Oswald Arnold Gottfried Spengler (born May 29, 1880 in Blankenburg am Harz , † May 8, 1936 in Munich ) was a German philosopher and high school teacher . He was active as a writer in the field of historical philosophy , cultural history and cultural philosophy as well as an anti-democratic political author. He is considered to be a representative of the philosophy of life and a spiritual pioneer of National Socialism .
In his main work, The Downfall of the Occident , Spengler opposes a linear historiography that tells the story of "humanity" as the story of progress. Instead, he advocates a cycle theory , according to which new cultures continue to emerge, flourish, and complete and perish through a phase of decline. He understands cultures as clearly definable, quasi-organic structures with a lifespan of around 1000 years, each of which has very characteristic properties that shape the way individuals think and act. The title of the work already contains the thesis, which is to be presented and justified in the book, that in the presence of Spengler the “culture of the West ” is in decline.
Spengler is counted as part of the nationalist and anti-democratic " Conservative Revolution ", but rejected National Socialism and especially its racial ideology . He saw his ideal realized more in Benito Mussolini , the dictator of fascist Italy .
In the judgment of some contemporaries, Spengler correctly predicted developments of his time and strongly influenced other historians, including Franz Borkenau and above all Arnold J. Toynbee , but his work is not considered fundamental by today's history .
Childhood and youth
Spengler was born on May 29, 1880 as the second of five children of the post office clerk Bernhard Spengler and his wife Pauline Spengler, nee. Grantzow, born in Blankenburg am Harz ; he was baptized Protestant. The older brother died at the age of three weeks. In 1891 the family moved to Halle an der Saale , where Spengler visited the Latina of the Pietistically oriented Francke Foundations . His childhood was marked by nervous crises and panic attacks, and he was also prone to somnambulism .
He later remembered his youth as a time marked by "headaches" and "fear of life". At an early age, he directed his remarkable imagination to historical topics: as a 15-year-old he filled entire notebooks with detailed information on the history, geography and administration of two fictional empires. In addition to the school world, which was perceived as narrow, Spengler continued his self-taught education.
After he had passed the Abitur in 1899 and was exempted from military service because of a serious heart defect, he studied mathematics, natural sciences and philosophy in Halle , Munich and Berlin . He wrote his dissertation with the philosopher Alois Riehl on the subject of The Metaphysical Basic Thought of Heraclitic Philosophy . After the oral defense, the examination committee rejected the dissertation on the grounds that too little specialist literature had been cited. Spengler repeated the examination and on April 6, 1904 was awarded a Dr. phil. PhD .
In December 1904 he passed the examination for the higher teaching post in the subjects zoology, botany, physics, chemistry and mathematics. The subject of the state examination was: The development of the visual organ in the main stages of the animal kingdom . During his studies, Spengler got to know the natural sciences on the one hand, and philosophy on the other. He was influenced by Ernst Haeckel , the fictional philosophy of Hans Vaihinger ( Philosophy of As If ), but to a special extent Friedrich Nietzsche's cultural criticism , especially his concepts of decadence and the will to power . In addition, he revered Goethe for his entire life as a summit of Western culture.
The seminar Year joined Spengler 1905 in Lueneburg on. However, the school service did not appeal to him. He suffered a nervous breakdown , after which he left again. At his mother's request, he took a job in Saarbrücken in 1906 and completed his probationary year in Düsseldorf at the Oberrealschule am Fürstenwall , today Geschwister-Scholl-Gymnasium. After receiving the license to teach mathematics, he took up a permanent position in 1908 as a full professor at a high school in Hamburg . He was popular with his students, especially because of his improvised lectures.
A small inheritance after the death of his mother gave Spengler the opportunity to give up teaching and pursue his literary ambitions as a freelance writer. Finally he moved to Munich-Schwabing in March 1911 . In Munich he first worked as a cultural advisor for various newspapers. Spengler felt nothing but disgust and contempt for the “incomparable atmosphere of ambiguous modernity” in the Munich scene, full of artists and revolutionaries of various stripes. Therefore he did not share the open anti-Semitism in these circles , the language of which he rejected as vulgar. Nonetheless, statements of his from this time have come down to us that show anti-Jewish resentment when he compared the “filth and meanness” of the German literary scene of his time with “a Russian ghetto ”.
Work on the main work The Fall of the West (1911–1921)
He perceived the Second Morocco Crisis in 1911 as a humiliation for the German Reich, whose foreign policy appeared weak to him. He later presented this as the occasion to begin work on his main work The Downfall of the Occident (“Outlines of a Morphology of World History”). In April 1917 he completed the first volume, which appeared in September 1918, a few weeks before the end of the First World War , in which Spengler was unable to participate because of his health problems. The coincidence between the ominous title and the German defeat contributed to the book's brilliant journalistic success. Spengler became famous at once and became the subject of heated debates and controversies in literary, scientific and political circles. The second volume appeared in 1922. During his ten years of work on his main work, he lived in isolation, suffered from mental health problems and later from material difficulties. During his time in Munich, Spengler suffered greatly from his social and intellectual isolation. "Secretly he compares himself to Germany, which is also alone." He was exhausted and felt tired. Nevertheless, he assumed that his work would be "epoch-making".
