JF Ptak Sciene Books Quick Post (Part of the History of the Future series)
People really started to understand the future of war at the end of the 19th century. It was a time during which there was a high altar to high technology, and the industrial/tech/electrical revolutions were well on their way; it was a time in which people felt the enormous weight of advancing technology.
This image appeared in the 8 December 1888 issue of the London Punch magazine, and foresaw the complications of global conflict in terms of global conflagration.
This was before the epochal events of 1895 and the X-Ray and the before the understanding of atomic structure (in the work of Thomson and then Rutherford and Curie and Soddy and Planck and Milikan, all of which would take place between 1897 and 1909) that would eventually lead to the unleashing of enormous energy in the form of atomic weapons. Here, in 1888, we're till dealing with conventional weapons and their near-future, and the Punch artist, the great Harry Furniss, still saw an exploding world for the next global conflict. (In 1914 H.G. Wells (in his The World Set Free) released "atomic bombs" on the world, but his weapons were still measured in terms of conventional explosive, except that they would explode for days on end.) Furniss' world-at-war would be a world war, and it wouldn't take too much time to see that such an insight was correct.