"The imminence of war between Monaco and the United States": Clemens's anticipation of The Mouse That Roared. "The New War-Scare" was written in 1898, but not published for more than eighty years, when Neville Publishing issued a limited edition of 115 copies, edited by James Pepper. An undated note by Clemens at the head of the text reads "This was written in the threatening days of 1898, but was not published because the scare passed by; it is published now because the scare is back." Clemens' literary executor has also annotated the first page of the manuscript: "Notice: The publication rights of this m.s. remain the property of the S. L. Clemens Estate, and all other publication, in any form, of any portion of it, is thereby strictly forbidden. Albert Bigelow Paine for the S.L.C. Estate."
James Pepper explains the genesis of the story in his preface to the 1981 Neville edition. "The New War-Scare was written in 1898 during Mark Twain's sojourn in Vienna. The author found inspiration by reading a Viennese newspaper article in the Tagblatt of January 23, 1898, which contained a detailed listing of Monaco's governmental expenses. Twain's comic incorporation of this list provides the center around which the story is built. Creation of the tale occurred at the time of Twain's rapidly increasing interest in political and moral issues which would begin to dominate his writing upon his return to America in 1900. On January 3, 1899, Twain referred to The New War-Scare in a letter to his friend and benefactor, Henry H. Rogers: 'I have written a blame sight profaner one, about Monaco and Monte Carlo—if Mrs. Clemens allows it to pass her frontier I think I can beguile the Cosmopolitan into printing it.' Whether Twain actually attempted to have the piece published is uncertain. The text has survived in the original holograph manuscript and two typescripts which are carefully corrected in the author's hand. The addition of the short note preceding the story and a number of re-workings in pencil on the manuscript suggest that he revised the piece over a period of time."
Clemens may have thought "The New War-Scare" profane, but it is in fact a rather broad burlesque, and rather too dependent on facts and statistics (real and imaginary) to be especially successful. For example, in his physical description of Monaco, Clemens notes that the "Empire … contains eight square miles. Part of it is under cultivation, & produces olives, oranges & fish. It takes a freight train nine & half minutes to cross it from frontier to frontier & the fastest express has not been able to it in less than three & an eighth. … The industry is an imperial monopoly. The Factory is the largest building in the Empire except the Palace, which laps over and extends a little into France at both ends—a liberty which was ventured at one of those time when France was torn by internal commotions, & which will have to be answered for when France ceases to be torn by internal commotions."
Gambling is also one of Clemens's targets: "The commerce of the Empire is restricted to the Game, substantially; the Empire's revenues are drawn from the Game; its expenses—Church, State, Municipal & other—are paid by the Game; its imports consist of food & wines & coffins for supporters of the Game; its exports consist of supporters of the Game whom change of circumstances has rendered incapable of further continuing their function. The coffins mentioned are for suicides, & are furnished free by the government to persons requiring them, together with gratis burial."