Yockey’s mystique has rested in his chief work, IMPERIUM, and in his mysterious death in 1960.
Yockey’s discovery of Oswald Spengler’s DECLINE OF THE WEST while an undergraduate at the University of Michigan in the mid 1930s was his great epiphany. Spengler’s theory of historical culture-civilizations–unique phenomena of the spirit, monadic in their isolation from one another, each moving ineluctably towards its doom–which the German author illuminated with a host of brilliant insights and intercultural comparisons in music, economics, mathematics, philosophy, city life, art, technology, literature, the natural sciences and religiosity, to name a few, did more than dazzle and instruct its young reader: it recruited him.
In a sense Yockey’s life after reading Spengler was only a prologue to his retreat in 1947 to Brittas Bay in Wicklow on the Irish Sea, where he poured out the more than six hundred pages of IMPERIUM in under six months, as his life thereafter is arguably only a postscript to that book. Besides embracing the schema of “the philosopher of history,” IMPERIUM channels other influences, including Spengler’s THE HOUR OF DECISION and “Prussianism and Socialism.”
The book’s title and imperative stem from the Spenglerian challenge to seize the moment at which each culture is destined either to perish or else to leave behind the vernal blooming of its youth, and, repelling enemies from without and within, cross over to an age of Authority and Duty.
In reflection of Yockey’s anguish at the ruin of Europe, anno 1947, and his defiance at the still formally intact coalition of the Western “plutocrats” and the Eastern Bolsheviks, including the Jews who played a prominent role in both camps, IMPERIUM is dedicated to “The Hero of the Second World War,” unquestionably Adolf Hitler.
For the reader of a certain age and sensibilities, IMPERIUM can seem a philosopher’s stone, encompassing all of human history, glittering with hard insights into politics (not to mention the Jewish taboo) one could never get from one’s political science class or the NATIONAL REVIEW, and concluding with a mighty trumpet call for the resurgence of the West.