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Hawes would have us believe that the HRE was a coherent political unit. Apparently, all was well in the Carolingian world until efforts were made to expand east of the Elbe river For this part of Europe and Germany he invents the term East Elbia a dark place inhabited by - shock horror - Slavs and Prussians! Prussia is named after its original Slavic inhabitants, but following its 13th century conquest by the catholic Teutonic Knights it was 'Germanised' by immigration from central and western Germany.

In order to justify his risible 'Catholic good Protestants bad' idea he ignores the 30 years war started by Ferdinand II, HRE , who decided to force protestant member states to become catholic. Also, at this time, in catholic areas, there were hysterical witch hunts.

First he purged Protestants, then Jews and then witches and an estimated 1, men, woman and children convicted of witchcraft were burned by his order. In all over 40, people died. We are whizzed through centuries with the same disregard for history although he pauses to blame Britain for giving Prussia the Rhineland in thus making it stronger. The Rhineland states were part of the Confederation of the Rhine a grouping of most of the German states allied to France during the Napoleonic wars. Part of the confederation was ceded to Prussia and became the Rhine Province in Bismarck saw it as the means to 'Unify' Germany.

He engineered a war with France and when that was over the members woke to find themselves members of an Empire with a new boss. Oddly only Luxembourg escaped joining it. The lesson was, however, well learned. In Jean Monet a founding father of the EU wrote, "Europe's nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation. They were you guessed East Elbian protestant monsters who had almost zero support from the good burgers of Germania.

Blithely ignoring Buchenwald, Bergen-Belsen and Dachau to name just three he claims the Nazis had to wait until they got to Poland before creating concentration camps. They would not be tolerated in Germania. Writing on page , "But T4 had shown the Nazis that, even in wartime, they couldn't just start killing people wholesale in Germany.


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At the end of WW2, Germania now separated from East Elbia by the Iron curtain could at last take its place as a truly democratic western nation. Konrad Adenauer did not trust the Germans and wanted West Germany integrated with the west to stop them repeating their past. The plan was simple. Replace the Reichsmark with the Deutsch Mark at a rate of 15 to one for the people so they all went bust and 1 to 1 for industry who had benefited from slave labour.

Marshal aid poured in and finally all Germany's debts were written off. Erhard was pleased with everything opining that poverty would make the common man work harder! Like Adenauer, Kohl did not trust Germans and saw tying them into a currency union as an insurance against resurgent bad habits. People who demanded a democratic vote were told they were too dumb to understand the issues.

Quite why dumb people are brainy enough to pick people who can decide was never asked. Since the Euro, Germany has powered ahead financially and no one doubts that EU decisions are made in Berlin. I do not accept that the only way to deal with that is to punish others. The idea that other nations should lose industry and face terrible unemployment in order to prevent German resurgence is ridiculous. The EU in particular and the world in general being locked into an unending payment of Dane Geld is surely a certain recipe for bitterness and strife?

It may strike Dawes as a brilliant result, but to use a German word, I'm afraid the Untermenschen may not put up with it.

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Rewarding Flashman with the headmastership of Rugby was never an option and the post war settlement lauded by Hawes is as bizarre as that would have been. In his other writings Hawes displays the sneering arrogance typical of the self appointed intelligentsia that dislikes Anglo Saxons, especially British ones.

He could have more usefully asked why the word 'Fair' has no German equivalent. One can but hope they will find one; in my experience the concept is understood even if it is expressed in English. This is a squalid little book, but it does raise two interesting questions. View all 4 comments. Something that should be said from the start: Hawes is not a historian, his work was not endorsed by historians, and it falls behind even the normally low standards of history books written for the general public. It's barely referenced, lacks a bibliography, and omits facts if they don't fit into the author's general argument.

I had one encounter with Hawes before, and it left me intrigued. In September , he wrote an article in the New Statesman in which he explained the then-upcoming Germa Something that should be said from the start: Hawes is not a historian, his work was not endorsed by historians, and it falls behind even the normally low standards of history books written for the general public.

In September , he wrote an article in the New Statesman in which he explained the then-upcoming German election and the possible rise of the AfD in terms of ancient divisions in Germany. I disagreed with his argument from the start, but it was a bold and well-written article. Maybe this is why I am so disappointed with this book. I expected so much more. At the very least I expected a proper history book, since it's been branded and sold as such, but what I got instead is a very dubious and confusing demonology manual, complete with fact omissions, logical fallacies, and vague, poor-quality maps that help hide the weakness of the author's argument.

