Nuclear holocaust

A nuclear holocaust, nuclear apocalypse or atomic holocaust is a theoretical scenario involving widespread destruction and radioactive fallout causing the collapse of civilization, through the use of nuclear weapons. Under such a scenario, some or all of the Earth is made uninhabitable by nuclear warfare in future world wars.

Besides the immediate destruction of cities by nuclear blasts, the potential aftermath of a nuclear war could involve firestorms, a nuclear winter, widespread radiation sickness from fallout, and/or the temporary loss of much modern technology due to electromagnetic pulses. Some scientists, such as Alan Robock, have speculated that a thermonuclear war could result in the end of modern civilization on Earth, in part due to a long-lasting nuclear winter. In one model, the average temperature of Earth following a full thermonuclear war falls for several years by 7 to 8 degrees Celsius on average.[1]

Early Cold War-era studies suggested that billions of humans would nonetheless survive the immediate effects of nuclear blasts and radiation following a global thermonuclear war.[2][3][4][5] Some scholars argue that nuclear war could indirectly contribute to human extinction via secondary effects, including environmental consequences, societal breakdown, and economic collapse. Additionally, it has been argued that even a relatively small-scale nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan involving 100 Hiroshima yield (15 kilotons) weapons, could cause a nuclear winter and kill more than a billion people.[6]

Since 1947, the Doomsday Clock of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has visualized how close the world is to a nuclear war.

The threat of a nuclear holocaust plays an important role in the popular perception of nuclear weapons. It features in the security concept of mutually assured destruction (MAD) and is a common scenario in survivalism. Nuclear holocaust is a common feature in literature and film, especially in speculative genres such as science fiction, dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction.

Castle romeo2
Mushroom cloud from the explosion of Castle Romeo in 1954.

Etymology and usage

The English word "holocaust", derived from the Greek term "holokaustos" meaning "completely burnt", refers to great destruction and loss of life, especially by fire.[7][8]

One early use of the word "holocaust" to describe an imagined nuclear destruction appears in Reginald Glossop's 1926 novel The Orphan of Space: "Moscow ... beneath them ... a crash like a crack of Doom! The echoes of this Holocaust rumbled and rolled ... a distinct smell of sulphur ... atomic destruction."[9] In the novel, an atomic weapon is planted in the office of the Soviet dictator, who, with German help and Chinese mercenaries, is preparing the takeover of Western Europe.

References to nuclear destruction often speak of "atomic holocaust" or "nuclear holocaust.” For instance, U.S. President Bush stated in August 2007: "Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust".[10]

Likelihood of nuclear war

As of 2016, humanity has about 15,000 nuclear weapons, thousands of which are on hair-trigger alert.[11][12] While stockpiles have been on the decline following the end of the Cold War, every nuclear country is currently undergoing modernization of its nuclear arsenal.[13][14][15] Some experts believe this modernization may increase the risk of nuclear proliferation, nuclear terrorism, and accidental nuclear war.[16]

John F. Kennedy estimated the probability of the Cuban Missile Crisis escalating to nuclear conflict as between 33% and 50%.[17][18]

In a poll of experts at the Global Catastrophic Risk Conference in Oxford (17‐20 July 2008), the Future of Humanity Institute estimated the probability of complete human extinction by nuclear weapons at 1% within the century, the probability of 1 billion dead at 10% and the probability of 1 million dead at 30%.[19] These results reflect the median opinions of a group of experts, rather than a probabilistic model; the actual values may be much lower or higher.

Scientists have argued that even a small-scale nuclear war between two countries could have devastating global consequences and such local conflicts are more likely than full-scale nuclear war.[6][20][21][22]

Moral importance of human extinction risk

In his book Reasons and Persons, philosopher Derek Parfit posed the following question:[23]

Compare three outcomes:

  1. Peace.
  2. A nuclear war that kills 99% of the world’s existing population.
  3. A nuclear war that kills 100%.

(2) would be worse than (1), and (3) would be worse than (2). Which is the greater of these two differences?

