Strictly speaking, there is no 'eternal recurrence' in history, nothing corresponding to a repetition of previous developments in identical terms.  History continues to develop in response to evolutionary pressures; it doesn't remain static in a predetermined mould.  Yet we can contend that, although history doesn't exactly repeat itself, a pattern nonetheless accrues to it which reflects the influence of previous tendencies, suggesting not so much a cyclic development as a continuation and expansion of cyclical tendencies in extended form.  Analogies with past civilizations do of course present themselves.  But they can never be anything more than approximations tentatively held in the name of order and clarity.  We cannot treat them as manifestations or proofs of an 'eternal recurrence'.  We must allow for the gradual unfolding of historical development in its changing guises, from the pre-dualistic to the post-dualistic via the dualistic, which is to say, from pagan to transcendental via Christian.  To ascribe pre-dualistic criteria to dualistic civilization, for example, would be to overlook the reality of evolutionary change.  Humanism will inevitably give rise to a different pattern of development, a development reflecting not pre-dualistic but dualistic influence.

      Let us take a closer look at this point.  It has been tempting for twentieth-century historical thinkers to adduce analogies between pagan civilization and their own Christian civilization in its expiring twilight, and thus to contend, for example, that Britain is the modern equivalent of ancient Greece and America, by contrast, the modern equivalent of ancient Rome.  This analogy, suggesting a cyclical development, was put forward by Malcolm Muggeridge, no mean student of Spengler, who had earlier adduced a similar analogy suggesting not Britain but Germany as the new Rome, so to speak.  Another similar analogy was drawn by Simone Weil which, whilst ascribing Grecian attributes to Britain, left one in no doubt that France had behaved in the manner of ancient Rome during the Napoleonic period.

      Thus whilst all three thinkers agreed on the resemblance of Britain to ancient Greece, each of them differed on their assessment of which country deserved the analogy with Rome.  Muggeridge suggested America, Spengler ... Germany, and Weil ... France.  As I see it, none of them was correct.  For each of them made the mistake of taking the hypothesis of cyclical development too seriously, and therefore of ascribing pre-dualistic criteria to dualistic civilization.  In other words, the successive rather than simultaneous nature of classical civilization was imposed by them upon the simultaneous, i.e. dualistic, nature of Western civilization, and false analogies were thereby inferred.  Greece led to Rome in the former case, but, strictly speaking, Britain did not lead to France or Germany to America in the latter case.  On the contrary, Britain existed in vigorous competition with France for centuries, and was accordingly her simultaneous partner in dualism, rather than her pre-dualistic predecessor.

      However, if analogies are to be drawn between ancient and modern on the basis of successive developments, then I would reverse the analogy relating Britain to Greece, as put forward by all three of the aforementioned philosophers of history, and instead contend that France was the modern equivalent of Greece and Britain, by contrast, the modern equivalent of Rome.  I do this on the assumption that France has been traditionally more aesthetically minded and culture conscious than Britain and thereby resembles ancient Greece, whereas Britain has traditionally upheld militaristic, industrial, scientific, and engineering qualities reminiscent of ancient Rome.  The French have shown a greater commitment to the arts and humanities; the British, by contrast, a greater commitment to the more prosaic concerns of colonial expansion and military conquest.  The British Empire was, of course, somewhat larger than its French counterpart, just as the Roman Empire stretched way beyond the boundaries of the Greek one.  And just as the Romans took over various attributes of Greek religion from the Greeks and transformed them into a specifically Roman religion, so the British took from Catholicism what they required and transformed it into Protestantism, thereby distinguishing themselves from the Catholic French.

      Generalizations are, of course, always suspect.  But if analogies between the ancient and the modern have to be drawn, then a generalization which ascribes Greek characteristics to the French and Roman characteristics to the British would seem of more applicability than one taking the opposite viewpoint, in the manner of Simone Weil.  After all, France has led Britain in the arts for some considerable period of time now, making it impossible for an unbiased investigator to contend that a genuine equality of aesthetic production exists or, indeed, has ever existed between the two countries.  The British are certainly capable of high artistic achievement, but they haven't dedicated themselves to the cause of art with the same fervour and aptitude as the Catholic French.  Rather, it has been a secondary and subsidiary activity with them, as indeed with the Romans, who were far more interested in extending their empire and creating new marvels of engineering, such as the aqueduct.  The British, like the Romans before them, gave primary importance to the acquirement and security of their empire, often achieving this objective at the expense of the French, who, as in Canada and India, were crushingly defeated.