Between 1914 and 1917 Spengler wrote two undated memoranda of which only fragments have survived. He addressed one to Kaiser Wilhelm II , the other to the nobility. In his memorandum to the Kaiser, Spengler demands that the “ monarchy must meet the republican challenges with a readiness to renew itself”. He demanded that the nobility renounce their political privileges. With his anti-Enlightenment criticism, Spengler called for the formation of a democratic elite so that “there is a high probability that such strong talents are actually present in the right place and with adequate training, as the system implies”. Spengler's conviction was that an efficient nobility in a monarchical state that offers opportunities for advancement for non-aristocrats is fundamentally better than pure democracy.
He did not accept the German defeat in the First World War. As early as December 1918 he wrote in a letter that the peace could only be provisional: the world war was "only now entering its second stage".
As a political writer, Spengler expressed his anti-democratic sentiments in smaller writings. He hoped that the Weimar Republic would be put to an end by a dictator who would be able to successfully cope with the great domestic and, above all, foreign policy challenges in an age of " wars of annihilation ", which he had prophesied in the fall of the West .
At the beginning of the twenties he tried to influence politics himself. With the money of friends and acquaintances in heavy industry, including Albert Vögler and Paul Reusch , he wanted to set up a secret office for the central control of the press in 1922, in which the right-wing Catholic publicist Martin Spahn and the journalist Paul Nikolaus Cossmann from the Münchner Neuesten Nachrichten also work would be. The newspapers were supposed to be brought along a nationalist line by controlling the advertisements , which were an important source of income for them. He hoped to be able to involve the press of the Hugenberg group and the papers controlled by Hugo Stinnes through the mediation of Georg Escherich , the leader of the illegal resident police . The plan failed because of the rivalry between Alfred Hugenberg and Spengler's sponsors Reusch and Karl Haniel . According to the historian Paul Hoser , Spengler's idea of a secret press control was “nothing but a fantastic petty bourgeois dream”.
In the second half of 1923 Spengler took part in the planning of right-wing circles to replace the head of the Reichswehr Army Command , Hans von Seeckt , with an authoritarian "Directory" under Gustav Stresemann , in which he himself was to become Minister of Education. A personal meeting with Seeckt turned out to be disappointing for both sides, because he then said that he wished Spengler “had gone down with the West - a political fool!” He in turn described Seeckt as an “opportunist”. Now Spengler wanted Escherich or the Bavarian State Commissioner General Gustav von Kahr as dictator. To this end, he orchestrated a press campaign against Stresemann, which was unsuccessful - in Spengler's view also because, to his regret, they had refrained from exploiting information about Stresemann's private life. After the failed Hitler putsch , he withdrew from active political activity and only worked as a journalist. In the 1920s he was close to the Nietzsche archive .
Attitude to National Socialism
The Nazis refused Spengler as well from as the Weimar Republic. An offer Gregor Strasser , the Nazi Party - Gauleiter of Lower Bavaria, the National Socialist Monatsheften participate, he hit from 1925, because he was the "primitive solution of anti-Semitism" against. For the same reason, in 1927 he refused to work on the volkish magazine Deutsches Volkstum .
After the seizure of power , his negative attitude did not change; In a letter he referred to the Hitler cabinet as the "Faschingsministerium". As he made clear in his 1933 work Years of Decision , he saw his anti-democratic and anti-parliamentary ideals rather achieved in Benito Mussolini as the dictator of fascist Italy.
He did not comply with the request of Reich Propaganda Leader Joseph Goebbels to give a speech on the reconciliation of “Prussianism and socialism” on the occasion of the Potsdam day on March 21, 1933. On June 14, 1933, Spengler received a call to the University of Leipzig , but he also turned it down after he had not accepted a call to the University of Göttingen in 1919 . On July 25, 1933, a meeting between Spengler and Adolf Hitler took place in Bayreuth , during which their mutual dislike became clear.
In his book Years of Decision , which appeared on August 18, 1933, Spengler publicly distanced himself from Hitler and National Socialism, but celebrated Mussolini enthusiastically. Despite its opposition tendencies, the book was not banned by the Nazi regime. There was a campaign against the book, but Reich Propaganda Minister Goebbels continued to try to get Spengler on his side. It was only after Goebbels had turned down an offer to write an essay on Germany's withdrawal from the League of Nations (October 26, 1933) that the minister gave up and instructed Spengler to be ignored in future.
The wave of political cleansing by the National Socialists on June 30, 1934, known as the “ Röhm Putsch ”, meant for Spengler the final break with National Socialism. Gregor Strasser, one of his previous political contacts, was among those murdered . He was particularly affected but the death of the Munich music critic Willi Schmid , apparently the victim of confusion with the also at the Munich Latest News publishing Paul Schmitt was.
Although he did not support essential ideas such as racial ideology and distanced himself from Nazism under Hitler , he is regarded as a spiritual pioneer of National Socialism. As a so-called “master thinker of the conservative revolution ”, like Ernst Jünger and other protagonists of this movement, he made a significant contribution to delegitimizing and undermining the hated “system” of the Weimar Republic. In the Third Reich, Spengler was isolated as "forever yesterday". According to the Nazi philosopher Alfred Baeumler , Spengler belonged “in the junk room of intellectual history”. Other National Socialists saw him as one of their “spiritual fathers”.
