During the 1975 campaign The Watchtower Society paid much attention to a possible World War III.
It seems so that the book Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God (1966) contains a “hidden suggestion” allowing to connect World War III with Armageddon. It is nothing strange, because during World War I and World War II it was expected that those conflicts will transform into expected „day of Jehovah”. The following are memories connected to such expectations and a new suggestion:
|World War I||World War II||World War III|
|During World War I dedicated Bible students were inclined to think that this world conflict would lead progressively into the battle of Armageddon foretold in Revelation 16:13-16. To them the truce and the halt of the war in November of 1918 came as quite a surprise! (Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God 1966, pp. 358-359).||
It seemed to us then that the war would usher in the climactic battle of the great day of God the Almighty, Armageddon. - Revelation 16:14-16. I vividly recall our urgent expectations of the long-awaited event. (The Watchtower February 15, 1984, p. 24);
In March 1945 we heard that the Scripture text for that year was Matthew 28:19: “Go ye therefore, and make disciples of people of all the nations.” (...) That filled us with joy and hope, since we had thought that World War II would climax in Armageddon.” (The Watchtower September 1, 2007, p. 11).
1966 (...) Threat of World War III grows more ominous as between “king of the north” and the “king of the south.” (Dan. 11:5-7, 40) (Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God 1966, p. 35);
The sealing of the last of these, a mere remnant finally, would be accomplished before the thousand-year reign of the “Lamb of God,” Jesus Christ, begins. This would mean that the remnant of these (...) would be sealed (...) the end of six thousand year of humankind’s existence. We are near that point of time now! Bible time-scheduling indicates it. A world storm must therefore be shortly ahead. (as above p. 357);
1975 (...) End of 6th 1,000-year day of man’s existence (in early autumn) (as above p. 35);
So after an interruption or interim, in which the sealing of God’s “chosen ones” is completed, the “war of the great day of God the Almighty” will be started. (as above p. 360).
Interestingly enough, Vice President of The Watchtower Society, Frederick W. Franz (1893-1992), who endured two world wars (it was similarly expected that those two wars would transform into Armageddon), wrote (in 1966) his book on 1975 during tensions between USSR and USA. Could that happen that a possible world war could transform into Armageddon?
By a strange coincidence the same statement about the threat of war (see the chart) was included in one of articles on 1975, Making Wise Use of the Remaining Time (The Watchtower May 1, 1968, pp. 270-277).
Besides, it is puzzling why The Watchtower Society states that „Threat of World War III grows” in 1966? After all, so called “Cuban Missile Crisis” took place in 1962, not in 1966. But Jehovah’s Witnesses’ book does not even mention it.
In the same chart, included in the said book the author skillfully measures tension concerning possible war:
1957 (...) (October) Russia sends up first satellite; causes world to fear;
1964 (...) (May) “Spy satellites” and astronauts increase world tension;
1966 (...) Threat of World War III grows more ominous as between “king of the north” and the “king of the south.” (Dan. 11:5-7, 40) (...) Book Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God to be released Saturday, June 25, 1966 (Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God 1966, p. 35).
If we add a sentence from the book which applied to 1975 and Armageddon, we will get the whole picture:
This would mean that the remnant of these (...) would be sealed (...) the end of six thousand year of humankind’s existence. We are near that point of time now! Bible time-scheduling indicates it. A world storm must therefore be shortly ahead. (Life Everlasting - In Freedom of the Sons of God 1966, p. 357).
If according to The Watchtower Society a potential World War III could not be transformed into Armageddon, the above association of the two events in one passage or article was intended as stimulating for Jehovah’s Witnesses minds, to fire their imagination, so that they could understand how horrible is Armageddon (many of them lived through one war or two wars).
