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Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear WarRepresentations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds$

Paul Williams

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9781846317088

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846319792

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Race, War and Apocalypse before 1945

Race, War and Apocalypse before 1945

(p.25) 1 Race, War and Apocalypse before 1945
Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War
Liverpool University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses premonitions since the late nineteenth century of an apocalyptic race war fought with the newest, most destructive technology. It begins by outlining the myths of racial destiny generated from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, most centrally the Aryan myth of eradicating Judaism that would inform the policies of Nazi Germany. It then surveys (primarily Anglophone) future-war fiction of the same period, which imagined interracial and interethnic conflicts fought with weapons so powerful they would decisively determine the outcome of wars. The final section looks at the racial and exterminatory dimensions of early aerial warfare, concluding with the rhetoric of interracial competition between Japan and America before and during World War Two, and the contemporaneous perception that another monumental war would be required to secure the rule of whites on the Asian continent.

Keywords:   racial destiny, Aryan myth, Judaism, Nazi Germany, future-war fiction, aerial warfare, interracial competition

The idea that antagonism between races might be expressed in a future genocidal war leaving some races extinct and others to inherit the Earth had three main permutations in the late modern period. These spheres of cultural, political and military activity are not as divisible as this chapter's sections indicate, and relevant points of contact will be discernable. The first section outlines the myths of racial destiny generated from the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, most centrally the Aryan myth of eradicating Judaism that would inform the policies of Nazi Germany. The second section surveys (primarily Anglophone) future-war fiction of the same period, which imagined interracial and interethnic conflicts fought with weapons so powerful they would decisively determine the outcome of wars. The final section looks at the racial and exterminatory dimensions of early aerial warfare, concluding with the rhetoric of interracial competition between Japan and America before and during World War Two, and the contemporaneous perception that another monumental war would be required to secure the rule of whites on the Asian continent.

War in Heaven

As outlined in the introduction, the propagation of Darwin's theory of evolution in the nineteenth century was co-opted to explain human development and racial difference. Social Darwinism provided a methodology and an imperative for race thinkers to argue for measures necessary to preserve the integrity of their respective races. This was deeply implicated in the colonial process, whereby the subjugation of non-white peoples could be buttressed by the scientific argument that those races were inferior deviations from white people. Holding up the superiority of the white race subjected it to renewed scrutiny, and that scrutiny turned to anxiety when the threat of degeneration within white European civilization became a clarion call for advocates of racial purification. The social and cultural historian Daniel Pick puts it succinctly:

degeneration in the second half of the nineteenth century served not only to characterise other races (for instance in the view that other (p.26) races had degenerated from the ideal physique of the white races), but also to pose a vision of internal dangers and crises within Europe. Crime, suicide, alcoholism and prostitution were understood as social pathologies' endangering the European races, constituting a degenerative process within them.

Evolutionary theory and racial anthropology were imbricated with an imperialistic insistence on the racial superiority of the world's colonisers over the colonised, but they also reflected back on European society in deeply unsettling ways.1

Max Nordau's 1892 book Degeneration offered the aetiological observation that European civilization was jeopardized by the psychological ‘fatigue’ brought on by the pace and upheavals of modern life: ‘steam and electricity have turned the customs of life of every member of the civilized nations upside down’.2 The best-selling pamphlet ‘The Decline and Fall of the British Empire’ (1905) identified ‘the prevalence of Town over Country life’ as the most poisonous factor in the specific deterioration of the British.3 The eminent English scientist Sir Francis Galton wrote in 1903 that the English were excellent leaders of the people of the lower races', but he posed the question Are We Degenerating?4 Perturbed by Britain's sluggishness in overcoming the Boers in South Africa and the poor physical condition of the volunteers, Arnold White argued this ‘cult of infirmity’ would have fatal consequences, and in his book Efficiency and Empire (1901) White referred to the ‘downfall of the Anglo-Saxon’ (specifically British imperial power). Unless the ‘stamina of the people’ is revitalized, Britain must face the ‘loss of an Imperial position acquired by the healthy’: ‘The Empire will not be maintained by a nation of out-patients.’5

In order to preserve the quality of Britain's biological stock, Galton was keen to encourage families to record their hereditary characteristics for the purpose of a grassroots eugenic programme. Galton's ultimate goal was that, in choosing a spouse, individuals and families would be driven (for the national good) to choose appropriate biological matches to perpetuate desirable and healthy hereditary features. By preventing reproduction within marriage for those whose nature made them unsavoury as progenitors Galton envisaged a future of racial hygiene in which social proscription would coerce humans to breed with their appropriate counterpart – or, indeed, not at all. Karl Pearson, a follower of Galton, expounded upon his hero's eugenic ideas in Francis Galton, 1822–1922: A Centenary Appreciation (1922), which exhorted the British people to instiinstitutionalize the social intolerance towards certain people reproducing that Galton had in mind:

(p.27) How are we to bring home to the sound majority of the people the greatness of the burden which that [least fit] minority inflicts upon it! The one blind man with twenty blind descendants; the two deaf-mutes with forty or more additional deaf-mutes proceeding from them, the insane stirp [hereditary stock] extending its family curse over five generations; the unmarried mentally defective woman whose pedigree shows upwards of a hundred criminals and mental defectives deriving their life from her!6

Galton designed two family albums in 1884 to standardize the recording of biological history: Record of Family Faculties and The Life History Album. Galton wanted to accumulate ‘a vast colloquial resource’ for scientific knowledge, and he offered British families the chance to win £500 for the best family records submitted by 15 May 1884. Galton's ideas were readily received in the United States, and in the early twentieth century thousands of families submitted their ‘Record of Family Traits’ to eugenicists for analysis; across fairs in the Midwest, Americans competed in fitter family contests'.7 The family record albums and the ‘fitter family contests’ illustrate the popular base for these ideas and they also existed at the highest levels of political power. American President Theodore Roosevelt was friends with leading race theorist Madison Grant, author of The Passing of the Great Race (1916), which warned of the threat posed to white Nordic racial stock. Within the community of American eugenic thought that threat came from several directions, such as the Slavic and Latin peoples of Europe as well as Asians. Roosevelt was worried about white stock being flooded by Asian ‘blood’ and saw America's strategic interests in the Pacific as an advanced outpost of the white race.8

The intellectual inclination shared by Galton and other Anglophone eugenicists, of purifying compromised white racial stock to facilitate white rule in the colonies (and internally in the case of the United States), coexisted with even more pernicious programmes for racial cleansing. George L. Mosse's Towards the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (1978) tracks how European racism informed the Nazi party's ideas of an Aryan master race and the magnification of anti-Semitism into genocide. The overlap between race, nation and civilization was evident: in the late nineteenth century, theorists of German identity conflated the national space of Germany with the people known as Aryans and attributed to them a mystical mission against the Jews. Madame Blavatsky's spiritual scheme of Theosophy, based on Indian religions, had wide appeal for those who wanted to discover what the ‘trace-soul’ was. In the German nationalist context, her ideas were shaped into the idea that the German Völk (people) had a privileged place in God's spiritual hierarchy. Put crudely, this was (p.28) because Germans had a natural affinity with the pure, sublime landscape of Germany: race thinkers posited a direct alignment of racially superior Völk and the cosmos' through Germany's divine alpine environment. Mosse identifies these ideas in Guido von List's German Mythological Landscape Pictures (1891) and Julius Langbehn's Rembrandt as Educator (1890); as well as being spiritually superior, Langbehn believed in Aryan physiological eminence, as supposedly demonstrated by the racial sciences. Houston Stewart Chamberlain's Foundations of the Nineteenth Century (1899) also fused the racial sciences with Christianity and mysticism. Chamberlain proclaimed the Aryans as the master race on the basis of anthropology and craniometry, proceeding to argue that Christ had ‘an Aryan soul’ and that Germans were the custodians of a Christian spirituality which made them ‘honest, loyal, and industrious’.9