      If a classic/romantic dichotomy can be inferred from the respective attitudes and approaches to life of the two peoples, the British down-to-earth, sober, ruthlessly efficient; the French inspirational, optimistic, gallant, then the former certainly deserve the appellation 'classic', in contrast to the colourful romanticism of the latter.  They are classically prosaic rather than romantically poetic, puritanical rather than licentious, moderate rather than extreme, materialistic rather than spiritualistic, extrovert rather than introvert, and so on.  Their puritanism finds its religious outlet in Protestantism, their moderation in parliamentary democracy, their materialism in science and industry, and their extroversion in sport and ceremony.  In war they have shown greater determination, discipline, and tactical shrewdness than the French, acquiring a reputation for military success second-to-none.  Their regiments of well-drilled, closely-packed infantry could be said to have resembled the Roman legions in formation, and more than once proved capable of aspiring to similar conquests.  With relatively small armies of superior tactical strength they were generally able to defeat the larger, though less disciplined, forces of their adversaries, and so extend their influence throughout the world.  And wherever they went they invariably built imposing monuments to their conquest, bringing imperial civilization to the defeated in a manner once more resembling ancient Rome.

      Thus if we are to adopt a generalization relating the growth and conservation of the British Empire to that of the Roman one, we have no alternative but to regard the British as the modern equivalent of the ancient Romans, their imperialism, however, being of a dualistic rather than a pre-dualistic order.  If they were less ruthless, on the whole, than the Romans in dealing with subject peoples, it was largely on account of the fact that they reflected Christian criteria, being inheritors of a humanism undreamt of in pagan times.  But they were sufficiently ruthless, all the same, to extend their empire far beyond the boundaries of the Roman one, and to hold it down with a firm hand!  Very few rebellions against them proved successful while they were at the height of their imperial power.  Only with the twentieth century did rebellion on the part of subject peoples lead to significant results, and then largely because the British were otherwise preoccupied with stronger external enemies, like Germany, and couldn't retain global control.  The decline of the British Empire in the twentieth century marks the decline of dualistic imperialism and the simultaneous extension of dualistic civilization.  For, in coming under British influence, the subject peoples necessarily acquired access to a higher order of civilization, and so were obliged to abandon pre-dualistic criteria in the interests of evolutionary progress.  This is especially true of black Africa and most of southern Asia.

      Yet the British weren't simply conquerors and governors of subject peoples but colonists and explorers as well, so that new nations were created which, like Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, became extensions of England overseas.  The loss of the American colonies was more than compensated for by the gain of other colonies and the subsequent transplantation of Britons - and Irish - to remote parts of the globe - a transplantation ensuring the extension and continuity of the British way-of-life.  Even colonial North America, though lost to Britain in the War of Independence, served the expansionist cause of dualistic civilization, becoming, in due course, the world's most powerful nation and chief defender of the civilization it inherited.  Had the British retained their American colonies, it is altogether doubtful that America would now be as powerful.  However, colonization doesn't differ markedly from other manifestations of imperialistic expansion, and we may say of countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc., that they, too, were originally conquered regions which subsequently acquired the names by which we now know them and became predominantly white nations in the dualistic civilization.  Where, on the other hand, the indigenous people were more numerous or advanced, the possibilities for colonial expansion were necessarily restricted, so that the British were obliged to remain governors of a subject people, rather than creators of a completely new extension of their own country.  This was the case, for example, with Ireland and India, which retained their traditional culture in the face of imperial occupation and remained, in many respects, what they had been before the British came - that is to say, Catholic and Hindu nations respectively.