Said argument boils down to this: there is something rotten in East Elbia. This apparently doesn't change from Roman times to present, despite the fact that actually many changes happened there, including major population shifts. Among what I regard as Hawes' most questionable points within this thesis are the following: - Dismissing the Hussite rebellion in Bohemia as a mere 'Slav pushback' against German domination, and claiming that it was actually just another aspect of the 'ancient' German-Slavic conflict beyond the Elbe.

It's safe to say that this is not the point of view of the majority of historiography on the subject - The whole idea of an ancient, everlasting German-Slav struggle in Eastern Europe, which comes up again and again throughout the book. According to Hawes, Germany lost both world wars because Prussia or the Prussian elite were so blinded by this struggle. This is so wrong, so propagandistic and so scary that I can't even comprehend how it got printed in - Dismissing Luther as a mere populist, and his brand of Protestantism as something that will poison Germany forever.

While yes, Luther was something of a populist this becomes very clear if you look at how different his points of view were from those of liberal contemporaries like Erasmus , dismissing the effect his legitimate criticism of the Catholic Church had on Christinity everywhere is absurd. Dismissing Protestantism as a whole because Protestant areas of Germany voted more heavily for Hitler than Catholic areas is equally absurd. Hawes is so busy dismissing everything to do with 'East Elbia' from location to religion that he becomes incoherent - Painting Otto von Bismarck as a warmongering evil man who manipulated the whole of Europe into believing that his version of Germany is the real one.

Bismarck was in fact an able statesman both abroad he managed to create the first modern Germany that worked and at home where he created things like history's first modern welfare state. After he unified his country, he became very dedicated to maintaing the balance of power hence peace between powers in Europe, which is why I have no idea why Hawes is convinced Bismarck was particularly intent on war.

Hawes even goes so far as to attack Bismarck's decision to support Austria-Hungary against the Russian Empire's ambitions in the Balkans, seeing it not as the balance-of-power-maintaing effort that it was, but as a decision based on the 'ancient' German-Slav conflict, which subconsciously influenced Prussian Bismarck, according to Hawes. He even more ridiculously has a go at Bismarck for the secularization campaigns in Germany known as Kulturkampf these actually happened in several other European states, which Hawes neglects to mention.

These were apparently so terrible that they traumatized the country's Catholic politicians forever, to the point where they helped Hitler gain a majority in the Reichstag. I kid you not, here's the quote from pp "The Centre Party decides, after agonised debate, that if it votes against a Hitler gets his super-majority, and democracy in Germany ends. Hawes never mentions the fact that 'the Slavs' were in most cases very modern by contemporary standards Hus in what would be today's Czech Republic preceded Luther; the Polish-Lithunian Commonwealth had a constitutional monarchy, high levels of diversity and religious tolerance and can therefore not take the blame for Prussia's unfortunate character I could go on forever, but I think I've proven my point.

This book is a mess highlighting very little of that bold argument I glimpsed in the New Statesman article, and a lot of the author's prejudices and biases. I was a Remain voter in the accursed Referendum of in Britain, and also a Germanophile, so I enjoyed the read, and I would vouch to say that it hopefully might inform many Anglo-Saxon readers who think German History is just Kaiser Bill and Adolf Hitler.

Having said that, it inspires me to read further on the subject. I am keeping an open mind meanwhile or at least aiming to! View all 6 comments. It started off as a very informative read and somehow along the way turned into an anti-Prussian propaganda. Hawes' argument basically comes down to this: everyone and everything east of Elbe is rubbish and to blame for all the disasters of 19thst century.

Don't waste your time on this. Jul 02, Robert Maisey rated it did not like it. I wrote the review copied below in a fit of pique a few minutes after finishing the book, so its a little heated. On reflection, there's some good stuff here about the German relationship with "roman" Europe - particularly the mixed identity of the areas west of the Rhine - and it complimented some aspects of Prisoners of Geography, which I had read just beforehand.

However, here's the reason I gave it one star: Understanding how two centuries of revolution and violence have somehow culminated in I wrote the review copied below in a fit of pique a few minutes after finishing the book, so its a little heated. In light of current events, this book has the potential to be a timely and relevant contribution to public enlightenment.

Sadly it is nothing of the sort. The book begins with some excellent exposition on the Roman origins of the German idea. It enjoyably and concisely goes on a little romp through the rise, fall and rebirth of Rome from the perspective of an increasingly Romanised Germanic barbarian. We get a good sense of how the memory of Rome formed a mythical centre of gravity for the emerging mediaeval central Europe.

In fact, everything up to the pre-modern age is fairly enjoyable. As in genuine history, signs of the trouble to come start to appear around the industrial revolution. Hawes introduces us the great Prussian philosopher, GW Hegel. He explains how, in order to avoid brutal censorship, Hegel and other thinkers of his age veiled their ideas in an attempt to throw the authorities off the scent of their radicalism.

