September 19, 1983
Colonel Gennady Akrimov replaces Col. Stanislav Petrov as watch officer at the Serpukhov-15 bunker near Moscow, which monitors for a US missile attack on the Soviet Union. Colonel Petrov is re-assigned to a bunker near Odessa.
Sept. 26, 1983
Just past midnight, at 00:40 hrs, the Serpukhov-15 bunker's computers indicated that a US missile was heading toward the Soviet Union. Akrimov, at first, reasoned that a computer error had occurred, since it was only one missile and it didn't make sense that the US would launch one missile in an attack. Questions about the reliability of the satellite detection system had also been raised in the past, so he dismissed the warning as a false alarm, concluding that there was no actual missile.
Very shortly though, the computers indicated that a second missile had been launched, then a third, a fourth and a fifth. Akrimov, a faithful reader of "Pravda" where he had read much of the "warmongering of the American President Reagan" now felt that the attack was real. He telephoned the headquarters of the Stratetic Rocket Forces and told them that his computers showed that a massive US attack was underway.
General Secretary Andropov was awakened by his staff and rushed to an evacuation helicopter standing by. On the way he was informed by the generals that they had "good information" that the Americans were launching a first-strike. They recommended a full retaliatory strike. Andropov, frail and stunned by the news, nodded and gave the launch codes to the SRF commanders.
Four and one-half minutes later, at over 300 missile bunkers, the order was given....launch. Nearly 1100 Soviet ICBMs in staggered order were launched at the United States, American bases in Europe and Great Britain, and in a plan never publicly revealed at another fifty sites in the People's Republic of China.
Sept. 26, 1983
At around 12:28am, NORAD launch detection satellites detected the launch from the Soviet Union. It was apparently, to them, a Soviet FIRST-strike and President Reagan was immediately awoken and rushed to "Marine-1", to be evacuated to the Boeing E-4B Nightwatch "National Airbone Command Post". He arrived twenty minutes later and the aircraft took off at about 12:55am.
Enroute, the President was informed by Secretary of Defense Weinberger and the NORAD generals that the launch was confirmed and that it was total. Reagan gave the launch codes and ordered a full retaliatory strike, including "city-buster" missile attacks from the American submarine fleet.
Meanwhile as Andropov's helicopter was approaching the Kremlin's evacuation bunker forty miles outside of Moscow, he received a chilling report. The first "projected" missile had reached its target in Murmansk....but no detonation had occurred. Quickly checking, Soviet generals discovered that the first targets that were supposed to have been destroyed minutes earlier, showed NO incoming warheads and no detonation.
Andropov suffered a massive stroke as he realized he had just started World War-III on a false alarm. A minute later the first Soviet missile detonated in Beijing China, followed quickly by one at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska. Minutes after that, a second REAL report of incoming American missiles was reported.
Sept 26, 1983
Doomsday. Over a period of two hours, from approximately 1:15am until 3:10am, over three thousand nuclear weapons were detonated all across the Northern Hemisphere. NATO commanders were ordered to launch tactical Pershing-I missiles at Soviet tank yards, and Warsaw Pact commanders responded with the launch of their Pioneer missiles.
Chinese forces, woefully caught by surprise by the Soviet attack, were only able to launch 30% of their weapons at the USSR. Most hit cities and military bases already destroyed by American missiles and bombers.
Neither American nor Soviet nor any other citizen was given much warning of the attack. Some cities did receive alerts and while local mayors and fire chiefs were scrambling to remember where the air-raid siren was, they were either destroyed or missed in the attack.
EMP (electro-magnetic pulses) from airbursted weapons destroyed some 70% of the electronics across the Northern Hemisphere. Radios, televisions, etc. all rendered useless.
Final death toll on that first day was 1.53 billion people...from the United States, to Cuba, across to the United Kingdom, Western and Eastern Europe, the Soviet Union, China, Japan, the Phillipines, and three cities in Australia.
And a black pall of smoke, dust, and radioactive ash covered half the world.
September 1983-March 1984
Predictions of the results of a nuclear exchange from the late 70s and early 80s are fairly accurate. In addition to the initial deaths, subsequent deaths due to fall-out, out-of-control fires, starvation, dehydration, disease, etc. adds another 700 million, mostly in the Northern Hemisphere.
