War of the Worlds Broadcast

Paranoia and Depression

Soldiers (image from www.ssmedwi.com)

One Explanation for the War of The Worlds panic is that the show aired just after the Munich crisis, a war scare that was referenced at the beginning of the CBS broadcast.(2) For some listeners, the scare may have had nothing at all to do with aliens. Audiences may have been influenced to believe that it was human enemies who were invading the country.  

Some sociologists suggest that listeners were so easily deceived because of the general anxiety Americans felt due to years of economic depression.(2)

Learn about the role of radio in the 1930s
Learn about mass hysteria
Learn about the performers' use of real names and places
Learn about the performers' use of news bulletins