Document Type

Article

Publication Date

8-6-2012

Publication Title

Religions

Abstract

This article explores the forgotten manifesto The City of Man: A Declaration on World Democracy, which was composed in 1940 by a group of prominent American and European anti-isolationist intellectuals, including Thomas Mann, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Hermann Broch. Written in response to the victories of Nazi Germany, the manifesto declared that the United States had a new global responsibility not only to lead the war against fascism and Marxism, but also to establish a global order of peace and democracy under U.S. hegemony. Moreover, the authors of the manifesto claimed that such an order would have to be based on the rejuvenation of conservative values; in their view, the collapse of Western democracies under the weight of totalitarian aggression was the consequence of inner moral and intellectual degeneration. The City of Man therefore called on the United States to lead the spiritual transformation of democracy into a modern political religion, which would bring about the intellectual and political unity of humanity under one state and one creed. This article analyzes the manifesto as a rare window into the difficulty intellectuals faced as they tried to conceptualize the totalitarian challenge prior to the United States‘ entry into the war. Moreover, it claims that The City of Man expressed the emergence of postwar conservatism and Cold War ideology, as well as the unique role played by European émigrés in this process.

DOI

10.3390/rel3030681

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