Wells’ vision certainly had an impact. It inspired Alexander Korda’s film Things to Come (1936), and was manifestly prescient about the outbreak of world war, even though this happened a year earlier than Wells anticipated, in 1939.
In his prediction of the way technology could be harnessed for militaristic ends, Wells was perhaps mindful of the discoveries of the scientist Leo Szilard, whom he had met in 1929. Szilard was an émigré Hungarian physicist, who in 1933, the same year as Wells' book, conceived of the nuclear chain reaction process, which led to his patenting of the design for a nuclear reactor. Emigrating to the USA, Szilard became closely involved in the Manhattan Project, though he later expressed deep remorse that his scientific discoveries had been employed so directly to cause human death and destruction.
Monday 6th August 1945 will forever be significant, as the date that a USA B-29 Superfortress bomber dropped an atomic bomb, ‘Little Boy’, over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. The day had begun much like any other – a regular summer morning in a busy, bustling city, for a time Japan’s capital. A typhoon on 1 August had delayed the bombing raid, but now all was calm and peaceful. ‘The hour was early, the morning still, warm, and beautiful… Shimmering leaves, reflecting sunlight from a cloudless sky, made a pleasant contrast with shadows in my garden’, wrote Michihiko Hachiya, a resident who survived.