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Creasing his lips, Taylor left the studio and returned four minutes later, "pale as death", as he had been ordered to interrupt "The War of the Worlds" broadcast immediately with an announcement of the program's fictional content. However, by the time the order was given, the program was already less than a minute away from its first scheduled break, and the fictional news reporter played by actor Ray Collins was choking on poison gas as the Martians overwhelmed New York. Soon, the room was full of policemen and a massive struggle was going on between the police, page boys, and CBS executives, who were trying to prevent the cops from busting in and stopping the show. It was a show to witness. Houseman picked it up and the furious caller announced he was mayor of a Midwestern town, where mobs were in the streets.
Wells used real cities in Europe, and to make the play more acceptable to American listeners we used real cities in America. Of course, I'm terribly sorry now. At the time, many Americans assumed that a significant number of Chase and Sanborn listeners changed stations when the first comic sketch ended and a musical number by Nelson Eddy began and then tuned in "The War of the Worlds" after the opening announcements, but historian A.
Brad Schwartz, after studying hundreds of letters from people who heard "The War of the Worlds", as well as contemporary audience surveys, concluded that very few people frightened by Welles's broadcast had tuned out Bergen's program. As a result, the only notices that the broadcast was fictional came at the start of the broadcast and about 40 and 55 minutes into it.
A study by the Radio Project discovered that fewer than one third of frightened listeners understood the invaders to be aliens; most thought that they were listening to reports of a German invasion or of a natural catastrophe.
The Munich crisis was at its height For the first time in history, the public could tune into their radios every night and hear, boot by boot, accusation by accusation, threat by threat, the rumblings that seemed inevitably leading to a world war.
Thus they believed the Welles production even though it was specifically stated that the whole thing was fiction". Radio had siphoned off advertising revenue from print during the Depression, badly damaging the newspaper industry.
The newspaper industry sensationalized the panic to prove to advertisers, and regulators, that radio management was irresponsible and not to be trusted. Joseph Campbell wrote in He quotes Robert E. Bartholomew, an authority on mass panic outbreaks, as having said that "there is a growing consensus among sociologists that the extent of the panic After analyzing those letters, A. Brad Schwartz concluded that although the broadcast briefly misled a significant portion of its audience, very few of those listeners fled their homes or otherwise panicked.
The total number of protest letters sent to Welles and the FCC is also low in comparison with other controversial radio broadcasts of the period, further suggesting the audience was small and the fright severely limited.
Hooper company, the main radio ratings service at the time. That, he writes, is an indicator that people were not generally panicking or hysterical. After the broadcast, as I tried to get back to the St.
Regis where we were living, I was blocked by an impassioned crowd of news people looking for blood, and the disappointment when they found I wasn't hemorrhaging. It wasn't long after the initial shock that whatever public panic and outrage there was vanished.
But, the newspapers for days continued to feign fury. Most newspaper coverage thus took the form of Associated Press stories, which were largely anecdotal aggregates of reporting from its various bureaus, giving the impression that panic had indeed been widespread.
Many newspapers led with the Associated Press's story the next day. Unnamed observers quoted by The Age commented that "the panic could have only happened in America. The response may have reflected newspaper publishers' fears that radio, to which they had lost some of the advertising revenue that was scarce enough during the Great Depression , would render them obsolete.
Herring proposed a bill that would have required all programming to be reviewed by the FCC prior to broadcast he never actually introduced it. Others blamed the radio audience for its credulity. Noting that any intelligent listener would have realized the broadcast was fictional, the Chicago Tribune opined, "it would be more tactful to say that some members of the radio audience are a trifle retarded mentally, and that many a program is prepared for their consumption.
Justin Levine, a producer at KFI -AM in Los Angeles, wrote in a history of the FCC's response to hoax broadcasts that "the anecdotal nature of such reporting makes it difficult to objectively assess the true extent and intensity of the panic.
Its estimate of the program's audience is more than twice as high as any other at the time. Cantril himself conceded that, but argued that unlike Hooper , his estimate had attempted to capture the significant portion of the audience that did not have home telephones at that time.
Since those respondents were contacted only after the media frenzy, Cantril allowed that their recollections could have been influenced by what they read in the newspapers. Claims that Chase and Sanborn listeners, who missed the disclaimer at the beginning when they turned to CBS during a commercial break or musical performance on that show and thus mistook "The War of the Worlds" for a real broadcast inflated the show's audience and the ensuing alleged panic, are impossible to substantiate.
Respondents had indicated a variety of reactions to the program, among them "excited", "disturbed", and "frightened".
However, he included all of them with "panicked", failing to account for the possibility that despite their reaction, they were still aware the broadcast was staged. Such stories were often reported by people who were panicking themselves. Cantril's researchers found that contrary to what had been claimed, no admissions for shock were made at a Newark hospital during the broadcast; hospitals in New York City similarly reported no spike in admissions that night. A few suicide attempts seem to have been prevented when friends or family intervened, but no record of a successful one exists.
A Washington Post claim that a man died of a heart attack brought on by listening to the program could not be verified. One woman filed a lawsuit against CBS, but it was soon dismissed.
Wells and Orson Welles met for the first and only time in late October , shortly before the second anniversary of the Mercury Theatre broadcast, when they both happened to be lecturing in San Antonio , Texas. Shaw,  who introduced them by characterizing the panic generated by "The War of the Worlds": "The country at large was frightened almost out of its wits".
Wells expressed good-natured skepticism about the actual extent of the panic caused by "this sensational Halloween spree," saying: "Are you sure there was such a panic in America or wasn't it your Halloween fun? Hitler made a good deal of sport of it, you know It's supposed to show the corrupt condition and decadent state of affairs in democracy, that 'The War of the Worlds' went over as well as it did.
