Friday, August 11, 2023

Alien Attack Unites Humanity

“The enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

That adage dates to the 4th century or before, and it applied to more than individuals. Feuding villages sometimes set aside their differences, uniting when faced by a mutual threat. The Saucers That Time Forgot specializes in examining how UFO-related concepts were born and spread. The timeline below chronicles the development of the idea of an alien threat uniting humanity, with over 30 examples from public figures like science fiction authors, playwrights, sociologists, philosophers, economists, international statesmen, generals, CIA operatives, and U.S. presidents. 

Timeline: Alien Attack Unites Humanity 

1897 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The War of the Worlds
, the 1897 novel by H.G. Wells, was not the first alien invasion story, but it established the concept of an otherworldly threat causing the people of earth to unite.

 “Did [Martians] grasp that we in our millions were organized, disciplined, working together? … Never before in the history of the world had such a mass of human beings moved and suffered together.”

Wells' epilogue was more optimistic:

“It may be that in the larger design of the universe this invasion from Mars is not without its ultimate benefit for men… it has done much to promote the conception of the commonweal of mankind.”

An unauthorized lesser-known sequel traded on that idea. 

In the 1898 novel, Edison's Conquest of Mars, by Garrett P. Serviss, earth scientists use the technology from the fallen Martian war machines to strike back at Mars to prevent another invasion. To do it, a “great congress of the nations” comes together:

“The salvation of the planet… depended upon the successful negotiation of a gigantic war fund... The electrical ships and the vibration engines must be constructed by scores and thousands. ... All the nations, then, must now conjoin... unite their resources...” 

1914 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Nations were anything but united. World War I started in 1914 and lingered into the early 1920s. 

1917 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Dewey, Professor of Philosophy at Columbia University, opened his remarks at the reception for Japanese diplomat Viscount Kikujiro Ishii in New York City, by saying:

“Someone remarked that the best way to unite all the nations on this globe would be an attack from some other planet. In the face of such an alien enemy, people would respond with a sense of their unity of interest and purpose..."

(Documented in the 1918 book, The Imperial Japanese Mission, 1917.)  

1918-1920 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Meanwhile, the Great War prompted H. G. Wells to write about the need for a League of Nations to preserve world peace. It became a reality in Jan. 1920 at the Paris Peace Conference that formally ended WW I. 

1926 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harold Stewart’s prize-winning 1926 speech, “Powers for Peace,” stated:

“If the war God, Mars, were suddenly to descend upon this earth with the purpose of destroying humanity, irrespective of nationality, all peoples of earth would unite to overthrow their common foe.”

1927 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The concept, perhaps born in fiction, made its way back, with the alien threat being hoaxed, or a “false flag" attack. André Maurois wrote the 1927 novella, The Next Chapter: The War Against the Moon, was set in the far future, the early 1960s. In the aftermath of World Wars, the earth is a peaceful but dull place. A cabal of newspaper barons concoct a war against the supposedly uninhabited Moon to reinvigorate mankind by uniting it against a common enemy. Their 3-step plan:

Since they control the news, the public believes their reports of attacks. Earth fires an energy ray weapon at the Moon fight back. In an unfortunate twist, the Moon is inhabited and retaliates, burning four cites to ashes. “The era of Inter-Planetary War had begun.” 

1938-1946 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On October 30, 1938, Orson Welles directed and narrated an adaptation of H. G. Wells' novel The War of the Worlds for the Mercury Theatre on CBS Radio. The story was moved to the present day, all the action took place in the USA, and it was presented as a typical radio program interrupted by urgent news bulletins. The part about uniting mankind was left out, but with the anticipation of a war, some listeners believed the Martian invasion was real. 


World War II showed that the League of Nations had failed, and it came to an end. Near the end of the war, allies agreed to try again and established the United Nations (UN) in 1946 with the goal of preventing further world wars and the use of atomic weapons.

