Hypothetical World War III

Discussion in 'Trek Literature' started by Captain Clark Terrell, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. TheAlmanac

    TheAlmanac Writer Captain

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    I wouldn't go that far...but I would only include the Bantam novels. ;) Sorry, anyone that likes stories with spacefaring Klingons in them.
     
  2. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Perhaps in this timeline, the Vulcans didn't help with the post-WW III cleanup and rebuilding like they presumably did in the real one.

    I'm just guessing that they did, anyway. I find it extremely unlikely that Earth could have recovered so quickly from an all-out nuclear war (which most agree would completely destroy all civilization - indeed, all life - if it were to happen), with ALL MAJOR CITIES REBUILT, in only a hundred years. Hell, it'd take a hundred years to rebuild just ONE city, let alone all of them! Look at how long it takes to build a typical skyscraper right now, in peacetime...then multiply that by a factor of a thousand or so.

    Then again, in one ENT episode, Soval says that the Vulcans are wary of humanity precisely because they recovered from WW III in only a century, whereas Vulcan took a thousand years to do the same after its last major war. Which suggests that the Vulcans didn't help after all.

    Dammit. I don't know how to resolve this. :scream:
     
  3. Nob Akimoto

    Nob Akimoto Captain Captain

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    The possibility is that despite it being a nuclear conflict, the number of strategic weapons had been downgraded sufficiently at that point that almost all strike capability was expended on counterforce targets rather than countervalue targets, leaving most countervalue strikes to lower yield weapons which maybe just took out the portions of metropolitan centers with EMP destroying a lot of the infrastructure, but without completely incinerating the cities. This might particularly be the case if there was some warning about this possibility, people might construct shelters and ABM systems to protect large economic centers so they wouldn't bother taking out the city proper, but rather try to cripple it with a high atmosphere strike.

    That could explain why things seemed so backward, but that cities largely remained habitable and rebuild in time. There was probably a lot of latent human industrial capability that was just looking for the political will to unite and rebuild rather than continue on in the post-atomic horror situation of nothing working.

    The Vulcans might have come and helped patch up the human electrical/information infrastructure, and was then shocked that the countries banded together so quickly to rebuild and putting aside old hatreds/changes. I mean if we take the Vulcan's Soul Trilogy at face value, Vulcan was so riven by state conflicts that they were still working at city-state level despite being at roughly 21st century/22nd century tech levels. So the ability of humanity to go beyond that quickly might have been unexpected from their experiences.
     
  4. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    It's my understanding that indirect deaths from a war can be very hard to quantify. I would be inclined to assume that the 600 million dead figure is direct deaths, but that's just me.

    Well, "Past Tense" seems to imply that the chief contribution of the Bell riots to Earth history was to start the process of reversing a system of severe economic oppression against the unemployed, the homeless, and the mentally ill. [Indeed, its depiction of deepening economic inequality and class oppression is proving disturbingly prophetic 11 years out from its fictional 2024.] "Sanctuary districts" -- in reality, large open-air prisons for the poor -- were established as having been in place in place in cities across the planet. Bell's sacrifice helped turn public opinion against the Districts. Perhaps in a timeline without Bell, the riots were much worse, and the riots only made the tensions between economic classes that much worse -- perhaps provoking an earlier World War III. Or maybe a long-term degeneration into a neo-feudalist economy.

    I would point out that the presence of Romulan ships in the Alpha Centauri system does not necessarily mean that the area of the Federation core worlds is Romulan-dominated in this alternate 24th Century -- though that is certainly a possibility, especially if there was never an Enterprise NX-01 to prevent a Vulcan invasion of the Andorian Empire and depose a Romulan puppet in Administrator V'las.
     
  5. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    I think the Japanese and the Germans, for two, would disagree with that "estimate". Unless they're still rebuilding from WWII in areas that I didn't visit.....
     
  6. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ But like I pointed out in another thread, Hiroshima and Nagasaki (and other cities hard hit in WW II) were rebuilt in a world which still, in general, had its civilization and infrastructure. A full-out World War III would leave none of that intact. How could you rebuild a city if there is no infrastructure or technology or power left to rebuild it with? That wasn't a problem with II, but it would be with III.

