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Encyclopedia > Oswald Spengler

Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (Blankenburg am Harz May 29, 1880May 8, 1936, Munich) was a German historian and philosopher, although his studies ranged throughout mathematics, science, philosophy, history, and art. He is best known for his book The Decline of the West in which he puts forth a cyclical theory of the rise and decline of civilizations. After Decline was published in 1918, Spengler produced his Prussianism and Socialism in 1920, in which he argued for an organic version of socialism and authoritarianism. He wrote extensively throughout World War I and the interwar period, and supported German hegemony in Europe. Spengler voted for the National Socialists in 1932 and hung a swastika flag outside his Munich home, and the National Socialists held Spengler as an intellectual precursor. But Spengler's pessimism about Germany and Europe's future, his refusal to support Nazi ideas of racial superiority, and his anti-Nazi work the Hour of Decision won him ostracism after 1933. Blankenburg am Harz is a town and health resort of Germany, in the duchy of Brunswick, at the N. foot of the Harz Mountains, 12 m. ... May 29 is the 149th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (150th in leap years). ... 1880 (MDCCCLXXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... May 8 is the 128th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (129th in leap years). ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... Munich (German: München, (pronounced listen) is the capital of the German Federal State of Bavaria (German: Freistaat Bayern). ... A historian is a person who studies history. ... A philosopher is a person who thinks deeply regarding people, society, the world, and/or the universe. ... Euclid, a famous Greek mathematician known as the father of geometry, is shown here in detail from The School of Athens by Raphael. ... Science in the broadest sense refers to any knowledge or trained skill, especially (but not exclusively) when this is attained by verifiable means. ... Philosopher in Meditation (detail), by Rembrandt. ... For other senses of this word, see history (disambiguation). ... Venus de Milo exhibited in the Louvre museum, France. ... The Decline of the West (German: Der Untergang des Abendlandes) is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler, the first volume of which was published in the summer of 1918. ... Historians from Polybius to Giambattista Vico and Karl Marx have entertained the notion that history moves in definite cycles. ... The word civilization (or civilisation) has a variety of meanings related to human society. ... Combatants Allied Powers: British Empire France Italy Russia United States Central Powers: Austria-Hungary Bulgaria Germany Ottoman Empire Casualties Military dead: 5 million Civilian dead: 3 million Total dead: 8 million Military dead: 4 million Civilian dead: 3 million Total dead: 7 million The First World War, also known as... The Interwar period was the time between World War I and World War II, ergo the 1920s and 1930s. ... Hegemony (pronounced or ) (greek:ηγεμονία) is the dominance of one group over other groups, with or without the threat of force, to the extent that, for instance, the dominant party can dictate the terms of trade to its advantage; more broadly, cultural perspectives become skewed to favor the dominant group. ... The Nazi party used a right-facing swastika as their symbol and the red and black colors were said to represent Blut und Boden (blood and soil). ... Ostracism was a procedure under the Athenian democracy in which a prominent citizen could be expelled from the city-state of Athens for ten years. ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Contents


Biography

Oswald Spengler was born in 1880 in Blankenburg at the foot of the Harz mountains, the eldest of four children, and the only boy. His family was typically conservative German small bourgeoisie. His father, originally a mining technician, and coming from a long line of mineworkers, was a post office bureaucrat. His childhood home's emotional atmosphere was reserved, and the young Spengler turned to books and the great cultural personalities. He never enjoyed perfect health, and was a lifelong sufferer of migraine headaches and an anxiety complex. Blankenburg am Harz is a town and health resort of Germany, in the duchy of Brunswick, at the N. foot of the Harz Mountains, 12 m. ... The Harz is a mountain range in northern Germany. ... Conservatism or political conservatism is any of several historically related political philosophies or political ideologies. ... bourgeoisie is basically a trem that meens middle class. ... Chuquicamata, the largest open pit copper mine in the world, Chile. ... Small-town post office and town hall in Lockhart, Alabama A post office is a facility (in most countries, a government one) where the public can purchase postage stamps for mailing correspondence or merchandise, and also drop off or pick up packages or other special-delivery items. ... A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy, usually within an institution of the government. ... Anxiety refers to a complex combination of negative emotions that includes fear, apprehension and worry, and is often accompanied by physical sensations such as palpitations, nausea, chest pain and/or shortness of breath. ...