In 1946, the Federation of American (Atomic) Scientists published the book, One World Or None, a collection of essays by scientists including E.U. Condon, Albert Einstein, and J.R. Oppenheimer on the universal dangers posed by atomic bombs. Niels Boer wrote in the foreword: “Civilization is presented with a challenge more serious perhaps than ever before, and the fate of humanity will depend on its ability to unite in averting common dangers…” 

World happiness, not peace, was at stake in Twilight Bar, a satirical 1945 play (and book) by Arthur Koestler (originally conceived in 1933). The story is confined to an island republic where two aliens, Alpha and Omega, have come from afar by a spaceship on a mission of judgment from the Interplanetary Federation. They need our planet for a new civilization, and the miserable inhabitants of Earth will be exterminated in three days – unless they become happy. People are motivated to become happy – until word circulates that the aliens are frauds, and people revert to their old ways. The audience is left in suspense whether the aliens were real as the deadline of midnight draws near. 

1947 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

June 24, 1947, launched flying saucer fever, but months before that, public figures were speculating about men from Mars. 

British Foreign Secretary Anthony Eden gave the speech, “Living on the Same Main Street,” on March 1, 1947, at a United Nations Association rally at the Albert Hall in London. He spoke about how technology made the world a smaller and deadlier place:

“…a future conflict, with the added horror of modern weapons, may seal the doom of the human race. The choice is as simple as that. Suspicions, jealousies, even hostility, are as easy to engender between nations as between neighbours. Sometimes I think the people of this distracted planet will never really get together until they find someone in Mars to get mad against.”

The speech was quoted in UK papers such as The Times, March 3, 1947, p. 6, and in the USA in the Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1947, p.1. The full text of it was later published in United Nations News magazine.


Sydney J. Harris wrote in his syndicated column “Strictly Personal,” (appearing in such papers as the Waterloo Daily Courier and The Ottawa Citizen) (Canada, and the Waterloo Daily Courier) on May 23, 1947:

“Our only hope is that life does exist on Mars. … How do you suppose everyone down here would feel about it? We’d be scared silly… We’d be forced to prepare a plan against a possible invasion from these aliens.  … All factionalism and nationalism would be forgotten in the common defense against those frightening Martians …All it would take is the threat of another inhabited world to make this world recognize how dependent all of us are on one another. …Come on, men from Mars, we’re waiting for you." 


Senator Glen H. Taylor (Dem. OH) is the first one known to explicitly tie the concept to flying saucers: "Taylor said he almost hoped flying saucers would turn out to be space ships from another planet. He said the ‘mere possibility’ that they might be hostile would ‘unify the peoples of the earth as nothing else could’.” -- Milwaukee Journal, July 9, 1947 

1948 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Flying Saucer
novel by Bernard Newman debuted in June 1948 in the UK, later printed in the USA in Jan. 1950. Newman’s book was remarkable in several ways, chiefly that it was the first one written on flying saucers, and to explore the impact of an extraterrestrial threat on our societies and governments. Newman cited André Maurois’ story as inspiration and had a character react to Sir Anthony Eden’s comments, “Interesting... but not novel. Mr. Eden did not claim it as such. It has often been used previously.” It inspires scientists to stage a few saucer crashes with rockets to sell the idea of an alien invasion. They plant a phony Martian in one, a fake body made from exotic animal parts that will defy analysis after being destroyed on impact. As the novel closes, the world is on a peaceful course. “In general, our plan goes smoothly.” 

Illustrations from the 1949 serialization in the Sunday Herald, Sydney, Australia 

In his 1948 nonfiction book, News from the East, Newman wrote:

“Mr. Eden set me off when he mentioned in a speech that it seemed the nations of the world were only united when fighting against something - what we really needed was an attack from Mars to bring in all together.” 


Theodore Sturgeon wrote “Unite and Conquer” for Astounding Science Fiction, Oct. 1948.
A scientific genius uses technology (including several unmanned spy drones) to simulate an alien invasion. The dialogue credits the scheme's inspiration:

“[H.G.] Wells pointed out, mostly indirectly, that only a miracle could make humans work together…. a common enemy — the Martian invasion, for example. Now, that makes sense. It did then and it does now.”