    When everything is destroyed, where do you go from there?
     
  7. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    When was it ever claimed in Trek that WWIII was "full-out" or destroyed "everything?" Sure, "Encounter at Farpoint" suggested that much of the world was lawless and chaotic for a while afterward, but First Contact makes it clear that enough infrastructure survived to develop warp drive within a decade after the war's end, so clearly it wasn't completely pervasive. To all indications, we're talking something bigger than WWII but considerably smaller than the wholesale nuclear apocalypse of Roddenberry's Genesis II/Planet Earth.

    As far as building cities goes, Shanghai and Dubai have turned flat open fields into towering metropolises in just two decades. There are comparison pictures here, though with some annoying ads over them.
     
  8. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It's WORLD WAR III, for crying out loud. How could it not?
     
  9. Darth Duck

    Darth Duck Commodore Commodore

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    World War I & II didn't.
     
  10. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    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.
     
  11. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    They weren't nuclear.

    Neither was that one. Although it almost was (re: Cuban Missile Crisis).
     
  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    If World War III were to destroy everything, there would not have been a human race left to rebuild anything.

    To me, it seems fairly obvious that Trek's WW3 must have been the worst war in human history, but still not the nuclear apocalypse. Remember, the United States and the Russian Federation today both possess more than enough nuclear weaponry to end all life on Earth. By definition, WW3 must not have been a full-scale nuclear exchange -- because if it had been, there would not have been so much as a tree left in Montana, let alone a city, however devastated, capable of launching the Phoenix.

    I do, however, think that Trek tends to be unrealistic in its depiction of how many major cities' historic structures survived WW3.
     
  13. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    :eek: World War II most certainly was nuclear! Or don't Nagasaki and Hiroshima "count"?
     
  14. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Those were isolated strikes. The entire war was not a nuclear conflict.
     
  15. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    So? What makes you think WWIII would be entirely nuclear? For all we know, only India and Pakistan may have exchanged nuclear fire in their theatre of WWIII. No reason to think the entire globe was engulfed in a nuclear conflict. Certainly the 2060s don't look like a post-apocalyptic wasteland, since Cochrane was able to build and launch a warp-capable ship! Think of the resources behind that effort - how could it have happened if the entire world was reduced to the levels you assume?
     
  16. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    There's no evidence either way. The phrasing of Riker's line from First Contact does suggest to me that the 600 million dead was one of the many things gone wrong with the decade: "Most of the major cities have been destroyed. There are few governments left. Six hundred million dead. No resistance."

    Perhaps an escalation to an all-out nuclear war?

    There was apparently no Romulan presence in the solar system, though that might be as easily explained by the bleakness of a post-human Earth as by a temporary Romulan deployment next door.
     
  17. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    It seems inevitable that it would be.

    And in any case, no matter how unlikely, isn't it safer to ASSUME that any WW III will be entirely nuclear? Paranoid, maybe; but it'd make it just that less likely to actually occur. If more people assume the worst, they may not risk actually instigating it.

    We actually have no idea what the rest of the world looked like. Literally all we ever saw was a few acres of forest and a missile silo. For all we know, entire cities for two hundred miles in every direction were ashes.
     
  18. rfmcdpei

    rfmcdpei Captain Captain

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    It's at least possible to engage in more moderate, calculated forms of nuclear war than the 1980s era of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons, especially if nuclear weapons are relatively rare and there is functioning anti-missile technology.

    Maybe France had the good sense to stay neutral? The survival of New Orleans and San Francisco is noteworthy.
     
  19. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    Nothing in human history is "inevitable".

    What does that have to do with Star Trek, though?

    And if that were the case, how the hell did he build a warp-capable ship? Wouldn't focusing on essentials like food, shelter, and security be more resource-worthy? The fact that there was an entire community focused on the warp-capable vessel there suggests that the community could afford to not worry about things like food, shelter and security. So there must have been some kind of infrastructure in place to make it possible, such as cities. Maybe not as big and bustling as they used to be, but not "ashes" either.
     
  20. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    ^ What "community" there was around that complex looked very hastily built. And if you'll notice, everyone in it wore rags, except maybe for Lily.
     

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