When the full history of the great World War is written geography will be understood as one of the fundamental causes. When white people migrated into Europe from west central Europe they found a land divided by mountain ranges and arms of the sea into small geographic provinces. This led to the growth of numerous small countries. Physical geography, by isolating peoples, leads to national strength and often to international animosity.
As the population increased the great coal and mineral resources of Europe were discovered, and industrial life began to develop. Then the economic geography became of vital importance to each nation. Political boundary lines have been shifted to include special resources. Later, when greater supplies of raw material were needed at the manufacturing plants and new markets desired, the geography of the world became vital to the life of the nations in western Europe. A period of colonization followed, until almost all the lands of the world have been taken. The nations of western Europe have been most active in this work of colonization.
Geography Determined Strategy.
When the Germans planned their invasion of France the physical geography determined their lines of approach. When actual fighting took place the physical features became of the greatest strategic importance. The east-facing escarpment in France formed natural defenses of Paris. In the effort of the German army to approach Verdun from the east fully 500,000 men were sacrificed in trying to capture the heights east of that city. The war became a "War of Positions". The topographic situation of each town was important. The position of the Chemin des Dames was important because of its elevation, so the positions of Vimy Ridge and the Messines Ridge were fought for most bitterly. Each river valley in northern France played a part in determining campaigns. The great strategy of Marshal Foch in the final drives, was laid out with a full knowledge and a full appreciation of the importance of geography. The German army was crowded back toward the Ardennes, through which there was but one narrow pass, the valley of the Meuse. The retreat of such a vast army through that gorge would be impossible and when the route of transportation east and west was cut the situation for the enemy was desperate. The physical features held them on one side, the army of the Allies on the other. Disaster faced them, and the ratification of the terms of the armistice came with expected promptness.
Peace Conference Problems Difficult.
Many of the most difficult problems before the Peace Conference involve questions of physical, economic and commercial geography. They involve problems in ethnic geography. The French, British and American geographers have been at work for months preparing maps of the physical features, of the present and past boundaries, of race distribution, of the distribution of coal, iron, oil, forests, and various other natural resources within the continent. There are a score of geographers available as experts at the Peace Conference. We fully expect a new geography for Europe, a new geography for western Asia, and changes in the geography of Africa and in the distribution of the islands of the Pacific.
The war has awakened in the American people an interest in geography, an appreciation of the significance of geographic factors in the control of industrial and commercial life. Every man interested in large business enterprises should be trained in geography; every man who expects to travel in foreign lands or to enter government service should understand the geography in his own country and that of the world.
Geography: Off the MapThe University has all but eliminated its Department of Geography by cancelling the appointments of three of the four instructors.
The Teaching of Geography.Yesterday afternoon Professor Davis gave the first of a course of three lectures on the methods of teaching geography. Other
Second Lecture by Prof. JohnstonProfessor R. M. Johnston will deliver the second of a series of seven lectures on "The Political Geography of Europe"
"The Political Geography of Europe"Professor R. M. Johnson of the History Department, will give the third of a series of seven lectures on "The
POWERFUL INFLUENCES IN WARUnder the auspices of the Department of Geology and Geography, a series of five public lectures will be given in