'The Hour of Decision' by Oswald Spengler (1936).


IV. The Coloured World-Revolution

[Editors note: see also Stoddard's The Rising Tide of Colour Against White World Supremacy (1920)].

The Western Civilization of this century is threatened, not by one, but by two world revolutions of major dimensions. In both their real compass, their profundity, and their workings have so far escaped recognition. The one comes from below, the other from without: class war and race war. The one now lies to a large extent behind us, although its decisive blows - in the Anglo-American zone, for instance - are probably still to come. The other first became definite in the World War, and it is rapidly acquiring direction and form. In the next few centuries both will fight side by side, possibly as allies: it will be the severest crisis through which the white peoples will have to pass in common - whether united or not - if they intend to have any future.

Such a "revolution from without" has set itself up against each of the past Cultures also. It has arisen invariably among the hopeless downtrodden races of the outer ring - "savages" or "barbarians" - who were exploited without means of redress by the unassailable superiority of a group of Culture-nations which had reached high maturity in their political, military, economic, and intellectual forms and methods.

Yet for whole centuries it was possible to make a systematic defence against these conditions, because the orbis terrarum of the Roman Empire was an enclosed area with frontiers that could be guarded. The position of the present Imperium of the white nations, which embraces the whole globe and includes the coloured races, is far more difficult. White humanity has scattered itself to all quarters in its ungovernable urge to infinite distance: over both Americas, South Africa, Australia, and innumerable strategic points between. The Yellow-Brown-Black-Red menace lurks within the field of the white power. It penetrates into and participates in the military and revolutionary agreements and disagreements of the white powers and threatens one day to take matters into its own hands.

...the Coloured, racial Revolution,... is already using the White Revolution of the class war as its tool.

...the White Revolution has since 1770 been preparing the soil for the Coloured one... .

The great historical question is whether the fall of the white powers will be brought about or not. And on this point the overwhelming unity of resolve that has formed itself may well give us something to think about. What resources of spiritual and material power can the white world really muster against this menace?

Very few, it would seem at the first glance. For one thing, its peoples are weary of their Culture. Spiritual substance has consumed itself in the fire of high form and the striving after inward perfection. In very many cases only the glow is left, in many only ashes, but it is not so everywhere. The less a nation has been called upon to lead in the whirlwind of history in the past, the more has it retained of the chaos which may become form. And when the storm of great events rushes over it, as in 1914, hidden sparks suddenly burst into flame. Precisely in the Germanic race, the strongest-willed that has ever existed, great possibilities lie sleeping.

But in speaking of race, it is not intended in the sense in which it is the fashion among anti-Semites in Europe and America to use it today: Darwinistically, materially. Race purity is a grotesque word in view of the fact that for centuries all stocks and species have been mixed, and that warlike - that is, healthy - generations with a future before them have from time immemorial always welcomed a stranger into the family if he had "race," to whatever race it was he belonged. Those who talk too much about race no longer have it in them. What is needed is not a pure race, but a strong one, which has a nation within it.

A woman of race does not desire to be a "companion" or a "lover," but a mother; and not the mother of one child, to serve as a toy and distraction, but of many: the instinct of a strong race speaks in the pride that large families inspire, in the feeling that barrenness is the hardest curse that can befall a woman and through her the race.

But the decay of the white family, the inevitable outcome of megalopolitan existence, is spreading, and it is devouring the "race" of nations. The meaning of man and wife, the will to perpetuity, is being lost. People live for themselves alone, not for future generations. The nation as society, once the organic web of families, threatens to dissolve, from the city outwards, into a sum of private atoms, of which each is intent on extracting from his own and other lives the maximum of amusement - panem et circenses ['bread and circuses', see Juvenal Satire 10. 77–81]. The women's emancipation of Ibsen's time wanted, not freedom from the husband, but freedom from the child, from the burden of children, just as men's emancipation in the same period signified freedom from the duties towards family, nation, and State. The whole of Liberal-Socialistic problem-literature revolves about this suicide of the white race.

The consequences lie before us. The coloured races of the world have up till now been twice as strong numerically as the white. [...]
The apparent increase of the white population all over the world, little as it is in comparison with the volume of the coloured increase, rests upon a temporary illusion: the number of children grows ever smaller, and only the number of adults increases, not because there are more of them, but because they live longer.

A strong stock demands strong parents. Something of the barbarism of the past ages must still be present in the blood beneath the strict form of an old Culture, ready to surge up in difficult times, to save and to conquer.

Barbarism is that which I call strong race, the eternal warlike in the type of the beast-of-prey man. It often seems to have ceased to exist, but it is crouching in the soul ready to spring. Given a big challenge - and it is on top of the enemy. It is dead only when Late urban pacifism, with its weary desire for peace at any price, short of that of its own life, has rolled its mud over the generations. That is the spiritual self-disarmament, following on the physical, which comes of unfruitfulness.

