“History is seasonal and winter is coming.” Steven Bannon (President Donald Trump’s senior counselor and chief ideologist)
Strauss and Howe claimed that history runs in cycles, each lasting roughly 80 years. Each cycle, or saeculum, consist of four phases, or “turnings.” By “winter,” Howe and Bannon were referring to the hugely important “fourth turning,” a cataclysmic crisis that ends an era and ushers in the next.
According to Strauss and Howe, all of the last three fourth turnings in American history culminated in wars, each bigger than the last: the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, and World War II. In “Generation Zero,” Bannon argues that the country is due for another fourth turning, and that the 2008 financial crisis, bailouts, and ensuing Tea Party reaction represented the beginning of the next one.
According to David Kaiser, one of the historians featured in “Generation Zero,” Bannon believes the coming “winter” will continue the pattern of being even worse than the last. Kaiser recalled Bannon making the extrapolation during the production of the film:
“You have the American Revolution, you have the Civil War, you have World War II; they’re getting bigger and bigger. Clearly, he was anticipating that in this Fourth Turning there would be one at least as big.”
It’s reasonable to infer that “at least as big” as World War II implies World War III.