      However, between the extremes of what one might call colonial expansion and government through conquest, one finds the development which marks a combination of these in areas of the world, like black Africa, where a compromise was forced upon the British in consequence not so much of an already-established civilization, as in India, but of sheer weight of numbers.  The natives could not be significantly disposed of, after the fashion that the Anglo-American settlers in North America had disposed of the Red Indians or the British settlers in Australia of the aborigines, but had to be conquered and transformed into workers of one kind or another, in accordance with the environmental and social dictates of the situation.  The African regions annexed by the British were not destined to be transformed into predominantly white countries, like Australia, but neither were they simply to be governed in the face of their own religions and culture.  They were to be transformed into Christian nations and given such names as South Africa, Rhodesia, Nigeria, and South-West Africa, which they would be obliged to retain until rebellion against the governing whites enforced a return or, rather, progression to African names, as in Zimbabwe's case.

      Having slightly deviated from my original thesis, I must now return to it and draw some further conclusions relating to Britain's imperial status.  Clearly, there is no other Western country better qualified to incite an analogy with ancient Rome than modern Britain, since no other country has achieved anything like the same success in regard to colonial or semi-colonial expansion, not even France.  For, pitted against Britain, she generally came off worse, as in Canada and India.  She was obliged to take second place.  Yet it hadn't always been so!  During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in particular, England had felt itself very much the inferior nation.  One might say that while Britain was only potentially the modern equivalent of ancient Rome it remained under the shadow of the modern equivalent of ancient Greece, since France was not only geographically the larger nation but had a population at least twice as great and even three times as great during the Napoleonic period, when it was at its imperial height.  England was no real match for this France under the circumstances.

      However, the transformation of England into Great Britain with the Unions of Scotland, Wales, and, finally, Ireland (the latter of which established the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland in 1801), marked the rise of the modern equivalent of ancient Rome and the decline of its Greek counterpart, so that, by the end of the nineteenth century, Great Britain was decidedly the stronger of the two nations, able to assert itself over France to an extent it could never have dreamt of doing while France was in the ascendancy as an imperial power.  The defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo marked the turning-point in the two country's respective fortunes.  Thereafter France would have to rest content with a secondary imperial status.  Its ambitions to become the new Rome had been thwarted, never to arise again.  The imperial initiative passed across the channel to Great Britain.

      Having applied our historical analogy on a more-or-less successive basis to France and Britain respectively, it is now time for us to consider the implications for simultaneity which dualism must inevitably presuppose.  For, in reality, the dualistic phase of evolution differs from the pre-dualistic, or pagan, phase in allowing two nations to share power simultaneously rather than successively, as in the ancient world.  Instead of Rome following-on behind Greece as the leading pagan power, the Christian civilization shows us the simultaneous juxtaposition of the modern equivalent of each, with Britain unable to destroy France and France unable to defeat Britain.  Admittedly there is, as we have argued, a development from France to Great Britain in imperial status, so that the latter becomes the more powerful.  But dualistic competition between the two nevertheless remains, with France out to safeguard its own imperial interests and accordingly expand its empire wherever possible.  The British Empire isn't the only empire in the modern world, for the French are ever willing to protect and develop their own.  Here history lets us down if we look for analogies with classical civilization.  The might of Rome stood alone above the barbarous or semi-barbarous tribes it was obliged to conquer.  It didn't have to compete with imperial competition from its neighbours, since the possibility of such competition was crushed wherever it appeared, the Carthaginians, despite their initial successes, being no exception to this general rule.  Only Rome could go on to forge a great empire.  It became the undisputed master of the pre-dualistic world.

      However, in the dualistic world there could be no undisputed master but, at its height, two great nations struggling with each other for worldly spoils.  Of the two, the more dualistic one was destined to reap the biggest dividends, though it couldn't very well expect to reap them all.  The modern equivalent of ancient Greece was always there to offer significant competition.  Then, too, there were the lesser dualistic nations like Holland, Belgium, Spain, and Portugal with which to contend, nations which would inevitably stake their own claims to imperial spoils, if, like Spain and Portugal, they hadn't already done so several centuries before.  But the two greatest dualistic nations were destined to reap the richest harvest, and, of the two, it was Great Britain that reaped the most.