Why is the German people the least exhausted of the white world, and therefore the one on which may be placed the most hope? Because its political past has given it no opportunity to waste its precious blood and its great abilities. This is the one blessed aspect of our wretched history since 1500: it has used us sparingly. It turned us into dreamers and theoreticians in matters of world policy, made us ignorant of the world, narrow, quarrelsome, and provincial; but that can be got over. It was no organic defect, no inherent lack of ability - the days of the Holy Roman Empire are there to show that. Good blood, the foundation of every kind of intellectual as well as physical superiority, there was and still is. Great history is exacting. It devours the racially best elements. It devoured ancient Rome in a few centuries. The Nordic migrations, which had come to standstill in Southern Europe a thousand years before, set in again on the grand scale on the discovery of America, taking oceans in their stride. Vigorous Spanish families, of predominantly Nordic origin, migrated in numbers to the new continent, where they could fight, explore, and rule. By about 1800 the best aristocracy of the Spanish stamp was there and vigorous life had died out in the mother country. Similarly the class in France whose vocation was to rule was used up by high policy from Louis XIII onwards - and not by that alone, for high Culture must be paid for dearly too. And the Anglo-Saxon has been used up even more by the British Empire. What there was of higher material there did not find its way into counting-houses and minor official posts, but followed the Viking urge to a life of danger and wandered to all parts of the globe, either meeting its end in innumerable adventures and wars or succumbing to the effects of climate, or remaining abroad to establish, as in North America, the foundation of a new ruling class. What was left became "conservative," by which in this case is meant uncreative, full of unproductive hatred of everything new and unforeseen. Germany, too, has lost a great deal of its best blood in foreign armies and to foreign nations. But the provincialism of its political conditions tuned down the ambitions of young talent to service at small courts, in small armies and administrations. These settled down to form a healthy and prolific middle class. The nobility remained for the most part a superior peasantry. There was no high society and no fullness of life. "Race," in the people, was asleep, waiting for the call of a great age. But in this people there lies, notwithstanding the devastation of the last decades, a store of excellent blood such as no other nation possesses. It can be roused and must be spiritualized to meet the stupendous tasks before it. The battle for the planet has begun. The pacifism of the century of Liberalism must be overcome if we are to go on living.

How far in fact have the white nations advanced towards pacifism? Is the outcry against war an intellectual gesture or a serious abdication from history at the cost of dignity, honour, liberty? Yet life is war. Can we dismiss its meaning and yet retain it? That is what the craving for the peace of fellahdom, for protection against everything that disturbs the daily routine, against destiny in every form, would seem to intimate: a sort of protective mimicry vis-à-vis world history, human insects feigning death in the face of danger, the "happy ending" of an empty existence, the boredom of which has brought in jazz music and Negro dancing to perform the Dead March for a great Culture.

But this cannot, must not, be. The hare may perhaps deceive the fox, but human beings can not deceive each other. The coloured man sees through the white man when he talks about "humanity" and everlasting peace. He scents the other's unfitness and lack of will to defend himself. This is why a great educational effort is essential: what I have called "Prussian," but which may, for all I care, call itself "Socialist" - what's in a word? It must be education which rouses the sleeping energy not by schooling, science, or culture, but by living example, by soul discipline, which fetches up what is still there, strengthens it, and causes it to blossom anew. We cannot permit ourselves to be tired. Danger is knocking at the door. The coloured races are not pacifists. They do not cling to a life whose length is its sole value. They take up the sword when we lay it down. Once they feared the white man; now they despise him. Our judgment stands written in their eyes when men and women comport themselves in their presence as we do, at home or in the lands of colour themselves. Once they were filled with terror at our power - as were the Germanic people before the first Roman legions. Today, when they are themselves a power, their mysterious soul - which we shall never understand - rises up and looks down upon the whites as on a thing of yesterday.

But the greatest danger has not yet been even named. What if, one day, class war and race war joined forces to make an end of the white world? This lies in the nature of things, and neither of the two Revolutions will disdain the aid of the other simply because it despises its supporters. A common hate extinguishes mutual contempt. And what if some white adventurer - and there have been many such - whose wild soul cannot breathe in the hothouse of civilization and seeks to satiate its love of danger in fantastic colonial ventures, among pirates, in the Foreign Legion - should suddenly see this grand goal staring him in the face? It is through such natures that history springs her great surprises. The loathing of deep and strong men for our conditions and the hatred of profoundly disillusioned men might well grow into a revolt that meant to annihilate. This was not unknown in Caesar's time. In any case: when the white proletariat breaks loose in the United States, the Negro will be on the spot, and behind him Indians and Japanese will await their hour. Similarly a black France would have little hesitation in outdoing the Parisian horrors of 1792 and 1871. And would the white leaders of the class war ever hesitate if coloured outbreaks opened up a way for them? They have never been fastidious in the means they use. It would make no difference if the voice of Moscow ceased to dictate. It has done its work, and the work goes forward of itself. We have waged our wars and class wars before the eyes of colour, have humiliated and betrayed each other; we have even summoned it to take part in them. Would it be anything to wonder if at last colour were to act on its own account?

The prefiguration of Caesarism will soon become clearer, more conscious and unconcealed. The masks will fall completely from the age of the parliamentary interlude. All attempts to gather up the content of the future into parties will soon be forgotten. The Fascist formations of this decade will pass into new, unforeseeable forms, and even present-day nationalism will disappear. There remains as a formative power only the warlike, "Prussian" spirit - everywhere and not in Germany alone. Destiny, once compacted in meaningful forms and great traditions, will now proceed to make history in terms of formless individual powers. Caesar's legions are returning to consciousness.
Here, possibly even in our own century, the ultimate decisions are waiting for their man. In presence of these the little aims and notions of our current politics sink to nothing. He whose sword compels victory here will be lord of the world. The dice are there ready for this stupendous game. Who dares to throw them?