... and it drew massive amounts of national attention to what, at the time, was viewed as a battle between two factions of Christianity: Modernists and Fundamentalists.
Whoa! Fundamentalists? Since when do we see that word in relation to Christians? It's rare these days, if nothing else, but that's precisely what the side of the argument that believed the word of the Bible takes precedence over everything was called at the time. The popular thinking is that Christian Fundamentalists mostly disappeared right around the time WWI started, but as pointed out in American Apocalypse: A History Of Modern Evangelicalism, author Matthew Sutton's exhaustive history of the relationship between Evangelical Christians and the apocalypse, that's not exactly true. Rather, as I probably telegraphed in the previous sentence, they just rebranded themselves as "Evangelicals" and carried on with trying to do everything in their power to make sure the world ends on their watch.
We did it!
See, that's the thing about interpreting the Bible literally; all that action movie s**t at the end just reads like another thing that God himself said, so it must be true. That Jesus will return after a massive global conflict has been the thinking of huge numbers of Evangelicals for as long as that label has existed, and rather than propel them into a pit of ennui and despair, the idea filled them with purpose. If their years of faith were to pay off, an Armageddon-level war that finally prompts Jesus to hit us back must happen.