Geopolitics on trial: politics and science in the wartime geopolitics of Gudmund Hatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The history of Danish geographers during the Second World War is almost synonymous with that of Gudmund Hatt (1884–1960), the Professor of Human Geography at Copenhagen University. Hatt was a key figure in the development of Danish geography and assumed the role of a public intellectual, particularly through his geopolitical analyses as they unfolded in a staggering number of radio speeches, newspaper essays, books and articles during the late 1930s and early 1940s. But this industriousness, which accelerated during the first years of the Nazi-German occupation of Denmark (9 April 1940–5 May 1945), was also the direct reason for Hatt's hard downfall – academically as well as personally. For his wartime activities, Hatt was as the only Danish university professor tried by a post-war public servants' tribunal. It found that he had engaged in 'dishonourable national conduct' during the occupation and dismissed him from his professorship. Drawing on archives and published sources from the period, the paper focuses on Hatt's wartime activities and geopolitical analyses in the complicated political context of the occupation, and it pays particular attention to the conflict between 'science' and 'politics' as it crystallised in the post-war trial of Hatt.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Human Geography


  • Denmark, Gudmund Hatt, World War II, Geopolitics
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
JournalJournal of Historical Geography
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

The information about affiliations in this record was updated in December 2015. The record was previously connected to the following departments: Department of Human Geography (LUR000049)