Tragedy and Hope
A History of the World in Our Time
New York: The Macmillan Company
Table of Contents
Part One—Introduction: Western Civilization In Its World Setting
Chapter 1—Cultural Evolution in Civilizations
Chapter 2—Cultural Diffusion in Western Civilization 2
Chapter 3—Europe's Shift to the Twentieth Century
Part Two—Western Civilization to 1914
Chapter 4—The Pattern of Change
Chapter 5—European Economic Developments
Chapter 6—The United States to 1917
Part Three—The Russian Empire to 1917
Chapter 7—Creation of the Russian Civilization
Part Four—The Buffer Fringe
Chapter 8—The Near East to 1914
Chapter 9—The British Imperial Crisis: Africa, Ireland, and India to 1926
Chapter 10—The Far East to World War I
Part Five—The First World War: 1914: 1918
Chapter 11—The Growth of International Tensions, 1871-1914
Chapter 12—Military History, 1914-1918
Chapter 13—Diplomatic History, 1914-1 918
Chapter 14—The Home Front, 1914-1918
Part Six—The Versailles System and the Return to Normalcy: 1919-1929
Chapter 15—The Peace Settlements, 1919-1923
Chapter 16—Security, 1919-1935
Chapter 17—Disarmament, 1919-1935
Chapter 18—Reparations, 1919-1932
Part Seven—Finance, Commercial and Business Activity: 1897-1947
Chapter 19—Reflation and Inflation, 1897-1925
Chapter 20—The Period of Stabilization, 1922-1930
Chapter 21—The Period of Deflation, 1927- 1936
Chapter 22—Reflation and Inflation, 1933-1947
Part Eight—International Socialism and the Soviet Challenge
Chapter 23—The International Socialist Movement
Chapter 24—The Bolshevik Revolution to 1924
Chapter 25—Stalinism, 1924-1939
Part Nine—Germany from Kaiser to Hitler: 1913-1945
Chapter 27—The Weimar Republic, 1918-1933
Chapter 28—The Nazi Regime
Part Ten—Britain: the Background to Appeasement: 1900-1939
Chapter 29—The Social and Constitutional Background
Chapter 30—Political History to 1939
Part Eleven—Changing Economic Patterns
Chapter 32—Great Britain
Chapter 35—The United States of America
Chapter 36—The Economic Factors
Chapter 37—The Results of Economic Depression
Chapter 38—The Pluralist Economy and World Blocs
Part Twelve—The Policy of Appeasement, 1931-1936
Chapter 40—The Japanese Assault, 1931-1941
Chapter 41—The Italian Assault, 1934-1936
Chapter 42—Circles and Counter-circles, 1935-1939
Chapter 43—The Spanish Tragedy, 1931–1939
Part Thirteen—The Disruption of Europe: 1937-1939
Chapter 44—Austria Infelix, 1933-1938
Chapter 45—The Czechoslovak Crisis, 1937-1938
Chapter 46—The Year of Dupes, 1939
Part Fourteen—World War II: the Tide of Aggression: 1939-1941
Chapter 48—The Battle of Poland, September 1939
Chapter 49—The Sitzkrieg, September 1, 1939-May 1940
Chapter 50—The Fall of France, (May-June 1940) and the Vichy Regime
Chapter 51—The Battle of Britain, July-October 1940
Chapter 52—The Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, 1940) June 1940-June 1941
Chapter 53—American Neutrality and Aid to Britain
Chapter 54—The Nazi Attack on Soviet Russia, 1941-1942
Part Fifteen—World War II: the Ebb of Aggression: 1941-1945
Chapter 55—The Rising in the Pacific, to 1942
Chapter 56—The Turning Tide, 1942-1943: Midway, E1 Alamein, French Africa, and Stalingrad
Chapter 57—Closing in on Germany, 1943-1945
Chapter 58—Closing in on Japan, 1943-1945
Part Sixteen—The New Age
Chapter 60—Rationalization and Science
Chapter 61—The Twentieth-Century Pattern
Part Seventeen—Nuclear Rivalry and the Cold War: American Atomic Supremacy: 1945-1950
Chapter 62—The Factors
Chapter 63—The Origins of the Cold War, 1945-1949
Chapter 64—The Crisis in China, 1945-1950
Chapter 65—American Confusions, 1945-1950
Part Eighteen—Nuclear Rivalry and the Cold War: the Race for H-Bomb: 1950-1957
Chapter 66—"Joe I" and the American Nuclear Debate, 1949-1954
Chapter 67—The Korean War and Its Aftermath, 1950-1954
Chapter 68—The Eisenhower Team, 1952-1956
Chapter 69—The Rise of Khrushchev, 1953-1958
Chapter 70—The Cold War in Eastern and Southern Asia, 1950-1957
Part Nineteen—The New Era: 1957-1964
Chapter 71—The Growth of Nuclear Stalemate
Chapter 72—The Disintegrating Super-blocs
Chapter 73—The Eclipse of Colonialism
Part Twenty—Tragedy and Hope: the Future in Perspective
Chapter 74—The Unfolding of Time
Chapter 75—The United States and the Middle-Class Crisis
Chapter 76—European Ambiguities
Michael L. Chadwick
In 1965 one of the nation's leading professors quietly finished the last draft of a 1311 page book on world history. He walked over to his typewriter and secured the last pages of the book and placed them into a small box and wrapped it for mailing. He then walked to the Post Office and mailed the final draft to his publisher in New York City. The editor was somewhat overwhelmed and perhaps even inhibited by the scholarly treatise. The last thing he wanted to do was to read the huge draft. He knew and trusted the professor. After all, he was one of the leading scholars in the western world. They had been acquaintances for several years. He had already signed an agreement to publish the book before it was finished. He had read several chapters of the early draft. They were boring, at least to him. He decided to give the book to a young editor who had just been promoted to his assistant. The young editor was also overwhelmed but happy to oblige the Senior Editor. The young editor was unaware of the importance of the manuscript and of the revelations which it contained. To the young editor this was just another textbook or so he thought.
Somehow one of the most revealing books ever published slipped through the editorial of offices of one of the major publishing houses in New York and found it way into the bookstores of America in 1966.
Five years later I was meandering through a used bookstore and stumbled upon this giant book. I picked up the book, blew the dust off and opened it to a page where the author stated that:
"...[T]he powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. this system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert by secret agreements arrived at in frequent private meetings and conferences. The apex of the system was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basle, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations....
"It must not be felt that these heads of the world's chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called 'international' or 'merchant' bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks. this dominance of investment bankers was based on their control over the flows of credit and investment funds in their own countries and throughout the world. They could dominate the financial and industrial systems of their own countries by their influence over the flow of current funds though bank loans, the discount rate, and the re-discounting of commercial debts; they could dominate governments by their own control over current government loans and the play of the international exchanges. Almost all of this power was exercised by the personal influence and prestige of men who had demonstrated their ability in the past to bring off successful financial coupes, to keep their word, to remain cool in a crisis, and to share their winning opportunities with their associates."
I could hardly believe what I was reading. I sat in the bookstore and read until closing time. I then bought the book and went home where I read almost all night. For the next twenty-five years I traveled throughout the United States, Europe and the Middle East following one lead after another to determine if the incredible words of the professor were really true. While serving as the Editor of a scholarly journal on international affairs, Director of the Center for Global Studies and foreign policy advisor for a key U. S. Senator in Washington, D. C., I conducted over 1000 interviews with influential world leaders, government officials, military generals, intelligence officers, scholars and businessmen, including corporate CEOs and prominent international bankers and investment bankers. I went through over 25,000 books and over 50,000 documents. I learned for myself that the professor was telling the truth.
There really is a "world system of financial control in private hands" that is "able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world." I call this system the World Trade Federation. It is an ultra-secret group of the most powerful men on the earth. They now control every major international institution, every major multinational and transnational corporation both public and private, every major domestic and international banking institution, every central bank, every nation-state on earth, the natural resources on every continent and the people around the world through complicated inter-locking networks that resemble giant spider webs. This group is comprised of the leading family dynasties of the Canada, United States, Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Russia and China. This self-perpetuating group has developed an elaborate system of control that enables them to manipulate government leaders, consumers and people throughout the world. They are in the last stages of developing a World Empire that will rival the ancient Roman Empire. However, this new Empire will rule the entire world, not just a goodly portion of it as Rome did long ago, from its ultra-secret world headquarters in Germany. This group is responsible for the death and suffering of over 180 million men, women and children. They were responsible for World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam, etc. They have created periods of inflation and deflation in order to confiscate and consolidate the wealth of the world. They were responsible for the enslavement of over two billion people in all communist nations—Russia, China, Eastern Europe, etc., inasmuch as they were directly responsible for the creation of communism in these nations. They built up and sustain these evil totalitarian systems for private gain. They brought Hitler, Mussolini, Stalin and Roosevelt to power and guided their governments from behind the scenes to achieve a state of plunder unparalleled in world history. They make Attila the Hun look like a kindergarten child compared to their accomplishments. Six million Jews were tortured and killed in order to confiscate billions of dollars in assets, gold, silver, currency, diamonds and art work from the Tribe of Judah–a special group of people. The people in Eastern Europe suffered a similar fate as the armies of Hitler overran these countries, murdered, enslaved, robbed and plundered the unique people who resided there. For the last two and one half centuries wealth and power have been concentrating in the hands of fewer and fewer men and women. This wealth is now being used to construct and maintain the World Empire that is in the last stages of development. The World Empire is partly visible and partly invisible today.
