GHDI logo
German History in Documents and Images
return to system

Oswald Spengler (1930)
One of the foundational texts of the German Right, Oswald Spengler’s The Decline of the West was published in two volumes between 1918 and 1922 and had sold more than one hundred thousand copies by 1926. Spengler’s elaborate effort to show that all cultures flourish and decline according to immutable laws struck a chord with the public in Germany and abroad. Its pessimistic tone coupled with the grandiose visions of rebirth and revival resonated with the sense of despair that many Germans felt in the aftermath of the war. But Spengler did not just despair, he also offered hope: the moment when a leader appears who embodies the destiny of the race and drives it on to greater glories. This notion spoke to the many Germans who believed that a great figure would lead them out of their travails to a higher level of personal and collective grandeur. It was an idea that was replicated in other venues in Weimar, like the circle around the poet Stefan George, who attracted many conservative intellectuals and other elite members of society.