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See also: Realpolitik


Alternative forms[edit]


Borrowed from German Realpolitik (literally real politics, realistic politics).


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɹeɪˈɑːlpɒlɪˌtiːk/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ɹeɪˈɑlpoʊlɪˌtik/, /ɹiˈɑlpoʊlɪˌtik/
  • Rhymes: -iːk


realpolitik (countable and uncountable, plural realpolitiks)

  1. (politics) Pragmatic government policy concerned with perceived interests of the state.
    Synonyms: Machiavellianism, pragmatism
    • 1913, Stanley Shaw, William of Germany, page 357:
      It is Realpolitik in sport, and a Realpolitik which is not wholly unknown in England; but while the spirit of Realpolitik is still perceivable in German sport, it is equally perceivable that the standard English way of viewing sporting competition is becoming more and more approached in Germany.
    • 1918, Hartley Burr Alexander, Liberty and democracy: and other essays in war-time:
      Possibly the Germans themselves regard their Realpolitik as but the continuation of the philosophic tradition of disillusionment: like Xenophanes they would remind us that the gods of the Ethiopians are snub-nosed and swart, of the Thracians blue-eyed and red-haired, and that if oxen had gods their gods would be oxen.
    • 1932, Elisha Ely Garrison, The Riddle of Economics, page 254:
      Realpolitik, in one or another form, is, therefore, from the standpoint of science and of abstract principle, immoral, unsound and no defense of it on the ground of concrete necessity can make it otherwise.
    • 2013 August 14, Simon Jenkins, “Gibraltar and the Falklands deny the logic of history”, in The Guardian[1]:
      Twenty-first century nation states will no longer tolerate even the mild humiliation of hosting the detritus of 18th- and 19th-century empires. Most European empires were born of the realpolitik of power, mostly the treaties of Utrecht (1713) and Paris (1763). The same realpolitik now ordains their dismantling. An early purpose of the United Nations was to bring this about.

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