Last years and death
In his last years Spengler again devoted himself increasingly to scientific questions that were on the horizon of a world history from the beginning, into which the history of advanced cultures was to be integrated. At the same time, Spengler created notes for the second volume of the years of the decision under the heading “DiG” (Germany in danger) . In it he reckoned with National Socialism and put it on a par with Bolshevism , which he had previously described as the greatest of all evils on the political level. In these notes, however, he maintained his admiration for Mussolini.
Spengler died of heart failure in his Munich apartment on the night of May 7th, 1936; his unexpected death gave rise to "rumors that he was murdered by Nazi men". Spengler was buried in Munich's north cemetery (Section 125, grave complex 2).
Spengler is called a representative of the philosophy of life . The Italian philosophers Paolo Rossi (philosopher) and Domenico Conte placed Spengler in the final phase of historicism . Contemporaries such as the evangelical theologian Hans von Soden or later Spengler researchers such as the philosopher Gert Müller emphasized in their studies that Spengler was not a historian.
Unlike Hegel , who interpreted historical facts as the rationally comprehensible effects of an absolute spirit, Spengler considered these facts to be the fateful, rationally inexplicable effects of the mystery of life . He called the creative power of life organic. In connection with the imagination, he considered them to be emotionally and intuitively tangible. He described experience as the basis of consciousness and thinking.
With this assumption, Spengler had left the tradition of the prevailing, idealistic philosophy. His philosophy, it was said, was not a theoretical philosophy, but the attitude of thinkers who had lost faith in reason and truth. In contrast to Hegel's rational philosophy of spirit, his philosophy could be called the “metaphysics of the irrational”.
Another categorization of Spengler's downfall of the West is “ Weltanschauung on a scientific basis”. Herbert Schnädelbach , on the other hand, says : Whoever regards philosophy as a worldview, renounces scientific philosophy.
the decline of the West
The main theme of all of his poetic and philosophical work is his morphological view of history. His main work The Downfall of the Occident. The outline of a morphology of world history presents this topic in great detail. The main thesis of his historical-philosophical view is the culturally pessimistic statement that his time was incapable of being creative. From this follows the obligation to preserve the culture created by previous generations and to prove oneself in the face of political challenges in times of decline. The "view across cultures" should show the way. Epistemologically, he referred to Goethe .
Spengler creates a panorama of eight cultures and describes their specific features and their "life stages": breakfast time, maturation, aging and inexorable decline: The Ancient Egypt , Babylon , India , China , the " Apollonian " antiquity , the " magic " Arabia to to which he also counts Judaism , the culture of the Aztecs and the “ Faustian ” Occident .
The phases of different cultures are set in parallel as corresponding to each other (Spengler writes: "simultaneously"): The early period of antiquity, the Doric , corresponds to the Gothic in the West , the antique aging crisis , the sophistry , corresponds to the occidental Enlightenment , etc. Intercultural learning processes He considers receptions and renaissances to be impossible: every culture necessarily goes through the phases mentioned in the life of around one thousand years allocated to it. He saw the influence of a younger culture by a more mature one as harmful: Such a "pseudomorphosis" inhibited self-confidence, as exemplified by the late antique influence on Arab culture or the western influences on Russia since Peter the Great . In order to, if not to prevent, at least to slow down the downfall of the West against the next approaching Russian culture, Spengler recommends technocracy , imperialism and socialism .
The work is characterized by a clear biologism . The emergence and decay of peoples, states and cultures are described in terms such as birth, maturation, flowering, putrefaction, which were actually coined to describe individual plants or animals. Some researchers interpret these terms as being metaphorical . The historian Alexander Bein , on the other hand, believes that Spengler considered them “real-naturalistic” to be adequate terms for describing political-social processes. As a result, he moved his cultural show into the realm of myth .
According to Duque Gasimov, “The Fall of the West” was one of the most successful and controversial works of its time. It was represented in almost every private library in the Weimar Republic. The title became a catchphrase, Spengler's “culture and history morphology” was thematized across the political camps: “from the conservative educated middle class to the left-wing liberal avant-garde to the circles of Marxist intellectuals”. According to Rebecca Krug, the high sales figures and numerous editions in Germany suggest that the book had stood on many bookshelves, but this is known to be no indication that a work was actually read. Every German university devoted at least one seminar to him. There was extensive controversy among scholars and intellectuals. Between 1920 and 1922 they were carried out in hundreds of articles, especially in Logos, the international journal for philosophy of culture , within the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and other media. This first phase of reception - which lasted until about the mid-1920s - was documented and commented on by the Munich philosopher Manfred Schröter in Der Streit um Spengler in 1922 . Schröter criticized the critics from a cultural-philosophical point of view. Instead of “refuting all errors” - which will not convince anyone anyway, according to Schröter - he wanted to contribute to making the meaning of the book for contemporary cultural awareness accessible. The “cultural self-knowledge” was more important to him than Spengler and the Spengler criticism. Schröter, however, only recorded the articles and brochures up to 1921. In 1949 he published his “argument about Spengler” again from the “ballast of too many comments freed and substantially shortened”. Schröter was disappointed with the second volume of "Downfall". It had not fulfilled his hope for a new metaphysics of history.
