World War III could happen at any time. The tension between the nuclear powers is growing, and the only question is whether one of the most powerful countries will have a leader crazy enough to drop the first bomb. Almost a year since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, hundreds of comments and analyses have been published, which outline that the third world war is at our doorstep. Others claim that the third world already started on February 24, 2022, when Russian tanks and airplanes moved to Kyiv. Serious threats or incidents related to the beginning of world war three occurred even before the war in Ukraine. Moreover, since the 1950s, there have been almost twenty of them.
Nuclear Weapons in World War III
The third world war, without any doubt, would be the moment some countries may resort to nuclear weapons. Of course, one should consider which countries possess these weapons and who the opposing camps are. The most accepted theory is the one in which there would be a conflict between Russia and the NATO Alliance. Of course, we should not ignore that many other countries, such as China, are capable of starting a large-scale conflict including nuclear weaponry.
Conventional geopolitics interpret nuclear weapons as a means of intimidation. However, in the context of the unexpected and unpredictable moves and a high level of preparedness for the nuclear weapons, we believe that it is not completely crazy or senseless to write a few facts about the state of nuclear weapons in the world, possible nuclear war and its consequences.
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The Winner of World War III
About 90% of all the world’s current nuclear warheads are in the hands of Russia and the United States, each of which has about 5,000 warheads in its military stockpiles. No other nuclear-armed state sees a need for more than a few hundred nuclear weapons for national security.
So, the answer to the question of who would win if there was a third world war is simple – no one. There would be mutual destruction, starting with big countries like the USA, Russia, and China, which would probably start the conflict. Then it would spread to all other countries in the world. Most scientists believe that the countries in the southern hemisphere would be spared from full-scale destruction, but the consequences of this war would inevitably be enormous even for them.
The destruction of all life?!
A part of the public thinks there are enough nuclear weapons out there to destroy humanity or even all life many times over. It is not scientifically accurate. Namely, the calculations show that even the explosion of nuclear bombs, which would be made of all the uranium that exists on our planet, would not be sufficient for the destruction of life on Earth. Scientists have calculated that the asteroid that caused the extinction of the dinosaurs had the power of 10 billion nuclear bombs like those used in World War II. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the consequences would not be terrible.
The first few hours of WWIII
It is estimated that in the first few hours of the conflict, there would be more than 90 million dead and injured. The actual death toll would be much higher due to deaths caused by the collapse of medical systems, including nuclear fallout and other long-term effects, including a possible global nuclear winter. Therefore, it is irrelevant whether this war would be started by Russia, the USA, China, or other countries. What is important is that this war would destroy life as we know it today. There would be no winners, only losers.
Is any country really ready to use nuclear weapons?
We are convinced that no country is prepared to use nuclear weapons because self-destruction is not in anyone’s interest. The doctrines of all the major nuclear powers concentrate on deterrence and none on pre-emptive strikes with nuclear weapons. However, the fear among people is justified. Every day we are bombarded with various information, so, logically, fear exists.
The opinions of various military strategists indicate that from a strategic point of view, Russia has no reason to use nuclear weapons. A nuclear war would undermine any victory that Putin could achieve in Ukraine, which would probably serve to alienate not only the West but also potential allies like China, for whom a nuclear war is the worst nightmare in the restoration of the world order of global trade and investment on which its prosperity depends.
Additionally, there is no red button to activate nuclear weapons either in Russia or in the United States. Also, no president can independently decide on its activation, and neither can Putin. Apart from the fact that there are procedures and a chain of command, we can always count on the possibility of obstruction by someone in that chain.