1949 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“X the Unknown," was a science fiction story by Edwin P. Hicks published in Collier’s magazine, Feb. 12, 1949. The setting is a Utopian earth of 3051, with the characters reminiscing how centuries ago, “the Russians were the bad boys who were going to blow us off the earth with atomic bombs. The poor devils had the same kind of nightmares about [us]. The world might have been blown up, too, but for the arrival of that first spaceship from Mercury… and that saved the world. Undoubtedly! We Earthians started thinking constructively then instead of destructively.”

The story was reprinted in 25 Short Short Stories from Collier’s, a 1-shot digest magazine published in 1953, edited by journalist Bob Considine, cover and interior illustrations by Ed Emshwiller.

The Outer Limit” by Graham Doar was a short story published in The Saturday Evening Post on December 24, 1949. It doesn’t exactly fit our model, but it’s closely related and influential. A U.S. test pilot is abducted by aliens in a flying saucer. They are from the peace-loving "Brotherhood of Worlds," which has outlawed war and atomic weapons. They give him a warning to share with the planet. "Catalyst X" has been deployed, and upon detecting radiation from atomic bomb tests it will turn the Earth into “roaring ball of flame.” The pilot delivers the message, but they think he’s crazy. Still, they wonder, just what would happen to the world if his story about the aliens got out? 

1950 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Life magazine, Jan. 9, 1950, editorials section, page 24, “Out of This World,” commented on various space stories, addressing stories of flying saucers from outer space, and of a radio story about a downed saucer with little men.

“Well, suppose the flying discs were the forerunners of a potential invader from a planet far to the east of Pluto. Could any other news be more likely to unify the earth? faced with a common menace from interstellar space, the divided nations would come together just like that.”

Life magazine, Jan. 9, 1950


 The Blade Tribune, (Oceanside, CA) March 8, 1950, reported on an upcoming George Adamski lecture. He later became famous for promoting peaceful Space Brothers, but in 1950 was talking about the possibility of hostile invaders:

"He avers that if our Earth people suddenly found themselves threatened by attack from another planet, they would lose no time uniting as one in the common defense. Even Stalin would be preaching cooperation and anxiously seek our alliance and friendship."


Rear Admiral D. V. Gallery wrote “The Enemy Planet” for The Saturday Evening Post, Sept. 30, 1950. The story was set decades in the future, and the opening stated:

“For the past 100 years we have been preparing to defend this earth from invasion by monsters from outer space. It is now revealed that these monsters only exist in our minds, and that for the last century mankind has been jousting with celestial windmills. World Government is making this disclosure because the unbroken era of peace which the world has enjoyed since 1950 ensures that war between the peoples of earth is now impossible.”


Robert C. Ruark wrote in his Dec. 30, 1950, nationally syndicated column, he wished that:

"the flying saucer business turns out to be probably true and that some spaceship would land in every major capital of the world. …[nations] would knock off the current stupidities of chopping up each other in order to band against an unknown enemy..."

The Evening Independent, Dec. 30, 1950

1951 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Weird Science
#5, January/February 1951, from EC Comics: “The Last War on Earth” by Harvey Kurtzman. Professor Harlow decides to end war on earth by faking a Martian attack by dropping an atomic warhead on a small town. His plan works and the UN launches a missile strike on Mars. Much like in André Maurois’ 1927 tale, it backfires: there really are aliens and they retaliate.


The Day the Earth Stood Still, Sept. 1951, screenplay by Edmund H. North, based loosely on a story by Harry Bates. Space man Klaatu comes with a message of peace from a galactic federation, but it’s ultimately backed by force. The aliens see our technology as “a threat to the peace and security of other planets.” At the end of the film, he tells an assembly of the world’s scientists, “if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder.” Producer Julain Blaustein said that beyond entertainment, the film was intended to promote “a strong United Nations.” 