      To this day Britain remains the most dualistic nation in Europe, and not only in respect of its political and religious divisions, but also with regard to its tribal or national ones.  A Frenchman is generally a Frenchman, whether he was born in the industrial north or in the agricultural south, whether he be a recipient of the cool Nordic climate or of the warm Mediterranean one.  The essence of French dualism doesn't cut across nationality, even if it often presupposes a Germanic/Latin dichotomy.  Not so the essence of British dualism which, besides presupposing an Anglo-Saxon/Celtic dichotomy, also results in an ambivalent nationality among the British as a whole.  One can be English one moment and British the next, Scottish one moment and British the next, and so on, without in the least feeling particularly eccentric or conscious of the inherent absurdity of such a situation.  The English and the Scottish, in particular, will go at one another hammer-and-tongs on the football field in the name of their respective 'countries', and would virtually lynch anyone who contended that they were citizens of the same nation.  When Scotland meets England in football at Hampden Park, or for that matter in rugby at Murrayfield, there is no mention of anyone's being British.  For on such occasions being British would appear to be a gross irrelevance.  Similarly, when England plays Australia or the West Indies at cricket, there is no reference to Britain, to anyone playing cricket in the name of Great Britain.  The Union Jack may be flying over the ground, but it has the effect, in such a context, of signifying England rather than the British as a whole.  A Welshman may, by dint of being a Glamorgan supporter, be able to identify with England in their battle against the overseas' opponent, particularly if a fellow-Welshman is in the English team, but it is somewhat unlikely that a Scotsman would.  Scotland does, after all, possess a national team of its own, even if not a first-class one.  He would doubtless be more inclined to identify with that!

      But then there are contexts in which it would be inconceivable for the separate countries that constitute Great Britain to participate in sporting or other activities individually, when it is categorically imperative for them to merge into a single nation, as at the Olympics or in professional tennis tournaments or world-contest boxing matches or grand-prix races or chess competitions, where Great Britain is ever the term on everybody's lips.  To imagine England or Scotland being individually represented at the Olympics?  Impossible!  And yet British psychology adjusts with no apparent inconvenience when it is a question of England or Scotland or Wales being represented at the World Cup Finals.  Then the thought of Great Britain would be the last thing to enter British heads!

      Yet how symptomatic all this is of British success in the dualistic stage of evolution!  How significant of dualistic civilization!  The French, despite their status as Britain's chief rivals during the heyday of bourgeois imperialism, have nothing to compare with it.  They are never in any doubt as to which country they belong to, even if not all Frenchmen conform to exactly the same racial type.  They could only be puzzled by the apparent ease with which an Englishman or a Scotsman changes his allegiance from one country to another, like a chameleon its colours, as and when the context demands.  There is no precedent for this, and no contemporary example of it to be found anywhere else in the world.  The British remain uniquely ambivalent, and will doubtless remain so until such time as evolution may decide otherwise.

      Having discussed Britain's credentials as the leading dualistic power in the age of bourgeois imperialism, and compared her to France, her chief rival, I trust the reader will now be in a better position to sympathize with my argument concerning the essentially simultaneous rather than successive nature of dualistic civilization, as represented by the modern equivalents of ancient Rome and ancient Greece respectively.  Analogies with the past can of course prove treacherous; for, unlike authors, history never exactly repeats itself!  Accordingly, Britain should first and foremost be seen as Britain rather than as the modern equivalent of ancient Rome.  But to the extent that others have been tempted in this analogical direction, and to the extent that I saw fit to disagree with their contentions, a justification for that disagreement was called for and has, I hope, been adequately addressed.  To regard Britain as a latter-day Greece and America as a latter-day Rome, like Malcolm Muggeridge, would, I believe, be to underestimate the imperial achievements of Britain and to accredit America with a potential for world conquest which would be out-of-keeping with its status as a dualistic nation bent on defending capitalism, and hence by implication the West, from anti-capitalist aggression.  We have not yet witnessed the formation, strictly speaking, of an American Empire, and until such time as we do, there is no real justification for anyone drawing an analogy between America and ancient Rome.

