The War of the Worlds

75 years ago, one of the most famous radio broadcasts – Orson Welles’ The War of the Worlds – hit the airwaves.

This 62-minute broadcast retold the story of H.G. Well’s novel by the same name through a simulated newscast of the events. However, while 6 million people heard the broadcast, around 2 million people genuinely believe it to be true.

Listen to the full broadcast below:

This broadcast resulted in mass panic across America. People ran into the streets screaming that the world was ending. Churches were emptied of their congregations, cinemas of their audiences, restaurants of their patrons. Panic-stricken families rushed to their cars and drove like lunatics in a bid to escape Martian annihilation.

Amberley Publishing has released a fantastic book called The Martians Are Coming!  This book tells the story of how the play came to be written, cast, rehearsed and broadcast to a credulous nation. Set against the background of America’s economic depression and rumbles of another world war coming from across the Atlantic, the book sets the historic broadcast in the context of how Americans were thinking and feeling on the night their world almost – but not quite – came to an end.

You can purchase your own copy here.


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