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Wars of the World

The years from 1871 to 1914 experienced boom of anti-imperialism literature. In fact, more than several dozens of interesting novels on appropriate topic were published at that time. However, there is one that stands out from the entire list. There is the talk about “The War of the Worlds” by H.G. Wells. Today, we are going to compare and contrast the fictional plot of analyzed novel and real history of Great Britain’s colonization. It is stated that “The War of the Worlds” contains plenty of scenes and concepts, which have to interpreted as the direct criticism of Imperial invasion. In fact, H.G. Wells is direct proclaims this point straightly: “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?”(Wells).

Let’s begin with the obvious connection, which raises no doubts about similarities of Martians’ and real Britain’s invasion. There is no secret that British Empire’s conquering activities on Africa, Australia, North and South America, the Middle East, South and Southeast Asia, and Atlantic and Pacific islands were accompanied by the usage of sophisticated technologies, which knew no effective counteraction at that times. The same point considered by writer describing advanced military forces of Martians. The Martians stride through the London in their towering battle armor, destroying everything in their way with their Heat-Rays and Black Smoke. The latter weapon is a choking vapor that kills types of life it engulfs and leaves the area coated in a black powder (Renfroe). These figures were used to make interpretations to industrial polluting machine, used by British armies.

The next point to be analyzed is Martians treatment to inhabitants of conquered territories. Drawing analogues between Martian and British imperialism in his fictional literature work, H.G. Wells emphasizes incredible violence, which is inherent for enforcement conquering of strange territories. The history contains numerous evidences about ruthless of English army during colonization. The same can be said about Martians invasion and their treatment to inhabitants. Let’s remind the next quote from the story: “minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts… It ain’t no murder killing beasts like that”(Wells). This seems to be good example to support similarity of Martian and British imperialism, in the aspect of inhumanly alien treatment to inhabitants of conquered territories.

The similarity about Martian and British imperialism is also traced through the premises for invasion intentions. At first, let’s remind the part from “The War of the World’s”: Its physical condition is still largely a mystery, but we know now that even in its equatorial region the midday temperature barely approaches that of our coldest winter. Its air is much more attenuated than ours…That last stage of exhaustion, which to us is still incredibly remote, has become a present- day problem for the inhabitants of Mars. The immediate pressure of necessity has brightened their intellects, enlarged their powers, and hardened their hearts” (Wells). It is clear that attack on the Earth was not some kind of survival mandatory. Actually, every bad doing can be supported by some legal background, however, it doesn’t mean that your intention is naturally right. Readers are able to get the point that Martians’ invasion was all about prosperity and own profit: ”And looking across space with instruments, and intelligences such as we have scarcely dreamed of, they see, at its nearest distance only 35,000,000 of miles sunward of them, a morning star of hope, our own warmer planet, green with vegetation and grey with water, with a cloudy atmosphere eloquent of fertility, with glimpses through its drifting cloud wisps of broad stretches of populous country and narrow, navy-crowded seas”(Wells). The analogue to British colonization seems to be absolutely clear at this part. The concept is the same – we are stronger, thus, we have the right!

Speaking about interpretations from the read text, it is quite hard to say that author contrasted British Empire to Martian’s one (Blake). The entire concept of work can be identified as censuring British colonization, comparing its trends to the ruthless and horrible actions of Martians. Drawing this analogue, H.G. Wells put next words into the novel: “Cities, nations, civilization, progress – it’s all over. That game’s up. We’re beat” (Wells). In this way, great writer warns humanity about serious consequences, which can follow unjustified invasion. Curiously, that this notification was not unreasonable. Remind that growing of British Empire became one of the main premises for The First World War beginning. Curiously, author has traced one more similarity between British and Martian imperialism, even not considering that. Remember, what was the failure of cruel invaders? Gradual death from the natural reason. Was the fall of British Empire the same? Obviously, yes. Being the man of extraordinary intelligence, H.G. Wells predicted inevitability of cruel policy loss, and this fact is extremely strong to tie two types of imperialism to each other.


Kwazewski, John (2003). “The War of the Worlds: summary and review”, 1p. Retrieved from http://www.newi.ac.uk/rdover/other/the_war_.htm
Renfroe, Craig. (2009) “The War of the Worlds: Wells’ Anti-Imperialist Support of Empire”, 5p. Retrieved form http://www2.unca.edu/postscript/postscript15/ps15.5.pdf
Wells, H.G. (1898). “The War of the World”, 27 chapters. Online-literature.com. Retrieved from http://www.online-literature.com/wellshg/warworlds/1/