The chief architects of this new World Empire are planning another war—World War III—to eliminate any vestiges of political, economic or religious freedom from the face of the earth. They will then completely control the earth. and its natural resources. The people will be completely enslaved just as the people were in the ancient Roman Empire. While the above may sound like fiction, I can assure you that it is true. I wish it was fiction, but it is not, it is reality.
The above recitation is quite blunt, perhaps more blunt than the professor would have liked, but he knows and I know that what I have just written is true. However, most people do not want to know that such a Machiavellian group of men, spread strategically throughout the world, really exists. They prefer to believe that all is well and that we are traveling down the road to world peace, global interdependence and economic prosperity. This is not true.
The above professor describes the network I have just described in elaborate detail—far too elaborate for most people. That is why I am truly surprised that it was ever published. The above fictional account of its publication may not be far from the truth. The contents of the above book will probably astound most people. Most people will undoubtedly not believe the professor. That will be a great mistake. Why? Because many of the tragedies of the future may be avoided with proper action.
If all our efforts resulted in saving just one life, wouldn't it be worth it? What if we could save 100 lives? What if we could save 1000 lives? What about 10,000 lives? What about 1,000,000 lives? What if we could free the billions of inhabitants of Tibet, China, Russia and other communist nations and ensure the survival of the people of Taiwan and Israel? Would not all our efforts be worth it? I believe so. The tragedies occurring today in Russia, China, Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Western Europe or the Middle East could be avoided.
The apathy and indifference of people in the Western World to the suffering, torture, misery, bondage and death of millions and millions of people around the world in the years ahead may be one of the greatest tragedies of the twenty first century.
The message of the above volume is that the last century was a tragedy that could have been avoided. The author argues that wars and depressions are man-made. The hope is that we may avoid similar tragedies in the future. That will not happen unless we give diligent heed to the warnings of the professor. Unless we carefully study his book and learn the secret history of the twentieth century and avoid allowing these same people, their heirs and associates—the rulers of various financial, corporate and governmental systems around the world—from ruining the twenty first century, his work and the work of countless others will have been in vain.
The above professor was named Carroll Quigley and the book he wrote was entitled, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in Our Time. It was published in 1966 and is clearly one of the most important books ever written. Professor Quigley was an extraordinarily gifted historian and geo-political analyst. The insights and information contained in his massive study open the door to a true understanding of world history in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In fact, if the scholar, student, businessman, businesswoman, government official and general reader has not thoroughly studied Tragedy and Hope there is no way they can understand the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is a work of exceptional scholarship and is truly a classic. The author should have received a Nobel Prize for his work.
In 1961 Carroll Quigley published The Evolution of Civilizations. It was derived from a course he taught on world history at Georgetown University. One of Quigley’s closest friends was Harry J. Hogan. In the foreword to The Evolution of Civilizations he wrote:
"The Evolution of Civilizations expresses two dimensions of its author, Carroll Quigley, that most extraordinary historian, philosopher, and teacher. In the first place, its scope is wide-ranging, covering the whole of man's activities throughout time. Second, it is analytic, not merely descriptive. It attempts a categorization of man's activities in sequential fashion so as to provide a causal explanation of the stages of civilization.
"Quigley coupled enormous capacity for work with a peculiarly "scientific" approach. He believed that it should be possible to examine the data and draw conclusions. As a boy at the Boston Latin School, his academic interests were mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Yet during his senior year he was also associate editor of the Register, the oldest high school paper in the country. His articles were singled out for national awards by a national committee headed by George Gallup.
"At Harvard, biochemistry was to be his major. But Harvard, expressing then a belief regarding a well-rounded education to which it has now returned, required a core curriculum including a course in the humanities. Quigley chose a history course, "Europe Since the Fall of Rome." Always a contrary man, he was graded at the top of his class in physics and calculus and drew a C in the history course. But the development of ideas began to assert its fascination for him, so he elected to major in history. He graduated magna cum laude as the top history student in his class.