Anti-Semitism drew on the explanatory power of this alignment of race, mysticism and landscape: ‘the Aryans were set in the German forest, and the Jews in the desert, which expressed their rootlessness and the barrenness of their souls’. In Chamberlain's view, conflict between Germans and Jews expressed a Manichean battle between Christian good and Satanic evil. The future of Christian civilization was at stake: ‘The outcome of the battle between Aryans and Jews would decide whether the base Jewish spirit would triumph over the Aryan soul and drag the world down with it […] Racial mysticism posited a race war – a fight to the finish between two principles of life.’10 Several figures in the early twentieth century – such as Alfred Schuler, the ‘cosmic philosophers’ of Munich and the Viennese newspaper owner Jörg Lanz – continued to equate Aryans with a mystical human life-force. Lanz advocated the extermination of the Aryan's enemies, whom he called ‘ape-men’ and ‘dark people of inferior race’.11 Hitler saw Schuler lecture, and the accumulation of these racist ideologies was apotheosized in the racist policies of Nazi Germany.

In staking Aryan racial superiority to spiritual exceptionalism, the importance of destroying non-Aryans seemed evident: humanity's connection to higher forces would be lost if the Aryan conduit to either the Christian God or an ethereal life-force was broken. European Jewry became the main victims of this mystic race thinking, but ‘dark people of inferior race’ were similarly constructed as opponents of the Aryans, and the destruction of both was promoted. The intonation of this racism and anti-Semitism was specifically German nationalist but it was part of a global structure of feeling in which white European empires and the United States believed they were the vanguard of Christian civilization. In securing that civilization, non-white peoples may be eradicated either by accident or (p.29) design. Future-war fiction provided an arena in prose for writers to dream of realizing that process with new technology.

Future-War Fiction

One can discern the contours of twentieth-century warfare in the American Civil War (1861–65) and the Franco-Prussian War (1870–71), and the modernity of these conflicts was commented on at the time. In the American Civil War, the devastating use of automatic weapons came into relief, as did the potential scale of modern conflict. For the first time, entire populations engaged in a ‘new situation of total war’.12 One of the most noted aspects of Prussia's defeat of France was the speed with which the French were overcome: the Prussian use of trains intimated that the ability to transport troops, arms and materiel as quickly as possible gave armies a decisive advantage over their enemies.13 Partly as a response to these conflicts, the late nineteenth century saw a boom in prose speculation about future military conflict that lasted into the twentieth century. Future-war scholar I. F. Clarke hypothesizes that this growth was due to new developments in scientific discovery and military technology, uncertainties over the balance of power in Europe and the commercial opportunity for publishers to satisfy a growing popular readership built on expanding literacy levels. Many of these future-war stories were written by military experts who saw the genre as a way to communicate quickly their ideas about national defence.14

The remarkable success of Sir George Tomkyns Chesney's ‘The Battle of Dorking’, originally published in May 1871 in Blackwood's Magazine, ‘established the pattern for a predictive epic on the victory or defeat of a nation-species in the international struggle to survive’. Chesney's future-war narrative is narrated from a point in the future looking back on a successful German invasion of Britain. Chesney's prediction of defeat was made so readers in 1871 might take steps to prevent it ever happening. This is crucial to the genre paradigm at this historical moment, where readers are urged to take necessary measures to pre-empt the speculative scenario. Those measures might entail remaining alert to the danger posed by certain nations or racial groups, or asking readers to support the modernization of national defence. ‘The Battle of Dorking’ stressed the importance of deploying new technology on the battlefield. In Chesney's worldview, the army with the most technologically sophisticated equipment will be the winner in a modern war, and his story attributed Germany's triumph to the speed with which they move their troops, and their new ‘fatal engines’, which sink the British fleet.15

(p.30) ‘The Battle of Dorking’ set the template for a genre that spread across North America and Europe, using the spectre of defeat in a future war to warn the addressed populace that action in the present is required to avoid national humiliation. Roughly speaking, Clarke suggests that between 1870 and 1890, future-war fiction was used by writers to critique their own military and prompt its reform. In this period, defeat resulted from a single battle or war. Between 1890 and 1914, texts in the genre addressed their national community with self-aggrandizing visions foreshadowing their conquest of the world.16 These stories interlocked with the fears about degeneration that Nordau and his peers raised; the play ‘The Englishman's Home’, a box-office hit in 1909, featured the invasion of Britain by soldiers from ‘Nearland’, and the English prove too morally and physically weak to resist. William Le Queux's politically reactionary novel The Invasion of 1910 (1906) even attributed the UK's national malaise to the replacement of aristocratic rule by a government responding to the popular will.17 As Rieder points out, the genre was coherent and recognizable enough to support a P. G. Wodehouse parody, The Swoop!: or, How Clarence Saved England (1909).18

Despite Clarke's assertion that after the 1880s ‘the United States did not have any major external enemy to serve as the focus for future war stories’,19 there do appear to be certain repeated enemies, such as the British. Americans war against the UK in Samuel Rockwell Reed's The War of 1886, between the United States and Great Britain (1882), Samuel Barton's The Battle of the Swash; and The Capture of Canada (1888) and Henry Grattan Donnelly's The Stricken Nation (1890; written using the pseudonym ‘Stochastic’). Fitting the future-war model established by ‘The Battle of Dorking’, in Stricken Nation the British enemy brings the USA's inadequate defences along the Great Lakes into relief for the American reader. Donnelly does not challenge America and England's shared membership of ‘the Anglo-Saxon race’ in his novel, but their ethnic rivalry appears intractable: the English cannot suppress their traditional envy and hatred'20 towards the United States. In addition to the British, America's fictional invaders are repeatedly Asian in this period. They are represented as a more malicious enemy because their antipathy to white America does originate in racial difference. Anxiety about the dangers posed by Asian immigration was heightened by the sensationalist reporting of the US press, which stressed interracial incompatibility and aggressive Asian expansionism. The fear and often violence that Americans of Asian descent were subjected to occurred alongside their demonization as a ‘Yellow Peril’. In 1882, the USA passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, which banned immigrant labour and stayed in place until 1943. Atwell Whitney's (p.31) Almond-Eyed: A Story of the Day (1878) commenced an American literary tradition depicting the nation subverted from within by Chinese immigrants acting as fifth columnists: in Almond-Eyed, sheer weight of numbers makes the Chinese threatening. Pierton W. Dooner's Last Days of the Republic (1880) follows the same pattern, imagining the Chinese as cunning, avaricious and swarming over the United States until the last bastion of white resistance is eradicated.21 In the limited space of the United States, the Chinese thrive while white Americans are ‘blotted from the record of nations and peoples’.22