At the age of ten, his family moved to the university city of Halle. Here Spengler received a classical education in high school, studying Greek, Latin, mathematics and natural sciences. Here too he developed his affinity for the arts - especially poetry, drama, and music. He even experimented with a few artistic creations, some of which still survive. University City is a city in: Pennsylvania; see University City, Pennsylvania Missouri; see University City, Missouri is a designation for some characteristic cities and towns across the world: see University town is the designation for a large campus belonging to a university, placed inside a city: Ciudad Universitaria (Spanish for... Halle (also called Halle an der Saale in order to distinguish from Halle in North Rhine-Westphalia) is the largest town in the German Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. ... Classical education as understood and taught in the middle ages of Western culture is roughly based on the ancient Greek concept of Paideia. ... High school - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia /**/ @import /skins-1. ... Latin is an ancient Indo-European language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. ... The lunar farside as seen from Apollo 11 Natural science is the rational study of the universe via rules or laws of natural order. ... Look up poetry in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into theatre. ...


After his father's death in 1901, Spengler attended several universities (Munich, Berlin, and Halle) as a private scholar, taking courses in a wide range of subjects: history, philosophy, mathematics, natural science, literature, the classics, music, and fine arts. His private studies were undirected. In 1903, he failed his doctoral thesis on Heraclitus because of insufficient references, which effectively ended a chance for a career in academia. In 1904, he received his Ph.D., and in 1905 suffered a nervous breakdown. 1901 (MCMI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (see link for calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Wednesday of the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... With approximately 48,000 students, the Ludwig-Maximilians-University Munich (German: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München or LMU) is one of the largest universities in Germany. ... Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin The Humboldt University of Berlin (German Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) is Berlins oldest university, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin (Universität zu Berlin) by the liberal Prussian educational reformer and linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt whose university model has strongly influenced... The Martin-Luther-University of Halle-Wittenberg is located in the German cities of Halle, Saxony-Anhalt and Wittenberg. ... Old book bindings at the Merton College library. ... The Cornfield is an oil on canvas painting by John Constable in 1826 Fine art refers to arts that are concerned with beauty or which appealed to taste (SOED 1991). ... 1903 (MCMIII) was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. ... Heraclitus by Johannes Moreelse Heraclitus of Ephesus (Greek Herakleitos) (about 535 - 475 BC), known as The Obscure (Greek Ainiktin), was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher from Ephesus in Asia Minor. ... Plato is credited with the inception of academia: the body of knowledge, its development and transmission across generations. ... 1904 (MCMIV) was a leap year starting on a Friday (link will take you to calendar). ... Doctor of Philosophy (Ph. ... 1905 (MCMV) was a common year starting on Sunday (see link for calendar). ... Although not a medical term, the phrase nervous breakdown is often used outside medical circles to describe a sudden and acute attack of mental illness—for instance, clinical depression or anxiety disorder—in a previously outwardly healthy person. ...


Scholars remark that his life seemed rather eventless. He briefly served as a teacher in Saarbrücken and then Düsseldorf. And from 1908 to 1911, he taught at a practical high school (Realgymnasium) in Hamburg. There he taught science, German history, and mathematics. Saarbrücken [] is the capital of the Saarland Bundesland in Germany. ... Düsseldorf is the capital city of the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and (together with Cologne and the Ruhr Area) the economic center of Western Germany. ... 1908 (MCMVIII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ... Hamburgs Motto: May the posterity endeavour with dignity to conserve the freedom, which the forefathers acquired. ... This article gives an overview of the History of Germany. ...


In 1911, following his mother's death, he moved to Munich, where he would live until his death in 1936. He lived as a cloistered scholar, supported by his modest inheritance. Spengler lived on very limited means and was marked by loneliness. He owned no books, and took jobs as a tutor or writing for magazines to earn extra money. 1911 (MCMXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (click on link for calendar). ...


He began work on the first volume of Decline intending to focus on Germany within Europe at first, but was deeply affected by the Agadir Crisis, and widened the scope of his study. Spengler was inspired by Otto Seeck's work The Decline of Antiquity in naming his own effort. The book was completed in 1914, but publishing was delayed by WWI. During the war, his inheritance was largely invalidated because it was invested overseas, thus Spengler lived in genuine poverty for this period. World map showing Europe Political map Europe is one of the seven continents of Earth which, in this case, is more a cultural and political distinction than a physiographic one, leading to various perspectives about Europes borders. ... The Agadir Crisis, also called the Second Moroccan Crisis, was the international tension sparked by the deployment of a German warship, the Panther, to the Moroccan port of Agadir on July 1, 1911. ... 1914 (MCMXIV) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... WWI may be an acronym for: World War I World Wrestling Industry This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


