attention on United States-Argentine relations and warned 
that social, economic, and political forces combined with geographical 
remoteness to make Argentina a natural opponent of the United States 

58 S. W. Boggs, "This Hemisphere," Department of State Bulletin (May 6, 1945); 
see also his reappraisal, in 1954, in "Global Relations of the U. S.," op. cit. (June 14, 
1954), pp. 903-912. 

59 Weigert-Stefansson-Harrison, op. cit., p. 221. 



268 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

and a determined resistant to United States-sponsored efforts at inter- 
American co-operation, whatever the surface appearance of harmony 
might be at any given moment. 60 

His observations of 1942 are still true today. Argentina's industrial de- 
velopment is blocked by deficiencies in iron and especially coal. However, 
her actual and, above all, potential strength as one of the greatest food- 
producing areas of the world has developed a proud and power-conscious 
feudal society which is determined to build its own power sphere in 
South America. Due to her distance from United States power centers, 
Argentina is economically and ideologically oriented toward Europe 
rather than to North America. Her dreams of empire as expressed during 
the Peron regime encompass in a "manifest destiny" area her neighbor 
Chile and the whole of the La Plata drainage basin, including the tribu- 
tary zones in Uruguay, Southern Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia. The Ar- 
gentinians, wrote Spykman in 1942, are determined that their state shall 
be the most important political unit on the southern continent and fully 
the equal of the United States in the Western Hemisphere. 61 

The growth of the "manifest destiny" concept in Argentina which mili- 
tates against a Western Hemisphere-solidarity ideology reveals itself even 
more clearly if one realizes that Argentina is a white man's nation, in- 
habited by settlers of Spanish and Italian descent, with ethnic minorities 
which stem from the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and the United 
States. It has no Negroes to speak of and there is little evidence of Indian 
racial heritage. The fact that Argentina is a white man's land, a "Europe 
Overseas," assumes special significance if one compares its ethnic com- 
position with that of other nations of Latin America. The contrasting 
population patterns of racial inheritance among, for instance, Argentina, 
Brazil, and Mexico, together with the related linguistic differences, de- 
feats the very idea of a hemispheric solidarity. Looking into the future, 
Fred A. Carlson summed up the prospects of Latin America's racial struc- 
ture as follows: 62 

Argentina, Uruguay, southern Brazil, and the great central Brazilian plateau will 
become increasingly a white man's land; here the Indians will probably decrease 
in number and importance. The Pacific countries, Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, and 
western Colombia, will become the home of an increasingly homogeneous amal- 
gamation of the existing Spanish and Indian races, tending toward the predomi- 
nance of the Indian. Chile, particularly its central valley, will remain largely 
white. The northern and northeastern coasts of Colombia, Venezuela, the Gui- 

60 N. J. Spykman, America's Strategy in World Politics. 

ei Ibid., p. 58. 

62 F. A. Carlson, Geography of Latin America, 3rd ed. (copyright, 1943, 1946, 
1952, by Prentice-Hall, Inc., New York), pp. 15-16. Reprinted by permission of the 
publisher. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 269 

anas, and far north Brazil will become areas of increasingly homogeneous 
combinations of the prevailing white and Indian races, with considerable pro- 
portions of Negro blood, unless the Negroes come in larger numbers from the 
Caribbean islands. The eastern coast of Brazil north of Rio de Janeiro will 
remain heavily Negro, and the far interior valleys and plateaus will remain 
predominantly Indian. There never has been, there is not now, and probably 
there never will be a homogeneous race of people on the South American 
continent. 

This racial pattern, today and in the future, with all its elements of 
disunity if one looks at Latin America as a whole, and with all its elements 
of unity if one focuses on the "white" nations of what Peron, Argentina's 
ex-President, called the "Southern Union," forms a formidable fundamen- 
tal of Argentina's separate power sphere and of her ambition to be the 
nucleus of a "Greater Argentina"— the big brother in a union of nations 
including Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and eventually Chile and Peru. 63 
Whether or not these plans will take a firm political form, the fact remains 
that the elements of cultural, especially ethnic and linguistic, disunity 
deepen the gap of geographical divides between the countries of the 
Western Hemisphere. 



THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE AS A POLITICAL REALITY 

If the Western Hemisphere is not a geographical reality, if it is far from 
having achieved political unity and cultural uniformity among its nations, 
it is still a very much alive political reality. To understand the meaning 
of the latter we must accept two essential concepts : ( 1 ) that we cannot 
define it in purely geographical terms; (2) that because it is a political 
concept its meaning and extent cannot remain fixed but will be constantly 
fluctuating. Politically the Western Hemisphere has its strongest roots in 
the Monroe Doctrine which is often loosely identified with the Western 
Hemisphere. Yet this term was not employed in President Monroe's mes- 
sage to the Congress in 1823, and the terms "The American continents" 
and "this hemisphere" were used synonymously. 64 The history of the 
Monroe Doctrine in recent years clearly indicates the extent to which 
the Western Hemisphere, as a political reality, is constantly changing, 
and the extent to which the two concepts are intimately associated with 
what the United States considers to be its major security area. 

In theory the wording of the Monroe Doctrine is broad enough to cover 

63 Olive Holme, "Peron's 'Greater Argentina,' and the United States," Foreign 
Policy Reports (December 1, 1948), pp. 159-171. 

64 Spykman, Americas Strategy in World Politics, p. 58. 



270 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

both of the American continents. In practice, from 1823 to 1935, interpre- 
tations of the doctrine were applied virtually without exception to the 
region of the Caribbean. It was Franklin D. Roosevelt who inaugurated 
the idea of the multilateral extension of the doctrine when in his speech 
at Buenos Aires late in 1935 he declared that non-American states seeking 
"to commit acts of aggression against us, will find a Hemisphere wholly 
prepared to consult together for our mutual safety and our mutual good." 
Two years later, in a speech at Kingston, Ontario, Roosevelt gave assur- 
ance to the people of Canada that "the people of the United States will not 
stand idly by if domination of Canadian soil is threatened by any other 
empire." 65 By these two executive pronouncements the Monroe Doctrine 
was extended over a far greater geographical area than before. 

The onset of World War II brought further expansions of "this hemi- 
sphere" of Monroe's. In October of 1939 the First Meeting of the Foreign 
Ministers of the American Republics was held and from this meeting there 
came the Declaration of Panama; a pronouncement clearly associated with 
the Monroe Doctrine and the security zone of the United States. The 
declaration proclaimed a "safety belt" around the American continents 
south of Canada. This "safety belt" ranged from approximately 300 to 
1,000 miles in width and was designed to restrict naval warfare on the 
part of the European powers within its limits. 66 In 1940, Newfoundland 
and Bermuda were added to the newly-defined American security area 
as a part of the destroyer-bases agreement with the United Kingdom. In 
1941 the area was again extended and further fortified by, the occupation 
of Greenland. In the same year South America beyond the bulge of Brazil 
was effectively brought within the security zone through the negotiation 
of agreements with Uruguay, Brazil, and Argentina concerning the use 
of their ports by ships of the United States Navy. All of these political 
actions were taken on the basis of the Monroe Doctrine. 67 

Towards the close of World War II, the multilateralizing process begun 
by President Roosevelt in 1936 culminated, through the Act of Chapulte- 
pec, in the establishment of a rudimentary Pan-American defense com- 
munity. This act of March, 1945 (which was not initially signed by 
Argentina) in effect made all of the American states co-guardians of the 

65 T. A. Bailey, A Diplomatic History of the American People, 4th ed. (New York, 
1950), p. 740. Roosevelt later denied that his statement was meant to extend the 
Monroe Doctrine to Canada on the grounds that he did not interpret the doctrine as 
excluding Canada. 

66 Ibid., p. 763. 

67 D. Perkins, "Bring the Monroe Doctrine up to Date," Foreign Affairs (1942), 
pp. 253 ff. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 271 

Doctrine, even against an American aggressor. 08 The regional collective 
security system first set forth at Chapultepec was formalized two years 
later on a permanent treaty basis at Rio de Janeiro. Article 4 of the Rio 
Treaty ( sometimes known as the Petropolis Reciprocal Assistance Treaty, 
or Inter- American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance) vividly demonstrates 
how far the Monroe Doctrine has been broadened since 1936 in terms of 
the extent to which the United States, as the major treaty power, is willing 
to go to defend "this hemisphere" of Monroe's. Article 4 defines in exact 
geographic terms the area to which the treaty applies, as follows: 

The region to which this Treaty refers is bounded as follows: beginning at 
the North Pole; thence due south to a point 74 degrees north latitude, 10 de- 
grees west longitude; thence by a rhumb line to a point 35 degrees north 
latitude, 50 degrees west longitude; thence due south to a point 20 degrees 
north latitude; thence by a rhumb line to a point 5 degrees north latitude, 24 
degrees west longitude; thence due south to the South Pole; thence due north 
to a point 30 degrees south latitude, 90 degrees west longitude; thence by a 
rhumb line to a point on the Equator at 97 degrees west longitude; thence by 
a rhumb line to a point 15 degrees north latitude, 120 degrees west longitude; 
thence by a rhumb line to a point 50 degrees north latitude, 170 degrees east 
longitude; thence due north to a point in 54 degrees north latitude; thence by 
a rhumb line to a point 65 degrees 30 minutes north latitude, 168 degrees 58 
minutes 5 seconds west longitude; thence due north to the North Pole. 

When one surveys the vast expanse of land and sea covered by the 
terms of this article, and considers it in terms of United States security, 
one finds that never before "has the Monroe Doctrine been given in prac- 
tice the wide construction which its language suggests, and never before 
have such wide and varied activities been conducted over so large a geo- 
graphical area with the object of endowing it with physical force." 69 

It would be improvident to assume that the Western Hemisphere, as a 
political concept, has reached the limit of its expansion. It would be 
equally improvident to assume that at some future time it may not con- 
tract. Its destinies are not "manifest" but are subject to the political exi- 
gencies of different times and varying power situations. It should, how- 
ever, be realized that so long as the Western Hemisphere concept is 
predicated upon the leading political and military position of the United 
States, it will fluctuate as a political reality insofar and as often as geo- 
graphical relationships between the United States and the rest of the 
world continue to change. 70 - 71 

68 Bailey, op. cit., p. 837. 

69 Perkins, loc. cit., p. 259. 

70 Early in 1953, an American historian, A. P. Whitaker, delivered eight lectures 
at University College, London, which were published in book-form in 1954 under the 
title "The Western Hemisphere: Its Rise and Decline" (Ithaca, N. Y., 194 pp.). 



272 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

THE AMERICAN "PERIMETER OF DEFENSE" 

In a sense, such expansions or contractions of the Western Hemisphere 
mark "the passing of the American frontier" of the nineteenth and early 
twentieth centuries. When ex-President Herbert Hoover, in 1946, used 
the phrase "perimeter of defense," which he asked to be extended by hold- 
ing on to the strategic bases established during World War II, a new, and 
by necessity vague, term in American political geography was established. 
It was a fresh attempt to define, or rather to describe, the post-World War 
II security zone of the United States, or as many saw it, the pre-World 
Wat III zone. As before, the effort produced at best a political term, the 



To the historian, the Western Hemisphere looks exactly like the picture which 
its; mythical entity presents to the geographer. Whitaker holds that the Western 
Hemisphere idea in its original form was based on geographical concepts, po- 
litical ideas, and above all an anti-European isolationism, all of which is being 
rejected in North-American political thought today. Whitaker also points out con- 
vincingly that the Western Hemisphere concept was, after World War II, gradu- 
ally replaced by that of the "Northern Hemisphere" which more and more captured 
political and strategic imagination in the United States. This is well illustrated by 
former Secretary of State Dean Acheson's address of December 30, 1951, in which 
he reviewed foreign policy developments in that year. While referring half-heartedly 
to the Western Hemisphere as "the foundation of our position in the world," he later 
modified this statement by describing the position of the United States as "lying in 
both the Western and Northern Hemispheres." In fact, most of his address dealt 
with areas of the Northern and Eastern Hemispheres (Whitaker, op. cit., p. 175; see 
also the review by G. I. Blanksten, in The American Political Science Review (June, 
1955), pp. 536-539. 

71 After completion of this text, the authors read what seems to them a most chal- 
lenging study of the problems discussed in this chapter, S. B. Jones' Global Stra- 
tegic Views (Geog. Review, Oct., 1955) and an unpublished report by the same 
author on "The Conditions of War Limitation," November, 1955. In regard to the 
strategic concept of the Western Hemisphere, Jones probes the reality of the Western 
Hemisphere and its self-sufficiency and defensibility. As a typical example of the deep- 
rooted uncritical Western Hemisphere idea as discussed above he mentions a report 
by a Senate subcommittee in 1954 (see loc. cit., pp. 503, 504) which, starting with 
the premise that "we belong in the Western Hemisphere," demonstrates the present 
American dependence on sources of strategic and critical materials outside the 
Western Hemisphere but maintains that through stockpiling, exploration, subsidization, 
and scientific research the Americas could be made self-sufficient for a period of war. 
It is held that sea lanes to South America could hug the shore and be protected from 
enemy aircraft or submarines. "In the last analysis land transportation can be im- 
proved." Jones attacks the notion expressed by the subcommittee that Latin America 
is "our own backyard." He holds that the idea of a defensible Western Hemisphere 
rests in part on the use of a world map centered on the North Pole. This projection 
greatly exaggerates east-west distances in the southern hemisphere, giving the im- 
pression that Africa and South America are far apart. The defense of South America, 
Jones contends, "involves the control of Africa, which probably requires the defense 
of Europe and the Middle East. Thus the United States cannot contract out of trans- 
Atlantic commitments unless it is willing to shrink into North American isolation, and 
even that requires that the Canadians go along with us. Whether North America has 
the resources for military isolation is questionable." 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 273 

meaning of which was subject to constant change from the very start. To 
define it geographically proved, because of its quality of fluidity, as im- 
possible as was the case in regard to the boundaries of the mythical "West- 
ern Hemisphere." 

To the student of political geography, the realization of the fallacy of 
the Western Hemisphere concept serves also as illustration of certain 
more general principles in political geography. What appears to the ob- 
server as a constantly moving line, marking the contours of this, the West- 
ern Hemisphere, or of the Perimeter of Defense, depicts equally the 
broader areas in which, at a given time, the United States is exposed to 
external pressure. 

UNITED STATES OUTER DEFENSE MARCHES 

Arnold J. Toynbee, in his A Study of History,' 2 devotes a chapter to the 
stimulus of the human environment in cases in which the impact makes 
itself felt in the form of continuous external pressure. That chapter he 
calls "The Stimulus of Pressures." In it he sets out to show that, in terms of 
political geography, the people, states, or cities which are exposed to such 
pressure fall, for the most part, within the general category of "marches." 
Marches are the outer provinces, or in the case of the offshore perimeter, 
the coastal or island defense bastions where the onslaught of the enemy is 
expected and where the military planners will select the sites for strategic 
bases. Toynbee's work is a study in contrasts, and his survey turns from 
the parts played by marches in the histories of the societies or communi- 
ties to which they belong, to the parts played by other territories of the 
same societies or communities which are situated geographically in their 
"interiors." The "law" derived from these comparisons is that the external 
pressure of the human environment upon a march provides a stimulus 
which gives the march predominance over the interior. The greater the 
pressure the greater the stimulus. 

It is difficult to apply this concept to the far-flung outer bastions of the 
United States. But what is true for a compact land area, with its defense 
stations distributed through the marches bordering its perimeter of de- 
fense, is also true in regard to the perimeter of defense zones which, in a 
shrinking world, constitute the modern marches of the United States. 
Whereas the march concept of old is limited to such outer provinces 
within the geographical limits of a national community, the new marches, 
in which this country organizes its outer defense net and military spheres 

72 Vol. II (1934), pp. 112-208. 




Fig. 8-17. The American Perimeter of Defense: Winter, 1955. 



274 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 275 

of interest, disregard national boundaries and extend to every place where 
a global strategy and agreement with members of the non-Soviet commu- 
nity pinpoint favorable sites for strategic bases. Thus the American perim- 
eter-of-defense march, as shown in Figure 8-17, stretches from the Carib- 
bean bases to Newfoundland, Greenland, Iceland, the United Kingdom, 
Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Azores, Morocco, Libya, 
Saudi Arabia, and finally to the North Pacific, to Formosa, Korea and 
Japan, until the circle closes in the Aleutians and Alaska. However, the 
circle, as it appears in the blueprints of the military planners, is far from 
complete in the actual picture of the world map of early 1956, as a look 
at the gap in the Middle East reveals. 

This perimeter extends indeed far beyond the region defined by Article 
4 of the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal Assistance. 

UNITED STATES BASES OVERSEAS 

The realization that the fictitious boundaries of the "Western Hemi- 
sphere" have crumpled and that the frontiers of our national security zone 
lie wherever United States interests are at stake compels us to focus atten- 
tion on the far-flung, yet fluctuating web of military bases outside the 
continental limits of the United States. Clearly the security of the United 
States in two World Wars could not have been assured by military bases 
already existing or constructed on United States territory or on territory 
over which the United States had been granted trusteeship rights. Rather 
it became an ever-growing characteristic of the American military bases 
system that the protection of the American mainland was entrusted to 
bases overseas, the sites of which were made available to the United 
States by its allies and friendly nations. After World War II, the fortifica- 
tion of the United States' perimeter of defense was continued and intensi- 
fied. The greater the distance of United States outposts from its mainland, 
the more did they serve their twofold purpose of denying access to the 
American mainland to the aggressor nation and of carrying the possibility 
of attack close to the nerve centers of the enemy. A security system which 
is essentially anchored in strongholds and outposts located in foreign terri- 
tory differs of course basically from one limited to strongholds within the 
boundaries of one power, even if that power rules as large a territory as 
does the United States or the Soviet Union. 

The rapid pace at which technological advances in the means of war- 
fare have progressed during the last decades makes it necessary to re- 
examine and redraw, in shorter and shorter intervals, the shifting bound- 



276 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

aries of the perimeters of defense of the large powers. This rapid pace is 
in contrast to the gradual development of the British bases system by 
which the Mediterranean was slowly made a British sea: Gibraltar be- 
came British in 1704, the Maltese Islands in 1800, and Cyprus in 1878. 

Before World War II, the United States did not possess a far-flung net 
of bases in the Atlantic arena. Its bases in the Atlantic were limited to the 
defense of the Panama Canal area. Equally in the Pacific arena, the pre- 
World War II string of bases was altogether insufficient for the defense 
of the American mainland. Partially developed bases were available in 
the Hawaiian Islands and the Philippines, and base sites existed in Alaska, 
Guam, Wake, Samoa, and other minor islands. Furthermore, Japanese 
base establishments in mandated islands neutralized United States base 
sites in the Western Pacific, and the provisions of the Treaty Limiting 
Naval Armaments of 1922 precluded the development of bases west of 
the 180th meridian until after 1936. 73 

After the United States entered World War II, and continuing until the 
present, the United States undertook to extend vastly and to solidify a sys- 
tem of bases overseas, and, in the case of Canada, overland, under arrange- 
ments made with that country for the establishment of a future defense 
frontier in Northern Canada. But the emphasis of the United States' for- 
tification of its perimeter of defense through military bases is on bases 
overseas, while the U.S.S.R., in contrast, found ample compensation for 
the lack of opportunities overseas by establishing bases in lands directly 
adjacent to her, either by military occupation or through the control of 
and collaboration with satellite governments in those spheres of interest. 

Reaching far beyond the land spheres within its own sovereign territory, 
the United States has established an increasingly impressive net of stra- 
tegic bases overseas which, in 1945, was reported as exceeding 400 war 
bases of various dimensions: 195 in the Pacific area; 11 in the Indian 
Ocean and the Near East; and 229 in the Atlantic area ( 18 of which were 
in the North Atlantic, 67 in the Gulf of Panama and the Caribbean, 25 in 
the South Atlantic, 55 in North Africa and the Mediterranean, and 64 in 
Great Britain, France, and Germany). 

The important part which military bases of all kinds play nowadays in 
the political geography of any major power makes it necessary to define 
clearly the term base. A "base" is not synonymous with "port." While many 
of the strategic bases held by the United States are located in insular areas 

73 Major Problems of United States Foreign Policy, 1948-1949, The Brookings In- 
stitute, 1948, p. 124 ff. The treatment of military bases in the text is largely based on 
this source (pp. 124-129) and on H. W. Weigert, "Strategic Bases," in Weigert- 
Stefansson-Harrison, op. cit., pp. 219-251. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 277 

or form a beachhead in foreign territory, the term applies not only to 
island bases and beachheads but equally to other foreign territories avail- 
able for military operations. Consequently, a complete picture of strategic 
bases includes overland bases, as those in Canada, and occupied terri- 
tories overseas, such as was the case during and after World War II, in 
Germany, Austria, Italy, Japan, and Korea, as well as those bases which 
were established under NATO agreements. 

As the history of World War II shows, military bases have been estab- 
lished in order to serve a number of purposes, such as the protection of 
shipping lanes, the establishment of fuel and weather stations, and as 
springboards for offensive operations. 

After Pearl Harbor, the United States took vigorous steps to increase 
and fortify its overseas bases organization to meet actual and potential 
threats by the aggressor nations, both against the American mainland and 
the shipping lanes which constituted the life arteries connecting it with 
its allies. Base sites were granted by friendly nations or were seized. Not 
less than 134 base sites were leased in 1939 from Panama (most of which 
were evacuated in 1948). In the Atlantic arena, the United States was 
forced by the requirements of global warfare to reach out far beyond the 
string of bases held in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, in Guantanamo, 
Cuba, and eight locations under British rule. Bases were acquired in Ice- 
land, Greenland, 74 the Azores, and on some minor Atlantic islands. In all 
these, the United States encountered considerable reluctance on the part 
of the powers whose territory was affected (Iceland, Denmark, and Por- 
tugal) to grant long-term base rights. 

In the Pacific, the changing fortunes of the war against Japan deter- 
mined the course by which the base net of the United States was organ- 
ized. When Japan surrendered, the United States was entrenched in 
important base positions serving the dual purpose of fortifying the defense 
perimeter of the United States off the Asian coast and of preventing these 
base areas from coming under the control of a possible enemy. 75 Among 
these bases are the former Japanese mandated islands. Now called the 
"Territory of the Pacific Islands," they were designated in November 1948 
a Strategic Trusteeship area of the United Nations, with the United States 
as the administering authority. 76 This area consists of 650 former Japanese 
islands in 96 island groups in the Marshall, Mariana, and Caroline island 

74 H. W. Weigert, "Iceland, Greenland, and the United States," Foreign Affairs 
( October, 1944 ) . 

75 Major Problems, 1948-1949, p. 127. 

76 H. W. Weigert, "Strategic Bases," in Weigert-Stefansson-Harrison, op. cit., pp. 
226 ff. 



278 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

groups. The total population was in 1955 about 62,000. Among these is- 
lands, the outpost of Okinawa, an island only 400 miles from the mainland 
of China and less than half the size of Rhode Island, assumed primary 
importance. 77 In the southern Pacific, the United States acquired base 
sites from the Philippines Republic for a period of 99 years and secured 
further bases in territories under the sovereignty or jurisdiction of Great 
Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia, and the Netherlands. 

In the Far North, the most significant base developments took place in 
close co-ordination between Canada and the United States, once it was 
recognized that the rapid growth of air power had made the North Polar 
regions and the Arctic Mediterranean a focus of decisive military opera- 
tions (cf. Fig. 8-11, p. 248). While it was not the objective of this discus- 
sion to list the various bases developed since the war, and often clouded 
in secrecy, attention is called to the fact that for the establishment of Polar 
bases not only the immediate military targets of offensive and defensive 
action against vital areas within the United States and Canada or the 
Soviet Union are essential. Equally necessary are considerations aimed at 
establishing stations for the maintenance of navigational aids, the collec- 
tion of meteorological data, aircraft tracking and warning, and air-sea 
rescue systems. 78 In terms of geography, the base system in the Polar 
regions is, from the United States' point of view, characterized by the fact 
that a comparison of the Soviet Union base system in the Polar areas and 
that of the United States shows the latter at a distinct geographical disad- 
vantage. The Soviet Union is in full sovereign control of' its bases in the 
North. Even there, where these bases are on territory not under the sover- 
eignty of the U.S.S.R., the control is complete. That applies to the former 
U.S.S.R. bases in Manchuria (Port Arthur, Darien), as well as to those in 
northern Korea, which loom as an ominous threat to the life lines linking 
the United States and Japan. The United States' position is dependent 
upon a co-ordination of her base system in Alaska with bases in northern 
Canada, Greenland, and elsewhere. 

From a structural point of view, we have to distinguish between various 
types of bases. Some are permanent operational bases which are fortified 
and garrisoned in sufficient strength to hold against a major attack; others 
are limited operational bases which need not be garrisoned in normal 
times, but can be occupied in an emergency. No such base can be evalu- 
ated, as an integral part of the over-all security system of a nation or a 

77 Formosa became an operational base for the United States Air Force after the 
evacuation of the Taschen Islands by the Chinese Nationalists in February, 1955. 

78 Major Problems, 1948-1949, p. 128. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 279 

group of allied nations, without reference to other related bases. Thus 
the Pacific bases, if regarded as an organic entity, can be classified as 
Outposts (Southern Korea, Formosa), Principal Advanced Bases (Oki- 
nawa), Main Supporting Bases (Marianas), Secondary Bases (Japan, 
Philippines), and Backup Bases (Aleutians, Hawaii). Geographically 
they can be subdivided into seven groups (including outposts which 
are indirectly, through treaties, part of the United States defense system) : 
(1) the Polynesian group (Hawaii); (2) the Micronesian group (Guam); 
(3) the Melanesian group (New Guinea); (4) the Northern Alaskan 
chain (Ryukyus); (5) the offshore islands along the China coast, includ- 
ing Japan; and (6) the Philippine Islands; and (7) Australia and New 
Zealand. 

In the restless years following the end of World War II, the United 
States had slowly and reluctantly adopted a global strategy of defense, 
thus repudiating conflicting defense theories which were either conti- 
nental or Western Hemispheric in character. The resolution to prepare 
for an "offensive projection of American strength by all possible means 
in all possible areas," 79 is reflected in the continuously widening perim- 
eter of defense which consists of a systematically growing net of American 
and Allied military bases. Except for a significant gap in the strategic 
Middle East region, this system had in 1954 succeeded in drawing an iron 
line around the land mass of the U.S.S.R. As we have shown above, this 
line developed, in 1955 and 1956, serious points of stress along its perim- 
eter. In carrying out its program, the United States took the lead in 
organizing groups of states for their common defense and in establishing 
a procedure in the United Nations that would permit collective security 
action to be taken upon recommendation of the General Assembly. Conse- 
quently, it would be unrealistic if one would view the perimeter of de- 
fense of the United States solely in terms of United States bases. Instead 
one must consider it as realization of the extensive international commit- 
ments of the United States and of the major principle of its foreign policy, 
of universal collective security. The result is an intricate system of re- 
gional security and of collective self-defense arrangements; military bases 
overseas and overland are the visible expressions of such power projection 
abroad. 

79 Major Problems of United States Foreign Policy, 1952-1953, p. 159. 




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THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 281 

INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS AS BASIS OF THE 
UNITED STATES DEFENSE AND SECURITY SYSTEM 

The following commitments represent the basis of the American defense 
and security system: 

Under the Rio Treaty of 1947 which we have discussed previously, the 
United States agreed that an armed attack on any one of twenty-one 
nations in the "Western Hemisphere" would be considered an attack 
against all and that each would then assist in meeting the attack. It is a 
significant limitation of the obligations, a limitation instrumental in defin- 
ing the contours of important sectors of the American security belt, that 
it applies only within the security zone defined in the Treaty, which in- 
cludes the North and South American continents and several hundreds of 
miles of the surrounding areas (Fig. 8-18). 

The coming into being, in 1949, of the North Atlantic Treaty Organiza- 
tion overshadowed completely the defense system which had found ex- 
pression in the Rio de Janeiro treaty of 1947. Here, too, the United States 
committed itself to far-reaching obligations within a defined security 
zone. But in linking, with the United States and Canada, nearly half the 
area and more than half the population of America to Western Europe, 
an alliance was formed which "is incompatible with the historic Western 
Hemisphere idea, an essential element of which was the separation of 
America from Europe." 80 As a comparison of the two security zones under 
the Rio and North Atlantic Treaties shows, these zones are not set apart 
but overlapping, with the North Atlantic Treaty zone in the role of an 
extension, however under different conditions, of the Rio Treaty security 
zone. The United States is obligated to regard an attack against any of 
the signatories within this zone as an attack against all of them. With the 
United States, every other signatory power is held to assist the attacked 
nation by taking "individually and in concert . . . such action as it deems 
necessary, including the use of armed forces." 81 If one follows the line 
indicating the extent of the North Atlantic Pact security perimeter, cover- 
ing North America beyond Mexico, the North Atlantic Ocean, Western 
Europe ( including West Germany which, while still unarmed, had joined 
NATO as a partner in the spring of 1955 ) , a part of French North Africa, 
Greece, Turkey, and the Mediterranean, one realizes that this line falls 

80 Ibid. 

81 It should be noted that, as a counterpart to NATO, a Soviet military organization 
was established in May, 1955, which formalized corresponding obligations between 
the U.S.S.R. and its East European satellite states, as well as a unified military or- 
ganization under a Soviet Union Commander in Chief, with its seat in Moscow. 



282 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

considerably short of describing the extent of the United States perimeter 
of defense which relies on the military bases operated by it and friendly 
nations (see Fig. 8-18). To understand this discrepancy, one has to in- 
clude in the picture of United States security arrangements additional 
obligations under the North Atlantic Treaty as well as certain regional 
arrangements. 

If, in conjunction with the framework of complementary bilateral de- 
fense agreements, we review the geographical extent of the NATO or- 
ganization as we find it established in 1955, we see that it has succeeded 
in establishing the fundamentals of a united western community of na- 
tions, without which, as Toynbee put it, 82 this community could not hope 
to survive "the siege of the West." In terms of heartland and rimland 
concepts, NATO has adopted the rimlands theory as a valid counterpart 
to strategic formulas originating in, and conditioned by the control of the 
Soviet heartland. If we concentrate on the North Atlantic and European 
arenas, as the heart of the NATO organization, we will find that they 
secure the vital arteries which link its members across the high seas and 
that they bar Soviet naval expansion and infiltration, especially by sub- 
marines. On the European mainland, the participation of the German 
Federal Republic paves the way for the defense of Europe which, without 
such participation, would remain saddled with a serious power vacuum. 
The West German membership in NATO will eventually bear fruit in the 
vital protection of the northern flank where Soviet expansion from the 
Baltic Sea into the North Sea must be barred. In the Scandinavian coun- 
tries, Sweden's neutrality and the reluctance of Norway and Denmark to 
concede the stationing of foreign NATO contingents on their soil tend to 
weaken the structure. In the Mediterranean arena Turkey and Greece are 
the vital NATO rimland strongholds which stem Soviet aggression toward 
the Middle East, as does, among the Balkan countries, Yugoslavia. Its role 
is of greatest importance; in spite of its defense agreements with Turkey 
and Greece under the Balkan treaty of August 1954 at the time these lines 
are written, it can not be finally evaluated. 83 Spain, not a NATO partner 
but committed to the United States under a bilateral agreement, occupies 
highly important positions for naval and air bases, especially for the de- 
fense of the Straits of Gibraltar and North Africa. 

Under the North Atlantic Pact, any attack outside the zones stipulated 
therein involves no other obligation than consultation. This consultative 

82 A. J. Toynbee, "The Siege of the West," Foreign Affairs (1955), p. 359 ff. 

83 If the Soviet Union carries out its pledge to withdraw its troops from Rumania 
and Hungary after the ratification of the treaty with Austria, such move would 
eliminate some of the major reasons for the existence of the Balkan pact. 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 283 

commitment, however, is an integral and significant part of the over-all 
defense organizations since the interests and holdings of the United 
States, Great Britain, and France are on a global scale. 84 

Additional regional arrangements concluded in 1951 fortified the se- 
curity position of the United States in the Pacific Arena. Under the Tri- 
partite Security Treaty with Australia and New Zealand and the Mutual 
Defense Treaty with the Republic of the Philippines ( expanding the 99- 
year military base arrangement of 1947), the United States agreed that an 
armed attack in the Pacific area on any one of the signatories would 
oblige each partner to aid in meeting the common danger. In the same 
year, the United States, under the Japanese Security Treaty of 1951, 
established the right to keep armed forces in Japan and to use them for 
the maintenance of peace and security in the Far East, while security 
arrangements with the Republic of South Korea remained in a state of 
fluctuation. In September, 1954, nations from far afield joined in Manila 
to sign an agreement aimed at stopping further Communist erosion in the 
wide expanse of Southeast Asia. The outcome was a broad defense organ- 
ization for Southeast Asia, with its eight signatories (half of them mem- 
bers of the British Commonwealth), the United States, Britain, France, 
Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, and Pakistan, pledged 
to regard an armed attack against any of them, or against a designated 
treaty area, as a danger to the peace and safety of all of them. The partners 
are also obligated to consult on common defense measures in case such a 
danger arises from any other development besides armed attack from the 
outside, such as Communist subversion, coup d'etat, or civil war on the 
Korean or Indochinese pattern. The geographical pattern of the SEATO 
members makes it clear that Australia and New Zealand, because of their 
proximity to an overpopulated Asia, are the powers most interested in 
increasing the military strength of the SEATO organizations. 

This South East Asian Collective Defense Treaty (still called SEATO, 
in abbreviation of its original name, South East Asian Treaty Organiza- 
tion) is a much weaker structure than is NATO. This is evident from the 
fact that among its signatories some of the nations are missing which 
would be most directly threatened in their very existence by aggressive 
moves originating from Communist China: Indonesia, Burma, Ceylon, 
India, and in Indochina, Laos, Cambodia, and South Vietnam. Unlike 
NATO, SEATO is consultative, like the Anzus pact. Thus it falls consider- 
ably short of the more rigid NATO and in particular lacks a SHAPE as a 
unified military command and a combined military force; the treaty or- 
is* Major Problems, pp. 88-89. 



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THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 285 

ganization is limited to a Council with broad functions in defense plan- 
ning. 

Large as the treaty area is— comprising Southeast Asia and the South- 
west Pacific— its geographical limitations emphasize the fact that this 
structure rests on fundamentals which are temporary and far from being 
complete. The protected area includes not only the territories of the sig- 
natory powers but also the general area of Southeast Asia and the South- 
west Pacific. A special protocol provides for the inclusion in the protected 
treaty area of the free part of Indochina. However, the treaty area is 
bounded in the north by parallel 21°30' and thus passes south of Hong- 
kong, Formosa, and of course Japan. In regard to these nations, direct 
commitments of the United States and, in the case of Hongkong, Britain, 
serve as substitutes for what ideally would be included in an all-embrac- 
ing Pacific defense organization. With the passage by Congress of the 
Formosa defense resolution in January, 1955, a decisive step was taken 
in spelling out even more firmly the American perimeter of defense con- 
cept by defining the no-trespass line in the Formosa Strait. The resolution 
makes it clear to a potential enemy that there are specific areas which the 
United States would defend with force rather than cede, even though at 
the time this is written, the issue of the defense of the off-shore islands of 
Matsu and Quemoy looms large and ominously. 

It is in the nature of a network based on regional agreements with 
friendly powers that its strength varies regionally and that the line which 
signifies the extent of the perimeter of defense is constantly changing. At 
present, the weakest part of the perimeter, from the United States' point 
of view, is along the northern tier of nations in the Middle East, between 
Turkey and Pakistan, with the weak links of Iran and Iraq between them 
(Fig. 8-19). 

At the end of 1955 it appeared that some progress had been 
achieved in the efforts to strengthen the northern tier by laying the 
groundwork for a security bloc which was to include Turkey, Iraq, Iran, 
and Pakistan. The groundwork was laid in February, 1955, when, in the 
Baghdad Treaty, Turkey and Iraq agreed to establish a mutual defense or- 
ganization. Britain joined the pact in April and Pakistan in September, 
1955. In October, 1955, Iran announced, in defiance of the Soviet Union 
which protested Iran's decision sharply, that it was ready to join the de- 
fense alliance. 

However, in spite of the progress made in cementing the defense line 
across the Middle East's northern tier, through a chain of United States- 
supported defense treaty organizations and in particular through the 



286 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

Baghdad Pact, this 3,000-mile front appeared late in 1955 as an ominously 
fluctuating barrier against Soviet expansion into the Arab world. This 
Arab world is far from being a united bloc and the issue of "neutralism" 
(kindled above all by resentment against the United States' policy to- 
wards Israel), has estranged Egypt and her allies (Syria, Saudi Arabia 
and Yemen) which have declared their opposition to the Baghdad Pact. 
From the standpoint of the United States, a strengthening of the north- 
ern tier defense arrangement has been from the beginning an integral part 
of a policy aimed at perfecting its over-all perimeter of defense position. 
The efficiency and strength of this kind of security system based on col- 
lective security principles depends entirely on the degree to which the 
United States will have the full co-operation of its partners. As Secretary 
of State Dulles pointed out in March, 1954, the bases which serve in for- 
eign countries are in general not usable as a matter of law, and as a prac- 
tical matter are not usable, except with the consent of the countries in 
which the bases are located. Therefore, it is implicit in the United States' 
security system that it operates with the consent and acquiescence of the 
other partners who have helped to provide the facilities which create a 
sort of international police system. 85 Against the Soviet bloc of Commu- 
nist-controlled countries, representing a vast central land mass with a 
population of 800,000,000, able, because of its central position, to strike 
at any one of about twenty countries along a perimeter of some 20,000 
miles, the United States and the nations allied with her have developed 
a system of bases which is an integral part and a physical expression of 
their collective security system. 5 



86 



THE COLOMBO POWERS 

This discussion of the politico-geographical factors surrounding the col- 
lective security system of the United States in comparison with the 
opposing security structure of the Soviet bloc is not meant to suggest that 
the political world of today can be neatly divided into two power combi- 
nations, permitting the mapping, in terms of political and military bound- 
aries, of the Free World versus the Communist World. Such oversimplifi- 
cation would be grossly misleading. The political world of Southeast Asia, 
above all, which cannot be fitted into the not even seemingly neat balance 
between the Free and the Communist World, at the time these lines are 
written defies any attempt at integrating it, or its major nations, with any 

85 New York Times, March 17, 1953, p. 5. 

86 John Foster Dulles, Foreign Affairs (April, 1953). 



THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 



287 




Fig. 8-20. The Colombo Powers. 



degree of permanency in this scheme. In order not to be unduly impressed 
by the structures of base systems and regional security agreements, the 
importance of which for the defense system of the United States and her 
allied nations we have shown, we must include in our estimates the great 
potential power of such state systems as Pakistan, India, Ceylon, Burma, 
and Indonesia. In these new states, comprising a total population of about 
550,000,000 (Fig. 8-20), we observe in the philosophy of the so-called 
Colombo Powers 87 a formative power-political grouping which cannot be 
identified with either the "East" or the "West." It is not, or not yet, in the 
nature of a bloc or firm alliance, but possesses nevertheless all the ingre- 
dients of a potential power combination which may prompt us in the fore- 

87 This group should not be confused with the economic grouping of the "Colombo 
Plan" which originated in 1950 for the purpose of mutual aid. At this time, the 
Colombo Plan embraces all Asian countries, except Formosa, South Korea, and 
Afghanistan, as well as Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. 




