Full catalogue details. Explore further Related articles. The fear of invasion Article by: Mike Ashley Theme: Visions of the future In the 19th century, the British feared invasion by the French, terrorists and even aliens. The impact of the Napoleonic Wars in Britain Article by: Ruth Mather Theme: Power and politics The start of the 19th century was a time of hostility between France and England, marked by a series of wars.
A New Patriotic Song , from a collection of material relating to the fear of a French invasion. The Freeman's Oath , from a collection of material relating to the fear of a French invasion. The Arms of France , from a collection of material relating to the fear of a French invasion. Franceville is the ideal city, dedicated to peace, the happiness of its citizens, and the good of humankind; Stahlstadt is the dark opposite, the home of Dr Schulze and his super-gun--totalitarian, regimented, bent on the conquest of the world.
The unwritten conclusion was that, given sufficient power, anyone--any nation, any group, any race--could take control of planet Earth. No one put this better than H. Wells in the most telling and most effective of all future-war stories, The War of the Worlds The super-weapons of the Martians--all the fire-power and mobility any general could desire--were warning images of what science might yet do for the military. As contemporary weaponry continued to advance, Wells pursued the theme of ever-accelerating power and came down to earth from planetary space.
They were written as answers to serious questions prompted by the coming of the ironclad warship, by the introduction of the ram, and by the development of the destroyer and the submarine. And here again national interests decided the distribution of these stories. British writers dominated the field for the good reason that the Royal Navy was the first line of national defence for the United Kingdom.
They had nothing to write about, since the new Reich did not start on a naval building programme until the first Navy Law of The French were more interested in, and wrote more about, their army; and across the Atlantic, as Bruce Franklin has demonstrated in War Stars , American propagandists were turning out preparedness tracts to present the case for the great navy that the United States did not have in the s. One of the best examples of this anticipatory fiction came from the British Member of Parliament, Hugh Arnold-Forster, later Secretary of the Admiralty.
It proved most popular: after appearing in Murray's Magazine July , the story went through eight pamphlet editions, and there were translations into Dutch, French, Italian, and Swedish. One unusual feature of these naval anticipations was the good temper and the remarkable courtesy of the authors--a welcome change from the propaganda and invective of tales like Samuel Barton's The Battle of the Swash and the Capture of Canada , George La Faure's Mort aux Anglais!
Death to the English! For France there can only be one naval war--against the British. It does not follow from this that France should fight the British, nor that France should have a greater interest in making war than in maintaining the peace. It is even less permissible to think that France should wish for a war with the British.
The evident popularity of these various tales of the war-to-come marks a sudden and extensive change in long-established modes of communication. Almost overnight fiction had replaced the tract and the pamphlet as the most efficient means of airing a nation's business in public. Although the undisputed effectiveness of Chesney's Battle of Dorking was a most potent force in encouraging this shift into fiction, the prime movers in the great change were a combination of social and literary factors. First, there was the matter of demand and supply: the constant growth of populations and the parallel rise in the level of literacy provided more and more readers for the increasing numbers of newspapers, magazines for all interests, and books of every kind.
Second, a new and most influential conclave of historians demonstrated, often with great eloquence, how their nations had secured their place in the nineteenth-century world. So, an exclusive sense of nationhood fed on and grew out of the new histories, which were the life-work of eminent writers like Guizot, Thierry, Michelet, Francis Parker, Macaulay, Carlyle, Buckle, von Ranke, Treitschke.
The new, centralised systems of education passed on their simplified versions of one-history-for-one-people to the state schools, so that by the s the young in all the major technological nations had received an appropriate grounding in the received history of their country. Again, and for the first time in human history, the young could see the evolution of the nation state in the maps that showed the unification of the German states, or the advance out of the thirteen colonies westward towards the Pacific, or the lost provinces of Alsace-Lorraine, or the many additions to the British Empire.