Sadly, Hawes acts more like a thick headed Prussian censor than an educated reader of philosophy. Hegel couched many of his radical ideas for a new social order in gushing admiration for the totalitarian Prussian state. He loudly exclaimed that if a perfect state was ever going to exist, Prussia was well on the way to being it.

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Like Thomas Moore before him, Hegel is playing to the ego of authority in order to express dangerously radical ideas with relative impunity. At first its hard to tell whether all this is deliberate dishonesty or simply the kind of astounding stupidity enthusiastically performed by the apparently well educated what a surprise that Nick Cohen has given this book his resounding endorsement! As the book goes on it becomes clear that the reader is being subjected to a poorly constructed barrage of lies-by-omission, error and ideological nonsense.

A view which totally fails to appreciate that Marxism took off in a big way after World War I because he was, in fact, right about so many things. I was more or less prepared for this particular bit of nonsense, as his view of Marx was heavily insinuated in his earlier discussion of Hegel.

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Rather than address the painful schism that ripped through the German working class after WWI, which resulted in the Social Democratic government hiring mercenaries to violently suppress their own people, he simply shrugs his shoulders and ignores it, blaming incitement by communists for the whole debacle. The only mention of the great German revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg is in a picture caption — her ideas are ignored and her brutal murder is entirely omitted. The stench of his fascist semi-apologism becomes almost too much to bear as the book continues, and I was tempted to simply give up several times, despite it being a short and very basic text.

How like modern Polish far right revisionism this sounds. As I mentioned above, the writing at times borders on almost anti-semitic. The clearest example being when he dismisses the post-war East German government as a prefabricated puppet government installed by Moscow. Maybe those East Germans who heroically purged their society of slav and jew hatred were the wrong kind of jews? Hawes more or less skips the GDR and the cold war as an irrelevant aberration. Strange, as this book is so much a product of the cold war that it could have been written by the CIA.

Whether this is because he knows next to nothing about East German society, or because he actively wants to wipe it out of the history books is unclear. Perhaps the only thing I agreed with in this whole sorry segment is that process by which reunification was undertaken was borderline criminal. However, while I see the economic terrorism and cultural purges of East German civil society as being the issue at hand including the totally unnecessary dismantling of its world class health system , Hawes objects to his beloved West Germany being saddled with an inferior society to subsidise.

The book concludes by asserting that the modern EU, as led by West Germany, is the natural successor to both Rome and Charlemagne. Frustrating and disturbing in equal measure View 1 comment. Problematic to say the least. For half of this book, I was marvelling at the author's skill in boiling down the history of a complex subject in such a limited amount of pages. By clever use of diagrams and illustrations, I learned a lot about the broad sweep of Germany's history and was relishing the narrative.

Then, around the time of German unification, the grinding of the author's axe suddenly became ear splitting. The author equates Germany's western and southern reaches to a utopia of good Problematic to say the least. The author equates Germany's western and southern reaches to a utopia of good sense, with all the blame for its troubled past and present laid at the door of an eastern, overwhelmingly protestant, militaristic and anti-democratic Junker class hailing from the wrong side of the River Elbe.

It's a cornucopia of generalisations and while the subtext is a cry for the benefits of liberal democracy and the benefits of the European Union, it may do more harm than good. That Hitler emerged from Austria and enjoyed considerable support in Bavaria is glossed over, that leading figures in business and politics in West Germany had Nazi pasts is practically ignored and that a whole region of Germany and its former territory is characterised as backward and literally beyond the pale marks this out as an intentionally provocative attempt to draw historical parallels when the reality is far more complicated.

I don't care that Hawes isn't an academic historian - neither is Andrew Marr - but this is back of the envelope, pub rant stuff from a hundred pages onward. Oct 28, Ioannis Papagiannis rated it really liked it. Finally understood what Prussia was. After all these years of seeing it appearing and disappearing in European history maps. It is safe to say this author is no big fan of it. Germany has always been a divided country I bought this book in the airport on my way home from Berlin because I was interested in German history and this seemed like a good place to start. And I was not wrong about that.

It is a great place to start because it is so short and condensed. There were definitely times when I found myself think 'what about this' or 'what about that' and these things were never adressed or answered. But it dind't ruin the book for or my understanding of the subject. These were simply things I found interesting and wanted to know more about. My favourite part of this book was actually these thesis that James Hawes puts forward, that Germany is, in essense, a divided country.