He continues that "Most people believe that the greater difference is between (1) and (2). I believe that the difference between (2) and (3) is very much greater." Thus, he argues, even if it would be bad if massive numbers of humans died, human extinction would itself be much worse because it prevents the existence of all future generations. And given the magnitude of the calamity were the human race to become extinct, Nick Bostrom argues that there is an overwhelming moral imperative to reduce even small risks of human extinction.[24]

Likelihood of complete human extinction

US and USSR nuclear stockpiles
The United States and Soviet Union/Russia nuclear stockpiles, in total number of nuclear bombs/warheads in existence throughout the Cold War and post-Cold War era.

Many scholars have posited that a global thermonuclear war with Cold War-era stockpiles, or even with the current smaller stockpiles, may lead to human extinction. This position was bolstered when nuclear winter was first conceptualized and modelled in 1983. However, models from the past decade consider total extinction very unlikely, and suggest parts of the world would remain habitable.[25] Technically the risk may not be zero, as the climactic effects of nuclear war are uncertain and could theoretically be larger than current models suggest, just as they could theoretically be smaller than current models suggest. There could also be indirect risks, such as a societal collapse following nuclear war that can make humanity much more vulnerable to other existential threats.[26]

A related area of inquiry is: if a future nuclear arms race someday leads to larger stockpiles or more dangerous nuclear weapons than existed at the height of the Cold War, at what point could a war with such weapons result in human extinction?[26] Physicist Leo Szilard warned in the 1950s that a deliberate "doomsday device" could be constructed by surrounding powerful hydrogen bombs with a massive amount of cobalt. Cobalt has a half-life of five years, and its global fallout might, some physicists have posited, be able to clear out all human life via lethal radiation intensity. The main motivation for building a cobalt bomb in this scenario is its reduced expense compared with the arsenals possessed by superpowers; such a doomsday device does not need to be launched before detonation, and thus does not require expensive missile delivery systems, and the hydrogen bombs do not need to be miniaturized for delivery via missile. The system for triggering it might have to be completely automated, in order for the deterrent to be effective. A modern twist might be to also lace the bombs with aerosols designed to exacerbate nuclear winter. A major caveat is that nuclear fallout transfer between the northern and southern hemispheres is expected to be small; unless a bomb detonates in each hemisphere, the effect of a bomb detonated in one hemisphere on the other is diminished.[27]

Effects of nuclear war

Historically, it has been difficult to estimate the total number of deaths resulting from a global nuclear exchange because scientists are continually discovering new effects of nuclear weapons, and also revising existing models.

Early reports considered direct effects from nuclear blast and radiation and indirect effects from economic, social, and political disruption. In a 1979 report for the U.S. Senate, the Office of Technology Assessment estimated casualties under different scenarios. For a full-scale countervalue/counterforce nuclear exchange between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, they predicted U.S. deaths from 35 to 77 percent (70 million to 160 million dead at the time), and Soviet deaths from 20 to 40 percent of the population.[28]

Although this report was made when nuclear stockpiles were at much higher levels than they are today, it also was made before the risk of nuclear winter was discovered in the early 1980s. Additionally, it did not consider other secondary effects, such electromagnetic pulses (EMP), and the ramifications they would have on modern technology and industry.

Nuclear winter

In the early 1980s, scientists began to consider the effects of smoke and soot arising from burning wood, plastics, and petroleum fuels in nuclear-devastated cities. It was speculated that the intense heat would carry these particulates to extremely high altitudes where they could drift for weeks and block out all but a fraction of the sun's light.[29] A landmark 1983 study by the so-called TTAPS team (Richard P. Turco, Owen Toon, Thomas P. Ackerman, James B. Pollack and Carl Sagan) was the first to model these effects and coined the term "nuclear winter."[30]

More recent studies make use of modern global circulation models and far greater computer power than was available for the 1980s studies. A 2007 study examined consequences of a global nuclear war involving moderate to large portions of the current global arsenal.[31] The study found cooling by about 12–20 °C in much of the core farming regions of the US, Europe, Russia and China and as much as 35 °C in parts of Russia for the first two summer growing seasons. The changes they found were also much longer lasting than previously thought, because their new model better represented entry of soot aerosols in the upper stratosphere, where precipitation does not occur, and therefore clearance was on the order of 10 years.[22] In addition, they found that global cooling caused a weakening of the global hydrological cycle, reducing global precipitation by about 45%.