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THE IMPACT OF LOCATION 289 

seeable future to re-draw the world map depicting the major spheres of 
influence of the Great Powers. Named after the city in Ceylon where the 
Premiers of the five members of this group first met, the Colombo Powers, 
while divided among themselves by many unsolved problems (as India 
and Pakistan ) and while taking different positions in regard to their secu- 
rity policy toward Communist expansion ( as Pakistan and Ceylon, which 
are considerably less neutral than were, in 1955, India, Burma, and Indo- 
nesia), these nations have in their policies enough in common to make 
them, and other states in Asia and Africa which they may attract in the 
future, the potential nucleus of a strong grouping with tangible binding 
features. At present, intangibles form the common base, above all the 
history of foreign colonial rule in which they share. Inspired by their re- 
sentment against colonialism in any form, these states are intent on deter- 
mining the future course of Asian political destinies without influence 
from the outside. A broad extension of the sphere of nations subscribing 
to the general philosophy of the Colombo Plan powers has taken shape 
at the conference of Asian-African nations at Bandung, Indonesia. This 
meeting brought together delegates from twenty-nine nations comprising 
more than half of the world's population, and, in spite of many deep- 
rooted disparities in the realms of language, religion, ethnic composition, 
and culture, as well as differences in their political alignments and eco- 
nomic systems, united them by the common bond of being non-white 
nations who at some time in the past had been controlled by white 
colonial powers S8 (Fig. 8-21). 

The first major combining action of the new "Anti-Colonial" bloc in the 
making occurred in October 1955 when the Bandung nations, aided by 
the Soviet groups and by scattered Latin American countries, pushed the 
issue of colonialism to the front of the United Nations' stage. They suc- 
ceeded in having placed for general debate on the agenda of the General 
Assembly the questions of French Algeria and of Netherlands New 
Guinea claimed by the Indonesian Republic. 

We cannot foresee whether and how what appears today as a loose 
power structure in the making will in the future affect the collective 
security system of the Free World and its perimeter of defense. But 
through the mist beclouding the future we can perceive the taking-shape 
of new political structures and groupings of great portent and impact. 
Their still nebulous contours confirm the need, so persistently stressed in 
these lines, for continuous re-evaluation of what on the political map of 
today appears seemingly as a firm and stable feature in the realm of politi- 
es See pp. 532 ff., 551. 



290 THE SPATIAL FACTOR IN POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

cal geography. Fluctuation and change are factors which enter invariably 
into any discussion and appraisal in the field of political geography. But 
certain basic factors of physical geography do not change, even though 
their conditioning effect on human affairs is subject to change. This gen- 
eral observation, which permeates all our discussions in this volume and 
which explains and justifies the study of political geography, has been 
expressed lucidly by Abraham Lincoln in his Message to Congress of 
December 1, 1862: 

A Nation may be said to consist of its territory, its people, and its laws. The 
territory is the only part which is of certain durability. One generation passes 
away, and another generation cometh, but the earth abideth forever. It is of the 
first importance to duly consider and estimate this ever-enduring part. 



Part 



2 



THE HUMAN AND CULTURAL 

FACTOR IN POLITICAL 

GEOGRAPHY 



CHAPTER 



9 



Population Growth and Pressure 



The legal foundation of the state is its territory; but its reality exists 
only in its citizens— in their numbers, their distribution, their biological 
and demographic characteristics, their economic development, and their 
social institutions and cultural heritage. This chapter and the next deal 
with the population in terms of its numbers, distribution, movements, and 
demographic characteristics. Later chapters will consider cultural and 
economic factors in political geography. 

We examine population in a study of political geography because 
people, like natural resources and other geographical factors germane to 
political power, are unequally distributed over the face of the earth. The 
human resources available to the several nations vary greatly both in size 
and quality. 

Also, the human content of the national territory is forever changing, 
firstly, through the biological facts of birth and death and, secondly, 
through migrations. These changes are never exactly alike on the two 
sides of an international boundary. Thus there are everywhere changes 
in relative population and manpower that tend to shift the balance of 
power among the nations concerned. 

Differential rates of growth create pressures against political bound- 
aries. They create tensions in the increasing competition for the scarce 
resources of the earth. They provide the impetus for voluntary migrations 
and often the real motive in the forced expulsion or flight of refugees. 

The following discussion examines these various aspects of population 
as an element of power and as a source of conflict. We shall first consider 
population size as an obvious element in national power. Second, we 

293 



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POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 295 

shall deal with the distribution of the population, which has much to do 
with the coherence and effectiveness of any given state or political con- 
stellation. Third, we shall consider population growth as a factor changing 
the locus and expression of power. Fourth, since numbers alone are not 
an adequate measure of the impact of population change, we will consider 
the population structure as a measure of the relative effectiveness of the 
population as the human resource base of political strength. Fifth, changes 
in population size and structure bring about population pressure against 
political boundaries, from areas of low economic opportunity to those of 
greater economic opportunity. Sixth, this pressure is released through 
movement, whether in the voluntary and primarily economically moti- 
vated migrations or in the forced migrations which pour across boundaries 
when the artificial dams imposed by political boundaries are breached. 

A. Size 

POPULATION VERSUS AREA 

The ordinary political map of the world, and especially the Mercator 
projection in common use, very imperfectly reflects the real importance of 
the political entities portrayed. Even on an equal-area projection, which 
eliminates the gross distortion of the Mercator projection at the poles, 
Canada looms larger than the United States. Australia is larger than all of 
Europe west of the U.S.S.R. Argentina and India are about of equal size. 
The French colonies in Africa occupy a large and central position. These 
are facts, but for purposes of political geography, they represent only one 
dimension. Population is another dimension. 

Figures 9-1 and 9-2 compare these two dimensions in schematic dia- 
grams, one (Fig. 9-1) showing the nations of the world drawn in propor- 
tion to their areas, the other (Fig. 9-2), according to their population size. 
The first is a stylized equal-area map; in the second an effort is made to 
preserve the general geographical position of each country in relation to 
its neighbors. 

The differences are striking. On the population map European countries 
assume a position much more comparable to their actual place in the 
world concentration of power. Great Britain, instead of being comparable 
to New Zealand or rather smaller than Madagascar, assumes its place as 
the most important of the British members of the Commonwealth. The 
map shows Asia for what it is: the principal home of mankind. Africa is 
shriveled to its proper proportion as the home of a relatively small per- 
centage of humanity. 















CM 



CO 



I— 
Z 

g 

CQ 
< 

X 

z 

z 
o 



3 

o 




POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 297 

Few countries are even roughly comparable as shown in the two maps. 
The most conspicuous of these is the United States, where the population 
density approximates the world average. Most other countries are either 
much more densely or much less densely settled than the average. 



NATIONAL ENTITIES 

"After rechecking last year's census the National Bureau of Statistics in 
Peiping declared today mainland China's population, largest in the world, 
was 582,603,417, as of June 30, 1953." x 

Such was the report of the first modern census taken in China. At that 
time the "official" figure used by the United Nations for China, including 
Formosa, was 463,493,000. A leading Chinese authority, Ta Chen, esti- 
mated the population of China at under 400 million before the Communist 
revolt. This range of some 200 million in the estimates illustrates the de- 
gree of ignorance of the true size of the population of this most populous 
country in the world. 

There is no doubt, however, that China has the largest population in 
the world. If we may believe the published results of the 1953 census, 
China alone contains almost one-fourth of all mankind. 

India, with 377 millions, is the other demographic giant of the modern 
world. Prior to the division of the Indian subcontinent between India and 
Pakistan, she was a rival to China in the sheer mass of her people. 

The remaining several hundred political entities include countries of 
many million inhabitants and areas boasting only a few hundred persons. 

After China and India come the two great continental powers, the 
U.S.S.R. with 200 million and the United States with 165 million. No 
other nation claims as many as 100 million inhabitants. 

Clustered together as a third group in population size are three Asian 
powers of middle rank: Japan, with 89 million; Indonesia with 81 million; 
and Pakistan with 80 million. 

The four principal powers of Western Europe are also of approximately 
equal population size: United Kingdom, 51 million; German Federal Re- 
public, 50 million; Italy, 48 million; and France, 43 million. 

Only one non-European country, Brazil, approximates these in size. 
With 58 million people Brazil is by far the most populous country in Latin 
America. Mexico, with 29 million, is the second Latin American country. 
Argentina, at the other end of Latin America, has 19 million. Spain, with 

1 Special dispatch to the New York Times from Hong Kong, November 1, 1954. 
Other population data in this section are from United Nations publications, especially 
the Demographic Yearbook, 1955. 



298 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

29 million, and Poland, with 27 million, are the only other European 
countries with over 20 million inhabitants. There is a substantial gap be- 
tween France (43 million), smallest of the world powers, and the numer- 
ous smaller nations and dependent territories. 

Nigeria, with 30 million, is the largest political unit in Africa. 

Five countries of Southeast and East Asia each have about 20 million 
inhabitants: South Korea, 22 million; Philippines, 21 million; Thailand, 
20 million; Burma, 19 million; and the three Associated States of Indo- 
China together number perhaps 17 million. 

Three Moslem countries of the Middle East each have over 20 million 
inhabitants: Turkey, 24; Iran, 21; and Egypt, 23. Egypt is much the 
largest of the Arab countries. Her population exceeds that of all the 
other members of the Arab League combined. 

The bunching of states according to population size suggests that there 
may be some optimum or standard size of state under certain conditions. 

The population of Asian powers is large, in keeping with the greater 
population of the continent. There are at least four distinct size classes of 
Asian states. The two giants, India and China, stand alone. Those of the 
second rank— Japan, Indonesia, and Pakistan— range only between 80 and 
89 million. There are seven third-rank Asian and Middle Eastern powers 
whose populations fall within the narrow range of 19 and 24 million. 2 
Aside from Afghanistan, with 12 million, the next group, including Cey- 
lon, Taiwan, North Korea, Nepal and Saudi-Arabia, have 7 to 9 million 
inhabitants. Three smaller Arab states, Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, each have 
4 to 5 million. The remaining Arab states— Lebanon, Jordan, and Libya— 
and Israel— each claim between one and two million. 

The Asian and Arab states thus range themselves as follows: 



millions ( population ) 


number (states) 


350-600 


2 


About 85 (80-89) 


3 


About 20 (19-24) 


7 


7-9 


5 


4-5 


3 


Between 1 and 2 


4 



The only Asian states that do not fall into these groupings are Afghan- 
istan ( 12 million ) and the four states in what was formerly French Indo- 
China. There has never been a census in the latter. 

2 Egypt, Iran, Turkey— 21-24 million; Burma, Philippines, So. Korea & Thailand 
-19-22 million. 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 299 

In Europe the pattern is apparent but less obvious: 

200 mi 'ion U.S.S.R. 

43-51 " Leading Western Powers (4) 

27-29 " Spain and Poland (2) 

8-17 " Eastern European States (6) 

3-11 " Small Western Powers (10) 

As noted earlier the chief Western European powers are now roughly 
equal in population, though the reunification of Germany would raise 
that country from 49 to 70 million. Among the smaller powers those of 
Eastern Europe are notably more populous than those of the West, which 
were founded in earlier periods of slower and more difficult transport and 
communication. 

There is no comparable pattern among the political entities of Africa 
and of Latin America, perhaps because in both cases population size is 
determined as much by existing and former colonial divisions as it is by 
the indigenous natural regions. 

Obviously population size alone, scarcely more than area, is not a sure 
indication of relative power. In some areas, such as Alaska, lack of popu- 
lation is obviously a strategic weakness. On the other hand, China and 
India might actually be more powerful if they had fewer people. The 
competition for scarce resources brought about by the sheer mass of 
population in these countries imposes a poverty that in many respects 
neutralizes mass strength. Conversely, relatively small countries, like those 
of Western Europe, have been able to maintain a leading power position 
by the effective use of their material resources on the one hand and by 
the maximum development of their smaller human resource through edu- 
cation, training, and organization. 

B. Distribution 
THE PATTERN OF WORLD SETTLEMENT 

The illustration of population size in terms of continents and national 
entities, as in the preceding section, masks important aspects of popula- 
tion distribution as a factor in political geography. Distribution, as op- 
posed to simple size of population, introduces a new dimension. This 
dimension is illustrated by Figures 9-1 and 2 which presents the world's 
population in relation to the major geographic and topographic features. 

Perhaps the most striking fact about the spatial distribution of people 
is that the greater part of the world is very thinly settled or even entirely 
uninhabited— usually for very excellent reasons. About 40 per cent of the 



300 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

world's land area is no more densely settled than Alaska; that is, one 
person for each four square miles. Well over half the land surface of the 
globe is no more densely settled than Nevada, which has one and one-half 
persons per square mile. 

The Arctic tundra of North America supports only a few thousand 
Eskimos, who are "concentrated" along many thousand miles of coast- 
land. Huge interior areas are literally uninhabited. Similarly, the even 
larger Eurasian tundra now supports only a few thousand reindeer-herd- 
ing nomads, except where mineral resources have attracted a small non- 
indigenous population. The sub-Arctic forest, the taiga, which stretches 
across North America and Eurasia in a belt five hundred to a thousand 
miles in width, has scarcely been penetrated anywhere by intensive set- 
tlement. The vast deserts and steppes of the American West, of Central 
Asia, of Asia Minor, of the Sahara, and of Australia have repelled close 
settlement over most of these enormous interior regions. Yet together 
these encompass close to half the land surface of the globe. This half of 
the world receives less than twenty inches of rainfall annually, which is 
usually insufficient to support profitable dry farming. 

For quite the opposite reasons the Amazon and Congo Basins have 
resisted intensive human settlement. Here, there is too much rainfall. The 
tropical soils are leached of essential minerals necessary for high agricul- 
tural output. The cost of clearing jungle land is often excessive in terms 
of any realizable economic return. 

In short, most of the world is too cold or too hot, too dry or too wet, 
too high or too low to provide the conditions suitable for intensive human 
settlement. 

Most of us live in great clusters of population. Three-fourths of the 
world's people live in four of these clusters, those of East Asia, the Indian 
subcontinent, Europe, and Eastern North America. These four are 
roughly comparable in area and population, except that the population 
concentration in Eastern North America falls far below the other great 
centers of mankind. 

East Asia (650-800 million people). This greatest concentration of hu- 
manity includes China, Korea, Japan, and the portion of Indo-China 
neighboring on China (Viet Minh). The high population density in 
North China and neighboring areas around the China Sea reflect the 
North Chinese origin of the civilization created by this largest mass of 
mankind. 

The agricultural base of East Asian life is reflected in the extensive 
area of dense settlement. There are few major cities except in industrial- 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 301 

ized Japan. The Chinese and Korean population distribution closely fol- 
lows the topography, soil, and rainfall conditions suitable for intensive 
agriculture. However, the lesser density in South China also in part re- 
flects its peripheral and marginal relation to the main centers in the 
North. This lower density of population has in recent times led to sub- 
stantially better living conditions in South China than in the North. Con- 
sequently there has been a considerable movement of the more industri- 
ous and frugal North Chinese to the South. 

It is obvious that the weight of human resources in the area lies in 
China and not in Japan. Formerly the latter was able to profit by the lack 
of integration of the great Chinese mass. Until very recent times the 
sprawling Chinese dragon has lacked an effective head. In addition to 
many local and separatist tendencies, there has been a struggle between 
two centers of power in the core area of settlement in the North China 
plain. 3 This has been symbolized by the migration of the capital between 
Peking (literally "the northern capital") and Nanking ("the southern 
capital") (cf. Fig. 6-5, p. 154). Peking represents the traditional political 
dominance of China from the north, and by continental people from 
Central Asia. This domination was reflected in the Manchu dynasty, the 
last to rule China as an Empire. It is also reflected in the role of the Com- 
munists, who found their strongest roots in the land of the northern prov- 
inces. It is natural that the Communists should have revived the leader- 
ship of Peking as opposed to Nanking and the great port city of Shanghai, 
which were centers of commerce and foreign economic penetration. It is 
scarcely necessary to emphasize that implicit in the success of the Com- 
munist movement in China there was a massive repudiation of influences 
which have come to China via the sea, and which were so strong in the 
modern development of Japan. The Communists have renounced these 
in favor of the continental China governed from Peking. 

The Indian Subcontinent (450 million people). The population of the 
Indian subcontinent is effectively set off from other great centers by im- 
pressive barriers of mountain and desert. Nevertheless, the Indian popu- 
lation cluster is somewhat less coherent in pattern than that of East Asia, 
and this is perhaps one reason why this cluster has never in the past 
served as the demographic base for a single world power. Even the great 
Mogul empires of the fifteenth to the seventeenth centuries were never 
successful in bringing the entire subcontinent under one rule. 

An examination of Indian population distribution 4 will suggest why this 

3 See pp. 153 ff. 

4 Cf. O. H. K. Spate, Geography of India and Pakistan (London, 1954), pp. 491-493. 



302 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

has been the case. The core area of India is the rich plain of the upper 
Indus and Ganges Rivers. Somewhat separated from this main concentra- 
tion by the arid Deccan are other but smaller concentrations of population 
in South India. This distribution suggests a clear base for separatist tend- 
encies in South India. These have been accentuated by the survival of 
Dravidian languages and influences in the South as opposed to the pre- 
vailing Indo-Aryan languages which were spread across India by suc- 
cessive invasions from the Northwest. 

The core area of settlement stretches from the Punjab in the Northwest 
to Bengal in the East. As in China there is a conflicting pull between the 
continental foci of power, represented by New Delhi, and the economic 
and maritime focus of power at the mouth of the Ganges, represented by 
Calcutta. It is significant that Calcutta was the first British capital of 
India. It is still much the largest city in the country. But New Delhi rep- 
resents the traditional administration of India from centers in the ecumene 
that are nearest the original overland sources of conquest and political 
power. 

The highly artificial division of India and Pakistan highlights this prob- 
lem. Pakistan includes the two ends of the main Indian population cluster, 
one in the Punjab and the other in Bengal. The western portion includes 
the less populous northwestern areas which however are the traditional 
centers of aggressive Moslem leadership in India. But the main population 
weight of Pakistan is at the other end, in Bengal. This is inevitably an 
unstable political relationship. This instability is currently pointed up by 
the increasing restlessness of East Bengal within the Pakistan union. 

Europe (600 million people). Despite its fracture into many political 
entities, Europe is essentially a single cluster of population. National 
boundaries conceal an organized pattern of settlement reflecting economic 
forces older and more fundamental than present political entities. The 
center of European population lies in a core area including England, the 
Low Countries, Northern France, Western Germany, Switzerland, and 
Northern Italy. To the East the European settlement area reaches out 
across the Russian plain into Siberia, through the Balkans to West Ana- 
tolia, and across the Mediterranean to French North Africa, which is in 
some respects a part of Mediterranean Europe. 

The pattern of European population distribution reflects history as well 
as contemporary fact. Originally it was Mediterranean-oriented with the 
densest population bordering on that Sea. Superimposed on this in the 
modern era has been, firstly, an Atlantic and especially North Sea orien- 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 303 

tation, which has grown out of the influence of overseas trade. In this 
regard we may note the heavy concentration of cities in the countries bor- 
dering on the North Sea. Secondly, there has been an eastward march of 
European settlement. Since 1500 probably as much new land has been 
firmly settled and occupied by Europeans in Eastern Europe and Asia as 
has been so occupied in North America. There is a great wedge of Euro- 
pean settlement pushing across Eurasia along a narrowing base of good 
agricultural land. This wedge is broad at its European base, but as it 
pushes into Asia, it is progressively cramped by cold on the north and 
desert to the south. 

While the European settlement area has as large a population and con- 
tains as much agricultural production area as the two great Asian clusters, 
it does not display as heavy rural settlement. The explanation is of course 
that industrialization in Europe has resulted in the rise of great cities and 
conurbations that together include a large part of the total population of 
the continent. 

In Europe, even more acutely than in Asia, there is a conflict between 
the maritime commercial interests centered in the North Sea and the con- 
tinental foci of power in Russia. In its broadest terms the East-West con- 
flict may be thought of as a struggle between the conflicting poles of the 
older maritime civilization of the West and the continental interests of 
the East created by European settlement in the last three or four hundred 
years. 

Eastern North America ( 150 million people ) . Eastern North America, 
as far west as the Rocky Mountains, is basically a mirror image of North- 
west Europe. There is a concentration of population in the habitable area 
closest in character to that of the North Sea progenitor-countries. There is 
an axis of industrial urban settlement in the Northeast. This industrial 
area is anchored on the one side by the great metropolitan region now 
extending almost continuously along the coast from Boston to Washing- 
ton. From this coastal base it extends westward to include the North 
Central States and the Great Lakes region. This is the American counter- 
part of the great industrial and commercial region of Northwest Europe. 
This industrial belt reaches from England across France and the Low 
Countries to include much of Germany, Bohemia, and Northern Italy. 

From the industrial northeast population density declines toward the 
southeast (as it does toward the southwest in Europe). The Mississippi 
Valley is the American counterpart of the European plain. The Middle 
West was never settled agriculturally as densely as the European plain 



304 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

because its settlement occurred in competition with industrialization and 
the growing cityward movements of the past hundred years. The great 
European immigration from 1880 to 1914 was a migration from European 
villages to American cities rather than to the land in this country. The 
United States and Canada are much more urban than Europe, where 
agricultural settlement much antedated modern industrialization. 

As compared with the other population clusters, that of Eastern North 
America has two tremendous advantages : ( 1 ) the region is and has been 
politically unified for 150 years, aside from the friendly boundary that 
separates out the comparatively small Canadian population; (2) the re- 
gion has resources at least equaling those available to the other great 
population clusters and is able to utilize these resources for the advantage 
of a very much smaller population. 

A third and less specific advantage lies in the fact that the core area 
centering in New York City has maintained essentially undisputed domi- 
nation of the economic life of the region. Numerous political movements 
have reflected the emergence of continental interests in the Middle West 
comparable to those which have brought about the breaking off of Russia 
and Eastern Europe from the main cultural stream of Western Europe. 
These movements have been variously given the labels of agrarian, popu- 
list, isolationist, et cetera, but have never reached the strength nor the 
intensity to bring about a schism since the Civil War. 

The West Coast of North America is of course an integral part of Anglo- 
America, but in terms of population geography the pattern of West Coast 
settlement is not closely linked to that of Eastern North America. As might 
be expected, it reflects an orientation toward the Pacific. Being more re- 
cently settled than Eastern North America, it is even more urban and has 
even less agricultural settlement and hinterland. 

Australia, New Zealand, and Argentina are likewise more urbanized 
than Europe and for the same reasons. 

As has been pointed out above, the four great clusters include three- 
fourths of the world's people. The remaining one-fourth are dispersed in 
the smaller clusters of Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, arid Asia, 
and Oceania. 

Latin America. Latin America has no real population center and hence 
no ecumene to serve as a base for continental power on the scale of that 
realized by China, India, the U.S.S.R., and the U.S. The present distribu- 
tion of population in Latin America has two chief features : ( a ) European 
settlement and influence superimposed on the ancient centers of Amerin- 
dian civilization. The ancient Aztec and Incan civilizations are still re- 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 305 

fleeted in the concentrations of people in the highlands of Mexico and 
Central America and in the Andean intermountain valleys from Venezuela 
to Bolivia and Chile; (b) scattered African and European settlement on 
the Caribbean Islands and on the coasts of South America. 

There has been relatively little penetration of the great lowland interior 
of South America. In effect there is a thin rim of settlement around a hol- 
low interior. In some local regions of Latin America there are quite dense 
populations and even signs of overpopulation, as in many Andean valleys, 
on the islands of Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, and certain of the other 
West Indies, and in El Salvador. But there is no core of population large 
enough to serve at this time as the assured base of a continental and world 
power. The political fractioning of Latin America reflects this lack. 

Africa. Africa is no more densely settled than South America but it is 
not demographically a "hollow" continent in the same sense as South 
America. North Africa and Egypt are not truly African in demographic, 
economic, or political orientation. This area is a part of Africa by courtesy 
of geography rather than of culture or economics. French North Africa 
is of course Mediterranean in orientation but Arab in culture. Egypt and 
the neighboring states of the Levant form a minor population cluster that 
is also Mediterranean-oriented and of course older than even that of 
Southern Europe. 

But Africa really begins beyond the Sahara. In Black Africa there are 
significant clusters of interior settlement and the overlay of European 
settlement is important only in the Union of South Africa. Politically 
Africa is artificially divided with regard to little more than the reconcilia- 
tion of nineteenth century rivalries of European colonial powers. Conse- 
quently, there is little relationship between the distribution of population 
and of political organization. 

With the probability that most of Black Africa will sooner or later 
emerge from political dependency, attention needs to be given to the pos- 
sible locus of emerging African power. At the present time there would 
seem to be two potential competitors for leadership in the development 
of native African political power. In West Africa and particularly in Ni- 
geria there is a considerable population base for political and economic 
power. The total population size may be deceptive, however, since there 
is a conflicting pull between the coastal areas, where trade and the begin- 
nings of modern economy are concentrated, and the interior areas which 
are both more Moslem and more militant. A possible competing ecumene 
lies in the highlands of East Africa along the great Rift Valley of East 
Africa and on the shores of Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika. This area is 



306 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

now divided politically between Uganda, Tanganyika, Ruanda-Urundi, 
and the Belgian Congo. The Union of South Africa is thinly populated 
but has the only large cities and industrial centers south of the Sahara. 

Southeast Asia. In Southeast Asia there are several minor centers of 
population focused on major river valleys such as the Irrawaddy ( Burma ) , 
the Menam (Thailand), and the Mekong (Laos, Cambodia, and South 
Vietnam ) , or on islands such as Java and Luzon. In each case the cluster 
serves as the core area of a national entity. With the possible exception 
of Java, the particular ecumenes are so overshadowed by the two giant 
clusters in East Asia— China and India— that there is little chance for 
the organization of an independent political power in the area. 

Dry Asia. This vast area, the traditional domain of the Moslem religion, 
has minor population centers in Egypt and the Levant, in the valley of 
the Tigris and Euphrates (Iraq), in Iran, in Soviet Asia, and even in 
Chinese Sinkiang. In the past this vast area has served as the geographical 
base for empires founded on the mobility of the nomadic horseman. To- 
day, however, its unity lies more in the spiritual cohesiveness offered by 
the Moslem religion, and to a lesser extent by the community of Turkic 
languages spoken all the way from Constantinople to five hundred miles 
inside the boundaries of China. The area has proven too fragmented to 
provide the base for a great power in the modern world. 

URBAN CONCENTRATIONS 

In the previous sections attention has been called to the importance of 
a strong core area or ecumene to the internal strength and organization of 
the modern state. Related to the importance of the core area is the degree 
of urbanization and metropolitan concentration. The core area is usually 
dominated by the capital which is in the purest sense of the word the 
"metro-pole" and often the cultural hearth of the nation. Such cities as 
London, Paris, and Rome are much more than the largest cities in their re- 
spective countries. In a sense they are England, France, and Italy, and one 
cannot think of these countries as existing without these home cities. The 
five counties surrounding London are even called the "home" counties. 
There is a universal tendency for these great economic and cultural cen- 
ters to attract a larger and larger proportion of the total population. 

Obviously something so important in the lives of many millions of 
people as the growth of cities and the urban way of life must have its 
effect on the power and the strategic vulnerability of the nations involved. 
Such concentration of population has often been regarded as affecting the 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 307 

internal stability of the state. In the atomic age it must be presumed that 
external vulnerability is likewise affected by this development. 

URBANIZATION AND POLITICAL STABILITY 

The theory that cities are a source of instability and weakness is at least 
as old as Thomas Jefferson and as new as Communist revolutionary doc- 
trine. The mobs of Paris during the French Revolution have left a pro- 
found effect on the political thought of the Western world. Later, Marx 
found in the cities the apotheosis of capitalism with its division between 
pyramided wealth and propertyless proletariat. In the present century 
Oswald Spengler pictured the metropolis as the ultimate graveyard of 
Western civilization. 

In the long sweep of history it may be that modern urban society is 
insufficiently stable to provide the enduring social institutions and cultural 
traditions necessary for a lasting civilization. But in the short run, it is 
clear that those who fear the urban mobs as revolutionary forces have 
been refuted by recent history. The most urbanized countries are at the 
same time the most stable politically. The twelve countries having one- 
fourth or more of their people in cities of a hundred thousand or over is 
a roster of countries that have been characterized by stable governments 
since World War II. The single exception is Argentina. 

TABLE 9-1 
Degree of Urbanization: Per Cent of Population Living in Cities 







CITIES OF 100,000 


URBAN AREAS BY 






AND OVER 


NATIONAL DEFINITION a 




Australia, 1947 


51.4 


68.9 




United Kingdom, 1951 


51.0 


80.2 




United States, 1950 


43.7 


63.7 




Argentina, 1947 


40.6 


62.5 




Israel, 1951 


39.9 


77.5 




Canada, 1951 


36.7 


62.1 




Netherlands, 1947 


35.2 


54.6 




Denmark, 1950 


33.5 


67.3 




New Zealand, 1951 


32.8 


61.3 




Austria, 1951 


32.8 


49.1 




Western Germany, 1950 


27.1 b 


71.1 




Belgium, 1947 


25.8 


62.7 




Japan, 1950 


25.6 


37.5 



a National definitions of urban areas vary with administrative practices in the countries concerned and 
are therefore unreliable as a measure of urbanization. To take an extreme illustration, according to its own 
definitions, which include as urban all persons in communities of 500 or over, Iceland is 71.7 per cent 
urban and one of the most urbanized countries in the world. 

b Excludes Western sector of Berlin. 

Source: United Nations, Demographic Yearbook, 1952 (New York, 1953), Table B, p. 11. 



308 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

Conspicuously absent from this list are France, Italy, and Southern and 
Eastern European countries, many of which have experienced great politi- 
cal instability over the last fifty years. 

If we take the other end of the scale, those nations having less than 
10 per cent of their populations in large cities, the list generally includes 
countries that have not been characterized by great political stability: 
Bulgaria, Burma, Ceylon, Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, 
Haiti, India, Iran, Rumania, Turkey, and Yugoslavia. There are conspicu- 
ous exceptions, such as Turkey. 

It is fair to say that in the modern world internal political stability is 
more likely to be found with a high degree of urbanization than in a 
peasant economy and society. It is precisely the countries undergoing 
transition from the old self-contained rural peasant world that are experi- 
encing the most acute political disorder. Since European techniques and 
aspirations have now penetrated to every country of the world, there are 
very few if any remaining peasant societies living in premodern pattern 
oblivious to the disruptive influences of Western civilization. 

EXTERNAL VULNERABILITY OF METROPOLISES 

It is easy to draw a quick and superficial conclusion that the things that 
make a country effective in terms of internal organization (such as cen- 
tralization in urban concentrations ) are precisely the things likely to make 
it most vulnerable to modern warfare. Thus the existence of strong core 
areas focused in metropolitan conurbations is associated with internal 
stability, but this source of strength would seem to make the countries 
concerned more vulnerable to air and atomic attack. 

The problem is probably not so simple and certainly is as yet unsolved. 
In the old days of slow military campaigns overland, the vulnerability of 
metropolitan capitals and of core areas could be crucial. Except for the 
largest countries this is less relevant now since the scope of warfare is so 
broad that the population and industrial concentrations in the smaller 
countries may be important only in relation to larger continental entities. 
In other words, it is now not so much the national ecumene that counts 
as the larger continental ecumene. 

Again a nation with fewer urban centers may in fact be more vulnerable 
than one with many. The degree and diversification of industry in such 
countries as the United States and the U.S.S.R. is reflected in the existence 
of a great many urban concentrations. While these concentrations contain 
a relatively large percentage of total populations, they also represent 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 309 

widely dispersed industrial strength. It is not at all clear that the United 
Kingdom for example, with forty-two conurbations of over a hundred 
thousand is actually more vulnerable to complete disorganization from 
atomic attack than France with twenty-two. 

C. Growth 
WORLD POPULATION GROWTH 

One of the most distinctive features of our age is the rapid multiplica- 
tion of our species, homo sapiens. 

The present growth of world population is unique in human history. 
This can be painfully demonstrated from bits of historical evidence. A 
little simple arithmetic will show it to be true. The present annual world 
population growth is estimated at well over 30 million and perhaps as high 
as 40 million a year. Had this amount of growth continued throughout the 
Christian era, there would now be 6.8 billions of us rather than the actual 
figure of about 2.6 billion. At the present rate of growth (which is esti- 
mated to be at least 1.2 per year) the entire population of the globe would 
be descended from a single couple living at the time of Christ. An Argen- 
tinian demographer has carried the illustration to its logical conclusion: 
if the population of two living in the Garden of Eden some six thousand 
years ago had increased on the average of one per cent per year the pres- 
ent human population would be so vast that it would have standing room 
only, not just on the surface of the earth but on the surface of a sphere 
with a radius fourteen times the orbit of the planet Neptune. 

Obviously the amount of current population growth could never have 
existed before; and the present rate of growth could have existed only in 
brief periods of man's history. 

Population growth affects political geography in two ways : ( 1 ) it never 
is exactly the same in any two countries, hence the demographic bases of 
political power are always changing; ( 2 ) it creates increased competition 
for the scarce resources of the earth. The first views people as a source of 
power and production, the second as consumers who must be fed. These 
two influences often work against each other. A larger population may be 
useful as a source of increased manpower. At the same time more people 
mean more competition for scarce resources. Population growth may 
cause a lower level of living than might be attained with a smaller popu- 
lation. 

In this section and the following one on Structure, we will deal with 
population as a source of power. In another section, on Pressure, we will 



310 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

consider measures of population pressure, and the extent to which it is a 
real as against a rationalized cause of political conflict. 

Population growth is often overlooked as a factor in redistribution of 
political power because its course is steady, undramatic, and persistent 
rather than immediate and self-evident. Yet in the longer sweep of history 
different rates of population growth have been associated with major 
changes in the distribution of world power. There has been an enormous 
population growth in every major region of the world in the modern era, 
but this growth has occurred very unequally among the several continents. 

The expansion of world population between 1650 and 1950 is shown in 
Table 9-2. 

TABLE 9-2 

World Population Growth, 1650-1950 * 
( in Millions ) 









GROWTH 


APPROXIMATE 




1650 


1950 


1650-1950 


MULTIPLIER 


Asia 


330 


1320 


990 


4 


j Europe 


100 


393 


493 


6 


I U.S.S.R. 




200 






Africa 


100 


198 


98 


2 


Latin America 


12 


165 


153 


14 


North America 


1 


165 


164 


165 


Oceania 


2 


13 


11 


6 


World Total 


545 


2454 


1909 


A)i 



* Figures for 1650 estimated by A. M. Carr-Saunders, World Population (Oxford, 1936), p. 42. Figures 
for 1950 from United Nations Demographic Yearbook, 1953. All figures for 1650 and those for Asia and 
Africa in 1950 are highly proximate. 

Now, as in all previous epochs, Asia is the principal home of mankind. 
In the three centuries of the modern era the Asian population has grown 
by a billion people. 

The dynamic demographic element in modern history, however, has 
been the expansion of Europe. 



THE EXPANSION OF EUROPE 

The population of the home continent has multiplied six times. In addi- 
tion some 200 million persons of European extraction are living overseas. 
The Europeans have thus multiplied some eight times in the past three 
centuries. This represents an increase from about a hundred million in 
1650 to approximately 800 million persons of European extraction living 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 311 

in the world at the present time/' The population of European descent has 
increased from less than one-fifth of the world's people in 1650 to one- 
third in 1950. 

The expansion of Europe relative to the rest of the world has not pro- 
ceeded evenly throughout the modern era. In the broadest sense the 
European settlement area comprises Europe, the Soviet Union, the Ameri- 
cas, and Oceania. Growth in this half of the world may be compared with 
Asia and Africa in which continents Europeans are nowhere a majority. 
The comparative growth in these two areas is shown in Figure 9-5. 

The population growth of Europe gained momentum in the late eight- 
eenth century and after 1800 grew relatively much faster than in the rest 
of the world. Between 1800 and 1920 the population of the European 
settlement area gained markedly on that of Asia and Africa. Since 1920, 
however, two things have happened: (1) the rates of growth in the Euro- 
pean settlement area have slowed; (2) the populations of Asia and Africa 
have taken a forward spurt. 

Estimates made by United Nations experts for population growth in the 
future suggest the continuation of these trends reversing those of the last 
150 years. If anything, Asia- Africa will contain a rising share of the rapidly 
increasing population projected for the next generation. 

Let us examine the demographic expansion of Europe, and the signifi- 
cance of the reversal of this trend that now seems in the offing. 

Population growth of European peoples has been part and parcel of the 
extension of European political and cultural hegemony in the world. The 
population of Europe has expanded three ways : 

5 The population of predominantly European descent in the world may be computed 
as follows. In addition to the population of Europe west of the Soviet Union, approxi- 
mately 165 million of the 200 million inhabitants of the U.S.S.R. in 1950 belonged to 
nationalities commonly regarded as European. Of the remaining 35 million perhaps 
the majority. live wholly or partly within the physical confines of Europe but are not 
conventionally regarded as of European culture. The deduction of some 15 million 
non-whites from the 165 million inhabitants of North America provides an estimate 
of 150 million of European stock in that continent. There are somewhat over 10 
million persons of European descent in Oceania. 

