Fear of Flying: The Fiction of War 1886-1916

Michael Paris looks at how science fiction and popular literature shaped personal prejudices and political agendas about 'destruction from the skies'.

Throughout Europe, the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War generated considerable apprehension about the changing nature of warfare. The ease with which Prussia defeated France was attributed as much to the new technology of war as it was to superior training and motivation. Railways, sophisticated rifles and new forms of artillery were all deemed to have played a major part in the Prussian victory. During the next decades, those Europeans concerned about the developing nature of warfare attempted to define how these technological advancements would be used in future conflicts and considered what other new and even more terrifying weapons might be created by industrialised nations.

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