When Decline came out in 1917, it was a wild success because of the perceived national humiliation of the Treaty of Versailles and economic depression fueled by hyperinflation seemed to prove Spengler right (Spengler had in fact believed that Germany would win while he was writing the book). It comforted Germans because it seemingly rationalized their downfall as part of larger world-historical processes. But it was widely successful outside of Germany as well, and by 1919 was translated into several other languages. He rejected a subsequent offer to become Professor of Philosophy at the University of Goettingen, saying he needed time to focus on writing. 1917 (MCMXVII) was a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar (see link for calendar) or a common year starting on Tuesday of the 13-day slower Julian calendar. ... The Treaty of Versailles (1919) was the peace treaty which officially ended World War I between the Allied and Associated Powers and Germany. ... In economics, a depression is a term commonly used for a sustained downturn in the economy. ... In economics, hyperinflation is inflation which is out of control, a condition in which prices increase rapidly as a currency loses its value. ... 1919 (MCMXIX) was a common year starting on Wednesday (see link for calendar). ... The Georg-August University of Göttingen (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, often called the Georgia Augusta) was founded in 1734 by George II, King of Great Britain and Elector of Hanover, and opened in 1737. ...


The book was widely discussed, even by those who had not read (or understood) it. Historians took umbrage at the amateur effort by an untrained author and his unapologetically non-scientific approach. Thomas Mann compared reading Spengler's book to reading Schopenhauer for the first time. Academics gave it a mixed reception. Max Weber described Spengler as a "very ingenious and learned dilettante" while Karl Popper described the thesis as "pointless." Spengler's obscurity, intuitionalism, and mysticism were easy targets, especially for the Positivists and neo-Kantians who saw no meaning in history. Ludwig Wittgenstein, however, shared Spengler's cultural pessimism. Spengler's work became an imporant fundation for the social cycle theory. Thomas Mann Paul Thomas Mann (June 6, 1875 – August 12, 1955) was a German novelist, social critic, philanthropist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate, lauded principally for a series of highly symbolic and often ironic epic novels and mid-length stories, noted for their insight into the psychology of the artist... Arthur Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher born in Gdańsk (Danzig), Poland. ... Maximilian Weber (IPA: []) (April 21, 1864 – June 14, 1920) was a German political economist and sociologist who is considered one of the founders of the modern study of sociology and public administration. ... (ital. ... Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH, KT, MA, Ph. ... The Flammarion Woodcut can be taken to illustrate the Gnostics mystical search for spiritual worlds by circumventing the constraints of materialism. ... Positivism can have several meanings. ... Neo-Kantianism means a revived or modified type of philosophy along the lines of that laid down by Immanuel Kant in the eighteenth century. ... Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (IPA: ) (April 26, 1889 – April 29, 1951) was an Austrian philosopher who contributed several ground-breaking works to contemporary philosophy, primarily on the foundations of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind. ... Social cycle theory (also known as sociological theory of cycles) is one of the earliest social theories in sociology. ...


In the second volume, published in 1920, Spengler argued that German socialism was different from Marxism, and was in fact compatible with traditional German conservatism. In 1924, following the social-economic upheaval and inflation, Spengler entered politics in an effort to bring Reichswehr general Hans von Seeckt to power as the country's leader. But the effort failed and Spengler proved ineffective in practical politics. In 1931, he published Man and Technics, which warned against the dangers of technology and industrialism to culture. He especially pointed to the tendency of Western technology to spread to hostile "Colored races" that would then use the weapons against Europe. It was poorly received because of its anti-industrialism. 1920 (MCMXX) was a leap year starting on Thursday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January January 3 - Babe Ruth is traded by the Boston Red Sox to the New York Yankees for $125,000, the largest sum ever paid for a player at that time. ... Socialism refers to a broad array of doctrines or political movements that envisage a socio-economic system in which property and the distribution of wealth are subject to social control. ... Marxism is the philosophy, social theory and political practice based on the works of Karl Marx, a 19th century German socialist philosopher, economist, journalist, and revolutionary. ... 1924 (MCMXXIV) was a leap year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... The Reichswehr (help· info) (literally National Defense or Imperial Defense) formed the military organization of Germany from 1919 until 1935, when the government rebranded it as the Wehrmacht (Defence Force). ... Hans von Seeckt Hans von Seeckt (22 April 1866 - 27 December 1936) was a German soldier. ... 1931 (MCMXXXI) was a common year starting on Thursday (link is to a full 1931 calendar). ... Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life is a short book by Oswald Spengler. ... By the mid 20th century humans had achieved a level of technological mastery sufficient to leave the surface of the planet for the first time and explore space. ...


