63 pages 2 hours read

Francis Fukuyama

The End of History and the Last Man

Nonfiction | Book | Adult | Published in 1992

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Part 1Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Part 1: “An Old Question Asked Anew”

Chapter 1 Summary and Analysis: “Our Pessimism”

Francis Fukuyama dedicates the first part of this book, “An Old Question Asked Anew,” to set the parameters of his investigation. He tackles broad questions about the development of the three key ideologies of the Modern period: Liberalism, Communism, and Fascism. The author also briefly introduces the Hegelian framework that informs the way he perceives the question of history, its progress, and its end. His goal is to “write the universal history of mankind” (52). The author supplements this theoretical framework with many 20th century examples of political and ideological developments worldwide.

First, Fukuyama examines the historical and ideological development of the 20th century in broad strokes. He suggests that there was great pessimism about liberal democracy in the West which translated into the false belief about the stability of Communist states like the Soviet Union and China. The Soviet Union remained competitive with the United States and therefore appeared strong. Fukuyama reviews the internal contradictions of the Soviet system such as economic stagnation and the question of nationalities, which made it an internally weak state without appearing to be so.