The authors did not discuss the implications for agriculture in depth, but noted that a 1986 study which assumed no food production for a year projected that "most of the people on the planet would run out of food and starve to death by then" and commented that their own results show that, "This period of no food production needs to be extended by many years, making the impacts of nuclear winter even worse than previously thought."[31]

In contrast to the above investigations of global nuclear conflicts, studies have shown that even small-scale, regional nuclear conflicts could disrupt the global climate for a decade or more. In a regional nuclear conflict scenario where two opposing nations in the subtropics would each use 50 Hiroshima-sized nuclear weapons (about 15 kiloton each) on major populated centres, the researchers estimated as much as five million tons of soot would be released, which would produce a cooling of several degrees over large areas of North America and Eurasia, including most of the grain-growing regions.[20][21][22] The cooling would last for years, and according to the research, could be "catastrophic". Additionally, the analysis showed a 10% drop in average global precipitation, with the largest losses in the low latitudes due to failure of the monsoons.

Regional nuclear conflicts could also inflict significant damage to the ozone layer. A 2008 study found that a regional nuclear weapons exchange could create a near-global ozone hole, triggering human health problems and impacting agriculture for at least a decade.[32] This effect on the ozone would result from heat absorption by soot in the upper stratosphere, which would modify wind currents and draw in ozone-destroying nitrogen oxides. These high temperatures and nitrogen oxides would reduce ozone to the same dangerous levels we now experience below the ozone hole above Antarctica every spring.[22]

Nuclear famine

It is difficult to estimate the number of casualties that would result from nuclear winter, but it is likely that the primary effect would be global famine (known as Nuclear Famine), wherein mass starvation occurs due to disrupted agricultural production and distribution.[33] In a 2013 report, the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) concluded that more than two billion people, about a third of the world's population, would be at risk of starvation in the event of a regional nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, or by the use of even a small proportion of nuclear arms held by the U.S. and Russia.[6][34] Several independent studies show corroborated conclusions that agricultural outputs will be significantly reduced for years by climatic changes driven by nuclear wars. Reduction of food supply will be further exacerbated by rising food prices, affecting hundreds of millions of vulnerable people, especially in the poorest nations of the world.

Electromagnetic pulse

An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) is a burst of electromagnetic radiation. Nuclear explosions create a pulse of electromagnetic radiation called a nuclear EMP or NEMP. Such EMP interference is known to be generally disruptive or damaging to electronic equipment. If a single nuclear weapon "designed to emit EMP were detonated 250 to 300 miles up over the middle of the country it would disable the electronics in the entire United States."[35]

Given that many of the comforts and necessities we enjoy in the 21st century are predicated on electronics and their functioning, an EMP would disable hospitals, water treatment facilities, food storage facilities, and all electronic forms of communication. An EMP blast threatens the foundation which supports the existence of the modern human condition. Certain EMP attacks could lead to large loss of power for months or years.[36] Currently, failures of the power grid are dealt with using support from the outside. In the event of an EMP attack, such support would not exist and all damaged components, devices, and electronics would need to be completely replaced.

In 2013, the US House of Representatives considered the "Secure High-voltage Infrastructure for Electricity from Lethal Damage Act" that would provide surge protection for some 300 large transformers around the country.[37] The problem of protecting civilian infrastructure from electromagnetic pulse has also been intensively studied throughout the European Union, and in particular by the United Kingdom.[38] While precautions have been taken, James Woolsey and the EMP Commission suggested that an EMP is the most significant threat to the U.S.[36][39] The greatest threat to human survival in the aftermath of an EMP blast would be the inability to access clean drinking water. For comparison, in the aftermath of the 2010 Haitian earthquake, the water infrastructure had been devastated and led to at least 3,333 deaths from cholera in the first few months after the earthquake. Other countries would similarly see the resurgence of previously non-existent diseases as clean water becomes increasingly scarce.