"Quigley was always impatient. He stood for his doctorate oral examination at the end of his second year of graduate studies. Charles Howard McIlwain, chairman of the examining board, was very impressed by Quigley's answer to his opening question; the answer included a long quotation in Latin from Robert Grosseteste, bishop of Lincoln in the thirteenth century. Professor McIlwain sent Quigley to Princeton University as a graduate student instructor.
"In the spring of 1937 I was a student in my senior year at Princeton. Quigley was my preceptor in medieval history. He was Boston Irish; I was New York Irish. Both of us, Catholics adventuring in a strangely Protestant establishment world, were fascinated by the Western intellectual tradition anchored in Augustine, Abelard, and Aquinas that seemed to have so much more richness and depth than contemporary liberalism. We became very close in a treasured friendship that was terminated only by his death.
"In the course of rereading The Evolution of Civilizations I was reminded of the intensity of our dialogue. In Quigley's view, which I shared, our age was one of irrationality. That spring we talked about what career decisions I should make. At his urging I applied to and was admitted by the Harvard Graduate School in History. But I had reservations about an academic career in the study of the history that I loved, on the ground that on Quigley’s own analysis the social decisions of importance in our lifetime would be made in ad hoc irrational fashion in the street. On that reasoning, finally I transferred to law school.
"In Princeton, Carroll Quigley met and married Lillian Fox. They spent their honeymoon in Paris and Italy on a fellowship to write his doctoral dissertation, a study of the public administration of the Kingdom of Italy, 1805-14. The development of the state in western Europe over the last thousand years always fascinated Quigley. He regarded the development of public administration in the Napoleonic states as a major step in the evolution of the modern state. It always frustrated him that each nation, including our own, regards its own history as unique and the history of other nations as irrelevant to it.
"In 1938-41, Quigley served a stint at Harvard, tutoring graduate students in ancient and medieval history. It offered little opportunity for the development of cosmic views and he was less than completely content there. It was, however, a happy experience for me. I had entered Harvard Law School. We began the practice of having breakfast together at Carroll and Lillian's apartment.
"In 1941 Quigley accepted a teaching appointment at Georgetown's School of Foreign Service. It was to engage his primary energies throughout the rest of his busy life. There he became an almost legendary teacher. He chose to teach a course, "The Development of Civilization," required of the incoming class, and that course ultimately provided the structure and substance for The Evolution of Civilizations. As a course in his hands, it was a vital intellectual experience for young students, a mind-opening adventure. Foreign Service School graduates, meeting years later in careers around the world, would establish rapport with each other by describing their experience in his class. It was an intellectual initiation with remembered impact that could be shared by people who had graduated years apart.
"The fortunes of life brought us together again. During World War II, I served as a very junior officer on Admiral King's staff in Washington. Carroll and I saw each other frequently. Twenty years later, after practicing law in Oregon, I came into the government with President Kennedy. Our eldest daughter became a student under Carroll at Georgetown University. We bought a house close by Carroll and Lillian. I had Sunday breakfast with them for years and renewed our discussions of the affairs of a disintegrating world.
"Superb teacher Quigley was, and could justify a lifetime of prodigious work on that success alone. But ultimately he was more. To me he was a figure—he would scoff at this— like Augustine, Abelard, and Aquinas, searching for the truth through examination of ultimate reality as it was revealed in history. Long ago, he left the church in the formal sense. Spiritually and intellectually he never left it. He never swerved from his search for the meaning of life. He never placed any goal in higher priority. If the God of the Western civilization that Quigley spent so many years studying does exist in the terms that he saw ascribed to him by our civilization, that God will now have welcomed Quigley as one who has pleased him." (Carroll Quigley, The Evolution of Civilizations. New York: Macmillan, 1961, pp. 13-16.)
Carroll Quigley was a professor of history at the Foreign Service School of Georgetown University. He taught at Princeton and at Harvard. He had done extensive research in the archives of France, Italy, and England. He was a member of the editorial board of Current History. He was a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Anthropological Association and the American Economic Association. For many years he lectured on Russian history at the Industrial College of the Armed Forces and on Africa at the Brookings Institution. He was also a frequent lecturer at the U.S. Naval Weapons Laboratory, the Foreign Service Institute at the U. S. State Department, and the Naval College at Norfolk, Virginia. In 1958 he served as a consultant to the Congressional Select Committee which set up the National Space Agency. He was a historical advisor to the Smithsonian Institution and was involved with the establishment of the new Museum of History and Technology. In the summer of 1964 he was a consultant at the Navy Post-Graduate School, Monterey, California on Project Seabed. The project was created to visualize the status of future American weapons systems.
Tragedy and Hope will enlighten the mind of every sincere seeker of truth and will unveil the secret powers that have been carefully manipulating the Western Hemisphere, America, Europe, Asia, Russia, China and the Middle East for over 250 years.