The Invasion Network
In the parallel universe of the new historical fiction, the heroic individual had his appointed role in the male worlds of Walter Scott, Victor Hugo, Fenimore Cooper, Alessandro Manzoni, and many others. In their various ways they sought to reveal the intimate links between character and action, between the person and the nation. And so, in January , when Chesney was considering what would serve him best as a model for the tale about a German invasion he had contracted to write, he thought immediately of fiction in the style of Erckmann-Chatrian.
Their handling of their stories was an ideal example for a British colonel who wished to show that the projected events in his history of the coming invasion would follow from the faults and failings of the nation in These errors of the past--so evident, so avoidable, so serious--gained a powerful psychological spin from a future history that could handle disaster or victory with equal facility. The time-frame recorded events as a chapter, often the last chapter, in the national history: victory happily and gloriously confirmed the national destiny; and defeat allowed for telling contrasts between the final disaster and the better days gone beyond recall.
All these tales of the war-to-come advanced along the contour lines of contemporary expectations. The majority--some two-thirds of them--kept closely to the political, military or naval facts; and, whenever their authors had a warning to deliver, they waved the big stick of fiction at their readers. Most of their tales were admonitory essays in preparedness--arguments for a bigger army, or for more ships. Since most of these authors were responding to some danger or menace represented by the enemy of the day, they were usually careful to present their accounts of the war-to-come as the next stage in the nation's history.
Chesney did this very well in the opening sentences of his Battle of Dorking. His many imitators noted, and often adopted, the deft way in which he established the time and scale of the future disaster, as he began his ominous woe-crying in his first lines:.
You ask me to tell you, my grandchildren, something about my own share in the great events that happened fifty years ago. For us in England it came too late.
And yet we had plenty of warnings, if we had only made use of them. The danger did not come on us suddenly unawares. It burst on us suddenly, 'tis true, but its coming was foreshadowed plainly enough to open our eyes, if we had not been wilfully blind. He begins his history of The Stricken Nation by recalling the good years before the British fleet reduced New York to rubble and caused immense damage to the Eastern sea ports:. The pages of universal history may be scanned in vain for a record of disasters, swifter in their coming, more destructive in their scope, or more far-reaching in their consequences, than those which befell the United States of America in the last decade.
Standing on the threshold of the twentieth century, and looking backward over the years that have passed since the United States first began to realize the tremendous possibilities of the impending crisis, we are amazed at the folly and blindness which precipitated the struggle, while bewildered and appalled by its effects on the destinies of mankind. In we behold a nation! A Republic of sixty-two million In , we see the shattered remnants of the once great Republic. We read with tear-dimmed eyes of its tens of thousands of heroes fallen in defence of its flag, of its thousands of millions of treasure wasted in tardy defence, or paid in tribute to the invader.
It was standard practice to start from established positions in the political geography of Europe or of the United States. The French, for example, saw a war with Germany and the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine as no more than patriotic duty. That agreeable prospect provided cause and consequence for a succession of anticipations that began in the year of defeat with: Edouard Dangin, La Bataille de Berlin en The Battle of Berlin in , These were the first in an ever-growing flood of these guerres imaginaires that reached the highest-level mark in the many publications of Capitaine Danrit Commandant Emile Augustin Cyprien Driant, He belonged to the new fraternity of senior officers--patriot writers to the public--who chose to make their appeals to the masses through the medium of fiction; for they knew from the success of Chesney's Battle of Dorking that a tale of the war-to-come, fought against the expected enemy, was the most effective means of putting the case to their citizen paymasters for more funds for more troops and for more warships.click
THE INVASION OF 1910 & THE GREAT WAR IN ENGLAND IN 1897
Commandant Driant was an eminent person, like so many of the authors who wrote future-war stories before the journalists of the new mass newspapers took over from them about the turn of the century. He was commissioned into the infantry and after eleven years of service with the colours he was appointed adjutant to General Boulanger at the Ministry of War in In that year the general's political activities led to the removal of his name from the army list and in that same year Driant married the general's youngest daughter and began work on his first guerre imaginaire.
