Geopolitics abhors a vacuum

Ross explains the tension between Australia and parts of Asia on the radio, lending the struggle for space the appearance of “physical” necessity.

This rare review of a Colin Ross radio lecture notes that Ross repeatedly refers to his film Achtung Australien! Achtung Asien! (1930), which was then recently premiered in Vienna. Essentially, this is a promotional push presented as an act of modesty. Ross claims that “the moving image depictions of his film could impart what he has to say in a much more sensual fashion than the spoken word.”

The reviewer finds Ross’s “pensive, husky” presentation highly effective, though. Admiringly, he stresses the quasi-scientific appearance of “physical” necessity to achieve  the equilibrium that Ross claims to exist between Australia’s underpopulation and Asia’s overpopulation. As if horror vacui was a political force. This observation spells out a crucial point of geopolitics’ appeal: its use of a pseudo-scientific language of force fields, or population pressures, which are as suggestive as they are purposely vague, if not downright esoteric.1 It works on the reviewer, to say the least, who describes getting “the gruesome vision of a globe-encompassing world war of the future” while listening to Ross making his point.

Joachim Schätz

Otto Koenig. Aus der Radiowoche. Arbeiter-Zeitung. 24th ed. 1931 Jan 24; 8.

Topic: Volk ohne Raum
Case: Oceania-Asia trip 1928-30


1 Cf. Andy Hahnemann. [Excerpt from] Volk ohne Raum - Raum ohne Volk. In: Texturen des Globalen. Geopolitik und populäre Literatur in der Zwischenkriegszeit 1918-1939. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag Winter; 2010, p. 279–88.

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