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East and West Germany was not a product of the Cold War, it has always been divided like this. Of course, Germany has always consisted of many smaller states, but what Hawes here says is that even at this time, there was a difference between eastern and western states. The defining line here was the river Elbe, and this has been the dividing factor since Ceasar's time.

That part of the book I found really fascinating and it sort of shone a new light on German history for me. The one thing I felt was lacking from this book was a 'suggested reading' section or bibliography. When your aim is to boil a really big subject down into a page book, you have to provide a list of other books for your reather to dive into after reading this. That is at least my opinion. Had there been a suggested reading list I would have given this 5 stars.

Will you help me? May 27, Alice rated it liked it. As a reference text for sorting out dates and chronology over the span of approximately 2, years in a mere pages, I think it does a pretty good job. Jul 07, Miguel Pinto rated it it was amazing. Clearly written, not boring it focus on fact without putting you to sleep. This is not an history book, it is propaganda.

It is based on some crazy idea of the author and I am wondering how could a publisher decided that it was worthy. I gave up after a while because there seemed to be no point in keep on reading rubbish, Thanks Netgalley for the preview. Apr 22, Stanislav Stanchev rated it really liked it Shelves: ir-and-history. I am impressed with how much James Hawes has accomplished in just pages of image-rich and small-format pages. To me, the book has three layers on which it can be appreciated: First, the reader is served an engaging and accessible tale of 2, years of German history.

I particularly enjoyed the many maps and the interspersed etymological facts such as the English pound Sterling being derived from Easterling, referring to the reliable money of the Hansa merchants on the German Baltic Coast. S I am impressed with how much James Hawes has accomplished in just pages of image-rich and small-format pages.

Second, the author supplements his historiography with succinct analyses of critical junctures that shaped the course of this history. These analytical points are frequently condensed into simple, parsimonious equations as illustrated below , ripe for contention and discussion. The author traces the significant intra-German west-east differences and tensions in terms of religion, culture, economy and the attitude towards the state in the period Thus, he convincingly argues that Germany was divided already before the post-WW2 iron curtain partitioning by the Allies.

Hawes naturally points out that the European Union had its beginnings in exactly this sort of neo-Carolingian geographical setup. Though it can seem eyebrow-raising at first, Hawes is not alone to present this sort of analysis: That the east-west divide cuts across Europe and across Germany has also been eloquently formulated by Ivan Krastev along with a good piece on the difference between western and eastern conservatism , among others.

Using these pronouns is of course very awkward for me with my eastern genes and birthplace and western passport and coming-of-age. That some borders — like the Roman limes or the river Elbe — are destined to remain permanent? Even Samuel Huntington was less pessimistic, at least drawing the inescapable civilizational fault line further east.

It is pertinent to ask if Europe really would have been in a better geopolitical and economic state if Germany had not been re unified and if the EU had not been enlarged to the east. And though counterfactuals are very difficult to present and evaluate, I remain convinced that Europe as a whole has benefited from looking beyond the Elbe. Because of the EU, many states in Eastern Europe e. And the tensions between centre and periphery are felt everywhere. Sharp, short and sweet? In the end, the concise format and parsimonious causal arguments of The Shortest History of Germany are both its greatest strengths and its biggest shortcomings.

The main point is driven with force and precision already from Tacitus and all the way to Merkel. I very much appreciated this approach.


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It made the book feel less like a tedious political science master thesis and more like an impactful essay. It is up to the reader to ask the critical questions and to discuss rather than outright accept all of the arguments and conclusions. I learned just as much from his points as from the questions he prompted me to ask for instance, it is not quite certain that Sterling is derived from Hansa traders, as the Oxford Dictionary explicitly states.

Taking all of the above into consideration, I can highly recommend The Shortest History of Germany for anyone interested in European history, society and politics. It is a remarkable feat to produce something so accessible, so comprehensive and so thought-provoking that can easily be read in a single afternoon.

Dec 02, Kirsty rated it did not like it Shelves: december Whilst in Munich with my boyfriend in February of this year, I mentioned that I'd love to learn more about German history. I have a sound grasp of it from the Weimar Republic up until the fall of the Berlin Wall, and have studied the period between and intensively, but I knew very little about earlier eras. James Hawes' The Shortest History of Germany therefore sounded as though it would be perfect to fill in those gaps.

It rings alarm bells for me when history books do not include a bi Whilst in Munich with my boyfriend in February of this year, I mentioned that I'd love to learn more about German history. It rings alarm bells for me when history books do not include a bibliography or list of sources, and this omits both entirely. There are no footnotes to denote where a quote has been taken from, and sometimes things are quoted - in italics! Had I noticed this before purchasing The Shortest History of Germany , it would have gone straight back onto the shelf.

