JF Ptak Science Books Post 1688
The New York City harbor looks pretty rough in this picture, tall whitecaps with surprising little reflected in what should be pretty choppy water, meaning that light should be reflecting everywhere, a difficult collection of reflected reflections.
The submarine, battleship and zeppelin menaces were real, at least in Europe or in the Atlantic--the aeroplanes far less so1. But the applications of these fears directly to American shores were still very distant things, particularly when it came to an attack on New York City--except of course that the U.S. had just declared war against Germany, finally, just a few weeks before this issue was published.
The war began for real in Europe in August, 1914, so the fighting had been going on there in fratricidal earnestness for two and half years, costing millions and millions their lives and limbs. America had been isolationist and non-interventionist up until this point, remaining sweatily on the sidelines, until the capture of the infamous Zimmerman telegram2, which was a coded message sent from Germany (the German Empire) to Mexico (and taken by the Brits as it was sent, the crypto-boys of Room 40 breaking the thing) suggesting that Mexico join in a war against the U.S. It hit the American press on 1 March, and the story exploded--literally. This is what the beginning of war looks like, sometimes:
So perhaps there was some amount of yellow journalism involved here, and some inflationary propaganda as well, and some good-old profit-taking on a half-sci-fi story--on the other hand, the German Empire did just sink 800,000 gross tons of shipping during the 30 days of April (1917), so sub fears were in general real and palpable. The issue of them sighting the Staten Island Ferry though was quite another matter.
The first American soldiers would arrive for fighting in June. The whole thing would be over in 17 months, which is well less than half of the time that the U.S. spent in WWII.
The United States would suffer 116,000 military deaths during its part of the war--a small fraction of the overall military deaths (9 million) and a smaller part still of overall deaths including civilians (totaling 16 million). There would be 205,000 American wounded in this conflict, a little less than 1% of all war military casualties.
It would be interesting to see the coverage in England of the American invasion fears.
1. This was not so much a war of bombing than it was for air-to-air combat; bombing became more of a realm of aircraft in the suppression of indigenous populations by occupying powers in the 1920's, and then in Fascist Spain in the mid-1930's, and then graduating as it were in WWII.
2.. The telegram was named for the Foreign Secretary of the German Empire, Arthur Zimmermann,, who sent the thing out on January 16, 1917. President Wilson delivered his war address to Congress on 2 April 1917.
A military death pie chart for the Entente Powers [source, Wiki]: