Military Technology in Things to Come

The military technology reflects inĀ Things to Come reflects that of World War I, only occasionally showing new developments in the context of a World War I-style conflict. H.G. Wells reflected pre-war conceptions of how the next war would occur, showing masses of troops crossing trenches into no-man’s land, tanks massed and charging across rough terrain, as well as gas attacks. It is interesting to note that Wells’ pre-war conceptions versus how the war actually occurred are similar to how pre-World War I writers envisioned the Great War; both were able to determine the technology that would make a difference on the battlefield, but both failed to realize how it would be used and how much of an impact these technologies had.

Wells does get one key thing right however, and that is the use of leftover military equipment. Most “futuristic” war movies show the latest and greatest in terms of equipment and guns, but Wells shows the true reality of going to war- the reissue of old equipment in order to sustain such a massive army. Soldiers are shown equipped with the old rifles leftover from World War I and are seemingly absent of any submachine guns or squad operated weapons (i.e. the Bren Gun). Also, instead of single, fixed wing aircraft, the British are shown using biplanes, which they did in fact use in World War II. However, in reality a biplane would not keep up with the newer combat fighters that were developed in the 1930s.