The placing of text, maps, and diagrams here is so awkward, and makes for an unpleasant reading experience. Every pictorial source has been placed into the main body of text, sometimes randomly and without commentary, and therefore some of the text has been rendered into a column. I really did not enjoy the format, and think it would been easier to read, and more accessible, had all of the non-textual sources been grouped together on glossy paper, something most other history books include as a matter of course.

This is not my only qualm in this respect, because many of these sources were poor in quality, and therefore the text was blurred. Most of them added very little to the book. The way in which the quotes were not embedded in the main body of text, but appeared randomly in greyscale boxes - again, with barely a source to denote where they had been found - was annoying and unnecessary.

I did not enjoy Hawes' writing style at all, and did not appreciate the constant references which he tried to draw between particular elements of German history and the present day. This made it feel even fluffier than a history book with no appendix or bibliography already feels. Whilst The Shortest History of Germany has a relatively linear structure, the way in which it has been partitioned into sections is odd.

Hawes' commentary felt as though it was all over the place due to the way in which what he includes here has both been set out and handled. I did read it all the way through, but only because it is such a short book; on reflection, I wish I hadn't bothered. The book, as one might expect, is incredibly brief, and not at all comprehensive. Far more attention was focused upon the twentieth-century than anything else, and whilst I can understand this to a point, it made the whole feel highly uneven.

It also became far more biased as time went on, and his tone felt patronising at points. I'd like to say that I learnt a lot from this book, but as there is no concrete evidence to show what Hawes had read - if anything! If it had been submitted as even an undergraduate thesis, I doubt it would have received a very good mark, with the unnecessary omission of the bibliography, and its quite clumsy writing at times.

It feels almost as though Hawes has chosen to include so many charts, graphs, maps, and newspaper clippings - many of which are barely legible - in order to detract from his often skewed perspectives and cursory mentions of really rather important things. There are many short books which I have read that effectively give the history of a particular topic in succinct and immersive ways, and which also include a comprehensive list of sources for further reading.

The omission of such an important thing here was a mistake. In consequence, I will never read anything of Hawes' again, as I am unsure whether I can trust what he includes. Mar 24, Rosie rated it liked it. I had very mixed thoughts on this book. On the one hand, he's drawn the history together very well in that he shows its continuity. This makes a much more readable and compelling history than - as so often happens - it being treated as separate events that are isolated from one another. However, Hawes clearly has his own biases that crop up throughout the book.

In an early map of Europe 'In the Proto-Beginning', xi he labels northern Germany 'Proto Germans' and the Mediterranean, specifically I had very mixed thoughts on this book. I wasn't sure if I was being overly critical but civilisation seems a particularly loaded term. This seems to be part of his wider bias towards West Germany. It becomes clear in the last few pages where he talks of Germany's future and says that 'Merkel must hold firm and recall the Roman limes; Charlemagne's renaissance; the Golden Age of medieval Germany; the south western realms which fought in vain against Prussia in ; the hapless southern and western Germans shackled by Bismarck to war against Russia; the doomed southern and western Germans who never voted for Hitler but got him all the same; and Adenauer's late, lamented West Germany It must now act and it must now be embraced, as what it was always meant to be: a mightyland at the very heart of the West.

I would not say 'The Shortest History of Germany' is impartial by any means - and credit where it's due, I've not seen anywhere claim it would be - but it casts a shadow on much of the rest of the work. When I saw this book, I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about the history of Germany. Disappointment set in almost from the moment I opened the book. Non-existent documentation, an overly familiar writing style, and blatant political bias plagued the account. In a small book such as this, one expects superficial treatment; however, the author's biases seem to drive what he glosses over and what he treats more in-depth.

The author needs to return to writing fiction and refrain from non-fic When I saw this book, I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about the history of Germany. The author needs to return to writing fiction and refrain from non-fiction unless he plans to document his work and ignore his own biases. I received an advance electronic copy through NetGalley with the expectation of an honest review.

The book's index was not included in the version I read. Oct 29, Radiantflux rated it liked it Shelves: germany , history , europe. Interesting polemical essay, arguing that the recent rise of neo-nazism in East Germany is nothing new, and that there are really two Germanys, one east and one west of the Elbe, that have existed since Roman times. I am not sure I buy all the arguments, but an enjoyable and provocative read. View 2 comments. Oct 14, Peter Castine rated it it was ok.