It is impossible to set a precise figure to the number of persons of predominantly 
European descent in Latin America. A generalization of careful analysis made in this 
field indicates a rough division as follows: One-third 75 per cent or more white, one- 
third mestizo, one-sixth Indian, and one-sixth Negroid, the latter including all persons 
with identifiable Negroid blood. There are perhaps 5 million persons of European 
descent living in Africa and Asia. Thus the European population of the world in 1950 
may be summed up as follows: Europe, 393 million; U.S.S.R., 165 million; North 
America, 150 million; Latin America, 55 million; Oceania, 10 million; Africa and Asia, 
5 million. This provides an estimated world total of 778 million. In addition there are 
some 70 million mestizos and mulattoes in the Americas and an unknown number 
in Africa and Asia. 



312 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

More Intensive Use of the Home Territory. The population of Europe 
west of Russia has increased over 300 million since 1650. This expansion 
reflects both more intensive agricultural settlement and more indus- 
trialization. 

It is often forgotten that much of Europe was still a frontier well into 
the modern era. In Roman times only the Mediterranean littoral was fully 
settled by modern standards. By the Middle Ages the line of mature agri- 
cultural settlement had moved northward and westward to include France 
and the low countries. But much of Germany and Eastern Europe re- 
mained at an early stage of agricultural settlement; Northern Europe and 
the Russian plain were still very thinly peopled. By the seventeenth cen- 
tury the "frontier" had moved far to the east and into the remote north, 
but there was still much unused land. Reclamation and settlement of these 
lands contributed to the more rapid growth of northwest and eastern 
Europe as compared with the Mediterranean countries. 

Later, great commercial and industrial development enabled these re- 
gions to gain political and economic leadership in Europe— an accession of 
power made possible by the strengthening of the agricultural base and by 
earlier increases of population attendant on the mature settlement of the 
region. 

The Settlement of the East. The domination of the Russian plain by the 
Tatars was effectively crushed about the time of Columbus. The border, 
or "Ukrain" moved forward into the rich black earth of the country so 
named. From their forests around Moscow the Russians moved out across 
the rich plains forbidden them earlier by their defenselessness against the 
horsemen of Central Asia. There followed Russian feats of exploration 
and settlement similar to those of the American West. Eastern Europe 
was still being "settled" in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and 
parts of European and Asiatic Russia even in the twentieth century. Large 
sections of steppe-land in the North Caucasus and Central Asia were first 
turned by the plow under the Communist regime. The eastward tide of 
settlement in Russia paralleled our own "westward movement." 

The eastward movement in Russia resulted in the settlement of enor- 
mous areas by Europeans, areas now occupied by as many as a hundred 
million of their descendants. The impetus has expanded the boundaries 
of European influence effectively not only from the Don, which used to be 
regarded as the eastward edge of Europe, to the Urals and the Caucasus 
mountains, and beyond into Siberia and Central Asia. Much of Asiatic 
Russia is still not effectively occupied by Europeans (or by any other 
race). 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 313 

The frontier psychology of the Soviet Union is probably one of the 
factors which explain Soviet expansionism." One may find parallels in the 
"manifest destiny" of the United States, so popular a phrase in American 
expansion during the last century. 7 But as in our own Western movement 
the yearning for land is no longer so compelling as the exploitation of new 
industries, of mining, and of forestry in the new regions. 

The Settlement of Overseas Areas. Europeans have effectively occupied 
(a) most of the habitable territory of North America north of the Rio 
Grande, ( b ) the temperate zones of Latin America, including Argentina, 
Uruguay, and Brazil south of the 20th parallel, (c) Australia and New 
Zealand. White or mestizo populations are also in majority in most of 
Latin America with two exceptions: first, the ancient Amerindian strong- 
holds in the highlands of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru, and Paraguay; and sec- 
ond, the British and French West Indies which were chiefly peopled from 
Africa. Other than within the Russian orbit, Europeans have nowhere 
colonized Asia unless Israel may be regarded as a European settlement. 
Only in French North Africa and in South Africa are there substantial 
footholds of European settlement on that continent. But in both cases 
Europeans are greatly outnumbered. In French North Africa there are 
about one and a half million as against approximately 18 million Moslems. 
In the Union of South Africa there were 2.6 million Europeans in 1950 
as against 10 million non-Europeans. 

It would be idle to suggest that the relative expansion of European 
peoples was in itself the explanation or the exclusive means of the exten- 
sion of European civilization throughout the world. It is not always 
certain which is cause and which is effect. Did population growth in 
Europe both stimulate and enable the political expansion of Europe or 
did the political expansion of Europe provide the means for the rapid 
population growth of Europe? Both are undoubtedly true. 

It is clear that the industrialization of Europe and its rapid population 
growth was in part stimulated by access to raw materials and markets in 
overseas countries. At the same time rapid population growth provided 
both the sinews and the motives for colonization and imperialist expan- 
sion. One thing is certain: the firmest influence of European expansion is 
in those areas that were colonized and populated by persons of European 
stock. The European civilization is now spreading very rapidly to all 
people and to all parts of the world, but the most complete migration of 

6 See the discussion of the Russian urge to the sea as a source of expansion, pp. 
243 ff. 

7 See pp. 10-12. 



314 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

European culture to other continents has been in those areas colonized 
by Europeans themselves. 

POPULATION AND POWER IN EUROPE 

The larger aspects of the expansion of European population have also 
been reflected in the specific political history of the dominant countries 
in the European continent and the European settlement area. In the fol- 
lowing paragraphs, attention will be directed toward the demographic 
base for the successive primacy in European settlement areas of France, 
Germany, Britain, Russia, and the United States (cf. Fig. 9-3). 

France. Much of the history of Europe between 1650 and 1800, re- 
volves around France as the leading power of Europe. She was the 
wealthiest and in many respects the most advanced country in Europe. 
In the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries France probably had 
the largest population in Europe, not even excluding Russia, which now 
has five times the population of France. This population served as a firm 
basis for French hegemony in Europe and for the Napoleonic conquests. 
But by 1800 Russia had passed France in population, and the massive 
size and population of that country finally destroyed French hopes for 
complete mastery of Europe. 

The economic and political position of France in Europe has changed 
enormously since 1800. One element in this change is the fact that France 
now stands fifth rather than first in population size. She had been passed 
by both Germany and the United States by 1870-1871 when she suffered 
military defeat at the hands of the Germans; the United Kingdom passed 
France around 1900, or if one includes the European population of the 
Dominions, the British population surpassed the French about 1885; and 
Italy passed France about 1930. In 1939 France had only 7.3 per cent of 
Europe's people as compared with about 15 per cent in 1800. 

Germany. The rise of Germany likewise has demographic foundations. 
In the Napoleonic period, Germans lived in a Europe dominated not only 
politically but also numerically by the French. As the result of the eco- 
nomic development of Germany and the population increase made pos- 
sible by this development, since the middle of the last century Germans 
have become much the most numerous of the European peoples aside 
from the Russians. As the largest single group, occupying a central posi- 
tion in Europe, it is natural that the Germans should have sought to bring 
the balance of political power into line with their growing numerical and 
industrial importance. That this might have been achieved more effec- 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 



315 



POPULATION GROWTH 1800-1949 

MILLIONS OF INHABITANTS 
200 



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100 
80 

60 

40 



20 



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1800 1810 1820 1830 1840 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 

Fig. 9-3. 



tively through peaceful rather than through warlike means is now unfor- 
tunately beside the point. 

By virtue of its more rapid natural increase and the Nazi annexation of 
German-speaking areas, Germany in 1939 had 80 millions or twice the 
population of France and a considerably larger population than that of 
Britain. 

Soviet Union. The populations of Eastern Europe have grown faster 
than those of Western Europe. At an earlier period the large population 
growth of this region was made possible by the fact that great areas were 
then in the process of initial agricultural settlement, or, put in other terms, 
in transition from a pastoral to a settled farm economy. 

This agricultural settlement represented a superior form of land utiliza- 



316 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

tion, and made possible the support of a far denser population than had 
formerly existed. More recently the wave of material progress represented 
by industrialization and an urban way of life has reached Eastern Europe 
from its centers of origin in the West. In Russia the contrast of the old and 
the new resulted in such severe stress on the old social order that it was 
swept away and the new technical civilization was ushered in with an 
impetus unexampled in history. 

These developments have made possible rapid population increase such 
as existed in Western Europe at an earlier period. Despite war and revo- 
lution, which apparently cost Russia a total population deficit of 26 mil- 
lions, including both deaths and loss of births, between 1900 and 1943 
the population of the territory of the Soviet Union grew more rapidly than 
that of Western Europe. 

The very large total figure for the Soviet population conceals the cos- 
mopolitan character of the Soviet Union, in which there are some seventy 
official languages. Only comparatively recently, probably within the last 
thirty years, has the Great Russian surpassed the German as the largest 
linguistic group in Europe. The 1926 census of the Soviet Union reported 
78 million persons of Great Russian ethnic group. At about the same time, 
as reported in various national censuses, there were 85 million ethnic 
Germans in Europe. 

By 1939 there were reported to be 99 million persons of Great Russian 
"nationality" as over against the 80 million inhabitants of the "Greater 
Reich." 

Today the German minorities of the East are liquidated. The two Ger- 
manies together contain about 70 million: (50 in the Federal Republic, 
18 in East Germany, and 2 in West Berlin). The U.S.S.R. now has about 
200 million people of which slightly over half are Great Russians. The 
demographic balance has clearly swung in favor of the latter. This is the 
demographic basis for the eastward shift of power in Europe. 

Thinking in terms of the European settlement area as a whole there has 
of course also been a westward migration of people and power. 

The United Kingdom. Allied to the demographic expansion of Germany 
and of Northwest Europe has been that of Britain. Its growth has matched 
and if anything exceeded that of the Germans. But much more of the 
British population increase was drained off overseas; it established the 
British Dominions and it contributed the largest element in the population 
of the United States. While the United Kingdom has always had a smaller 
population in its island home than that of the German-speaking areas of 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 317 

Central Europe, this metropolitan population has been effectively bol- 
stered in influence both by the tremendous resources of the Empire and 
by the European population of the Dominions. If only the latter are con- 
sidered as contributing to the demographic weight of the British popula- 
tion, this nevertheless provides a demographic base comparable to that 
of Germany. In 1939 this larger "British" population amounted to 70 mil- 
lion and at the present time it has risen to 80 million and is thus more 
numerous than the population of a united Germany. 

The European and especially British populations that settled the United 
States and the British Dominions increased even more rapidly in the new 
environment than they did in the countries from which they came. It was 
this rapid growth in the United States, even more than migration, that 
brought about the enormous expansion of the American population. In 
the early nineteenth century the average American woman surviving 
through the childbearing period had eight children. It was this great fer- 
tility that brought about an average growth of 25 per cent per decade 
even when, as between 1800 and 1840, there was comparatively little 
immigration from Europe. 

No one can say what proportion of the American population is de- 
scended from British stock, since there has been a wide mingling of 
European nationalities. In 1940, ninety-three million or 71 per cent of the 
population were estimated to be of European origin and of English mother 
tongue, but this figure doubtless includes a great many persons wholly or 
in part descended from other European stocks. 

Through this rapid natural growth and by virtue of cultural assimilation 
of other European and African nationalities, the world population of Eng- 
lish mother tongue has grown from perhaps 20 million in 1800 to some 
225 million, leaving aside the wide use of English as a language of com- 
merce, government, and higher education by persons of other native 
tongues. Whether in demographic or cultural terms this has been the 
most phenomenal national expansion in modern times. 

As is now widely recognized, the European population, and especially 
that living in the heartlands of Western Europe, is not increasing as rap- 
idly as it formerly did. As a result of the differential growth of the three 
great divisions of the European settlement area, the mantle of political 
supremacy has passed from the original homeland to the two great periph- 
eral areas, one westward overseas and the other eastward in the great 
land mass of the Eurasian plain. On the horizon is the prospective great 
expansion of the Asian peoples. 



318 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

In order to understand the basis for these great changes, both historical 
and future, it is necessary to analyze the dynamics of human population. 
These have followed a cycle of development that is sometimes called the 
"Vital Revolution." 

THE VITAL REVOLUTION 

Accompanying the Industrial Revolution has been a profound change 
in man's biological balance with his environment. In its initial phases this 
has been the increasing ability of man to cope with the age-old scourges 
of the four dread horsemen of the Apocalypse— famine, pestilence, war, 
and death. 

First, the establishment of national states imposed public order and 
thereby greatly increased personal security from the dangers of civil 
strife, personal vendettas, and deaths from such mundane incidents as 
highway robbery, personal violence, and criminal negligence. Then the 
state increasingly assumed responsibility for the welfare of its citizens- 
through free public education, through elementary public health meas- 
ures, and more recently through social security provisions and institutions. 
These, as well as scientific advances, brought about the reductions in 
deaths achieved in the more advanced countries of Western Europe dur- 
ing the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 

At the same time the agricultural and industrial revolutions provided 
the basis for a rise in the level of living for the mass of the people. In 
practical terms, this meant better nutrition, clothing, housing, and new 
standards of personal cleanliness, all of which tended to reduce the death 
rate. Finally and really very recently, medical research has found an- 
swers to many serious diseases that could not previously be controlled by 
the usual public health procedures. 

Altogether these measures have made possible the doubling of the 
average expectation of life at birth. For Europeans and Americans this 
expectation is twenty years longer than in our grandparents' generation, 
and forty years longer than in seventeenth century Europe. This is perhaps 
the greatest material achievement of our civilization. 

Recently in the more advanced countries of the world there has been 
a parallel decline in the birth rate. But this decline in births has come 
later than the reduction of deaths— hence the unique population growth 
that is well-nigh universal today. It is natural that a decline in the birth 
rate should follow rather than precede the decline of the death rate in 
demographic evolution. 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 319 

From time immemorial, human beings have had the strongest biologi- 
cal, social, and even religious compulsions to "increase and multiply." 
These compulsions have evoked persistently high birth rates throughout 
the world. Such reproduction was costly in terms of human wastage, 
since a large proportion of those born failed to achieve maturity. But high 
birth rates were necessary if the race was to survive the perils of life in 
previous ages. 

The West. About one-third of the human race now exercises a substan- 
tial degree of voluntary control of family size. In a number of European 
countries this reduction of births had reached a point before World War 
II at which many persons both in Fascist and in democratic countries 
were becoming worried about the possibility of race suicide. The baby 
boom following the war dispelled the fears that people, given the means 
of voluntary control of family size, will necessarily fail to reproduce them- 
selves. In fact, the wide fluctuations in the birth rate in the depression 
years, during the war, and in the postwar period have concealed a rather 
stable average family size in the West. 

What matters in the long run, of course, is not the annual birth rate but 
the size of completed families. Recent analysis of cohort fertility— the fer- 
tility of women born in the same years and passing through life together 
—has given us new methods for analyzing fertility trends. Among white 
women born in the United States, in five-year periods beginning in 1900 
and ending in 1925, the average number of children per woman has varied 
only between 2.3 for the women born from 1905 to 1909 and a maximum 
of 2.7 for those born from 1920 to 1924. The latter women of course have 
not completed their normal childbearing years, but it is possible to make 
reasonable estimates of their final fertility performance on the basis of 
experience thus far. These data indicate that the actual size of American 
families has not changed nearly as much as the annual birth rates might 
suggest. 

Similar studies in Britain suggest that the number of children per mar- 
ried couple has remained remarkably stable over the last twenty-five years 
at about 2.2 children per couple. 

It would seem that the industrial West is moving toward a new and 
more efficient reproduction in which low birth and death rates are 
roughly balanced in a new demographic equilibrium. There is every 
reason to suppose that the huge populations of the underdeveloped areas, 
given the opportunity, will respond to the same incentives that have 
brought about the reductions of births in the West. Neither ideology nor 



320 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

great cultural barriers have stopped the decline of births in a country 
once modern influences have reached the mass of the people. Let us illus- 
trate this, first, from the experience of Russia, and second, from the expe- 
rience of Japan. 

The Soviet Union. The categorical anti-Malthusian doctrines of Com- 
munism, backed by the most comprehensive pro-natal measures existing 
in the world today, have apparently not been successful in checking very 
rapid declines in the Russian birth rate since the war. Before World War 
II the Russians were temporarily successful in checking the decline of 
births resulting from abortion in the early 1930's. This success was 
achieved by the simple expedient of closing down the free public abortion 
clinics. Since the war, however, the supplements to family wages on be- 
half of children and the "mother heroine medals" seem to have been in- 
effective in stopping the spread of the small-family pattern. 

According to its official statistics, the birth rate in the Soviet Union in 
1955 was 25.6 per thousand population 8 as compared with 24.6 in the 
United States. The Soviet figure represents a drastic decline from the 
prewar figure of 38 per thousand. If adjustment is made for the concen- 
tration of the Russian population in the young adult ages, the current 
fertility in the U.S.S.R. must be substantially below that in the United 
States. 

Japan. The case of Japan also reveals the extent to which the small 
family pattern may cross cultural barriers. Once Japan became predomi- 
nantly urban and industrial, the traditional forces of Oriental familism and 
ancestor worship apparently failed to retard the decline of the birth rate. 
It is interesting to note that aside from fluctuations in the birth and death 
rates associated with wars, the pattern of vital rates in Japan during the 
last thirty-five years has very closely approximated the trend of birth and 
death rates in England forty years earlier at a somewhat comparable stage 
of industrialization. By 1954 the birth rate in Japan was 20.1, well below 
that of the United States and rapidly approaching European levels. 

The specific means used to restrict family size may differ from country 
to country: in Ireland, through late marriage; in Western Europe, gener- 
ally, by birth control; in Japan, by abortions, which Japanese experts 
report now number over one million a year, despite growing efforts by the 
Japanese government to introduce less drastic methods of family limi- 
tation; and in Puerto Rico, and increasingly elsewhere, by post-partum 
sterilization of women in hospitals, at the request of the women concerned 
and generally following the delivery of their fourth or fifth child. Wher- 

8 New York Times, June 7, 1956. 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 321 

ever people have become literate, urbanized, and free of the debilitating 
psychological and physical effects of the major epidemic diseases, the 
birth rate has declined. 



DEMOGRAPHIC STAGES 

How are these differing stages in the Vital Revolution actually reflected 
in population trends in the world today? In its analysis of this problem the 
UN has delineated five demographic types, illustrated in Figure 9-4. The 
first of these includes those countries in which both fertility and mortality 
are low. In Western Europe, rates of population growth are now 
generally under one per cent per year and the lowest for any major 
region of the world. English-speaking countries overseas are included in 
this category, but their higher fertility and higher rates of growth, ranging 
from 1.5 to 2 per cent per year, suggest that these countries are some- 
what different from those of Western Europe. 

Type 2 includes those areas where the birth rate has now definitely 
begun to decline. The death rate is now low in these regions. This situa- 
tion is characteristic of Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union and temperate 
South America. Rates of population growth in these countries range be- 
tween 1.5 and 2 per cent— that is to say, somewhat lower than in type 3. 

Type 3 includes those countries that have not moved so far in the 
demographic transition. In these areas, which chiefly include tropical 
America and South Africa, birth rates remain very high but death rates 
are now at fairly low levels. These areas are experiencing the most rapid 
growth observable in the world today, generally over 2 per cent per 
year. 

Type 4 includes those areas in which mortality, though still high, is 
being reduced, while fertility remains at high primitive levels. This type 
characterizes the Middle East, the Arab world, and most of South and 
East Asia. In these areas population growth is now 1 to 2 per cent 
per year and rising as deaths are increasingly brought under control by 
cheap and elementary public health measures. 

Type 5, characterized by primitive levels of high fertility and high 
mortality, is now largely restricted to the native population of black 
Africa. Not long ago in human history, this was the typical demographic 
situation of mankind. But even in this region there is a considerable im- 
pact of the influences bringing about the Vital Revolution, especially as 
regards reduction of deaths. 




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C 




o 


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M 




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144 


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322 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 

WORLD POPULATION GROWTH - ACTUAL 16501950 
AND UNITED NATIONS MEDIUM ESTIMATES 1950-1980 



323 



MILLIONS OF INHABITANTS 



4,000 
3,500 














1 
















1 


















1 


















1 


















1 


















1 




3,000 














I 
















1 
1 


















1 


















1 




2,500 














1 
I 


































1 


















1 
















world/ 


1 




2,000 






























1 


















1 


















1 


















1 


















1 




































/ 














ASIA - AFRICA./ 


/ 


















/ 




1,000 






























/ 




500 






















EUROPEA 


N SETTLEMENT / 


.REA^X*^ 








O 







1650 



1700 



1750 



1800 



1850 



1900 



1950 1980 j.ft 



Fig. 9-5. 



FUTURE POPULATIONS 

What do these different trends mean in terms of future populations? 

For this purpose we may use recent forecasts prepared by the Popula- 
tion Division of the United Nations relating to the period 1950 to 1980. 
Figure 9-5 is intended to give historical perspective illustrating the mo- 
mentum and acceleration of absolute population growth in the world and 



324 



HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 



POPULATION GROWTH IN THE WORLD AND ITS MAJOR 
REGIONS-ACTUAL 1920-1950 AND UNITED NATIONS 
MEDIUM ESTIMATES 1950-1980 



MILLIONS OF INHABITANTS 
4,000 



3,000 



2,000 



1,000 
900 
800 

700 

600 

500 
400 

300 



200 



100 
90 







SEMI-LOGARI' 


HMIC SCALE 




^^ 








WORLD. 


---"" 












ASIA 


^^ 


^^ 






























































































EASTERN EU 














"^WESTERN EU 


ROPE 


'^"~" '" — 


^' 








AFRICA^--^ 
"^LATIN AMERK 


:a 


* ANGLO-AMERK 


:a 



















1920 



1930 



1940 



1950 



1960 



1970 



1980 



IPC 



Fig. 9-6. 



its two great subdivisions: Asia-Africa and the European settlement area, 
which includes Europe and the U.S.S.R., the Americas and Oceania. Since 
1650 there has been a great expansion of the European population. In 
some periods this has exceeded even the absolute amount of growth in 
Asia and Africa, but the latter area has never lost its clear predominance 
in numbers. Current and foreseeable trends will widen this predominance. 
The extent of this divergence will depend much on the situation in 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 325 

China. Until very recently it was generally accepted that the population 
of China was under 500 million and that it was growing little if at all. The 
United Nations estimates incorporate this assumption in their forecasts. 
But recent reports from the first modern census in China, taken in 1953, 
indicate a population of not 500 million but close to 600 million increasing 
at 2 per cent per year. If these latter figures for China were used in the 
projections, the world estimate for 1980 would be close to 4 billion rather 
than the 3.6 billion shown on this chart. 

Figure 9-6 shows the United Nations forecasts in greater detail, this 
time on a logarithmic scale in which parallel lines indicate equal rates of 
growth, rather than equal amounts of increase. 

All regions are growing and will continue to grow, barring a major 
catastrophe. It is natural that demographic evolution should have pro- 
ceeded furthest in Western Europe, the birthplace of modern industrial 
civilization. But despite somber predictions made a decade ago no popu- 
lation decline in Europe is yet in prospect. In fact there is some suggestion 
that the very appearance of decline, as in France before the war, will 
bring about reactions in public policy and private attitudes sufficient to 
restore a moderate rate of growth. France today has one of the highest 
reproduction rates in Europe. 

Eastern Europe is the one major region in which the demographic 
losses of World War II are clearly discernible in the population curve. If 
very recent information on the rapidity of the birth rate decline in the 
U.S.S.R. and the satellite countries is accurate the United Nations fore- 
casts for this area are too high. 

In overseas Europe— in the United States, in Canada, in Australasia, and 
in temperate zones of South America— population growth is still rapid and 
above the world average. While present growth rates may not be main- 
tained, we may expect continued growth at a less rapid pace, both from 
immigration and from the excess of births over deaths. 

Latin America is the most rapidly growing major region. It is now sur- 
passing America north of the Rio Grande in population. Even with an 
orderly demographic evolution on the pattern of Europe, it will have very 
rapid increase over the next generation. To the extent that weight of 
numbers contributes to regional importance, Latin America will play a 
growing role in world affairs. 

But the biological fate of the species will be decided in Asia, which 
now, as throughout recorded history, is the principal home of the human 
race. Only catastrophe will prevent an enormous growth of population in 
Asia, a growth that is gaining momentum with each new success in public 



326 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

health. This is both necessary and desirable. However, the most rapid 
present and potential growth often is in areas least well endowed in terms 
of physical and cultural resources to meet the needs of an expanding 
population. 

The United Nations forecasts a population of two billion in Asia in 1980 
or 2.3 billion if we adjust for the new reports of population growth in 
China. We have already mentioned that almost 600 million people in 
China are now reported to be growing at the rate of 2 per cent or about 
12 million persons, per year, the difference between the reported birth 
rate of 37 and the reported death rate of 17 per thousand population. 

WAR AND FUTURE POPULATIONS 

Finally, it must be evident that the above forecasts ignore the possibility 
of a major war. While we may not care to think of war as a "normal" 
phenomenon, it certainly is a possibility within the time span covered by 
these projections. 

The demographic impact of modern war has been greatly exaggerated 
in the popular imagination. While war losses of the two World Wars 
seriously reduced selected populations, their impact was temporary and 
local, viewing the world as a whole. Their impact was negligible in retard- 
ing the forward march of world population growth. Aside from the single 
case of Eastern Europe one would have to look very closely on the two 
charts to detect any effects of the two World Wars. 

This does not in any way minimize the personal tragedy or horror of 
war. It merely reflects the fact that the social and biological forces leading 
to world population growth represent basic and powerful forces that were 
only very temporarily checked by the two World Wars. 

Another war, fought with the arsenal of horrible new weapons, might 
be far more disastrous to the species. But only about 5 per cent of the 
world's population lives in its sixty-odd urban agglomerations of over one 
million inhabitants. The destruction of all our major cities would not 
directly destroy a large part of the human race. For that matter four or 
five normal years of world population growth would completely replace 
the population of the United States and six years that of the Soviet Union. 
These remarks are not intended to be comforting— only to put the prob- 
lem of human survival in its proper perspective. 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 327 

D. Structure 

The previous discussions have emphasized the importance of changing 
numbers. It is obvious that numbers alone will not determine demographic- 
influences on national power. Obviously, populations differ in their age 
composition, degree of education, occupations, and other characteristics 
that will determine their per capita effectiveness in contributing to na- 
tional power. 

Figures 9-7, 8 and 9 present a comparison of age structures in countries 
representing different stages in demographic evolution. These charts are 
called "age pyramids" because of their characteristic shape. 

The age pyramids of any country reflect all the things that have hap- 
pened to its population for the past eighty years or more. The broadly 
based youthful population of India reflects both its high birth rate and its 
high death rate. Many children are born, but in the past, at least, these 
were rapidly decimated. Few survived to the upper age groups. 

The age pyramid of the Soviet Union would reflect, in addition to birth 
and death rates, the drastic effects of war. The scars of war are obvious 
both in the deficits of men among survivors of military age at the time of 
conflict, and even more poignantly in the small numbers of the age 
groups born during war and revolution. But the high Russian birth rate 
has in the past quickly repaired such losses. 

This is not happening in the United Kingdom and other Western Euro- 
pean countries, however, where each succeeding group reaching age 15, 
20, and so on, is smaller than the one that preceded it. In other words, the 
reservoir from which Western countries draw military manpower is reced- 
ing, whereas in the Soviet Union, despite estimated direct war losses of 
fourteen million persons, there is a growing force of young military man- 
power. 

In the West the situation will be changed when the children of the 
postwar baby boom reach military age. Furthermore the large drop in the 
birth rate that apparently has occurred in the Soviet Union will begin to 
be felt about the same time. 

Consequently, present trends in military manpower heavily favor the 
Soviet Union in relation to the West. Trends ten to fifteen years hence 
may not. 

A comparison of the composition of the population of several important 
countries is presented in Table 9-3. It may be noted that there is only a 



M£ 












INDIA - 1931 














80* 














|| 
















75-80 














1 
















70-75 




























15-70 


i 


MALE 








SBJI §JB 




FEMA 






to- OS 


























55-60 






























50-55 






























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40-45 






























35-40 






























30-35 






























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PERCENT 



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Fig. 9-7. India: Composition of Population. 



AGE 












JAPAN - 


1940 












80 + 














m ill 
















75-80 






























70-75 


























65-70 


M A L E 








F 


E M A L E 






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55-60 














; 
















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25-30 






























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15-20 






























10-15 






























5-10 






























■il- 




— 










ii 

















4 3 2 1 12 3 4 5 6 7 I 

PERCENT 

Fig. 9-8. Japan: Composition of Population. 



328 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 



329 



AGE 






UNITED 


K 


1 N G DOM 


- 


1 948 








80* 






























75-80 






























70-75 


























65-70 

i_ . 




MALE 






w . 








FEMALE 




60-65 


























55-60 




























50-55 






























45-50 






























40-45 






























35-40 




























30-35 

1 






























25-30 






























20-25 

i 






























15-20 






























10-15 






























5- 






























0-5 






m 
























1 

8 1 


( 


! 


i 


: 


; 


■ 


ii 





i : 


i i 


i i 


i 


5 


! 8 



PERCENT 



idf 



Fig. 9-9. United Kingdom: Composition of Population. 



general correlation between the relative size of total populations and the 
size of the groups most important to military strength. 

Because of their low birth rates during the depression years the United 
States and Western Europe have relatively small contingents of males in 
the most crucial military age groups at the present time. Thus while the 
total population of the Soviet Union is not very much greater than the 
combined total population of the four chief Western European powers, 
the number of males 15 to 24 in the Soviet Union is 5 million larger. 
While the Soviet population is only about 20 per cent larger than that 
of the United States, it has far more men at the young military ages. 

On the other hand, the labor force in the Western countries is roughly 
proportionate to the total population. The West is therefore better off in 
terms of industrial manpower than it is in terms of prime military man- 
power. Furthermore its labor force is utilized primarily in non agricultural 
occupations. Despite very rapid industrialization, the Soviet population is 
still almost half agricultural. In the modern world, agricultural population 
contributes very little to the industrial potential of the country. It has 
value as a source of military manpower but this in turn is limited by the 
capacity of the economy to equip and support soldiers in the field. Defen- 
sively, of course, a large agricultural population may be difficult to con- 



330 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

quer and administer. This latter function has proved a decisive one on 
some occasions, as Russia has proven in its resistance to both the Napole- 
onic and Hitler invasions and as China has demonstrated in its resistance 
to Japan. 

Another aspect of the labor force potential is the labor reserves that 
may be drawn upon in an emergency. There are three types of labor re- 
serves: the unemployed, housewives, and the underemployed, particularly 
in agriculture. To carry our comparison of Western Europe and the U.S.S.R. 
further, it may be said that the Western coutries have greater reserves of 
the first two categories but far less of the third. Despite great economic 
activity there is still some unemployment in Western Europe, but except 
in Italy this is not large in relation to the total labor force potential. 

The most flexible part of the labor reserve is women. In all countries 
men in the age group from 15 to 59 are almost all gainfully occupied. On 
the other hand many women of this age group in all countries are of 
course occupied as homemakers. In the Soviet Union there has been great 
pressure for all women not actually caring for small children to enter the 
labor force. About two-thirds of Soviet women at ages 15 to 59 are in the 
labor force. There is little flexibility left for gaining woman-power in the 
labor force in a national emergency. 

By contrast, Western countries have a very substantial reserve in women 
not now gainfully occupied. The proportion in the labor force is much 
less; in the United States only 30 per cent of women at ages 15 to 59 are 
in the labor force. Obviously many more than in Russia could be drawn 
upon in an emergency, as they were in the United States during the last 
world war. 

The third element in labor reserve— the underemployed in agriculture- 
is much greater in the Soviet Union than in the West. In a few Western 
countries such as Italy, Spain, and Portugal, there is a substantial reserve 
of agricultural underemployment but nothing to compare with the Soviet 
Union and with Eastern Europe generally. The East has enormous re- 
serves of farmers inefficiently employed in agricultural work who form a 
continuing reserve of labor for future industrialization in these areas. 

These illustrative comparisons should not be given too great weight in 
themselves. A large population size, a large military manpower, a large 
and highly skilled working force are the conditions and not in themselves 
the fact of political power. To these ingredients must be added organiza- 
tion, morale, and motivation to make this potential strength kinetic. 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 331 







TABLE 


9-3 








Manpower Comparisons, Selected Countries, 1956 * 






(Rounded to 


Millions) 










TOTAL 
POPU- 


POPU- 
LATION 


MALES 




LABOR FORCE 






NON- 


AGRI- 




LATION 


15-59 


15-24 


TOTAL 


AGRIC. 


CULTURAI- 


United States 


168 


96 


11 


70 


64 


7 


Western European Powers 


195 


120 


14 


89 


67 


21 


United Kingdom 


51 


31 


3 


23 


22 


1 


France 


44 


26 


3 


21 


15 


6 


Italy 


49 


31 


4 


22 


13 


9 


Western Germany 


51 


32 


4 


23 


18 


5 


U.S.S.R. 


200 


127 


19 


86 


49 


37 



* Data for the United States and the Western European powers compiled and adapted from census and 
official estimates of the countries concerned. Figures for the U.S.S.R. were derived from official Soviet data 
by the U. S. Bureau of the Census, Office of Foreign Manpower Research. The labor force figures for the 
U.S.S.R. apparently exclude several millions in the armed services, in labor camps, in domestic service, in 
the party apparatus, and in certain other categories that would be included in Western countries. 



E. Pressure 

THE GROWING POPULATION IN A SHRINKING WORLD 

In previous chapters it has been noted that, geographically speaking, 
we live in a shrinking world. Modern transport and communication are 
cutting down the real distance, measured in travel time and cost, between 
the several parts of the globe. 

Demographically speaking, the opposite is the case: we live in a rapidly 
expanding world. One of the most distinctive features of our age is this 
rapid multiplication of our species in all parts of the world. 

At the same time hope is being held out that the human race as 
a whole, not just a single class or master race, can be freed from the degra- 
dation of grinding poverty and needless suffering. This hope is justified 
by technical achievements and by the rising capacity to produce. Prob- 
ably the cornucopia-minded are correct in asserting that the world could 
meet these expectations for its present numbers. But a large part of the 
economic gains must each year be diverted to provide new places at the 
world's table rather than to improve the fare of those already here. 

The "world population problem" turns out on inspection to be a series 
of regional and national problems. Much more important than the total 
resources theoretically available in the world are the specific resources 
available in relation to the populations of specific countries and regions. 
In fact even here the oft-discussed framework of the relation of people 
to resources offers a somewhat inadequate statement of the problem. 



332 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

Quite as important as physical resources in relation to population are the 
crucial intervening variables that determine how effectively such re- 
sources are used and converted to meet population needs. The factors of 
technology, social organization, and especially political stability are quite 
as important in determining levels of living as the stock of physical re- 
sources. 

The greatest population pressure, and the greatest growth potential, lie 
in the area sometimes described as Monsoon Asia, that is, non-Soviet Asia 
from Pakistan east to Japan. Following is a case study of the problem of 
people versus resources in that crucial area. 

MONSOON ASIA 

Half the world lives in Monsoon Asia— the poorer half. By Western 
standards the overwhelming majority of the population of this region live 
in unrelieved poverty. If sheer poverty is a measure of overpopulation, the 
entire area is desperately overpopulated. But the relationship between 
people and resources is not a simple one. 

Measures of Population Pressure. Population pressure is not fully 
measured by "man-land ratios." These leave out a vitally important middle 
factor— the effectiveness with which available resources are utilized. In 
the broadest sense this is determined by the cultural development of the 
people— their motivations, their organization, and their skills. Low pro- 
ductivity may reflect either population pressure or backward technology. 
In Asia it undoubtedly reflects both. It is difficult to isolate the impact of 
limited resources and to measure population pressure per se. 

Population pressure should be felt most acutely in the production of 
absolute essentials, and notably food. Figure 9-10 gives some measure of 
the prewar relationships between people, land, and food production in 
Asia as compared with other parts of the world. Asia was obviously 
heavily populated in relation to arable land. In Eastern Asia (China, 
Korea, and Japan ) there was available only half an acre of cultivated land 
per person. Southern Asia was somewhat better off with .8 of a cultivated 
acre per person. In these terms Southern Asia was in a slightly better 
position than Western Europe but was at a serious disadvantage in rela- 
tion to other parts of the world, particularly North America. 

The different intensity of agriculture leads to quite a different compari- 
son in terms of original calories per acre. Here Asia makes a much better 
showing, albeit inferior to that of Western Europe. Asia produces sub- 
stantially more per acre than does the extensive agriculture of North 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 



333 



PEOPLE, LAND, AND FOOD PRODUCTION 



North 


Western 


East 


South 


America 


Europe 


Asia 


Asia 


Acres Cultivated Per Person 








total population 









Llll— Il L lMlll 



farm population 




0.7 




2.7 



0.5 



• — > 
I 



ml 0.7 



a 



0.8 



i i 
I | 



1.2 



Original Calories Per Acre 



2,500 

Original Calories Per Person 
total population 



7,500 

















5,500 














— 













3,600 



JBL10.000 
farm population 

m hb m m m 

tl ri :: H r: 

n S m m m 



L5.250 



.2,750 



S Ki BB Hi H DUB 

giiii is s 

iH JflB. JfflJH. JBL5 0,000 JHJH.20,000 J|4,000 



Fig. 9-10. People, Land, and Food Production. 



1.2,900 



JH.4,350 
W. 



America and the U.S.S.R., but, in the case of Southern Asia, less than half 
as much as Western Europe. 

The most significant comparison is the output in relation to the popula- 
tion, and especially to the population in agriculture. Despite intensive 
agriculture, per capita productivity falls very far short of that in other 
parts of the world. This is true even in relation to Western Europe, where 
the crude relationships of people to cultivated land might indicate as 
acute a problem of overpopulation as in Asia. 

The comparative productivity of persons in agriculture is particularly 



334 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

striking. In North America and in Western Europe only 20 to 25 per cent 
of the population is required to produce the high per capita food produc- 
tion indicated in Figure 9-10. In Asia it requires the efforts of 70 per cent 
of the population to produce a much lower food output. Output per farm 
person in the United States is ten times that in Asia. Even in Western 
Europe, per capita production is five times greater than in East Asia. 