In 1996 I published a 24 volume study entitled Global Governance in the Twenty First Century. The multi-volume work was the result of my extensive travels and research throughout the United States, Europe and Middle East. It fully collaborates the assertions and statements made by professor Carroll Quigley in Tragedy and Hope. It is my sincere hope the reader will take the time to carefully peruse and ponder the words of this rather remarkable book. And afterwards, I hope the reader will have a desire to thoroughly read and ponder the contents of Global Governance in the Twenty First Century.
The expression "contemporary history" is probably self-contradictory, because what is contemporary is not history, and what is history is not contemporary. Sensible historians usually refrain from writing accounts of very recent events because they realize that the source materials for such events, especially the indispensable official documents, are not available and that, even with the documentation which is available, it is very difficult for anyone to obtain the necessary perspective on the events of one's own mature life. But I must clearly not be a sensible or, at least, an ordinary historian, for, having covered, in an earlier book, the whole of human history in a mere 271 pages, I now use more than 1300 pages for the events of a single lifetime. There is a connection here. It will be evident to any attentive reader that I have devoted long years of study and much original research, even where adequate documentation is not available, but it should be equally evident that whatever value this present work has rests on its broad perspective. I have tried to remedy deficiencies of evidence by perspective, not only by projecting the patterns of past history into the present and the future but also by trying to place the events of the present in their total context by examining all the varied aspects of these events, not merely the political and economic, as is so frequently done, but by my efforts to bring into the picture the military, technological, social, and intellectual elements as well.
The result of all this, I hope, is an interpretation of the present as well as the immediate past and the near future, which is free from the accepted cliches, slogans, and self-justifications which mar so much of "contemporary history." Much of my adult life has been devoted to training undergraduates in techniques of historical analysis which will help them to free their understanding of history from the accepted categories and cognitive classifications of the society in which we live, since these, however necessary they may be for our processes of thought and for the concepts and symbols needed for us to communicate about reality, nevertheless do often serve as barriers which shield us from recognition of the underlying realities themselves. The present work is the result of such an attempt to look at the real situations which lie beneath the conceptual and verbal symbols. I feel that it does provide, as a consequence of this effort, a fresher, somewhat different, and (I hope) more satisfying explanation of how we arrived at the situation in which we now find ourselves.
More than twenty years have gone into the writing of this work. Although most of it is based on the usual accounts of these events, some portions are based on fairly intensive personal research (including research among manuscript materials). These portions include the following: the nature and techniques of financial capitalism, the economic structure of France under the Third Republic, the social history of the United States, and the membership and activities of the English Establishment. On other subjects, my reading has been as wide as I could make it, and I have tried consistently to view all subjects from as wide and as varied points of view as I am capable. Although I regard myself, for purposes of classification, as a historian, I did a great deal of study in political science at Harvard, have persisted in the private study of modern psychological theory for more than thirty years, and have been a member of the American Anthropological Association, the American Economic Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the American Historical Association for many years.
Thus my chief justification for writing a lengthy work on contemporary history, despite the necessarily restricted nature of the documentation, must be based on my efforts to remedy this inevitable deficiency by using historical perspective to permit me to project the tendencies of the past into the present and even the future and my efforts to give this attempt a more solid basis by using all the evidence from a wide variety of academic disciplines.
As a consequence of these efforts to use this broad, and perhaps complex, method, this book is almost inexcusably lengthy. For this I must apologize, with the excuse that I did not have time to make it shorter and that an admittedly tentative and interpretative work must necessarily be longer than a more definite or more dogmatic presentation. To those who find the length excessive, I can only say that I omitted chapters, which were already written, on three topics: the agricultural history of Europe, the domestic history of France and Italy, and the intellectual history of the twentieth century in general. To do this I introduced enough on these subjects into other chapters.
Although I project the interpretation into the near future on a number of occasions, the historical narrative ceases in 1964, not because the date of writing caught up with the march of historical events but because the period 1862-1864 seems to me to mark the end of an era of historical development and a period of pause before a quite different era with quite different problems begins. This change is evident in a number of obvious events, such as the fact that the leaders of all the major countries (except Red China and France) and of many lesser ones (such as Canada, India, West Germany, the Vatican, Brazil, and Israel) were changed in this period. Much more important is the fact that the Cold War, which culminated in the Cuban crisis of October 1962, began to dwindle toward its end during the next two years, a process which w as evident in a number of events, such as the rapid replacement of the Cold War by "Competitive Coexistence"; the disintegration of the two super-blocs which had faced each other during the Cold War; the rise of neutralism, both within the super-blocs and in the buffer fringe of third-bloc powers between them; the swamping of the United Nations General Assembly under a flood of newly independent, sometimes microscopic, pseudo-powers; the growing parallelism of the Soviet Union and the United States; and the growing emphasis in all parts of the world on problems of living standards, of social maladjustments, and of mental health, replacing the previous emphasis on armaments, nuclear tensions, and heavy industrialization. At such a period, when one era seems to be ending and a different, if yet indistinct era appearing, it seemed to me as good a time as any to evaluate the past and to seek some explanation of how we arrived where we are.