Was going to give this only one star… but then I reminded myself that Hawes is primarily an author of fiction. As a work of historical fiction, the book gets a nudge upwards. Even then, the strategies used to make the desired point are anything but subtle. If we are to take the book at the face value of its title, I understand that to keep 2, years of history short it's going to be necessary to simplify, smooth over details, and leave things out. But still, the book deliberately skips over eno Was going to give this only one star… but then I reminded myself that Hawes is primarily an author of fiction.

But still, the book deliberately skips over enormous bits of important history, and always points that would inconveniently get in the way of Hawes' thesis of two Germanys that don't belong together in opposition to Willy Brandt's famous comment "that which belongs together will grow [back] together. Two unauthorised serialisations of the novel were published in the United States prior to the publication of the novel. The story was published as Fighters from Mars or the War of the Worlds. It changed the location of the story to a New York setting.

Even though these versions are deemed as unauthorised serialisations of the novel, it is possible that H. Wells may have, without realising it, agreed to the serialisation in the New York Evening Journal. The War of the Worlds was generally received very favourably by both readers and critics upon its publication.

There was, however, some criticism of the brutal nature of the events in the narrative. Between and over 60 works of fiction for adult readers describing invasions of Great Britain were published. The book portrays a surprise German attack, with a landing on the South coast of England, made possible by the distraction of the Royal Navy in colonial patrols and the army in an Irish insurrection. The German army makes short work of English militia and rapidly marches to London.

The story was published in Blackwood's Magazine in May and was so popular that it was reprinted a month later as a pamphlet which sold 80, copies. The appearance of this literature reflected the increasing feeling of anxiety and insecurity as international tensions between European Imperial powers escalated towards the outbreak of the First World War. Across the decades the nationality of the invaders tended to vary, according to the most acutely perceived threat at the time.

In the s the Germans were the most common invaders. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, a period of strain on Anglo-French relations, and the signing of a treaty between France and Russia, the French became the more common menace. There are a number of plot similarities between Wells's book and The Battle of Dorking. In both books a ruthless enemy makes a devastating surprise attack, with the British armed forces helpless to stop its relentless advance, and both involve the destruction of the Home Counties of southern England. Although much of invasion literature may have been less sophisticated and visionary than Wells's novel, it was a useful, familiar genre to support the publication success of the piece, attracting readers used to such tales.

It may also have proved an important foundation for Wells's ideas as he had never seen or fought in a war. Many novels focusing on life on other planets written close to echo scientific ideas of the time, including Pierre-Simon Laplace 's nebular hypothesis , Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection , and Gustav Kirchhoff 's theory of spectroscopy. These scientific ideas combined to present the possibility that planets are alike in composition and conditions for the development of species, which would likely lead to the emergence of life at a suitable geological age in a planet's development.

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By the time Wells wrote The War of the Worlds , there had been three centuries of observation of Mars through telescopes. Galileo observed the planet's phases in and in Giovanni Cassini identified the polar ice caps. This was mistranslated into English as "canals" which, being artificial watercourses, fuelled the belief in intelligent extraterrestrial life on the planet.

This further influenced American astronomer Percival Lowell. In Lowell published a book titled Mars , which speculated about an arid, dying landscape, whose inhabitants built canals to bring water from the polar caps to irrigate the remaining arable land. This formed the most advanced scientific ideas about the conditions on the red planet available to Wells at the time The War of the Worlds was written, but the concept was later proved erroneous by more accurate observation of the planet, and later landings by Russian and American probes such as the two Viking missions , that found a lifeless world too cold for water to exist in its liquid state.

The Martians travel to the Earth in cylinders , apparently fired from a huge space gun on the surface of Mars. This was a common representation of space travel in the nineteenth century, and had also been used by Jules Verne in From the Earth to the Moon. Modern scientific understanding renders this idea impractical, as it would be difficult to control the trajectory of the gun precisely, and the force of the explosion necessary to propel the cylinder from the Martian surface to the Earth would likely kill the occupants.

However, the year-old Robert Goddard was inspired by the story and spent much of his life building rockets. Their strategy includes the destruction of infrastructure such as armament stores, railways, and telegraph lines; it appears to be intended to cause maximum casualties, leaving humans without any will to resist. These tactics became more common as the twentieth century progressed, particularly during the s with the development of mobile weapons and technology capable of surgical strikes on key military and civilian targets.

Wells's vision of a war bringing total destruction without moral limitations in The War of the Worlds was not taken seriously by readers at the time of publication. This kind of total war did not become fully realised until the Second World War. As noted by Howard Black: "In concrete details the Martian Fighting Machines as depicted by Wells have nothing in common with tanks or dive bombers , but the tactical and strategic use made of them is strikingly reminiscent of Blitzkrieg as it would be developed by the German armed forces four decades later.