The data of Figure 9-10 suggest various quantitative measurements of 
"overpopulation." For example, if the United States ratio of people to 
land were taken as standard, 80 to 90 per cent of the Asian population 
could be regarded as surplus (i.e., would have to be eliminated to achieve 
a United States relationship of people to cultivated land). By the more 
relevant West European standards of per capita output of the farm popu- 
lation, up to four-fifths of the agricultural population in Asia could be 
regarded as surplus and available for nonfarm employment. Judged by 
standards prevailing in other parts of the world, even in Western Europe, 
Asia has an enormous surplus rural population numbering perhaps six 
hundred million. This is a population greater than that of Europe and the 
Soviet Union combined. 

The Deterioration in Consumption Levels. Trends in population and 
production over the past three decades have tended to widen rather than 
to close these vast differentials in levels of living between Asia and the 
Western world. Thus, prewar per capita consumption of rice apparently 
declined in much of Monsoon Asia between the 1920's and the 1930s. 
These declines are estimated to have amounted to 5 per cent in Japan, 
7 per cent in India, 8 per cent in Java, and over 10 per cent in the Philip- 
pines, Korea, Formosa, and Burma. 9 They were partly attributable to the 
special depression conditions of the 1930's and partly to the substitution 
of less favored grains. But in most cases production did not fall; it simply 
did not keep pace with population growth. 

Prewar and postwar comparisons indicate a further deterioration in the 
per capita consumption of food in the majority of Asiatic countries, again 
attributable to population growth rather than to production declines. By 
contrast, average diets in North and South America have undoubtedly 
improved and in Western Europe prewar levels are being gradually re- 
gained. 

It would almost certainly seem that Asian countries would be better off 
as regards food consumption if they had substantially smaller populations. 

9 V. D. Wickizer and M. K. Bennett, The Rice Economy of Monsoon Asia (Food 
Research Institute, Stanford University, 1941), Ch. 10. 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 335 

Even given the existing backward agricultural technology in most parts of 
Eastern Asia, the populations would certainly be much better fed if there 
were, say, one acre of cultivated land per person instead of only half an 
acre. Taking Asian countries as a whole and in terms of existing technol- 
ogy and land utilization, all are certainly overpopulated— overpopulated 
in the sense that the level of living would be higher if there were fewer 
people, other conditions remaining the same. 

Possibilities of Increased Production. Fortunately we may hope that 
other conditions will not remain the same. To say that an area is vastly 
overpopulated is not to say that levels of living cannot be raised or the 
pressure of population ameliorated through better use of resources. 

The history of Japan is particularly illuminating in this regard, since 
Japan is one of the most densely populated countries in the world and bv 
many objective criteria (for example, ratio of population to arable land) 
the most overpopulated country. The very rapid population growth occur- 
ring in Japan prior to the war was not accompanied by deterioration of 
consumption levels. During the interwar period of rapid population 
growth the available food supply per head of population increased in 
quantity and quality more than at any other period in Japanese history. 10 
It is true that Japan was importing rice from the colonies and that special 
circumstances favored Japan in its early period of industrialization. On 
the other hand, Japan showed a rather remarkable capacity to meet the 
food demands of its increased population despite very limited natural 
resources. 

Other Asian countries may not have the great advantages earlier en- 
joyed by Japan in being able to find a market for industrial goods and 
ready sources of food imports. On the other hand, within all of these 
countries there are large unexploited areas which remain uncultivated 
owing to such factors as lack of capital, ignorance of means of effective 
utilization, and political instability. Thus, in India and China there are 
substantial areas not under the plow that would be productive with 
proper irrigation. In the three countries of mainland Southeast Asia 
(Burma, Thailand, and Indo-China) the densely populated river deltas 
are surrounded by large unexploited regions, substantial portions of 
which are suitable for various types of agriculture. In Indonesia, over- 
populated Java is surrounded by thinly settled outer islands that could 
unquestionably support several times their present inhabitants. 

10 E. B. Schumpeter, et. al., The Industrialization of Japan and Manchukuo, 1930- 
1940 (New York, 1940). 



336 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

Furthermore, a comparison of rice yields in Japan and other Asian 
countries suggests the practical possibilities of better farm practices. 
Though the soil of Japan is apparently not intrinsically better for rice 
culture than in other major producing areas, the yields are very much 
larger. Japanese yields of 35 to 40 bushels of cleaned rice per acre may be 
compared with 25 in China and Formosa, 20 in Korea, and about 15 in 
India, Burma, Thailand, and Java. Higher Japanese yields are reported 
to be chiefly attributable to the use of better seeds and to the effective 
utilization of both industrial and organic fertilizers. 

Or let us assume that through technological progress Asia were to 
achieve Western European productivity per acre. In East Asia such an 
achievement would increase production in that area by more than one- 
third and would feed two hundred million more people at present con- 
sumption levels. In South Asia the achievement of West European output 
per acre would double production. 

Thus, as compared with the United States and even West Europe, Asia 
has a huge surplus farm population. But given improvements in farm 
practices enabling the same intensity of agricultural production as in West 
Europe or Japan, Asia could greatly increase her food output. 

Recent Population Growth. Population pressure in Monsoon Asia is not 
the result of outstandingly rapid growth in this region. Historically the 
growth of European populations has been much more rapid. But while 
the latter has tended to decline, the population growth of Asia has tended 
to accelerate. 

In the recent past, rates of growth have ranged from little or no growth 
estimated for China to 2 to 2.5 per cent per year in Formosa, the Philip- 
pines, and other areas undergoing especially effective public health meas- 
ures. More typical of Monsoon Asia, however, is the annual rate of growth 
in prepartition India at 1.4 per cent between 1931 and 1941. Between 1937 
and 1947 the annual growth rate of Monsoon Asia (without China) was 
1.2 per cent. This may be compared with .7 per cent during the same 
period in Western Europe, 1.1 in North America, about 1.5 per cent in 
Africa, and about 2 per cent in Latin America. 

In Monsoon Asia (aside from Japan) the controlling factor in popula- 
tion growth has been the death rate. The annual birth rate is consistently 
high, ranging between 35 and 45 per thousand in all countries. 11 

11 As compared with 25 in the United States, 16 in the United Kingdom, 22 in Japan 
(all 1953). Official data for several of the Asiatic countries show much lower rates 
(India 25 in 1952), but there is ample evidence that these reflect failure to report a 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 337 

In "normal" years there is an excess of births over deaths; historically 
this surplus was periodically wiped out by famines, epidemics, and war. 
In areas recently under European, American, or Japanese tutelage these 
periodic disasters have been progressively reduced with resultant rapid 
population growth. But even "normal" death rates in these areas remain 
high as compared to current standards in the United States. There is 
present a large "growth potential" realizable through further declines in 
the death rate. 

Factors Affecting Future Population Changes. The Potential Saving of 
Lives. As in the West, declines in mortality in Asia preceded declines in 
fertility. Great improvement in most countries of the region has been 
achieved in the control of the acute and chronic contagious diseases, and 
great further achievements are possible with comparatively little effort. 
The possibilities in this regard under varying circumstances are illus- 
trated by such experiences as those in the Philippines and Formosa, 
where prewar achievements in reducing the death rate were largely the 
result of external initiative; in Japan, where great progress was made at 
native initiative; and in postwar Ceylon and Japan, where startling reduc- 
tions in mortality have been accomplished chiefly through the broadcast 
use of the new insecticides. 12 Where progress in public health has been 
slow or negative, the explanation is to be found in ineffective government 
or political disturbance ( as in China, Indonesia, and French Indo-China ) . 



major proportion of the births. Following are more reliable vital rates and comparison 
with Italian and United States data: 

Vital Rates Per 1000 Population 



COUNTRY 


YEAR 


BrRTH 


DEATH 


NATURAL INCREASE 


China 


1953 


37 a 


17 a 


20 a 


India 


1931-41 


45 b 


31" 


14 b 


Ceylon 


1953 


39 


11 


28 


Malaya 


1953 


44 


12 


31 


Formosa 


1953 


45 


9 


36 


Japan 


1953 


22 


9 


12 


Italy 


1953 


17 


10 


7 


United States 


1953 


25 


10 


15 



a As reported from a sample survey in Communist China (apparently not including areas affected by 
floods). 

b Estimated from census data. 

12 In Ceylon the death rate per thousand population was cut from 22.0 in 1945 
to 12.6 in 1949 and 10.9 in 1953 (chiefly through destruction of insect carriers with 
DDT). In Japan the death rate has been cut from prewar 17.0 (1937) to 11.6 in 
1949, and 8.9 in 1953, with an annual saving of some 600,000 lives. 



338 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

Such reliable evidence as does exist indicates ( 1 ) that death rates are 
progressively declining in most of the areas, aside from reversals occa- 
sioned by war and political disturbances, and (2) that the tempo of 
decline is speeding up. There is no case of general upward trend in mor- 
tality as a result of inadequate nutrition and overpopulation, despite the 
fact that the per capita consumption in several of the countries seems to 
be substantially lower than before the war. The average food supply 
seems to be somewhat lower but it is better distributed. 

It may be argued that people are being saved from disease only to die 
from famine. But this point has demonstratively not yet been reached and 
it seems probable that in the near future it will not be reached. 

Theoretically, increasing the death rate might be an effective means of 
reducing the rate of population growth and the pressure of population on 
the land. But only wars and internal upheavals may conceivably have this 
effect, which would be temporary in nature. 

Will the Birth Rate Decline? So far as may be determined on the basis 
of inadequate statistical evidence, birth rates throughout the region are 
high— as high or perhaps higher than those prevailing in Europe and 
America a century ago. In Asia as in other parts of the world, high and 
uncontrolled fertility is an accompaniment of poverty, ignorance, and 
subsistence agriculture. There is no reason to suppose that this high fer- 
tility represents a native or racial characteristic, or that Asians would not 
be responsive to the same influences that brought about declines in the 
birth rate in Western countries. The difference is that, with the single and 
very important exception of Japan, large Asian populations have not been 
exposed to these influences. In the twenty years preceding World War II, 
the pattern of decline in the Japanese birth rate was almost identical with 
that experienced in Great Britain between 1880 and 1900, when that 
country was at a somewhat comparable period of industrialization and 
economic development. Similar declines in the birth rate have been noted 
among urban and middle class groups in India. While conservative influ- 
ences are antagonistic to regulation of births in Asia, up to the present 
time there does not appear to be any major overt and doctrinal religious 
opposition. 

Declining birth rates have usually been regarded as exclusively linked 
with industrialization and urbanization. If this were true there would be 
little expectation of declining birth rates in those large sections of Asia 
where early industrialization does not appear feasible. However, an in- 
spection of Western experience shows that the birth rate also tends to 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 339 

decline with education and literacy even in the absence of industrializa- 
tion. In Europe declines in the birth rate have been as closely correlated 
with literacy as with urbanization. 13 If this also proves to be true of Asia, it 
is entirely possible that declines in the birth rate may be experienced even 
before extensive industrialization. 

The European and Japanese experience, and the fragmentary evidence 
for certain groups in other Asian countries, suggest that in time the birth 
rate will tend to fall in Asia and that the tempo of this decline will be 
in proportion to the rapidity of general economic and social progress on 
the Western pattern. However, we face the paradox that the first effects 
of modernization are to increase rather than decrease the rate of growth, 
because declines in the death rate precede those in the birth rate. This 
seems to be a necessary transitional stage. Controlled fertility apparently 
seems to be a part of the same complex of cultural factors that result in 
greater economic production. Anything convincing people that they can 
control their environment rather than accept it fatalistically will probably 
induce a lower birth rate. 

Possibilities for Emigration. A superficially reasonable method of reliev- 
ing population pressure is emigration. This was one answer of Europe to 
the problem and resulted in the emigration of some sixty million Euro- 
peans overseas. But, even in the exceptionally favorable situation prevail- 
ing in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries emigration was a real 
solution of population pressure only in certain smaller countries and re- 
gions, such as Ireland, Scotland, and Norway. 

Contemporary Asia finds herself in a very different position from 
Europe in the last three centuries. The desirable empty spaces of the world 
are already occupied or controlled by countries who would resist the im- 
migration of large numbers of Asians. 

Furthermore, there are many times as many Asians as there were Euro- 
peans during the periods of great overseas colonization. Monsoon Asia has 
a natural increase at the present time of at least ten million persons per 
year. There are no outlets for Asiatic emigration capable of absorbing 
even a very small fraction of this increase by peaceful means. Even if 
other parts of the world were to absorb these huge numbers, there is no 
assurance but that their places would be almost immediately taken by 
more rapid increase of the population at home. While a certain amount 

13 The birth rate is low in almost wholly rural countries, such as Bulgaria and the 
Baltic countries, where literacy is relatively high (cf. Dudley Kirk, Europe's Popula- 
tion in the Interwar Years [League of Nations, 1946], Ch. IV, p. 248). 



340 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

of emigration from Asia would be desirable for various reasons, it will 
have symbolic rather than actual value in solving Asia's problem of over- 
population. 

On the other hand, much may be expected from internal redistribution 
of population, especially in Southeast Asia, where there remain large areas 
suitable for agricultural exploitation. 

The Outlook for the Next Decade. With a modicum of peace we may 
anticipate declining death rates in the region. In all probability these will 
not be matched in the earlier stages by declining birth rates. In the ab- 
sence of serious political disturbances the populations of this region may 
be expected to increase 1.5 to 2.5 per cent per year, with a general tend- 
ency for the rate of growth to increase. Under optimum conditions, eco- 
nomic production must be increased by about 2 per cent per year merely 
to maintain the increasing population at existing levels. 

The handicap of population growth to economic progress may be illus- 
trated by reference to India and Pakistan. If the population of the Indian 
subcontinent grows as fast between 1950 and 1960 as it did between 1931 
and 1941 and between 1941 and 1951 (15 per cent) it will rise from the 
present 425 million to about 490 million. This would represent an increase 
of 31 per cent over the prewar 1937 population. 

In a carefully weighed study of the problem, Burns estimates that rice 
yields per acre could be increased by 30 per cent and other crops cor- 
respondingly. 14 But it would require all of this gain in the next decade 
merely to regain the per capita consumption of the thirties. To regain the 
production (and consumption) levels of the twenties would require an 
additional 10 per cent increase in production in the next decade, whether 
through higher yields per acre or through cultivation of new lands. A pro- 
duction increase of some 40 per cent by 1960 is necessary merely to match 
population growth and recapture ground lost in the past thirty years. 15 

On the brighter side of the picture is the example of Japan, which illus- 
trates the possibility of doubling or even tripling food output through 
improved farm practices. While such goals are scarcely realizable in a 
decade, they hold out the possibility that even a rapidly growing popula- 
tion can be supplied with an improved diet. 

To the extent that Asia is successful in promoting improved levels of 
living, there will initially be even more rapid population growth. But 

14 Burns, Technological Possibilities of Agricultural Development in India (Lahore, 
1944). 

15 These figures may be pessimistic owing to the possibility that crop reporting 
in recent years somewhat underestimates actual production. 



POPULATION GROWTH AND PRESSURE 341 

there is the hope that such rising levels of living will eventually be ac- 
companied by declining birth rates and a smaller rate of growth. This is 
the humane solution. No matter what the rate of technological and eco- 
nomic progress, if the population of Asia continued to grow at the rates 
current and likely for the near future, population would inevitably over- 
take the means of subsistence and would result in a catastrophe. 



THE POLITICAL SIGNIFICANCE OF POPULATION PRESSURE 

The above analysis has not been optimistic. Even with the most hopeful 
forecasts of economic development there is no prospect whatsoever that 
the crowded populations of Asia can in this generation match Western 
levels of living. Yet this level is dangled in front of all underprivileged 
people as the proper standard of material life. Understandably they desire 
to achieve this standard and unwittingly we have encouraged them to 
aspire to it. 

It is also only human nature that both leaders and citizens of the under- 
developed areas will attribute their difficulties in attaining the Western 
standard of living not to their own defects but to the fact that they have 
been deprived access to the territories and natural resources which West- 
ern people have appropriated for their own. Regardless of either the ethics 
or the logic of the situation, it seems almost certain that the human mass 
of the crowded areas of the world will regard this deprivation as unjust, 
and hence valid grounds for militant claims for more territory. This will 
be given further animus by the color prejudice to which they have been 
subjected during their colonial periods. 

It seems a safe prognostication that population pressure both real and 
imagined will be a vital factor in the relations between the new Asian 
countries and the West. 

At the same time, population growth in these countries consumes eco- 
nomic product that otherwise could be directed to better economic devel- 
opment. In a world where an average annual gain of 3 per cent in the 
national product is regarded as very large, the handicap of providing for 
an annual growth of up to 2 per cent or more in the population may mean 
the difference between success and failure— the difference between suc- 
cess and failure not only in the effort to raise levels of living but even 
more significantly in the development of political democracy. 

In this sense population pressure is one of the fundamental forces mili- 
tating against the free world in favor of totalitarianism. 



CHAPTER 



10 



Migrations 



MIGRATION AND HISTORY 

Man's history has been described, with only slight exaggeration, as "the 
study of his wanderings." Some epochs of the remote past are called 
"periods of great migrations." This terminology presumes that at other 
times migratory movements were at a standstill, especially in the case of 
the so-called "sedentary" people. In fact, no population is ever at rest. 
Every epoch is a period of "great migrations." 1 

The French geographer Vidal de la Blache describes China as the scene 
of many obscure migrations, which taken together have changed the face 
of the land and the history of the world. It is no mere chance that the 
books containing the oldest memories of the human race, the Bible, the 
ancient Chinese scrolls, and Mexican chronicles, are full of accounts of 
migrations. There is no people without a legend of a state of unrest, 
of Trieb, to use Karl Ritter's expression, which compelled them to move 
from place to place until they found a final resting place "constantly 
promised by the divine voice, constantly held at a distance by enchant- 
ment." 2 But often what appears to be the "final resting place" in the 
longer span of history proves to be only a temporary refuge. 

There are age-old paths of migration in natural highways provided by 
the physical features of the earth. Halford Mackinder in his Democratic 

1 E. M. Kulischer, Europe on the Move: War and European Population Changes, 
1917-1947 (New York, 1948), p. 8. 

2 P. W. J. Vidal de la Blache, Principes de geographie humaine (Paris, 1922), 
p. 70. 

342 



MIGRATIONS 343 

Ideals and Reality has vividly described how, from the fifth to the six- 
teenth century, wave after wave of what he termed "brigands on horse- 
back" swept through the steppes, through the gateway between the Ural 
Mountains and the Caspian Sea, dealing their formidable blows north- 
ward, westward, and southward against the settled peoples of Europe. 3 

The new means of ocean transportation evolved in Europe opened a 
phase of the history of migration which reached its climax in the early 
part of this century. The study of the great transoceanic migrations and 
of their impact on the lands beyond hitherto unexplored ocean spaces 
provides the raw material of the geography of colonization and overseas 
empires. 

More recently the conquest of the air and the great improvements in 
land transport have opened new avenues and means of migration. The 
natural barriers which formerly channeled migration are being increas- 
ingly replaced by political and other man-made barriers restricting and 
directing the movement of people. 

ARE THERE PRINCIPLES OR "LAWS" OF 
MODERN MIGRATIONS? 

In the perspective of centuries we see the great migrations of the past 
as part of vast historical processes, whether it be the decline and fall of 
Rome before the barbarian invaders, the Aryan invasions of India, or the 
European colonization of the New World. It is more difficult to perceive 
a pattern and direction behind migrations of the present epoch. These 
often seem aimless and nihilistic, in themselves a denial of order and 
reason. Sometimes they seem to reflect only the hatreds of those who 
chance to have the power to wreak their vengeance and havoc on the 
vanquished. Sometimes it is difficult to see meaning in so much manifest 
inhumanity. Yet our task in political geography is to divest ourselves ( for 
this purpose) of moral judgments and to seek meaning and direction in 
the mass movements of humanity in their relation to the power of nations. 

Sixty-five years ago when Ravenstein presented his famous papers on 
migration at the Royal Statistical Society of Great Britain, 4 the establish- 
ment of a universal law of migration seemed possible, even certain. Raven- 
stein's "Laws" still hold good for many purposes today, but they apply 
only to those movements occurring within the "rules of the game" of 

3 H. W. Weigert, Generals and Geographers (New York, 1942), pp. 123-125. 

4 E. G. Ravenstein, "The Laws of Migration," Journal of the Royal Statistical So- 
ciety, 1885, pp. 167-235; 1889, pp. 241-305. Ravenstein found fixed relationships 
between distance of migration and the number, the age, and the sex of the migrants. 



344 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

Victorian Europe. The mass migrations associated primarily with the two 
World Wars were entirely outside his frame of reference. 

But the fact that there are new forms of migration does not mean there 
is no order and direction. The pattern of change itself may be more im- 
portant to political geography than the orderly movements occurring 
within the fixed precepts of a particular epoch. 

In the discussion that follows we shall seek to find the significance of 
modern migration movements in, first, an analysis of the types of migra- 
tion, and second, in an analysis of the directions of the movement. 

TYPES OF MIGRATION 

There are many ways of classifying migrations— according to their de- 
gree of permanency, their intensity and volume, the human units involved, 
their motives, the distance traveled, and the direction of the movement. 
These criteria give rise to contrasts between temporary and permanent 
migrations; individual versus communal or tribal migrations; free versus 
forced movements; internal versus international and overseas migrations. 

Each of these represents a different way of viewing the same phenome- 
non and each in its own way is relevant to problems of political geog- 
raphy. These dichotomies also suggest the various contrasts between the 
migratory movements characteristic of the nineteenth and twentieth cen- 
turies. 

Thus the overseas migrations of the nineteenth and early twentieth 
centuries were composed of individuals and family groups, whereas the 
population transfers of the twentieth century were often composed of 
entire communities; the earlier migrations gave effect to the free and 
voluntary choice of individuals, whereas the war-induced transfers were 
motivated by fear and force; overseas migration involved continuing con- 
tacts and exchanges between the homeland and the migrants, whereas 
population transfers were intended to be an absolute and irrevocable 
uprooting from the homeland; finally, the population shifts connected 
with the two World Wars were chiefly continental movements associated 
with changed political boundaries, whereas the earlier movements were 
predominantly long-distance migrations overseas. 

Behind these differences is a changed philosophy of the purposes and 
rights involved in migration. The earlier philosophy was that the indi- 
vidual should be free to choose his place of residence in accordance with 
the dictates of his conscience and the welfare of himself and his family. 
The modern philosophy is that individual needs and desires must be 



MIGRATIONS 345 

subordinated to the needs of the community as defined by the state. It 
can be said that migration is controlled by conscious geopolitical motiva- 
tions. 

It is easy to conclude that the change in type of migration is a change 
from order to chaos. But the great differences in the character of the two 
types of migrations obscure the fact that both conform to underlying 
forces of population pressure that determine the direction and viability 
of the movements. 



POPULATION PRESSURE AND MIGRATION 

Population pressure exists in two senses. There is the absolute relation- 
ship of people to resources which may, at a given stage of the arts, mean 
the difference between poverty and prosperity. Until very recently this 
was the nature of the problem in Monsoon Asia, where there existed little 
knowledge of better opportunities elsewhere and even less practical means 
of taking advantage of these opportunities. The typical Asian was a peas- 
ant who knew little about life beyond the confines of his village. In such a 
situation population pressure is a latent but not an active political force. 

There is the other and relative sense of differential population pressure 
between countries and the changes in these relationships occurring over 
time. To be an active force this pressure has reality only if it is known and 
felt by the peoples concerned. It is the latter relative population pressure 
that is significant for problems of political geography. 

Relative population pressures create tensions that are either relieved 
through migrations or are built up against political barriers with the con- 
stant threat of explosion if these barriers are weakened. Some form of 
population pressure has been behind all the great migrations in history. 

Population pressure that gives rise to movement is not just a matter of 
the mechanical density of the population. Often the great migration pres- 
sures are from areas of lesser density to higher density as was true of the 
barbarian invasions of the Roman Empire, of the Manchu and Mongol 
invasions of China, and of the Aryan invasions of India. The factor of 
crude density of population is relevant only as it is expressed in terms of 
economic opportunity. 

There have been two great magnets of economic opportunity in modern 
Europe, which has been the source and theater of the most significant 
migrations in the last two centuries. The first of these was the attraction 
of unpeopled lands for land-hungry peoples. In the broader sense there 
was the opportunity for personal and national exploitation of rich natural 



346 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

resources in underdeveloped and relatively unoccupied countries. The 
second magnet was the economic opportunity offered by industrialization 
and commerce in the cities and industrialized regions both in Europe itself 
and in Europe overseas. 

These two great forces in migration give us a key to the understanding, 
in one framework, of both the orderly migrations of the past and the 
seemingly chaotic migrations of the current generation. The first magnet, 
that of unpeopled lands, induced the great outward thrust of peoples 
from the older centers of population, predominantly from Western 
Europe but also to a lesser extent from China and India. Cutting across 
and in some respects directly opposing this centrifugal thrust has been 
the centripetal tendency reflected particularly in vast rural-urban migra- 
tions. 

Most population movements in the modern world fall into a meaning- 
ful pattern if they are thought of in terms of these two great categories 
and in terms of the historical replacement of the first by the second. 

FREE MIGRATIONS OF EUROPEANS 

In the analysis that follows we will first study free migrations and espe- 
cially the migrations associated with the expansion of Europe and, without 
recounting the details of this epic migration, attempt to point to its lasting 
effects and to its politico-geographical legacy in the modern world. The 
problem of "colonialism" has its origin in the nature of European settle- 
ment and control. 

The Politico-Geographical Legacy of European Settlement. Whether 
colonization takes the form of permanent settlement or whether its char- 
acteristic is the establishment of sovereignty over territories providing 
raw materials and markets (known to the French as colonies d' exploita- 
tion ) , or whether we think of the type of colonization consisting of settler 
"islands" in alien lands (as, for instance, those of the Germans, Italians, 
and Japanese in Brazil, or the Volga-Germans in Russia before their de- 
portation), we will always have to go back to the same common denomi- 
nator explaining the sources, the strength, and the goals of colonization in 
a particular area. Where Europeans settled en masse we find a history 
entirely different from those colonies in which the economy was estab- 
lished on the extensive use of indigenous labor. The difference in terms of 
the political future of these areas is decisive and profound. 

For our purposes it is desirable to distinguish between the various 
demographic manifestations of the expansion of Europe: 



MIGRATIONS 347 

Overseas Areas of Predominantly European Settlement. These coun- 
tries are as a group the wealthiest in the world, including the United 
States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, and Uruguay. All have 
in effect achieved their political independence and, with Latin American 
exceptions, are among the most stable politically in the world today. 

Areas of European Native Amalgamation. In the greater part of Latin 
America European and native populations, in some cases with African 
infusions, are in the process of merging. The divergent percentage of 
European racial and cultural ingredients has resulted in a very uneven 
degree of development which is too often concealed by the general rubric 
"Latin America." The political regimes are often unstable, but culturallv 
and politically these areas of settlement are firmly allied to the West. 
While the amalgamation of European and natives is most characteristic 
of Latin America, it also exists to a certain extent in the Philippines and 
in Portuguese Africa, though in these areas the European biological and 
cultural element is weaker than in most of Latin America. 

Areas of European Settlement Where Europeans Are a Ruling Minority. 
This type of settlement exists chiefly in Africa. In North Africa a million 
and a half French rule three closely related Arab lands of 18 million 
inhabitants. In the Union of South Africa, 2.5 million Britains and Boers 
(themselves in conflict with each other) 5 hold the exclusive reins of 
government in a country with some 11 million non whites. An even 
smaller and less rooted white minority of fewer than 200,000 British 
governs an indigenous population of some 3.5 million in the British 
dominion of Rhodesia. These are the hard-core areas of colonialism that 
the colonial powers and indigenous white populations cannot relinquish 
without threatening the most basic welfare and perhaps even the survival 
of the resident whites. 

Areas Governed but Not Settled by Europeans. This type of European 
colonization was chiefly characteristic of Asia and tropical Africa. In Asia 
it is dead. The Second World War greatly accelerated the development of 
local nationalisms and brought to an earlier end an otherwise inevitable 
trend against continuing European control of these areas. The vestigial 
remains of direct European government of Asia, whether in the Portu- 
guese colonies, in Indo-China, or in British Malaya and Hong Kong are 
under the severest pressure. The same fate is clearly in store for the Euro- 
pean colonies in tropical Africa. Already Negroes in West Africa, Nigeria, 
and the Gold Coast are making rapid strides toward independence. In the 
East African highlands the Mau Mau revolt, while unsuccessful in itself, 

5 See p. 391. 



348 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

has foreshadowed the end of any prospect for permanent white control 
of the region. 

Linguistic Islands. 6 The same drives that sent sixty million Europeans 
to settle overseas lands impelled the colonization of Eastern Europe by 
Western Europeans, particularly Germans. Rulers of Eastern Europe 
welcomed these settlers because of their industry and relative advance- 
ment. These newcomers chose to found their own communities and to 
maintain their own customs, language, and religion. Settled as units and 
having in their view a superior culture and higher economic status, these 
linguistic islands resisted assimilation. The same phenomenon occurred 
less frequently in overseas migration, as in the German settlements of 
Brazil that have maintained their language and other German character- 
istics for several generations. The Pennsylvania "Dutch" of the United 
States are such a linguistic island though now far along toward total 
absorption. 7 Few of these islands are likely to survive. The German 
Sprachinseln which formerly dotted Eastern Europe have been annihi- 
lated. The modern nationalisms of Europe doom such islands either to 
oppression or to assimilation. 

Effect of Advance of Frontiers. Finally a neglected aspect of the expan- 
sion of Europe is the effect of the advance of the frontier within the new 
countries politically controlled by people of European stock. These in- 
ternal migrations have had profound geopolitical effects particularly in 
the United States and the Soviet Union. 

The history of the United States offers a continuous documentation of 
the impact of new areas which, in the overall picture of trie nation, have 
won their place in the sun and, by achieving political maturity, have ex- 
erted their influence and that of their newly settled people upon the 
internal and external affairs of the Union. The "political geography" of 
Presidential elections may serve as illustration: until Buchanan's Presi- 
dency all Presidents came from the eastern seaboard, except for the Ten- 
nessean Jackson. From Lincoln to McKinley, the majority came from the 
Middle West but east of the Mississippi. Since Theodore Roosevelt, we 
find a greater geographical variety, but also the first Presidents from west 
of the Mississippi ( Hoover, Truman, and Eisenhower ) . 

6 See the detailed discussion of linguistic factors in political geography in Chapter 
11, pp. 383-403. 

7 An interesting example of such an island is that of the Russian sect of the Sons 
of Freedom, the Dukhobors, whose members left Russia at the beginning of the 
century in search of religious and political freedom and who, as squatters in British 
Columbia, engaged in a last-stand struggle against the Canadian government, re- 
sisting assimilation in the Canadian community. 



MIGRATIONS 349 

Thus the history of internal migration in the United States offers an 
excellent illustration of the important principle that if the factors of in- 
stability and change motivated by internal migration are of major pro- 
portions they will redistribute power within a nation. A classical example 
is the decisive break which began in the United States in the 1850's, when 
a large-scale colonization of the Great Plains redrew the population distri- 
bution map of the country. Hitherto this had shown the European settle- 
ments clinging to the Atlantic coast, their penetration inland normally 
limited to a strip within a hundred miles of tidewater. The map of the 
population "centers" in the United States with the period between 1790 
and 1950 8 is a graphic illustration of the "Westward Course of Empire" 
trend which, with different connotations, is still underway. Since 1790, the 
center of population in the United States has not deviated more than a few 
miles from its original latitude, close to 39° N, but it has moved steadily 
westward. In a century and a half the center of population has moved 
about six hundred miles, at an average speed of four miles a year. The 
shift was particularly rapid (more than five miles a year) between 1830 
and 1890. It then slowed down, especially after 1910, but quickened dur- 
ing World War II. The growth of California, which has continued after 
1945, was and still is instrumental in drawing the country's center of 
population further westward. 

The student of politics, both on the national and state level, will dis- 
cover important changes in the composition of population groups as the 
result of these shifts. 

The American example repeats itself in all national territories endowed 
with large space. The westward course of internal migration in the United 
States is paralleled by the many waves of migration southward, north- 
ward, and eastward which shaped the history of Russia and of the 
U.S.S.R. The internal geography of the Soviet Union cannot be under- 
stood without constant reference to the mass migrations and population 
transfers which took place during its entire turbulent history, starting with 
the forced resettlements of the collectivization period during 1929 and 
1930 and assuming momentum again in 1932 and 1933 when mass famines 
starved out many villages and drove millions to the cities. As a result of 
planned population transfers between 1927 and 1939, the Urals, Siberia 
and the Far East, as well as Central Asia (in particular Kazakhstan), 
became the receiving centers of new waves of migration involving about 
five million people. 9 Since the war, migrations continue as, for instance, 

8 See Fig. 18-1, p. 572. 

9 For a detailed discussion see Kulischer, Europe on the Move, pp. 79-112. 



350 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

to the labor camps scattered in inhospitable regions over the Soviet 
Union, 10 and most important, the mass movements from the villages to 
the towns and cities. This farm-to-town migration is rapidly turning the 
Soviet Union into an urbanized nation. 

THE MIGRATION CYCLE IN EUROPE 

Historically, mass migration from Europe has been associated with a 
particular stage of economic, social, and political development. It has not 
been a purely rational movement from the areas of lowest income or 
greatest physical poverty. People in such areas usually lack knowledge, 
means, and abilities for taking advantage of opportunities overseas. It has 
rather been a function of a particular stage in the transition from an essen- 
tially self-sufficient peasant economy to a modern industrial and urban 
economy. The sources of mass overseas migration were first in the British 
Isles in connection with early industrialization and the related agricultural 
enclosure movement. The latter dispossessed the English yeoman and the 
Scottish crofter and gave them impetus to seek land and fortune overseas. 
They were soon joined by the Irish cottager who suffered acute pressure 
of population on the land. 

The emigration "fever," as it has sometimes been described, moved in 
ever-widening concentric rings as modern influences spread from their 
centers of origin in England, the Low Countries, and later Western Ger- 
many. The "fever" was associated with a particular stage in the transition 
when the horizons of life in the rural areas began to rise beyond the 
boundaries of the village to the world at large. New aspirations were 
aroused by improved communication, transportation, by free public edu- 
cation, and by the invasion of the money economy. 

In its demographic aspects, this is also a period of transition in which 
improvements in nutrition, and especially simple public health precau- 
tions, were bringing down the death rate without comparable declines in 
the birth rate. The result was a rapid increase in population. In the rela- 
tively static agrarian economy of these areas this situation provided the 
push to make new vistas beyond the village boundaries even more attrac- 
tive. 

The way in which the migration fever spread in concentric circles 
across Europe, especially from west to east and from north to south, river 
by river, province by province, is admirably documented by Marcus Lee 
Hansen in his classic studies of nineteenth century migration to America. 11 

10 Ibid., p. 93. 

11 M. L. Hansen, The Atlantic Migration (Cambridge, Mass., 1951). 



MIGRATIONS 351 

Already by 1800 economic opportunities as reported in letters by family 
and friends overseas were the chief motive for migration. 

As economic development progressed, opportunities for employment 
became increasingly available in nearby factory towns and commercial 
centers. These offered an alternative to overseas migration. Such "inter- 
vening" opportunities characteristically resulted in a reduction in the rate 
of international migration which, for example, was already evident in 
England and Wales as early as 1860 and in Germany and Scandinavia in 
the 1880's and 1890's. 

As is widely known, the great sources of overseas migration in the earlv 
twentieth century had already moved across Europe to the less developed 
rural areas of Poland, Austria-Hungary, and southern Italy. This great 
historic process was drastically inhibited by the first World War, bv 
immigration restrictions in the overseas countries, and by the Russian 
Revolution. Indeed, it is a likely but unproved hypothesis that the block- 
age of movement from the east and the lack of ready outlets for popula- 
tions from Eastern Europe may be related to the violence with which the 
East in the course of the past generation has thrown off the former eco- 
nomic, cultural, and political leadership of the West. 

DIRECTIONS OF MIGRATORY PRESSURE IN EUROPE 

By meaningful yardsticks population pressure in Europe during the past 
two or three generations has been greatest in Eastern and Southern 
Europe, much less in Northwest Europe. 12 This differential pressure has 
been reflected (a) in the predominance of peoples from these areas in 
overseas migration, (b) in the migrations from the peripheral, predomi- 
nantly agricultural regions to the industrial cores of Western Europe 

12 Measures of population pressure relevant to Eastern Europe include, inter alia, 
(a) density of farm population on arable land, (b) agricultural underemployment as 
measured by low outputs per unit of labor, (c) ratios of entrants into the working 
ages (or the labor force) to departures from these ages through death and the 
attainment of retirement age. All of these applied to Eastern European countries 
reveal heavy population pressure before World War II. 

In a very fully documented study relating to the interwar period, estimates were 
made of "surplus" agricultural populations (i.e., agricultural underemployment) in 
Eastern and Southern European countries, assuming existing (1931-35) production 
and the European average per capita level of production for the farm population. The 
estimates of surplus population so derived ranged from zero (the European average) 
in Czechoslovakia to 50 per cent or more of all the farm populations in Greece, Poland, 
Rumania, Bulgaria, and Yugoslavia. The "surplus" agricultural population amounted 
to 4.9 million (27 per cent) in Italy; 1.4 million (12 per cent) in Spain; and 1.4 
million (47 per cent) in Portugal. Cf. W. E. Moore, Economic Demography of 
Eastern and Southern Europe (Geneva, 1945), Table 6, pp. 63-64. 



352 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

in England, Northern France, Western Germany, and the Low Countries. 

In the last full decade of "free" migration from 1901 to 1910 Eastern and 
Southern European countries contributed 77 per cent of the overseas mi- 
gration from Europe as compared with 23 per cent of "old" emigration 
from Northwest Europe. 13 Fifty years earlier, in the decade 1851 to 1860, 
less than five per cent of European emigrants were from the areas of 
"new" migration and over 95 per cent were from Northwest Europe. 