      Similarly, the analogy put forward by Simone Weil, in which France was compared with Rome and Britain with Greece, seems to me without any real justification in view of the respective achievements and predilections of the two countries.  Apart from the brief Napoleonic interlude, France hasn't aspired to emulating ancient Rome but, on the contrary, has shown itself susceptible to aesthetico-philosophical tendencies more reminiscent of ancient Greece in their creative originality and cultural richness.  To base the analogy with Rome on the Napoleonic period, as Simone Weil does, is to take the exception for the rule and permit a relatively short period of French history to represent French history in general.  It is equivalent to taking the romantic period in English literature for the rule rather than the exception, and seeing in it a proof of the 'Greekness' of English civilization, which is evidently what Weil did in arriving at her assessment of Britain.  Yet, in reality, Britain was being just as untypical of itself in the romantic revolution of Byron, Keats, Shelley, Wordsworth, and Coleridge, as France was being atypically French in its Napoleonic revolution.  Both nations were contemporaneously aspiring towards their opposite - Britain or, rather, England becoming romantic, while France was adopting the classic.  Both countries were in rebellion against their own grain, a rebellion, however, that was soon superseded, as Britain returned to her natural classicism in the poetry of Tennyson and Arnold, while France returned to her natural or, rather, anti-natural romanticism in the poetry of Hugo and Baudelaire.  The Romantic Movement in England had become a thing of the past by the time French romanticism got properly under way again.  In art, the untypical romanticism of Blake had given way to the typical classicism of Constable, the untypical classicism of David to the typical romanticism of Delacroix.  Turner and Ingres were, it seems to me, exceptions to the general rule, national outsiders in their respective countries.

      Be that as it may, the analogy put forward by Simone Weil, on the strength of these historical 'aberrations' in the British and French temperaments, scarcely passes muster on a long-term scale, and so should be dispensed with on any but a provisional basis.  The two or three decades which Britain dedicated to the cultivation of Grecian characteristics, giving special priority to the Ionic columns of Nash, should be seen in perspective to the much longer period when it remained resolutely itself - the modern equivalent of ancient Rome.

      Thus when Spengler speaks of Germany being the new Rome in the wake of Britain's Grecian history, we have sound reasons to be distrustful and to criticize his findings in the light of our existing data.  This philosopher of history, whose monumental The Decline of the West was to become one of the most controversial works of the twentieth century, based his contention on the fact of Germany's rise to power as a military nation with expansionist objectives and a ruthless discipline for carrying them through.  Clearly, the mass regimentation of German manhood into iron-willed fighting units aimed at the overthrow of Britain and France gave him a sufficiently cogent pretext for drawing an analogy between modern Germany and ancient Rome.  Later on, following the humiliating and crippling defeat of World War One, the gradual rise of Hitler under the banner of the Imperial Eagle would strengthen the pretext for this analogy still further, leading many people besides Spengler to see in Germany the inception of a new Rome.

      In reality, however, the inception of a new Rome was the last thing that the rise of Germany as a single nation signified!  For the modern equivalent of Rome, viz. Great Britain, was one of the countries which Germany, in the role of a new barbarism, was effectively being chosen by 'the march of history' to overthrow, and Britain, realizing this in advance, was by no means prepared to let the Germans have their way, but intended to defeat them in due course and at whatever cost.  For Germany wasn't a part, strictly speaking, of the dualistic imperial tradition, but had come upon the world scene relatively late, with the intention of opposing that tradition from an incipiently post-dualistic standpoint.  This was especially so by the time Hitler attained to power on the basis of National Socialism.  But at the time of World War One, Germany's status as a post-dualistic power was latent rather than developed, having accrued from the days of Bismarck and the successes of the Franco-Prussian War.

      And yet Germany's role as a new barbarism programmed to overthrow the old powers was already clearly evident and, in some matters, such an objective was effectively achieved.  For Britain and France, despite their eventual victory over the Germans, were never quite the same again.  Their former security in the world had gone, along with the millions of men sacrificed on its behalf.  They emerged from the war on crutches, limping into a new age, an age in which world leadership passed elsewhere.  Now if, as Spengler contends, Britain had entered the First World War primarily in order to take advantage of France's commitment to it, to crush Germany for being a serious threat to her own industrial supremacy, then the price she paid for achieving her objective was the irreparable destruction of that supremacy.  America and Russia were the only countries to emerge from the war better off than before, and for quite different reasons.  America acquired the confidence it needed to become the world's foremost industrial nation.  Russia availed itself of the so-called 'capitalists' war' to become the world's first socialist state.  While the dead were burying the dead, two new powers were being born, and their birth was to have far-reaching consequences for the twentieth century!