Spengler himself described his main work as " Metaphysics ". That did not prevent the British historian Arnold J. Toynbee from admiring him all his life. Even with Franz Borkenau there is a fundamental argument that Spengler takes very seriously. In large parts of the educated class, especially in Germany and Austria ( Egon Friedell , Gottfried Benn and others), his view of world history was taken seriously. The poet Gottfried Benn was fascinated by Spengler's morphology and became “the poet of Spengler's attitude to life”.
Robert Musil expressed at the end of a scathing criticism that others had not made so many mistakes only because they did not have the span that touches both banks to accommodate so many (mistakes). He wrote: “There are lemon-yellow butterflies, there are lemon-yellow Chinese. In a certain way you can say that the butterfly is the winged Central European dwarf Chinese. Falter and Chinese are known as symbols of lust. For the first time the thought is given of the never-before-noticed correspondence between the great age of the lepidopteran fauna and the Chinese culture. The fact that the butterfly has wings and the Chinese have none is just a surface phenomenon! "
The judgments often fluctuated between rejection and admiration, but there was always a large portion of emotionality. For example Eduard Meyer , who at first expressed himself skeptically and then switched to open recognition. The opposite happened with Thomas Mann . He first shared Spengler's theses on civilization and the decline of the West, but then turned away and called Spengler "Nietzsche's clever ape" and described the work as hostile to the future. Mann had emphatically praised the work and proposed it to the jury of the Nietzsche Prize for award. It is a "book full of love of fate and bravery of knowledge, in which one can find the great points of view that one needs today as a German person." As early as 1922, when he began to reconcile with the Weimar Republic , he distanced himself from Spengler. In his first letter from Germany he acknowledged the literary splendor of the work, but denied the author the humanistic pessimism of Schopenhauer or the "tragic-heroic" character of Nietzsche. The work is rather fatalistic and hostile to the future. "But such presumptuousness and such disregard for the human are Spengler's part ... He does not do well to name Goethe, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche as forerunners of his hyena-like prophecy."
Individual representatives of historicism , such as B. Friedrich Meinecke and Ernst Troeltsch dealt with Spengler's work in the early 1920s. For Meinecke, Spengler was indeed a "renegade of the spirit" who unilaterally absolutized the "instinct and blood components of man" at the expense of the spiritual, but he valued Spengler's concepts such as that of individuality , development , biological morphological causality and his view, To understand world history as cultural history . Troeltsch criticized Spengler for “making an active contribution to the downfall of the West” if “critical rationalism, philological rigor and objective causal analysis were replaced by an arbitrary, intuitionist approach”. Despite the dissent, Domenico Conte sees “surprising similarities” in Troeltsch's views with Spengler's relativistic concept of culture.
Ernst Jünger was always interested in Spengler. A whole series of Spengler motifs can be found in Der Arbeiter and An der Zeitmauer . In the novel Eumeswil , Vigo, according to Conte, has clear Spengler traits.
Martin Heidegger's attitude towards Spengler was ambivalent between admiration and rejection. On the one hand, he considered him the most important representative of modern historicism , although, according to Conte, Heidegger did not use the term in the narrow technical sense, on the other hand, he countered him that his extreme insistence on the world of history led to a wrong view of existence . Heidegger consistently dealt with Spengler's work, but replaced Spengler's "Occident as a cultural figure" with "Occident as an event of being", since in his view Spengler's insistence on "culture" is historically absurd.
In 1936 Jorge Luis Borges wrote a biogram of Spengler in the magazine El Hogar , in which he ironically stated that the German philosophers - including Spengler - unlike their French and English colleagues, are not directly interested in the universe or in any feature of the universe but rather use the universe as a simple motif, as a mere material cause for their huge dialectical buildings, which always had no foundation, but were always grandiose. His “outstanding style” is not objectionable, but Spengler's understanding of history, which Borges accused of having a “biological concept”, should be viewed critically.
In his stance on Spengler's philosophy of history, Theodor W. Adorno, in a lecture given in 1938 by Spengler after the downfall, still agreed and differentiated that Spengler's prognoses of a decline in culture had been confirmed. In the larger part of the essay, however, Adorno made a fundamental criticism of Spengler's approval of the bloody course of history and criticized him as a "zealous agent" of the world spirit, who, contrary to his own claims, could not have foreseen its direction of movement. In his essay Will Spengler be Proved? From 1955, Adorno Spengler criticized Spengler more strongly and sometimes harshly.
In his 1957 book Das Elend des Historicism , Karl Popper postulated the attempt “to discover the law of development of society (...) as the central doctrine” of historicist thinkers. For Popper, Spengler and his historical morphology belonged to this category. Popper used the term historicism as a critically intended collective term for all those social science theories that identify “rhythms”, “patterns”, “trends” or “laws” in history and believe that they can derive predictions for the future using “commonplace formulas”.
Ernst Bloch stated in 1962 that, for him, Spengler, like Wilhelm Dilthey , Wilhelm Windelband and Heinrich Rickert, represented an “obvious fascination of history”. His irrationalist type of history, viewed from the point of view of an extremely relativistic historicism, is incapable of grasping the context of world history and directly serves the demands of the fascist bourgeoisie.
