The Second Renaissance

A seventh grade story (1954)

AS THE story begins, a third world war is raging between the Free World and the Communists.  The introduction declares:

Man:  An ever advancing race.  Born: 7,000 years ago between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers.  Accomplishments:  In the short period of 7,000 years, the primitive man had progressed from the discovery of fire to the first rocket to the moon….But along with Science came greed.

Even before the first King, Menes (3,400 B.C.), man had wanted power.  With every new destructive weapon that was invented, man had seeked (sic) to obtain power with it.  Science put to the wrong use because of want for power may destroy civilization!

Almost every nation in the world has a weapon powerful enough to destroy a vast area.  If one nerve cracks, that may be the end of man!  Who knows what fate that might be?  Man could be the only intelli­gent creature in the universe…but its own intelligence may destroy itself!  Earth may be the only inhabited body in the universe …and its own inhabitants may destroy it!  Greed!  Remember that word.  It’s on page 567 of Webster’s Dictionary.  But it’s more than a word…

Soon the Communists land a rocket on the moon and launch atomic bombs against all non-Communist nations.  Then a meteor hits the Soviet moon base, unleashing more bombs that wipe out Communist nations as well.  All humans die…except a gang of crooks trying to rob Fort Knox.  And the gang includes a woman.

The story concludes:

When Fate saw that the world was nearing its end, he saw a new chance for a new world with hope and kindness.  So Fate saw to it that at the time of the destruction of earth, creatures possible of re­producing would survive.  So Fate, using man’s want for things for himself, planned a robbery of Fort Knox, the only place on earth completely invulnerable to atomic attack….And Fate succeeded in getting both sexes there; and thus Fate succeeded in saving the human race, cruel as it may be.

Now, man and Fate had a second chance: A second renaissance; and a clean slate.  This time, Fate would have experience and know how to guide the human race into a better race, with kind­ness and brotherly love.  And the want for peace, not individual power.

And this time, Fate would make the earth…a better world!