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Entries in war (30)

Monday
Jan072008

Will War Drive Civilization Underground? (1942)


The December 13, 1942 Montana Standard (Butte, MT) ran an interesting piece by Gardner Dane about the world of 1975, devastated by war, forcing people to move underground in order to survive. The original article appeared in Every Week magazine. Excerpts, as well as the article in its entirety, appear below.

Dane sets the stage with a vision of total ruin, a world obliterated by war:

It's 1975! All hell has burst loose in World War Three! The nations of this earth have lined up again on two sides. The slaughter, devastating fury, and material damage make the wars of past history seem like children's games with toy tin soldiers!

 

In an hour, gargantuan cities are blasted into nothingness. Desolated heaps of rubble and smoking, stinking debris mark the spot where a flock of towering skyscrapers lifted pointed peaks into the heavens.

Does this mark the end of a city's existence? Does it mean the Grand Climax of civilization? The ultimate Armageddon? The wiping out of a nation as one would crush a hornet's nest?

Not at all! For already the keen, dispassionate, incisive minds of scientists are fashioning the world in which many now living will be forced to exist when the next cataclysmic and catastrophic spasm of mankind occurs.


Dane then goes on to put things into the context of 1942 (World War II):

Historians, a thousand years hence, will write that after the victory of the Allied Nations near the middle of the twentieth century, there was an attempt to build a war-free world; but after a few years commercial rivalries sprang up again. Then the military leaders of the democracies, with the acquiescence of disillusioned millions, began preparing for the next cataclysmatic spasm of humanity.


He explains what the wars of 1975 or the year 2000 would look like:

There will be monstrous airplane carriers of the skies. Gargantuan dirigibles, capable of carrying a hundred fighting and bombing planes, will roam over the continents and oceans of the world. The only effective defense will be more airplanes! Yes, there will be anti-aircraft guns of power and velocity that will make today's fire power seem like toy pistols. But half a century hence giant bombers will carry cannon as powerful as today's anti-aircraft guns!


The power of the atom is eerily predicted:

What will happen in the twenty-first century we cannot tell. A century hence, man may have learned to use the unlimited and terrible power of the atom. He may be able to trap the rays of the sun and miraculously render obsolete the electric generator, the gasoline engine and the Diesel motor. Rocket ships may displace the motored airplanes as effectively and quickly as the automobile displaced the horse in the early part of the twentieth century.


Dane then explains the preparation nations will take for war:

First, when the black clouds of another war begin to gather on the horizon, nations will lay by great stores of food! Not food as we commonly think of it today, but millions upon millions of tons of dehydrated meats, fruits and vegetables!

 

These millions of tons will be stored underground at strategic and accessible points. Scientists would probably tell us today that the problem of food for an underground civilization will be the easiest problem to solve - if we get at it soon enough. The second problem will be shelter. This will be a gargantuan feat.

Deep underground, vast chambers will have to be excavated. Families can keep together in cubicles designed for the purpose. Single men will sleep in tiers in bunks 15 or 20 high; single women will sleep in similar accommodations.

All feeding will be done in central kitchens, rigidly controlled as to quality and quantity. Sanitary problems will be handled by specialists. All the accoutrements necessary for living will be moved underground. There will be hospitals and stores. Factories that produce clothes, medicines and other needs.

Naturally, in an ultimate emergency such as this, everything and every last detail will be controlled by the government. The abhorred and abhorrent dictatorships of the present time will be as nothing when nations fight for their lives in the next war.


The author (naturally) concludes on a pessimistic note:

Prophecy is always dangerous!

 

But if the past history and total experience of the human race has any value as a criterion of the future, within a half century there will be another war.

Each war, we like to say, grows more horrible! But each war brings its defenses against the diabolical, horrible offensive weapons devised by the race of man.

It seems certain that when the dogs of war are unleashed again on some future, unhappy date, civilization will have to move underground for the duration.


