We all know that the US built up their military in 1940 and with our allies won WWII. That is now history.  But in 1936 the US military was minuscule and outdated and ill prepared for war, while war ravages Europe and Asia (Japan invaded China in 1931).

Our ill preparedness worried some and was used for a wonderful pulp story line in Operator 5 the Purple War series. Those who read pulp stories know about this saga.

In the Purple War series, the United States was invaded by the Purple Empire, a European power (a thinly disguised Nazi Germany). The saga told of Jimmy Christopher and his friends working to free the U.S. from the forces of the Empire. Even when the war was done, the U.S. was still open to enemy invasion as it was still recovering.

Recently the story line was reprinted here is the advertising blurb:

The “War and Peace of the Pulps” is finally collected in a two-volume deluxe, hardcover edition. Running in the pages of Operator #5 magazine from 1936–38, this 14-part epic chronicled the invasion and conquering of America by a mysterious foe from Europe: The Purple Empire. As Will Murray describes in this edition’s Introduction: “Battles rage from coast to coast. The exploits of Operator 5 shift from espionage and counterespionage to straight military adventure. Through it all, Jimmy Christopher rises to become the de facto leader of the resistance.” Written by Emile C. Tepperman (author of The Spider and The Masked Marksman) and containing nearly 300 illustrations by John Fleming Gould, this half-million-word saga remains the greatest epic to see print in Golden Age of the pulps and is still considered most risky and ambitious experiment ever undertaken in the single-character magazines.

While three previous wars were fought in US soil (Revolution, War of 1812 and the Civil War) none have been modern wars.  This Future War narratives garishly prefigured World War II and we lost. Operator #5 throughout was secret agent Jimmy Christopher, whose assignment – increasingly hard to fulfil as later issues of the series became more apocalyptic was save the US.

It is lively pulp reading

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