Voices Prophesying War

The title of this page is taken from the title of I.F. Clarke’s ground-breaking study of future-war stories, Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars, 1763-1984 (Oxford: Oxford UP 1966) (chronologically expanded in 1992 to 1763-3749). In two further volumes he concentrated in particular on those writers (some of them recognised science fiction writers, some of them disgruntled military officers) who wrote warnings about a coming Great War, disguised as fiction: see The Tale of the Next Great War: Fictions of Future Warfare and of Battles Still-to-Come (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1995) and The Great War with Germany, 1890-1914: Fictions and Fantasies of the War-to-Come (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 1997). These books are basically anthologies of this fiction: the list below is taken from their contents pages.

Anonymous (Der Ruhm, or, The Wreck of German Unity. The Narrative of a Brandenburger Hauptmann, 1871)
Anonymous (The Child’s Guide to Knowledge, 1909)
Anonymous (L. James) (The Boy Galloper, 1903)
Anonymous (‘Sink, Burn, Destroy’: Der Schlag gegen Deutschland, 1905)
Arnold-Foster, Hugh Oakley (In a Conning Tower: How I Took HMS Majestic into Action, 1888)
Austin, Frederick Britten (“Planes!”, 1913)
Bleibtrau, Karl (Die ‘Offensive-Invasion’ gegen England, 1907)
Chesney, General Sir George Tomkyns (The Battle of Dorking: Reminiscences of a Volunteer, 1871)
Childers, Erskine (The Riddle of the Sands, 1903)
Cole, Robert William (The Death Trap, 1907)
Colomb, Admiral, and others (The Great War of 18—, 1892)
Curties, Captain H. (When England Slept, 1909)
Curtis, A.C. (A New Trafalgar, 1902)
Dawson, A.J. (The Message, 1907)
Donnelly, Hugh Grattan (The Stricken Nation, 1890)
Doughty, Charles (The Cliff, 1909)
Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan (Danger! Being the Log of Captain John Sirius, 1914)
Eardley-Wilmot, Rear-Admiral (The Battle of the North Sea, 1912)
Eisenhart, Karl (Die Abrechnung mit England, 1900)
Griffith, George (The Raid of Le Vengeur, 1901)
Heinrichka, Max (100 Jahre deutsche Zukunft, 1913)
Hill, Headon (= Francis Edward Grainger) (The Spies of the Wight, 1899)
Janson, Gustaf (A Vision of the Future, 1912)
Le Queux, William (The Invasion of 1910, 1906)
Lester, Horace Francis (The Taking of Dover, 1888)
London, Jack (The Unparalleled Invasion: Except from Walt Nervin’s Certain Essays in History, 1910)
Martin, Rudolf (Berlin-Baghdad: Das Deutsch Weltreich im Zeitalter der Luftschifffahrt, 1910-1931, 1907)
Milne, A.A. (The Secret of the Army Airplane, 1909)
Münch, Paul Georg (Hindenburgs Einmarsch in London, 1915)
Niemann, August (The Coming Conquest of England, 1904)
Niemann, August (The Germans in Hampton Court, 1904)
Oldmeadow, Ernest (The North Sea Bubble, 1906)
Robida, Albert (La Guerre au Vingtième Siècle, 1887)
Saki (H.H. Munro) (When William Came, 1913)
Seestern (= F.H. Grauhoff) (Armageddon, 190—, 1906)
Sommerfeld, Adolf (Frankreichs Ende im Jag 19??, 1914)
Swinton, Major-General Sir Ernest (The Green Curve, 1907)
Tracy, Louis (The Final War, 1896)
Tracy, Louis (The Invaders, 1901)
Vaux, Patrick and Yexley, Lionel (When the Eagle Flies Seaward, 1907)
Walker, J. Bernard (America Fallen, 1915)

In The Great War with Germany (282-292), Clarke also reproduces the set of eleven cartoons from The Sketch with which the splendid W. Heath Robinson gleefully punctured the idiocies of some of the alarmists. Most of these can currently be found on Googlebooks. They are called:
I. German spies in Epping Forest
II. With the aid of an ingenious device, the Germans send English dispatches astray
III. German officers endeavouring to enter an Englishman’s home in disguise
IV. A masked raid on Yarmouth beach
V. German troops, disguised as British excursionists, crossing the North Sea
VI. German spies in the Graeco-Roman galleries of the British Museum
VII. The hoisting of the hostage: silencing a German gun on the heights of Pontypridd
VIII. Uh-land! Capturing Uhlans in the Westminster Bridge Road, with the kind cooperation of the spiked helmets of the foe
IX. Gather ye lilies while ye may: disguised Territorials in the German camp at the Welsh Harp, Hendon
X. Weight and do not see: territorials eluding the vigilance of German sentries on the wastes of Wimbledon Common
XI. ‘Farewell, a long farewell to all our greatness’: a German officer is removed from the sphere of action on a detachable cliff-edge near Hove

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s