 

See also:
Our Friend the Atom (Book, 1956)
After the War (1944)
Memory of 'Tomorrow' (New York Times, 1941)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)
Looks for Era of Brotherhood (1923)
Poison War (1981)
Word Origins: Imagineering, continued (1942)
Nazi Paleo-Futurism (1941)

Thursday
Dec272007

We Are Animals, Says Mr. Edison (1910)

The January 28, 1910 Decatur Review (Decatur, Illinois) ran portions of an interview with Thomas Edison titled, "We Are Animals, Says Mr. Edison: Inventor Predicts Cheaper Clothing and Less Manual Labor." The entire piece appears below.

In an interview published in the Independent, Thomas A. Edison speaks of future inventions and refers to the problem of getting the most out of fuel as one of the important problems of the day. He has something to say about the clothes of the future.

 

CHEAP CLOTHES.
"The clothes of the future will be so cheap," says Mr. Edison, "that every young woman will be able to follow the fashions promptly, and there will be plenty of fashions. Artificial silk that is superior to natural silk is now made of wood pulp. It shines better than silk. I think that the silk worm barbarism will go in fifty years, just as the indigo of India went with the production of indigo in German laboratories.

THINGS TO LEARN.
"There is much ahead of us. We don't know what gravity is; neither do we know the nature of heat, light and electricity. We are only animals. We are coming out of the dog stage and getting a glimpse of our environment. We don't know - we just suspect a few things. Our practice of shooting, one another in war is proof that we are animals. The make-up of our society is hideous.

NO MANUAL LABOR.
"Communication with other worlds has been suggested. I think we had better stick to this world and find out something about it before we call up our neighbors. They might make us ashamed of ourselves. Not individualism but social labor will dominate the future. Industry will constantly become more social and interdependent. There will be no manual labor in the factories of the future. The men in them will be merely superintendents watching the machinery to see that it works right. Less and less man will be used as an engine or as a horse, and his brain will be employed to benefit himself and his fellows."

Regarding the possibility of using radium as a fuel, Mr. Edison says that is only speculative.

NEW FUEL.
"Radium has great power," he adds. "It has no appreciable limit or end. It is not combustible. A carload of radium would have as much energy as all the millions of tons of coal mined in the United States in a year. I have a spinthariscope, which contains a tiny bit of radium of a size that will go through the eye of a needle. It has been shooting off millions of sparks for six years that I have had it, and I expect it will be shooting sparks the same way for thousands of years. Some day we might find immense deposits of it, then it will be a problem how to handle it without dangerous consequences."

See also:
Edison Battery Solves Old Problems (1909)
Moving Sidewalk (1900)
In the Twentieth Century (Newark Daily Advocate, 1901)

Tuesday
Dec252007

Our Friend the Atom (Book, 1956)


Walt Disney Productions published a book in 1956 titled, Our Friend the Atom. A television episode of Disneyland aired in 1957 under the same name and can be found on the DVD set Tomorrowland: Disney in Space and Beyond.

In the book, the promise of the atom is illustrated quite literally as a genie, ready to grant humanity wishes. The final section of the book focuses on these wishes with that special blend of sincerity and hope the 1950s is best known for.

The wishes are shown below along with some of the accompanying illustrations. To read the prologue of the book you can check out "the other blog."

OUR FIRST WISH: POWER

The coal and oil resources of our planet are dwindling, yet we need more and more power. The atomic Genie offers us an almost endless source of energy. For the growth of our civilization, therefore, our first wish shall be for: POWER!


 

OUR SECOND WISH: FOOD AND HEALTH

Mankind has long suffered from hunger and disease. The atomic Genie offers us a source of beneficial rays. These are magic tools of research which can, above all, help us to produce more food for the world and to promote the health of mankind. Our second wish, therefore, shall be for: FOOD AND HEALTH!