Paralleling this change in the composition of overseas migration, there 
was within Europe a growing migration from the rural hinterlands to the 
industrial regions of Europe. There was the flight of German agricul- 
tural workers in the East to the cities and to the Ruhr. Their places were 
taken by Polish seasonal workers who came across the boundary for the 
harvests. Already before World War II large numbers of Italians, Span- 
iards, and Eastern Europeans were moving into France, and in the inter- 
war period France replaced the United States as the leading destination 
of European migrants. This period saw the influx of Eastern Jews into 
Germany and this, however unjustifiably, contributed to the later violent 
Nazi oppression of the Jewish peoples. 

Since about 1890 the prolific Eastern European peasant (usually a 
Slav) has been exerting economic and demographic pressure against the 
more urban, less reproductive Central European (usually a German), 
even in the face of political domination by the latter. In this he was al- 
ready reversing the earlier true Drang nach Osten of the German peoples 
that drove back the Slav from the Elbe to the Niemen and established 
German-speaking colonies all the way across Europe to the Volga River. 
Already before World War I the efforts of Central European nations to 
strengthen their Eastern marches with Central European settlers were 
failures because this effort attempted to stem and reverse the tide of basic 
demographic and socio-economic trends. The displacement of the earlier 
ruling elements in the interwar years was successful because it accorded 
with the fundamental demographic pressures. 

The demographic pressures in Eastern Europe were partially reflected 
in successful revolts from Western domination after World War I— revolts 
legitimized in the principle of self-determination and the establishment of 
the secession states. Then World War II broke down all barriers and re- 
leased a tremendous westward thrust of the Slav. The displacement of 

13 The regions of "old" emigration include the British Isles, Germany, Scandinavia, 
France, the Low Countries, and Switzerland. The region of "new" emigration includes 
the remainder of Europe. 



MIGRATIONS 353 

German by Slav has been successful because it swam with the underlying 
demographic pressures, just as the failures of the German in displacing 
the Pole were due to the fact that this effort attempted to stem and reverse 
the tide of basic economic and social trends. 

The population pressures of Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, 
and Greece) have neither been so acute nor so dramatic in results as 
those of the East. In terms of European averages the surplus populations 
were proportionately smaller, the rates of population growth historically 
less, than in the East. Furthermore, outlets for migration were more 
readily found— for Italians in France, in Belgium, in Luxembourg, and in 
Switzerland; for Spaniards in France; and for all, overseas. Within Italy, 
southern Italians found opportunities in the industrialized north and simi- 
larly within Spain the industries of Catalonia and the Basque regions met 
some of the needs of the surplus population in the south. Population 
pressure was most acute in Greece, where the exchange of populations 
following World War I had forced that small country to absorb a mil- 
lion refugees from Asia Minor. The chief locations of crowded settlement 
in Macedonia were also strong centers of disaffection following World 
War II. 

Nevertheless the problem of population pressure was ( and is ) real. The 
farm product per farm worker in Italy is less than half that in France, not 
because the Italian farmer is less skillful or less industrious but because, 
on the average, he has only half as much land. 14 The situation is com- 
parable in Portugal, worse in Greece. 

The differential population pressure is accentuated by the dynamics of 
the labor force. In a rapidly growing population far more persons enter 
the labor market each year than leave through death and retirement. Italy 
must accommodate over 300,000 more persons in the working ages each 
year, while in the United Kingdom and France the population of working 
age is now almost stationary. These figures are certainly not unrelated to 
the one and a half million unemployed chronically reported in Italy since 
the war. Similarly Greece and Portugal, each with roughly eight million 
inhabitants, have had to absorb sixty to sixty-five thousand new workers 
each year, while Belgium (eight million) and Sweden (seven million) 
have each had annual increments of under ten thousand. 

It should be noted that population pressure in Italy is more the result 

14 The relative figures for about 1930 on density of agricultural population per 
square kilometer of "arable-equivalent" agricultural land are the following: France— 
28.8; Italy-53.4; Portugal-49.5; Spain-34.0; and Greece-86.7 (Moore, op. cit., 
pp. 197-204). 



354 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

of past than of present growth. The current growth in Italy represents the 
inertia of the past, and it will disappear unless there is a sharp reversal in 
the present downward trend in the birth rate. The same forces seem to be 
at work in Spain, and are at an earlier stage in Portugal and Greece. 

THE URBAN DRIFT 

In all countries there has been a universal movement to the cities from 
the countryside. The uprooting involved in this movement was enormous 
—some 150 million or one-third of all Europeans were, in the interwar 
period, living outside the commune of their birth; over half were outside 
the province or department of their birth. These latter migrants particu- 
larly were persons who had moved to the towns and cities from the vil- 
lages and farms. 

Already by 1880 overseas migration was primarily a movement to the 
cities of the New World. In the United States for example 80 per cent 
of the foreign born represented in the 1940 census were living in urban 
areas as compared with only 50 per cent of the native white of native 
parentage. 

Likewise the greater part of the migration to Australia was to the great 
cities of Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane; in Argentina the bulk of the 
immigration was absorbed in Buenos Aires; in Brazil the cities of Sao 
Paulo and Rio de Janeiro were the chief attractions; in none of these 
countries did large numbers of immigrants go directly to the farms or to 
the small towns. Within these overseas countries there was little new 
settlement after 1900. On the other hand, within each of these overseas 
countries there was a great tide of rural-urban migration. Even the west- 
ward movements in the United States after 1900 were movements pri- 
marily from Middle Western farms and small towns to the cities of the 
Pacific Coast. 

Similarly in the Soviet Union the eastward migrations into Asia, while 
in one respect a continuation of the expansion of the European settlement 
area, were in another respect a migration from the farms of European 
Russia to the new industrial cities beyond the Urals. 

In Western civilization the attractions of the city have come to out- 
weigh greatly those of unsettled lands, not only because the best lands 
in the temperate zone have been occupied but also because the driving 
aspirations are those achieved only in city life. 

The greatest attraction to international migrants exists where these two 
forces are more or less combined, as in the cities of the New World. 



MIGRATIONS 355 

Thus the direction of population pressure in the Western world is from 
the farm and the small town to the city and especially to the cities of 
America. At least this is the choice of migrants in the absence of coercion 
and political barriers. A second choice of migrants has been the urban 
and industrial centers of Western Europe. 

These choices were freely open to most of the populations of northwest 
Europe because United States quotas favored them and because major 
economic centers were within their territories. In part this latter oppor- 
tunity was available to southern Europeans through migrations to neigh- 
boring France, and in any case there were industrial regions in Italy and 
Spain to absorb some of the surplus populations. 

The problem was more severe and the solutions less available in Eastern 
than in Southern Europe. It was this demographic context in which oc- 
curred the massive population transfers set in motion by Nazi aggression, 
war, and postwar settlements. 



FORCED MIGRATIONS 

"The Nation of the Homeless." In 1952 an editorial in The New York 
Times spoke of the somber fact that "in this century the homeless form 
one of the great nations of the world." The displaced person is as much 
a symbol of this century as is the broken atom. 

The dispossessed and uprooted, in the uninspired language of the 
bureaucracies, are classified as expellees, deportees, refugees, and dis- 
placed persons. In many cases they remain unabsorbed by the nations 
within whose borders they have found refuge. Yet they have changed the 
structure of the human and political geography of the regions in which 
they have settled, just as their flight or expulsion has changed the struc- 
ture of the regions they have left. 

The regions from which large sections of the population have been 
uprooted, as well as those where the refugees and the expelled have come 
to rest, stand out on the political map as danger zones. Vacuums have 
been created by the expulsion of large minorities. At the same time new 
irredentist agitation is created in the receiving countries. Many external 
and internal problems involved in the integration of the newcomers, or 
more often the failure to achieve such integration, confront both the na- 
tion and the international organizations concerned. 

These problems of our age make it mandatory to the student of political 
geography to observe carefully the changes in the ethnic and national 



356 



HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 



composition of nation states which are due to mass migrations and popu- 
lation transfers. 15 

Population Transfers in Europe. The political map of Europe and of 
the European lands of the Soviet orbit has undergone, since 1939, more 
basic changes stemming from mass population movements than the con- 
tours of changed political boundaries would reveal. The gist of the long 
story of migrations initiated in Europe by World War II is contained in 
the following chart prepared by E. M. Kulischer, which lists movements 
from 1939 to 1947: 

TABLE 10-1 * 
Redistribution of Population Produced by World War II a 



YEARS 



ROUTE 



GROUP 



Transfer; Evacuation; Flight of ethnic Germans. 



1939-43 Italy (south Tyrol) to Austria and Germany 

1944 Rumania to Germany and Austria 

1944 Yugoslavia to Germany and Austria 

1944 Rumania to U.S.S.R. 

1944 Yugoslavia to U.S.S.R. 

1944-46 Hungary to Germany and Austria 

1944-45 U.S.S.R. (Russian East Prussia) to 

Germany 

1944-45 Old Poland to Germany 

1944-47 New Poland (former eastern Germany) to 

Germany 
1944-45 New Poland (former eastern Germany) to 

Denmark 
1945-46 Czechoslovakia to Germany (partly to 

Austria ) 
1945-46 Soviet Zone to United States and British 

zones in Germany 



80,000 Tyrolese Germans 
200,000 ethnic Germans 
250,000 ethnic Germans 

70,000 ethnic Germans 
100,000 ethnic Germans 
200,000 ethnic Germans 

500,000 Reich Germans 
1,000,000 ethnic Germans 
( Polish citizens and trans- 
ferees from other countries ) b 

6,000,000 Reich Germans 

100,000 Reich Germans c 

2,700,000 ethnic Germans 

4,000,000 Reich Germans 



* Reproduced by permission of the Columbia University Press from Kulischer, Europe on the Move. 

a The transfer of 230,000 Germans from Austria to Germany is not mentioned; it was partly a return 
cf Reich Germans who had migrated to Austria after March, 1938, and partly a transfer of Sudeten German 
refugees comprised by the total of 2,700,000. Ethnic Germans transferred in 1939-44 to the Warteland are 
not listed separately. Apart from those drafted in the German army, most of them left for Germany. 
Se note b . Volga Germans are listed under Population Movements within the U.S.S.R. 

b In 1939-44 about 800,000 ethnic Germans were transferred to the Warteland (partly to central 
Poland), mainly from the Baltic countries, eastern Poland, Rumania, and the southern part of the U.S.S.R. 

c Later transferred to Germany. 

15 The reader is referred to the following sources for a comprehensive treatment 
of population transfers: W. S. and E. S. Woytinsky's World Population and Pro- 
duction (New York, 1953), pp. 66-110, is the most comprehensive short treatment 
of the subject and offers the gist of the available statistical material on individual 
regions. The standard works on displacements of populations in Europe are: E. M. 
Kulischer, The Displacement of Population in Europe (Montreal, 1953), and the 
same author's Europe on the Move: War and Population Changes, 1917-1947 (New 
York, 1948), and J. B. Schechtman, European Population Transfers, 1939-1947 (New 
York, 1946). 



MIGRATIONS 



357 



YEAKS 



ROUTE 



CROUP 



Population Movements of Non-Germans From, Into, and Within Poland* 
1939-44 Poland to Germany, Austria, and Italy 275,000 Polish displaced 



1939-47 Poland through U.S.S.R., the Balkans, and 
Western Europe to Great Britain 



1944-46 U.S.S.R. (former eastern Poland) to New 

Poland 
1946 U.S.S.R. to Poland 

1944-46 Poland to U.S.S.R. 



1946 Various European countries to Poland 

1945-47 Old Poland to New Poland 



persons 

160,000 members of Polish 
army ( including 
families ) 

1,000,000 Poles 

50,000 Polish Jews f 
518,000 Ukrainians, 
Belorussians and 
Lithuanians 
60,000 returned Polish 
emigrants 
3,000,000 Poles 



Population Movements of Non-Germans From, Into, and Within Czechoslovakia 



1945-46 U.S.S.R. ( Carpatho-Ukraine ) to Czecho- 
slovakia 

1946 U.S.S.R. (Volynia) to Czechoslovakia 

1946-47 Rumania to Czechoslovakia 

1946-47 Western and central Europe to Czecho- 
slovakia 

1946-47 Hungary to Czechoslovakia 
1946-47 Czechoslovakia to Hungary 
1946-47 Inner Czechoslovakia to the border region 
( Sudetenland ) 

1946-47 Slovakia to Bohemia and Moravia 



30,000 Czechs and 

Ukrainians e 
33,000 ethnic Czechs 
30,000 ethnic Czechs and 

Slovaks 

30,000 returned Czecho- 
slovak emigrants 
100,000 ethnic Slovaks " 
100,000 Magyars 

1,800,000 Czechs and 
Slovaks 
180,000 Slovaks and 
Magyars 



Population Movements of Non-Germans From and Into Yugoslavia 



1941-47 Yugoslavia to Germany, Austria, and Italy 

1946-47 Yugoslavia (Istria, Fiume, and Zara) to 

Italy 
1946-47 Yugoslavia to Hungary 
1946-47 Hungary to Yugoslavia 



90,000 Yugoslav displaced 
persons and refugees 

140,000 Italians 
40,000 Magyars h 
40,000 Serbs, Croats, and 
Slovenes h 



Population Movements of Non-Germans from the Baltic Area 
1940-44 U.S.S.R. (Karelian Isthmus) to Finland 415,000 Karelian Finns 



d Jewish refugees from Poland included below in total of 225,000 Jewish refugees from various countries. 

e Rough estimate. 

'Total 140,000; most went farther to west and included in total of 225,000 Jewish refugees. 

s In course. 

h Figures according to the exchange agreement. 



358 



HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 



YEARS 



TABLE 10-1 (Cont.) 
Redistribution of Population Produced by World War II 



ROUTE 



GROUP 



Population Movements of Non-Germans from the Baltic Area 



1941-44 



1941-47 



1942-44 



1942-43 
1943-44 



U.S.S.R. (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) to 
Germany, Austria, and Italy 



U.S.S.R. (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) 
through Germany to Belgium 



U.S.S.R. (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) to 
Sweden 



U.S.S.R. (Estonia) to Sweden 
U.S.S.R. (Leningrad area) to Finland 



165,000 Estonian, Latvian, 
and Lithuanian 
displaced persons 

35,000 Estonian, Latvian, 
and Lithuanian 
persons 

30,000 Estonian, Latvian, 
and Lithuanian 
refugees 
6,000 ethnic Swedes 
18,000 Ingermanlanders ' 



Other Population Movements Into Or/And From Various European Countries 



1941 
1941 
1946 

1941-45 



1943-46 
1940-45 



Bulgaria (southern Dobrudja) to Rumania 
Rumania ( northern Dobrudja ) to Bulgaria 
Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania to U.S.S.R. 

( Soviet Armenia) 
U.S.S.R. ( former eastern Poland and old 

Soviet Ukraine) to Germany, Austria, 

and Italy 

Eastern and Central Europe to Germany, 

Austria, and Italy 
Various European countries to Germany, 

Austria, and Italy 



110,000 Rumanians 
62,000 Bulgarians 
30,000 Armenians J 



150,000 Ukrainian 
displaced persons 

225,000 Jewish refugees 

150,000 Displaced persons 
and refugees e 



Population Movements Within the U.S.S.R. 



1941 

1941-42 

1945-46 

1946 
1946 



Volga region to the Asiatic part of the 

U.S.S.B. 
Axis occupied Soviet territory to inner and 

Asiatic parts of the U.S.S.R. 
Southern Russia to the Asiatic part of 

U.S.S.R. 



Russia proper and the Ukraine to Crimea 
Dagestan to former Chechen land 



400,000 Volga Germans 
1,500,000 Soviet citizens k e 

600,000, Crimean Tartars, 

Kalmyks, Chechen, 

and Karachai 
50,000 Russian and 

Ukrainian settlers 1 
60,000 Dagestan 

mountaineers 



1 Total 65,000; the majority returned to the U.S.S.R. 

J Total about 100,000 — about 70 per cent from non-European countries (Syria, Iran, Lebanon). 
k Total number evacuees (partly deportees from Soviet territories) estimated at 12,000,000 of whom 
great majority returned. 
1 First contingent. 
* E. M. Kulischer, Europe on the Move (New York, Columbia University Press, 1948), pp. 302-303. 



MIGRATIONS 359 



YEARS ROUTE CROUP 

Population Movements Within the U.S.S.R. 

1946 Various parts of the U.S.S.R. to southern 

Sakhalin 50,000 Russians 

1945-47 Central and western Russia proper, Belo- 
russia, and Lithuania to Russian East 
Prussia 500,000 Russians, 

Byelorussians, and 
Lithuanians 
1945-47 Old Soviet territory to other newly ac- 
quired western territories of the U.S.S.R. 500,000 Russians, 

Ukrainians, and 
others e 



These mass movements in Eastern and Central Europe during and 
after World War II have resulted in a complete change in the ethnic and 
linguistic composition of some of the countries affected by these migra- 
tions as well as in a new balance of power, or lack of it, between their 
majorities and minorities. 

Poland, for instance, is now a country virtually free of ethnic minorities. 
Its German minority of close to nine million before World War II has 
been reduced, mainly through expulsions, to approximately one to two 
hundred thousand, 16 most of whom live in the so-called Recovered Terri- 
tories. Its large Jewish minority has been reduced, chiefly by extermina- 
tion during the German occupation, to thirty to thirty-five thousand. Of 
the Eastern Slavic groups once residing within the boundaries of Poland 
the vast majority, mostly Ukrainians and Byelorussians, lived east of the 
Curzon line and are now outside the boundaries of Poland. Thus a country 
once confronted with major minority and boundary problems due to large 
ethnic minorities is now ethnically homogeneous. 

Czechoslovakia offers another illustration of a country which, plagued 
by the failure to assimilate its minorities and to create a unified national 
state, undertook to solve its minority question by mass expulsions, affect- 
ing in particular its most thorny minority, the Germans. Numbering 

16 The estimates vary a great deal. German sources claim the existence of much 
larger German groups, in particular in Upper Silesia. These discrepancies show 
vividly the difficulties with which one is confronted in the task of defining ethnic 
frontiers. In border areas, such as Upper Silesia, one frequently encounters bilingual 
groups whose national loyalties are not clearly defined and shift with changing for- 
tunes of war and peace. The number of bilingual Silesians is approximately one million. 
They are claimed by both Poles and Germans— a good illustration of the problems 
with which boundary-makers are confronted if attempting to draw the line in ac- 
cordance with ethnic and linguistic distinctions. 



GERMAN 
EXPELLEES 



Moscow 




Fig. 10-1. Mass Migration of Ethnic Germans into West Germany After World War II; 

Pomerania 891,000 

East Prussia 1,347,000 

East Brandenburg 131,000 

Silesia 2,053,000 

Danzig 225,000 

Memelland 48,000 

Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania 59,000 

Poland 410,000 

Soviet Union 51,000 

Czechoslovakia 1,912,000 

Rumania 149,000 

Hungary 178,000 

Yugoslavia 148,000 

other European countries and from overseas . . 274,000 

Soviet Zone and Berlin 1,555,000 

Soviet Zone and Berlin 4,000,000 



Expellees from: 


(1) 




(2) 




(3) 




(4) 




(5) 




(6) 




(7) 




(8) 




(9) 




(10) 




(ID 




(12) 




(13) 




(14) 


Refugees from: 


(15) 


Expellees arrived: 


(16) 



360 



MIGRATIONS 361 

3,300,000 in 1936, the close-knit German community of the Sudetenlands 
had played a prominent part in the "Protectorate" of Bohemia and Mo- 
ravia during the Nazi occupation. The expulsion of 3,038,000 Sudeten- 
Germans under the terms of the Potsdam Agreement reduced the remain- 
ing German group in Czechoslovakia to 200,000. The vacuum created by 
the mass evacuation was filled by Czech settlers. But the presence of some 
two million Sudeten German expellees in Western Germany, clinging 
together in organizations which keep Sudeten German irredentism alive, 
makes the hastily filled vacuum appear as a zone of insecurity and a 
cradle of conflict. The atmosphere of insecurity is even more accentuated 
by the fact that the expulsion of its most troublesome ethnic group left the 
country still saddled with the age-old conflict between Czechs and Slo- 
vaks. Totalling 2,400,000, about one-fifth of the entire population of 
Czechoslovakia, the Slovaks confront the country continuously with prob- 
lems of Slovak nationalism. Uneven cultural and political development 
between Czechs and Slovaks and a serious divergence in religious belief 
are factors explaining the lack of a constructive symbiosis between 
Czechs and Slovaks. Here we deal with a minority whose problems could 
not have been "solved" by migration or population transfer and whose 
continuous presence as a minority with an intense nationalism has so far 
defied all efforts to create a unified national state. 

A contrasting problem is that of Germany, which was forced to receive 
huge masses of Germans 17 who fled or were expelled from the East as a 
result of World War II (Fig. 10-1 ). Ten and a half million or 21 per cent 
of the total population of the German Federal Republic of forty-nine mil- 
lion are expellees. These are divided into three categories: (1) some 8.4 
million expellees from German provinces east of the Oder-Neisse Line 
now under Polish or U.S.S.R. administration, and from Czechoslovakia, 
Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Yugoslavia, and other countries. The largest 
contingents are from the former German provinces of Silesia, East Prussia, 
Pomerania, and Brandenburg (4,423,000), and from Czechoslovakia 
(1,912,000); (2) over two million persons who fled to Western Germany 
and are unable to return to the Eastern European areas from which they 
came; (3) two hundred thousand stateless and foreign refugees. Clearly 
the presence of a group of new citizens totalling nearly a fourth of 
West Germany's population confronted the country with difficult postwar 
adjustment and rehabilitation tasks in the process of absorbing the com- 
pletely destitute millions. As a West German government source put it, 
the situation was about the same as if more than the total population of 

17 The figures are based on official West German estimates as of December 31, 1950. 



362 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

Denmark and Switzerland combined, or if considerably more than the 
entire population of Australia would have been compelled to find accom- 
modation, work, and a living in what was then ( but no longer is ) a totally 
impoverished Federal Republic of Germany. 18 

While the Iron Curtain has sealed off not only the West from the Soviet 
Empire but also the Soviet satellites from each other, thus bringing the 
mass population shifts of World War II and of the immediate postwar 
period to a standstill, the two Germanies separated from each other still 
experience a numerically reduced but continuous migration from eastern 
to western Germany which totalled between 1950 and 1951 about 1,800,- 
000 or 10 per cent of East Germany's entire population. Here, as in the 
lands of eastern Europe, it is still too early to evaluate the far-reaching 
changes which the uprooting of millions has brought to their new home- 
lands; too early because the consolidation and assimilation process is still 
in progress. This statement should not detract from the fact that in some 
cases, however exceptional, the integration of the refugees has met with 
full success. A case in point is Finland which, aided by the availability of 
cultivable surplus land, succeeded in settling on the basis of careful plan- 
ning the 415,000 Karelian Finns (about 11 per cent of its total population) 
who poured into Finland from territories ceded to Russia after the Russo- 
Finnish war of 1939 to 1940. 19 

In some parts of Western Germany the impact of the expellee groups 
has been so strong that it has radically changed the sociological structure 
of the region concerned. In national politics, the close-knit expellee groups 
have become power factors of great importance, affecting the strategy of 
the political parties and making their irredentist claims a matter of con- 
cern for the country as a whole. Furthermore the influx of refugees dras- 
tically changed the religious composition of West Germany. In the past, 
the map showing the geographical distribution of religions revealed a 
pattern of clearly discernible Protestant and Catholic areas with political 
leanings strongly influenced by confessional issues. The mass migrations 
have broken up this pattern and the denominations are much more mixed 
geographically than formerly. 

Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Germany offer the most impressive ex- 
amples in the European theatre of mass migrations in the wake of World 
War II. But a glance at Kulischer's list of flights and transfers of popula- 
tions in Europe and the U.S.S.R. during and after World War II shows 

18 For further details, see C. D. Harris and G. Wuelker, "The Refugee Problem in 
Germany," Economic Geography (1953), pp. 10-25. 
is See p. 241. 



MIGRATIONS 363 

clearly the uprooting of the human structure of all the lands of central 
and eastern Europe. These wanderings differ basically from the great 
overseas migrations between 1870 and 1920. The war and postwar mass 
migrations were not motivated by the pioneer spirit of individuals and 
groups but by fear and coercion. The mass migrations of our time are 
"the flight of millions from their wrecked homes, the mass exodus of 
people haunted by fear, the mass shipment of human beings to destruc- 
tion. Measured by the number of persons affected, these recent shifts of 
population have been of the magnitude of the economic migration of the 
whole preceding century." 20 

Population Transfers in Asia. While we have given prominence to the 
treatment of population movements in eastern and western Europe, it 
must be realized that they represent only one among numerous other 
equally disorganized major population displacements which originated 
during, or as the result of the World Wars. In 1921, Walter Duranty noted 
in Moscow: "One of the strangest features of Russian life today is the 
wanderers— wandering children, wandering soldiers, wandering families, 
wandering villages, wandering tribes— driven from their homes by the 
war or revolution to move interminably across the vast Russian plains." 21 
This characterization was to hold true for many years to come and again 
after World War II. We find it equally true for many other danger spots 
on the globe, whether as the result of India's partition and the migrations 
this caused, or of China's flood and drought areas, resulting periodically 
in mass movements, or of South East Asia's migration of Chinese and 
Indians across international frontiers, or of Manchuria's and Japan's wan- 
dering nationals, testifying to the ambition and collapse of Japan's 
"Greater Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere." 

Within the span of a few months, the Partition of India of August 15, 
1947 prompted mass migrations "on a scale absolutely unparalleled in the 
history of the world." 22 The communal riots started in the Indo-Gangetic 
Plains, in the Punjab area which covers 55,000 square miles. Accompanied 
by appalling bloodshed, the final balance sheet showed in March 1948 
that six and a half million Moslems had fled into West Pakistan, while 
about six million Hindus and Sikhs had left it. New disorders in Bengal 
between 1948 and 1950 started another wave of mass population move- 

20 Woytinsky, op. cit., p. 110. 

21 Kulischer, op. cit., p. 30. 

22 O. H. K. Spate, "India and Pakistan," A General and Regional Geography 
(London and New York, 1954), p. 110; the discussion, above, of the 1947, 1948, and 
consequent migrations is based on Spate's account, op. cit., pp. 118-120; see also the 
bibliographical notes on pp. 121, 481 f. 



364 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

ments, during which about three and a half million people left East Pakis- 
tan and one million Moslems entered it. What distinguishes this movement 
from that in the Punjab and West Pakistan is that the Bengal wave swept 
in one direction only until 1950, carrying Hindus on their flight from East 
Bengal into Indian territory; in 1950, the mass influx of these refugees 
generated a counterwave of Moslems into Pakistan. "The total movement 
is thus of the order of seventeen million," twice the population of Greater 
London, New York City, or Tokyo. 23 "No comparable event has ever been 
known." 24 

Clearly these mass migrations, and in their wake the critical tasks of 
rehabilitation and resettlement of the uprooted millions, have affected 
deeply the political, social, and cultural structure of both India and Pakis- 
tan, thus confronting the student of political geography with a radically 
different political and social landscape and the two countries with many 
problems, most of which are still awaiting solution. According to Spate's 
analysis, the population transfers have not perhaps modified greatly the 
general distribution of population, except to swell the larger towns of the 
north, but they have altered profoundly the communal pattern. For in- 
stance, the Indian government, in its resettlement program, has plans for 
eighteen new townships; by March, 1950, four million acres of reclaimed 
and evacuee land were allotted to 390,000 families, or a total of about two 
million people; the population of Delhi included in 1950 24 per cent 
refugees— the intrusive minorities were largely urban, which fact posed 
special problems to the overcrowded and unsanitary cities. 25 Thus the 
manifold problems of resettlement and the instability which the overflow 
of refugees has brought to India and Pakistan since the Partition of 1947 
are still, almost a decade later, a major characteristic of the internal politi- 
cal geography of the subcontinent. 

A mass displacement of comparable political importance was created 
by the warfare connected with the creation of Israel in 1948. Several 
hundred thousand Arabs fled or were uprooted from their homes in the 
territory of the new state. Since that time these refugees have been 
maintained in miserable camps through the largesse of an international 
organization created by the United Nations for this purpose. 

These camps are generally located dangerously near the borders of 
Israel in the Gaza strip (Egypt), in Jordan, and in Syria. Very few of the 

23 London (1951): 8,346,000; New York's five boroughs (1950): 7,892,000; 
Tokyo (1954): 7,736,000. 

24 Spate, op. cit., p. 119. 

25 Ibid., p. 120. 



MIGRATIONS 365 

Arab refugees have been integrated in the economies of the countries in 
which they live. After almost a decade of refugee life the 800 thousand 
Arabs under international care still hope to recover their lands. They are 
a persistent source of border conflict and international incidents in the 
troubled relations between Israel and her neighbors. 

Great displacements of population are therefore not a monopolv of 
Europe, though it is in that continent that they have been most systemati- 
cally carried through. 

THE WESTWARD THRUST IN EUROPE 

The preceding sections have described the forced migrations succes- 
sively connected with Nazi aggressions, the war, and postwar territorial re- 
visions. The redistribution of population incident to the second World War 
brought about the permanent migration of close to thirty million people, 
which Eugene M. Kulischer has described as probably the greatest migra- 
tion in European history. In any event, it has remade the map of popula- 
tion and ethnic distribution in central Europe. In essence this migration 
has been a great westward movement induced by the collapse of Ger- 
many. Though there have been significant displacements of population 
affecting every country east of the Rhine, the overall pattern is of a west- 
ward push of populations before the thrust of Slavic victories in the east. 

Dominating the picture is the tremendously important expansion of 
Slav at the expense of Teuton. In this respect European history has been 
turned back almost a thousand years, when Slavic settlement extended 
from the Baltic to the Adriatic, as far west as the present Iron Curtain. 
Some eleven million Germans have been forced back into the rump terri- 
tory of Germandom. Almost every eastern European country has liqui- 
dated its German minority or reduced it to a small fraction of its former 
size. The main German settlement area has been driven back to the Oder- 
Neisse line. 

Into the vacuum have poured millions of Slavs, particularly Poles and 
Czechs, who themselves have been divested of territory by the Soviet 
Union. Only a small fraction of this enormous movement has gone on into 
western Europe and overseas. The problem of economic and cultural 
assimilation of this enormous mass of refugees is one of the most difficult 
facing Europe today. 

Yet from the economic point of view it is well on the way to solution. 

The underlying demographic and economic pressures from East to 
West have been greatly reduced by the territorial changes resulting from 



366 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

the war. In terms of the measure of density of the agricultural population, 
and considering the relative change in population as compared with that 
of Europe as a whole in the period of 1939 to 1954, Poland has increased 
its relative agricultural living space about 60 per cent and Czechoslovakia 
by about one-fourth. In both cases this result was partly due to war deaths 
but chiefly to the expulsion of some thirteen million inhabitants from the 
present territories of these countries. Both are now better off than the 
European average. 

The Danubian countries, on the other hand, were not so favored in the 
redistribution of population and their position has not been so markedly 
improved. In relation to European averages the Yugoslavs, Rumanians, 
and Hungarians are nevertheless almost certainly in a relatively better 
position in terms of agricultural density of population than before the 
war, owing to war losses and to expulsion of ethnic minorities. Quite 
aside from these gains, events have spared these countries the additional 
population pressure ( relative to the European average ) that would prob- 
ably otherwise have occurred. 26 

The reduction of population pressure in these countries is also being 
promoted by ( a ) urbanization and industrialization, and ( b ) the present 
results of rapid declines in the birth rate that occurred in the interwar 
period. The one factor is increasing employment opportunities, the other 
is reducing the competition for available jobs and for the land. In most 
Eastern European countries the number of young people entering work 
ages (that is, age fifteen to twenty) is declining each year as a result of 
the fall in the birth rate that occurred fifteen to twenty years ago. This 
source of pressure on employment opportunities is considerably reduced. 

Quite apart from its ideologies, Eastern Europe is moving into the 
demographic and economic situation that earlier brought relief from 
population pressures in Western Europe, and of course in so doing it has 
liquidated important minority problems. 

But what of the countries that had to absorb the dispossessed of the 
East? In practice this means Germany since other Western countries have 
received far smaller contingents. 

The war added one-fourth to the already crowded population of West 
Germany. The refugees came in enormous numbers and without resources 
into a land amputated by political partition and with the shattered 
economy of a beaten nation. The prognosis was certainly poor. But to the 
amazement of many observers West Germany has already gone far toward 

26 Cf. F. W. Notestein et al., The Future Population of Europe and the Soviet 
Union (Geneva, 1944). 



MIGRATIONS 367 

effective absorption of its refugees. Economic output is now far above the 
best achieved before the war and under Hitler. Even per capita income 
is now well above prewar levels and is increasing rapidly. 

It is now clear that the presence of the refugees is actually contributing 
to the more sustained economic progress of Germany as compared with 
neighboring countries. The refugees provided a reserve of skilled, indus- 
trious labor lacking in other Western European countries where, except 
for Italy, early gains brought about full employment of the available 
labor force. 

These aggregate developments do not mean that the individual refugee 
in Germany is better off than before the war. But they do mean that the 
refugee burden has not been an insuperable one and that in fact it is now 
being turned to advantage. The extent of this success may be measured 
by the fact that German leaders, far from seeking emigration outlets for 
"surplus" population, are now exploring possibilities for bringing in Italian 
and other workers to provide part of the labor needed to support re- 
armament. 

POSTWAR MIGRATIONS AFFECTING THE EUROPEAN 

SETTLEMENT AREA 

Since World War II there has been a substantial revival of overseas 
migration from Europe 2T (Fig. 10-2). Much of this is related to war dis- 
placements of population. But the publicity attending the more dramatic 
refugee movements has obscured the resurgence of voluntary "free" mi- 
grations such as those that peopled North America, Australasia, and large 
parts of South America from Europe in the last two centuries. 

Since the war at least five million persons have emigrated from Europe, 
a mass migration exceeding the total population of Switzerland. In the 
average postwar year about 650,000 emigrants were recorded as leaving 
Europe for countries overseas, and the actual figure was undoubtedly 
larger. "Return" migration amounts to about one-third of this total. The 
identifiable net outward movement in the period 1946 to 1952 was 3.2 
million or about 450,000 per year. This substantial movement represents 

27 Department of State, Office of Intelligence Research, Survey of Overseas Emi- 
gration from Europe, 1946-51. Unclassified Intelligence Report 6054, May, 1953. For 
prewar materials this summary also draws heavily on earlier studies of migration bv 
D. Kirk; Europe's Population in the Interwar Years (Geneva, 1946), Chs. 4-7; 
"European Migrations: Prewar Trends and Future Prospects," Milbank Memorial 
Fund Quarterly, Vol. 25, No. 225 (April, 1947); and "Overseas Migration from 
Europe Since World War II," American Sociological Review, Vol. 19, No. 4 (August, 
1954), pp. 447-56. Portions of the last-named article, written by Dudley Kirk and 
Earl Huyck, are included in the present text. 




Fig. 10-2. Net Postwar Overseas Migration, Europe 1946-52 (in thousands). 



368 



MIGRATIONS 369 

the highest figures reached since the application of severe restrictive 
measures by the United States in the early 1920's. In gross volume it is 
comparable to European emigration from 1880 to 1900. It has not, how- 
ever, attained the huge totals registered immediately prior to World 
War I. 

Overseas migration drained off approximately one-eighth of the natural 
growth of population in Europe since the war, as compared with about 
one-fifth removed by the maximum movements in the years 1900 to 1914. 

Much of the controversy concerning migration restrictions in the United 
States and other countries of immigration has revolved around the dis- 
placement of "old" migration from Northwest Europe by the "new" mi- 
gration from Southern and Eastern Europe, a displacement which came 
to dominate overseas emigration around the turn of the century. Trends in 
"gross" emigration from the chief regions and countries of origin are 
shown in Table 10-2. 

The pattern of "gross" emigration resembles that of the 1920's. The 
United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Portugal each recorded a 
roughly parallel emigration in the two periods, both in numbers and in 
percentages of the European total. Gross emigration from Eastern Europe 
was higher than in the 1920's but much lower than at the turn of the 
century. The other major difference is the new emigration from the Neth- 
erlands, which is chiefly responsible for the rise in the joint figure for 
France and the Low Countries. 

The pattern of "net" emigration is somewhat different because of the 
large return migration, particularly to the United Kingdom, to the Neth- 
erlands, and to Spain and Portugal. The total net emigration by country 
of origin and destination is shown in Tables 10-3 and 4. The leading coun- 
tries are the United Kingdom and Italy (over 600,000 each), Poland 
(460,000), Germany (290,000), U.S.S.R. (230,000), Spain and Portugal 
(180,000 each), and Rumania (160,000). Some three hundred thousand 
Dutch emigrated overseas since the war but these were largely offset by 
repatriations and other immigration from Indonesia. France was the only 
European country of overseas "immigration," which resulted from the mass 
migration of North Africans to the metropole. 

As in the latter days of unrestricted migration, the leading sources were 
in Eastern and Southern Europe. Of the eight countries supplying over 
a hundred thousand emigrants since the war, six were in these regions. 
Certain older areas of emigration, such as Ireland and Scandinavia, were 
notably underrepresented. Irish emigration now goes almost wholly to 
Britain rather than overseas. 



370 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 



TABLE 10-2 



Gross Overseas Emigration from Europe, 1901-52 
(Annual Average in Thousands) 





1901-10 


1911-20 


1921-30 


1931-40 


1946-52 a 


Regions of Old Emigration 












British Isles 
Germany 
Scandinavia 

France, Low Countries, 
Switzerland 


195 
27 
49 

16 


183 

9 

20 

12 


180 
56 

25 

13 


32 

15 

4 

5 


165 
40 
12 

63 b 


Regions of New Emigration 












Italy 

Portugal, Spain 

Eastern Europe c 


362 
142 
447 


219 
171 
271 


110 
86 

123 


26 
23 
34 


107 

74 
188 


Total 


1,238 


885 


593 


139 


649 


Percent "old" emigration 
Percent "new" emigration 


23 

77 


26 

74 


47 
53 


40 
60 


43 
57 



a For a number of individual countries, average for the years 1946-51. 

b Excluding movement of Algerian workers returning to Algeria from France, estimated to average 53,000 
per year in 1946-51, inclusive. 

c Including Austria, Finland, Greece, Yugoslavia, and Soviet Orbit. 