Such rhetoric readily lent itself to narratives that understood future wars as fought, not between nations, but between races.23 For some white Europeans and their descendants, shared racial superiority was the glue for their global alliance. The Briton Cecil Rhodes, fighting in Matabeleland to clear the African inhabitants and establish white settlements, welcomed white people of ‘goodwill’ to colonize ‘his’ Africa, and many Americans (some experienced at warring against Native Americans on the USA's western frontier) accepted his offer. Roosevelt greatly approved of Rhodes's colonization project.24 William Delisle Hay's novel Three Hundred Years Hence (1881) is an imagined human history narrated from the future. The novel divides humankind into five types and in three hundred years only the Xanthochroi group still survive – otherwise known as Caucasians, whom ‘Nature has selected to rule and populate the globe.’ Germans, Anglo-Saxons, Scandinavians, Finns, Slays and ‘light Celts’ are some of the peoples gathered under the title Xanthochroi, and in the future other racial groups have lost their ethnic distinctiveness through breeding with the dominant racial category, or have become extinct, finding themselves unable to assimilate into white civilization (the fate of indigenous Australians in the novel). But this is not the whole story of ‘The Fate of the Inferior Races’. When the world faces a Malthusian dilemma – an expanding world population on the verge of exceeding the planet's ability to produce sufficient food – some of the Xanthochroi assert ‘let self-preservation be our excuse’ and proclaim ‘Death to the Negro! Annihilation to the Chinaman!’ Nonetheless, the Union of Humanity declines to exterminate East Asians and Africans, and the narrative engineers an uprising of both peoples so their extinction becomes a justifiable act of white self-defence. Using a new superweapon entitled ‘the Chicago Bullet’ fired from ‘aërial craft’, these groups are made extinct, to the narrator's sigh of relief:

After the extermination of the Inferior Races there was, as it were, a breathing-space. There were vast tracts of land awaiting occupants, and into which immigrants soon began to flock, changing the aspect (p.32) of the country as they came, and bringing the advancing civilisation of the White Man along with them.25

With East Asia and Africa stripped of their human population, Three Hundred Years Hence posits the reoccupation of the land by Xanthochroi. In this future the Earth's population and capacity to produce food is balanced and the planet can inhale again. In the hands of the Xanthochroi, a group which the novel explains Nature has fitted out to prosper at the expense of inferior races, the latest military technology enables a genocide that leads to further, final settlement of the Earth by white peoples.

Closely shadowing Hay's themes, the American novelist and social reformer Ignatius Donnelly's novel Caesar's Column (1891) saw extermination as the solution to the overcrowded world of 1988, with its enormous disparity between the rich and poor, ruled over by (mainly Jewish) corrupt businessmen. An organization entitled The Brotherhood of Destruction eradicates most of the human race with airships and poison gas bombs. North America and Europe are destroyed, and befitting the genre's assumption that the parts of the world exterior to those continents are available for white settlement, the Swiss narrator and his peers ‘set up a happy republic in Uganda’ (there is some critical debate over how happy this resolution is).26 King Wallace's The Next War (1892) offers the extinction of African Americans as the solution to the USA's social problems.27 Air war returned in American writer Samuel W. Odell's The Last War; Or, Triumph of the English Tongue (1898), in which ‘English-speaking peoples win their final battle against inferior races via an air force that rains incendiary bombs down upon the enemy’. The Anglophone bloc succeeds in imposing their language and ‘customs of civilization’ on the savage inhabitants' of Russia and Asia.28 The main features of The Last War were prefigured in the novel The Great War Syndicate (1889), written by Frank Stockton. These features included an ‘Anglo-American Syndicate of War’ which uses the threat of its devastating new ‘Motor Bomb’ to coerce the rest of the world to submit to its rule. The novel ends with ‘all the nations of the world’ beginning to ‘teach English in their schools’.29 The Great Pirate Syndicate (1899), written by British novelist George Griffith, seems to have adapted more than just its title from Stockton's novel. In The Great Pirate Syndicate, overwhelming technological superiority in warfare was exercised once more by a transatlantic alliance of Anglo-Saxons, although not without some initial friction between the United Kingdom and the United States over the Alaskan-Canadian border. The eponymous syndicate, Oceana Limited, is a secret organization pledged to support the British Empire – to which end they develop an arsenal of new weapons. One of the most devastating is the aerial Destroyer, able to shoot aerial torpedoes at cities. The language the (p.33) Pirate Syndicate use towards (implicitly white) Americans professes their kinship juxtaposed against mounting belligerence: ‘It's all very well to talk about ties of blood and kindred; but when it comes to hard cash and solid gold, in chunks, as Uncle Sam himself would say, it's a very different matter. We know how a pair of brothers will fight over a disputed will’. Nonetheless, when the nations of continental Europe turn against Great Britain, the US press appeal to their government for an ‘Anglo-Saxon alliance’ and the character Senator Walcott, returning to the family metaphor, called for the USA to stand with ‘the brothers of our blood’. Supported by the Pirate Syndicate's paralyzing devices and ‘aerial monsters [raining] down fire and death’, the Anglo-US alliance forces the surrender of the rest of the world: ‘the long-dreamed-of ideal of an Anglo-Saxon federation became a reality’.30 Griffith was returning to the content of his earlier novel, The Angel of the Revolution (1893), in which a leftwing terrorist organization possessing cutting-edge technology (a flying machine) leads a successful revolution against the capitalists and corrupt governments of Europe and America.31 In that novel, class conflict shades into race war: the victorious ‘Federation of the English-speaking races of the world, [bonded by] kindred blood and speech and common interests’ responds to an Asian invasion with ‘a war […] of extermination’ fought with ‘the most terrific powers of destruction that human wit had ever devised’.32

In the early 1980s the scholar of cataclysmic literature W. Warren Wagar connected the pre-1914 ‘apocalyptic race wars’ to social Darwinism, and the perception of non-white peoples as a ‘kind of “alien” menace’.33 As well as Hay's Three Hundred Years Hence, Wagar gives the example of British novelist M. P. Shiel's Yellow Peril series; in the first of these, The Yellow Danger (1898), Europe is overwhelmed by four hundred million Asian invaders driven by ‘dark and hideous instincts’.34 By this point at the end of the nineteenth century, the genre had its key tropes: future wars between European nations would be decided by technological maturity and preparedness, but when whites and non-whites clashed, the unchecked population growth of non-whites could potentially eradicate white peoples.

While one should be cautious about ascribing literary evolutions to any single historical event, the repercussions of the 1904–05 Russo–Japanese War are undeniable. The victory of an organized and well-equipped Japan over Russia drew international attention to Japan's ascendancy and reminded the world powers they would need to modernize to remain militarily credible. The influential American eugenicist Lothrop Stoddard, who belonged to Madison Grant's circle, saw the Russo—Japanese War as the first serious threat to ‘white world supremacy’.35 America's future-war (p.34) fiction focused attention on the Japanese as a specific threat, and scholars H. Bruce Franklin, John Rieder, David Seed and Patrick B. Sharp all note the racial politics of Jack London's future-war story ‘The Unparalleled Invasion’. London provides an exemplary case because of his literary status and his journalism, which provides comparable evidence of his perception of the Asian threat, such as his 1904 article ‘The Yellow Peril’. ‘The Unparalleled Invasion’ was written in 1907 and published in McClure's Magazine in 1910.36 Its narrative combines the two variants of the future-war story Clarke identified: it warns that failing to take national security seriously will lead the country to the edge of destruction, and it prophecies that technological innovation will give America the upper hand. Deployed at the last moment, that innovation eradicates the enemy and strengthens America's nosition in the world.