The risk of an EMP, either through solar or atmospheric activity or enemy attack, while not dismissed, was suggested to be overblown by the news media in a commentary in Physics Today.[40] Instead, the weapons from rogue states were still too small and uncoordinated to cause a massive EMP, underground infrastructure is sufficiently protected, and there will be enough warning time from continuous solar observatories like SOHO to protect surface transformers should a devastating solar storm be detected.[40]

Nuclear fallout

Nuclear fallout is the residual radioactive dust and ash propelled into the upper atmosphere following a nuclear explosion.[41] Fallout is usually limited to the immediate area, and can only spread for hundreds of miles from the explosion site if the explosion is high enough in the atmosphere. Fallout may get entrained with the products of a pyrocumulus cloud and fall as black rain[42] (rain darkened by soot and other particulates).

This radioactive dust, usually consisting of fission products mixed with bystanding atoms that are neutron activated by exposure, is a highly dangerous kind of radioactive contamination. The main radiation hazard from fallout is due to short-lived radionuclides external to the body.[43] While most of the particles carried by nuclear fallout decay rapidly, some radioactive particles will have half-lives of seconds to a few months. Some radioactive isotopes, like strontium 90 and cesium 137, are very long lived and will create radioactive hot spots for up to 5 years after the initial explosion.[43] Fallout and black rain may contaminate waterways, agriculture, and soil. Contact with radioactive materials can lead to radiation poisoning through external exposure or accidental consumption. In acute doses over a short amount of time radiation will lead to prodromal syndrome, bone marrow death, central nervous system death and gastrointestinal death.[44] Over longer periods of exposure to radiation, cancer becomes the main health risk. Long term radiation exposure can also lead to in utero effects on human development and transgenerational genetic damage.[44][45]

Origins and analysis of extinction hypotheses

As a result of the extensive nuclear fallout of the 1954 Castle Bravo nuclear detonation, author Nevil Shute wrote the popular novel On the Beach which was released in 1957, in this novel so much fallout is generated in a nuclear war that all human life is extinguished. However the premise that all of humanity would die following a nuclear war and only the "cockroaches would survive" is critically dealt with in the 1988 book Would the Insects Inherit the Earth and Other Subjects of Concern to Those Who Worry About Nuclear War by nuclear weapons expert Philip J. Dolan.

In 1982 nuclear disarmament activist Jonathan Schell published The Fate of the Earth, which is regarded by many to be the first carefully argued presentation that concluded that extinction is a significant possibility from nuclear war. However, the assumptions made in this book have been thoroughly analyzed and determined to be "quite dubious".[46] The impetus for Schell's work, according to physicist Brian Martin, was to argue that "if the thought of 500 million people dying in a nuclear war is not enough to stimulate action, then the thought of extinction will. Indeed, Schell explicitly advocates use of the fear of extinction as the basis for inspiring the "complete rearrangement of world politics".[46]

The belief in "overkill" is also commonly encountered, with an example being the following statement made by nuclear disarmament activist Philip Noel-Baker in 1971 – "Both the US and the Soviet Union now possess nuclear stockpiles large enough to exterminate mankind three or four – some say ten – times over". Brian Martin suggested that the origin of this belief was from "crude linear extrapolations", and when analyzed it has no basis in reality.[4] Similarly, it is common to see stated that the combined explosive energy released in the entirety of World War II was about 3 megatons, while a nuclear war with warhead stockpiles at Cold War highs would release 6000 WWII's of explosive energy.[47] An estimate for the necessary amount of fallout to begin to have the potential of causing human extinction is regarded by physicist and disarmament activist Joseph Rotblat to be 10 to 100 times the megatonnage in nuclear arsenals as they stood in 1976; however, with the world megatonnage decreasing since the Cold War ended this possibility remains hypothetical.[4]

According to the 1980 United Nations report General and Complete Disarmament: Comprehensive Study on Nuclear Weapons: Report of the Secretary-General, it was estimated that there were a total of about 40,000 nuclear warheads in existence at that time, with a potential combined explosive yield of approximately 13,000 megatons.

