Spengler_WWII_Essay - Class 134 Professor Rusten 4/7/08...

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Class 134 Professor Rusten 4/7/08 Spengler’s Theories and their Prediction of WWII “The last race to keep its form, the last living tradition, the last leaders who have both at their back, will pass through and onward, victors”. This quote of Spengler, found in his macro- historical work The Decline of the West , sums up his theory on how the “age of contending states” will end. Spengler believes that this period lies close ahead and contains a period of epic warfare between many states that will yield wide spread destruction and prove to be most bloody, leaving only a few states and their respective leaders standing. In essence: a decline of the west. Spengler uses his method of macro-historical view to incorporate the last few thousand years of the West’s history in an effort to predict its decline. Writing shortly before World War II, Spengler uses is theories to quite accurately predict the emergence of the Second World War and its impacts, and shows his support for the idea of a Caesar-like leader’s rise to power (like that of Hitler) and dominating rule. However, whereas Spengler successfully predicted the events of WWII, he greatly misjudged its outcome and the continuation of the West long afterward. To begin his argument on the evolution of the state, which ends in total war, Spengler first discusses the evolution of class and class structure. He makes the assertion that “class- states… are the only states” indicating that class structure and struggle are key parts to his theory. Walking us through the history of classes, we are first shown that the class known as the First Estate, the aristocracy and oligarchs, used to rule over the masses even if their direct authority was sometimes hard to see. There was often class struggle between the First Estate and the masses, however, during the enlightenment period, the power of the state as a non-state force
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takes form. As a result of this, the state tries to fight the old entrenched notions of class in a process known as the bourgeois revolution in which the individual is stressed and the structure of
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Spengler_WWII_Essay - Class 134 Professor Rusten 4/7/08...

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