In London's short story, Japan drives the improvement of China's agriculture, industry and infrastructure, building railways, canals, telegraphs and factories, and accustoming its army ‘to all the modern machinery of war’. ‘China was at last awake.’ Once Japan has served its narrative role as conduit and impetus for modernization its emissaries are ejected from China, along with all Westerners. The increase in productive power enables China ‘to support a far larger population’ than ever before. The ‘fecundity of her loins’ became its chief weapon; China ‘was spilling over the boundaries of her Empire […] with all the certainty and terrifying slow momentum of a glacier’. Western attacks from the sea are negligible. The size and uniformity of the Chinese is the essence of its threat: a French military expedition enters the country only to disappear into the mass. When restraint is asked of the Chinese leader Li Tang Fwung, his reply could be read as satirizing the language of white supremacism – if one ignored London's anti-Asian racism: ‘We have our own destiny to accomplish. It is unpleasant that our destiny does not jibe with the destiny of the rest of the world […] You have talked windily about the royal races and the heritage of the earth, and we can only reply that that remains to be seen. You cannot invade us.’ American scientist Jacobus Laningdale has a technological solution, a biological weapon so powerful it decimates the population when dropped from the air. China experiences ‘ultra-modern war, twentieth century war, the war of the scientist and the laboratory’. Using a language of extermination that the early twentieth-century German racial theorists would have approved of, the Chinese landscape is wiped clean –‘All survivors were put to death’ and the international community begins ‘the sanitation of China’. Other nations establish settlements there ‘according to the democratic American program’, in a heterogeneous ‘intermingling of nationalities’.37 A hostile people to (p.35) America's west are wiped out by a combination of war and disease, and the newly vacated land is occupied. The historical and mythic reference points of London's future vision are hardly subtle on this ‘new frontier’.38

Strong similarities exist between ‘The Unparalleled Invasion’ and Roy Norton's future-war narrative The Vanishing Fleets, serialized in various US newspapers during 1907 and collected in one volume in 1908. This story interprets the hostility between Japan and America as of an irrevocable ‘purely racial character’. The first stage of the Asian invasion is the presence of migrant workers, what Norton calls the unwanted ‘economic invasion from the Orient’. Japan subsequently stimulates the rise of China and attacks Hawaii and the Philippines. Norton describes this as a ‘racial war’,39 and the efficiency with which the modernized Japanese Navy progresses is a caution against letting ‘new technology’ fall ‘into the hands of “enemy” races’. However, American scientists have invented a fighting machine as yet unknown to the world, a ‘radioplane’ that uses radioactivity to control gravity. This invention allows the USA to defeat the Japanese Navy and ushers in an era of American imperial domination around the world.40 Repeating a theme, Marsden Manson's pamphlet The Yellow Peril in Action: A possible Chapter in History (1907) uses a speculated defeat to prod policymakers in the present. China and Japan seize Honolulu and blockade the USA's Pacific ports; America is wracked by race riots and fifth columnists sabotage the rail network. The USA is forced to sign a ‘humiliating armistice’ and Seed reads the story as Manson's attempt to persuade Congress to forbid immigrant labour into the country.41 In a return to London and Norton's deification of US technological ingenuity, John Ulrich Giesy's All for His Country was serialized in 1914 in Cavalier Weekly and published as a book in 1915. The Japanese launch a surprise attack on Hawaii and take California, occupying it easily because Japanese-American immigrants assist the invaders. The narrative proposes these migrant workers travelled to America in the first place as the advance guard of the invasion. Japan's ‘aërial bomb’ swiftly dispatches the American Navy, leaving America about to accept a humiliating peace agreement. Seemingly intended by Giesy as an affront to the dignity of white Americans,42 Japan wants the USA to grant full citizenship and property rights to Japanese citizens, and to treat them as Caucasians, which includes accepting marriage between white Americans and the Japanese. This condition is the most offensive to the American President because it means sacrificing white racial purity: ‘this last clause amounts to our subscribing to an Orientalization of our race – to the waiving of our birthright’.43 With whites as nature's aristocrats, the narrative works to make it unsurprising that the Japanese would lust after the epitome of womanhood that white (p.36) American females represent, and all the more reason to protect them from non-white sexual approaches. In a reversal of All for His Country's racial allegiances, Floyd Gibbons's novel The Red Napoleon (1929) imagined a Mongol invasion of the West led by the Soviet leader Karakhan. Karakhan presents the rape of white women by the Asian invaders as the attempt to end racial prejudice by mixing the human races into one, single human race, and while his project is ultimately foiled, through the Soviet leader Red Napoleon makes several indictments of American racism.44

The temporary success the Japanese enjoy in All for His Country is won by duplicity and new technology, and they are defeated by even more recent developments in aerial warfare, ‘an aero-destroyer’ designed by US scientist Meade Stillman. All for His Country exhorted white readers to remain vigilant against Asian connivance within and without the national borders, offering the reassurance that white America's survival could rely upon the unmatched scientific creativity of its people.45 In Robert A. Heinlein's later novel The Day after Tomorrow (1949; first published in 1941 under the title Sixth Column), the remnant of white America that survives a PanAsian invasion is forced to hide in the Rocky Mountains. They too develop a new scientific weapon and launch a successful resistance against the occupiers.46

Serialized in 1913 and published as a novel in 1914, H. G. Wells's The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind narrates a future war fought with atomic bombs, and while it exploits the tension between civilization and savagery, it does so in a less obviously racialized manner than the above narratives. Wells's novel dramatizes the disparity between humankind's highly advanced weapons and its competitive, savage nature, arguing that atomic war results from the failure of our social organizations to keep pace with our technological maturity. The World Set Free reaches for the racialized symbols of savagery in its description of a French aviator who retaliates when Paris is atomic-bombed. ‘There was an exotic richness’ about this aviator's voice, and in addition to his ‘hairy and exceptionally big’ hands he is ‘a dark young man with something negroid about his gleaming face.’47 The visual codes of racial blackness complement the novel's moral lesson: humankind must abandon its brutal, bestial inheritance if it is to transcend the destructive ramifications of its scientific ingenuity.48 In The World Set Free the forces of competitive barbarism destroy each other, opening the space for social progress.

