George Tomkyns Chesney’s The Battle of Dorking (1871) was written in reaction to the German army’s swift invasion of France in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870–71. Chesney’s alarmist story imagines a successful German invasion of England via the east coast town of Harwich, with the final battle inland at Dorking leading to the capitulation of the British government, and the disbanding of the Empire. Chesney’s immediate goal was to alert readers to the meagre number of troops in the British Army, and the likelihood that Britain would be unable to defend herself should she need to.
- Article by:
- Mike Ashley
- Visions of the future
In the 19th century, the British feared invasion by the French, terrorists and even aliens. Mike Ashley explains how these concerns were reflected in literature.