But Buckle excels all. In his History of Civilisation, he maintained that “the actions of men, and therefore of societies, are determined by reciprocal interaction between the mind and external phenomena.”
He asserted that the actions of the individual and societies are influenced by the physical environments, particularly climate, food, soil, and the “general aspects of nature.” In short, Buckle repudiates the generally accepted idea that the free will of man determines the action of the individual and society.
It is axiomatically true that geographical location is an important factor in mouldings the destiny of every State, and it greatly influences its national and international policies and political institutions. And to fathom the actual impact of geographical factors on the political life of a nation, particularly in relation to its foreign policy, a new discipline of Geopolitics has developed.
Thus, an island nation may readily become a moral power whereas a nation with rich natural resources may become more powerful in world politics. The nation controlling the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal becomes by that very extremely important to other nations.
The geographical position of Germany, located as she is in the centre of Europe and without natural boundaries, is a compelling reason for her to remain a great military power. “Our historic-political destiny,” wrote Professor Hintze, “lies in our geographical position.”
It is really no exaggeration to say that geographical conditions always influence in considerable measure the determination of national policies and to some extent the character of the political institutions.
Bryce has aptly said that “in any country physical conditions and inherited institutions so affect the political institutions of a nation as to give its government distinctive character.” The obvious reference is to Great Britain and Switzerland.