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The concept of Lebensraum—or “living space”—served as a critical component in the Nazi worldview that drove both its military conquests and racial policy.

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum

The German concept of Lebensraum, "living space") comprises policies and practices of settler colonialism which proliferated in Germany from the 1890s to the 1940s. First popularized around 1901,[1] [2] Lebensraum became a geopolitical goal of Imperial Germany in World War I (1914–1918) originally, as the core element of the Septemberprogramm of territorial expansion.[3] The most extreme form of this ideology was supported by the Nazi Party (NSDAP) and Nazi Germany until the end of World War II.[4]

  1. The Political Poisoning of Geography, The Threat of Geopolitics to International Relations: Obsession with the Heartland, William Mallinson & Zoran Ristic (2016) Cambridge Scholars Publishing p. 3 (19 / 30)
  2. Critical Geopolitics: The Politics of Writing Global Space, Gearóid Ó Tuathail & Gerard Toal, U of Minnesota Press (1996)
  3. Graham Evans & Jeffrey Newnham, Penguin Dictionary of International relations (1998)
  4. Woodruff D. Smith. The Ideological Origins of Nazi Imperialism. Oxford University Press. p84.


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