Spengler’s “Decline of the West”, 1922

Spengler was born in 1880, the first born child of a German mining family. When he was ten, he was trained in the Greco-Roman tradition, learning Greek, Latin, mathematics and art. However, he was also heavily influenced by Nietzche and Goethe’s writings. When he later entered college for a teaching degree, he continued his pursuits of the classics. Spengler was notorious for not including sources in his papers and essays and was heavily criticized for it during his time.

It is no surprise then that his work, “The Decline of the West” is steeped in Greco-Roman references and terms. He parallels the events leading to the end of Roman democracy to the coming end (so he says) of European democracy. It is understandable why Spengler takes a negative tone in his work. In the settlements of the Treaty of Versailles, it is safe to say that Germany got the short end of the stick, so to speak. So Spengler, a born-and-raised German must have felt disenfranchised when he saw his country humiliated and his investments lost. He became very poor before he eventually got his work published.

His message is prophetic and critical, the era of endless progress and materialism is over. The Industrial Revolution is over. A time of Caesars, so he says, is coming. The principles of enlightenment and education will end up hurting Europe in the end.

Question: Do you think that Spengler may have predicted the coming of Adolf Hitler, and Communism in Europe?

Author Info: http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v17/v17n2p-2_Stimely.html

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