By comparison, in the Timeline of volcanism on Earth when the volcano Mount Tambora erupted in 1815 – turning 1816 into the Year Without A Summer due to the levels of global dimming sulfate aerosols and ash expelled – it exploded with a force of roughly 800 to 1,000 megatons, and ejected 160 km3 (38 cu mi) of mostly rock/tephra,[48] which included 120 million tonnes of sulfur dioxide as an upper estimate.[49] A larger eruption, approximately 74,000 years ago, in Mount Toba produced 2,800 km3 (670 cu mi) of tephra, forming lake Toba,[50] and produced an estimated 6,000 million tonnes (6.6×109 short tons) of sulfur dioxide.[51][52] The explosive energy of the eruption may have been as high as equivalent to 20,000,000 megatons (Mt) of TNT, while the Chicxulub impact, connected with the extinction of the dinosaurs, corresponds to at least 70,000,000 Mt of energy, which is roughly 7000 times the maximum arsenal of the US and Soviet Union.

However, it must be noted that comparisons with supervolcanos are more misleading than helpful due to the different aerosols released, the likely air burst fuzing height of nuclear weapons and the globally scattered location of these potential nuclear detonations all being in contrast to the singular and subterranean nature of a supervolcanic eruption.[53] Moreover, assuming the entire world stockpile of weapons were grouped together, it would be difficult due to the nuclear fratricide effect to ensure the individual weapons would detonate all at once. Nonetheless, many people believe that a full-scale nuclear war would result, through the nuclear winter effect, in the extinction of the human species, though not all analysts agree on the assumptions inputted into these nuclear winter models.[2]

See also


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External links

1955 State of the Union Address

The 1955 State of the Union Address was given by the 34th President of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, on Thursday, January 6, 1955, to the 84th United States Congress. He said, "Every citizen wants to give full expression to his God-given talents and abilities and to have the recognition and respect accorded under our religious and political traditions." He also said, "To protect our nations and our peoples from the catastrophe of a "nuclear holocaust", free nations must maintain countervailing military power to persuade the Communists of the futility of seeking their ends through aggression." He is referring to what seemed to be the high likelihood of nuclear warfare of the time.

He ended with, "And so, I know with all my heart--and I deeply believe that all Americans know--that, despite the anxieties of this divided world, our faith, and the cause in which we all believe, will surely prevail." This address was given in his first term (1953-1957), in Washington, D.C.

1960s in film

Historical drama films continued to include epics, in the style of Ben-Hur from 1959, with Cleopatra (1963), but also evolving with 20th-century settings, such as The Guns of Navarone (1961), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965).

Psychological horror films extended, beyond the stereotypical monster films of Dracula/Frankenstein or Wolfman, to include more twisted films, such as Psycho (1960) and Roger Corman's Poe adaptations for American International Pictures as well as British companies Hammer Horror and Amicus Productions. Other European filmmakers like Mario Bava directed many notable horror films.

Comedy films became more elaborate, such as The Pink Panther (1963), The President's Analyst (1967), or A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966). Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) elevated the concept of a comedy-drama, where the subtle comedy conceals the harsher elements of the drama beneath, and Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove (1964) set a new standard for satire by turning a story about nuclear holocaust into a sophisticated black comedy.

Beyond the trenchcoat and film noir, spy films expanded with worldly settings and hi-tech gadgets, such as the James Bond films Dr. No (1962) or Goldfinger (1964) and Thunderball (1965). This Spy mania extended throughout the world with many countries notable Italy and Spain producing many of their own fantastical spy films.

Similar to spy films, the heist or caper film included worldly settings and hi-tech gadgets, as in the original Ocean's Eleven (1960), Topkapi (1964) or The Thomas Crown Affair (1968).

The spaghetti westerns (made in Italy and Spain), were typified by Clint Eastwood films, such as For a Few Dollars More (1965) or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966). Several other American and Italian actors were also prominent in such westerns including Lee Van Cleef and Franco Nero.