After the commencement of the Great War in 1914, but before America entered the conflict in 1917, Europeans were the invaders again in US future-war fiction. Using the alarmist narrative structure, Julius W. Muller's The Invasion of America (1916) and Thomas Dixon's (p.37) The Fall of a Nation (1916) depict future war to prompt America to augment its armaments. While they do not represent future race war, Dixon's novel is worth consideration precisely because America's enemies are not racial others. Foreshadowing invasion by the European empires, European immigrants posing as loyal American citizens begin a programme of sabotage. However, their allegiances ultimately lie with the United States, and they join an uprising organized by the leader of the woman's suffrage movement. The change of heart that Dixon's immigrants have is in marked contrast to the future-war stories where the ‘enemy within’ is of Asian descent. Dixon's 1905 novel The Clansman was made into D. W. Griffith's controversial 1915 film The Birth of a Nation. In this sprawling text the chaos generated by the Union victory in the Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation requires the intervention of the Ku Klux Klan to bring stability (and a renewed racial hierarchy) to the United States. The title of Dixon's 1916 novel appeals to his existing readership and unsurprisingly in The Fall of a Nation the commonality of race makes it possible for white European migrants to realize, albeit late, that they have common cause with their white American cornnatriots.

In the 1920s, American future-war fiction continued to fear Asia, using extraterrestrial replacements to symbolize their perceived menace and alterity. Philip Francis Nowlan's narratives fit the stereotypical SF trappings of rocket ships, ray guns and heroic exploits. His hero Buck (originally Anthony) Rogers began life in a 1928 short story before being published in the books Armageddon 2419 A.D. (1928) and The Airlords of Han (1929), becoming a nationally syndicated comic strip on 7 January 1929.49 Sent into a sleep lasting hundreds of years, Rogers wakes up in the future and finds America's cities destroyed and the population driven into the countryside by a despotic, ruthless, coolly rational people: the Mongols. Seed dryly observes, ‘In case the reader misses the point, we are told that their soldiers wear bright yellow uniforms.’50 Rogers helps white America reassert itself and ‘exterminate’ the occupying force, who ‘originated as a hybrid somewhere in the dark fastnesses of interior Asia, and spread […] like an inhuman blight over the face of the globe’.51 The Mongols appear as a conjunction of races nature had designed to be separate, and having unnaturally mixed, their human pestilence overcame the surrounding peoples. Mercifully, Rogers reports, they have been wiped out and can never threaten the world again. At the behest of King Features Syndicate, comic-strip artist Alex Raymond created the Sunday newspaper cartoon Flash Gordon to compete with the Buck Rogers strip. Flash Gordon debuted on 7 January 1934, and it deployed a similar enemy, Ming the Merciless, from the planet Mongo. It was syndicated in more than 150 newspapers (p.38) and was adapted to a radio show and three movie serials.52 Flash Gordon was another SF adventure narrative in which the racialized villain is a tyrant who desires white womanhood, a villain visualized with the iconography of the Yellow Peril. Ming's creation drew on the popularity of a character created by the English novelist Sax Rohmer, whose evil genius Dr Fu Manchu sought nothing less than the overthrow of the white world.53 The 1920s also saw the publication of Hector C. Bywater's novel The Great Pacific War: A History of the American–Japanese Campaign of 1931–1933 (1925), a meticulously detailed warning about Japan's plans to extend its empire across the Pacific, which highlighted specific geopolitical concerns (such as the strategic importance of Guam).54 Nonetheless, The Great Pacific War sits slightly outside the tradition outlined in this chapter. Bywater's avowed aim is not to write a prowar future history, and in the final lines he reminds readers that waging war is a waste of human life and capital.

By the late 1930s, the military prowess of the Third Reich and the fear of another war led to several future-war stories speculating on a future of Nazi dominance around the world. Yet even at this historical moment, future-war fiction, which saw the most important conflict of the future as the conflict between races, refused to disappear. R. C. Sherriff's The Hopkins Manuscript (1939) imagined the Moon crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. As the European nations fight among themselves, Selim the prophet from ‘Teheran’ assembles an army to follow him across Russia, Turkey and into Europe. There is little hope for the ‘few thousand’ Europeans making a last stand ‘against these seething millions’. Western Europe is destroyed, and the novel as a whole is presented to readers as a manuscript recovered by the Royal Society of Abyssinia. It prefaces the narrative of Europe's fall with a reminder of recent history: ‘for a hundred years after the collapse of the “Western Civilisation” the peoples of the reborn nations of the East indulged in an orgy of senseless destruction of everything that existed in their own countries to remind them of the “white man”’. Putting these words in the pen of a non-white character may be Sherriff's attempt to inoculate his novel against charges of racism, but there is little to choose between the barbarism of Selim's hordes'55 and the American Yellow Peril fears. Extermination had become a generic staple by the 1930s, and not only in relation to interracial competition: ‘Genocidal violence’ had become a ‘reflex mechanism’ for the resolution of conflict in pulp science fiction.56

Aerial War and Race War Before 1945

The development of indiscriminate aerial warfare often took on a racial character between the first manned motorized flight in 1903 and the (p.39) bombardment of civilian populations during World War Two that culminated in the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Without wishing to minimize the advances in precision in this period, the act of attacking from the air reduced the opportunity to select individual or specific targets. For instance, while America's bombing philosophy was originally orientated around precision bombing, actually hitting those precise targets was rather more rare.57 In the instances that follow, success was gauged less by destroying certain strategic positions and more by accruing psychological capital at the enemy's expense by destroying their population.

During the Great War the Germans and the British bombed each other from the air with the intention of terrorizing the general population. By measuring success through the rather nebulous quality of emotional reaction, the proponents of ‘morale bombing’ made it difficult for critics to refute their claims. Raids by German aircraft on London in 1917 were targeting ‘the morale of the English people’ and the British responded with ill-executed bombings of German cities. At this stage the numbers killed were deemed less important than compelling the enemy population to feel vulnerable to the aerial threat.58 When a member of the British Air Board wrote to Hugh M. Trenchard, Commander of the Royal Flying Corps, telling him that the British raids need not be overly concerned with accuracy, Trenchard replied that the bombers were not very accurate anyway and pilots generally dropped their bombs in the middle of towns. This indiscriminateness showed a disregard for German life that embellished itself on the civilians' minds, and one German civilian wrote, ‘one feels as if one were no longer a human being’.59 But had aerial war dehumanized conflict? Literary scholar Mark Rawlinson observes debates in World War Two that amplified those of the Great War in this regard: ‘Aviation was, alternatively, affirmative or barbarically destructive of what it was to be human.’ Aerial warfare accelerated the speed and enhanced the scale on which civilian populations could be bombed, but the aerial duel seemed to restore the chivalry, bravery and skill of individual combat lost elsewhere in twentieth-century total war.60 Between the world wars, air war theories and their dissemination in the UK argued this new way of fighting had erased the distinction between soldier and civilian, and millions of civilian deaths were projected.61

After the Great War, the bombing of civilian populations by the British shifted to its imperial colonies in a policy known as ‘air policing’. In British Somaliland, a Mullah named Mohammed bin Abdullah Hassan, preaching a fanatical interpretation of Islam, gathered a following of around 10,000 people. Hassan declared a jihad on infidels, promising to drive them away, and the British Army had tried and failed to break his rule in the region. (p.40) On 21 January 1920, five RAF planes attacked his compound at Medishe, bombing twice a day for three days, and the Mullah was driven out within a month.62 During May 1919, Afghan forces entered India via the Northwest frontier, and aircraft were used to drive the Afghans back. The Handley Page V/1500 Bomber, developed to attack Berlin, was used to drop bombs on Jalalabad, Dacca and Kabul.63 Britain's ‘Air Control’ of the Empire was used extensively in Iraq, whose large area posed difficulties to the collection of taxes. Open rebellion against British rule broke out, and the RAF was used to bomb villages that either would not pay taxes or were rebelling against the colonial government. One RAF officer opined,

