1989-1992: EUROPEAN CRISIS
The occurrence of World War III had been a major fear of the entire globe long. When World War II concluded with the defeat of Nazi Germany and the Empire of Japan in 1945, the world's major political powers began to consolidate their own powers in an effort to ensure that such a conflict of such a destructive scale never repeated itself. Unfortunately, they also sought to increase their own influence in the world abroad, creating major political, military and social tensions that sowed the first seeds of a third world war.
After World War II, the United States of America and the Soviet Union became the two major superpowers of the world, and worked with their allies to ensure that a conflict in Europe did not break out again. The two sides, along with their European allies, occupied Germany and reorganized it into the democratic West Germany and the communist East Germany. The U.S. formed an alliance with Western Europe that eventually materialized into NATO, while the Soviet Union formed the Warsaw Pact in Eastern Europe and erected the Iron Curtain, the major political division between the West and the East. The Berlin Wall was then erected between Allied-controlled West Berlin and Soviet-controlled East Berlin, creating major tensions between the two powers. Determined to keep either side from superseding each others authority, the two superpowers created major alliances with other nations and engaged in an arms race, which saw the two sides increase military expenditures and military authority overseas, as well as the mass production of nuclear weapons. Fearing the outbreak of nuclear war that could potentially annihilate the world, the two sides engaged in diplomatic efforts to ensure peace between the two powers, while engaging in proxy wars within satellite nations and expanding their arsenals. From 1945, the world engaged in a long and deadly period of political tension known as the Cold War, with the world anxiously wondering if they would one day be plunged into war.
The Cold War finally reached its critical stage during the Spring of 1989. A GDR border guard notices an escape attempt across the Berlin Wall and is faced with the decision of whether to fire or not on the fleeing citizen. The escapee reaches West Berlin as the guard begins shooting. He hits the escapee and several Western citizens, causing a nearby police officer to return fire. This incident causes severe tensions between the GDR and the FRG.
Meanwhile, Mikhail Gorbachev's plane fails to land in Moscow and his fate is left unknown. The Soviet government claims he has retired for personal reasons, allowing hardliners to seize power. During the late hours of Friday, September 15, news broadcasts report a "widespread rebellion among several divisions of the East German Army"; as a result, the Soviets blockade West Berlin. Tensions mount, the United States issues an ultimatum that the Soviets stand down from the blockade by 6:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time the next day, or it will be interpreted as an act of war. The Soviets refuse, and the President of the United States puts all U.S. military around the world at DEFCON 2.
On Saturday, September 16, NATO forces in West Germany invade East Germany through the Helmstedt checkpoint to free Berlin. The Soviets hold the Marienborn corridor and inflict heavy casualties on NATO troops. Two Soviet-built MiG-25RBs cross into West German airspace and bomb a NATO munitions storage facility, but also hit a school and a hospital. The Soviet capital, Moscow, is being evacuated and at this point people in major U.S. cities are shown to begin mass evacuations. Under the command of skilled officers, the Soviets were able to defeat most of the NATO forces there. Tanks smashed through the Berlin Wall and overwhelmed the defenders. The attack was swift and deadly, and before the end of the day, they had seized part of West Germany, opening another offensive front. Soviet forces counter the NATO advance by invading West Germany through the Fulda Gup; NATO counterattacks and comes to the assistance of West Germany. There follow unconfirmed reports that nuclear weapons are used in Wiesbaden and in the outskirts of Frankfurt. As the red banner was raised over Berlin, the Soviets continued their momentum with a concentrated attack on West Germany.
Meanwhile, in the Persian Gulf, naval warfare erupts, as radio reports tell of ship sinkings on both sides.
In West Germany, the battle becomes a war of attrition that the Soviets expect to win, having greater reserves of men and materiel. NATO holds the Warsaw Pact forces to small but continual advances, but only through unsustainably high ammunition usage, and as the Soviet success in destroying the Atlantic convoys continues things start to look grim for the NATO forces. The Soviet Army has reached the Rhine. Not wanting Soviet forces to invade France and the rest of Western Europe, the U.S. halts the Soviet advance by airbursting three low-yield nuclear bombs over advancing Soviet troops. Soviet forces counter by launching a nuclear strike on NATO's headquarters in Brussels. In response, the United States Strategic Air Command begins scrambling some of its B-52 bombers.
With the Politburo contemplating the use of strategic nuclear weapons, a ceasefire is sought by the Soviets and accepted by an exhausted NATO, and the aftermath of the war is left unwritten.