Aleksandr Rodchenko’s War of the Future (1930) and the lingering memory of chemical warfare

Aleksandr Rodchenko’s grim sci-fi vision of the War of the Future (1930) illustrates the extent to which the terror of chemical warfare and advanced implements of destruction haunted the Soviet and European imagination of conflict following World War I and the Russian Civil War. Death-rays and dirigibles. Howitzers and skyscrapers. Chiaroscuro gas-masks.

Rodchenko’s War of the Future (1930)

Compare Rodchenko’s photomontage with the early Soviet board game Chemical Warfare (1925) below.

Chemical Warfare (1925)

And compare with other examples of towering light-rays in conjunction with marvels of modern engineering.

Rays from the Eiffel Tower, 1889