The Confessions of a Martian” in Strange Adventures March 1951 from DC Comics, story by science fiction author Manly Wade Wellman, art by Curt Swan. Martians send a scientist as spy to monitor Earth’s development of rockets to attack their planet. When he learns the space program’s goal is peaceful, he switches sides, then learns his leaders had duped him, and it was Mars, not earth on the attack. He confesses to his scientist sweetheart Harmony Shelby, who urges him to warn our planet about the invaders, saying, “…the time has come at last for all peoples of our world to work together.” 

1953 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) convened a panel on UFOs in Jan 1953, under the direction of Professor Howard P. Robertson. Fred C. Durant was the author of the Robertson Panel’s conclusions. The Durant Report stated that Dr. Robertson thought that the discovery of extraterrestrial artifacts “would be of immediate and great concern to not only the U.S. but all countries. (Nothing like a common threat to unite peoples!)”

1955 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

General Douglas MacArthur met with Mayor Achille Lauro of Naples, Italy, who told reporters, MacArthur speculated that nuclear war would be avoided, and that in a thousand years, the politics of the future would be interplanetary. The Mayor said:
"He believes that because of the developments of science all the countries on earth will have to unite to survive and to make a common front against attack by people from other planets." 

San Bernardino Sun-Telegram, Oct. 9, 1955 

Several years later, Gen. MacArthur delivered a speech to the cadets of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point on May 12, 1962. He speculated about what the future might bring:

“of harnessing the cosmic energy… controlling the weather… of spaceships… of ultimate conflict between a united human race and the sinister forces of some other planetary galaxy; of such dreams and fantasies as to make life the most exciting of all times.”

1956 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  

Earth vs the Flying Saucers, 1956, featured an alien invasion attacking the major cities of the world. We aren’t shown the nations unite; the cooperation happens off-screen. The narrator states, “From all parts of the globe under top priority came every facility in scientific help the governments of the world could furnish.” When Prof. Kanter is credited for developing a defense, he says, “My idea, nonsense it was just as much yours and Dr. Patek's in India and a dozen other scientists all over the world.”

There were several versions of the posters and advertisements, some of which hyped the united earth’s resistance: “We are prepared to resist your attack! For the first time our world is united, we will not surrender!”

1957 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Mysterians was a 1957 Japanese film from Toho, where the aliens wanted earth women for breeding stock, which launches a war.

“Whether they like it or not, America and the Soviet Union live on the same Earth … You can be sure that unless all people on Earth unite to fight the Mysterians, the entire Earth will eventually be destroyed.” 


 Canadian Diplomat Lester Bowles Pearson (later Prime Minister 1963-68) gave his Nobel Peace Prize Lecture on December 11, 1957:

 Lester B. Pearson

“A common fear, however, which usually means a common foe, is also, regrettably, the strongest force bringing people together, but in opposition to something or someone. Perhaps there is a hopeful possibility here in the conquest of outer space. Interplanetary activity may give us planetary peace. Once we discover Martian space ships hovering over earth’s airspace, we will all come together. “How dare they threaten us like this!” we shall shout, as one, at a really United Nations!” 

1958 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Delegate from Venus” by Henry Slesar, published in Amazing Science Fiction Stories, Oct. 1958. A small saucer-like spaceship lands carrying an 8-foot-tall robot with a message that could have been cribbed from Klaatu. If Earth starts a nuclear war, “we of Venus will act swiftly… to destroy your world completely." Shortly afterwards, the ship and the robot both self-destruct in explosions, but it’s said, “that damn robot did more for peace than anything that's ever come along.” Much like Bernard Newman’s novel, the alien threat was manufactured by well-meaning scientists.

1959 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Stan Lee & Jack Kirby

Tales of Suspense #2, March 1959, “Invasion from Outer Space” (by Marvel Comics) was illustrated by Jack Kirby, writer uncredited, edited by Stan Lee. An unnamed (Einstein lookalike) elderly scientist invents a projector he uses to spoof an invasion of alien spaceships to trick the major powers into disarming their nuclear weapons.


Invisible Invaders (May 1959) was a science fiction B-movie featuring an actual alien invasion that’s thwarted. At the end, the heroes received thanks at the UN, and the closing narration tells us a valuable lesson has been learned, “The nations of the world could work and fight together in a common cause."


