Spengler, Oswald spĕng´glər, Ger. ôs´vält shpĕng´glər [key], 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 Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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