While the United States has continued to be the leading destination of 
European migration, it does not hold the commanding position that it did 
in the days of unrestricted movement, when the United States was receiv- 
ing from a half to two-thirds of all European emigrants (cf. Fig. 10-2). 
Since the war the United States has played host to only about one-third 
(950,000) of the net movement, while Canada, Australia, and Argentina 
have each absorbed well over half a million. Australia in particular has 
been receiving immigrants at a ratio to population far exceeding that for 
the United States even at its greatest period of immigration. Immigration 
to Australia and Canada has been chiefly drawn from among British sub- 
jects and other Northwest Europeans on the one hand and displaced per- 
sons on the other, with limited numbers from other sources. Argentinian 
immigration has been almost wholly from Italy and Spain, with less than 
ten per cent of the total being displaced persons. About half of the United 
States immigrants were displaced persons admitted under special legisla- 
tion; the remainder follow in the order of magnitude of the quotas, which 
favor immigrants from Northwest Europe. 

The final major country of immigration is Israel, which alone in the 
postwar period owes its existence as an independent nation to large-scale 
immigration. The 370,000 Jews from all parts of Europe for whom it 



MIGRATIONS 371 

provided a refuge have contributed spectacularly in establishing the 
demographic base for the Jewish state— the new immigrants constituted 
43 per cent of the total population at the end of 1951. The days of large- 
scale "rescue migration" appear to be over, however, for only 23,000 
arrived in 1952 as compared with 191,000 in the previous year. 

In the receiving country immigrants went primarily to the urban areas. 
Immigrants into the United States in 1952, for example, went overwhelm- 
ingly into the cities— nearly three-fifths into the big cities of a hundred 
thousand or over, 27 per cent into other urban areas, and only the small 
remainder into the rural areas. Over one-half of the 1952 arrivals in 
Canada went to Ontario, the most industrialized province, one-fifth went 
to Quebec, and only about one-sixth went westward to the prairie prov- 
inces. 

Of the immigrants arriving in Australia from 1947 through 1951 only 
18 per cent classified themselves as farm workers, and the flow of immi- 
grants has gone almost exclusively to the cities. Similarly, in Israel, only 
one-fourth of those permanently settled had gone into agriculture. The 
traditional policy in Latin America of putting immigrants on the land has 
generally been unsuccessful, and there has been a pronounced drift to 
the cities in search of better employment even where initial settlement 
was made on the land. 

Prior to World War I emigrants left Europe as individuals without 
governmental assistance. Since World War II, two-fifths of all European 
emigrants have been moved with governmental or international assist- 
ance. Despite the greater element of government control and assistance 
in the postwar period the self-financed, individual migrant is still the 
predominant type, whether in the United States or in the overseas coun- 
tries as a whole. With the liquidation of the most immediate refugee prob- 
lems individual migration is now a growing part of the total. 

Almost all of the postwar migrants of Eastern European origin ( about 
one million) were either displaced persons or refugees from Communism 
—by definition, since countries in the Soviet orbit now generally prohibit 
emigration except in special circumstances, such as the expulsion of ethnic 
Germans and of Jews from satellite countries. 

Although motivated by political oppression, this movement was none- 
theless in accord with underlying economic and demographic forces. The 
great displacements of population in Central and Eastern Europe have 
been successful precisely because they were in accord with population 
pressures from East to West. Conversely German efforts to colonize the 
East were unsuccessful essentially because the educated, urbanized Ger- 



372 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

man could not compete effectively for the land against the prolific, 
peasant Slav. Similarly, the displaced persons from the Soviet Union were 
not Great Russians but chiefly more advanced peoples thrust aside by the 
westward push of the Russians— the Baltic peoples, the Poles, and the 
Jews. In this regard the movement paralleled the "Russian" emigration of 
the early part of the century— actually largely a migration of these same 
minority peoples from the old Russian Empire. 

TABLE 10-3 

Net Emigration from Europe, 1946-52: Western and Southern Europe * 

(in Thousands) 







< 




O 




















►j 


M 




z 












-t 






AREA OF 
IMMIGRATION 


CO 

w 


> 

< 
g 

s 

z 

< 


> 
z 
< 
S 

PS 


< 

H 
a 
W 

a 

H 

W 


w 
o 
Z 
< 


> 


< 
o 
P 

H 
PS 


z 

< 


w 

o 
w 
ta 


H 
> 

< 

Ifl 

o 
o 


9 

PS 
H 

W 


< 




5 


u 


W 


« 


H 


O 


CL. 


PS 


p 


H 


O 




pq 


cfi 





z 


h 


hH 


P. 


09 


o 


>l 


O 


H 


North America 


























Canada 


189 


11 


63 


63 


17 


61 


* 


1 


6 


12 


47 


470 


U.S.A. 


170 


26 


180 


18 


23 


66 


5 


2 


17 


39 


52 


598 


Latin America 


























Argentina 


1 


* 


9 


* 


2 


314 


7 


141 


* 


10 


5 


489 


Brazil 


2 


* 


9 


2 


3 


49 


95 


6 


1 


1 


6 


174 


Venezuela 


* 


# 


* 


* 


* 


61 


7 


13 


* 


2 


3 


86 


Other d 


1 


4 


1 


20 


* 


17 


2 


18 


* 


2 


9 


74 


Africa 


























South Africa 


70 


* 


6 


14 


1 


6 


* 


* 


1 


* 


4 


102 


Other e 


35 


1 


* 


2 


— 193 


— 1 


59 


* 


* 


* 


4 


— 93 


Asia * 


—65 


* 


8 


— 111 


3 


2 


1 


* 


3 


8 


6 


-145 


Oceania 


























Australia 


225 


2 


16 


40 


3 


68 


* 


* 


11 


24 


17 


406 


New Zealand 


47 


* 


* 


9 


* 


* 


* 


* 


* 


1 


12 


69 


TOTAL 


675 


44 


292 


57 


— 141 


643 


176 


181 


' 39 


99 


165 


2,230 



a Including 40,000 from Ireland chiefly to U.S.A. 

b Including Denmark (17,000), Norway (15,000) and Sweden (12,000); all primarily to North America. 

<-■ Including Austria (35,000), Belgium (30,000), Finland (11,000), Switzerland (19,000), generally to 
North America. 

d Primarily Netherlands to Surinam, Italy to Uruguay and Peru, Spain to Cuba. 

e Chiefly: 34,000 British to So. Rhodesia, Algerian workers to France, Portuguese to dependences 
(notably Angola and Mozambique). 

f Primarily Israel — net movement of 119,000 from Indonesia to Netherlands and 68,000 from India 
and Pakistan to the British Isles. 

* The international migration statistics presented in this table are derived from European, overseas, and 
international sources, all of which are in varying degrees incomplete, inaccurate, and inconsistent. Since 
there generally is better recording of arrivals than of departures, this table is in principle based on the 
statistics of the receiving country, i.e., the country receiving the outward-bound migrants from Europe 
as immigrants, and the European country receiving the repatriates. Statistics of the country of emi- 
gration combined with those of the International Refugee Organization (IRO) and the Inter-govern- 
mental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) have been used where data of the receiving country 
either are not compiled, are incomplete, or unavailable (notably Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Indonesia, 
India and Pakistan). Wherever possible "country of birth" data employed in classification; elsewhere, 
residence or political nationality. 

The free world had another type of migration of European "displaced 
persons." Whereas much of Eastern Europe was integrated closely into 
the Soviet security bloc, much of Asia achieved full independence with 
a displacement of the former colonial administrators. The flow back to 



MIGRATIONS 373 

the mother countries, particularly from India and Pakistan to the United 
Kingdom (110,000) and from Indonesia to the Netherlands (230,000;, 
represented the return of long-term administrators, businessmen, their 
families and associates. The immigration into the Netherlands also in- 
cluded a number of Eurasians whose positions in Indonesia had been 
jeopardized by native nationalism. 











TABLE 


10-4 










Net Emigration from Europe, 1946-52: The Soviet E 


uropean 


Orbit 












(in Thousands) 










AREA OF 
IMMIGRATION 


< 

s 

< 

c 

P 
m 


< 

i-i 

< 
> 

o 
►J 

w 
O 

n 

o 

w 

N 


> 

< 
O 

z 

p 

X 


Q 

z 

< 
1-1 

o 
a, 


< 

< 

2 

P 

OS 


{/> 
en 
P 


H 

H 
> 
o 
(/J 

H B 

o cc 
f-i o 


□ 

< B. 
H g 

is - 

j 8 
<: h 

2 c 


< w 

O P 


North America 




















Canada 


1 


10 


9 


77 


6 


31 


134 


470 


604 


U.S.A. 


1 


28 


22 


169 


14 


120 


354 


598 


952 


Latin America 




















Argentina 


ft 


1 


3 


13 


1 


6 


24 


489 


513 


Brazil 


* 


1 


2 


4 


1 


1 


9 


174 


183 


Venezuela 


*' 


1 


2 


3 


8 


4 


10 


86 


96 


Other 


» 


o 


1 


3 


* 


4 


8 


74 


82 


Africa 




















South Africa 


* 


* 


* 


* 


ft 


» 





102 


102 


Other 


o 


ft 


8 


» 


* 


* 


ft 


- 93 


-93 


Asia ( inc. Israel ) 38 


22 


18 


121 


134 


9 


342 


-145 


197 


Oceania 




















Australia 


1 


11 


13 


71 


2 


55 


153 


406 


559 


New Zealand 


e 


«-. 


o 


1 


1 


1 


3 


69 


72 


TOTAL 


41 


74 


70 


462 


159 


231 


1037 


2230 


3267 



But who were the majority of the European emigrants who were not 
displaced persons or refugees? They were individuals and families im- 
pelled by economic motives to seek their fortunes abroad in the traditional 
manner. Few of them sought land, which ceased to be the chief lure to 
overseas migrants generations ago. The typical postwar migrant was 
neither a farmer nor did he aspire to become one. He rather sought out 
and often was assisted by his relatives and friends in New York, Toronto, 
Sydney, Buenos Aires, or Sao Paulo. Even if he had been a farmer in Italy 
or Portugal his was an essentially rural-urban migration across the seas. 
He would indeed be foolish to exchange his status as a poor tenant on an 
Italian "latifundium," for example, for an even worse fate as a plantation 



374 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

laborer on a Brazilian "fazenda." But this in principle is what many in 
countries of immigration would have him do— to settle empty lands and 
to do jobs that natives are reluctant to undertake for sound economic 
reasons. 

The immigrant naturally has sought his own kind, where problems of 
personal adjustment are fewest. If an Englishman, he followed the flag 
to English-speaking lands overseas. If Italian, he will be found first of all 
in Argentina where the Italian tongue is almost as well understood as 
Spanish. If Portuguese, he will be found almost entirely in Brazil and the 
Portuguese colonies; if Spanish, almost exclusively in Latin America. 
These "natural" movements still constitute the bulk of overseas migration. 
It is the cross-cultural refugee movements, involving major changes in 
language and customs, that have created the acute need for formal inter- 
vention by governments and international agencies. 

Overseas emigration historically served Europe in two ways: (1) it 
afforded a relief from population pressure and an outlet for the discon- 
tented and oppressed; (2) it strengthened ties with overseas countries, 
whether these bonds were political, economic, or cultural. 

The revival of emigration in the postwar period has certainly contrib- 
uted to the solution of European refugee problems. The successful liqui- 
dation of the displaced persons problem was possible only through this 
recourse. While emigration has fallen short of objectives in some over- 
populated countries, it is nevertheless contributing significantly to the 
solution of unemployment and underemployment in Southern Europe. 
For countries living in postwar austerity, such as Britain, emigration has 
been alternative to living under a rationed economy. 

The great free migrations before World War I were an integral part of 
the expansion of Europe. They provided the human sinews of European 
colonization and empire. Where they were not an instrument of European 
political expansion they promoted trade, capital movements, and cultural 
ties that enhanced European influence in the world. 

European colonization of new lands is no longer a major aspect of 
European migration unless the Jewish settlement of Israel could be so 
regarded. The vast majority of emigrants now go to areas already occu- 
pied by populations of European race. This is true even in Latin America 
—at least three-fourths of all European immigrants to this region went to 
Argentina or to the predominantly European regions of Southern Brazil. 

The most important exception, aside from the dubious case of Israel, 
was the European immigration into Africa south of the Sahara, a net 
movement of at least two hundred thousand chiefly of British, Portuguese, 



MIGRATIONS 375 

and French administrators, entrepreneurs, and settlers in their respective 
territories. The Boer-controlled government of South Africa officially en- 
courages the immigration of Dutch and Germans, but the chief effect of 
Boer policies has been to greatly reduce immigration from the British 
Isles and to stimulate a movement of British to Southern Rhodesia. In no 
case, however, was the migration sufficient to create a European majority 
even in local areas, or to change materially the minority position of Euro- 
peans in every country south of the Sahara. 

The huge British emigration, 500,000 of which has gone to member 
states of the Commonwealth, has certainly strengthened the ties that hold 
together this loose association. 

In fact, awareness of immigration and emigration trends within the 
British Commonwealth of Nations is an indispensable tool for an appraisal 
of its changing human structure. Since 1945, Britain has pursued a vigor- 
ous policy to encourage emigration to the overseas Commonwealth. The 
Commonwealth countries received an average of between 110,000 and 
150,000 emigrants from Britain a year and sent to Britain 50,000 or 60,000 
—including an unknown number of United Kingdom people who had 
changed their minds and returned. 28 Australia absorbed more immigrants 
than any other country. It is the only Dominion which, under a joint 
agreement with the United Kingdom, shares with it the entire cost of the 
passage of the immigrant. It is interesting to observe how the Dominions, 
in varying degrees, attempt to encourage the British migrant. New Zea- 
land, for example, is particularly anxious not to dilute its Commonwealth 
blood. Australia tries to maintain a ratio of 50 per cent for immigrants 
from Britain, thus assuring a continuous predominance of United King- 
dom stock (which accounted, in 1946, for over 97 per cent of its popula- 
tion ) . The remaining Australian immigrants include Italian, Polish, Dutch, 
German, and displaced persons. Canada displays much less preference on 
ethnic grounds than do New Zealand and Australia. Its course has not 
been a determined Commonwealth policy. Out of over a million immi- 
grants into Canada since the end of World War II, only one-third have 
been British, and yet the ties with the Commonwealth have not been 
weakened by this fact. 29 

The countries receiving European immigration have generally profited 
by this movement, if for no other reason than that they have acquired a 
number of skilled workers and entrepreneurs without bearing the cost of 
their education and childhood dependency. The economic problems of 

28 "People for Export," The Economist, August 28, 1954, pp. 542 ff. 

2 9 Ibid. 



376 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

assimilation were minimized by the high levels of economic activity pre- 
vailing in the postwar period. In the underdeveloped countries, especially 
of Latin America, even comparatively small numbers of European immi- 
grants are playing a disproportionately large role, since they bring skills, 
work habits, and enterprise not commonly available in the less-developed 
countries. Only in Australia and in Israel has immigration been so large as 
to create serious economic maladjustments, notably in shortages of hous- 
ing and other primary facilities. 

With the resolution of the displaced persons problem largely through 
overseas migration, individual migration is again the predominant form. 
Such migration is now forbidden by Eastern European countries. Aside 
from a few intrepid individuals who successfully escape through the Iron 
Curtain, Eastern Europe is ceasing to be a source of overseas migration. 
For this reason potential migration to Israel from Europe has been greatly 
reduced. The leadership of that country, which is largely of European 
origin, is concerned about cultural inundation from areas of new Jewish 
immigration (from Asia and Africa) just as are the "older" European 
stocks in overseas countries with regard to immigrants of different cultural 
background. 

From the problem of displaced persons, interest in sponsored European 
emigration has shifted to the problem of German refugees and of popula- 
tion pressure in Southern Europe and the Netherlands. While the German 
refugees are far more numerous than the displaced persons who were 
handled by the International Refugee Organization, they have far less 
impetus to emigrate, since they are now resident in a country of their own 
nationality. Furthermore, the rapid economic recovery in Western Ger- 
many in recent years is providing them employment opportunities. These 
opportunities may be often less favorable than are those for natives of 
Western Germany, but more favorable than they might expect to en- 
counter in many overseas countries. 

Most of Western Europe has now passed the demographic stage which 
brought about the great swarming of Europeans overseas in the nine- 
teenth and early twentieth centuries. Declining birth rates in the 1930's 
have so reduced the numbers entering the labor force that pressure to 
seek opportunities abroad has been greatly reduced. In Ireland, in Scan- 
dinavia, and even in Germany there is much less pressure to migrate 
from demographic causes than there was a generation ago. The lower 
birth rates now prevailing in Southern Europe indicate that pressure from 
this source will also shortly recede in that region, especially in Italy, where 



MIGRATIONS 377 

the birth rate is now quite low— lower even than in France, the classic- 
country of depopulation, and much lower than in the United States. 

In peace, the major continuing reservoir of "normal" overseas migration 
in Western Europe is the underemployed rural populations of Southern 
Italy, Spain, Portugal, Greece, and to a less extent the Netherlands. This 
reservoir is declining, but its need for an outlet still poses one of Europe's 
most pressing economic problems. At least for the next ten years it should 
furnish the basis for continued overseas migration, until such time as 
further economic development on the one hand, and demographic trends 
on the other, may have resolved the problems of population pressure in 
these countries as they have in much of Northwest Europe. 

The great overseas migrations of Europeans may well be coming to an 
end. Rising in their place are new pressures and new migrations. 

In the United States no frontier control has yet been developed that is 
tight enough to seal off the two thousand miles of desert separating this 
country and Mexico. In its report to the President the Commission on 
Migratory Labor in 1952 ruefully compares the total of 65,000 displaced 
persons from Western Europe admitted to the United States in 1950 with 
the 500,000 "wetbacks" estimated to have filtered illegally across the bor- 
der in that year. 

Another interesting case in point, with significant social and political 
implications, is that of Puerto Rican mass emigration directed almost en- 
tirely at New York City. The small island (3,423 square miles) which is 
plagued by a high population density ( 646 per square mile ) of a rapidly 
growing populace (2,210,000 in 1950, an increase of 18.3 per cent over 
1940 30 ) has as a Commonwealth of the United States the advantage that 
it can transfer its overflow population of United States citizens to the con- 
tinental United States without being hampered by immigration restric- 
tions. As a result the influx of Puerto Ricans to New York ( aided by the 
low flight passage rates) has reached unforeseen proportions. In 1953, 
375,000 Puerto Ricans were listed in New York, which figure reflects an 
increase of 54 per cent over the total of 246,000 only three years earlier. 
Not less than 25 per cent of Puerto Rico's total population have left the 
island for the continent during the last two decades. The steady growth 
of Spanish-speaking islands within the cosmopolitan metropolis of New 
York provides the city government with major problems of integration of 
a large ethnic minority that is growing continuously, is endowed with the 
privileges of citizenship, and is yet far from being assimilated. 

so The Statesman's Yearbook, 1953, p. 740. 




M A LA Y A 



Kuantan:: : : : : : : : x : : : : : 4 : : 

IT" 




Fig. 10-3. Chinese Settlement in Malaya: (1) predominantly Chinese; (2) strong 

Chinese minority. 



378 



MIGRATIONS 379 

CHINESE AND INDIAN EMIGRATIONS 

The primary interest of the American and European reader in overseas 
migration from Europe should not detract from the fact that immigration 
and emigration elsewhere, particularly in certain Asian territories, loom 
large in the political geography of the countries concerned. The following 
remarks, far from trying to exhaust the subject, aim only to call attention 
to an especially important area of structural change due to immigration, 
that of Chinese emigration overseas toward the peninsulas and islands of 
Southeast Asia. 

Malaya: A Case Study. 31 Nowhere in the world do we, in this century, 
find as complete a change of the human geography of a territory through 
the impact of immigration as in Malaya ( Fig. 10-3 ) . The following obser- 
vations on a territory which is a kingpin— economically and strategically— 
of Southeast Asia, are intended to illustrate how gradual immigration, 
paralleling mass migration, can lead to a decisive reversal of the ethnic 
structure of a country and, as a result, to important changes in its political 
and economic geography. 

Malaya, an area of slightly more than 50,000 square miles (somewhat 
smaller than Florida), is situated in the southern part of the Malay Penin- 
sula, an extension of the southeastern tip of Asia between India and China. 
A British colonial possession, it includes the peninsular mainland and the 
island of Singapore. It has a heterogeneous population of some six mil- 
lions, composed of Malays, Chinese, Indians, and Europeans. The political 
loyalties of this population as well as their economic occupations which 
differ greatly between its ethnic groups, are of no small importance. Two 
vital commodities— tin, totaling more than a quarter of the world's output, 
and rubber, of which Malaya since World War II has produced 40 per 
cent of the world's output, have made the small territory the single largest 
earner of dollar exchange in the British Commonwealth and Empire; the 
naval and air base of Singapore commands the narrow Straits of Malacca, 
which is the shortest connecting link between the Indian Ocean and the 
South China Sea. 

In this important territory we find a Chinese community which, since 
1941, has outnumbered the indigenous Malay population ( Chinese 2,615,- 
000, Malays 2,544,000). The rise of the Chinese group has been rapid in 
the last decades, for its share of 44.7 per cent in 1947 in the combined 
area of the Federation of Malaya and Singapore (where the percentage 

31 F. H. Stires, British Colonial Policy in Malaya and the Malayan Chinese Com- 
munity, 1946-52, M.A. thesis, 1953, Georgetown University; T. E. Smith, Population 
Growth in Malaya (London, 1952). 



380 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

of Chinese is 77.6 per cent) compares with one of 35.2 per cent in 1921. 
The majority of the Chinese population have settled in the tin and rubber 
producing regions along the western coast of the country; 92 per cent of 
the total present Chinese population is located in the west coast states. 32 
Since 1947, Chinese immigration has been practically stopped by the 
colonial administration. 

Ever since the Chinese, with British permission, migrated to Malaya— 
at first for employment in the rubber plantations and in the tin mines— we 
find the human, and especially the economic and political geography of 
the country in a state of cleavage and the British colonial government 
saddled with the most complicated tasks of balancing a radically changed 
population. The gravity of these problems is accentuated by the fact that 
China has always adhered to the principle of jus sanguinis, according to 
which it viewed the overseas Chinese as citizens of China, whose activi- 
ties, especially in the fields of education and of ideological loyalties, 
should be controlled by the homeland government. 33 

One of the main means by which the British, since 1931, have attempted 
to stem the Chinese tide was by the establishment of Malay Land Reser- 
vations. The late realization that the Malay people, as a race, could not 
compete with the far more populous other races attracted to Malaya, led 
to regulations under which land from the Reservation, in particular land 
suitable for rice cultivation, could be made available only to Malays. 34 

From whatever angle we view the human and political geography of 
the Malay Peninsula, we will trace the causes of its radical changes in the 
twentieth century and its problems of co-existence between its ethnic 
groups to the impact of immigration, especially Chinese immigration. 

Chinese Minorities Overseas. While Malaya is the only countrv in 
Southeast Asia where the Chinese have become the dominant racial group, 
the problems created by Chinese immigration are shared by most other 
Southeast Asian countries. The total number of Chinese minorities is esti- 
mated at ten million. 35 Wherever the immigrants went, they took over 

32 In the present Federation of Malaya, which excludes the island of Singapore, the 
Malays form the largest single racial group (49.5 per cent), but the combined Chinese 
(38.4 per cent) and Indians (10.8 per cent) community is almost equally large in 
numbers. 

33 V. Purcell, The Chinese in Southeast Asia (New York, 1951), p. 359. 

34 R. Emerson, Malaysia, A Study in Direct and Indirect Rule (New York, 1931), 
p. 479. Additional problems have arisen since June 1948 when an armed rebellion 
of a Malayan Communist Party, composed almost entirely of Chinese, got under way. 
The vast majority of the Chinese community have remained aloof from this move- 
ment. For a detailed discussion see F. H. Stires, op. cit., pp. 70-82, and V. Thompson 
and R. Adloff, The Left Wing in Southeast Asia (New York, 1950), pp. 210-211. 

35 Thailand: 3,000,000 (15.5 per cent), in Bangkok they constitute half of the 



MIGRATIONS 381 

control of a disproportionately large share of the economy of their new 
country; they controlled the rice economy; they invaded successfully the 
retail, import and export business, industry, and banking. Their ways of 
life and loyalties toward their motherland left a distinctive mark on the 
countries in which they settled. Dislocations caused by their influx 
prompted a rewriting of the maps of these countries to show the social, 
economic, and political factors as expressed in the distribution of the 
indigenous and immigrant populations. Malaya offers, as we have seen, 
the most vivid illustration. Politically, the fact that the Chinese Commu- 
nist government does not recognize the right of any Chinese national 
abroad to divest himself of Chinese nationality accentuates the contrast 
between the areas of Chinese concentration overseas and those of indige- 
nous settlement. 36 The Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru described 
this situation in 1954 as "frightening." 

Indian Emigration Overseas. Of similar nature, although not as serious 
in their power-political aspects, are the problems created by Indian emi- 
gration overseas. For instance, Ceylon has an Indian community of about 
900,000, or 13 per cent of the island's population. In 1954, negotiations 
between the governments of India and Ceylon were under way aimed at 
straightening out the involved citizenship problems of the Indian minority, 
and at repatriation to India of those who satisfied Indian citizenship laws. 
According to 1949 estimates, 37 large communities of Indians are to be 
found in the following countries: Burma, 700,000; Malaya, 708,000; South 
Africa, 282,000; East Africa, 184,000; Mauritius, 271,000 (or 63 per cent 
of the total population! ) ; Indonesia, 30,000; Fiji, 126,000 ( or 46 per cent 
of the total population); West Indies and Guianas, 406,000. In most of 
these areas, the influx and growth of Indian immigration, with its distinctly 
different economic, social, and cultural characteristics, has resulted in 
serious dislocations within the indigenous community. The strongest re- 
action took place in South Africa, leading to appeals by the Indian popu- 
lation to its "homeland" and to the United Nations. The history of South 



population of 1,000,000; Indonesia: 2,500,000 (3 per cent); Vietnam: 1,000,000 
(5 per cent); Cambodia: 300,000 (10 per cent); Burma: 300,000 (5 per cent); 
British Borneo and Sarawak: 220,000 (24.4 per cent); Philippines: 120,000 (0.6 
per cent). See also L. Unger, "The Chinese in Southeast Asia," Geographical Review 
(1944), pp. 196-217. 

36 For instance, the Indonesian government announced in October, 1954, the de- 
parture of a delegation for Communist China for the discussion of the burning 
controversies over the double citizenship issue. Seventy-five per cent of Indonesia's 
Chinese minority, estimated at 2,000,000 to 3,000,000, are Indonesian citizens, whose 
allegiance, however, is also claimed by China. 

37 O. H. K. Spate, op. cit., pp. 112-113. 



382 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

African government measures aimed at restricting Indian immigration 
and at limiting the freedom of movement and of settlement of the Indian 
minority dates back to 1913 when an Immigration Act restricted the immi- 
gration of Indians in appreciable numbers. These measures paralleled 
those directed at the segregation of the native population. In addition to 
its native segregation South Africa also has a special pattern of Asian 
(including Indian, Goan, and Arab) communities. Indian trade is confined 
to certain areas; freedom of movement between the provinces is limited; 
land tenure and occupation of land are hedged about with legal restric- 
tions; residential segregation is practiced. As citizens, the Indians are 
powerless. A report by a study group of the South African Institute of 
International Affairs summed up this situation in 1951 as follows: "In- 
dians in South Africa are, to all intents and purposes, a voteless commu- 
nity." 3S While discriminatory measures by other African governments do 
not go as far as those in South Africa, the restrictions against the immigra- 
tion of "non-natives" are widespread: Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, and 
Zanzibar enacted such restrictions in 1946; the Belgians tended to prevent 
Indian entry into the Congo; the Portuguese restricted entry into Portu- 
guese East Africa. 39 

Such barriers frustrate very powerful underlying forces for Asian demo- 
graphic expansion. Future Western policy-makers will have to take into 
account the results of such frustrations. 

3 8 Africa South of the Sahara (Cape Town, 1951), pp. 72-75 (74). 

39 Ibid., pp. 73, 74. 



CHAPTER 



11 



The Political Geography 
or Landuades 



A NOTE ON THE RACIAL FACTOR IN 
POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY 

This chapter is concerned with linguistic factors as human elements of 
importance in the study of political geography. Language is but one of 
several important features of the human element in the cultural and politi- 
cal landscape, the geographical distribution of which invites exploration 
by the political geographer who will focus his attention on them. They 
are features which generate binding and separating forces in the lives of 
nations. Religion and ethnic composition are other features that must be 
considered. But while this book devotes a chapter to the subject of the 
political geography of religions, it does not include a detailed discussion 
of ethnic and racial factors as such. The reason must be seen in the fact 
that it is impossible to arrive at a satisfactory classification of the ethnic 
structure of states. There is no state on the world's map that is not racially 
heterogeneous. The waves of mass migrations, of immigration and emigra- 
tion, as well as intermarriage have "resulted in such a mixture of peoples 
that, although ethnologists suggest various broad groupings on the basis 
of certain physical characteristics, there is no possibility of defining these 
groups by acceptable linear boundaries." 1 

On the other hand, we must be cognizant of one broad racial divide 

1 A. E. Moodie, Geography Behind Politics (London, 1947), p. 51; see also A. C. 
Haddon, The Races of Man (London, 1929), pp. 139 flE. 

383 



384 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

between the world of the "white man" and that of the non-white races. 
The contours of this ominous dividing line are as hazy as ever, but at the 
time these lines are written they are deepening and the boundary between 
the two is about to assume a new meaning in international relations. In 
April, 1955, a conference of twenty-nine Afro-Asian nations was held in 
Bandung, Indonesia, which included the widest possible variety of coun- 
tries extending from Libya to Japan and encompassing more than half of 
the world's population. In spite of numerous separating factors in the 
realms of religion, language, and race, of political philosophies and affilia- 
tions, of cultural and economic systems, the nations assembled in Bandung 
had in common that they were, in a crude, general way, non-white and 
that they were suspicious of the white man's world, due to their common 
heritage of having been at one time or another under the control of white 
colonial powers. Such a division between the two worlds of white and 
non-white people signifies the importance of this broad racial distinction 
in the political geography of today. 

LANGUAGE AS A MAJOR FACTOR OF UNIFICATION AND 
DIVISION IN THE LIVES OF NATIONS 

The French Academy, about fifteen years ago, drew from numerous 
studies in the field of linguistics the conclusion that the number of lan- 
guages still alive on this globe is 2,796. The Tower of Babel is still a 
reality. As the biblical story may be an echo of the problems once vexing 
ancient tyrants whose realms embraced countries of many languages and 
dialects, so language today is a vital factor in the division or unification 
of nations. In the creation and preservation of national consciousness, 
language has played a major role. Each nation strives to have a language 
of its own, a common language which forms the strongest unifying symbol 
in the life of a national community. This desire has often given rise to a 
national or regional consciousness so intense as to lead to separatist move- 
ments. 2 Agitations for the Breton and Catalan languages have disturbed 
the political equilibrium of France and Spain; in Eire, an intensified na- 
tionalism has given rise to a determined effort to revive the Irish language; 
in the Ukraine, one of the major obstacles to the efforts of the Kremlin in 
integrating this country into the U.S.S.R. has been the determined unwill- 
ingness of the Ukrainian peasantry to give up the Ukrainian language for 
Russian; in South Tyrol, the attempts by the Fascist Italian regime to im- 
pose the Italian language on the German-speaking population failed 

2 L. H. Gray, Foundations of Language (New York, 1939), p. 117. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 385 

because of the determination of the mountain people to preserve their 
language. 

On the other hand, there are examples of nations which are unified 
without a language peculiar to themselves, and each without a language 
spoken by all the people. Switzerland is a nation with a strong and healthy 
national consciousness, and yet it is inhabited by speakers of German, 
French, Italian, and Rhaeto-Romanic, all four recognized as of equal 
standing. Relgium is another example of a nation linguistically divided, 
in this case between French and Flemish, although its unity, especially 
since World War II, has had to weather many a storm. Then again, we 
observe nations co-existing peacefully, but not united, in the face of the 
fact that they are linguistically almost identical, such as Denmark and 
Norway. Dano-Norwegian has been the literary language of Norway. But 
the Danes and Norwegians do not regard that fact as any reason for merg- 
ing the two nations into one. Or, as one British student of linguistics re- 
marked (and obviously with his tongue in his cheek), "English is the 
language of the United States of America. That is no reason for the United 
States to annex the British Empire." 3 

THE CASE OF INDIA AND PAKISTAN 

The above examples were chosen at random to emphasize the great 
importance of the element of language in the internal and external politics 
of nations. Before we look more closely at the relationship of language 
and linguistic boundaries to political geography, one further example will 
illustrate the powerful influence the language factor still exerts in the 
destinies of nations, leading in this instance to a redrawing of the political 
map (Fig. 11-1). In India, in 1953, the new state of Andhra was inaugu- 
rated. This was the first step toward a complete remodeling of the internal 
political geography of the subcontinent. Of India's 450 million inhabitants, 
at least 250 million speak Indo-Iranian languages, while about 100 million 
use Dravidian tongues. 4 Actually, the picture is much more complicated: 
Hindi, the national language of India under the Constitution, is spoken by 
42 per cent of the population. According to the government's program it is 
to be adopted as the official language by 1956. Besides this, 15 major 
languages are recognized by the Constitution, as well as 720 dialects, 
24 distinct but minor languages, and 23 tribal tongues. 5 Geographically, 

3 A. C. Woolner, Languages in History and Politics (London, 1938), p. 10. 

4 M. Pei, The Story of Language (New York, 1949), p. 353. 

5 These figures are based on an Indian census published in April, 1954; New York 
Times, April 10, 1954. See also O. H. K. Spate, India and Pakistan, p. 125, who points 
out that in 1931, six languages accounted for 65 per cent of the population. 



AFGHANISTAN ( 



VS 



•"v 



s - / 



,".s^,r" 






• 



•>* 



../ 



•• KASHMIR 

AND 
JAMMU ^ 



j 



^^^^ CHfNA 






W® 



\ 



/ 



\ 

i 



v 



t 



( 

i PUNJAB / 

PAKISTAN J* V ( / ^- x * / 

V\ ^-•* V ^ / v» _* \ Je wvTAN • .Jl...' .' 

— \f-sSi ASSAM y./ 



..^..< 




Fig. 11-1. Linguistic States of India: (1) Gujerat; (2) Maharahshtra; (3) Andhra; 
(4) Kanrataka; (5) Kerala ( after The Economist ) . 



386 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 387 

the Dravidian languages are those of India's south, while the Indo-Iranian 
languages are spoken in the north. Between these two major competing 
linguistic groups lingers the official language of the recent past, English, 
which the Indian government is obligated to abolish within the next fif- 
teen years. In a way, the language problems and cleavages which threaten 
the unity of the new state of India and divide its people in the north and 
south can be compared with the conflict which, a hundred years earlier, 
threatened the unity of the young United States. 

What happened in India on October 1, 1953, when the separate state 
to be known as Andhra was formed for 20 million Telugu speakers of 
Madras, represents the surrender of India's central government to the 
demand that the country should redraw its internal boundaries to give a 
dozen major linguistic groups states of their own. The principle itself is 
not quite new in India. Even before 1914, when the British created Assam 
and Bihar out of Bengal, and the North-West Frontier Province of the 
Punjab, the new creations were largely, but not entirely, linguistic. 6 After 
independence was won by India, after the battle cry for linguistic states 
was no longer a demand by the Congress Party to the Colonial Govern- 
ment but a problem of the new Indian nation itself, it became evident to 
its leaders that overemphasis on linguistic factors in the redrawing of the 
political geography of the country threatened to foster a new concept of 
belonging together and of nationalism based on language, and that this 
strong unifying bond militated against a wider loyalty to India as a whole. 
It was feared that controversies over the new boundaries might upset 
national unity and divert the people's efforts from the more urgent eco- 
nomic and political problems. Yet the force of the popular demand for 
recognition of the language principle as a basis for a system of new Indian 
states had become so vehement that the wind which the Congress Party 
once sowed now turned into a tempest. Thus Andhra was born and a new 
map of India based on linguistic principles is taking shape. 

In the fall of 1955, Prime Minister Nehru presented a reorganization 
plan for redrawing completely the political map of the federal republic of 
India. While its states are as administrative bodies less powerful than are 
the states in the United States, the cultural and linguistic differences and 
cleavages are much more formidable. Under the new plan, in place of the 
present twenty-nine states ( in contrast to the quilt of seventeen provinces 
and about six hundred princely states at the time when independence was 
won by India) there would be only sixteen. Only two of them, Bombay 
and the Punjab, will be bilingual. Four of the large states will be Hindi 

6 "Linguistic States in India," The Economist, October 3, 1953. 



388 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

speaking units, and Hindi is to be the national language. History will tell 
whether this scheme will succeed in overcoming the strong forces of re- 
gionalism and separatism at work throughout India. The strength of these 
forces is indicated by the fact that the Indian Congress Working Commit- 
tee shortly after the new plan was presented gave in to the demands of 
the Marahashtrians of central and western India, who agitate for a sepa- 
rate Marathi-speaking state of their own, and decided to split up the 
present state of Bombay to form three states. 7 

In Pakistan, where many economic, ethnic, religious, and cultural fac- 
tors threaten the uneasy balance between its eastern and western parts, 
problems having their origin in Pakistan's complicated geography of lan- 
guages have become increasingly serious. The Moslem League govern- 
ment in Karachi tried to decree that Urdu ( the Hindustani variant spoken 
by Moslems) be used as official language in both Pakistans. But eastern 
Pakistan is linguistically and culturally part of Bengal. The speakers of 
the Bengali tongue, who number sixty million, are more numerous than 
any language group in western Pakistan and their opposition against the 
attempt to force upon them an alien official language was violent. In May, 
1954, they succeeded in transforming Pakistan into a multilingual state. 
Pakistan's assembly accepted a resolution declaring that Urdu and Ben- 
gali should be official languages, and in addition "such other provincial 
languages as may be declared to be such by the Head of the State on 
recommendation of the provincial legislatures." 8 English will be allowed 
to function as lingua franca until 1967. 9 

LANGUAGE AS BINDING ELEMENT 

The India and Pakistan examples offer in a nutshell a picture of the 
multitude of significant problems with which the geography of languages 
confronts the student of political geography. We shall now try to define 
some of these problems. 

