and J. V. Milne
I think Wells gives Harmsworth a little too much credit here, bizarrely enough. When you read about what he got up to, it's clear he knew what kind of social consequences he might have; he just didn't care if it sold papers. In 1906, he published in the Daily Mail William Le Queux's The Invasion of 1910, a novel that purposefully fanned the flames of Teutophobia, leading to discussions in Parliament as to whether or not there were German spies everywhere in the country. (Le Queux was quite adaptive; his previous invasion novel had been about evil Frenchmen, but in the interim, France and the United Kingdom had signed a new treaty, meaning Le Queux had to pivot to a different enemy nation. He kept publishing novels about evil Germans right through the war, and then after the war, novels about resurgent German terrorists.)
I wish I could read this. I bet it's terrible, but it might be deliciously terrible. Apparently it sold well, but failed to get Harmsworth elected. He decided it would be easier to get into Parliament by obtaining a peerage; in the House of Lords you never have to stand for election.
It wasn't just Harmsworth; everyone was just really excited about wars at the time. Though the Boer War turned out to be a little disappointing, it did yield this amazing advertisement for British Pluck cigarettes, my other favorite discovery for the week:
|Smoke cigarettes and kill Boers!|
Harmsworth got his war in the end, when Britain took on evil Germans in the Great War, which turned out not to be as quick and easy as all those future-war stories had imagined.