Franz compared the year 1975 to the year 1914 and the outbreak of World War I, which indicates that there was possible association of war with “the day of Jehovah”, as it was in the past:
‘Does it mean that Armageddon is going to be finished, with Satan bound, by 1975? It could! It could! All things are possible with God. (...) And don’t any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975. (...)’ ‘When we were approaching the end of the Gentile Times in 1914, there was no sign that the Gentile Times were going to end. Conditions on earth gave us no hint of what was to come, even as late as June of that year. Then suddenly there was a murder. World War I broke out. You know the rest. (...) ‘But what do we have today as we approach 1975? Conditions have not been peaceful. We’ve been having world wars, famines, earthquakes, pestilences and we have these conditions still as we approach 1975. (The Watchtower October 15, 1966, p. 631).
But maybe such elements as “World War III” and “famine” were added to 1975 “preventatively”? So that in case Armageddon would not come, the other event could be attached to 1975, as in 1914, when instead of “Jehovah’s war” there was World War I.
Also other articles discuss World War III and Armageddon. Is it a coincidence? The following statements contain quotations used by The Watchtower Society:
On an international scale its growth caused United Nations Secretary-General U Thant to say that he feared “we are witnessing the initial phases of World War III.” (The Watchtower September 1, 1967, p. 517);
A few months before, United Nations Secretary-General U Thant observed: “I’m afraid we are entering today the first phase of World War III.” (The Watchtower April 15, 1968, p. 227);
And of the struggle between communism and capitalism, Intelligence Digest of August 1967 said: "The facts . . . show that the forces in the world struggle are grouping themselves for a decisive show-down." (Awake! October 8, 1968, p. 15);
For example, it has been publicly announced that, in the radical camp, the Russian leaders say that they expect to have the whole world communized by the year 1975. However, the bloc of nations in the capitalistic, democratic camp are determined that such a political development shall not be, by 1975 or any other year. Is our earth therefore destined for a divided domination forever? (When All Nations Collide, Head On, With God 1971, p. 6; see The Watchtower October 15, 1971, p. 614);
By continued success in the missile field and by beginning to stockpile her weapons in the year 1972, and then keeping this up, the Communist Chinese “should be in a position to deploy 15 or 20 Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles by about 1975.” – New York Times, February 3, 1969. (The Approaching Peace of a Thousand Years 1969, p. 5; see also The Watchtower October 15, 1969, p. 614).
Aside from quoting others in the context of contemporary situation, The Watchtower Society gave its own comments. In his statement applying to 1975, Vice President of The Watchtower Society, F. Franz referred to potential “destruction by nuclear weapons”:
He stressed that, according to dependable Bible chronology, 6,000 years of human history will end this coming September according to the lunar calendar. This coincides with a time when “the human species [is] about to starve itself to death,” as well as its being faced with poisoning by pollution and destruction by nuclear weapons. (The Watchtower May 1, 1975, p. 285).
Yes, after nearly 6,000 years of experience in self-rule and after reaching the ultimate in scientific “progress” mankind is on the brink of catastrophe! (Awake! October 22, 1972, p. 12).
Notice, that 27 years passed between years 1918 and 1945, marking the ends of two wars.
But we have also 27 years between 1939 (the outbreak of war) and 1966, when “Threat of World War III grows more ominous” (The Watchtower May 1, 1968, p. 272).
It does not seem that Jehovah’s Witnesses are motivated by some time periods, but this similarity of years is puzzling! If someone thinks that The Watchtower Society plans its purposes in advance in order to manipulate people, he may find an interesting hint to his theory.
Finally, one more statement of The Watchtower Society, published in 1973, but reaching beyond 1975:
And now, particularly, many serious students of government and of world conditions - statesmen, scientists and others - are saying that mankind will not even be able to survive to the year 2000 C.E. They base their outlook, not on the Bible, but on the hard facts of today and upon the now irreversible trend of things that involve all of us. The Bible tells of these hard times that we are experiencing as a sign of the nearness of the end of this system. (The Watchtower November 1, 1973, p. 646).