Fifty Years Hence

Winston Churchill 1932

Winston Churchill published an article in the March 1932 issue of Popular Mechanics entitled "Fifty Years Hence." At the time he was more or less unemployed, describing himself as "former British Chancellor of the Exchequer," having lost the election of 1929 and not yet the Prime Minister he became in 1940. This period of Churchill's life is referred to in at least one historical work as his "wilderness years."

As one might rather easily surmise from the title, "Fifty Years Hence" is a narrative on the topic of social change and what changes in particular one might likely encounter in fifty years time, that is about 1982. The general tone of the work is an accepting positive view of "Progress." Man plays a master's role in his scheme of things and nature is his to subdue and mold to his needs.

The publication of this article may have been in anticipation of the "Century of Progress" world's fair which would take place in Chicago in 1933. This Churchill article took up several of the themes from the coming fair.

The Popular Mechanics article is an edited version of an essay that had been published a number of times previously. It was first published in Maclean's magazine in November of 1931 and then a month later in Strand magazine. The essay seems to have been edited slightly between each publication. The last paragraph of the Popular Mechanics version takes up the breeding of human being from a rather shocking perspective so this material includes the last paragraph of the Popular Mechanics version as it appears in "Thoughts and Adventures", a collection of essays that Churchill published in November, 1932. This version of the last paragraph is much less sensational than that appearing in Popular Mechanics.

Fifty Years Hence
Winston Churchill