Oswald Spengler


Oswald Spengler : biography

May 29, 1880 – May 8, 1936

Spengler’s works

  • Der metaphysische Grundgedanke der Heraklitischen Philosophie, 1904.
  • Der Untergang des Abendlandes: Umrisse einer Morphologie der Weltgeschichte, 1918-22 (2 vols.: Gestalt und Wirklichkeit; Welthistorische Perspektives) – The Decline of the West; an Abridged Edition by Helmut Werner (tr. by F. Atkinson).Falke, Konrad. The Living Age, Vol. 314, September 1922.Stewart, W. K. (1924). The Century Magazine, Vol. CVIII, No. 5.
    • In Talcott Parsons, ed., Theories of Society, Vol. II, The Free Press of Glencoe, Inc., 1961.
  • Preussentum und Sozialismus, 1920 ().
  • Pessimismus?, G. Stilke, 1921.
  • Die Revolution ist nicht zu Ende, c. 1924.
  • Neubau des deutschen Reiches, 1924.
  • Politische Pflichten der deutschen Jugend; rede gehalten am 26. februar 1924 vor dem Hochschulring deutscher art in Würzburg, 1925.
  • Der Mensch und die Technik, 1931 (Man and Technics: A Contribution to a Philosophy of Life, tr. C. T. Atkinson, Knopf, 1932).Mumford, Lewis (1932). "The Decline of Spengler," The New Republic, March 9.Dewey, John (1932). The Saturday Review, March 12.Vasilkovsky, G. The Communist, April 1932.
  • Politische Schriften, 1932.
  • Die Revolution ist nicht zu Ende, 1932.
  • Jahre der Entscheidung, 1933 (The Hour of Decision tr. C. F. Atkinson).Reis, Lincoln (1934). "Spengler Declines the West," The Nation, February 28.
  • Reden und Aufsätze, 1937 (ed. by Hildegard Kornhardt) – (tr. Donald O. White).
  • Gedanken, c. 1941 (ed. by Hildegard Konrnhardt) – Aphorisms (translated by Gisela Koch-Weser O’Brien).
  • Briefe, 1913-1936, 1963 – The Letters of Oswald Spengler, 1913-1936 (ed. and tr. by A. Helps).
  • Urfragen; Fragmente aus dem Nachlass, 1965 (ed. by Anton Mirko Koktanek and Manfred Schröter).
  • Frühzeit der Weltgeschichte: Fragmente aus dem Nachlass, 1966 (ed. by A.M. Kortanek and Manfred Schröter).
  • Der Briefwechsel zwischen Oswald Spengler und Wolfgang E. Groeger: über russische Literatur, Zeitgeschichte und soziale Fragen, 1987 (ed. by Xenia Werner).


  • In the July 10, 1920 issue of The Illustrated London News, G. K. Chesterton took issue with both pessimists (such as Spengler) and their optimistic critics, arguing that neither took into consideration human choice: "The pessimists believe that the cosmos is a clock that is running down; the progressives believe it is a clock that they themselves are winding up. But I happen to believe that the world is what we choose to make it, and that we are what we choose to make ourselves; and that our renascence or our ruin will alike, ultimately and equally, testify with a trumpet to our liberty."
  • The Decline of the West was an important influence on historian Arnold J. Toynbee’s similarly themed work A Study of History.
  • Spengler’s concept of the ‘Faustian’ outlook was an important part of Herman Kahn’s book The Year 2000. Kahn used the Spenglerian term to describe cultures that value continual, restless striving. He did not use it to refer to Faust’s bargain or pact.
  • 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 contemporaneity of the end of the Western European cycle led William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg to look for the seeds of the next cycle in the communities of which they were a part.
  • Spengler has, among others, influenced Georg Henrik von Wright in his writing about society.
  • Francis Parker Yockey claimed Spengler was a pivotal influence on him and wrote Imperium as a sequel to The Decline of the West. Yockey called Spengler "The Philosopher of the Twentieth Century." Yockey’s philosophy, especially his vehement anti-Semitism, differs heavily from Spengler, however, who criticised anti-Semitism and racialism much in the same vein as his own influence Friedrich Nietzsche had… Drawing from Spengler’s thesis, Yockey maintains that in the long run it would have been better for Europe if World War II had gone the other way.