Death Will Ride the Wings of Radio

Illustration for article titled Death Will Ride the Wings of Radio

Tired of holiday peace, love and understanding? So was an editor at the Los Angeles Times, who in the days leading up to Christmas 1924, ran an article that asked "What Will Happen When ‘Science' Perfects the Art of War?"


Grandma's fruitcake may have been lethal in its own special way, but it paled in comparison to the horrors of the "Battle of the Centuries" to come:

Death swifter than light, silent and stealthy as the shadow of a thought, will ride on the wings of radio to destroy nations in the space of a single breath. . . Imagine a fleet of battle planes circling, maneuvering, attacking or holding fire at the direction of minds hundreds, even thousands of miles away! Imagine the human eye endowed with a power of vision capable of spanning these thousands of miles to witness the lightning-like seep of this squadron . . . leaving in its wake a burnt and blackened desert, devoid of all life!

Among the weapons of the future predicted were:

Jets of water charged with electricity to kill all animal life with which they come in contact.

Wireless telephony, wireless sight, wireless heat, wireless power and wireless writing. . . .

Wireless fire to devastate enemy territory. . . .

Radio "eyes" and "ears" for the ferreting out of secret war plans through thousands of miles of space. . . .

Electrically controlled rockets operated on wires for wrecking planes. . . .

The possible perfection of mental telepathy to the point where it may be used over great distances to verify wireless speech. . .

These were not the "prophecy of a romantic fictionist," noted the Times, but the "sober conclusions" of Professor Archibald Montgomery Low, today considered a pioneer of radio-guidance systems.



That electric water jet idea sounds like it would work pretty well, but I'm guessing there's some scientific reason why it wouldn't.