Despite voting for Hitler over Hindenburg in 1932, Spengler found the Führer vulgar. He met Hitler in 1933 and remained unimpressed after a lengthy discussion, saying that he didn't want "heroic tenor but a real hero." He publicly quarreled with Alfred Rosenberg, and along with his pessimism and remarks about the Führer, he earned himself isolation and public silence. He would further reject the offers from Goebbels to give public speeches. However, Spengler also became a member of the Academy of Germany in this year. Adolf Hitler Adolf Hitler (April 20, 1889 – April 30, 1945, standard German pronunciation in the IPA) was the Führer (leader) of the National Socialist German Workers Party (Nazi Party) and of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945. ... Hindenburg may refer to: Paul von Hindenburg, president of Germany Carl Friedrich Hindenburg, mathematician Hindenburg in Oberschlesien the former name of the city of Zabrze the zeppelin, see Hindenburg disaster This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other pages that might otherwise share the same title. ... 1932 (MCMXXXII) was a leap year starting on Friday (the link will take you to a full 1932 calendar). ... 1933 (MCMXXXIII) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will take you to calendar). ... From the Greek cognate , in mythology and folklore, a hero (male) or heroine (female) is an eminent character archetype that quintessentially embodies key traits valued by its originating culture. ... Alfred Rosenberg Alfred Rosenberg (January 12, 1893, Reval (Tallinn) Estonia, then part of the Russian Empire–October 16, 1946) was an early and intellectually influential member of the Nazi party, who later held several important posts in the Nazi government. ... Joseph Goebbels Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels (October 29, 1897 – May 1, 1945) was Adolf Hitlers Propaganda Minister (see Propagandaministerium) in Nazi Germany. ...


The Hour of Decision, published in 1934, was a bestseller, but was later banned by the Nazis for its critiques of National Socialism. Spengler's criticisms of liberalism were welcomed by the Nazis, but Spengler himself disagreed with their biological ideology and anti-Semitism. He also viewed the Nazis as too narrowly German, and not European enough to lead the fight against other civilizations. 1934 (MCMXXXIV) was a common year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... National-Socialist German Workers Party (German: ), better known as the NSDAP or the Nazi Party was a political party that was led to power in Germany by Adolf Hitler in 1933. ... National Socialism redirects here. ... This article discusses liberalism as a major worldwide political ideology, its development, and its many modern-day variations. ... The Eternal Jew: 1937 German poster. ...


He spent his final years in Munich, listening to Beethoven, reading Molière and Shakespeare, buying several thousand books, and collecting ancient Turkish, Persian and Hindu weapons. He made occasional trips to the Harz mountains, and to Italy. Shortly before his death, in a letter to a friend, he remarked that "the German Reich will probably no longer exist." He died of a heart attack on May 8, 1936, three weeks before his 56th birthday. Ludwig van Beethoven (pronounced ) (baptized December 17, 1770 – March 26, 1827) was a German composer and pianist. ... Molière, engraved frontispiece to his Works. ... William Shakespeare—born April 1564; baptised April 26, 1564; died April 23, 1616 (O.S.), May 3, 1616 (N.S.)—has a reputation as the greatest of all writers in English. ... Motto: Persian: Esteqlāl, āzādÄ«, jomhÅ«rÄ«-ye eslāmÄ« (English: Independence, freedom, (the) Islamic Republic) Anthem: SorÅ«d-e MellÄ«-e Īrān Capital Tehran Largest city Tehran Official language(s) Persian (Farsi) Government Islamic Republic  - Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei  - President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Revolution Overthrew Monarchy   - Declared February... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... The Harz is a mountain range in northern Germany. ... (help· info) (), is the German word for realm or empire, cognate with Scandinavian rike/rige, Dutch rijk and English ric as found in bishopric. ... A myocardial infarction occurs when an atherosclerotic plaque slowly builds up in the inner lining of a coronary artery and then suddenly ruptures, totally occluding the artery and preventing blood flow downstream. ... May 8 is the 128th day of the year in the Gregorian Calendar (129th in leap years). ... 1936 (MCMXXXVI) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


Influence

  • Communal readings of The Decline Of The West held great influence over the founding members of the Beat Generation. Spengler's vision of the cyclical nature of civilization and the contemporeneity of the end of the Western European cycle led William Seward Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg to look for the seeds of the next cycle in the vibrant, marginalized communities of which they were a part.
  • In Germany the direction of his works is doubted today since it was also popular with supporters of National Socialism.
  • James Blish's Cities in Flight tetrology explicitly lists Spengler's theories as an influence on the future history of the Cities.
  • In the DVD commentary to Ghostbusters, actor and screenwriter Harold Ramis says that his character Egon Spengler's last name was in honor of Oswald Spengler, while the first name "Egon" came from a Czech childhood friend of Ramis's.

