H. G. Wells (September 21, 1866-August 13, 1949) saw “A Dream of Armageddon” published in the May/June 1901 issue of Black and White: A Weekly Illustrated Record and Review. One of many British weekly publications at the time, it ran from 1891 to 1912. (Along with Wells, Black and White would publish, among others, the likes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry James, and Bram Stoker.) Wells often infused his fiction with his political philosophy, The Time Machine (1895) perhaps the most famous of his social commentary fictions. Wells was a technocratic socialist who belonged to the Fabian (socialist) Society for a time, but left because he felt it not radical enough. He believed in a World State advancing science as one of its primary aims, and espoused a belief in eugenics (i.e. selective breeding to improve the species by sterilizing its failures and breeding its successes). He was a diehard opponent of Zionism and in a broader sense no supporter of the Jews as a separate group with their own identity. While an anti-war pacifist, he supported the Allies in World War I.
“A Dream of Armageddon” takes us from today into the frightening future world of 2200 A. D., as a dream becomes stark reality for one lone man torn between the love of a woman and the high-profile political life he tries desperately to leave behind. With the fate of Mankind in the balance, which will he choose? Wells here tries to show the utter absurdity and terror of war quite prophetically, as he envisions the airplane and the bombs that would drop from them, years before the airplane would become a reality–and the devastating effect they would wreak on the world of the future. Little did he know that World War I–the first war to use the airplane and the horror of bombs dropped from them–was just around the corner, much sooner than he had envisioned.
“A Dream of Armageddon” aired on one of Old Time Radio’s most respected shows, Escape (1947-1954), on September 5, 1948.
Play Time: 29:30