The twentieth and twenty-fi rst centuries have been fertile in apocalyptic narratives, both religious and secular. Loss of human life during World War II was unprecedented, as was the nature and magnitude of destruction. It provided humankind with evidence, for the fi rst time, that we are able to annihilate ourselves. It opened the stage to the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, and the widespread cultural awareness that the end can come suddenly, totally, without warning. Without signs.