The term Beat Generation refers primarily to a group of American writers of the 1950s. ... Patent no. ... Jack Kerouac (pronounced ) (March 12, 1922, Lowell, Massachusetts – October 21, 1969, St. ... Allen Ginsberg (left) with his lifelong companion, poet Peter Orlovsky. ... Georg Henrik von Wright (pronounced, roughly, vrikt) (June 14, 1916 – June 16, 2003) was a Finnish philosopher, who succeeded Ludwig Wittgenstein as professor at the University of Cambridge. ... Francis Parker Yockey Francis Parker Yockey, (September 18, 1917 – June 16, 1960), was an American philosopher and polemicist best known for his neo-Spenglerian book Imperium, published under the pen name Ulick Varange in 1948. ... The Decline of the West (German: Der Untergang des Abendlandes) is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler, the first volume of which was published in the summer of 1918. ... Northrop Frye Herman Northrop Frye, CC, MA, D.Litt. ... The Decline of the West (German: Der Untergang des Abendlandes) is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler, the first volume of which was published in the summer of 1918. ... Northrop Fryes Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays (Princeton University Press, 1957) attempts to formulate an overall view of the scope, theory, principles, and techniques of literary criticism derived exclusively from literature. ... Samuel Phillips Huntington (b. ... Cover of The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order The Clash of Civilizations is a controversial theory in international relations popularized by Samuel P. Huntington. ... National Socialism redirects here. ... Dennis King (born 1941) is an American investigative journalist. ... The Democratic Party is one of the two major United States political parties. ... A conspiracy theory is a theory that defies common historical or current understanding of events, under the claim that those events are the result of manipulations by two or more individuals or various secretive powers or conspiracies. ... Defunct California Proposition 64 North American Labour Party Party for the Commonwealth of Canada Parti pour la république du Canada U.S. Labor Party Lyndon Hermyle LaRouche, Jr. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Half full or half empty? Pessimism describes a general belief that things are bad, and tend to become worse; or that looks to the eventual triumph of evil over good; it contrasts with optimism, the contrary belief in the goodness and betterment of things generally. ... Arthur Schopenhauer Arthur Schopenhauer (February 22, 1788 – September 21, 1860) was a German philosopher born in Gdańsk (Danzig), Poland. ... This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Nihilism is a philosophical position which argues that the world, and especially human existence, is without objective meaning, purpose, comprehensible truth, or essential value. ... James Benjamin Blish (East Orange, New Jersey, May 23, 1921 - Henley-on-Thames, July 29, 1975) was an American author of fantasy and science fiction. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... For other uses, see Ghostbusters (disambiguation). ... Harold Ramis (right) with Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray in Ghostbusters. ...

Spengler's works

... The Decline of the West (German: Der Untergang des Abendlandes) is a two-volume work by Oswald Spengler, the first volume of which was published in the summer of 1918. ... Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life is a short book by Oswald Spengler. ... A weekly radio broadcast by the Dr. Rev. ...

Further reading

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
  • Twilight of the Evening Lands: Oswald Spengler - A Half Century Later by John F. Fennelly (New York, Brookdale Press, 1972) ISBN 091265001X
  • Biographical Dictionary of the Extreme Right Since 1890 edited by Philip Rees, 1991, ISBN 0130893013
  • Prophet of Decline : Spengler on world history and politics by John Farrenkopf (Publisher: Baton Rouge : Louisiana State University Press, 2001) ISBN 0807126535 ISBN 0807127272
  • Hughes, H. Stuart. "Preface to the Present Edition." Preface. The Decline of the West: An Abridged Edition. By Oswald Spengler. New York: Oxford University Press, 1991. ISBN 0-19-506751-7

Image File history File links Wikiquote-logo-en. ... Wikiquote logo Wikiquote is a sister project of Wikipedia, using the same MediaWiki software. ...

External links


  Results from FactBites:
 
The Decline of the West - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (4064 words)
Spengler divides the concepts of culture and civilization, the former focused inward and growing, the latter outward and merely expanding.
Spengler is neither wholly pro-religion nor anti-religion, but he does differentiate between manifestations of religion that appear within a civilization’s developmental cycle.
Spengler notes the urge of a nation toward universalism, idealism, and imperialism in the wake of a major geopolitical enemy’s defeat.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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