In any preface such as this, it is customary to conclude with acknowledgment of personal obligations. My sense of these is so broad that I find it invidious to single out some and to omit others. But four must be mentioned. Much of this book was typed, in her usual faultless way, by my wife. This was done originally and in revised versions, in spite of the constant distractions of her domestic obligations, of her own professional career in a different university, and of her own writing and publication. For her cheerful assumption of this great burden, I am very grateful.
Similarly, I am grateful to the patience, enthusiasm, and amazingly wide knowledge of my editor at The Macmillan Company, Peter V. Ritner.
I wish to express my gratitude to the University Grants Committee of Georgetown University, which twice provided funds for summer research.
And, finally, I must say a word of thanks to my students over many years who forced me to keep up with the rapidly changing customs and outlook of our young people and sometimes also compelled me to recognize that my way of looking at the world is not necessarily the only way, or even the best way, to look at it. Many of these students, past, present, and future, are included in the dedication of this book.
Washington, D. C.
March 8, 1965
Part One—Introduction: Western Civilization In Its World Setting
Chapter 1—Cultural Evolution in Civilizations
There have always been men who have asked, "Where are we going?" But never, it would seem, have there been so many of them. And surely never before have these myriads of questioners asked their question in such dolorous tones or rephrased their question in such despairing words: "Can man survive?" Even on a less cosmic basis, questioners appear on all sides, seeking "meaning" or "identity," or even, on the most narrowly egocentric basis, "trying to find myself."
One of these persistent questions is typical of the twentieth century rather than of earlier times: Can our way of life survive? Is our civilization doomed to vanish, as did that of the Incas, the Sumerians, and the Romans? From Giovanni Battista Vico in the early eighteenth century to Oswald Spengler in the early twentieth century and Arnold J. Toynbee in our own day, men have been puzzling over the problem whether civilizations have a life cycle and follow a similar pattern of change. From this discussion has emerged a fairly general agreement that men live in separately organized societies, each with its own distinct culture; that some of these societies, having writing and city life, exist on a higher level of culture than the rest, and should be called by the different term "civilizations"; and that these civilizations tend to pass through a common pattern of experience.
From these studies it would seem that civilizations pass through a process of evolution which can be analyzed briefly as follows: each civilization is born in some inexplicable fashion and, after a slow start, enters a period of vigorous expansion, increasing its size and power, both internally and at the expense of its neighbors, until gradually a crisis of organization appears. When this crisis has passed and the civilization has been reorganized, it seems somewhat different. Its vigor and morale have weakened. It becomes stabilized and eventually stagnant. After a Golden Age of peace and prosperity, internal crises again arise. At this point there appears, for the first time, a moral and physical weakness which raises, also for the first time, questions about the civilization's ability to defend itself against external enemies. Racked by internal struggles of a social and constitutional character, weakened by loss of faith in its older ideologies and by the challenge of newer ideas incompatible with its past nature, the civilization grows steadily weaker until it is submerged by outside enemies, and eventually disappears.
When we come to apply this process, even in this rather vague form, to our own civilization, Western Civilization, we can see that certain modifications are needed. Like other civilizations, our civilization began with a period of mixture of cultural elements from other societies, formed these elements into a culture distinctly its own, began to expand with growing rapidity as others had done, and passed from this period of expansion into a period of crisis. But at that point the pattern changed.
In more than a dozen other civilizations the Age of Expansion was followed by an Age of Crisis, and this, in turn, by a period of Universal Empire in which a single political unit ruled the whole extent of the civilization. Western Civilization, on the contrary, did not pass from the Age of Crisis to the Age of Universal Empire, but instead was able to reform itself and entered upon a new period of expansion. Moreover, Western Civilization did this not once, but several times. It was this ability to reform or reorganize itself again and again which made Western Civilization the dominant factor in the world at the beginning of the twentieth century.