I think it's very nice of Mr. Wells to say that not only I didn't mean it, but the American people didn't mean it. Wells wants to know if the excitement wasn't the same kind of excitement that we extract from a practical joke in which somebody puts a sheet over his head and says 'Boo! They press on to Tillingham and the sea. There they manage to download passage to Continental Europe on a small paddle steamer , part of a vast throng of shipping gathered off the Essex coast to evacuate refugees.
The torpedo ram HMS Thunder Child destroys two attacking tripods before being destroyed by the Martians, though this allows the evacuation fleet to escape, including the ship carrying the narrator's brother and his two travelling companions. Shortly thereafter, all organised resistance has ceased, and the Martians roam the shattered landscape unhindered. At the beginning of Book Two the narrator and the curate are plundering houses in search of food. During this excursion the men witness a Martian fighting-machine enter Kew , seizing any person it finds and tossing them into a "great metallic carrier which projected behind him, much as a workman's basket hangs over his shoulder",  and the narrator realises that the Martian invaders may have "a purpose other than destruction" for their victims.
The narrator's relations with the curate deteriorate over time, and he eventually is forced to knock him unconscious to silence his now loud ranting; but the curate is overheard outside by a Martian, who finally removes his unconscious body with one of its handling machine tentacles. The reader is then led to believe the Martians will perform a fatal transfusion of the curate's blood to nourish themselves, as they have done with other captured victims viewed by the narrator through a small slot in the house's ruins.
The narrator just barely escapes detection from the returned foraging tentacle by hiding in the adjacent coal-cellar. The Martians eventually abandon the cylinder's crater, and the narrator emerges from the collapsed house where he had observed the Martians up close during his ordeal; he then approaches West London. En route , he finds the Martian red weed everywhere, a prickly vegetation spreading wherever there is abundant water.
On Putney Heath , he once again encounters the artilleryman, who briefly persuades him of a grandiose plan to rebuild civilization by living underground; but, after a few hours, the narrator perceives the laziness of his companion and abandons him. Now in a deserted and silent London, he begins to slowly go mad from his accumulated trauma, finally attempting to end it all by openly approaching a stationary fighting-machine.
To his surprise, he quickly discovers that all the Martians have been killed by an onslaught of earthly pathogens , to which they had no immunity: Eventually, he is able to return by train to Woking via a patchwork of newly repaired tracks.
At his home, he discovers that his beloved wife has miraculously survived. The last chapter reflects on the significance of the Martian invasion and the "abiding sense of doubt and insecurity" it has left in the narrator's mind.
The War of the Worlds presents itself as a factual account of the Martian invasion. The narrator is a middle-class writer of philosophical papers, somewhat reminiscent of Doctor Kemp in The Invisible Man , with characteristics similar to author Wells at the time of writing.
The reader learns very little about the background of the narrator or indeed of anyone else in the novel; characterisation is unimportant. In fact none of the principal characters are named, aside from the astronomer Ogilvy. Wells trained as a science teacher during the latter half of the s. One of his teachers was T. Huxley , famous as a major advocate of Darwinism. He later taught science, and his first book was a biology textbook.
He joined the scientific journal Nature as a reviewer in The scientific fascinations of the novel are established in the opening chapter where the narrator views Mars through a telescope, and Wells offers the image of the superior Martians having observed human affairs, as though watching tiny organisms through a microscope. Ironically it is microscopic Earth lifeforms that finally prove deadly to the Martian invasion force.
Wells used this observation to open the novel, imagining these lights to be the launching of the Martian cylinders toward Earth. American astronomer Percival Lowell published the book Mars in suggesting features of the planet's surface observed through telescopes might be canals. He speculated that these might be irrigation channels constructed by a sentient life form to support existence on an arid, dying world, similar to that which Wells suggests the Martians have left behind.
Wells also wrote an essay titled 'Intelligence on Mars', published in in the Saturday Review , which sets out many of the ideas for the Martians and their planet that are used almost unchanged in The War of the Worlds.
He also suggests that Mars, being an older world than the Earth, might have become frozen and desolate, conditions that might encourage the Martians to find another planet on which to settle. In Wells was an established writer and he married his second wife, Catherine Robbins, moving with her to the town of Woking in Surrey. Here he spent his mornings walking or cycling in the surrounding countryside, and his afternoons writing.
The original idea for The War of the Worlds came from his brother during one of these walks, pondering on what it might be like if alien beings were suddenly to descend on the scene and start attacking its inhabitants.
Much of The War of the Worlds takes place around Woking and the surrounding area. The initial landing site of the Martian invasion force, Horsell Common , was an open area close to Wells's home.
In the preface to the Atlantic edition of the novel he wrote of his pleasure in riding a bicycle around the area, imagining the destruction of cottages and houses he saw, by the Martian heat-ray or their red weed. The characters of the artilleryman, the curate, and the brother medical student were also based on acquaintances in Woking and Surrey. Wells wrote in a letter to Elizabeth Healey about his choice of locations: His depiction of suburban late Victorian culture in the novel was an accurate reflection of his own experiences at the time of writing.
In the late s it was common for novels, prior to full volume publication, to be serialised in magazines or newspapers, with each part of the serialisation ending upon a cliff hanger to entice audiences to download the next edition. This is a practice familiar from the first publication of Charles Dickens ' novels in the nineteenth century. The complete volume was published by William Heinemann in and has been in print ever since. 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 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.
By the time Wells wrote The War of the Worlds there had been three centuries of observation of Mars through telescopes. Galileo in observed the planet's phases, 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: 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' 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: 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' 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. The first science fiction to be set on Mars may be Across the Zodiac: 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.