One objective must be selected – preferably the most inaccessible village of the most prominent tribe which it is desired to punish. […] The attack with bombs and machine guns must be relentless and unremitting and carried on continuously by day and night, on houses, inhabitants, crops and cattle. No news travels like bad news […] This sounds brutal, I know, but it must be made brutal to start with. The threat alone in the future will prove efficacious if the lesson is properly learnt.64

This ‘morale bombing’ against defenceless targets was ‘absurdly one-sided’. Atrocities against civilians were not necessarily condoned by policymakers: Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for War and Air, censured the airmen involved when women and children fleeing a village in Iraq were strafed as they sought cover. ‘Air Control’ was popular because it was cheap, and if the RAF wanted to hone a policy of civilian bombing then targeting the Empire's rebellious colonized subjects elicited little protest in the metropolitan centre. When Hugh Trenchard (now Chief of Air Staff) drafted a paper proposing that aircraft could be used to quell ‘industrial disturbances’ in India, Egypt, Ireland and England, Churchill made him remove Ireland and England because of the political opposition their inclusion would create.65

America's cities were subject to two manned aerial attacks in the twentieth century. Both attacks were perpetrated by Americans and the primary targets were African-American communities. The second bombing took place in 1985, when the police dropped an explosive device on a black ghetto in Philadelphia during a riot. The first demonstrates the collusion of the police in an attack that terrifyingly exploited air power's destructive force:

a mob of ten thousand whites invaded the black section of Tulsa, Oklahoma, looting and burning as they advanced. Armed blacks (p.41) defended their homes, but their resistance was overcome with the help of eight airplanes, some manned by police, that rained improvised dynamite bombs on neighborhoods that the ground force had drenched with oil and gasoline. Most of the ghetto was burned to the ground, and between 150 and 200 black people, mostly women and children, along with fifty of the white invaders, lost their lives.66

The indiscriminateness of aerial bombing of urban civilian populations interwove with the callousness of the mob – the death of specific members of the black population of Tulsa appears secondary to the damage inflicted upon the community as a whole. This method of murder fitted the ambitions of unchecked racist antipathy. Similar superciliousness was evident in the Italian invasion of Ethiopia in the 1930s, when mustard gas was dropped onto civilians from airplanes. Gilroy writes that for the Italian government the Ethiopians were not full participants in human history – they were ‘judged to be a verminous part of the natural’ world.67

While the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were understood at the time as a qualitative difference in the way that wars could be fought, ‘conventional bombing had already achieved such a high level of destruction that atomic bombs could not inflict dramatically more damage’. For instance, on the night of 9–10 March 1945, Tokyo was attacked by 334 aircraft dropping incendiary bombs. Civilian deaths were approximately 84,000, which academic Robert A. Pape claims was greater than the loss of life at either Hiroshima or Nagasaki.68 The nature of incendiaries meant selecting targets was unnecessary: the objective was to create a firestorm that would rip through densely populated urban areas.69 The US bombing of Japan was not different from the aerial war in Europe in this regard: the Axis bombed Rotterdam in May 1940 after the city had surrendered, and similar aerial attacks on civilian populations in Warsaw, London and Coventry were condemned as immoral by the Allies. This did not stop the Allies bombing German cities in return.70 Dresden was remorselessly firebombed on 13–14 February 1945, killing between 35,000 and 100,000 Germans, mostly non–combatants.71

The animated film Victory through Air Power (1943), made by Walt Disney studios and distributed by United Artists, is an example of how civilian bombing campaigns were promoted to the public. As the official publicity stills from the film reiterate – constantly – Victory through Air Power was an animated version of Major Alexander P. de Seversky's book of the same name, which advocated using intercontinental bombers to strike Tokyo. The film advertised his policies by picturing Japan as a ‘vicious grasping octopus’ spread across the Pacific and only letting go of each island when each tentacle is burned off. Victory through Air Power argued Japan would (p.42) be defeated more quickly by ignoring its tentacles: ‘if the body of the octopus, Japan, was bombed into ruins, the tentacles or supply lines and bases, would automatically disintegrate’. This is a move away from accumulative strategic targets, and towards bombing Japan ‘into ruins’ and thus ‘into submission’.72

Given this wide acceptance during World War Two of bombing civilians, the war in the Pacific had an additional racial dimension. Both sides saw their enemy as a barbarian force committed to the absolute eradication of their civilization. Stereotypes and racism contributed to dehumanization, which in turn contributed to an ‘obsession’ with exterminating the enemy. Soldiers on both sides were reluctant to surrender voluntarily, not least because the enemy were occasionally unwilling to take prisoners.73 In this context, the Pacific theatre of conflict was – to quote the title from John W. Dower's book – a War without Mercy (1986). The US Admiral William Halsey saw ‘the almost total elimination of the Japanese as a race’ as the goal of the war in the Pacific, on the grounds that this ‘was a question of which race was to survive, and white civilization was at stake’. Writers on both sides of the conflict saw it through the lens of a holy war against an unredeemable enemy. As we saw with the German race theorists, these Manichean dichotomies made the moral compulsion to eradicate the racial other unavoidable and the conduct of the war ‘became fixated on exterminating the enemy – and verged, for some participants, on the genocidal’.74 Halsey was hardly unique. During the battle for New Guinea in 1943, General Blamey told Australian troops they were ‘fighting for nothing less than the cause of civilization itself’. He had in mind a civilization colour-coded as white and stretching back to ancient Europe, since he compared the Australian soldiers to Roman legionnaires. ‘You know that we have to exterminate these vermin if we and our families are to live […] We must go on to the end if civilization is to survive. We must exterminate the Japanese.’75 Blamey's classification of the Japanese as vermin was shared by the American press and official channels of information, which added vipers, insects, rodents, lice and apes to the list, and American officers referred to them as spiders and scorpions.76 New York political cartoonist Theodor Seuss Geisel (better known as Dr Seuss) drew the Japanese as cats, monkeys, a crab and a snake.77 These ‘sharply racialized sentiments’ ran from the ranks to the officers to the policymakers to President Truman himself, who described the Japanese as ‘beasts’ and ‘savages’, a continual rhetorical and visual representation of the Japanese as subhuman.78

Halsey's and Blarney's statements reproduce a common ideological trope during World War Two: the rule of white people in Asia was jeopardized (p.43) by Japanese success, which made greater wars between Asians and whites more likely. In 1942, former American President Herbert Hoover advocated the continuance of the war against Japan, at whatever cost: ‘Unless they are defeated […] there will be in twenty-five years an Asiatic flood into South America that will make the Nazis look like pikers.’79 Hoover feared Japanese victory because it would make the Americas prone to an unbearable level of Asian immigration. A future race war was predicted by the militant black leader Marcus Garvey in 1919. His newspaper Negro World prophesied an inevitable clash between Asian and white and saw it as an opportunity to address anti-black racism: ‘one can foresee nothing else but an armed clash between the white and yellow races. When this clash of millions comes, an opportunity will have presented itself to the Negro people of the world to free themselves.’80 The Japanese exploited this rhetoric to unify the peoples of its occupied territories, proclaiming PanAsian racial brotherhood to dispel national enmity. In November 1943, Tokyo was host to the Assembly of the Greater East Asiatic Nations, at which ‘a succession of Asian leaders […] placed the war in an East-versus-West, Oriental-versus-Occidental, and ultimately blood-versus-blood context’. In 1943, Roosevelt's personal emissary to India, William Phillips, described a growing ‘color consciousness’ drawing Asians together in opposition to whites. The Hearst newspapers declared Japan was a ‘racial menace’ and the result of its victory would be ‘perpetual war between Oriental ideals and Occidental’. Even advocates of a free Asia ‘warned of a Third World War between whites and nonwhites within a generation’. In spheres that were liberal and conservative, public and private, racist and antiracist, a future race war was speculated.81

