What If the Cold War Had Gone Nuclear?

Post 801

Well, there’d be no President Trump, which is a bonus. Although, that said, there’d also be no America, but you know, potato, potato. Hang on, that doesn’t work on screen. Anywho, like most people born after 1989, I have literally no clue what the Cold War is. Was. Hmm, probably is, all things considered. So I’ve been doing some Googling, readers. And yes, I really am starting my next 100 posts with the Cold War. Basically, and I’m aiming this at my generation of loveable ignorant losers, in the 1940s, right, some real bad shit went down. In 1947, it was us versus them. You were either a commie or a capitalist. Us in the west feared the Soviets would use force to expand influence across Europe. Concern was mounting that Soviet agents had obtained information, information that would enable them to make an atom bomb…

By the 1950s, espionage was all the rage, like Tamagotchi’s in the ‘90s. Everyone was a little tetchy. Say the wrong thing and suddenly, you aint saying anything anymore. The Manhattan Project, a research and development project that produced nuclear weapons, had been infiltrated by the Soviets. Deeming such endeavours a success, they built up their organisations, such as the KGB. Layers of espionage piled upon more layers of espionage. CIA in KGB, Soviets in America, FBI in American Soviet groups. Trust was hard to come by.

The Red Scare saw the Soviets detonate their very own atom bomb. Many were outraged. Communist allies lost their jobs. Many actors were blacklisted and no longer hired to star in movies. Senator Joseph McCarthy even accused some notable Americans of being commies, including many officials holding high office. Elsewhere, the space race was hotting up between the United States and the Soviets. NASA followed Sputnik, then the Soviets put the first man into orbit, claiming this was the proof that communism was the best ideology.

In the 1950s, President Dwight Eisenhower created the ‘New Look’ policy, cutting the spending on defence and increasing the number of nuclear weapons, claiming them as a deterrent to prevent the Soviets from launching an assault on America. In kind, the Soviets increased their nuclear arsenal. If one nation were hit, the other would soon follow, thus assuring mutual destruction. In theory, at least…

Tensions rose in 1960 when an American spy plane crashed in the Soviet Union. After America failed in their attempt to invade Cuba, the Soviets tried to arm Cuba with nuclear missiles, thus meaning the Soviets could target anywhere in America with relative ease. The Americans sent a large blockade of ships to Cuba to try to stop the weapons from being delivered. An agreement was reached that saw the world take a step back from the brink of nuclear war.

After this, tensions eased and the Cold War was on the home straight to an ending of sorts. Some say it ended when the Berlin Wall came down, others, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. But what if it hadn’t ended? What if everything had gone tits up? I’m still speaking to my generation, by the way…

If things went wrong when we arrived at mutually assured destruction, America would’ve easily annihilated the USSR. The Soviets counter would see as few as only a million Americans die, mainly down to far more effective evacuation on their side, which is still terrible, sure, but nowhere near the numbers that would’ve been lost on the Soviet side. But there’s more to the story than this. The Americans had nukes everywhere and they almost certainly would’ve struck the USSR from the UK. And the UK would not survive retaliation. Whilst America would have been left largely unscathed, nothing would have been left of Great Britain. Thanks for that, America, you great big, lumbering jackasses…

At least we’d die knowing the enemy went down with us, and that’s very British, I think. Tens upon tens upon tens of millions of the Soviet population would perish and the survivors would stand no chance considering they lived under an oppressive regime. Nobody would be able to get help to those left behind as they’d feel, on a psychological level, according to experts, like the world was against them. It’s thought that most would simply kill any foreigners who made any attempts to help.

But there is no victory here, even in death. The radiation across Europe would make it bleak and largely inhospitable. America would only fare better marginally. America would descend into anarchy. Blaming one another for the deaths of hundreds of times more allies, in countries such as the UK, than enemies, in places such as the USSR. Would another civil war be on the cards? Certainly a possibility. Certainly a possibility…

America would’ve come out considerably worse had the Soviets succeeded in planting their missiles on Cuban soil. Their R-7 weapon was the only one that could’ve reached America from Soviet soil, an inaccurate, ineffectual, slow and unreliable beast. It took 20 hours to make it flight ready and it’s all they had when America had more than enough to wipe the Soviets out in seconds. But the Soviet medium range and intermediate missiles were much more brutal.

Most scenarios have America surviving this in some way or another. Even if the Soviets had launched from Cuba, America would’ve still survived. The USSR, on the other hand, would’ve lost so much more than a war. An entire civilisation destroyed, never to be seen again. I guess it’s a good thing, then, that neither side pushed that great big red button…

And still, things could’ve ended up so much worse. We can never know the extent of the exchange. How many weapons would’ve been fired. An all out attack, very American, or a calm and measured approach, or, as calm and as measured as one can be in this situation. Not very American, I think. If even a quarter of the nuclear weapons on Earth were fired at the time, the lives of everyone on Earth would’ve changed for the worse. If a half of the nuclear weapons had been used, it would’ve been enough to cause the extinction of all of humankind. America would’ve destroyed themselves. Not just a handful of nations, but every nation, every person, every soul, would’ve been extinguished.

It’s almost impossible to predict accurately what could’ve happened. It’s almost too big to contemplate. But we know one thing for sure. As I said earlier, some real bad shit would’ve gone down. Real bad indeed.

I should’ve been a history teacher, shouldn’t I?


Ciao :)(:

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The Indelible Life of Me
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