As we look at the three ages forming the central portion of the life cycle of a civilization, we can see a common pattern. The Age of Expansion is generally marked by four kinds of expansion: (1) of population, (2) of geographic area, (3) of production, and (4) of knowledge. The expansion of production and the expansion of knowledge give rise to the expansion of population, and the three of these together give rise to the expansion of geographic extent. This geographic expansion is of some importance because it gives the civilization a kind of nuclear structure made up of an older core area (which had existed as part of the civilization even before the period of expansion) and a newer peripheral area (which became part of the civilization only in the period of expansion and later). If we wish, we can make, as an additional refinement, a third, semi-peripheral area between the core area and the fully peripheral area.
These various areas are readily discernible in various civilizations of the past, and have played a vital role in historic change in these civilizations. In Mesopotamian Civilization (6000 B.C.-300 B.C.) the core area was the lower valley of Mesopotamia; the semi-peripheral area was the middle and upper valley, while the peripheral area included the highlands surrounding this valley, and more remote areas like Iran, Syria, and even Anatolia. The core area of Cretan Civilization (3500 B.C.-1100 B.C.) was the island of Crete, while the peripheral area included the Aegean islands and the Balkan coasts. In Classical Civilization the core area was the shores of the Aegean Sea; the semi-peripheral area was the rest of the northern portion of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, while the peripheral area covered the rest of the Mediterranean shores and ultimately Spain, North Africa, and Gaul. In Canaanite Civilization (2200 B.C.-100 B.C.) the core area was the Levant, while the peripheral area was in the western Mediterranean at Tunis, western Sicily, and eastern Spain. The core area of Western Civilization (A.D. 400 to some time in the future) has been the northern half of Italy, France, the extreme western part of Germany, and England; the semi-peripheral area has been central, eastern, and southern Europe and the Iberian peninsula, while the peripheral areas have included North and South America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and some other areas.
This distinction of at least two geographic areas in each civilization is of major importance. The process of expansion, which begins in the core area, also begins to slow up in the core at a time when the peripheral area is still expanding. In consequence, by the latter part of the Age of Expansion, the peripheral areas of a civilization tend to become wealthier and more powerful than the core area. Another way of saying this is that the core passes from the Age of Expansion to the Age of Conflict before the periphery does. Eventually, in most civilizations the rate of expansion begins to decline everywhere.
It is this decline in the rate of expansion of a civilization which marks its passage from the Age of Expansion to the Age of Conflict. This latter is the most complex, most interesting, and most critical of all the periods of the life cycle of a civilization. It is marked by four chief characteristics: (a) it is a period of declining rate of expansion; (b) it is a period of growing tensions and class conflicts; (c) it is a period of increasingly frequent and increasingly violent imperialist wars; and (d) it is a period of growing irrationality, pessimism, superstitions, and otherworldliness. All these phenomena appear in the core area of a civilization before they appear in more peripheral portions of the society.
The decreasing rate of expansion of the Age of Conflict gives rise to the other characteristics of the age, in part at least. After the long years of the Age of Expansion, people's minds and their social organizations are adjusted to expansion, and it is a very difficult thing to readjust these to a decreasing rate of expansion. Social classes and political units within the civilization try to compensate for the slowing of expansion through normal growth by the use of violence against other social classes or against other political units. From this come class struggles and imperialist wars. The outcomes of these struggles within the civilization are not of vital significance for the future of the civilization itself. What would be of such significance would be the reorganization of the structure of the civilization so that the process of normal growth would be resumed. Because such a reorganization requires the removal of the causes of the civilization's decline, the triumph of one social class over another or of one political unit over another, within the civilization, will not usually have any major influence on the causes of the decline, and will not (except by accident) result in such a reorganization of structure as will give rise to a new period of expansion. Indeed, the class struggles and imperialist wars of the Age of Conflict will probably serve to increase the speed of the civilization's decline because they dissipate capital and divert wealth and energies from productive to nonproductive activities.
