What if the Cold War Went Nuclear?


Hey, so I partnered up with these guys: “We The People.” They have an app that could really change the way we look at politics. So, stay tuned till after this scenario. When looking back on the Cold War, those four decades of tension between the USA and USSR, it’s really surprising that we made it through it. Both sides hated each other. But we’re too powerful to fight, knowing that it would lead to the end of everything. (So, good job humanity, we didn’t become radioactive monkeys.) But its also scary how close we came, by either political crisis, and on accident. (No, “by accident” doesn’t mean someone trips and falls on a red button.) Simple computer glitches or miscommunication almost led to the end of the world. Many times. But through just luck, we kept rolling sixes and didn’t blow ourselves up. Yay. But what if in an alternate timeline, we did? The Cold War is the Cold War because it never got hot. Generic viewer (Jimmy): “Wow, great observation, Cody, worth all those subs.” “Getting hot” for many means nuclear war, everyone dies. (Terminators take over) It’s more complex than that. The story doesn’t end when the buttons are pushed, (and no, I’m not talking about that [Fallout by Interplay/Bethesda] ). In this alternate timeline, sometime in the 20th century, that day does come, and millions die. The Cold War spanned roughly half of the 20th Century. And in that time, a lot of change happened with nukes, politics, military technology, you get the point. So the effects of a nuclear war depend entirely on what decade it takes place. In this alternate timeline, it’s 1983. The Cold War has heated up once again when anti-communist, Ronald Reagan calls the Soviet Union an “empire of evil”. The Russians are paranoid. The Kremlin fears that something terrible may be on the horizon. On September 26, 1983, the nuclear early warning system in a secret military base somewhere in the Soviet Union goes off. Twice. One of the spy satellites detects a launch of four incoming missiles from North America. The day they all feared has come. Without much thought, the Soviet command “retaliates” back, pressing the nuclear button. Across Russia, the might of the Soviet nuclear arsenal is finally unleashed. Hundreds of missiles rise out of silos and into the atmosphere, heading straight for the United States, and Western Europe. At this time, the U.S. nuclear safety radar is going off too. The Americans are stunned. “How could it be?” Countless missiles are now less than an hour away from the United States. Reagan gets the call that the Soviets have launched hundreds of missiles towards America and our allies. He gives the go-ahead to retaliate, and the administration heads to the bunker. You see, the U.S. never actually launched a missile in the first place. It was an error from a Soviet spy satellite that it misread refracting light from the clouds for nuclear bombs. But now, it was too late, the threat was real. In our timeline, there actually WAS a glitch, the Soviet radar DID go off, twice, detecting perceived nuclear missiles from America. Just one Soviet officer, Stanislav Petrov, trusted his instincts, instead of the technology. And his decision alone in THAT moment prevented a nuclear war from obliterating humanity. In this alternate timeline, Petrov simply isn’t there. The glitch happens. And in a new moment of tension between the two states that the worst possible time… …that glitch is taken seriously. Both simply thought they were retaliating against the other, and now, nuclear war was actually a reality. So within the short time modern civilization has left, what happens? Within minutes, the first missiles strike unsuspecting European cities. Short-range missiles and launchers fly across the borders of a divided Germany, obliterating American and Soviet forces deployed there. Across Britain and France, missiles are launched, but not before London and Paris are annihilated just minutes later. Don’t think they’re the only ones, literally so many nukes are launched, barely any city is left unaffected by the blast. In minutes, most of Europe on BOTH sides of the Iron Curtain, is a nuclear wasteland. By the time Europe is nuked, American nuclear missiles launched from Europe and submarines reach their destination in Russia. The targets? Officially the plan was Russian economic and military facilities. But we all know in mutually assured destruction, no civilian populations are left untouched. Many Russian military facilities were already by population centers. So a nuke THERE, destroys the surrounding city. Multiply this by dozens. Meanwhile in the United States, sirens like *this*, go off. The population is absolutely confused, but it’s too late. One by one, missiles rain down from the sky, and the entire Eastern and Western Seaboard erupts into pure white, blinding light. *EAS System warns American TV viewers about the nukes, and tells them to find safety where they wouldn’t be affected* *the Western and Eastern thirds of America become atomic wastelands* This war, World War III, whatever you call it, last only a day, if even a few hours. By the conclusion, the United States, Canada, all of Europe, Eastern(should be Western) Russia, populated sections of China, all of Japan and Korea, are all left obliterated in nuclear hellfire. Civilization isn’t over though, at least not yet. In rural areas of Russia, Central Asia, and America, small pockets of people could’ve survived, most likely in Idaho or the Great Plains in America. If you lived in Siberia, congratulations. You’re alive. But you’re also in Siberia, so sorry. Europe is just dead. Everything SOUTH of the Equator though, is pretty much left untouched. They aren’t ever nuked because there aren’t any strategic areas to actually bomb. (Take that as you may.) As for those in the NORTHERN hemisphere, nuclear winter is about to begin. Viewer from earlier(Jimmy): “You could say nuclear winter is… coming. (Game of Thrones reference?) (My god, Jimmy, I hate you so much, you have no idea.) For those unfamiliar, nuclear winter is when ash and particles created from firestorms by the nuclear bomb float into the atmosphere much like volcanic ash, and block out the sun. In THIS scenario, thousands of bombs 10 times LARGER than Hiroshima are detonated all over the world. The firestorms left are now hellscapes, the size of states. If you survived the nuclear blast, imagine looking off into the distance, and seeing an unending globe of fire. The extent of this nuclear winter, however, depends entirely on just how many nukes are detonated. True nuclear war, complete darkness, is only when really every nuke is detonated on Earth. That’s unlikely to happen. According to Robert Lamb, if a war occurred with around 12,000-18,000 nukes detonated, like in this alternate scenario, the SOUTHERN Hemisphere, though it faced harsh conditions, could end up fine. After the War of 1983, the world is forever split in two. The Northern Hemisphere for a while would be a nuclear hellscape of raging winters and polluted water. If the nuclear winter theory actually DID happen, it would happen throughout the Northern Hemisphere. Freezing temperatures kill all crops and livestock. For the survivors, it’s either migrate, or die. You aren’t going to have these “Fallout” band of raiders, you’ll just have cold, sad, barbarians. So, sorry about that. The Northern Hemisphere is now just a shadow in the history books. Go SOUTH of the Equator, and the story changes. It’s not peachy, climate becomes far harsher , seasons are either too hot because no ozone or, too cold because of nuclear ash, but survivable. Areas already vulnerable to famine like Sub-Saharan Africa or the Middle East, simply can’t survive this pressure. Across the developing world, conflicts spark just a few weeks after the nukes dropped. Revolutions, civil wars, genocides, you get the idea. Dictators propped up by the USSR or the USA, probably don’t survive to 1984. Very few countries actually survive. At least their borders don’t. What we would think of as civilization is simply smaller. Cities, villages, maybe even united city-states. The reprocutions of the Northern War are now too much to bare and borders fall, especially artificial African borders. Much of the history of the Northern Hemisphere is largely destroyed. Information in libraries before the internet, now forever lost to future generations. As decades go by, the memories of these lands north of the Equator, would fade as humanity rebuilt a new legacy. It’s likely 75-80% of humanity, 3 billion people, would die from the war itself, the resulting winter in the north, and the famines throughout the World. We’d never recover. It’d be a demographic shift of unimaginable scale. But humanity would at least, survive. This is simply, one scenario. One that entirely depends on just the amount of nukes launched, and who actually gets affected. We’ll never truly know what would’ve happened if the Cold War got hot, and it’s scary how easily this could’ve been our reality. But it’s fun to theorize. (US Election 2017 advert) “Speaking of increased tension, the election. And no better way of keeping up to date with the election than with this important app: We the People. We’re in an age of bias and misinformation, media now seems like a tool to bash the other candidate. And in the process, a lot of information is lost. This app has created a place where your voice actually matters. They’ve developed a worldwide unbiased poll by the people, for the people. It also helps you keep up to date with the news, keep up to date with social media following, and even discuss issues with other people (but you know, anonymously). Use this as a beacon of rationality in a sea of memes and increasingly worse political polarization by both sides. This is Cody, of AlternateHistoryHub.

