Ond Hundred Years of Future in 1910

Arthur Brehmer (Ed.), Die Welt in hundert Jahren. Illustrated by Ernst Lübbert. Photo: Verlagsanstalt Buntdruck, Berlin 1910.

The Exposition des Arts Décoratiefs Modernes, held in Paris in 1925, after the First World War, set the seal on what was by this time the widespread international diffusion of the futurists who, interpreting the theories of Filippo Tommaso Marinetti (1876-1944) had already carried out a genuine ideological and artistic revolution in the previous decade, and given voice to the impetus that would clear the way for the international avant-gardes. The futurist manifesto published by Marinetti in 1909 paved the way for an optimistic and modernist world view (misunderstood by Marinetti himself from 1922 by his support for fascist backward looking, ill fated nostalgia and the strong man). The Manifesto almost coincidences with the book “Die Welt in 100 Jahren” (The World in 100 Years), published in 1910 by Arthur Brehmer (1866-1943) in Berlin and beautifully illustrated by Ernst Lübbert (1879-1915). Twenty two authors, amongst whom are several European and American celebrities, such as Bertha von Suttner, Eduard Bernstein, Hudson Maxim, Cesare Lombrose and Hermann Bahr, predicted the world in the year 2010. The book’s incorrect predictions are just as interesting as the many correct ones.They already foresaw a European Union in the 1920’s, but no European wars anymore. The strife was between Asia and united Europe, including Russia. America was a neutral power, India remained British (with only 400 million people in 2010), Zeppelins, not airplanes dominated the skies, but mobiles phones were already in use around the 1950’s. There was no place for Communism, anti-Semitism or ‘clash of civilizations’, the Islam wasn’t even mentioned. Concentration camps were on the agenda, but only as luxurious prisons for criminals, who enjoyed the good things of life except for breeding. Europe was a very happy continent, enjoying the optimism of the ‘fin de siècle’.