For the Marxist literary scholar Georg Lukács , Spengler stood in an "ancestral gallery of irrationalism" on a line "from Nietzsche to Hitler". Under irrationalism he understood the "fundamental and total destruction of reason".
According to the German historian Alexander Bein , with his anti-Semitic historical speculations Spengler made a significant contribution to making stereotypes about “the Jews” plausible even in circles that stayed away from clumsy anti-Semitic histories. According to Bein, Spengler “certainly contributed significantly” to the popularization and mythization of the image of the Jews of his time.
With reference to Spengler's historical morphology, Morris Berman formulated his criticism of American civilization and, independently of that, the ancient historian David Engels his attempt to analyze the crisis of the European Union . Both compared and saw the respective systems in the United States and Europe by analogy with the fall of the Roman Republic .
Particularly controversial were Spengler's method of "historical morphology", that is, his derivation of historical analogies, which were viewed as dubious by specialist science, as well as the political implications that Spengler connected with his idea of the cycle of high cultures. With the eight cultural monads he could hardly make an impression on historians who worked positivistically . In the history of science, the fall of the West is mostly scathingly criticized. As a representation of history, it is considered unscientific, and Spengler was also accused of dilettantism.
Prussianism and Socialism
The polemic Prussia and socialism planned Spengler on the day after the assassination of the Bavarian prime minister Kurt Eisner , she appeared in November 1919 as a response to the Treaty of Versailles and the Weimar Constitution . The font is primarily of importance in terms of the history of the work and, according to Spengler, largely corresponds to the germ of his main work. In it, Spengler pleads for an authoritarian state under a Caesarist dictator, which should be based on the traditions of old Prussia . Prussia stands for virtues such as duty, order and justice, the ideals of a “German culture” - in contrast to freedom, equality, brotherhood , the ideals of western civilization . This term, which he equates with decadence , is contrasted with the positive term culture (represented by Goethe). The national socialism that Spengler outlines is not to be understood as an approach to changing the economic constitution or redistributing social wealth. In the words of the historian Hans Mommsen , it is a "socialism of convictions, not an economic theory" that does not represent a contradiction to Spengler's elitist contempt for the masses. With him Spengler wants to fight both the Marxist socialism of the labor movement and the liberal parliamentarism , which he denounces as plutocratic . Spengler's idea of socialism is explicitly directed against the West and its emphasis on individual rights of freedom:
“The power belongs to the whole. The individual serves him. The whole thing is sovereign. The king is only the first servant of his state ( Frederick the Great ). Everyone gets their place. It is commanded and obeyed. This has been authoritative socialism since the 18th century, essentially illiberal and anti-democratic as far as English liberalism and French democracy are concerned. "
In 1924 his supplementary writings Political Duties of the German Youth and New Building of the German Reich appeared , in which he called for overcoming the “national swamp” into which the German Reich had gotten: He dismissed the Weimar Republic as “a five-year orgy of incompetence, Cowardice and Wickedness ”. It must be overcome in order to be prepared for what he believes is the upcoming struggle for German international status. He compared the Germany of his time with France at the time of the Directory , a regime that was overthrown by Napoleon Bonaparte in a coup in 1799 . The subsequent rebuilding of the empire could not take into account “racial feelings”, however “deep and natural” they might be, as the examples of the Italian Napoleon, the Jew Benjamin Disraeli and the German Katharina II would teach.
Years of decision
Spengler's writing Years of Decision . Germany and world historical developments appeared in 1933. Originally, it was supposed to bear the title Germany in Danger , which he renounced for fear after the seizure of power. Right at the beginning he welcomed the Nazis' seizure of power:
In the further course he assumes that the National Socialists are unrealistic: They would “believe that they can do without and against the world and that they can build their castles in the air without at least a silent but very palpable counteraction from outside”. Rather, Spengler sees his anti-democratic and anti-parliamentary ideals achieved in the dictator of fascist Italy, Benito Mussolini.
The writing years the decision should, according to a foreword by Spengler's niece Hildegard Kornhardt at the time have been equally understood as an attack on the Nazi ideology of Nazi critics and Nazi sympathizers. Spengler differentiates in this the ideal of the pietistic-idealistic Prussian service and achievement ethos, to which, in his opinion, a national revolution should lead, from the biological racial theory of National Socialism. The Prussian ethos is a "stroke of existence" that has been developed through generations of practice and consolidation of leading families that have shaped culture and then shaped society. Such a social ethos cannot be replaced by the intellectual pressure of a party program.
Spengler sees Europe exposed to two kinds of threats: the “white world revolution”, by which he understands the Soviet Union, and the “colored world revolution”. He meant the threat to the "white race" from non-European peoples. Not having withheld the technical achievements of Europe from them during colonialism could prove to be a fatal mistake. As the “greatest threat” he painted a combination of the two “world revolutions”: “What if one day the class struggle and the racial struggle unite to put an end to the white world?” As a remedy, he appealed to the self-assertion of Europeans and especially the Europeans Germanic race, to which he attested great potential.
According to his biographer Detlef Felken , Spengler's distance to the National Socialists, which is evident in this work, “must not hide the anti-democratic potential of the years of the decision ”.
- The basic metaphysical idea of Heraclitic philosophy , 1904 ( Diss. Online - Internet Archive ).