100 thoughts on “What if the Cold War Went Nuclear?

  1. I feel bad for those who were in Hiroshima and Nagasaki . If I got a small panic attack from this, it must of been real hell then

  2. Stanislov Petrov the man who saved the world! Did he receive a medal? Probably not, He probably, He probably received 10 years in a Siberian Psyche ward either as a patient or a toilet orderly.

  3. Could you do a Video on "What if" AlternateHistoryHub, never got a computer or learned about the Internet, so he just sat on His porch and played the Banjo. LOL

  4. USA: Russia is empire of evil
    Everyone else: Didn't you used nuclear bombs against civilians – women, children and elders?
    USA: Ye, but we're the good guys!
    Everyone else: How?
    USA: We're telling you we're the good guys. Accept it or die!
    Everyone else: I see your point…

  5. There I was on a track-line at The Rock (Ayers Kaserne) in West Germany one fine afternoon during spring, 1982. The alert horn started sounding for the second time that day. Everything stopped. I looked up, then towards the barracks. As gear started to fly out windows of all three stories of the buildings in my view, I started running to get my gear and weapons. As I ran, I wondered if I’d make it to the barracks before the flash.

    Those were scary times.

  6. Braah only just saw you're channel pop up in recommendations , never been so interested in history and all this till I watched one of you're vids this morning! Keep up the good work mate!

  7. With that scenario maybe Brazil didn't need to become a BRIC to be a superpower one day… it just happens! I'm guessing the BRICS and powerful countries south of the equator could become the new great powers: Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, South Africa, Argentina.