The predictions of "nuclear winter" however come up short. Only a 10 F. drop is noted, and as the attack occurs going into the late fall, it isn't a major effect on typical weather patterns. The dust cover does block out the sun for several days, but within a week, it dissipates and cloud patterns return to normal by mid-October.
Later in the Summer of 1984, predictions of a "nuclear summer" do come true, as nitrogen oxides and a reduced ozone layer raise temperatures to an average high 10-25 F. over normal.
Vast areas of North America, most of Europe, much of the Soviet Union, and many parts of China are uninhabitable. Radiations levels drop with the predicted two week fall-out pattern, but irradiated areas and areas where toxic chemicals have been spilt are deadly to humans contacting them. Several nuclear reactors in the US, Europe, and in the Soviet Union go critical and explode releasing further radiation into the atmosphere.
Meanwhile death tolls keep rising. By March 1984, the population of the United States has dropped to 28 million people, almost 1/10 the pre-Doomsday level. The story is similar in the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, with Great Britain knocked down a level of population unseen since the Norman Conquest.
After a week in the National Airborne Command Post jet, President Reagan is transferred to the still-surviving Mount Weather command bunker. (Oddly, though known to the Soviets for years, no attack on the facility was made.) Vice-President George Bush is relocated to the Greenbrier Hotel facility (this was to have been the Congressional relocation center, but no evacuation of Congress was possible).
Attempts at co-ordination of remaining police, fire, and especially National Guard units in the United States proved only marginally successful. With the widespread death, starvation, and fall-out, few National Guardsmen reported for duty. Most couldn't, but many (with no safe zones for their families) refused. Chaos reigned.
Two years after the war, little had improved, in fact much had worsened in the Northern Hemisphere. Food shortages were absolute. Starvation kills another 200 million people. Cannibalism of the dead wasn't un-common, and some roving gangs of former military units even killed people for food.
President Reagan and his staff at Mt. Weather were facing a dire situation. The facility was only established with two years' food supply and it was running out. Neighboring Virginia farms were abandoned and orchards were producing mutated fruit or in most cases none at all. Salvage teams from his Secret Service detail were sent out to get more, but were having little luck as the few surviving locals had picked stores and restaurants clean.
Contact with Vice-President Bush at The Greenbrier indicated the same situation was effecting them. Eventually the decision was made to evacuate the President and Vice-President from North America and fly them to Australia.
Reagan and Bush left the US on May 5th, 1985. Reagan's plane had engine trouble just after leaving one of the remaining airports in Hawaii. The E-4 Boeing lost altitude and crashed into the Pacific. Though the President and First Lady survived the crash, the life-raft they and their Secret Service team escaped on sank in a squall a day later. Nominally, George Bush became President on May 6th, 1985.
He reached Brisbane, after stops in Hawaii and Auckland, New Zealand. Prime Minister Hawke welcomed Bush, but informed him that the RAAF had lost contact with the NEACP. They waited a few days for any reports, but with none coming, Bush had a local Australian judge swear him in as President on May 8th.
In the Southern Hemisphere, radioactivity had spread to Brazil, southern Africa, and northern Australia. There was no "On The Beach" scenario; these areas suffered little permanent damage, but the destruction of trade and violent weather patterns caused them much hardships.
Australia had weathered the war the best. Though it had lost Sydney, Melbourne, and Perth, the capital at Canberra had survived and much of the population had taken shelter and had provisions. Australian agriculture was relatively intact and in the years after the war had maintained a sufficient production. Rationing of food was inacted, but it was not burdensome. Prime Minister Bob Hawke had been in office only a few months before Doomsday, but had proved an able leader.
South American countries did slightly worse. Though they had been spared any nuclear attacks, breakdowns in trade and scarcity of food for many months had taken their toll.
Sub-Saharan Africa was worse. The loss of American and European and Soviet aid had plunged most of the African nations into chaos and starvation. The economy of the Union of South Africa collapses, even under martial law, rioting runs rampant as it becomes apparent that the white minority is shunting food and fuel rations to primarily whites, while black South Africans starve. When guards abandoned the Robben Island prison, members of the ANC rescued Nelson Mandela, but the joy was short-lived as Mandela died in a bombing raid by the South African Air Force on a Pretorian black neighborhood.
The USS "Benjamin Franklin" (SSBN-640) becomes the fifth American nuclear submarine to arrive in Australia in May of 1985. Out of communications with any command authority and running out of food, the captain of the "Franklin" orders it berthed at Cairns and awaits orders from President Bush.