To nuance this historical account, the extreme violence unleashed against the Japanese had several justifications, and not all were racial. Some argued the Japanese would never surrender; others contended that at the end of the Great War the Allies had made the mistake of not destroying Germany further, allowing it to rebuild and start another war twenty years later; others believed the psychological blow of annihilation was necessary to purge the militarism in Japan's national culture.82 In C. M. Kornbluth's 1958 SF story ‘Two Dooms’ a pivotal Los Alamos scientist, Dr Edward Royland, feels queasy about the moral consequences of his work on the atomic bomb. He visits a Hopi medicine man and wakes up in the twenty-second century: the atomic bomb was never developed, Japan successfully resisted invasion and the Axis counterattack defeated the Allies. In another Malthusian future, occupied America is weighed down by a surplus population of Asian invaders and their descendants. The rhetorical figure of the teeming mass in Kornbluth's description is of (p.44) Yellow Peril vintage: they seized ‘a nice sparse area’ and ‘bred irresponsibly just as fast as they could until the land was full’.83 When Royland returns to 1944, he immediately takes his latest work on the atomic bomb to his manager, encouraging readers to see the Manhattan Project as the necessary seal on destroying Japan and keeping the USA safe from Asian invasion. In relation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki, historian Andrew J. Rotter concludes that the desire to test the most expensive weapon ever made in the theatre of war, the leverage it would give the United States in negotiations with the Soviet Union, and the need to end the war in the Pacific decisively were the overriding reasons to drop atomic bombs. These remain contested issues, but Rotter's conclusions are more credibly argued than the assertion that American racism led the USA to use atomic bombs against the Japanese – although undoubtedly their perceived subhumanity meant that US policymakers had fewer reservations than if a Germany city had been identified as the first concrete target.84

In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many white Europeans and their descendants claimed to sit at the racial hierarchy's apex. That there should be some essential connection between such varying groups of people was rendered sensible by the claims of biological racial kinship. North America, South Africa, the Pacific and other locations were imagined as battlegrounds on which the race selected by the Christian God and evolution would win out. The proclamation of white superiority was accompanied by profound anxieties that the modern world was corrupting white manhood. Anxiously surveying North American and European racial degeneration, various scapegoats were identified and German race theorists and certain future-war writers proposed that the extermination of those scapegoats promised redemption. The indiscriminate use of the latest technology to wipe out non-white enemies was a recurrent feature of much Anglophone future-war fiction. This indiscriminateness was present when non-white civilian populations were bombed from the air in Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan in the 1910s and 1920s, in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1921, and in Japan in 1944 and 1945, although the blanket bombing of civilians was a feature of all aerial warfare in its early stages. As H. Bruce Franklin's War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination (1988) implies, the compatibility of white supremacist race theory, future-war fiction and military policy suggests deep, shared psychic structures of racial arrogance. As we shall see, white supremacism is present in nuclear representations after 1945 in increasingly complex, contested and subtle ways.

(p.45) Notes


(1.) Daniel Pick, Faces of Degeneration: A European Disorder, c.1848–c.1918, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (1989), p. 21.

(2.) Max Nordau, Degeneration (1892), University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, NE (1993), p. 37.

(3.) Tami Davis Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare, Princeton University Press, Princeton (2002), p. 16.

(4.) Quoted in D. W. Forrest, Francis Galton: The Life and Work of a Victorian Genius, Elek, London (1974), p. 255.

(5.) Arnold White, Efficiency and Empire, Methuen, London (1901), pp. 99–100.

(6.) Karl Pearson, Francis Galton, 1822–1922: A Centenary Appreciation, Cambridge University Press, London (1922), p. 20.

(7.) Shawn Michelle Smith, ‘“Baby's Picture Is Always Treasured”: Eugenics and the Reproduction of Whiteness in the Family Photograph Album’ (1999), in Vanessa R. Schwartz and Jeannene M. Przyblyski (eds), The Nineteenth-Century Visual Culture Reader, Routledge, New York (2004), pp. 364, 366–67.

(8.) Gerald Horne, ‘Race from Power: U. S. Foreign Policy and the General Crisis of White Supremacy’, in Brenda Gayle Plummer (ed.), Window on Freedom: Race, Civil Rights, and Foreign Affairs 1945–1988, University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill (2003), p. 50.

(9.) Mosse, Towards the Final Solution, pp. 96–98, 105–107.

(10.) Mosse, Towards the Final Solution, pp. 97, 105–107.

(11.) Quoted in Mosse, Towards the Final Solution, pp. 98–99.

(12.) Daniel Pick, War Machine: The Rationalisation of Slaughter in the Modern Age, Yale University Press, New Haven (1993), p. 177; John Ellis, The Social History of the Machine Gun, John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore (1986).

(13.) I. F. Clarke, Voices Prophesying War: Future Wars 1763–3749 (2nd edn), Oxford University Press, Oxford (1992), p. 71.

(14.) Clarke, Voices Prophesying War, pp. 39–41, 48.

(15.) Clarke, Voices Prophesying War, pp. 37, 31–32.

(16.) Clarke, Voices Prophesying War, pp. 53–54.

(17.) Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare, p. 16. Le Queux was a prolific future-war novelist, as discussed in Martin Ceadel, ‘Popular Fiction and the Next War, 1918–39’, in Frank Gloversmith (ed.), Class, Culture and Social Change: A New View of the 1930s, Harvester Press, Brighton (1980), pp. 164–66.

(18.) Rieder, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, p. 162 n. 3.

(19.) Clarke, Voices Prophesying War, p. 42.

(20.) Hugh Grattan Donnelly [‘Stochastic’], The Stricken Nation (1890), in I. F. Clarke (ed.), The Tale of the Next Great War, 1871–1914: Fictions of Future Warfare and of Battles Still-to-Come, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool (1995), p. 165.

(21.) David Seed, ‘Constructing America's Enemies: The Invasions of the USA’, Yearbook of English Studies, 37.2 (2007), pp. 65–66.

(22.) Pierton W. Dooner, Last Days of the Republic (1880), Arno, New York (1978), pp. 256–57.

(p.46) (23.) Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare, p. 13.

(24.) Horne, ‘Race from Power’, pp. 46–47.

(25.) William Delisle Hay, Three Hundred Years Hence (1881), in I. F. Clarke (ed.), British Future Fiction (vol. II), Pickering & Chatto, London (2001), pp. 232, 251, 261–62, 270, 273.