The United Press reported on Oct. 29, 1959, that Dr. Vasco Viera Garin of Portugal argued in the United Nations against nuclear disarmament, because we might need the bomb to defend ourselves against a Martian invasion. 

Battle in Outer Space was made by Toho in Japan (originally intended as a sequel to The Mysterians) and released in late 1959, then debuted in the USA in July 1960. In this film, the world is already working together for the goal of space exploration under the United Nations. When an alien force attacks, the allied earth army fights together to save the world. 

1960 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Brookings Report: On December 14, 1960, The Brookings Institution released a report prepared for NASA, "Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs.” It included a section entitled "Implications of a Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life,” which stated:

“The knowledge that life existed in other parts of the universe might lead to a greater unity of men on earth, based on the oneness of man or on the age-old assumption that any stranger is threatening.”

1962 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mars Attacks” was the name of the Topps trading cards issued in early 1962, The cards told the horrific tale of a deadly invasion. "No country on Earth was safe from the Martians’ devastating attack.” They fight back but are overwhelmed. With card #46, the tide turned.

“Governments from every country on Earth worked hand in hand to fight the menace from Mars. Tanks, guns, rocket-planes and soldiers were loaded into space-ships, ready to continue the vicious war with the Martians on Mars. … Volunteers… were eager to fight the worst peril that had ever threatened civilization." 

1963 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

September 30, 1963, The Outer Limits: “The Architects of Fear” written by Meyer Dolinsky featured a group of scientists secretly working to surgically alter one of their own, transforming him into an “alien,” to persuade the world to unite in the face of an alien invasion. The phony alien is launched in a space capsule towards the United Nations to frighten the delegates. The flight is knocked off course and things get worse from there. The plan tragically fails. 

1967 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Report from Iron Mountain was a 1967 bestselling "nonfiction" book, purported to be a leaked secret government study but was political satire,
a literary hoax in 1967 by Leonard C. Lewin.  
“Credibility, in fact, lies at the heart of the problem of developing a political substitute for war. This is where the space-race proposals, in many ways so well suited as economic substitutes for war, fall short. The most ambitious and unrealistic space project cannot of itself generate a believable external menace. It has been hotly argued that such a menace would offer the ‘last, best hope of peace,’ etc., by uniting mankind against the danger of destruction by ‘creatures’ from other planets or from outer space. Experiments have been proposed to test the credibility of an out-of-our-world invasion threat; it is possible that a few of the more difficult-to-explain ‘flying saucer’ incidents of recent years were in fact early experiments of this kind.” 

U.S. News and World Report published an article about it, "Hoax or Horror? A Book that Shook the White House," and though it was suspected to be bogus early on, it had tremendous impact, still in print today and embraced as real by some conspiracy theorists. Here's a film clip discussing its "invasion threat" the quote from a 1967 television show

1968 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Arthur C. Clarke’s article, “When Earthman and Alien Meet,” in Playboy Jan.1968, was not about saucers, but he did briefly speculate:

“Let us take the line of least resistance and assume that the strange apparitions whizzing through our skies are, indeed, of extraterrestrial origin, and that this is finally proved beyond all reasonable doubt. The first result would be a drastic lowering of the international temperature; any current wars would rapidly liquidate themselves. This point has been made by numerous writers - starting with the late André Maurois, whose War Against the Moon suggested almost half a century ago that the only way to secure peace on Earth would be to manufacture a fake menace from space. A genuine one would be even more effective.”


The Bamboo Saucer was conceived by Jerry Fairbanks as “Project Saucer” in the early 1950s but was not filmed and released until 1968. Rival teams from the US and Soviets fight to capture a flying saucer that landed in China. The Chinese government attacks to capture the saucer and the two teams reluctantly agree to work together for mutual survival. The three survivors agree to fly the craft to neutral Geneva.

“You know, when the world sees this ship, everybody's gonna have to realize there are other intelligent beings in the universe. They will have to meet them face to face one day. All the nations of this earth better be ready to stand together.” 