- The fall of the west . Outlines of a morphology of world history , Volume 1: Vienna 1918, Volume 2: Munich 1922.
- Prussianism and Socialism , Munich 1919.
- New building of the German Empire . CH Beck, Munich 1924.
- Political duties of German youth. Speech given on February 26, 1924 in front of the German-style Hochschulring in Innsbruck . CH Beck, Munich 1924.
- Man and technology . Contribution to a philosophy of life . CH Beck, Munich 1931.
- Political Writings . CH Beck, Munich 1932 ( Volksausgabe Munich and Berlin anno 1934 online - Internet Archive ).
- Years of decision . First part. Germany and the development of world history . CH Beck, Munich 1933.
Writings and editions published posthumously
- Speeches and essays by Oswald Spengler . Edited by Hildegard Kornhardt. CH Beck, Munich 1937.
- Thoughts . Edited by Hildegard Kornhardt. CH Beck, Munich 1941.
- Letters. 1913-1936 . In collaboration with Manfred Schröter ed. by Anton Mirko Koktanek. CH Beck, Munich 1963.
- Primal questions. Fragments from the estate . With the participation of Manfred Schröter, ed. by Anton Mirko Koktanek. CH Beck, Munich 1965.
- Early World History. Fragments from the estate . With the participation of Manfred Schröter ed. by Anton Mirko Koktanek. CH Beck, Munich 1966.
- I envy everyone who lives. The "Eis heauton" notes from the estate . (With an afterword by Gilbert Merlio), Lilienfeld Verlag, Düsseldorf 2007. ISBN 978-3-940357-02-1 .
- New building of the German Empire . Edited by Daniel Bigalke. Arnshaugk, Neustadt an der Orla, 2009. ISBN 3-926370-35-1 ( excerpts from googlebooks).
- Spengler estate , in: Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek , manuscript department, holdings Ana 533.
- further parts of the estate are in the Institute for Contemporary History (Munich) and in the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Wirtschaftsarchiv (Cologne)
In 2017 the international Oswald Spengler Society was founded by David Engels , Max Otte and Michael Thöndl . David Engels, Max Otte, Alexander Demandt , Gerd Morgenthaler and Robert W. Merry are active in their presidium . A conference was held in 2018 and an Oswald Spengler Prize donated by Max Otte was awarded for the first time . The 2018 winner is Michel Houellebecq . The foundation in 2017 was preceded in 2014 by the conference Stages of Human Development - Approaches to Cultural Morphology Today in Kloster Wöltingerode (September 28 to October 2).
- Martin Arndt : Oswald Spengler. In: Biographisch-Bibliographisches Kirchenlexikon (BBKL). Volume 10, Bautz, Herzberg 1995, ISBN 3-88309-062-X , Sp. 941-973.
- Armin Baltzer: Downfall or Completion. Spengler's lasting importance for the present , R. Elsner, Göttingen 1956 (2nd edition).
- Armin Baltzer: Spengler's significance for the present - a legacy that has not yet been opened. , Publishing house for cultural studies E. Nicklaus, Neheim-Hüsten 1959 (preface Manfred Schröter ).
- Armin Baltzer: philosopher or prophet. Oswald Spenglers Legacy and Predictions , Verlag für Kulturwissenschaften E. Nicklaus, Neheim-Hüsten 1962, (edited and expanded version by Armin Baltzer, 1956).
- Frits Boterman : Oswald Spengler and his "Downfall of the Occident" , Cologne 2000
- Goetz Briefs : Fall of the West, Christianity and Socialism. A discussion with Oswald Spengler , Herder, Freiburg 1920
- Dominico Conte: Oswald Spengler. An introduction . Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2004
- Alexander Demandt and John Farrenkopf (eds.): The Spengler case. A critical balance sheet , Cologne, Weimar, Vienna 1994.
- David Engels , Max Otte , Michael Thöndl (eds.): The long shadow of Oswald Spenglers. 100 years "Fall of the West". (= Publication series of the Oswald Spengler Society 1) Manuscriptum, Lüdinghausen / Berlin 2018, ISBN 9783944872711 .
- John Farrenkopf: Prophet of Decline. Spengler on World History and Politics. Baton Rouge 2001.
- Detlef Felken : Oswald Spengler. Conservative thinker between empire and dictatorship. Beck, Munich 1988.
- Detlef Felken: New German Biography (NDB). Volume 24, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2010, ISBN 978-3-428-11205-0 , pp. 664-666 ( version ). In:
- Massimo Ferrari Zumbini: Sunset and Dawn. Nietzsche - Spengler - Antisemitism , Würzburg 1999 (Studies on Literary and Cultural History, Volume 14).
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- Karen Swassjan : The Downfall of a Westerner. Oswald Spengler and his Requiem on Europe . Heinrich, Berlin 1998, ISBN 3-932458-08-7 .
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- Works by Oswald Spengler at Zeno.org .
- Oswald Spengler's personnel sheet in the personnel file of the BIL reviewer in the archive database of the Library for Research on Educational History (BBF)
- Online bibliography of modern research literature on Spengler (work in progress) as well as a directory of the first editions of Oswald Spengler's writings
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- See Franz Borkenau: End and Beginning . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1984.
