I have no idea the exact year I read this short story, but I would imagine it was the 1980s when I did. It was probably part of an anthology, which usually was mid-twentieth century. I remember reading a lot of scifi from the 1940s and 1950s. The story had an old flavor to it, so I doubt it could have been much after 1965, but that is just a guess. So I would guesstimate 1945-1965?

In it aliens were about to invade Earth, but as Earth was united and peaceful it had no opposing force. All I remember is that some agents went on the Eiffel Tower and spoke in front of others that it was a shame the Eiffel Tower would be destroyed soon.
The others who overheard this reported it and an arms race began so they were ready by time aliens arrived.


1 Answer 1


Sounds like Robert Silverberg's The Shrines of Earth. Originally published in Analog (British Edition March 1958).

Earth itself is a backward, pastoral place, and fears invasion by the alien Hrossai from the Alpha Centauri system. The big powers of the day are the interstellar colonies set up by France (New Gallia, round Albireo), the US (Columbia, around Sirius), and Russia (Novaya Ruthenia around Procyon).

These three are engaged in a "cold war" and unlikely to see the Hrossai threat until it is too late. However, each has a "shrine" back on the "Ould Sod" of Earth, the Eiffel Tower, the Washington Monument and the Kremlin. The Earthmen spread a rumour that the Columbians are plotting to destroy the Eiffel Tower, whereupon New Gallia sends a space fleet to guard it. The Ruthenians get suspicious and send another in case the Kremlin should be attacked, and the Columbians send a third rather than be left out. When the Hrossai arrive they are annihilated. The fleets remain on guard indefinitely, as their senders never realise how they were tricked.

A tiny dot of black appeared against the bright blue far above them, and, as the sun's rays struck it, glittered. "What's that?" Amsler asked.

"Probably a Columbian ship guarding the Monument from Ruthenian attack." Kedrick said. "The saps still haven't caught wise, and I guess they're going to protect us forever. Well, it's simpler than maintaining fleets of our own."

  • Yes! That is it! Thank you! Commented Nov 28, 2018 at 23:41

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