Between Man and Nature: The enduring wisdom of Sir Halford J. Mackinder

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This article argues for the continued relevance of the work and theories of the British Geostrategist Sir Halford J. Mackinder (1861-1947). It asserts that commentators and scholars who seek to marginalise Mackinder have too often dismissed his theories without setting them in the context of their continued endorsement in crucial areas of the globe. After 1945, despite his theories being tainted by association with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan, both Moscow and Washington recognised the utility of Mackinder’s work and tailored policy accordingly. The end of Cold War saw Mackinder fall out of favour as his model was deemed unsuitable for policy analysis by a number of influential thinkers. It is argued here that, in recent years, the arena of international politics has seen a rehabilitation of Mackinder, accompanied by a resurgence of interest in Geopolitics. Finally, the piece examines those areas of the contemporary globe where Mackinder’s influence is greatest.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)898-935
Number of pages38
JournalJournal of Strategic Studies
Issue number6
Early online date08 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sept 2015


  • Central Asia
  • China
  • Energy Wars
  • Geopolitics
  • Germany
  • Heartland
  • Mackinder
  • New Great Game
  • Russia
  • Strategy
  • United States of America


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