There are many factors which contribute to binding communities and 
populations together. One, if not the strongest element in the process of 
cementing a nation is the possession of a common language. Bace ( actual 

7 A. M. Rosenthal, New York Times, October 23, 1955; ibid, October 10, 1955 and 
November 13, 1955. 

8 Pei, op. cit., pp. 286, 346; W. G. East and O. H. K. Spate, The Changing Map 
of Asia (London, 1950), p. 123; and Neue Zurcher Zeitung, March 25, 1954, p. 1; 
New York Times, March 8, 1954, p. 5. 

9 The discussion of language factors in the Indian Union and Pakistan is not meant 
to detract from the fact that the principal cleavage in India is one of religion. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 389 

blood-affinity and, even more potent, the imagined racial community 
preached by the drummers of political pseudo-philosophies), ethno- 
graphic factors, the unifying force of religion, and the manifold elements 
of a common history and traditions— all work together in the process of 
amalgamation which creates and continuously recreates the substance of 
a nation. But language is always an essential factor, sometimes competing 
with religion in the order of importance. 10 A common language must al- 
ways be considered a powerful bond, uniting a people within a commu- 
nity of ideas and ideals. Switzerland, with its four official languages, is not 
an exception but rather emphasizes the fact that the mosaic of each 
nation is so complex, the mosaic stones so different in appearance, that 
we cannot expect to find a general formula composed of linguistic, racial, 
and physical factors from which the definition of a nation or nationality 
can be derived. 



THE LINGUISTIC FACTOR AS A RARRIER 

Just as a common language cements and binds and creates a strong 
feeling of belonging-together, the lack of a common language will form 
a barrier between peoples, unless, as in Switzerland, common memories 
prove strong enough to challenge the factors of disunity and isolation 
which differences in language are apt to create. 11 In India, as discussed 
above, we have an illustration of the conflicting powers at work. It is still 
too early to say whether the unifying elements upon which the Indian 
government rests its claim for national unity will develop sufficient 
strength to offset the separating factors based on linguistic differences. 

The problems with which India and Pakistan are at present confronted 
within their national boundaries illustrate another important factor: dif- 
ferences in language are not only barriers between nation and nation. 
Where more than one language is spoken within the national boundaries 
of a nation— even where different dialects prevail— the germ of not-belong- 
ing-together exists and serious problems affecting in many ways the inter- 
nal geography of a nation are apt to arise. There is scarcely a nation on 

10 India offers a good illustration in confirmation of this statement. To quote 
O. H. K. Spate (Geography of India and Pakistan, p. 125): "The 'racial' element has 
indeed its importance— a very great importance— in the cultural history of India; it is 
of little practical significance today. Few Indians ( and for that matter few English- 
men) could speak with any degree of scientific accuracy as to their racial origins; 
everyone knows what language he speaks. Next to religion language is the greatest 
divisive force in India ( and Pakistan ) today." 

11 M. Huber, "Swiss Nationality," in A. Zimmern, ed., Modern Political Doctrines 
(London, 1939), pp. 216-217. 



390 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

the political map of the world without dividing factors which have their 
origin in linguistic differences. In each case, the nature of the problems 
arising from such differences has characteristics of its own and is, above 
all, determined by the relationship between, and the relative power of, 
the various language groups brought together under one nation's sover- 
eignty. Rarely do we find cultural and political equality between language 
groups such as it exists in Switzerland. Mostly the co-existence between 
majority and minority groups, between conqueror and conquered, be- 
tween colonial power and indigenous population, will accentuate the in- 
ternal problems. Thus the language map which distinguishes between 
linguistic groups within a nation's boundaries— by showing the islands and 
pockets of discernible language, or on a somewhat different plane, dialect 
—cannot possibly do justice to the many distinctions which, nationwide, 
characterize the relations of language groups and thus form an integral 
and important part of a country's cultural and political geography. 

REGIONAL CASE STUDIES 

Canada. The internal political geography of Canada is distinguished by 
the relationship between its English element and the vigorous French 
group, representing more than four-fifths ( about 4,000,000 ) of the popu- 
lation of Quebec, or one-third of Canada's total population of 15,000,000 12 
(Fig. 11-2). De Tocqueville's prophecy of 1830 that the French were "the 
wreck of an old people lost in the flood of a new nation," 13 was disproved 
by history. A comparison of Ontario and Quebec shows striking differences 
in their respective human and social geographies. There has been no melt- 
ing pot. The French Canadians like to think of themselves as les Cano- 
diens, and of the rest of their compatriots as les Anglais. In addition to 
cultural and linguistic and, above all, religious factors, geography has 
played a leading part in keeping the two nationalities alive under the same 
Canadian flag and preventing them from getting "lost in the flood of a new 
nation": set off by themselves, surrounded on three sides by the Gulf of St. 
Lawrence and the forested highlands to the north and south, the French 
Canadians are approaching their third century of agricultural and social 
isolation, with strong Anglo-French demarcations highlighted by linguistic 
divides. 14 

12 Official Canadian statistics for 1954 show that despite occasional sharp differ- 
ences between the French Canadian groups and the majority groups of English- 
speaking Canadians in immigration, births, infant mortality, and marriages, the 
proportion remains the same, 

13 J. R. Smith and M. O. Phillips, North America, 2nd ed. (New York, 1942), p. 72. 

14 Ibid., pp. 631-639. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 



391 



^ T^ 



r 



%>J\ 7 



"•*. / 






.L_l .* 





\ m~am — >■» 



Fig. 11-2. Canada: "Les Canadiens": (1) English language area; (2) French 

language area. 

Union of South Africa. In comparison and contrast, the geography of 
languages in the Union of South Africa reveals the two competing white 
groups, the Boers and the English, in an altogether different environmen- 
tal setting. While it is true in the case of two language groups in Canada, 
and in the case of four language groups in Switzerland, that a more or less 
accurate linguistic borderline separates one linguistic group from the 
other, the geography of languages, with its political implications, is much 
more complex in South Africa. There is no clearly defined linguistic 
boundary line. In answer to the question put to the white population in 
the 1946 census as to which language they spoke at home, 57.3 per cent 
stated Afrikaans (language of the Boers) and 39.4 per cent English; 1.3 
per cent declared themselves bilingual. In broad terms, one can observe 
Boer and British preponderance region-wise, with the British in the ma- 
jority along the coast, in the Cape Province and, above all, in Natal, and 
the Boers having their strongest positions in the interior, in Transvaal, and 
especially in the Orange Free State. More significant than the regional 
divide is that between town and country. On a town-country level, the 
rural districts, with an Afrikaans-speaking majority of 82.4 per cent, dis- 
play clearly the strength of the Boer element among the white farming 
population. In the cities, the ratio of 48.5 per cent English to 47.8 per cent 
Afrikaans reveals here the major zones of competition and conflict, com- 
plicated by the fact that English is a world language and Afrikaans a 
provincial tongue. 15 

15 R. P. Hafter, "British and Boers in South Africa," Neue Ziircher Zeitung, June 5, 
1954. In this competition between English- and Afrikaans-speaking whites, time 



392 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia offers an interesting example of a country which, 
during the short span of its history, has astonishingly well succeeded in 
binding together a great variety of ethnic, linguistic, and religious 
groups, 16 in the past torn apart by bitter feuds. Its total area of about 
97,000 square miles ( one-half the size of France or Spain, about the same 
size as Wyoming or Oregon) harbored in 1954 a population of seventeen 
million. Its main nationalities, comprising 87.4 per cent of the population, 
are the Slovenes, Croats, Serbs, and Macedonians. 17 They are set apart 
by three major languages: Serbo-Croat, Slovene, and Macedonian. 18 The 
dividing lines are even more accentuated by the fact that the Yugoslavs 
adopted two alphabets, each associated with one of the major religions. 
The Slovenes and Croats, largely Roman Catholic, use the Latin alphabet, 
whereas the Serbs and Macedonians, largely Serb Orthodox, use the Cyril- 
lic alphabet, a modified form of the Greek alphabet. 19 The close link 
between linguistic and religious elements in Yugoslavia illustrates the 
blending of ethnic, linguistic, and religious factors which co-operate to 
distinguish groups within a multination state. Such a blending contributes 
to strengthening the contours of boundary lines within the state and de- 
picting its internal cultural and political geography. 



seems to be on the side of the latter. School statistics for 1954, as reported in the 
Neio York Times of January 24, 1954, show that there are twice as many Afrikaans- 
speaking white children in the public schools as English-speaking children ( and that 
African Negro children far outnumber both). It is safe to predict that the English- 
speaking whites in most of South Africa are on the way to becoming a minority in 
the next generation; only the Natal coastal province and the adjacent northeastern 
corner of Cape Province are likely to remain as areas of English-language pre- 
dominance. 

16 See pp. 431, 432, 435, 436. 

17 It should be noted that in addition to its contrasting majority groups Yugo- 
slavia has also a highly complex minorities situation: Albanians, somewhat less than 
800,000, comprise about 5 per cent of the country's total population. A look at the 
map reveals the precarious border situation between Albania and Yugoslavia. Since 
the bulk of the Albanian minority is to be found in the Kosmet border region, this 
fact emphasizes the problems arising out of the existence of so considerable a 
minority group close to the boundary of the Soviet satellite Albania. Other minorities 
include Hungarians (500,000), Rumanians, Czechoslovaks, Turks, and Italians. The 
above information is based on U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, 
The Population of Yugoslavia (Washington, D. C, 1954), pp. 52-55. 

18 For centuries, Macedonia has been a cradle of conflict between the nations 
represented today by Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Greece, and Albania. It is of interest to 
note that the most recent attempt to solve the Macedonian problem has been under- 
taken on a linguistic basis. Macedonia is one of Yugoslavia's six autonomous republics. 
Of its population of about 1,200,000, some 800,000 are classified as "Macedonians," 
and strong efforts are made by the Belgrade government to solidify this ethnic group 
through the development of a Macedonian language and a folk culture of its own. 
For details, see H. R. Wilkinson, Maps and Politics, A Review of the Ethnographic 
Cartography of Macedonia (Liverpool, 1951), p. 165. 

19 Ibid., pp. 14-15. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 393 

SUMMARY 

In spite of many differences, we can describe Canada and Switzerland, 
or Belgium and the United Kingdom, and even Yugoslavia, as countries 
in which the various linguistic groups harmoniously— in spite of occasional 
friction— collaborate and respect each other. In contrast, in the South 
African Union, its colonial background, the memories of the Boer War, 
and the violent controversy over the Apartheid policy of the government 
prompt many among the Boer extremists to look upon their English- 
speaking countrymen as intruders and invaders. 

LINGUISTIC ISLANDS AS ZONES OF FRICTION 

Europe. This leads us to those political areas in which linguistic minori- 
ties, as in the case of the Germans in pre- World War II Poland and Czech- 
oslovakia, remain an alien substance within the body politic. In these 
areas, the explosive conflicts caused by hostile linguistic groups led to 
radical solution of the problem by mass expulsions of eight million so- 
called ethnic Germans (whose distinguishing characteristic was the lan- 
guage factor) from East European countries. Often the problems resulting 
from the existence of "foreign" language groups within the boundaries of 
a nation are critically increased by the location of such linguistic islands 
near or along a border, thus bringing the language (or ethnic) minority 
close to a neighbor with whom this minority shares not only a common 
language but other tangible and intangible interests as well. Most of the 
boundary problems which vex the nations of Europe at this time are only 
to a small degree caused by differences over factors concerning the physi- 
cal geography of the frontier zone; they arise, rather, as factors of human 
geography, among which the problems of conflicting linguistic and politi- 
cal boundaries loom large. This is true in the following active and dormant 
boundary disputes along the frontiers of Europe; the map of Europe 
which shows these zones of friction over linguistic and political bound- 
aries illustrates how language plays a paramount role among the factors 
which account for the unstable political frontiers of Europe. 20 

In connection with the discussion of "dormant" disputes in Europe, in 
border regions where an ethnic minority is geographically close to the 
"motherland," mention should be made of the highly involved case of Ire- 
land, where more English is at present spoken than Irish (which belongs 

20 List from G. W. Hoffman, "Boundary Problems in Europe," Annals of the As- 
sociation of American Geographers (1954), p. 107. 



394 



HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 



to the Celtic group of Indo-European languages) by its three million 
people. To Irish nationalism the partition of Ireland will always appear 
intolerable, and Eire has never recognized the separation of the six North- 
ern Counties. The language factor here is of minor importance because of 
the dominant position of the English language, especially in the North. 
Ireland is a good illustration of the importance of the religious factor in 
political geography: the Southern population is 94 per cent Catholic, the 
Northern 66 per cent non-Catholic. In a reunited Ireland the non-Catho- 
lics would amount to a little less than 25 per cent. 21 In all its complexity, 
the Irish problem shows the linguistic factor as only one element, and in 
this case not a decisive one, molding the human geography of the country. 

TABLE 11-1 









POPULATION 






SPEAK 




NOW 






LANGUAGE 




CONTROLLED 


CLAIMED 


TOTAL OF CLAIMANT 


DISPUTED AREA 


BY 


BY 


(000s) 


—PER CENT 


A. Active Disputes 










Dutch-German 


Netherlands 


Germany 


9.5 


100 


Saar 


r Semi-inde- 
< pendent 
I France 


Germany 


943. 


100 


South Tyrol 


Italy 


Austria 


340 


60 


B. Dormant Disputes 










N. Epirus 


Albania 


Greece 


320 


20 


E. Germany 


( Poland 
{ U.S.S.R. 


W. Germany 


6,000 (close 


to) 100 


Karelia-Viipuri 


U.S.S.R. 


Finland 


400 


? 


Slovenia (Yugoslavia) 
Carinthia (Austria) 


Austria 


Yugoslavia 


190 


30 



Linguistic Divides in Asian Frontier Zones. In the frontier zones of 
Asia, where nomadic people flow back and forth across the borders, the 
linguistic divides differ in character from those in the borderlands settled 
by the sedentary people of Europe. But here, too, we can observe the 
centripetal force of linguistic kinship which tends to consolidate people 
separated by political boundaries. An example is provided by the 
Soviet-supported efforts of Afghanistan to sponsor a Pathan nation 
— Pushtunistan— which would unite about seven million Pathan tribesmen 
now living in disputed areas of Pakistan in a state which would be domi- 

21 J. V. Kelleher, "Can Ireland Unite?", The Atlantic Monthly (April, 1954), pp. 
58-62; I. Bowman, The New World (New York, 1921), pp. 30-35. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 395 

nated by the Afghanistan government and would extend that country's 
control over western Pakistan from the Hindu Kush range in the north 
to the Arabian seacoast of Baluchistan in the south. Sinkiang serves as 
another illustration. Here, too, the frontier between China and the 
U.S.S.R. is not a line but a zone. "Except for the Amur and Ussuri frontiers 
between the Northeastern Provinces and Siberia, the entire land frontier 
could be arbitrarily shifted either several hundred miles to the north or 
several hundred miles to the south and still affect practically no Russians 
and practically no Chinese." 22 Ethnically and linguistically, the frontier 
zone is interwoven and penetrated in both directions by Kazakh, Uiqur, 
and Kirghiz groups and linguistic patterns. 23 

STABILITY AND INSTABILITY OF BOUNDARIES AND 
THE LANGUAGE FACTOR 

If one focuses attention on those sensitive spots along a political bound- 
ary where the linguistic and the political boundary fall apart, one has to 
distinguish between the political boundary which, in spite of lacking 
identity with the language boundary, has demonstrated stability in its 
history, and the political boundary which, cutting across a cultural land- 
scape whose populace speaks the same language and shares the same 
traditions and memories of a common history, still has to pass the test of 
time. Typical of the first is the boundary separating Germany and Switzer- 
land. The other extreme is exemplified by the temporary political bound- 
ary which follows the Iron Curtain and cuts a Germany which is practi- 
cally without linguistic or ethnic minorities into two political units— West 
Germany, and the "German Democratic Republic" in what was, until 1954, 
the Soviet Zone of Occupation. Even though the future of Germany and 
its frontier is still in balance, this example shows clearly the fallacy of 
drawing a boundary that disregards completely the intangible factors of 
belonging-together that cement a nation. Such intangibles account for the 
unity which the United States achieved and has maintained in spite of the 
many separating factors which brought about the Civil War. 

22 O. Lattimore, "The Inland Crossroads of Asia," in H. W. Weigert and V. 
Stefansson, eds., Compass of the World (New York, 1949), pp. 374-394 (386). 

23 O. Caroe, "Soviet Empire," in The Turks of Central Asia and Stalinism (London, 
1953), map after p. 272; see also pp. 32-34, 43, 255. 



396 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

IRREDENTISM 

The characteristic instability of the political boundary in disrupted lin- 
guistic zones (unless the boundary, as in the case of the Swiss-German 
frontier, has weathered the storm over a long period of history ) frequently 
generates expansionist drives and ideologies on the part of neighboring 
nations. These nations tend to regard minority groups across the border 
speaking their own languages as akin and claim them and their territory. 
This is the meaning of irredentism. The term originated in Italy— Italia 
irredenta (unredeemed Italy). A political philosophy of high emotional 
pitch, it claimed for Italy not only neighboring areas in which Italian was 
spoken by a majority of the people ( with Austria and Switzerland as tar- 
gets), but also lands across the sea, such as Malta and the territory east 
of the Adriatic. In countries in which a nationalistic irredentism is ram- 
pant, we rarely find a readiness to surrender territory to a neighboring 
country, even though an alien language is spoken there. Thus Italy, in the 
heyday of its irredentist claims, did not produce proposals advocating the 
surrender to Switzerland and France of the German- and French-speaking 
districts of the Alpine valleys of Piedmont. 24 An extreme case of irre- 
dentism was presented by National Socialist Germany which started its 
ill-fated drive toward world domination by irredentist moves directed at 
the annexation of those regions along its frontier which were inhabited by 
a German-speaking majority: in Czechoslovakia the Sudetenlands, the 
Free State of Danzig, in Lithuania the Memelland, in Denmark the north- 
ern part of Schleswig, in Belgium the region of Eupen-'Malmedy. The 
"Anschluss" of Austria belongs in the same category. 

THE CHANGING MAP OF LANGUAGES: ERASURE 
OF LINGUISTIC POCKETS 

Different from the situation of linguistic minorities residing in areas 
close to their linguistic or ethnic homeland is that of such minorities 
occupying lands surrounded entirely by territory inhabited by speakers 
of the language prevalent in the country to which they owe loyalty. Here 
the attraction and temptation which a neighboring linguistic island offers 
to an expansionist nation diminishes with the distance from its borders 
and with the separating power of "foreign" groups settled between the 

24 H. B. George, The Relations of Geography and History, 5th ed. (Oxford, 1924), 
p. 57; see also the detailed study of the borderlands of Italian language in L. Dominian, 
The Frontiers of Language and Nationality in Europe (New York, 1917), pp. 59-92. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 397 

ethnic or linguistic "homeland" and the related minority. Instead, such 
linguistic pockets present problems of internal political geography which, 
especially in those cases in which the linguistic or ethnic majority has to 
deal with substantial minorities, assume major proportions. The situation 
differs from region to region, nation to nation, and it would be a highly 
superficial undertaking to try and find simple formulas. 

The existence of a linguistic pocket in close vicinity to the political 
boundary of the country in which the same language is prevalent, often 
leads to repressive measures against the inhabitants of the linguistic 
pocket. The radical solution consists in the mass expulsion of the mem- 
bers of minority groups who, by remaining faithful to their mother tongue 
and other features of their minority culture, have actually or seemingly 
documented their inner resistance to the state and nation to which they 
"belong". A more moderate solution is that of international agreements 
between the countries concerned aimed at an orderly population transfer 
or exchange. These measures and the resulting radical changes in the 
human and consequently political structure of many regions have assumed 
major and decisive proportions in the political geography of the twentieth 
century. Because of their importance, we shall deal with them elsewhere 
separately. 25 Here it must suffice to point out the quality of instability 
of linguistic islands, especially when their inhabitants continue to resist 
cultural assimilation. Strong reactions may occur by the majority against 
what they believe has remained a foreign element within their political 
entity. Much less noticeable than the effects of mass expulsions or popu- 
lation transfers are those changes in the political landscape of a linguistic 
or ethnic pocket which result from a gradual overpowering of the minority 
group by strong immigration movements. These usually have government 
support and are aimed at eventually erasing the alien island from the 
national map. A case in point is South Tyrol. Its German-speaking popu- 
lation complains that the equal rights status promised to it in the peace 
treaty of 1946 exists in theory only due to the fact that, since 1918, when 
South Tyrol became Italian, the Italian government has consistently spon- 
sored the mass migration of Italians into South Tyrol and thus the Italian- 
ization of the region: the number of Italians has risen between 1918 and 
1954 from 7,000 to 120,000. 

A full understanding of the relations in political geography between 
linguistically dominant groups and minorities is possible only if one 
studies the history and historical geography of these relations. To under- 
stand, for instance, the geography of original languages in America, we 

25 See pp. 355 ff. 



398 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

must be cognizant of the fact that when colonization started, America was 
but sparsely settled, for the most part by tribes in the hunting stage of 
civilization, while the few cities were subjected to ruthless extermination 
by the Spaniards. 26 The Inca empire builders of the Andean universal 
state displayed in their linguistic policy a different device of authoritarian- 
ism. 27 Having come to the conclusion that their subjects would not func- 
tion as fully-equipped human instruments of a totalitarian regime unless 
they were equipped with some common "lingua franca"— a supplementary 
language of more than local currency— they selected the Quechua lan- 
guage and forced all the inhabitants to make themselves familiar with it. 
( An impressive example of the importance of a "lingua franca" as a bind- 
ing element has been the choice of English as official language at the Ban- 
dung conference of twenty-eight Asian and African states in April, 1955. ) 

RUSSIFICATION IN THE SOVIET ORBIT 

The Soviet policy toward its ethnic minorities and, as an integral part 
of it, the Russification of Soviet minority languages offers a significant 
example of an authoritarian policy aimed at changing the linguistic map 
of a nation's orbit and, as a result, changing also the map of its internal 
political geography. Enforced national conformity and ill-concealed Rus- 
sification are the main characteristics of this policy. 

The history of Soviet language policy is the record of increasingly centralized 
manipulation and uniformalization of the "forms" of supposedly national cul- 
tures. The reins of cultural development were taken away, after the first decade 
of Soviet rule, from the national minority leadership, and drawn tight by Mos- 
cow. At first the aim was to sever the ties of the many cultural groups with their 
past and to give their cultures a fresh Soviet face; the second step was the 
gradual Russification of the "forms" of various cultures. 28 

As a rough approximation, one could say that the Kremlin has come full 
circle to imitate Tsarist policy on national minorities, the essence of which 
was the imposition of the Russian language, church, and culture on the 
non-Great Russian subjects of the empire. 29 But there are two major dif- 
ferences. "On the one hand, there is the fact that many scores of languages 
today are used in education and publishing which were not admitted by 
the Tsarist regime. On the other hand, the Soviets have added a new twist 
to the principle of Russification. The Tsarist goal had been the exclusion 

26 Woolner, op. cit., p. 15. 

27 A. J. Toynbee, A Study of History, Vol. V (London, 1939), p. 523. 

28 S. M. Schwarz, "The Soviet Concept and Conquest of National Cultures," 
Problems of Communism ( 1953), pp. 41-46. 

29 East and Spate, op. cit., p. 350. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 399 

of minority languages from various functions ( education, literary usage ) ; 
ultimately, the various ethnic groups were to end up as Russians. The 
Soviet regime, which has slackened this approach, has launched the Russi- 
fication of languages. While supporting minority tongues in various func- 
tions, it has subjected them to an influx of Russian words and grammatical 
patterns, and has imposed on them Russian letters and spelling conven- 
tions." 30 

THE IMPACT OF PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY UPON 
THE GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 

These examples of authoritarian language policy show that there are 
many gradations between the extermination of minorities or their expul- 
sion or involuntary transfer to other regions within the national bound- 
aries and remedial measures such as the enforcing of an authoritarian 
language policy and a policy of linguistic laissez faire. Choice as well as 
success or failure of a government's measures are frequently conditioned 
by factors of physical geography. Often we can trace the survival of lin- 
guistic islands among speakers of a different tongue— or even more fre- 
quently, the survival of distinct dialects— to geographical features imped- 
ing easy communication between two areas. In the secluded southern 
mountains of the Appalachians, Shakespearean language survived long 
after it had fallen into disuse in England and in the Atlantic Coastal Plain 
where the mountaineers once lived. So many customs of the past survive 
among these people that they have well been called "our contemporary 
ancestors." 31 Thus mountain chains, deserts, forests, seas, as geographi- 
cal features impeding communication, will lead us to innumerable loca- 
tions on the world's map where from olden times linguistic pockets have 
remained intact and where, consequently— and in proportion to the over- 
all national importance of these islands— problems of internal and external 
political geography stayed alive. 

On the other hand, the relationship of physical and human geography, 
in terms of the political geography of languages, is not so obvious that 
the physiographical map provides most of the answers to the questions of 
why and where. By no means do linguistic boundaries always follow 
obvious geographical lines. 32 To claim 33 that linguistic lines of cleavage 

30 U. Weinreich, "The Russification of Soviet Minority Languages," Problems of 
Communism (1953), pp. 46-57 (47). 

31 E. C. Semple, "The Anglo-Saxons of the Kentucky Mountains," Geographical 
Journal (1901), pp. 588-623. 

32 Woolner, op. cit., pp. 15-16. 

33 Dominian, op. cit., pp. 2-3. 



400 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

conform essentially with physical features would be a gross oversimplifi- 
cation of the problem. In present-day human geography these features are 
significant in many cases; they are not significant in many others. 
For Europe, W. Gordon East 34 describes this as follows: 

. . . the lower Danube, flanked by a broad belt of marshes on its north bank, 
does divide Rumanian from Rulgarian-speaking peoples. The boundary between 
French and German passes along the wooded summits from the high Vosges. 
The area of the Pripet marshes separates Ukranian and Belorussian speech, and 
the Pyrenees effectively separate French and Spanish. Areas of scantily settled 
steppe and rivers which are unnavigable upstream, characterize the frontier 
region between Portuguese and Spanish. But, in the main, peoples and lan- 
guages have negotiated physical obstacles such as mountains, rivers, highlands, 
and marshes. The watershed of the Alps does not neatly divide French and 
German from Italian; within the Alpine valleys, distinctive languages have de- 
veloped in semi-isolation; neither do the eastern Pyrenees sharply divide the 
areas of Catalan and Provencal. As to the navigable rivers of Europe, they com- 
monly serve to unite rather than to divide, so that the Vistula Basin forms the 
core region of Polish speech while that of the Rhine has become mainly Ger- 
manic, yet invaded by French on its western flank. The Danube, in contrast, 
presents a succession of language areas astride its valley. 

In lowlands and hilly country, the frontiers of language bear no obvious rela- 
tionship to the relief and are clearly the expression of social forces operative 
long ago. Even so, former geographical features— now erased— may have been 
significant: thus the former Carbonniere Forest did in medieval times form a 
zone of separation between Flemish speech in the Scheldt Basin and French 
speech to the south. 

THE MOVEMENT OF PEOPLES AND THE LINGUISTIC FACTOR 

Europe's language map, like those of its nations and states, can be explained 
only in terms of historical geography, i.e., the movements of peoples, their initial 
settlements and subsequent colonization outwards, and their mutual reactions 
when brought into contact with each other. By the end of the Middle Ages the 
language patterns were clearly outlined; one can point to specific linguistic 
frontiers, notably that of French and German in the Lorraine Plateau and that 
of Walloon and French on the Franco-Belgian border where the boundary has 
changed but little during the last thousand years. And, since the end of the 
Middle Ages, the many migrations, colonizing efforts, and compulsory and vol- 
untary transfers of population, especially in the last decade, have modified dis- 
tributions fixed long ago. 



35 



In our age of technology, more and more natural obstructions are being 
crossed; the impact of radio makes itself felt in the most remote hamlets. 
Colonization, in particular settlement colonization of the tropics, has led 
to the crossing of oceans by languages. It is here where historical geog- 

34 In G. W. Hoffman, ed., A Geography of Europe (New York, 1953), pp. 30-31. 
Copyright 1953, The Ronald Press Company. 
a5 East, op. cit. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 401 

raphy offers the most striking examples of an immense variety of invasion 
forces displayed by foreign language groups from distant lands. The 
spread of the Greek language followed colonization. Greek cities scattered 
from older centers round the shores of the Mediterranean, mainly in the 
eastern half but also as far west as southern Italy and Marseilles. 36 

The Roman Empire carried its language far beyond the Italian penin- 
sula, and in the Roman colonia (colony), where conquered lands were 
allotted to Roman veterans, we find the soldiers of the Roman legions and 
the traders introducing their own language and civilization to the bar- 
barians. 37 Wherever Roman colonizers went, their prestige and the proud 
Roman civilization which they represented, as well as their close-knit and 
organized social community (conventus civium Romanorum) endowed 
the Roman language (and Roman law) with a privileged position. 38 Thus 
Latin was adopted in Western Europe, North Africa, and in Central 
Europe, up to the Rhine-Limes-Danube frontier zone— the outer defense 
curtain from Castra Regina (Regensburg) to Confluentes (Coblenz). In 
Western Europe the transformative force of the Roman language proved 
decisive and permanent. Provincial Latin conditioned the growth during 
the Middle Ages of languages of the Romance group: French, Provencal, 
Italian, Catalan, Spanish, and Portuguese. In the Swiss mountains, islands 
of Latin weathered the impact of centuries. In Rumania, in what once 
formed the Roman province of Dacia, an "inlier" of Roman speech, con- 
taining some Slav elements, remained alive. 39 

The historical geography of Roman colonization and its impact on the 
languages of the Romance group, however important, is only one instance 
of how language patterns and linguistic frontiers evolve as the result of 
invasions and conquests, oversea and overland colonization. The student 
of the history of languages and of historical geography will find here vast 
fields to plow, and often enough in what is scientifically no man's land. To 
the student of political geography this background is of great interest and 
in many cases, as evidenced by India, is indispensable. Here it must suffice 
to stress the importance of the historical events which account for the 
survival of linguistic islands within nations the majority of whose people 
are speakers of a different tongue, and also to emphasize the problems 
of internal and external geography generated by these language pockets. 

36 Woolner, op. cit., p. 14. 

37 Ibid., pp. 13-14. 

38 I. Mommsen, Romische Geschichte, Vol. II (1857), p. 407. 

39 East, op. cit., pp. 25-26. 



402 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

DIALECTS 

The political geography of languages applies also to dialects, especially 
in regard to the internal political geography of nations. Professor Mario 
Pei reports that about half the students in linguistic classes who were 
polled as to their native tongue replied "American" rather than "Eng- 
lish," 40 and G. B. Shaw wisecracked in Pygmalion that "England and 
America are two countries separated by the same language." These ob- 
servations and the distinctions, well known to Americans, between New 
England ("Yankee") and Southern American dialects bring home to the 
reader the importance of dialects within the framework of the geography 
of languages. The borderline between language and dialect is exceedingly 
thin and the usual distinction between a language as the accepted national 
form of speech and dialect as the not officially accepted form is not too 
helpful. In Switzerland, for instance, both German and the dialect known 
as Schwyzer-Deutsch are recognized officially and taught in the schools. 
Each language has "infinite gradations of standard tongue, vernacular, 
slang, cant, and jargon," and the "geographical division extends not only 
to regions and sections of the country, but also to towns and quarters of 
focus." 41 It is obvious that the use of the same dialect generates strong 
feelings of belonging-together among its speakers and also contributes to 
setting them apart from other folk groups who, while speaking and writ- 
ing the same language, have a different dialect. Within a nation, the 
separating factors due to differences in dialect may be insignificant politi- 
cally because other, unifying, factors are overwhelming. Or they may be 
powerful enough to build invisible walls between the various dialect 
groups. 

To the student of political geography who attempts to trace the geo- 
graphical distribution of languages on the political map and to understand 
the relationship of geography and language, it will thus be evident that, 
especially in the internal political geography of states, he cannot neglect 
the consideration of the unifying and separating force of dialects. When 
millions of so-called ethnic Germans were expelled from Czechoslovakia 
and Poland in 1945 and later, the problems confronting the West German 
government in its task of resettling the destitute expellees in the north, 
south and southwest of Germany were multiplied by the fact that the new 
German citizens spoke dialects alien to the Germans who were to receive 



40 Pei, op. cit., p, 298. 

41 Ibid., pp. 46-47. 



THE POLITICAL GEOGRAPHY OF LANGUAGES 403 

the refugees in their communities. Germany itself has two great language 
divisions: High German and Low German, as well as numerous local vari- 
ations. Its map of languages and dialects with all its political implications 
is, as the result of the influx of millions of ethnic-German expellees, under- 
going radical changes. As settlement of compact groups of newcomers 
with dialects of their own becomes stabilized, new linguistic islands will 
be formed— islands of distinctive dialects within the national boundaries 
of Germany, and possessing all the characteristics of a nationality group 
bound together by common memories, ideals, and hopes. An interesting, 
although older, linguistic island of this kind within Germany is its indus- 
trial heartland, the Ruhr, with a total population of about seven million. 
Its mining population is composed of many ethnic groups, especially from 
Eastern Germany and Poland. Gradually it has assumed distinctive na- 
tional characteristics of its own, and in this process has developed a new 
dialect, a mixture of Westphalian, East Prussian, Upper-Silesian, and High 
German. The speakers of the new tongue share an intangible possession 
which contributes strongly to the evolution of a specific folk-group within 
the entity of the nation. 

Italy is rich in dialects which set a distinguishing pattern of human 
geography: Sicilian, Neapolitan, Roman, Tuscan, Venetian, and the Gallo- 
Italian dialects of northwestern Italy. 42 

China offers the most colorful illustration of a country divided into a 
large number of dialects often mutually unintelligible though falling into 
the broad categories of Northern and Southern 43 (Fig. 11-3). About three 
hundred million people speak variants of Mandarin, the dialect of north- 
ern China, now renamed Kiio-yii or "National Tongue"; the remaining one 
hundred fifty million speak widely divergent dialects, the majority of 
which are Cantonese, the Wu dialect of Shanghai, and the Klin dialect of 
Fukien. 44 Thus, while the possession of a common written language pro- 
vides the Chinese with an asset making for unity, the multiplicity of dia- 
lects is a potent factor of separation which can be overcome gradually only 
if the northern form of the "National Tongue," as a national lingua franca, 
should be accepted on a broad national basis. 45 



42 Pei, op. cit., p. 54. 

43 Gray, op. cit., p. 390. 



44 Pei, op. cit., p. 371; P. M. Roxby, "China as an Entity," Geography (1937), 
pp. 1-20. 

45 H. J. Wood, in East and Spate, op. cit., pp. 265-266. For a vivid description of 
the contrast between the Mandarin lingua franca and the highly diversified local 
dialects, see Toynbee, op. cit., Vol. V, pp. 512-514. 



404 



HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 




Fig. 11-3. China: Areas of Languages and Dialects: (1) Northern Mandarin; (2) 
Southern Mandarin; (3) Mongolian; (4) Tibetan; (5) Tribal dialects; (6) Can- 
tonese; (7) Hakka; (8) Fukien dialects; (9) Wu dialects (after P. M. Roxby). 

From the abstract point of view, the multilingual state is not ideal. 
Germs of disunity similar to those existing unavoidably in the multi- 
lingual state will be found in states where local dialects have remained 
strong enough to challenge the supremacy of the national language. In 
either case the student of political geography should take cognizance of 
these linguistic patterns which spell both unity and disunity and which 
therefore must be understood if one tries to evaluate the human and 
political geography of a nation. 



CHAPTER 



n 



Religions: Their Distribution 
and Role in Political Geography 



THE IMPACT OF RELIGION UPON POLITICS IN HISTORY 

A few centuries ago political boundaries throughout the world coin- 
cided closely with religious boundaries. Still more important, religious 
differences found expression in, and were more or less temporarily settled 
by, political conflicts. On the other hand, political conflicts influenced 
religious thought and religious allegiance. At the beginning of written 
history the political unification of the numerous small states of the Nile 
valley into a unified kingdom led to the belief in a hierarchy of gods, in 
which the local gods became subordinate minor deities. This process has 
been repeated, with characteristic variations, but basically along similar 
lines in some other countries. Conquests led to changes in worship, be- 
cause both the conquered and the conqueror shared the conviction that 
the god of the victorious group had proved to have greater power not only 
at home but even in the territory of the defeated god. Some religions 
required their followers to spread their beliefs by the sword. Islam is the 
prototype of such a religion. The spread of early Islam inevitably led to 
the expansion of Arab rule. In such periods a map of religious affiliations 
would disclose the geographical distribution and extent of political forces 
better than would a map of kingdoms, which would at best show short- 
lived dynastic combinations. 

It is therefore significant for us that, in early history and even today 
among primitive people, the religious community precedes, and later 

405 



406 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

often supersedes, the political community. 1 To see to what extent factors 
of the natural environment have influenced the context and the extent of 
religious communities, to visualize the boundaries which separate these 
communities— as forerunners of national communities or in competition or 
co-ordination with them— from other cultural or national groups is essen- 
tial for the understanding of many problems of historical geography. 
From this perception it is but one step to the recognizing of many present- 
day problems of state power and conflict in which religion, and in par- 
ticular organized religion, plays a part. 

THE RELATIONSHIP OF RELIGIOUS DISTRIRUTION AND 
POLITICAL FACTORS TODAY 

Periods in which the religious community was dominant alternated with 
periods during which politics was swayed by different motivations. Our 
own age is such an era, characterized by the interplay of complex and 
conflicting motivations. Therefore, we have to determine in this chapter 
whether and to what extent religious distribution coincides with political 
units: are such instances merely historical relics? Can and would religious 
distribution and loyalties affect the political map of today? If so to what 
extent? Can and would political changes affect religious allegiances under 
present-day conditions? 