Science-fiction or fantasy films employed a wider range of special effects, as in the original of The Time Machine (1960) and Mysterious Island (1961), or with animated aliens or mythical creatures, as in the Harryhausen animation for Jason and the Argonauts (1963) and One Million Years B.C. (1966). Some extensive sets were built to simulate alien worlds or zero-gravity chambers, as in space-station and spaceship sets for the epic 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), the psychedelic, space settings for the erotic Barbarella (1968), and with ape-city in the original Planet of the Apes (1968). Russian fairy-tale fantasy was also prominent with the likes of Aleksandr Rou directing many such films.Beginning in the middle of the decade due to the start of the cultural revolution and the abolition of the Hays Code, films became increasingly experimental and daring and were taking shape of what was to define the 1970s.

Bearers of the Black Staff

Bearers of the Black Staff is a fantasy novel by American writer Terry Brooks, released on August 24, 2010 as the first of a two-part series called the Legends of Shannara. In the series' timeline, it falls between the Genesis of Shannara trilogy and the First King of Shannara. It takes place 500 years after the events of the final Genesis book, The Gypsy Morph. The people who were saved by Hawk's magic will be able to head out into the world once again now that the effects of nuclear holocaust have dissipated.The sequel is the 2011 novel The Measure of the Magic.

Brand New Morning (Magnum album)

Brand New Morning is the 13th studio album by the English rock band Magnum, released in 2004 by SPV.

"We All Run" is an apocalyptic song. "It's actually about the nuclear holocaust", Tony Clarkin explained. "The idea of the song is we all ignore the important things in life. And the actual verse is that it is really poetic license trying to create a picture "We all run" as "We don't care anymore". Like the cities are burning, like people are starving to death. That's what it means."The lyrics to "Brand New Morning" can be considered as a reflection by Clarkin, following the heart attack he suffered in 2002. Bob Catley commented, "We are a heavy lyric band. With the song "Brand New Morning" it is like the first day of the rest of your life. Forget everything else. Just wake up with the sun shining and start living. That is what 'Brand New Morning' is all about." The song was covered by Iron Maiden vocalist Bruce Dickinson before the album was released.The album marks the final departure from the style of Hard Rain. According to Bob Catley, Brand New Morning can be considered as the real return of Magnum following the 1995-2001 split, as it took Clarkin one album to get back into writing for Magnum.

Da Boom

"Da Boom" is the third episode of the second season of the animated comedy series Family Guy and the tenth episode of the series. It originally aired on Fox in the United States on December 26, 1999. The episode features the Griffin family after a nuclear holocaust occurs, due to Y2K on New Year's Eve. The family then travels in search of food, and eventually decide to establish a town around a Twinkie factory. Peter then takes over the town, establishing himself as mayor, but eventually becomes power hungry, and is overthrown.

The episode was written by Neil Goldman and Garrett Donovan and directed by Bob Jaques. The episode featured guest performances by Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal, Jack Perkins, Will Sasso, and Joey Slotnick along with several recurring voice actors for the series. This is the first episode that aired to feature Mila Kunis as the voice of Meg Griffin. The episode was rated TV-14-V for intense violence when it airs on Adult Swim, but on other channels, the episode is rated TV-14 DLSV for intensely suggestive dialogue (D), strong coarse language (L), intense sexual situations (S), and intense violence (V).

Doomsday device

A doomsday device is a hypothetical construction — usually a weapon or weapons system — which could destroy all life on a planet, particularly Earth, or destroy the planet itself, bringing "doomsday", a term used for the end of planet Earth. Most hypothetical constructions rely on the fact that hydrogen bombs can be made arbitrarily large assuming there are no concerns about delivering them to a target (see Teller–Ulam design) or that they can be "salted" with materials designed to create long-lasting and hazardous fallout (e.g., a cobalt bomb).

Doomsday devices and the nuclear holocaust they bring about have been present in literature and art especially in the 20th century, when advances in science and technology made world destruction (or at least the eradication of all human life) a credible scenario. Many classics in the genre of science fiction take up the theme in this respect. The term "doomsday machine" itself is attested from 1960, but the alliteration "doomsday device" has since become more popular.


In the Marvel Comics multiverse, Earth-1121 or Earth 1121 is, according to the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Worlds 2005, the designation used to identify a continuity similar to Earth-712, home of the Squadron Supreme. In the Earth X sequel miniseries Paradise X: Heralds, a counterpart of Hyperion was recruited to X-51's cross-timeline team of Heralds. This Hyperion had survived a government-initiated nuclear holocaust following the Utopia Program.