1972 - 1974 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Alan C. Elms (psychologist, academic and author) was quoted in Robert Emenegger’s 1974 TV documentary and companion book, UFOs Past Present and Future. Citing Elms’ 1972 book, Social Psychology and Social Relevance, Emenegger wrote:

“As Elms points out, some social scientists have suggested “that what we really need is an enemy invader from outer space; then we would unite as one species to drive the invader away, and live in peace thereafter’.” 


From Feb. to June 1974, the Modesty Blaise newspaper comic strip story by Peter O’Donnell and Enrique Badia Romero, "Take Me to Your Leader" featured an attempt to shock humanity into peace through a faked alien landing.

“A handful of people... believe that the human race will destroy itself by war unless some huge new happening changes our whole psychology, so that we rise above national jealousies to become one united world.”


Wild Card by Raymond Hawkey with Roger Bingham, (May 1974, revised 1988) was a novel where the U.S.A. is crumbling from unrest and terrorism. The President and his Science Advisor launch a scheme, crashing a fake flying saucer and (bio-engineered) aliens into Los Angles, unleashing a virus that kills thousands of people. The event is staged to save the nation and unite the world against the alien threat. 

1981 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Amazing Spider-Man newspaper comic strip by Stan Lee Fred Kida from 1981-1982, “Doctor Doom and the Flying Saucer,” began with Doom announcing he’d captured a crashed UFO and gloating that all nations fear his “omega ray" based on its advanced technology. Spider-Man eventually learns the saucer is a phony, part of Doom’s "planned a bloodless coup!" to conquer and "bring order to the world, without a shot being fired." Thwarted, Doom tells him, "All I wanted was to bring peace to the world!" Amazingly, Spider-Man becomes an accomplice to the hoax, but with a twist. As Peter Parker, he returns to the USA with a filmed message of Doom claiming that the saucer and its aliens have departed, but with a deadly warning. “Unless we abandon war and violence, they will return to destroy us -- before we can threaten the peace of the galaxy!”

1982 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

DC Comics, All-Star Squadron 10-12, June-Aug. 1982, written by Roy Thomas, art by Adrian Gonzales featured a variation on theme. Set during World War II, this 3-part story began in Washington D.C. with the arrival of an eye-shaped UFO and a tall alien. 

He announced himself as Akhet, representative of the Binary Brotherhood, and that earth must surrender or be obliterated. The message was repeated to other nations’ capitals, and leaders agreed to work together. The superheroes discovered that an international group of peace-loving scientists built the ship and phony alien, but a villain amongst them sabotaged their plan. He sought to unite the world, but under his rule. The villain was stopped, and the war resumed.


Super Dimension Fortress Macross was a Japanese animated science fiction series. Synopsis from IMDb: “In the middle of World War III in 1999, an alien spaceship crashes on deserted Macross Island. In response to this event, a cease fire is declared as the ship reveals evidence of a potential extraterrestrial threat  ...the nations of the world unite to create the United Nations Space Navy.” It debuted in 1982, repackaged for US audiences in 1985 as Robotech: The Macross Saga.

1985-1987 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

U.S. president Ronald Reagan met with the Soviet Union president of Mikhail Gorbachev in November 1985 at the Geneva Summit (arms talks) in Switzerland. Afterwards at a speech in Maryland to Fallston High School students, Reagan disclosed that during a private conversation, he and Mr. Gorbachev had agreed that in the event of an alien invasion, their nations would fight it together. “We would forget all the local differences we have between our two countries and find out once and for all that we really are all human beings here on this earth together.”

National City Star-News, Dec. 19, 1985, syndicated column by Art Hoppe 

Reagan called this scenario his “Fantasy” and frequently used it in his speeches from then on. Preparing to address the 42d Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Sept. 21, 1987, Reagan made a note to his speechwriter insisting his alien scenario be included. The passage as it was presented in the UN address

Video from the Reagan Library

"Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?”


Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons from DC Comics was a dark take on superheroes published in 1976-87, near the end of the Cold War. The story begins as a murder mystery, finally revealed to have been committed by the “hero” Ozymandias to cover up his plot. He creates a biologically engineered telepathic creature and teleports it to New York City where it explodes killing millions of people. As intended, it is believed to be an alien attack, convincing nations on the brink of nuclear annihilation to unite against the “alien” threat. 

1991-1994 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Behold a Pale Horse, was a 1991 book by "paranoid, far-right conspiracy theorist" Bill Cooper. His Appendix E, "New World Order" included pages reproducing John Dewey's 1917 remarks and the alien invasion passage from The Report from Iron Mountain. In the chapter, "Anatomy of an Alliance," Cooper wrote that many world leaders were Illuminati, and after World War II they found reasons for bringing about the New World Order.

"It is possible, however, that [some] of these reasons are not real, and thus manipulations. ...If it were secretly discovered that extraterrestrial beings were visiting the earth it certainly would make sense to unite humanity against the possible threat that this would present. If extraterrestrials are not visiting earth, then it would make sense to invent them in order to convince opposing forces to unite against the threat."

Henry Kissinger was among the many government figures named in Cooper's loopy claims, which may explain the motivation for the invention of the following item.


A hoaxed quote from Henry Kissinger about an alien threat? New World Order conspiracy sites allege Kissinger was secretly taped during the 1991 or 1992 Bilderberger Conference in Evaians, France, saying: 

“Today, America would be outraged if UN troops entered Los Angeles to restore order. Tomorrow they will be grateful! This is especially true if they were told that there were an outside threat from beyond, whether real or promulgated, that threatened our very existence. It is then that all peoples of the world will plead to deliver them from this evil. The one thing every man fears is the unknown. When presented with this scenario, individual rights will be willingly relinquished for the guarantee of their well-being granted to them by the World Government.”

There’s no documentation of the quote and it can be considered bogus or misattributed.


Magonia No. 43, July 1992: Peter Rogerson, in reviewing Revelations: alien contact and human deception by Jacques Vallee, talked about the paranoia and conspiracy theories plaguing the UFO scene at the time. Rogerson came up with a hypothetical conspiracy of his own set after WWII, Project Far Stranger:

“…based on after-dinner musings by Churchill to Truman about how the external danger of Germany had saved Britain from insurrection in 1914. Wouldn't it be nice if some external threat could unite the dangerously divided wartime victors… promote the theme of the Martian bombers.”


In 1994, conspiracy author Serge Monast (1945- 1996) published Project Blue Beam (NASA), where he claimed a cabal was orchestrating a false alien invasion by using 3-D holographic projections for the purpose of uniting nations in a New World Order. 

1996 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Independence Day, co-written by Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich, was like a G.I. Joe riff on The War of the Worlds. The invasion happens, and the U.S.A is the star of the show, but nations come together to help in the effort. 

2001 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Around 2001, Dr. Carol Rosin claimed that when she met Wernher von Braun back in 1974, he warned that the U.S. “intelligence community” was manufacturing a series of threats to justify the building of space-based weapons systems, and “the last card would be the extraterrestrial threat.” The alleged scheme sounded like it was ripped from the pages of The Report from Iron Mountain. 

2011 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In an Aug. 14, 2011, CNN interview, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman told Fareed Zakaria,:
“If we discovered that space aliens were planning to attack and we needed a massive build-up to counter the space alien threat, and inflation and budget deficits took secondary place to that, this slump would be over in 18 months. And then if we discovered, "whoops, we made a mistake," we'd [still be better off]... There was a Twilight Zone episode like this, in which scientists fake an alien threat in order to achieve world peace. …this time we need it to get some fiscal stimulus.”

Krugman named the wrong show, he was thinking of “The Architects of Fear” from The Outer Limits.

2014 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

On April 2, 2014, former U.S. president Bill Clinton was asked on
Jimmy Kimmel Live about the possibility of extraterrestrial life and visitation.

