Bumping this since tomorrow is the fiftieth anniversary of the first shot fired in the Cuban Missile War.
One thing I have a question about is just how much information about the course of the war is known. Does anyone know the identity of the sub that fired the first shot? Does anyone in the west ever discover the Soviet Coup?
Since very little escapes from the KGB archives, will anyone ever discover the number of people killed in Stalin's purges, or who perished in the gulags?
It would seem that because of the destruction of so many records this timeline has quite a bit of potential for conspiracy theories. Besides the obvious ones about Kennedy surviving the war (or maybe being killed in a coup led by Johnson or the military) you'll see ones about who fired first (since the people who allegedly did were vaporized) ones about what went on in the Kremlin in the days and hours leading towards the invasion. There might be stories of surviving soviet pilots who crashed in the Canadian arctic, trying to wreak revenge against America. Lost Cosmonaut theories might be more respectable, as no documentation from the Soviet Space program survives.
Here's a few other random questions I had after finishing the latest draft:
Was Finland hit by either side during the war?
What happened to any Soviet diplomats who survived the war?
Did the US government return to a rebuilt Washington? Would any of the old monuments be rebuilt?
How long does apartheid last? More whites might help extend its life, but without the cold war, the US won't need to prop up South Africa.
Is the Somoza dictatorship still overthrown? And if so, what's America's relationship with the Sandinista government?
How well do Marxist and other communist movements fare? The US is more isolationist, but considering the destruction wrought by communism, would probably take a dim view of Marxists taking over any state.
Oh, and what happened to the Aral Sea?
Last edited by Thon Taddeo; October 27th, 2012 at 03:18 AM..
for the 50th memorial service of World war 3 of october 27, 1962
check my TL:
Ronald Reagan's Space Exploration Initiative
Operation Sealion Disaster
Nazi Architecture Madness
My fellow Americans, today we pause to remember possibly the greatest tragedy in human history. Fifty years ago today the United States was a nation optimistically looking ahead to the challenges of the latter half of the 20th century. We had a handsome young charismatic president who believed that anything was possible for America. He called us to ask not what our country could do for us but what we could do for our country. And he laid down a challenge for us to put a man on the moon and return him safely to the Earth.
Already we had taken our first steps to fulfilling that vision. In project Mercury we had successfully achieved the goal of sending men into space and successfully returning them to the Earth. The names of Alan Shepherd and John Glenn still resonate with us. We were reaching for the stars. Those of us who remember those days have made them an idyllic golden age in our memories and in our culture.
Then came the events of the last week in October, 1962 that totally changed our world forever. In the matter of a few days we were transformed from an optimistic nation with a "can do" attitude toward the future to a nation struggling to survive the brutal aftermath of an atomic war.
Millions of our people died both in the first days of the war and in the aftermath that followed. We found the freedoms we had fought so hard for not only in previous wars but in this final war were taken away from us by an ambitious and self-serving politician who sought to make himself a dictator and take advantage of this tragedy. We saw our greatest cities including the one we stand in now, leveled to ruins and the work of countless generations destroyed in seconds.
The war tore away for a time our hope and our idealism and forced us to deal with grim realities. We buried our dead, we cared for our injured, we rebuilt our lives as best we could. But the vision for America never truly died, it underwent a transformation.
In his, now famous, "Like a Phoenix", speech President Martin Luther King said, "Like the legendary phoenix which was reborn from his own ashes so we are seeing America be reborn." We have now seen that rebirth in our national rebuilding effort, in the rebuilding of our military force into one that can truly protect our interests here and abroad. And we also see the rebirth of a dream. Within 6 months of today, the good Lord willing, we will see the next phase of the dream of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Project Gemini, which was scheduled to follow Project Mercury will commence after 50 years. Once more America will reach for the Moon and the stars beyond. [sounds of applause]
Our nation today is not the nation of 50 years ago. We have changed and we have grown older and wiser. It is a wisdom built on the blood of millions both here and around the world. As we remember the events of 50 years ago here, around the world others remember these tragic events in London, in Paris, in Berlin, in Rome, and elsewhere. Much has been lost. Much of our culture and our links with the past are gone in the destruction of priceless works of art in art galleries, of priceless books in the great libraries of the world. These cannot be replaced. Even more irreplacable are the lives that were lost. We stand today near a cenotaph that marks one of the many mass graves that were dug here to bury the dead. It's inscription haunts us today, "Dedicated to the memory of those who died in the nuclear strike on Washington, D.C. on October, 30, 1962. May their names be remembered before God."
May we also remember. May we remember the loved ones who died that day that many of us still cherish in our hearts. May we remember the hope and idealism of those days and work for it to live again in our day in the hearts of our young people as we urge them on to continue the great work of rebuilding this nation and this world. May we as Americans pause and reflect this day not only what has passed but let us look forward with hope to what lies ahead.
I close this speech with words that were uttered at the dedication of another place of rest over 149 years ago, I believe that they are appropriate here at the dedication of this cenotaph. "That we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain, that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government, of the people, by the people, and for the people shall not perish from the Earth."
-Speech by President Donald Evans commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Third World War and the Cenotaphs for the mass graves in Arlington Memorial Park, October 30, 2012, Washington, D.C. (now restored as the capital)
Last edited by Geon; October 27th, 2012 at 04:19 PM.. Reason: Grammar error
It seems that by 2012 JFK would be considered a martyr president, one who was forced into an impossible situation, while LBJ is villified as a would-be dictator.