This Earth seems to be an homage to Kingdom Come.

Leland Jensen

Leland Jensen (22 August 1914 – 6 August 1996) was the founder of a Bahá'í sect called the Bahá'ís Under the Provisions of the Covenant (BUPC). Jensen initially supported the claim of Mason Remey to be the successor to Shoghi Effendi in 1960, resulting in his excommunication from the mainstream Bahá'í community. Jensen went on to propagate his own teachings among a group of followers that observers say probably never exceeded 200, but declined in size significantly from 1990-1996. During his lifetime adherents were mostly concentrated in Montana, with smaller groups in other US states.Jensen gained national attention when on April 26, 1980 he led a group of followers into fallout shelters, expecting an apocalyptic nuclear holocaust. He went on to predict that Halley's Comet would enter earth's orbit on April 29, 1986, and collide with the earth exactly one year later. With Jensen's approval, in the early 1990s his companion Neal Chase made a total of 18 disconfirmed prophecies that pertained to small-scale disasters that he claimed would lead step-by-step towards the Apocalypse, as well as dates for a nuclear attack on New York City by middle Eastern terrorists.

List of nuclear holocaust fiction

This list of nuclear holocaust fiction lists the many works of speculative fiction that attempt to describe a world during or after a massive nuclear war, nuclear holocaust, or crash of civilization due to a nuclear electromagnetic pulse.

Metro 2033

Metro 2033 (Russian: Метро 2033) is a post-apocalyptic fiction novel by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It is set in the Moscow Metro, where the last survivors hide after a global nuclear holocaust. It was published in 2005 in Russia and on March 28, 2010 in the United States.Metro 2033 has spawned two sequels, Metro 2034 and Metro 2035, the Metro franchise, and three video games: Metro 2033, Metro: Last Light, and Metro Exodus.

Proxy war

A proxy war is an armed conflict between two states or non-state actors which act on the instigation or on behalf of other parties that are not directly involved in the hostilities. In order for a conflict to be considered a proxy war, there must be a direct, long-term relationship between external actors and the belligerents involved. The aforementioned relationship usually takes the form of funding, military training, arms, or other forms of material assistance which assist a belligerent party in sustaining its war effort.During classical antiquity and the Middle Ages, many non-state proxies were external parties which were introduced to an internal conflict and aligned themselves with a belligerent in order to gain influence and further their own interests in the region. Proxies could be introduced by an external or local power and most commonly took the form of irregular armies which were used to achieve their sponsor's goals in a contested region. Some medieval states such as the Byzantine Empire used proxy warfare as a foreign policy tool by deliberately cultivating intrigue among hostile rivals and then backing them when they went to war with each other. Other states regarded proxy wars as merely a useful extension of a preexisting conflict, such as France and England during the Hundred Years' War, both of which initiated a longstanding practice of supporting piracy which targeted the other's merchant shipping. The Ottoman Empire likewise used the Barbary pirates as proxies to harass Western European powers in the Mediterranean Sea.Since the early twentieth century, proxy wars have most commonly taken the form of states assuming the role of sponsors to non-state proxies, essentially using them as fifth columns to undermine an adversarial power. This type of proxy warfare includes external support for a faction engaged in a civil war, terrorists, national liberation movements, and insurgent groups, or assistance to a national revolt against foreign occupation. For example, the British partly organized and instigated the Arab Revolt to undermine the Ottoman Empire during World War I. Many proxy wars began assuming a distinctive ideological dimension after the Spanish Civil War, which pitted the fascist political ideology of Italy and National Socialist ideology of Nazi Germany against the communist ideology of the Soviet Union without involving these states in open warfare with each other. Sponsors of both sides also used the Spanish conflict as a proving ground for their own weapons and battlefield tactics. During the Cold War, proxy warfare was motivated by fears that a conventional war between the United States and Soviet Union would result in nuclear holocaust, rendering the use of ideological proxies a safer way of exercising hostilities. The Soviet government found that supporting parties antagonistic to the US and Western nations was a cost-effective way to combat NATO influence in lieu of direct military engagement. In addition, the proliferation of televised media and its impact on public perception made the US public especially susceptible to war-weariness and skeptical of risking American life abroad. This encouraged the American practice of arming insurgent forces, such as the funneling of supplies to the mujahideen during the Soviet–Afghan War.