 

OUR THIRD WISH: PEACE

There is left to us the third and last wish. It is an important one that demands wisdom. If the last wish is unwise, then - as some of the legends tell - all the wishes granted before may be lost.


 

See also:
Atomic Power Plant of the Future (1939)
Closer Than We Think! Polar Oil Wells (1960)
Solar Power of 1999 (1956)
The Future World of Energy (1984)

Monday
Jul022007

Looks for Era of Brotherhood (1923)

Winifred G. Hedenberg laments the brutality of WWI in the February 12, 1923 Bridgeport Telegram (Bridgeport, Connecticut) article "Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence."

The year 2022 will see a world reverted back to barbarism if another war on the scale of the so-called World War takes place within the next fifty years; but it will be a degenerate type of savagery, with man killing his fellows at sight. None of the noble traits of the American Indian will be found in the 2022 type of savage.

On the other hand, if no major conflicts take place between nations I believe 2022 will see an era of universal brotherhood, where poverty, wars, famines, the Republican Party and other like afflictions will be unknown. Prisons as we know them to-day will have vanished. I believe by that time no person will have any reason for theft or the minor crimes responsible for filling our jails to-day.

See also:
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence (1923)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)
Thinks We'll Do Our Reading on Screen (1923)
Work Days of Two Hours (1923)
United States a British Colony (1923)

Monday
Jun042007

Poison War (1981)


Don't you hate it when countries use pterodactyls in war?

The 1981 book Future War and Weapons (World of Tomorrow) by Neil Ardley describes future wars being waged with drugs which would produce vivid hallucinations in opposing soldiers. Below is the entire two-page spread.


See also:
Robot Rebellion (1982)
Space Colony Pirates (1981)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)

Tuesday
May152007

The Robot is a Terrible Creature (1922)

The October 16, 1922 edition of The Bee (Danville, Virginia) ran a syndicated story about the Karel Capek play R.U.R. The play introduced the world to the word "robot" from the Czech "robota," which literally means "forced work." Below are excerpts as well as the article as it appeared in The Bee.

If any industrial genius, like Henry Ford, ever turns his energies to the manufacture of Robots we're all goners, as the saying is.

The Robot is a terrible creature of synthetic flesh, bone and skin. He is in the image of man and has all the attributes of man except spirituality and laziness. One Robot having been completed and assembled he can be turned to the task of manufacturing arms and legs of other Robots. After they are assembled he can be sold in wholesale lots to various industrial concerns and to nations as soldiers against the Robot armies of other nations.

Or maybe you would like a Robotess as stenographer. She wouldn't chew gum because she has no taste. She wouldn't waste time with lip-stick and primping because she has no sense of beauty. She'd never ask for a raise because she has no use for money.

The Robot symbolizes the present-day spirit of mechanicalism used to forecast the revolt of humans against the human-created artifices that mock the powers of nature.

Or perhaps the play presents the theory of a coming genesis, the anticipation of a future cycle of human evolution in which man shall be confounded by the Creator he has mimicked.


See also:
The Mechanical Man of the Future (1928)
Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)
Mammy vs Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)

Wednesday
May022007

Gigantic Robots to Fight Our Battles (Fresno Bee, 1934)


The article "Gigantic Robots, Controlled by Wireless, to Fight Our Battles," from the April 29, 1934 Fresno Bee (Fresno, California) was exceptionally sensationalistic.

Professor [Felix Gaston] Gauthier disclosed in his address that two pacifistic-minded nations are today secretly (and supposedly unknown to each other) planning to construct gigantic fighting robots, controlled by wireless.

"These mechanical soldiers," declared Professor Gauthier, "will be of unexampled proportions. My informants, whose authentic statements I have never had reason to question before, have conveyed to me the startling news that each of these nations hopes some day to build robots 1,000 feet high!"


See also:
Mammy vs Robot (Charleston Gazette, 1937)
Donald Duck's "Modern Inventions" (1937)
All's Fair at the Fair (1938)