The distinguished record continues: instructor at St. Cyr; battalion commander by ; resigns commission in and goes into politics as the deputy for Nancy; dies a hero's death on the Verdun front in The biography reveals an ardent patriotism and a determination to prepare the French for the war that they would one day have to fight with Germany. With you I would have liked to depart for the Great War, which we are all expecting and which is so long in coming. Under your flag I still hope to see it, if there is a god of battle and he can hear me.
To while away the waiting I have dreamed of this war, this holy war in which we shall be victorious; and this is the book of my dream which I dedicate to you. Driant always gave his readers what they wanted: heroic episodes, great victories over the Germans, and in the pages of his Guerre fatale: France-Angleterre The Fatal War: France-England , he had ample space in which to relate the total defeat of the British.
Driant has a world record as the man who turned out more future-war stories some twelve in all than any other writer before As the scene of battle shifts from forts to open country and to the skies, Driant works to link the history of France with his version of la guerre de l'avenir. The action opens in La Guerre en fortresse , as reports come in of a sudden German attack. Danrit goes into stereotype mode: the good French face the dastardly Teutons who have not declared war.
The Germans are on the move, advancing towards our line of forts. They are attacking us without any declaration of war, and without any provocation from our side, like one nation that wants to annihilate another. We are fighting for our lives, for our survival, for our homes.
If we are defeated, we shall be removed from the map of Europe; we shall cease to be a military power. If we are victorious, that will be a very different matter. Here, in this small corner of France we shall soon be cut off from the rest of the world. We are going to face determined attacks; we shall face danger every second. Steel your hearts for this task! There cannot be any doubt that I would have preferred to march with you in open country, behind the regimental flag, but fate has decided otherwise.
We have to guard one of the gateways of France. To let the enemy take it by storm would be most shameful; to surrender it would be a crime. I have been a prisoner in Germany; and in Cologne I went through all the humiliation of defeat after the great battles we fought over there.
William le Queux
And his voice trembled with emotion as his finger pointed in the direction of Metz. By Driant had published so much fiction, and his stories were so long that half a century later Pierre Versins felt called on to protest in the name of sanity. Judge for yourself! A comparable association between the British public and the military can be examined in the ways General Sir William Francis Butler and his wife exploited the general interest in warfare. He had distinguished himself in various colonial operations--the Ashanti campaign, the Zulu War, Tel-el-Kebir--and he went on from one senior post to another, and ended his career as a lieutenant-general in In between campaigns he found time to make his contribution to the growing literature of future warfare with The Invasion of England , a variant on an already well-established theme.
His wife, however, was far more famous. The battle-paintings of the celebrated Lady Butler were reported at length in the Press; they attracted huge numbers of viewers whenever they were shown at the Royal Academy; and the editors of the principal illustrated magazines spent thousands of pounds to secure rights of reproduction.
When her paintings went on tour, it was reported that viewers queued for hours. The showing of the famous painting of Balaclava , for instance, attracted some 50, at the Fine Art Society in and when it arrived in Liverpool, more than , had paid to see the picture. The general had made the connection between military preparedness and the future of the nation in his one venture into the fiction of future-warfare; and his wife gained an international reputation for paintings that showed the masses the life-and-death connection between the history of the nation and the courage of the ordinary soldier.
The French had created their own heroic iconography out of their exceptional military history.
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To look forward to the war of the future, however, required gifts of imagination that were peculiar to only one man. Albert Robida was the Jules Verne of the sketch pad and the magazine drawing. Where Verne was all high seriousness in his stories, Robida was relaxed and amused at the images that came to him out of the future. Robida was equally at his ease with the possibilities of future warfare.
William Le Queux was an Anglo-French writer who mainly wrote in the genres of mystery, thriller, and espionage, particularly in the years leading up to World War I.
- William Le Queux - Wikisource, the free online library.
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- Des Couleurs Symboliques – Antiquité | Moyen Age | Temps Modernes (Annoté & Illlustré) (French Edition).
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Related The Invasion of 1910 & The Great War in England in 1897
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