Why is "World War III" generally synonymous with "nuclear armageddon"?

Couldn't WWIII, when and if it happens, just be on the same scale as the last two?

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  • 6 years ago
    Best Answer

    It would actually be on a smaller more tactical scale than the other two World Wars. Tactics are such now that the emphasis is on better training with higher precision weaponry and application of technology to gather larger quantities of intelligence on enemies than was previously possible.

    I think the implications of this is that one there's a greater chance of one side quickly outgunning the other side, and the other side would become desperate enough to potentially launch nuclear weaponry. I don't think most countries would resort to nuclear weaponry, understanding the full consequences of actually using them, but who knows.

    EDIT: Not "everyone" has nukes. There are seven countries confirmed to have nuclear weapons in their arsenal, one that probably has nukes but can't effectively use them (NK), and one that potentially has nukes (Israel). Of these, only Russia and America have sizable nuclear arsenals and the capability of launching them from any point globally to any other point globally. The others have negligible amounts of nuclear weaponry (though arguably even having one number is a "considerable" amount).

    EDIT 2: No nuclear armed nation (especially the US and Russia which are frontiers in non- and counter-proliferation) would even consider arming another nation, and especially not terrorist organizations, with nuclear weaponry. Forgot to mention that nuclear weapons today are used much more for deterrence. The leadership of most every country understands that if they launched nuclear weapons, regardless of it was against the RF or the US, it could immediately signify the utter destruction of their own country. The uncertainty of whether or not one of the larger powers would respond with nuclear weaponry, and the fact that many nuclear weapons in the US and RF can't even be targeted for a first-strike, is one major factor in the decision of most countries not to play with nuclear weapons.

  • 6 years ago

    "Couldn't WWIII, when and if it happens, just be on the same scale as the last two? "

    It could be; people expected World War 2 to be soaked in chemical weaponry, which it obviously ended up not being.

    However, the reason why people think WWIII would end up being a nuclear armageddon is that most of the plans people had for it called for it to be that way. We know the Russian/Soviet plans called for it (brutally honestly, the Soviets knew they could never beat the West in a conventional war-nukes were there only chance of victory). We know that a lot of the US plans called for it in certain situations. Therefore, it was probably likely that World War 3 was planned to go nuclear. And the weaponry at the time was very powerful (but highly inaccurate)

    Especially anymore, since nuclear weaponry has shrunk in size/yield and greatly increased in precision, the idea of World War 3 leading to nuclear warfare leading to nuclear armageddon is especially faulty; it's still pretty prevalent, though (and I suspect no one really has a motivation to dissuade people of that notion due to the fact that if people think everyone is going to die if we use nukes, that's a pretty good disincentive to use them in the first place).

    Source(s): Active-duty Navy
  • 6 years ago

    Because at the time the idea came about it was felt that due to the size of the nukes and the inaccuracy of the missiles about the only target that would be worth shooting at is a city. Thus we got MAD. The concept that once the nukes get used, it will be a full exchange of weapons aimed at cities and the end of the world.

    However since that time nukes have gotten much smaller to the point that we had Atomic Cannons for use by the Army, even Atomic Rifles. We have developed B61-11 Bunker busters, Neutron Bombs to stop massed armor attacks, etc. Tactical nukes. Nukes that can be used in a very controlled way for a very controlled effect. There now can be use of nuclear weapons without it going full scale. Would the USA for example fire off all its strategic nukes at China if China used a tactical nuke to destroy an aircraft carrier battle group? Or would that be considered over reacting? if the USA did fire off its nukes at China you can bet China will fire off all its nukes at the USA, there is no doubt of that.

    So the whole idea of nuclear war has changed. There really is no conventional weapon that can take out a carrier battle group. there is no conventional weapons that can destroy deep under ground bunkers. There are some situations where a tactical nuke will be the only answer and you can bet someone will use it.

  • 6 years ago

    World War III could be fought with biological and/or nuclear weapons. It is naive to think that the countries with more destructive weapons wouldn't use them. What happens are proxy wars, like Vietnam, where Russia supplies one side and the US the other, or what is happening in Syria now, Iran supplies Hezbollah and Saudi supplies al Qaeda/al Nusri. If the stronger countries come into direct conflict, there might not be much life on Earth, at least not mammals.

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  • Mark F
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Not if both sides have nuclear weapons it can't. And since both sides have nukes WW3 will be nuclear by definition. The reason there has been no conventional WW3 is because of nukes.

  • Fujaku
    Lv 5
    6 years ago

    You know how during the Cold War everyone was afraid that America and Russia would nuke each other? It would be kind of like that,expect everyone would be afraid that someone would nuke them. Just about everyone has nukes now or the ability to make nukes, and nukes are very good weapons. Thus the nuclear armageddon begins...

  • 6 years ago

    What's to stop a nuclear-armed country, facing defeat, from using nuclear weapons to try and stave off that defeat in desperation? How do the receiving countries respond?

  • 6 years ago

    This is the first WW III question I have seen today. I must be sleeping.

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