“If we were visited someday, I wouldn’t be surprised, I just hope it’s not like Independence Day, the movie, that it’s a conflict. [It] may be the only way to unite this increasingly divided world of ours. If they’re out there, think of how all the differences among people on earth would seem small if we felt threatened by a space invader.”

2019 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The HBO television series Watchmen was written as if it were a sequel to the 1980s DC comic book. Ozymandias’ alien threat scheme succeeded, and decades later the world is still on guard against an alien attack. To perpetuate the ruse, he uses teleportation to cause frequent incidents of small squid falling from the sky, reinforcing the fear of invasion. 

2021 -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

In a Sept. 15, 2021, article on existential threats, Robert S. Litwak cited Ronald Reagan’s “fantasy” about earth uniting against an alien threat, then says, “Today the world faces the functional equivalent in climate change. The most vital issue in international relations is whether the great powers can take concerted action to avert climate catastrophe...” 

In the early 20th century stories, the greatest threat was that of global war. Harmony between races was less of a concern but was an implied byproduct of uniting humanity. In Tyler Austin Harper’s Oct. 23, 2021, article at Slate, he explored the topic in, “The Aliens Are Here, and They Fixed All the Racism.”


A Speculative Afterword 

The alien threat manipulation idea has come up so often by politicians of different persuasions during the last century, we must wonder if any government has actually tried to exploit it. Since the 1980s, persistent rumors have circulated that captured UFO technology was being reverse engineered by the U.S. military at Area 51 for the development of aerospace weapons. Was this a ploy to avoid war by making the Russians fear they were outgunned?

In recent years, some U.S. ex-military and intelligence figures have become involved in promoting the idea that UFOs constitute a threat — to air safety, national security, and perhaps that of the entire planet. Their tactics are indistinguishable from some of the actions by manipulators in André Maurois’ 1927 tale, The War Against the Moon

. . .

If you know of early instances of the alien threat concept we’ve overlooked, or have any suggestions or corrections, please drop us a note, either in the comment section or by email.

Acknowledgements Thanks to the many helping hands since I began collecting information on this topic back in 2011: SMiles Lewis - Shepherd Johnson - Isaac Koi - Drew Williamson - Martin Kottmeyer - Ricky Poole – and many others here and there.


  1. Great stuff, as usual!

  2. Good overview. When the Watchmen was being created the editor was concerned about the alien disaster in New York City. He thought Alan Moore was “ripping off” the Outer Limits. Of course your article shows the ET hoax to unite humanity wasn’t that original. To acknowledge the Outer Limits episode there’s a panel with a TV on, the announcer mentioning The Architects of Fear.

    I don’t think the plan in The Architects of Fear was a complete failure. There was the wreckage of the pseudo-alien’s spaceship. Also the encounter with two hunters who saw the man-made ET pull out a ray gun and totally disintegrated a pick up truck. The remains of that truck would back up their incredible story. So the word still got out about the alien visitor.

    There’s another Marvel Comics SF short story illustrated by Jack Kirby about an alien suddenly appearing in public to warn the world to change its destructive ways. Later it’s revealed the alien was a fake, a human inside the getup. In the last panel the hoaxer is shown throwing the alien mask and costume into a fireplace, burning the evidence. I can’t remember the name of the story but it appeared around the same time as the one you mentioned.

    1. Thanks, Ray. If you find any more details on that other Jack Kirby alien hoax story, I'd love to track it down,

  3. Outstanding piece. Thanks for your work.

  4. Thanks, Curt. Great research and great reading!

    Lester Bowles Pearson [Canadian Prime Minister 1963-68]
    Nobel Peace Prize Lecture, December 11, 1957

    “A common fear, however, which usually means a common foe, is also, regrettably, the strongest force bringing people together, but in opposition to something or someone. Perhaps there is a hopeful possibility here in the conquest of outer space. Interplanetary activity may give us planetary peace. Once we discover Martian space ships hovering over earth’s airspace, we will all come together. “How dare they threaten us like this!” we shall shout, as one, at a really United Nations!”

    1. Outstanding! Thank you, I'll add this with the next update.

  6. Even by your usual high standards Curt, this is an excellent piece of work.


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