On This Day: HG Wells predicts outbreak of World War Two

May 3, 1933 - British science fiction writer HG Wells successfully predicted 80 years ago today that World War II would begin by 1940 with a clash between Germany and Poland.

In fact, the Nazi regime invaded their eastern neighbour on September 1, 1939 – prompting Britain and France to declare war on Germany two days later.

Wells’s forecast, made in his May 1933 novel The Shape of Things to Come, was one of many predictions he made during his career that turned out to be true.

He also correctly foretold of atomic bombs, lasers and the moon landings.

But he didn’t get everything right.

In The Shape of Things to Come – in which a fictitious diplomat dreams about future events up until 2106 – the decade-long war is a stalemate and Britain remains neutral.

This may have been a vain hope by Wells, who in this Pathé interview from the 1930s, suggested disarmament might help lift Britain out of the Depression.

In the video, the socialist - who also wrote The Time Machine, The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds – outlined his solutions to the then ensuing economic turmoil.

With a surprisingly squeaky voice he tells publisher Frank Nelson Doubleday: "My remedies for national competition: disarmament, reduction of armed forces and lowering of tariffs.

"Secondly, for currency: a world conference and world action.

"And, for the third thing, overproduction: communal buying and public employment; public enterprise taking the place of private enterprise for profit."

POLL
Loading...
Poll Choice Options