An "American Provisional Government" is established in Canberra, mostly attempted to garner intelligence on the situation, both in the US and across the world.
Ten years after the war, the USS "Benjamin Franklin" is re-fitted by the Royal Australian Navy and sent on an intelligence gathering mission. Her empty missile silos are filled with food, enough to last sixteen-to-eighteen months. She heads out, returning to Cairns in August 1994.
She reports that the situation in the United States is "medieval". A few towns and villages have formed themselves into barricaded sanctions, fighting off marauding ex-Army and ex-police units, scavenging for food, water and ammunition. The estimated population of the continguous US is guessed at less than 10 million. A Royal Australian Air Force pilot who volunteered to join the "Franklin" crew, found an intact Beechcraft airplane near Tillamook, Oregon and flew several hundred miles inland.
He reported reaching a vast desert as he approached the old Idaho/Nevada border. Radiation levels were minimal, but the area seemed devoid of plant and animal life. He returned and reboarded the "Franklin" as it headed down along the West Coast.
Europe and what could be reached of the Soviet Union seemed no better. Dust and windstorms prevented aerial reconaissance but the land seemed devastated. Ice cap measurements in the Arctic were unusually thin, and apparently global warming (due to the drop in plant life and rise in CO2) was occuring.
China, Japan, and much of Asia appeared to be as "medieval" as the United States. The "Franklin" crew narrowly escaped when it was attacked in Okinawa by islanders who (from observation) had become cannibals.
India, though lightly damaged from the war, had suffered mass starvation and disentegrated into numerous warlordships.
No radio or television signals were received by the "Franklin", except from Australia, Argentina, and Brazil. They reported the rise in temperatures, and an increase in UV radiation.
It became apparently, even before the "Franklin" left, that the ozone layer had suffered tremendous damage due to the effects of the nuclear explosions. Sunburns began in southern Australia after only a few minutes exposure. Ultimately many Australians (as well as other Southern Hemispherans) had to fully cover themselves (even on the hottest days) and apply generous amounts of sunscreen. (Sunscreen became a top priority, after food, for production in the surviving nations.)
Twenty years after the war, some improvements in the climate and environment were noted. With few internal combustion engines and little cattle farming, CO2 levels and accompanying temperatures apparently dropped. Ozone levels over the Antarctic showed a slight rise, though dangerous levels of UV radiation still existed in much of the Southern Hemisphere. People had grown accustomed to fully covering themselves.
The Provisional American Government ended in 1994. President Bush in consultation with Prime Minister John Howard issued a short statement to the few American expatriates in Australia, stating that it is best if they "become part of the Australian life and culture". He acted as an advisor to Howard, primarily on development of Australian oil production in Indonesia.
Another Australian recon mission of the world was undertaken in 2000. It involved the refurbished USS "Nimitz" (CVN-68), which was found floating off the coast of Papua New Guinea in 1997 (the crew dead from radiation poisoning). Loaded with fuel and supplies, it returned once again to the Northern Hemisphere (and equiped with helicopters from Australia) surveyed the west coast of the United States, Japan, and China.
The United States (atleast to the Rocky Mountains) was a scattered group of heavily fortified villages (less than 50 from Washington State to southern California), with nearly double that number abandoned or burned. Fired upon by some inhabitants, the Australian pilots made safe landings only at two. Once in Bay City, Oregon and another at Crescent City, California.
Both towns were walled and had a feudal warlords, one called "the Mayor" in Bay City, the other called "Boss Jones" in Crescent City. Starvation-level food production barely kept the villagers alive, while the warlords and their guards reaped most of the benefits of the food and fresh water. Plagues of typhus, cholera, and diptheria had depleted their numbers and neither town had a population larger than 1100 people. It was assumed this situation was repeated in much of the old United States.
Fly-overs of the land east of the Rocky Mountains revealed that grass and some trees had started to grow again in much of the formerly desert areas. Nomads were seen scavenging through ruins, but no contact was made with them. Radiation "hot zones" were detected near old nuclear power plants, but generally the radiation levels had dropped to low levels.
Prime Minister Paul Keating and the Australian Parliament create a "World Census and Reclamation Bureau" after contacting the few remaining nation-state governments left in South America, Asia, and Africa. Most of these are military dictatorships, but are eager to resume some form of international trade, both to appease their populations and to help increase their own power.