- See Toynbee's main work A Study of History
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- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. An introduction , Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2004, p. 14
- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. An introduction , Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2004, p. 16
- Deutschlandradio: Essay and Discourse: Oswald Spenglers Untergang des Abendlandes , by Albrecht Betz , May 13, 2012
- Detlef Felken : Oswald Spengler. Conservative thinker between empire and dictatorship , CH Beck, Munich 1988, p. 25 ff.
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- Ulrich Wyrwa: Spengler, Oswald. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Vol. 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 784 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
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- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. An introduction . Leipziger Universitätsverlag, Leipzig 2004, p. 17 ff.
- Detlef Felken: Oswald Spengler. Conservative thinker between empire and dictatorship , CH Beck, Munich 1988, pp. 36–39
- Hans Mommsen : Rise and Fall of the Republic of Weimar 1918–1933. Ullstein, Berlin 1998, p. 120.
- Siegfried Blasche, Jürgen Mittelstrass: Encyclopedia Philosophy and Philosophy of Science Volume 4, Bibliographisches Institut 1996, p. 24.
- Paul Hoser: A philosopher in the maze of politics. Oswald Spengler's plans for secret control of the national press. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 38 (1990), issue 3, pp. 435–451 and 456, here the quote ( online ).
- Walter Struve: Elites Against Democracy. Leadership Ideals in Bourgeois Political Thought in Germany 1890-1933 . Princeton University Press, Princeton 1973, ISBN 978-1-4008-7129-2 pp. 243 f. (accessed via De Gruyter Online); Gordon A. Craig : German History 1866-1945. From the North German Confederation to the end of the Third Reich . CH Beck, Munich 1980, p. 529.
- Paul Hoser: A philosopher in the maze of politics. Oswald Spengler's plans for secret control of the national press. In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 38 (1990), issue 3, p. 453 f. ( online ).
- Axel Schildt : Spengler, Oswald. In: Wolfgang Benz , Hermann Graml (Hrsg.): Biographisches Lexikon zur Weimarer Republik . CH Beck, Munich 1988, p. 322.
- Ulrich Wyrwa: Spengler, Oswald. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus . Vol. 2: People. De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 785 (accessed from De Gruyter Online).
- Ulrich Wyrwa: Spengler, Oswald. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Vol. 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 785 (accessed from De Gruyter Online).
- Poem and Letter. Willi Schmid's memory (1935), printed in speeches and essays
- Hans-Günter Richardi : Secret files Gerlich / Bell, p. 181.
- Robert S. Wistrich : Who was who in the Third Reich. Supporters, followers, opponents from politics, business, military, art and science. Harnack, Munich 1983, p. 256.
- Alexander Demandt : Spengler's downfall . In: The Literary World , supplement to Die Welt , March 27, 1999 - online here .
- Hans-Ulrich Wehler : German history of society , vol. 4: From the beginning of the First World War to the establishment of the two German states 1914-1949 CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2003, p. 515.
- Wolfgang Benz , Hermann Graml , Hermann Weiß (eds.): Encyclopedia of National Socialism . Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 1997, p. 883, entry Spengler .
- Milan Hauner: National Socialist Germany and India. In Manfred Funke (Ed.): Hitler, Germany and the Powers: Materials for the Foreign Policy of the Third Reich . Droste Verlag 1976, ISBN 3-7610-7213-9 , p. 433.
- Detlef Felken: Oswald Spengler. Conservative thinker between empire and dictatorship , CH Beck, Munich 1988, p. 237
- Paolo Rossi, la storicismo tedesco contemporaneo . Milan 1994, page ???; Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. An introduction . Leipzig 2004, p. 103.
- Hans von Soden, The History of the Christian Church by Oswald Spengler (1924), In: ders., Urchristentum und Geschichte II, 1956, p. 55
- Gert Müller, Oswald Spenglers Importance for History , In: Journal for Philosophical Research Vol. 17, Issue 3, July / September. 1963, pp. 488 and 497
- Jürgen Mittelstraß : Encyclopedia, Philosophy and Philosophy of Science . Stuttgart / Weimar 2004, pp. 555f.
- Herbert Schnädelbach : Philosophy in Germany 1831-1933 . Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1988, 6th edition, p. 174.
- Horst Thomé: History speculation as Weltanschauung literature. To Oswald Spengler's 'Der Untergang des Abendlandes' . In: Christine Maillard and Michael Titzmann (eds.): Literature and knowledge (sciences) 1890–1935 . Stuttgart 2002.
- See Schnädelbach: Philosophy in Germany 1831-1933 . Suhrkamp, Frankfurt am Main 1988, 6th edition, p. 120.
- The following according to Anton Mirko Koktanek: The Decline of the Occident. Outlines of a morphology of world history . In: Kindlers Literatur Lexikon im dtv . Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 1986, vol. 11, p. 9752.
- Ernst Stutz: Oswald Spengler as a political thinker . Francke, Marburg 1958 p. 22; Andreas Hetzel: Between poiesis and practice. Elements of a Critical Theory of Culture . Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2001, p. 143; Hans-Ulrich Wehler : German history of society , Vol. 4: From the beginning of the First World War to the establishment of the two German states 1914-1949 CH Beck Verlag, Munich 2003, p. 488; Wilhelm Köller: Symbols for language. Metaphorical alternatives to the conceptual development of language. De Gruyter, Berlin 2012, ISBN 978-3-11-027186-7 , p. 300 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Alexander Bein : "The Jewish Parasite". In: Vierteljahrshefte für Zeitgeschichte , 13 (1965), issue 2, p. 130 f. ( online , accessed January 30, 2016).