The first question can be approached by comparing one of the cus- 
tomary maps of religious distribution with a political map. For a number 
of reasons we have to call such a map a preliminary approximation. A 
large part of the globe's surface lacks reliable statistics of religious affilia- 
tion. We have only very rough estimates for the more than a quarter of 
humanity which lives in the Soviet Union and China. The picture is even 
more complicated by the fact that the available statistical sources, al- 
though they reveal certain information about the geographical distribu- 
tion of organized churches, can reveal but very little concerning the 
religious beliefs of individuals and communities and because of this de- 
ficiency can be misleading. There is no accepted standard for reporting 
religious adherences. In some cases, particularly among Roman Catholics, 
all those baptized or even all those coming from a family of the same 
faith, are counted as Roman Catholics. In other churches, only those 
confirmed or baptized in adulthood are reported. These differences are 
trifling in comparison with the greater problem of how to relate the sta- 
tistics of religions to the actual beliefs of individuals. For instance, in 

1 F. Ratzel, op. cit., pp. 164-167. 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 407 

West Germany official statistics show that 96.3 per cent of the population 
are Protestants or Roman Catholics— 51.1 per cent Protestant and 45.2 
per cent Roman Catholic. But a public-opinion sampling in 1951 indicated 
that only 78 per cent of the population actually "believed in God," and 
that only 62 per cent of these "believed in Jesus as the Son of God." In 
the Scandinavian countries, it is reported, Protestant pastors say that not 
more than one-tenth of the average parish betrays any lively interest in 
the church. In a poll taken in 1952 in an area of Norway where church 
loyalty was considered above average, 60 per cent of the young Nor- 
wegians questioned said that they were not much interested in Chris- 
tianity, 14 per cent declared themselves Christians, and 25 per cent said 
they were well disposed toward the Christian faith. These facts contrast 
with the official Norwegian statistics, according to which out of a popula- 
tion of 3.2 million in 1946 there were only 100,000 dissidents from the 
Lutheran National Church. In England, where the Church of England is 
the center of the world-wide Anglican communion, we find that the Estab- 
lished Church, which baptizes some two-thirds of the children born in 
England, counts only 2.3 million members out of a population of 43.7 
million (1951). 2 One of the few existing detailed studies on this subject 
shows that in a typical French provincial town, nominally almost one hun- 
dred per cent Catholic, only 15,000 of 130,000 inhabitants go to mass. 3 In 
an industrial environment in France it was found that only four out of 
19,000 men employed in one industrial complex were practicing Catho- 
lics. 4 These facts can be paralleled for every country publishing statistics 
on church membership, and they should be kept in mind when using such 
statistics, or church distribution maps, for the evaluation of political fac- 
tors. 

Spain and Portugal, as well as France, appear on a church distribution 
map as overwhelmingly Roman Catholic countries. However, this should 
not lead to the conclusion that they constitute a unified bloc. It is clear 
that Spain's international policy is influenced strongly by religious con- 
victions; in 1954 the Spanish government endangered much-coveted mili- 
tary aid from the United States rather than yield on religious principles. 
Spain is a country where the ruling group is firmly rooted in the Catholic 
faith. The allegiance of the masses to Catholicism appears to be less pro- 
nounced, as evidenced in the repeated church-burning episodes of the last 
150 years. In Portugal the peasants seem to be firmer in their Catholic 

2 S. W. Herman, Report From Christian Europe (New York, 1953), pp. 155, 48, 49. 

3 J. Perrot, Grenoble, Essay de Sociologie Religieuse (Grenoble, 1953). 

4 R. F. Byrnes, "The French Priest-Workers," Foreign Affairs, Vol- 33 (January, 
1955), p. 327. 



408 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

faith. Portugal has tried, with some success, to build a corporative state 
following the lines laid out in the Papal Encyclical, Quadragesimo Anno. 
In France a complete separation of Church and State has taken place, and 
a great majority of Frenchmen seem to be Catholic only in name. A 
politico-religious map, in order to be useful, would have to distinguish 
among these three countries as three different politico-religious types: 
Spain, dominated by a strongly Catholic laity and adhering to traditional 
forms of political life; Portugal, a country where Catholicism is reshaping 
the social and economic life; and France, a nominally Catholic country 
where Catholicism has influence only upon and through one of the more 
important political parties. As far as Catholicism has any influence upon 
domestic or international policy in France, it is an indication of the 
strength of this party in the government of the moment rather than an 
indication of the fact that 99 per cent of the French population are 
counted as Catholics. 

These examples show also that political boundaries are in certain cases 
good indications of the distribution of certain religious attitudes. They 
show also that political attitudes are influenced, both positively and nega- 
tively, by the hold religion has on the population as a whole, on a ruling 
group, or on the government. Of the eighty-three independent or semi- 
dependent countries of the earth ( see Table I ) , fifty are countries where 
90 per cent or more of the population belong to the same religion. This 
gives us a first approximation of the extent to which maps of religious 
affiliations and maps of political units coincide. It does not necessarily 
mean that the religious affiliation of a population determines its political 
attitudes. However, there is hardly a country containing a significant 
religious minority where this factor has no political significance. In some 
cases such religious minority status has hindered the assimilation of na- 
tional groups: Armenians, Jews, French Canadians, Irish Catholics and 
many other groups have preserved their separate existence primarily be- 
cause of religious differences. These differences are often an obstacle to 
intermarriage. Religious minorities sometimes form separate political par- 
ties, or as a group back the party friendliest to themselves. Poles in Ger- 
many were among the most reliable followers of the Catholic Center 
Party, the Lutherans in Austria of the German National Party. The Alsa- 
tians could not easily be assimilated into the main body of the French, 
not so much because of their German dialect but because of their strong 
Catholic allegiance in a religiously indifferent France. 

No existing map of the distribution of religions can show an even 
approximately correct picture for the Soviet Union and the affiliated 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 409 

Peoples' Republics. Not only has no religious census been taken in these 
countries for many years; we can only state with some degree of assurance 
that since the last census an unknown number of individuals have relin- 
quished their original religious affiliation, and that to all appearances 
many young people have grown up without any real contact with a 
church. 



THE MULTITUDE OF RELIGIOUS DENOMINATIONS 

Another, though remediable and therefore minor, defect of practically 
all existing maps of religious distribution on a continental or world-wide 
scale is their oversimplification. Most maps attempt to show a broad-brush 
picture of the distribution of major religions, taking uniformity in doctrine 
rather than diversity in organization as their differentiating feature (Fig. 
12-1 ) . However, many religions are deeply split into dissenting and some- 
times hostile denominations. 

In the United States, we have the strongest evidence of the wide variety 
of Protestant churches. Two hundred and fifty-two different Protestant 
religious bodies were reported in 1952. While there is no unity in Ameri- 
can Protestantism, it would be misleading to assume that the seeming 
disunity of the American churches as evidenced by the large number of 
Protestant denominations is in the nature of a serious schism. A large 
nucleus of 28 churches belongs to the National Council of the Churches 
of Christ in the U.S.A. The non-co-operative fringe contains some large 
conservative bodies such as the Southern Baptists and the Missouri Synod 
Lutherans, and some large bodies such as the Mormons and Christian 
Scientists, but most of the fringe is represented by some two hundred 
small sects which account for only 2 per cent of all Protestants. The con- 
sciousness, throughout the Western world, of the impressive unity of the 
Catholic Church is the indirect cause of a common misconception which 
assumes a similar kind of unity for other religions. This misconception is 
supported by the oversimplification of most maps depicting the distribu- 
tion of religions. Especially where religions and political factors are 
closely linked, the resulting errors may lead to a distorted evaluation of 
the political map and of international relations as influenced by religious 
factors. 

A case in point is the world of Islam (cf. Fig. 12-5, p. 426). Character- 
istic of the widespread ignorance ( in the western world ) of Islamic condi- 
tions is the now almost forgotten incident of Tangier in 1905. William II, 
German emperor, almost wrecked the main purpose of his Mediterranean 




s 
"8 

3 



i— I 
to 



410 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 411 

cruise of that year— the strengthening of his ties with Turkey— by stressing 
in a speech in Tangier the complete sovereignty of the Sherif of Morocco. 
Though the demonstration was intended against France, William did not 
know that the Sherif was regarded by the Grand Sultan of Turkey as a 
schismatic who did not recognize the Sultan's Khalifat supremacy. The 
Islamic world is deeply split by the hostility of Sunnites and Shiites. Iran, 
the only major Shiite country, is relatively unaffected by appeals from the 
rest of the Moslem world. Iraq is divided between these two sects, with 
the Sunnites more important politically. Little, remote Oman has its own 
Islamic denomination, seldom found outside its boundaries. 

Still less known is the geographical distribution of Hindu sects in India 
( cf. Fig. 12-3, p. 420 ) . Buddhism in Ceylon, Burma, and Thailand may be 
regarded as belonging to the same denomination despite the lack of com- 
mon organizational ties. Tibetan or Mongolian Lamaistic Buddhism, how- 
ever, is entirely different, and the Buddhism of China and especially of 
Japan is different again 5 and is split into many denominations, some non 
political, others, like Japanese Zen-Buddhism, intensively occupied with 
active political attitudes. These differences have never been adequately 
mapped— the first condition for a safe geographical approach. 

The following table tries to refine somewhat the rough approximation 
at which a map could arrive. The data in the table are taken mainly from 
the Statesman's Yearbooks of 1953 and 1954. However, the sources of this 
yearbook, though presumably the best available, are of widely varying 
accuracy and different date. 

POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS BOUNDARIES; THEIR 

RELATIONSHIP 

Table 12-1 shows that a majority of countries are for all practical pur- 
poses religiously uniform. It shows also that there is a surprisingly large 
number of countries which are unique in the religious composition of 
their population. The major religion of many of these countries is almost 
unknown to the rest of the world. The number of such countries is even 
larger if we include the considerable number where doctrinal uniformity 
may go hand in hand with separate organization. Lutheran Germany, 
Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, and Iceland have not only separate 
church organizations, but they also use different languages in their serv- 

5 A. J. Toynbee, in A Study of History ( 1934-54 ) in many places avoids, therefore, 
the term Buddhism in favor of Mahayana when speaking of this northern Buddhism, 
and of the Tantric form of Buddhism when speaking of Tibetan and related forms. 



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416 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 417 

ices, making mutual exchange difficult. They may be regarded as separate 
units, particularly since the unifying bond of the Ecumenical Movement 
and the World Council of Churches of Christ has not yet the qualities of 
an effective movement on an international plane. It is therefore not yet 
tangible enough to be considered a reality in political geography/' 

Similar considerations apply to the Buddhist "churches" of Ceylon, 
Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, and their attempts to create some 
kind of international organization (cf. Fig. 12-3, p. 420). 



THE ROMAN CATHOLIC COMMUNITY 

The most impressive national religious grouping is that of the Roman 
Catholic countries ( Fig. 12-2 ) . Next in size, but much smaller, is the group 
of Sunnite Islamic states. Table 12-2 summarizes Table 12-1 in this respect. 
This table shows thirty predominantly Roman Catholic countries. The 
question arises as to how far these countries can be prompted to common 
political action by their common religion. There is no doubt that, despite 
their common religion, grave disagreement between them may lead even 
to war. The small-scale but bitter war between Costa Rica and Nicaragua 
in 1955 is a recent instance. There are fewer instances of common action, 
but more important, there are frequent demonstrations of a common atti- 
tude toward world-wide problems. It appears that even in the case of the 
hierarchical and well-organized Catholic Church the underlying common 
attitude, based on a uniform religious education, is more important than 
actual united leadership. This is even more conspicuous for other much 
more loosely organized religions. It is, however, this common attitude 
which enables the Roman Catholic Church to mobilize its adherents in 
the struggle against Communism. In countries such as Poland, Hungary, 
and Czechoslovakia the Catholic Church, even though forced into passive 
resistance, is the major obstacle to Communism. Communism seemingly 
benefited from the active phase of the struggle, as dramatized in the con- 
finement of Archbishop Beran in Prague and the trial of Cardinal Mind- 
szenty in Budapest. These victories proved so costly, however, that open 
persecution of Catholics lessened after Stalin's death. The Catholic 
Church has maintained a strong position, thus preserving for these nations 
some strongholds of spiritual independence and preventing a full victory 
for Communist totalitarian ideology. This would not have been possible 
without the moral backing of the entire Catholic world. In many states 

6 See pp. 421 ff. 



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418 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIRUTION AND ROLE 419 

with Catholic majorities or significant minorities, Catholic parties have 
sprung up and taken a strong, consistent, anti-Communist position. 

Another example of the political effects of a uniform Catholic attitude 
is the part played by the Catholic forces in the question of international- 
ization of Jerusalem. The Papal policy was strongly in favor of interna- 
tionalization in order to protect the many holy places in this cradle of 
religions. The vote of a number of Latin- American countries, apparently 
quite uninterested in the case in any other respect, can best be explained 
by their readiness to follow the wishes of the Vatican. The anticlerical 
government of Mexico was the only Latin-American country which in- 
structed its delegates to cast their votes against internationalization. Also 
in respect to many major questions of intra-European politics, such as 
EDC (European Defense Community) or the Schuman plan (European 
Coal and Steel Community ) , the ( Catholic ) Christian Democratic parties 
in France, Germany, Italy, and Belgium developed essentially correspond- 
ing attitudes. 

The attitude of the Catholic Church in the Spanish Civil War has been 
debated heatedly. There is little doubt that the volunteers on the side of 
Franco— as distinguished from the German and Italian contingents sent to 
Spain by Hitler and Mussolini— were almost exclusively Catholic, and that 
they were able to influence the course of politics in several countries. 
Mexico, on the other hand, ruled by a nominally Catholic government but 
one involved in a power struggle with its native hierarchy, gave active 
support to the Loyalist ( anti-Franco ) side. 

This attitude of the Mexican government brings into focus the fact that 
not all nominally Catholic nations necessarily follow Catholic political 
leadership. In Mexico, the policy of the government, backed by wide 
circles of the population, has placed the country among the anti-Catholic 
Powers. Nevertheless, Catholicism is still influential. When Protestant 
missionary activity became intensive, Mexican governments risked conflict 
both with the United States and Great Britain in order to combat it. 

In France the state has been involved in a struggle with the Catholic 
Church since the turn of the century. Laws against ecclesiastic orders 
were issued and enforced; the separation of Church and State became 
a fact. Children were not required to have religious instruction. Diplo- 
matic relations with the Vatican were severed. At the same time, however, 
the French government in the Near East and Africa subsidized Catholic 
orders and schools and followed a course designed to identify Christianity 
(meaning Catholicism) and France in the minds of the natives. France's 




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RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 421 

protectorate over Syria and Lebanon rested largely on conditions derived 
from France's protective position toward the Catholic Church. 

All these examples point to the complex nature of the problem of reli- 
gion as a motivating force in present-day politics. There is no doubt that 
Catholicism is such a force, but it is not a uniform force and its impact is 
changing from country to country. It is a function of political geography 
to study the distribution of Catholic Churches over the world. How 
strongly and under what conditions they are influential must be examined 
in each individual case in order to arrive at a true picture. 

THE PROTESTANT COMMUNITY 

If the Catholic Church, in spite of its unique and imposing unity, con- 
fronts us with difficult problems in the task of measuring the geographical 
distribution of its churches and of the part played by Catholicism in the 
realm of political geography, we find these problems multiplied if we 
attempt to probe the role of Protestantism (Fig. 12-3). We have already 
pointed out the complexity of the mosaic of Protestant denominations in 
the United States, with 252 Protestant churches, of which a nucleus of 28 
major churches remains if we discount the smaller churches and sects. The 
American picture reflects the complexity of the world-wide situation of 
Protestantism. One must be cognizant of the major distinctions and cleav- 
ages between Protestant churches if one attempts to draw conclusions 
about binding or separating factors in the political field, both within a 
nation and internationally. In this broad discussion of religious factors, 
we cannot try to describe the large number of churches which have come 
into existence since the Reformation. The Reformation heralded a new 
age in which the nation-state and its specific culture emerged and became 
a cultural and political unit in its own right. The Protestant churches draw 
their distinctions not only from religious and philosophical roots but 
equally from this fact. The individual churches which were state churches 
in the Protestant countries adopted specific national, dynastic, ethnic, and 
linguistic characteristics that in turn contributed to the growth of the 
evolving nation-states. All this led to the rise of separate and competing 
national cultures and militated against a cultural and political unity of 
the West. For our purpose, the realization of this schism is necessary to 
avoid sweeping generalizations and faulty conclusions based on the com- 
parison of areas and countries with "Protestant" populations. If we try to 
detect Protestant binding or separating elements within and between na- 
tions, we must be aware that in the northern parts of Germany and 



422 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

throughout the Scandinavian countries the Lutheran churches prevail, 
that in the Netherlands, Scotland, Switzerland, and Hungary, the Re- 
formed or Presbyterian churches dominate, and that in England we ob- 
serve an altogether different course of the Reformation leading to the 
formation of the Anglican Church. The separating factors are aggravated 
by differences of language. 

While it is thus imperative to observe the distinguishing factors between 
the various Protestant churches in their geographical setting, we must not 
lose sight of the fact that the political geography of Protestantism in our 
time displays some centrifugal tendencies toward international reconcili- 
ation and world-wide Christian fellowship. There is a growing feeling 
throughout the Protestant world that a reversal of the long historical 
trend toward separation and division is now under way, that there is a 
drawing-together of the bonds of Christian fellowship. The Ecumenical 
Movement, a child of the twentieth century since it began in a World 
Missionary Conference in Edinburgh in 1910, has grown greatly in impact 
as the result of the tragic lessons taught by two world wars. Its last Con- 
ference, in the fall of 1954, at Evanston, Illinois, was marked by the par- 
ticipation of the Eastern Orthodox Churches. The hope has been ex- 
pressed that this may be regarded as the first step in the eventual 
construction of a bridge to Russia. 

In comparison with the unity and strength displayed by the world-wide 
organization of the Catholic Church, world Protestantism as represented 
by the Ecumenical Movement is still in the formative state, its member- 
ship incomplete and divided on certain questions of dogma. Above all, it 
is still largely a top-level movement which as yet finds no effective parallel 
among individual congregations or at the grass-roots level. 7 On the other 
hand, there are signs of a lessening of denominationalism in the United 
States, especially in rural areas which cannot support several churches in 
one community. In Europe, the common experience of churches of all 
denominations in their struggle, during the Third Reich, against Nazi 
paganism and later against Communist oppression, has served to over- 
come differences which in the light of common vital issues had lost their 
meaning. Yet a realistic appraisal of the present situation leads to the 
conclusion that Protestantism still remains closely identified with the cul- 
ture of northern and western Europe, and that the Ecumenical Movement, 
while a hopeful beginning, is not yet a strong force in world affairs. 8 

7 N. V. Hope, One Christ, One World, One Church; Publication No. 37 of the 
Church Historical Society. 

8 A. C. Murdaugh, A Geographical Summary of Protestantism and the Ecumenical 
Movement. Unpublished paper. 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 423 

The conclusion at which we arrived upon viewing the Catholic Church 
as a motivating force in politics is equally valid in regard to Protestantism, 
even though the Protestant churches have no international organization 
comparable to that of the Catholic Church. The student of political 
geography cannot avoid tracing the distribution of Protestant churches 
throughout the world in order to detect the extent of binding and sepa- 
rating elements. He will have to observe closely the distinguishing factors 
between its member churches, despite the fact that most of them have 
found a common basis in the ideals and hopes of the Ecumenical Move- 
ment. 

THE WORLD OF ISLAM 

The Islamic nations ( Fig. 12-4 ) have no international organization and 
are in this respect comparable to Judaism, Buddhism, and to some extent 
Protestantism. The Khalifat disappeared in the aftermath of World War I. 
The great pilgrims' meetings at Mecca and Medina from all over the Is- 
lamic world are no doubt an important factor in strengthening community 
feelings and interests. 9 However, the leading statesmen of the Islamic 
world rarely meet on such occasions. Nevertheless it is a fact that common 
attitudes on a variety of different problems exist among many Islamic 
countries and are a strong political reality. Good authorities still consider 
valid General Lyautey's famous saying that "the Moslem World is like a 
resonant box. The faintest sound in one corner of the box reverberates 
through the whole of it." 

Despite all this, the Islamic world is changing rapidly, and these obser- 
vations may soon lose significance. In some respects Islam is still an ag- 
glomerate of states like the Christian states at the time of the Crusades, 
and can be moved by an appeal to common Islamic sentiment. In many 
other respects a transformation to the forms of modern Western national 
states is progressing rapidly. In Turkey this process is practically complete 
and the residual Islamic consciousness seems to be on a level with that of 
Christian forces in Protestant Western Europe. When Communism chal- 
lenged the very existence of religion in Turkestan and other Islamic areas, 
the Mohammedan world hardly stirred. This passive attitude can be ex- 
plained in part by the cutting off of the pilgrimage to Mecca and the 
resulting loss of contact. Only gradually, and nowhere completely, Islamic 
nations are awakening to the Communist danger. Religious-national par- 
ties in Egypt, Iran, and Morocco have occasionally allied themselves with 
local Communist parties. The revolt of the Dungan— the Moslems of Chi- 

9 See Bowman, op. cit., p. 54. 




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RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 425 

nese Kansu and Sinkiang— against the Communist regime remained prac- 
tically unknown in the rest of the Islamic world and was not supported by 
it. On the other hand, Pakistan owes much of its success in its struggle for 
a separate existence to the moral support of its cause throughout the inde- 
pendent Moslem states. British diplomacy, recognizing the latent force of 
Islam, was ready to give its indispensable help to the cause of Pakistan 
because the British knew that by backing a Hindu-dominated unified 
India they would endanger their position in the entire Moslem world from 
Afghanistan to Libya. 

This estimate of Islam by British statesmen has been confirmed by So- 
viet policy in Central Asia where, since 1954, the U.S.S.R. has followed 
a new course in its attitude toward the Mohammedans. For many years 
the Soviet Union wooed the Islamic countries in the Near East, especially 
the countries of the Arab League, and at the same time soft-pedaled its 
attack on religion in its own Islamic territories. It even permitted partici- 
pation in the pilgrimage to Mecca. But the Islamic population, in spite 
of their growing indisposition toward the West, did not yield to Soviet 
propaganda. The Soviets then abandoned this approach and resumed 
their anti-religious, and especially anti-Islamic, propaganda struggle in 
Turkestan, thereby reorganizing Islam as a living force in the struggle for 
ideological and political domination. Late in 1955, a new policy toward 
the Islamic nations appeared to be in the making when Egypt was offered 
planes and weapons by the Soviet bloc. To try to evaluate the new course 
at the time these lines are written would be premature. 

It would be a fallacy to overestimate the power of Islam in its influence 
on political action. The lack of an organized church comparable to the 
Roman Catholic Church is a significant negative factor and the symbolism 
to Mecca in comparison with Rome is but a weak substitute. On the other 
hand, common religious sentiment may prompt the Islamic countries to 
parallel action or attitude. Another unifying factor is the close interrela- 
tionship of religion and law in Islam. 10 Because the canon law of Islam, 
the Sharia, is the basis of the legal system of all of the Islamic states; with 
the exception of Turkey, the boundaries between these states lose a little 
of its divisive value as compared with other international boundaries. 11 

10 A. T. Gibbs, Mohammedanism (Oxford, 1949). Every human activity has its 
legal aspects; therefore, an abatement of religious zeal and conviction must not lead 
to a comparable diminution of Islam as a legal and social bond. 

11 R. Montague, "Modern Nations and Islam," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 30 (1952), 
p. 581. 




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RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIRUTION AND ROLE 427 

THE RELIGIOUS FACTOR AND THE GREAT POWERS 

Comparable to the geographical distribution of Catholicism, and to 
some extent Protestantism, that of Sunnitic Islam over certain parts of the 
world evolves as a primary factor of the political map ( Fig. 12-5 ) . How- 
ever, none of the contemporary great Powers can be classified as either 
Roman Catholic, or Protestant, or Islamic. This reservation applies to the 
United States, the United Kingdom and the British Commonwealth of 
Nations, and, in regard to the Russian Orthodox Church, to the Soviet 
Union. Neither does such identification of religious distribution and state 
power exist in China. Even though the Catholic or Protestant or the Sun- 
nitic Islamic countries, if we would contemplate them as units, cover an 
area and have populations comparable to those of the Great Powers, their 
political structure and influence is not on a comparable plane. In the pres- 
ent phase of history, as cementing factors in the process of binding nations 
together, religious ideologies, even where they are strongest, are of much 
less force than are other, nonreligious, influences. 

All of the Great Powers, within their boundaries, have significant reli- 
gious minorities : the United States has a strong Catholic minority, as does 
the United Kingdom and the English-speaking member nations of its 
Commonwealth. China has an important Mohammedan minority, and the 
same is true in regard to the Soviet Union. Among the lesser powers, 
France and India have strong Mohammedan groups within their borders. 
With the exception of the Soviet state, all these powers have been careful 
in their recent history not to hurt, by their foreign policies, the religious 
feelings of their religious minorities. 

Both France and India stress the secular character of their states and 
the Soviet Union goes even farther in emphasizing its antireligious phi- 
losophy. Among the other great powers, especially those with predomi- 
nantly Protestant populations, the fact that their map of religions discloses 
a checkerboard of many different faiths or denominations, excludes poli- 
cies dictated solely by the ideas or ideals of one religion only. This does 
not mean that these nations are indifferent to the religious beliefs of their 
majorities. The United States and Britain are undoubtedly Christian 
powers, and even if we look at the extreme case of the Soviet Union, which 
we shall discuss later, we find that in spite of its negative attitude toward 
religion and the antireligious bias of its rulers, it has identified itself occa- 
sionally with the interests of the Russian Orthodox Church. 



428 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

RELIGION AS A STATE-BINDING FORCE 

If one looks for examples to test the thesis that religion is still a per- 
sistent political factor in the life of countries or nations, the multinational 
and multireligious countries which we discussed above are of much less 
significance than are two countries of relatively recent date which other- 
wise are strikingly dissimilar in most respects: Pakistan and Israel. 
Founded in 1947 and 1948 respectively, they are delimited primarily along 
lines of religious affiliation. However, that is as far as obvious similarities 
go. Each of these two states requires separate discussion. 

Israel: A Secular State. The Jewish communities are organized on a 
congregational basis and have no common organizational bond, only a 
common religious tradition. Nevertheless, the pressure of Jewish public 
opinion in the United States has visibly influenced the policy of the United 
States toward Israeli independence. This is due not only to organized 
Zionist opinion, but perhaps even more to the genuine religious feelings 
of the non-Zionist Jews. It is the more remarkable since in Israel itself the 
ideology which kindled the enthusiasm of the fighters for this new state- 
creation is a movement of secularized and westernized Jewry. It is a na- 
tional ideology which is almost indistinguishable from the national ideolo- 
gies of Western Europe. While this nationalism has its religious messianic 
roots, they tended to be pushed into the background; Western influences 
favored a modern secularized Zionism which recreated Hebrew as a living 
language and fostered a fervent nationalism. Finally, with the acquisition 
of a territory all attributes of a modern national state were attained. Re- 
ligion played in this process a very minor, certainly not an activating, role. 
The most orthodox groups, fundamentalist in the American Christian 
terminology, were opposed to this modern concept of a national state and 
some groups accepted it only after it had come into existence. But from 
this moment religion started to play a political role. The "religious" groups 
became organized in political parties and have succeeded in establishing 
a set of laws which reflects their convictions. The troubled boundary be- 
tween Arabs and Jews, though coincident with that between religious 
communities, is almost exclusively a political, national, and cultural divi- 
sion. 

Pakistan: An Islamic Nation. Altogether different is the story of the 
contemporaneous creation of Pakistan. National unity in its modern mean- 
ing never existed in India. However, common historical experience, the 
subjection under the British raj, molded India into a state closely resem- 
bling many western European nations before the full emergence of mod- 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 429 

era nationalism. This happened although many cultural and linguistic 
differences existed and still exist in India. Deep social and religious cleav- 
ages complicate the picture, such as that between Hindus and Moslems. 
This latter cleavage was strong enough to disrupt the emerging national 
unity, and in the twenties the idea of two separate states emerged and 
took such strong hold on the Moslems that finally no solution but partition 
seemed possible. 

The intent to make Urdu the state language in Pakistan and Hindi in 
the Union of India emphasizes the linguistic factors, 12 but the national 
division is essentially one of religious ideologies. This is the case despite 
the continued existence of minorities in both countries which include 
many million individuals of the other faith. Under the influence of Gandhi 
and Nehru, India has refused to base its existence on a religious idea. 
There is a Hindu religious party, the Masabha, but it is of relatively minor 
importance. Its influence on the shaping of the Indian laws is much 
weaker than is that of the Israeli religious parties. It seems more success- 
ful in promoting reactionary and nationalistic, rather than distinctly reli- 
gious points of its program. On the other hand, Pakistan was based from 
its very origin on the spiritual power and the community of Islam. Koranic 
law is at the basis of all its institutions. As in India, we observe in Pakistan 
a struggle between conservative representatives of religious institutions— 
in this case Islamic— and people of a more secular turn of mind. However, 
the primary interest to us is that the foreign policy of Pakistan is largely 
dictated by the concept that it is an Islamic state. This concept determines 
much of Pakistan's policy toward India; it led it into a community of 
political interests with the Arab states, though it is hardly based on a com- 
munity of material interests; it has endangered its standing with its allies, 
the Colombo Powers— not only India, but also Ceylon, Burma, and even 
Islamic Indonesia; it also has helped to smooth out the inherited, danger- 
ous conflicts with Afghanistan. While in all these international relations 
Islamic religious motives influenced Pakistan's attitude, there is one in- 
stance of Pakistan having made a vital political decision without reference 
to religious ties. The military agreement with Turkey was concluded over 
the protest of the Islamic Arab countries. Turkey, actually a secular state, 
is only nominally Islamic. 

Tibet: A Vanishing Theocracy. It is difficult to find another state of the 
same type as Pakistan. Until quite recently Tibet was considered the per- 
fect surviving example of a theocracy— a state where the deity not only 
influenced politics but, through the priests, actually ruled. In the last 

12 See pp. 385 ff. 



430 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

decade many forces have been at work to unseat the Buddhist, or rather 
Lamaist, theocracy of Tibet. It is still too early to define the outcome of 
this strange struggle, although the chances appear to be slim that the old 
order will survive. Chinese control was imposed in 1950, and in the spring 
of 1954 the Indian government concluded an agreement with the Chinese 
Communists by which India recognized Chinese suzerainty over Tibet. 
Thereby India abandoned Tibet to Communist pressure and influence. 

FEATURES OF ISLAM IN SAUDI ARABIA AND LIBYA 

The Arab states in general have retained to the present day the char- 
acter of Islamic states. However, they present a picture which is far from 
being uniform. In Egypt earlier, and in the small countries of southeast- 
ern Arabia only quite recently, Western secular ideas have found expres- 
sion. The religious movement of the Wahhabis in the Arabian desert was 
a distinct reaction against the minimizing of religious concepts in life and 
politics. Through the alliance with and the conversion of the house of 
Sa'ud (rulers of Riyadh in Central Arabia), this puritanical Islamic move- 
ment became victorious. The outstanding personality of the late Abdul- 
Aziz ibn-Sa'ud enabled him to lead the movement to power over most of 
the peninsula, and at the same time to preserve its religious purity. He 
succeeded in this despite the necessary use of modern weapons and means 
of communication, despite the establishment of American oil companies 
on Saudi Arabian soil, and despite the use of Americans as engineers, for 
irrigation and agricultural projects, and as pilots. However, wars to force 
Wahhabism on other Moslems have ceased and it would be hard to show 
that Saudi Arabian foreign policy of the recent past has been dictated by 
its special religious bias. While no international conflict has tested whether 
or not the religious factor has remained a strong force in Saudi Arabian 
politics, modern secular ideas from the West have undoubtedly made an 
impression on the country, particularly since Arabs have been trained in 
western technology by western experts. A European authority on Arabia, 
H. St. J. R. Philby, himself a convert to Islam, has warned that the death 
of Ibn-Sa'ud may make inevitable and bring to the surface currents which 
have little to do with strict Wahhabism. 13 

A similar development already has gone a step farther in Libya. The 
Islamic sect of the Senussi was founded on puritanic principles similar to 
those of the Wahhabites. Hidden away in the almost inaccessible oasis of 

13 "The New Reign in Sa'udi Arabia," Foreign Affairs, Vol. 32 (April, 1954), 
pp. 453 f. 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 431 

Kufra, their way of life remained unchanged until well into the twentieth 
century. Their intransigence was strengthened when they became the 
leaders and the last stronghold against the Italian conquerors of Libya. 
When Kufra fell to airplanes and tanks they continued the struggle from 
Egypt. Finally, their head, Muhammad Idris al-Mahdi al Senussi, returned 
with English help and became king of an independent Libya. The exigen- 
cies of the thirty-five-year struggle and lately of modern administration 
have tended to transform the Senussi brotherhood into a political and 
military organization. 14 The parliament of Libya, though still subordinate 
to the royal power, is capable of influencing politics to a certain degree. 
Its strong group of Tripolitanian members, many of them educated in 
Italian schools during the colonial period, are unlikely to be influenced by 
purely religious motivations overriding other considerations. 

RELIGION AS A SUPPORT FOR MODERN NATIONALISM 

So far we have discussed countries and nations where religion supplants 
or tries to supplant other motivations, especially the ethnic or linguistic 
nationalism of the nineteenth and twentieth century type. There are, how- 
ever, instances where religion and ethnic-linguistic nationalism have been 
fused to such a degree that theoretical separation can not be undertaken. 
In this connection the position of the Orthodox Church and of the Roman 
Catholic Church in Yugoslavia deserves investigation. The show trial of 
Archbishop, now Cardinal, Stepinac was initiated during Tito's Stalinist 
phase along lines parallel to those in other satellite countries. However, it 
would be an oversimplification to regard it solely as an act in the attack 
of Communism against religion. Croatians and Serbs— and several smaller 
national groups— have fought for supremacy since the foundation of the 
Yugoslav state in 1918, indeed since 1848 within the Hapsburg monarchy. 
Croats and Serbs speak dialects less unlike each other than many French, 
Italian, German, or English dialects are unlike their standard language. 
The Serbs, however, have been Christianized from Byzantium, and have 
lived under the influence of this civilization, whether in an independent 
state or under Turkish rule. The Croats received Christianity from Rome, 
were culturally under Italian and German influence, and politically have 
been dependent on Hungary. The national consciousness of both nations 
awoke in the years of the Napoleonic wars under the leadership of theo- 
logians. The census-takers of the old Austro-Hungarian Empire refused to 

14 W. H. Lewis and R. Gordon, "Libya After Two Years of Independence," Middle 
Eastern Journal, Vol. 8 (1954), pp. 41-53 (esp. p. 51). 



432 HUMAN AND CULTURAL FACTORS 

recognize separate languages and tabulated a Serbo-Croatian tongue. The 
difficulty in distinguishing nationality on the basis of the spoken language 
despite the existence of a fervent Serb and Croat nationalism accounts for 
the identification of Roman Catholics as Croats and Greek Orthodox as 
Serbs. 15 Thus the accusation against Cardinal Stepinac, though obviously 
a link in the chain of the Communist fight against religion, relied heavily 
on alleged activities of Stepinac on behalf of the wartime fascist Croat 
government and his alleged responsibility for anti-Serb atrocities. This 
signifies only one stage in the long-drawn struggle for the ascendancy of 
one of the two nations and religions in Yugoslavia. National and religious 
motives are inextricably interwoven. 

This identification of the Catholic faith with a nationality struggling 
for independence is not an isolated occurrence. The best known case is 
that of the Irish people. Many speakers of the English tongue, among 
them numerous families of English descent, have become completely 
identified with Irish nationalism because their ancestors remained Catho- 
lics at the time of the Reformation. The number of Celtish Irishmen who 
at that time became Protestant was apparently much smaller. These have 
become indistinguishable from other English or Scotch-descended groups. 

Not quite as thoroughgoing is the identification of the Reformed 
Church in South Africa with the Afrikaans-speaking Boer group and of 
the English-speaking churches with the English. 16 However, it is close 
enough to notice the influence of the fundamentalist creed of the Re- 
formed Church in the Biblical concept identifying the sons of Ham with 
the Negroes, including the curse of Noah for this son and his descendants. 
The leadership of the parties advocating "apartheid" is largely in the 
hands of Reformed church ministers. On the other side, since the days of 
Livingstone, British missionaries have been in the forefront of the de- 
fenders of the rights of the native. The African natives are denomination- 
ally divided. African churches, frequently called Ethiopian or Zion 
churches, have more and more attracted the Christianized natives. These 
African churches are in some cases Christian only with great qualifica- 

15 Mohammedan co-nationals are often simply referred to as such. 

16 "Out of a total European Afrikaans-speaking group of 1.12 million, 1.02 million 
belong to the Dutch Reformed churches, whereas out of a European English-speaking 
group of 783,000 only 33,000 are adherents of these churches. Religion . . . deepens 
the cleavage . . . between Afrikaner and Briton. 

In the Colored community the situation is different. About nine-tenths are Afrikaans- 
speaking, yet only three-tenths adhere to Dutch Reformed churches, and even in rural 
areas the so-called 'English-speaking' churches claim large numbers." K. Buchanan 
and N. Hurwitz, "The 'Coloured' Community in the Union of South Africa," Geo- 
graphic Review ( 1950), pp. 405-406. 



RELIGIONS: THEIR DISTRIBUTION AND ROLE 433 

tions, as they preserve many primitive pre-Christian concepts and rites. 
Thus the racial-national-cultural division becomes reflected in denomina- 
tional allegiance. At the same time the influence of religious leaders in the 
political field increases. If the nationalist policy of territorial segregation 
should succeed, the political map would become similar to the map of 
denominations. 

While in South Africa primitive religions impress their stamp on al- 
legedly Christian churches, in East Africa the conflict between white 
settlers and natives led in at least one instance to a revival of primitive 
rituals as a rallying point and a political weapon. Centered in the Kikuyu 
tribe of Kenya numbering over 1,000,000, the fanatical movement (Mau 
Mau) which started in 1952 has been a continuing problem to the British 
authorities and has exerted its influence on other tribes, the Moru, Embu, 
and Kamba, totaling well over 1,000,000. It is too early to define the con- 
tours of what at present is a fluctuating, possibly expanding area of inse- 
curity in a region of great strategic and economic importance to Britain's 
position in Africa. Many elements, among them especially the growing 
resentment of the tribes against the apartheid policy of the white minority 
( numbering some 40,000 in Kenya ) , help to unify the tribal organiz