Cover Osteuropa 5/2020

In Osteuropa 5/2020

Sea powers and land powers
Concepts for a history of maritime ideas and strategies

Herfried Münkler

Deutsche Fassung


In the view of Thucydides, the war between Athens and Sparta was caused by the difference between the land and the sea. Sea powers and land powers differ in terms of their economic and social basis and with regard to their political order. They also pursue different military and strategic goals. The Peloponnesian War is the template for a hegemonial conflict between the open trading city and the closed barracks, between democracy and oligarchy, between sea and land. This conflict pattern has dominated the history of international relations right up until today. Even current hotspots such as the annexation of Ukrainian Crimea by Russia, the escalating conflict between the USA and China and an apparently economic macroproject such as China’s “One Belt, One Road Initiative” can be explained by way of strategic categories.

(Osteuropa 5/2020, pp. 5–21)