Ravagers (film)

Ravagers is a 1979 film directed by Richard Compton and based on the 1966 novel Path to Savagery by Robert Edmond Alter. The screenplay concerns survivors of a nuclear holocaust, who do what they can to protect themselves against ravagers, a mutated group of vicious marauders who terrorize the few remaining civilized inhabitants.

Stryker (1983 film)

Stryker is a 1983 Philippine action film directed by Cirio H. Santiago. The film is set in the future where after a nuclear holocaust, survivors battle each other over the remaining water in the world.


Surak is a fictional character in the backstory of the Star Trek television series and franchises. He is portrayed as the most important philosopher in the history of the planet Vulcan. During an Earth-like "modern age", when the Vulcans are technological but emotionally driven and violent, Surak founds a movement which reforms the Vulcan way of thinking and lifestyle and leads to the world of logically-reasoning and emotion-repressing Vulcans known from the TV series. This period in Vulcan history is referred to as the "Time of Awakening".

The "Time of Awakening" is accompanied by violence unmatched in Vulcan history, according to the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Awakening" (wherein Surak's mind is resurrected 1,800 years after his death to restore to modern Vulcans an uncorrupted version of his original philosophy.) During the "Time of Awakening" a Vulcan schism of those who "sought a return to savage ways" and "marched beneath the raptor's wings" (later the symbol of the Romulan people) perpetrate a cataclysmic nuclear attack upon Surak and his enlightened society. Soon after Surak's death, these Vulcan recidivists abandon their homeworld to colonize the planets Romulus and Remus. The new society would come to be known as the Romulan Star Empire—where Surak's philosophy of peace and logic survives only as an underground movement within their emotional, warlike society for the next 2,000 years (until further shepherded, in the Next Generation episode "Unification", by the elderly Ambassador Spock in the role of a latter-day successor to Surak), while flourishing on Vulcan to become its predominant philosophy.

The "Time of Awakening" and its "ironic violence" noted by Surak, which ends in nuclear holocaust but philosophical maturity, was written by Star Trek creators with intentional parallels to modern human society—particularly its historical progression toward cultural enlightenment, reason and tolerance interrupted by extreme bouts of cultural regression, irrationalism and fanatical violence.

The Old Man in the Cave

"The Old Man in the Cave" is a half-hour episode of the original version of The Twilight Zone. It is set in a post-apocalyptic 1974, ten years after a nuclear holocaust in the United States. The episode is a cautionary tale about humanity's greed and the danger of questioning one's faith in forces greater than oneself.

The Peacekeeper

The Peacekeeper (also known as Hellbent) is a 1997 Canadian-American action film directed by Frédéric Forestier, and starring Dolph Lundgren, Michael Sarrazin, Montel Williams, and Roy Scheider. The film follows U.S. Air Force Major Frank Cross, who is the only man who can prevent the president being assassinated. He must also thwart an imposing nuclear holocaust. The threat is from a terrorist group, which has stolen the President's personal communications computer; it has the capability of launching the U.S. arsenal. The film was shot on location in the city of Montreal, Quebec.

The Sacrifice

The Sacrifice (Swedish: Offret) is a 1986 Swedish drama film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. Starring Erland Josephson, it centers on a middle-aged intellectual who attempts to bargain with God to stop an impending nuclear holocaust. The Sacrifice was Tarkovsky's third film as a Soviet expatriate, after Nostalghia and the documentary Voyage in Time, and was also his last, as he died shortly after its completion. Like 1972's Solaris, it won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival.


Woops! is an American post-apocalyptic sitcom that aired on the Fox network from September 27 to December 6, 1992. The series was created by Gary Jacobs, and produced by Witt/Thomas Productions in association with Touchstone Television.

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