- Duque Gasimov (Ed.): Oswald Spengler as a European phenomenon. The transfer of cultural and historical morphology in Europe in the interwar period 1919–1939. Göttingen 2013, p. 7.
- Rebecca Krug, Kulturpessimistische Variationen - The Influence of Oswald Spengler's “Der Untergang des Abendlandes” on Russian literature of the 1920s and 1930s, Frank & Timme 2018, p. 45
- Gilbert Merlio: The challenge Spengler. In: Gangl / Merlio / Ophälders (ed.): Spengler - A thinker of the turning point. Frankfurt am Main 2009, pp. 53-76, here p. 53.
- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. Leipzig 2004, p. 97.
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- Ernst Wolfgang Becker: Story for readers. Popular historiography in Germany in the 20th century. Franz Steiner Verlag, Stuttgart 2005, p. 309.
- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. Leipzig 2004, p. 106f.
- Quoted from Klaus Harpprecht : Thomas Mann, a biography. Chapter 32, Rowohlt, Frankfurt am Main 1995, p. 439.
- Thomas Mann: About Spengler's teaching. (1922) In: Thomas Mann: Essays , Volume 3: Music and Philosophy , ed. by Hermann Kurzke , S. Fischer Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1982, p. 148.
- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. Leipzig 2004, p. 101.
- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. Leipzig 2004, p. 102.
- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. Leipzig 2004, p. 107. Ernst Jünger: The worker . Hamburg 1932. At the time wall (1959) , Stuttgart 1991. Eumeswil . Stuttgart 1977.
- Domenico Conte: Oswald Spengler. Leipzig 2004, p. 108.
- Hassan Givsan: On Heidegger: an addendum to "Heidegger - the thinking of inhumanity". Würzburg 2011, p. 56.
- Jorge Luis Borges, Sara Luisa del Carril, Obras completas: 1975-1988 , Emecé, 2005, p. 254: “Es lícito observar (con la ligereza y brutalidad peculiar de tales observaciones) que a los filósofos de Inglaterra y de Francia les interesa el universo directamente o algún rasgo del universo, en tanto que los alemanes propenden a considerarlo un simple motivo, una mera causa material, de sus enormous edificios dialécticos: siempre infundados, pero siempre grandiosos ” .
- Cristine Rath: Shameful story. Metahistorical reflections in the work of Jorge Luis Borges. transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2011, ISBN 9783837617665 , p. 79.
- Beate Kutschke, Wild Thinking in New Music: The Idea of the End of History in Theodor W. Adorno and Wolfgang Rihm , Königshausen & Neumann, 2002, p. 65
- Theodor W. Adorno, Spengler nach dem Untergang , (On Spengler's 70th birthday), lecture 1938, reprinted in German In: The month of 20/1950, pp. 115–128.
- Sebastian Fink, Robert Rollinger, Oswald Spenglers Kulturmorphologie: A multi-perspective approach , Springer-Verlag, 2018, p. 545
- Wilhelm Tielker, The Myth of the Idea Europe: On the Critique and Significance of Historical Development Laws in the Spiritual Anchoring of European Unification , LIT Verlag 2003, p. 177
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- Thomas Reinhuber: Fighting Faith. Studies on Luther's confession at the end of De servo arbitrio. Walter de Gruyter, 2000, p. 192; Reinhuber is referring here to Georg Lukács: From Nietzsche to Hitler or Irrationalism and German Politics. Frankfurt / Hamburg 1966.
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- Alexander Star, Chances are, You're Barbarian , October 15, 2000, In: The New York Times Book Reviews 2000, Volume 1, Taylor & Francis, 2001, p. 1844
- Uwe Walter, Why we will come to terms with the Brussels Empire , In: Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung of August 8, 2014
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- Hans Mommsen: Rise and Fall of the Republic of Weimar 1918–1933. Ullstein, Berlin 1998, p. 370.
- Ulrich Wyrwa: Spengler, Oswald. In: Wolfgang Benz (Hrsg.): Handbuch des Antisemitismus. Vol. 2: People . De Gruyter Saur, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-598-44159-2 , p. 784 (accessed via De Gruyter Online).
- Quoted from Peter Gay : The Republic of Outsiders . Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 118.
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- Hagen Schulze: Weimar. Germany 1917–1933 . Siedler, Berlin 1994, p. 134; Pierluca Azzaro: German historical thinkers around the turn of the century and their influence in Italy. Kurt Breysig, Walther Rathenau, Oswald Spengler . Peter Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2005, p. 373.
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|ALTERNATIVE NAMES||Spengler, Oswald Arnold Gottfried|
|BRIEF DESCRIPTION||German historical philosopher and cultural historian|
|DATE OF BIRTH||May 29, 1880|
|PLACE OF BIRTH||Blankenburg|
|DATE OF DEATH||May 8, 1936|
|Place of death||Munich|