Oswald Spengler

Oswald Spengler (spĕng´glər, Ger. ôs´vält shpĕng´glər), 1880–1936, German historian and philosopher. His studies covered many fields, among them mathematics, science, philosophy, history, and art. His major work, The Decline of the West (2 vol., 1918–22; tr. 1926–28), brought him worldwide fame. Spengler maintained that every culture passes a life cycle from youth through maturity and old age to death. Western culture, he believed, had proceeded through this same cycle and had entered the period of decline, from which there was no escape. Spengler upheld the ideal of obedience to the state and supported German hegemony in Europe. His refusal to support Nazi theories of racial superiority led to his ostracism after the Nazis came to power in 1933.

See critical study by H. S. Hughes (1952).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Oswald Spengler: Selected full-text books and articles

The Riddle of History: The Great Speculators from Vico to Freud By Bruce Mazlish Minerva Press, 1968
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IX "Spengler"
The Dynamics of World History By Christopher Dawson; John J. Mulloy Sheed and Ward, 1956
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 6 "Oswald Spengler and the Life of Civilizations"
Social Philosophies of an Age of Crisis By Pitirim A. Sorokin Beacon Press, 1950
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "Oswald Spengler" and Chap. 12 "Critical Examination of the Theories of Danilevsky, Spengler, and Toynbee"
The Disinherited Mind: Essays in Modern German Literature and Thought By Erich Heller Bowes & Bowes, 1952
Librarian’s tip: Chap. VI "Spengler and the Predicament of the Historical Imagination"
Essays on Literature and Society By Edwin Muir Hogarth Press, 1949
Librarian’s tip: "Oswald Spengler" begins on p. 125
Generals and Geographers: The Twilight of Geopolitics By Hans W. Weigert Oxford University Press, 1942
Librarian’s tip: Chap. II "Spengler, Russia and the Future"
Philosophy and the Modern World By Albert William Levi Indiana University Press, 1959
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "History and Destiny: Oswald Spengler and Arnold Toynbee"
German Incertitudes, 1914-1945: The Stones and the Cathedral By Klemens Von Klemperer Praeger, 2001
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "Heroic and Not-so-Heroic Pessimism: Max Weber and Oswald Spengler"
The Prussian Spirit: A Survey of German Literature and Politics, 1914-1940 By S. D. Stirk Faber and Faber Limited, 1941
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Oswald Spengler on Prussian Socialism"
The Great Doomsayer By McInnes, Neil The National Interest, No. 48, Summer 1997
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