Alternative History

The history of the United States of America in the 1983: Doomsday timeline

Doomsday, Sept. 26, 1983 (SEP 25 1983 - 20:45 PM EDT )

The fatal decision to launch the nuclear missiles at the United States is given.

Nearly 1100 Soviet ICBM's in staggered waves are on their way.

20:45 pm: NORAD launch detection satellites report the incoming 1100 ICBM's from the Soviet Union.

It is apparently, to them, a Soviet FIRST-strike and President Reagan is immediately awakened and rushed to "Marine-1", to be evacuated to the Boeing E-4B Nightwatch "National Airborne Command Post" permanently standing by. He arrives 20 minutes later and the aircraft takes off at about 1:09 AM - UTC-21:09 EDT

En route, the President is informed by Secretary of Defense Weinberger and the NORAD generals that the launch is confirmed and that it was total. Reagan gives the launch codes and orders a full retaliatory strike, including "city-buster" missile attacks from the American submarine fleet.

A minute later the first Soviet missile detonates in Beijing, China and nearly simultaneously by one at Elmendorf Air Force Base in Alaska.

Doomsday clock strikes

Doomsday. Over a period of two hours, from approximately 1:15 AM until 3:10 AM UTC, over 3,000 nuclear weapons detonate all across the Northern Hemisphere. NATO commanders are ordered to launch tactical Pershing-I missiles at Soviet tank yards, and Warsaw Pact commanders respond with the launch of their Pioneer missiles.

No American 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 airburst weapons destroy some 70% of the electronics across the United States. Radios and televisions are rendered useless.

The final death toll on that first day is 1.53 billion people world-wide.

Aftermath - September 1983-March 1984

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 of 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 report for duty. Most couldn't, but many (with no safe zones for their families) refused. Chaos reigned.

By Christmas 1983, Hawaii is apparently the only US state with a still-functioning government, but shortages of food and medicine caused violence between various factions. The conflict was barely held in check by the imposition of harsh Marxist-style labor quotas and rations.

Predictions of the results of a nuclear exchange from the late 70s and early 80s prove fairly accurate. In addition to the initial deaths, subsequent deaths due to fall-out, out-of-control fires, starvation, dehydration, disease, etc. adds several more billion.

The predictions of a "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 the United States are uninhabitable. Radiation levels drop with the predicted two week fall-out pattern, but irradiated areas and areas where toxic chemicals have been spilled are deadly to humans contacting them. Several nuclear reactors in the US go critical and explode releasing further radiation into the atmosphere.

By March 1984, the population of the United States has dropped to 28 million people, almost 1/10 the pre-Doomsday level.

All over the United States, food shortages are absolute. Cannibalism of the dead is not uncommon, and some roving gangs of former military units even kill people for food.

President Reagan and his staff at Mt. Weather are facing a dire situation. The facility was only established with two years' food supply and it is running out. Neighboring Virginia farms were abandoned and orchards are producing mutated fruit or in most cases none at all. Salvage teams from his Secret Service have been sent out to get more, but are 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. On May 23rd 1984 the decision was made to evacuate the President and Vice-President from North America and fly them to Australia.

Reagan and Bush leave the US on May 5th, 1984. But the American Government leaving the devastated country will not be the worst thing to happen on that probably worst day in U.S. History. Both Bush and Reagan make it to Hawaii. But then destiny strikes:

Reagan's plane has engine trouble just after leaving one of the few remaining airports on Big Island. The E-4 Boeing loses altitude and crashes into the Pacific. Though the President and First Lady survive the crash, the life-raft they and their Secret Service team escaped on sinks in a squall a day later. Nominally, George Bush becomes President on May 6th, 1984. He finally reaches Brisbane, after a second stop in Auckland, New Zealand. Prime Minister Hawke welcomes Bush, but informs him that the RAAF had lost contact with the NEACP.

They wait a few days for any reports, but with none coming, Bush has a local Australian judge swear him in as President on May 8th (This becoming the first inauguration not held on U.S. soil. An "American Provisional Administration" is then established in Canberra, mostly attempted to garner intelligence on the situation, both in the US and across the world. This first government-in-exile of the US is in fact little more then a symbolic form of sovereignty continuation, with one exception.

It quickly becomes vital for the Australia/ NZ and the U.S. that besides the top priority of food and medical supply to the population, national security should be the main focus. In order to avoid future threats by third parties utilizing the superior US military technology, the already existing ANZUS defense pact between the United States, Australia and New Zealand is modified and extended. The most important part of the agreement is the decision that all remains of the American and as far as possible NATO- army, Navy and Air Force are immediately placed under corporate ANZUS command. So, on June 1st, the ANZUS Order 001/1984 is given by the joint ANZUS Head Command set up in Brisbane. This order – today famous as the “Final Gathering” Order- is to be sent to all reachable U.S. (and NATO) units. It orders all units capable to do so to set course for Australian, New Zealand and Hawaiian territory. If this can not be realized, all surviving units in defined geographical area are routed to the nearest suiting gathering point to which ANZUS supply convoys are sent.

Response of American Forces scattered around the globes are few, but steadily increasing. The first units to report are several nuclear submarines. They set course for ports in ANZUS territory.

Due to satellite communication proving impossible only slowly several scattered naval units report from the Pacific and Indian Ocean. They are ordered to assemble at several points considered suitable, mainly not-destroyed British and American naval bases on remote islands. The most part of the regrouping flotillas consist of submarines, frigates and destroyers from NATO countries and remains of American Carrier Fleets. Civilian freighter convoys are heading to the specified destinations.

On November 6th, the USS "Benjamin Franklin" (SSBN-640) becomes the fifth American nuclear submarine to arrive in ANZUS territory so far. Nearly running out of food, the “Franklin” enters the harbour of Cairns.