  8. I am here about 3 years late but I think that several underground facilities such as the second metro in Moscow would have survived and although I do not think subterrans would have emerged as in Metro 2033 but I think some of these shelters could be the refuge to maybe thousands of people

  9. Man am I glad this war never happened. Blessed to have been born after the Cold War in the optimistic decade that was the 90s

  10. Humanity's biggest flaw

    Biggest mistake

    Worst god given right

    Was being able to improve itself
    – nukes

  11. It’s still so chilling a video bellow showed the most top ten most likely wars to happen show Kim jong in and trump on the picture

  12. If it went nuclear, I'd be dead as if there ever was a nuclear war I'd make sure I would be within a ground zero. No way I would want to survive a nuclear war.

  13. Australia and Argentina probably have the best chance. I'm lucky to live in the former. What I don't understand is why we have so many US bases… Yeah, relations and shit, but we're far more British than American.

  14. Suck it you cunts im in Finland im safe ha haa.
    Waiiiit nuclear winter??? Well than guess i got to go get my wintercoat.

  15. Don't forget that in September 1983, there was also the Korean Air Lines Flight 007 shootdown incident, where a civilian airliner trespassed (accidentally?) into Soviet military airspace TWICE, and in the end, the Soviet pilot that was sent up to intercept the plane was eventually ordered to shoot it down… which he did, killing everyone on board.

    That event damn near pushed the U.S. and USSR into a war… aside from the alternate scenario that was described in this video.

  16. Everyone would be 'posting' comments written in mud on the side of empty abandoned buildings.

    Comments like, "I'M STARVING!" "SOMEONE HELP US!" etc…

  17. Without watching the video(I will soon)
    It depends on when it would go nuclear.
    The 50's the world would have survived.
    The 60's the world would have got fucked up.
    The 70's the world would have got really fucked up.
    The 80's Mad Max time.

  18. OH GOD, WHAT IF WERE ONE OF THE ONLY REALITIES THAT DIDN’T FACE NUCLEAR WAR?!! WHAT IF THE ODDS OF SURVIVAL WERE ONLY 2% AND WERE ONE OF THE LUCKIEST REALITIES? WHAT IF ALL OTHER LIFE IN THE UNIVERSE DIED BECAUSE OF WAR LIKE THIS?! PRAISE THE LORD WE ARE LIVING THE LIVES WE ARE LIVING RIGHT NOW!!!!

  19. I wonder how Southern Africa and SOuth America would …..play out would they pretty much try and stop all the migrants from the north from coming down south alla Kill them or deny them entry or would the former USA and Russia suivors pretty much take over there lands LOL ..???

  20. 4:42 that particular tone wasn’t introduced until 1997, just the second part was used. Here’s the best example of the 1983 EBS: https://youtu.be/rAuHS_BM4os

  21. So if it happened australia will become the most powerfull country in the world and everybody will call each other cunt. Cool

  22. I think instead of spending more money on atomic weapons, we should spend it on making sure our satellites don’t mistake the sun for missiles.

  23. Living in Scotland.finally Russia finished what Wallace started STORM the border take there iron bru!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. The Nobel Peace Prize should be named: the Arkhipov-Petrov Prize; for Vasily Arkhipov, Soviet submarine officer, who refused to authorize the use of nuclear torpedoes in the Cuban Missile Crisis, which may well have escalated into nuclear war; and Stanislav Petrov, who used reason and training to realize a nuclear war would begin with the launch of many missiles, not just a handful. Oh sorry, I must be guilty of collusion with the Russians ;-/

  25. Watch "On The Beach" (HBO edition), "On the 8th Day". "Threads", "The Day After" ….anyway, roughly half or arsenal would be operable. Also: Petrov trusted also his TRAINING, which instilled in him that war is unlikely to start with few missiles. Also: during that time, Northern Hemisphere was basically source of all advanced technology (aircraft, semiconductors, machining) – meaning south would have few short years to recover and prepeare for few decades of civilizational setback. Intercontinental shipment by sea would also likely dry out for some time.

  26. Honestly I get why Boomers are so deranged. Must suck when your governments got close to blowing up the world several times.
    I get the feeling that the end of the Cold War wasn't just the collapse of the Soviet Union and its allies but more a general sense that we as a species shouldn't kill ourselves.
    Anyway, there's a film with this scenario called The Day After and I don't wanna watch it because I feel like it would give me nightmares for years.

  27. Just to say one thing. Europe would be fine if that were to happen. US will be toast though. If it is to be believed the documentary i watched about the US traitors, during the discussed period, there was a substantial breach in US security. Apparently, the USSR managed to recruit an officer from naval signal intelligence who had provided them with the current and real time location of all US and NATO defense systems and protocols in the event of an attack. A direct first hit by the soviets against this infrastructure would have won the war.

  28. During the cold war, schools in america had drills for a nuclear attack. Apparently, desks at a school are great way to keep kids safe from a nuclear blast…

  29. Petrov is the reason that basically any of us are alive right now. War would’ve changed too much. Parents wouldn’t have met, fathers would’ve died, etc etc.

  30. And now both Trump and Putin are advocating for the modernization and reinforcement of their nuclear arsenals, because I guess the pervading silent dread of living minutes away from the destruction of all that we know and love was also part of "the good ol' times".

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *