Mr. Laser Beam wrote:
When was it ever claimed in Trek that WWIII was "full-out" or destroyed "everything?"
It's WORLD WAR III, for crying out loud. How could it not?
What a thoroughly bizarre answer. Yes, there is a common fictional trope of WWIII as a global conflagration that destroys civilization, but the very fact that we came out of the Cold War alive in reality should prove that that's just one possibility. ST has always made it clear from TOS onward that WWIII, while more destructive than WWII, obviously left most of human civilization intact.
And there have certainly been other works of fiction that portrayed WWIII as a limited nuclear conflict rather than a global apocalypse. Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
called it "The Wet Firecracker War," while his Starship Troopers
had WWIII simply bring about the collapse of previous nations and the rise of the military state that ruled Earth in the novel. Various works of anime including Akira
and Ghost in the Shell
have been set in cities rebuilt after WWIII destroyed the previous ones. Babylon 5
had a limited WWIII in its backstory, leading to the replacement of the UN with the Earth Alliance.
And let's not forget "Lisa's Wedding" from The Simpsons
, where England saved America's arses in World War III.