(26.) John Carey (ed.), The Faber Book of Utopias, Faber, London (1999), p. 321.

(27.) Rieder, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, p. 141; Edward James, ‘Yellow, Black, Metal and Tentacled: The Race Question in American Science Fiction’, in Philip John Davies (ed.), Science Fiction, Social Conflict and War, Manchester University Press, Manchester (1990), p. 28.

(28.) Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare, p. 13.

(29.) Frank Stockton, The Great War Syndicate, New York (1889), p. 180, quoted in H. Bruce Franklin, ‘Eternally Safe for Democracy: The Final Solution of American Science Fiction’, in Philip John Davies (ed.), Science Fiction, Social Conflict and War, Manchester University Press, Manchester (1990), p. 152.

(30.) George Griffith, The Great Pirate Syndicate, F. V. White & Co., London (1899), pp. 228–29, 5, 263, 286, 264.

(31.) Rieder, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, pp. 140–41.

(32.) George Griffith, The Angel of the Revolution: A Tale of the Coming Terror, Tower, London (1893), pp. 281, 318, 322.

(33.) W. Warren Wagar, Terminal Visions: The Literature of Last Things, Indiana University Press, Bloomington (1982), p. 122; idem, ‘The Rebellion of Nature’, in Eric S. Rabkin, Martin H. Greenberg and Joseph D. Olander (eds), The End of the World, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale (1983), p. 167.

(34.) M. P. Shiel, The Yellow Danger, Grant Richards, London (1898), p. 109, quoted in Wagar, ‘The Rebellion of Nature’, p. 167; idem, Terminal Visions, p. 122.

(35.) Quoted in Horne, ‘Race from Power’, p. 50.

(36.) H. Bruce Franklin, War Stars: The Superweapon and the American Imagination, Oxford University Press, New York (1988), p. 37; Rieder, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, p. 141; Seed, ‘Constructing America's Enemies’, pp. 67–68; Patrick B. Sharp, Savage Perils: Racial Frontiers and Nuclear Apocalypse in American Culture, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, OK (2007), pp. 98–105. Sources disagree on the date ‘The Unparalleled Invasion’ was written.

(37.) Jack London, ‘The Unparalleled Invasion’ (1907), in Earle Labor, Robert C. Leitz, III, and I. Milo Shepard (eds), The Complete Short Stories of Jack London (vol. II), Stanford University Press, Stanford (1993), pp. 1234–46.

(38.) Sharp, Savage Perils, p. 105.

(39.) Roy Norton, The Vanishing Fleets, D. Appleton, New York (1908), pp. 4–5.

(40.) Sharp, Savage Perils, p. 109.

(41.) Seed, ‘Constructing America's Enemies’, p. 71.

(42.) Sharp, Savage Perils, p. 111.

(43.) John Ulrich Giesy, All for His Country, Macaulay, New York (1915), p. 197.

(p.47) (44.) James, ‘Yellow, Black, Metal and Tentacled’, p. 29; Seed, ‘Constructing America's Enemies’, pp. 74–75.

(45.) Sharp, Savage Perils, pp. 111–12.

(46.) James, ‘Yellow, Black, Metal and Tentacled’, pp. 30–31; Seed, ‘Constructing America's Enemies’, pp. 68–70.

(47.) H. G. Wells, The World Set Free: A Story of Mankind, Macmillan, London (1914), p. 94.

(48.) Sharp, Savage Perils, p. 80.

(49.) Seed, ‘Constructing America's Enemies’, p. 68; Sharp, Savage Perils, pp. 112–13; James, ‘Yellow, Black, Metal and Tentacled’, pp. 31–32.

(50.) Seed, ‘Constructing America's Enemies’, p. 68.

(51.) Philip Francis Nowlan, Armageddon 2419 A.D., Ace, New York (1962), pp. 189–90.

(52.) Brian Walker, ‘The War Made a Realist Out of Me’, in Alex Raymond and Ward Greene, Rip Kirby (vol. I), Library of American Comics and IDW Publishing, San Diego (2009), pp. 14–15, 18.

(53.) Sharp, Savage Perils, pp. 114–15.

(54.) Seed, ‘Constructing America's Enemies’, p. 72.

(55.) R. C. Sherriff, The Hopkins Manuscript, Victor Gollancz, London (1939), pp. 350, 5.

(56.) Rieder, Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, p. 142.

(57.) Stephen Budiansky, Air Power, Viking and Penguin, London (2003), pp. 169–80.

(58.) Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare, pp. 19, 41–48; Budiansky, Air Power, pp. 95–96, 101.

(59.) Quoted in Andrew J. Rotter, Hiroshima: The World's Bomb, Oxford University Press, Oxford (2008), p. 47.

(60.) Mark Rawlinson, British Writing of the Second World War, Clarendon Press and Oxford University Press, Oxford (2000), pp. 56–59.

(61.) Ceadel, ‘Popular Fiction and the Next War, 1918–39’, pp. 161–82.

(62.) Budiansky, Air Power, pp. 139–42.

(63.) Lawrence James, Raj: The Making of British India (1997), Abacus, London (1998), pp. 475–76; Budiansky, Air Power, pp. 141–42.

(64.) Quoted in Budiansky, Air Power, p. 143.

(65.) Budiansky, Air Power, pp. 144–46.

(66.) Franklin, War Stars, p. 95.

(67.) Paul Gilroy, Darker Than Blue: On the Moral Economies of Black Atlantic Culture, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA (2010), p. 70.

(68.) Robert A. Pape, Bombing to Win: Air Power and Coercion in War, Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY (1996), pp. 88, 103.

(69.) Dower, War without Mercy, pp. 40–41; Pape, Bombing to Win, p. 103.

(70.) Richard Overy, ‘Introduction’, in Sebastian Cox and Peter Gray (eds), Air Power History: Turning Points from Kitty Hawk to Kosovo, Frank Cass, London (2002), pp. xv-xvi.

(71.) Biddle, Rhetoric and Reality in Air Warfare, pp. 254–56.

(72.) Quotations are taken from the official publicity stills for the film, which (p.48) are available for consultation in the Bill Douglas Centre for the History of Cinema and Popular Culture at the University of Exeter. The catalogue numbers for the stills quoted from are: 50926, 50992, 50954, 50937, 50940.

(73.) Dower, War without Mercy, pp. 11–12.

(74.) Dower, War without Mercy, pp. 55, 7, 27, 29.

(75.) Quoted in Dower, War Without Mercy, p. 71.

(76.) Rotter, Hiroshima, pp. 166–67.

(77.) Richard H. Minear, Dr. Seuss Goes to War, The New Press, New York (1999), pp. 142–43, 145, 152, 212.

(78.) Rotter, Hiroshima, pp. 166–68.

(79.) Quoted in Horne, ‘Race from Power’, pp. 53–54.

(80.) Quoted in Horne, ‘Race from Power’, pp. 51–52.

(81.) Dower, War without Mercy, pp. 6–7.

(82.) Dower, War without Mercy, p. 56.

(83.) C. M. Kornbluth, ‘Two Dooms’ (1958), in Frederick Pohl (ed.), The Best of C. M. Kornbluth (1976), Ballantine Books, New York (1977), p. 320.

(84.) Rotter, Hiroshima, pp. 168–72.