On November 18th, a great relief brings the response of the American carrier USS “Carl Vinson” and a small accompanying fleet from the harbour of Papeete, Tahiti. It was feared that all carrier groups had been destroyed by direct nuclear attacks. But –apparently- due to malfunctioning ICBM'S the Carl Vinson carrier group was not destroyed and was able so set course south to escape the radiation in the Northern Hemisphere. On December 8th the Carl Vinson Group arrive in Cairns.


Vermont Governor George Snelling resumed his duties in January, and on January 25, the state's General Assembly reconvened.

On February 4, a provisional state government for New Hampshire was formed in the city of Manchester.

In Utah, the calling of eight new apostles by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the calling of Bill Orton to serve as Governor pro tempore by Mormon church President Gordon B. Hinckley, was announced in April. The state capital was relocated to FIllmore, the church headquarters to Manti.

On May 19, Robert S. Stowe declared the formation of the Republic of Superior. The constitutional convention was held in Marquette on July 4; the Superior Constitution was, with a few minor changes, an exact copy of the United States Constitution as it existed on September 25, 1983.

On July 24, the constitution for the Republic of Vermont was signed and ratified. Snelling, as Governor, became acting President until the November elections. On July 25, New Hampshire was admitted into Vermont as a county, and the two former state governments formally merged into one Republic.


More to come....

Landscape of the USA 2 years after Doomsday


In British Columbia, the Social Survival Party MP from Vancouver Island North submitted a bill to Parliament in March, suggesting that since contact with Canada had still not been established, and progress was being made to make the remnants of British Columbia self-sufficient, the final step of establishing the incorporated territories as an independent nation should be made. The bill was passed on October 2, formally establishing the Republic of Victoria, which incorporated all of the territories of Vancouver Island and the British Columbia coast.


In Hawaii, the assassination of the dictatorial Governor Goldblatt sparks a new round of intense civil war.


US and Australian troops go to Hawaii, accompanied by Bush himself. They manage to restore order and transfer power to a military committee answerable to the Provisional American Administration in Canberra.


The military supervised elections in November bring a democratically elected government back to Hawaii, although the strict quotas and rations remained a fact of life.


In January, Harry Kim sworn in as Hawaii's new governor.


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 16-to-18 months. Besides, the captain receives full diplomatic mandate to contact any remaining nation-like governments, except “apparent illegitimate dictatorship”. She heads out, returning to Cairns in August 1992.

First destination is the old U.S. from where she confirms the regular reports from Hawaii:

The situation in the continental 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 contiguous US is guessed at less than ten 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.

1995 –End of an Era

On August 15th, Australia and New Zealand declare their formal unification as the Commonwealth of Australia and New Zealand" (commonly known as ANZC or ANZ).

The Provisional American Administration formally ends on May 1st, 1995. President Bush in consultation with Prime Minister John Howard issues a short statement to the American expatriates and forces in Australia, stating that it is best if they "become part of the Australian life and culture". He acts as an advisor to Howard, primarily on development of Australian oil production in Indonesia. This de facto – though not nominally- marks the end of the 219 – year long history of the United States of America that started in 1776. But the door for a legitimate successor to take up the former superpower's mantle remains open as the famous “Continuity Act” declares the United States Sovereignty and Constitution “temporarily suspended until a legitimate successor –continuing the US traditions of Freedom and Democracy- is elected by the American people”.

All remaining U.S. American military forces and material (ships, submarines, bases, personnel) are formally integrated into the ANZC military.

The surviving U.S. territories or mandatory territories hold a popular vote over their future status. American Samoa, Micronesia, and the Marshall Islands decide to become incorporated into the ANZC while Hawaii votes to become an independent but associated territory to the ANZC, similar to like Puerto Rico has been to the US. When Hawaiians draft a new Constitution, they restore the old monarchy under King Andrew I.


The Aircraft carrier USS "Carl Vinson” (CVN-70) is rechristened as the ANZS "Commonwealth" (ANZS-01) and becomes the new Flagship of the combined ANZC Navy. New principal ANZC naval base is set up in Cairns.


In April 2000 another ANZC recon mission of to the old US (headed by the ANZC flagship “Commonwealth”) is undertaken.

The former US (at least west of the Rocky Mountains) have melted down to 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 make safe landings only at two. Once in Bay City, Oregon and another at Crescent City, California.

Both towns are walled and had feudal warlords, one called "the Mayor" in Bay City, the other called "Boss Jones" in Crescent City. Starvation-level food production barely keeps the villagers alive, while the warlords and their guards reap most of the benefits of the food and fresh water. Plagues of typhus, cholera, and diphtheria had depleted their numbers and neither town had a population larger than 1100 people. It is assumed this situation has repeated in much of the old United States.

Fly-overs of the land east of the Rocky Mountains reveal that grass and some trees have started to grow again in much of the formerly desert areas. Nomads are seen scavenging through ruins, but no contact was made with them. Radiation "hot zones" are detected near old nuclear power plants, but generally the radiation has dropped to low levels.


The fortified cities along the U.S. Pacific coast, facing desperate food supply and no real perspective for anyone, finally agreed to accept the conditions set up by both the ANZ and SAC for delivering humanitarian aid: the symbolic foundation of the MSP - Municipal States of the Pacific with its main task of coordinating the distribution of the humanitarian aid. The second condition to form a "Pacific Coast Police Unit" unifying the cities' security forces in order to secure the humanitarian transports and infrastructure is fulfilled as well.

The signature of the MSP Contract takes place on July 4th, 2006 at Crescent City. 11 years after the “Continuity Act” former Pres. Bush describes his feelings as: “The seed of the spirit of the United States has survived on U.S. soil. Maybe one day our glorious heritage will be continued..."