The first act of the WCRB is tally the population of the Earth. More reconnaissance missions are flown by the Australian Navy and Air Force, with temporary bases set-up in Nairobi; Bangalore; Hanoi; Nueva Laredo, Mexico; and Cartagena, Spain. Teams are sent out and, while encountering some hostiles, try to take a census of the world's population.
Their findings: Total World Population: a. 800 million. Slightly more than estimates for the year 1750 AD. Primarily in the Southern Hemisphere. Chief causes of death: communicable disease, cancer, and starvation. Infant mortality rates: about 40% or 2 of 5 die before reaching the age of one year. 60% or 3 of 5 die before reaching age five. Average life-span: 32 years. Literacy rates of those under 20 years of age: 2% (outside of Australia, Argentina, Chile, Brazil).
5 further years of worldwide recon missions followed, establishing permanent WCRB bases throughout merely habitable areas.
In India, the several short-lived warlordships continued fighting for every bit of food and supplies, although a "Union Parliament" was installed in 2008 in a small period of cease- fire. The subcontinent was not much more than a chaotic guerrila-warfare battleground.
North America: The 2009 WCRB mission, led by the "Nimitz", discovered the existence of an isolated, but functioning Canadian "capital" in Iqualuit (Nunavut). The remainders of the Canadian government evacuated in 1985 to this remote city.
An official Canadian embassador was taken back to Canberra and officially reestablished diplomatic relations. This was the first post-doomsday bilateral encounter including a Northern - Hemisphere nation.
Along with increasing stability in fulfiling basic needs, especially food supply, the South American states agreed to a loose, mainly economical, federation modeled after the former European Community. This South American Confederation - lead by Argentinian President Gilberto de Nuna and his Brazil Counterpart Da Pinto, gradually managed to increase democratic developments.
WCRB Northern office was opened in Iqualuit.
The SAC with its Headquarters in Montevideo, Uruguay now consisted of 8 South American States insisting on introducing democracy as a condition to accept new memberstates.
Australia started up expanding north to formerly Papua - New Guinea, Singapore and Indonesia, mainly in order to increase necessary industrial production and raw materials. In order not to repeat past territory claim consequences, PM Paul Keating on June 17th called for the Foundation of a new UN- like organisation.
Keating's impressing speech on the Australian National Memorial Site in Canberra was the first post-war television broadcast seen by nearly the entire world population.
And his call was answered. On September 26th, 2013, exactly 30 years after the devastating Doomsday bringing humanity at the edge of total extinction, Keating, de Nuna and da Pinto, along with representatives of the other 23 recently reestablished Nations, gathered in Canberra to sign the Foundation Charta of the New United Nations (NUN).
The 23 founding members (exact list and profiles are to follow):
South America: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Venezuela, Guyana cooperativa, Ecuador.
Canada(Iqualuit remainder government)
Nordic Union (Iceland, Norway rump government)
RZA,(Provisional Government), Mauritius
Sri Lanka, India
Australia, New Zealand, Fidji, France (South Pacific Territories (New Caledonia, French Polynesia), Federated states of Micronesia, Vanuatu, Tuvalu
obervation status MSP (Municipal States of the Pacific) on behalf of the former USA
Despite this first sign of hope, the worldwide situation only slowly increased. Still only Australia and the SAC states maintained a significant level of industrial production. World population merely stagnated, even though cancer, child mortality and analphabetism were slowly loosing ground.
In Africa, conditions were horrifying. A struggling South African Provisional Government was merely able to secure a small region around Capetown with the support of a small joint SAC- Australian Garrison. Everything north of this region was lawless warlord-ruled territory.
The Northern Hemisphere has not signifcantly changed. The annual WCRB recon missions showed no tide-changing in North America, Europe and North Asia.
The fortified cities along the Pacific coast, faced with desperate food supply and no real perspective for anyone, finally agreed upon the symbolic foundation of the MSP (Municipal States of the Pacific) with its main task of coordinating the distribution of humanitary aid received from Australia and mainly SAC countries. This very slowly started to pacify the hostilities leading to form a "Pacific Coast Police Unit" unifying the cities' security forces in order to secure the humanitary transports and infrastructure between the cities.
Europe: The successful tries to re-initiate some communication and weather satellites from a remote station in former Ireland paved way to a significant increase in multilateral communication and infrastructural rebuilding. It also allowed improved climatical surveillance.