The description of the Martians advancing inexorably, at lightning speed, towards London; the British Army completely unable to put up an effective resistance; the British government disintegrating and evacuating the capital; the mass of terrified refugees clogging the roads, all were to be precisely enacted in real life at France. Prototypes of mobile laser weapons have been developed and are being researched and tested as a possible future weapon in space.

Military theorists of the era, including those of the Royal Navy prior to the First World War, had speculated about building a "fighting-machine" or a "land dreadnought ". Wells later further explored the ideas of an armoured fighting vehicle in his short story " The Land Ironclads ".

Electroactive polymers currently being developed for use in sensors and robotic actuators are a close match for Wells's description. Wells was a student of Thomas Henry Huxley , a proponent of the theory of natural selection. The novel also suggests a potential future for human evolution and perhaps a warning against overvaluing intelligence against more human qualities. The Narrator describes the Martians as having evolved an overdeveloped brain, which has left them with cumbersome bodies, with increased intelligence, but a diminished ability to use their emotions, something Wells attributes to bodily function.

The Narrator refers to an publication suggesting that the evolution of the human brain might outstrip the development of the body, and organs such as the stomach, nose, teeth, and hair would wither, leaving humans as thinking machines, needing mechanical devices much like the Tripod fighting machines, to be able to interact with their environment. While Invasion Literature had provided an imaginative foundation for the idea of the heart of the British Empire being conquered by foreign forces, it was not until The War of the Worlds that the reading public was presented with an adversary completely superior to themselves.

And before we judge them [the Martians] too harshly, we must remember what ruthless and utter destruction our own species has wrought, not only upon animals, such as the vanished Bison and the Dodo , but upon its own inferior races. The Tasmanians , in spite of their human likeness, were entirely swept out of existence in a war of extermination waged by European immigrants, in the space of fifty years.

Are we such apostles of mercy as to complain if the Martians warred in the same spirit? The novel also dramatises the ideas of race presented in Social Darwinism , in that the Martians exercise over humans their 'rights' as a superior race, more advanced in evolution. Social Darwinism suggested that the success of these different ethnic groups in world affairs, and social classes in a society, were the result of evolutionary struggle in which the group or class more fit to succeed did so; i.

In more modern times it is typically seen as dubious and unscientific for its apparent use of Darwin's ideas to justify the position of the rich and powerful, or dominant ethnic groups. Wells himself matured in a society wherein the merit of an individual was not considered as important as their social class of origin. His father was a professional sportsman, which was seen as inferior to 'gentle' status; whereas his mother had been a domestic servant, and Wells himself was, prior to his writing career, apprenticed to a draper.

Trained as a scientist, he was able to relate his experiences of struggle to Darwin's idea of a world of struggle; but perceived science as a rational system, which extended beyond traditional ideas of race, class and religious notions, and in fiction challenged the use of science to explain political and social norms of the day. Good and evil appear relative in The War of the Worlds , and the defeat of the Martians has an entirely material cause: the action of microscopic bacteria. An insane clergyman is important in the novel, but his attempts to relate the invasion to Armageddon seem examples of his mental derangement.

The novel originated several enduring Martian tropes in science fiction writing. These include Mars being an ancient world, nearing the end of its life, being the home of a superior civilisation capable of advanced feats of science and engineering, and also being a source of invasion forces, keen to conquer the Earth. Influential scientist Freeman Dyson , a key figure in the search for extraterrestrial life, also acknowledges his debt to reading H. Wells's fictions as a child. The publication and reception of The War of the Worlds also established the vernacular term of 'martian' as a description for something offworldly or unknown.

Wells is credited with establishing several extraterrestrial themes which were later greatly expanded by science fiction writers in the 20th Century, including first contact and war between planets and their differing species. There were, however, stories of aliens and alien invasion prior to publication of The War of the Worlds. In Jonathan Swift published Gulliver's Travels. The tale included a people who are obsessed with mathematics and more advanced than Europeans scientifically. At first they think the planet is uninhabited, due to the difference in scale between them and the peoples of Earth.

When they discover the haughty Earth-centric views of Earth philosophers, they are greatly amused by how important Earth beings think they are compared to greater beings in the universe such as themselves. It describes a covert invasion by aliens who take on the appearance of human beings and attempt to develop a virulent disease to assist in their plans for global conquest. It was not widely read, and consequently Wells's vastly more successful novel is generally credited as the seminal alien invasion story. It was a long-winded book concerned with a civil war on Mars. Another Mars novel, this time dealing with benevolent Martians coming to Earth to give humankind the benefit of their advanced knowledge, was published in by Kurd Lasswitz — Two Planets Auf Zwei Planeten.

It was not translated until , and thus may not have influenced Wells, although it did depict a Mars influenced by the ideas of Percival Lowell. Popes 's Journey to Mars , and Ellsworth Douglas's Pharaoh's Broker , in which the protagonist encounters an Egyptian civilisation on Mars which, while parallel to that of the Earth, has evolved somehow independently.

Wells had already proposed another outcome for the alien invasion story in The War of the Worlds. When the Narrator meets the artilleryman the second time, the artilleryman imagines a future where humanity, hiding underground in sewers and tunnels, conducts a guerrilla war , fighting against the Martians for generations to come, and eventually, after learning how to duplicate Martian weapon technology, destroys the invaders and takes back the Earth. Six weeks after publication of the novel, the Boston Post newspaper published another alien invasion story, an unauthorised sequel to The War of the Worlds , which turned the tables on the invaders.

Edison's Conquest of Mars was written by Garrett P. Serviss , a now little remembered writer, who described the famous inventor Thomas Edison leading a counterattack against the invaders on their home soil. John W. Campbell , another key science fiction editor of the era, and periodic short story writer, published several alien invasion stories in the s. Many well known science fiction writers were to follow, including Isaac Asimov , Arthur C.

Clarke , Clifford Simak and Robert A. The theme of alien invasion has remained popular to the present day and are frequently used in the plots of all forms of popular entertainment including movies, television, novels, comics and video games. In the end of the first issue of Marvel Zombies 5 , it is revealed that the main characters will visit a world called "Martian Protectorate" where the events of The War of the Worlds are occurring.

The Tripods trilogy of books features a central theme of invasion by alien-controlled tripods. The War of the Worlds has spawned seven films, as well as various radio dramas, comic-book adaptations, video games, a television series, and sequels or parallel stories by other authors. The most famous, or infamous, adaptation is the radio broadcast that was narrated and directed by Orson Welles. The first two-thirds of the minute broadcast were presented as a news bulletin, often described as having led to outrage and panic by listeners who believed the events described in the program to be real.

Brad Schwartz, fewer than 50 Americans seems to have fled outside in the wake of the broadcast and it is not clear how many of them heard the broadcast directly. Steven Spielberg directed a film adaptation starring Tom Cruise , which received generally positive reviews. In a best selling musical album of the story was produced by Jeff Wayne , with the voices of Richard Burton and David Essex. Two later, somewhat different live concert musical versions based on the original album have since been mounted by Wayne and toured throughout the UK.

Both versions of this stage production utilized narration, lavish projected computer graphics, and a large Martian fighting machine on stage. In the s a joint American-Canadian venture produced the television series War of the Worlds that ran for two seasons and was a direct sequel to George Pal's feature film.

Its premise was that the Martians had not died off but were instead stored in suspension by the US government and that most people had just forgotten the previous invasion; the accidental awakening of the Martians results in another war. A Hey Arnold! Halloween special was aired to parody The War of the Worlds. The costumes that the main characters wore referenced a species from Star Trek. A animated series of Justice League begins with a three-part saga called "Secret Origins" and features tripod machines invading and attacking the city.

The Great Martian War — is a made-for-television science fiction film docudrama that adapts The War of the Worlds and unfolds in the style of an episode of the History TV Channel. The film is an alternate history of World War I in which Europe and its allies, including America, fight the Martian invaders instead of Germany and its allies. The docudrama includes both new and digitally altered film footage shot during the War to End All Wars to establish the scope of the interplanetary conflict. In the spring of , the BBC announced that it will be producing in a Victorian period, three-episode mini-series adaptation of the Wells novel.

It will be produced in native 5. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see The War of the Worlds disambiguation. Wells , The War of the Worlds. Further information: Biology in fiction.

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Further information: Mars in fiction. Further information: Invasion literature. Main article: Fighting machine The War of the Worlds. Main article: List of works based on The War of the Worlds. See also: The War of the Worlds radio drama. Novels portal. Hughes and Harry M.

Flynn Cambridge University Press. Wells: The Critical Heritage. The Science Fiction of H. Oxford University Press. Wells Discover of the Future. Glenn Yeffeth ed. Wells' Enduring Mythos of Mars". War of the Worlds: fresh perspectives on the H. BenBalla: —7. War of the Worlds: From Wells to Spielberg. Galactic Books. Public Art Since Osprey Publishing.

BenBalla: Bruce War Stars. University of Massachusetts Press. BenBalla: —

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Great French Military Victories (Worlds Shortest Books Book 1) Great French Military Victories (Worlds Shortest Books Book 1)
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