In most civilizations the long-drawn agony of the Age of Conflict finally ends in a new period, the Age of the Universal Empire. As a result of the imperialist wars of the Age of Conflict, the number of political units in the civilization are reduced by conquest. Eventually one emerges triumphant. When this occurs we have one political unit for the whole civilization. Just at the core area passes from the Age of Expansion to the Age of Conflict earlier than the peripheral areas, sometimes the core area is conquered by a single state before the whole civilization is conquered by the Universal Empire. When this occurs the core empire is generally a semi-peripheral state, while the Universal Empire is generally a peripheral state. Thus, Mesopotamia's core was conquered by semi-peripheral Babylonia about 1700 B.C., while the whole of Mesopotamian civilization was conquered by more peripheral Assyria about 7 2 5 H.C. (replaced by fully peripheral Persia about 525 B.C.). In Classical Civilization the core area was conquered by semi-peripheral Macedonia about 336 B.C., while the whole civilization was conquered by peripheral Rome about 146 B.C. In other civilizations the Universal Empire has consistently been a peripheral state even when there was no earlier conquest of the core area by a semi-peripheral state. In Mayan Civilization (1000 B.C.-A.D. 1550) the core area was apparently in Yucatan and Guatemala, but the Universal Empire of the Aztecs centered in the peripheral highlands of central Mexico. In Andean Civilization (1500 B.C.-A.D. 1600) the core areas were on the lower slopes and valleys of the central and northern Andes, but the Universal Empire of the Incas centered in the highest Andes, a peripheral area. The Canaanite Civilization (2200 B.C.-146 B.C.) had its core area in the Levant, but its Universal Empire, the Punic Empire, centered at Carthage in the western Mediterranean. If we turn to the Far East we see no less than three civilizations. Of these the earliest, Sinic Civilization, rose in the valley of the Yellow River after 2000 B.C., culminated in the Chin and Han empires after 200 B.C., and was largely destroyed by Ural-Altaic invaders after A.D. 400. From this Sinic Civilization, in the same way in which Classical Civilization emerged from Cretan Civilization or Western Civilization emerged from Classical Civilization, there emerged two other civilizations: (a) Chinese Civilization, which began about A.D. 400, culminated in the Manchu Empire after 1644, and was disrupted by European invaders in the period 1790-1930, and (b) Japanese Civilization, which began about the time of Christ, culminated in the Tokugawa Empire after 1600, and may have been completely disrupted by invaders from Western Civilization in the century following 1853.
In India, as in China, two civilizations have followed one another. Although we know relatively little about the earlier of the two, the later (as in China) culminated in a Universal Empire ruled by an alien and peripheral people. Indic Civilization, which began about 3500 B.C., was destroyed by Aryan invaders about 1700 B.C. Hindu Civilization, which emerged from Indic Civilization about 1700 B.C., culminated in the Mogul Empire and was destroyed by invaders from Western Civilization in the period 1500-1900.
Turning to the extremely complicated area of the Near East, we can see a similar pattern. Islamic Civilization, which began about A.D. 500, culminated in the Ottoman Empire in the period 1300-1600 and has been in the process of being destroyed by invaders from Western Civilization since about 1750.
Expressed in this way, these patterns in the life cycles of various civilizations may seem confused. But if we tabulate them, the pattern emerges with some simplicity.
From this table a most extraordinary fact emerges. Of approximately twenty civilizations which have existed in all of human history, we have listed sixteen. Of these sixteen, twelve, possibly fourteen, are already dead or dying, their cultures destroyed by outsiders able to come in with sufficient power to disrupt the civilization, destroy its established modes of thought and action, and eventually wipe it out. Of these twelve dead or dying cultures, six have been destroyed by Europeans bearing the culture of Western Civilization. When we consider the untold numbers of other societies, simpler than civilizations, which Western Civilization has destroyed or is now destroying, societies such as the Hottentots, the Iroquois, the Tasmanians, the Navahos, the Caribs, and countless others, the full frightening power of Western Civilization becomes obvious.
Universal Final Their
Civilization Its Dates Empire Invasion Dates
Mesopotamian 6000 B.C.- Assyrian/ Greeks 335 B.C.-
300 B.C. Persian— 300 B.C.
Egyptian 5500 B. C.- Egyptian Greeks 334 B. C.-
300 B. C. 300 B. C.
Cretan 3500 B. C.- Minoan- Dorian 1200 B. C.-
1150 B. C. Mycenaean Greeks 1000 B. C.
Indic 3500 B. C. - Harappa? Aryans 1800 B. C.-
1700 B. C. 1600 B. C.
Canaanite 2200 B. C. - Punic Romans 264 B. C. -
100 B. C. 146 B. C.
Sinic 2000 B. C. - Chin/ Ural-Altaic A. D. 200
A. D. 400 Han 500
Hittite 1800 - Hittite Indo- 1200 B. C. -
1150 European A. D. 1000
Classical 1150 B. C. - Roman Germanic A. D. 350 -
A. D. 500 600
Andean 1500 B. C. - Inca Europeans 1534
A. D. 1600
Mayan 1000 B. C. - Aztec Europeans 1519
A. D. 1550
Hindu 1800 B. C. - Mogul Europeans 1500 -
A. D. 1900 1900
Chinese 400 - Manchu Europeans 1790 -
Japanese 850 B. C. - ? Tokugawa Europeans 1853 -