I served on a Nike site in 70. Not nickpickin' as I really like this thread. Very well done. I was 14 when the RL crisis occured and recall the tensions and preperations. It was when we took preps seriously too. IN school, either before or after that date, been too long, we had classes on civil defense in conjunction with science classes. And first aid with PE. Lot's of special interest. Of course I lived half way between Minot and Grand Forks air force bases at the time. SURE am glad it never came to this in RL.
Again. Great work.
"As far as I can see, writing is a combination of intangible creative fantasy and appalling hard work." Anthony Powell
As an armchair astronomer (with a BS) it chills me to think of the astronomy ITTL. No planetary probes, no orbiting observatories...they still have the boring astronomy I learned as a kid in the Sixties.
Is the rest of science and technology stuck at 1962 levels?
Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Politicians are from Pluto.
There has been some extensive discussion of this elsewhere on this thread, however nothing official from the author as far as I know. My own thoughts? In this TL most space technology concentrates on practical applications rather then research. I suspect the major space powers here would be China, Japan, and the U.S. It is likely that these powers concentrate on launching communications, weather, and military reconnaisance satelites. Given the events here I would see interplanetary probes to the Moon, Mars and Venus probably being launched in the decade of the 2010's. These will be fly bys or orbiters, nothing like the Mars landers we have now. As I indicated in the speech above we will restart Gemini in 2013 and it's likely by the end of the decade you would have a man on the Moon by 2019. What happens from then on depends on how fast the U.S. economy can grow. However, I could see a permanent space station by 2030 and our first manned trip to Mars by the middle of this century assuming no other major disasters.
Some highly placed survivors in Eastern Europe might suspect about what happened. But many details may only be found later by archaeologists digging Bunkers, or through China (when they eventsually liberalize or someone high-ranking defects to the west).
This is an incredible TL!
DARN YOU, AMERIGO VESPUCCI! WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO POST AGAIN IN THIS THREAD?!
Last edited by Alternate History Geek; November 6th, 2012 at 09:02 PM.. Reason: m
Cuban Missile War v1.9 - Part 1
I'll be taking over then.
Cuban Missile War v1.9 - Part 1
All times Eastern.
May, 1962 — Nikita Khrushchev offers to station nuclear missiles in Cuba in a dispatch
to Fidel Castro. Khrushchev does not expect Castro to agree, but he offers anyway, in
hopes of equaling the American nuclear deployment to Turkey. Castro, whose memories
of the Bay of Pigs invasion are still fresh, accepts Khrushchev’s offer.
July, 1962 — Five Soviet missile regiments receive orders for Operation Anadyr, the
transport of the missile regiments and other Soviet military equipment and soldiers to
Cuba. The name of the operation is shared with a town at the far eastern end of Siberia,
and as part of a deception plan, soldiers are allowed to see stockpiles of cold-weather
gear being moved into position.
August, 1962 — Eighty-five shiploads of equipment and men encompassing 230,000
tons of supplies and 50,000 soldiers are transported from the Soviet Union to Cuba.
Throughout the summer, shiploads of nonmilitary supplies have been shipped to the
island, and the military shipments use these as cover. Western newspaper accounts
frequently remark on the shipments, and in late summer concern begins to grow about the
obvious military nature of some of them.
September 16, 1962 — Eight R-12 medium-range missiles arrive in Cuba on the freighter
September 19, 1962 — A CIA special intelligence estimate report to President Kennedy
states that the establishment of nuclear weapons in Cuba is not in the best interests of the
Soviet Union, and the Soviet military is thus not likely to do so.
October 4, 1962 — The first Soviet nuclear warheads arrive in Cuba: 36 1-Megaton
warheads for R-12 medium-range missiles, 36 14-kiloton warheads for cruise missiles, 12
2-kiloton warheads for FROG rockets, and 6 12-kiloton bombs for IL-28 bombers.
October 14, 1962 — A U-2 reconnaissance aircraft takes the first photos of Soviet
missiles in Cuba. It takes two days for the photos to be developed and analyzed.
October 16, 1962 — Kennedy is briefed that U-2 reconnaissance missions have
uncovered nuclear missiles in Cuba. In the day’s newspapers, President Eisenhower
breaks the longstanding tradition of past presidents not criticizing sitting ones as he blasts
Kennedy for his “dreary” foreign policy record.
October 20, 1962 — The first Soviet missile regiment in Cuba, the 79th Missile
Regiment, has fully readied its 8 R-12 medium-range missiles. Only the warheads
remain, and those are less than a day away from the launch site. American intelligence
estimates predict 6,000-8,000 Soviet soldiers in Cuba. In reality, there are more than
40,000 in the country.
In the United States, President Kennedy cuts short a campaign trip to Chicago after
Attorney General Bobby Kennedy calls him to let him know that Ex-Comm is evenly
divided between two options for Cuba: invasion or blockade.
In Asia, Chinese soldiers cross the Indian border en masse as the culmination of several
months of tension surrounding the contested Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh regions.
Monday, October 22, 1962
8:00 AM — After personal calls from Kennedy, the Washington Post and New York
Times hold back from publishing accounts of the impending crisis.
12:00 PM — The evacuation of 2,810 dependents (children and spouses) of soldiers on
Guantanamo Bay Naval Base begins. Most are notified only an hour or two before they
are loaded onto a ship bound for Norfolk, Virginia. They are replaced by 5,000 Marine
reinforcements for the base.
3:00 PM — In a meeting of the Presidium, Khrushchev debates possible responses to the
American discovery of nuclear missiles in Cuba. He debates announcing the Cuban-
Soviet defense treaty and allowing Soviet forces to respond to any invasion with all
available force, but is dissuaded from an announcement by defense minister Malinovsky,
who fears that it might be provocative.
In Alameda, California, the aircraft carrier USS Midway arrives in port at the conclusion
of its 1962 cruise of the Pacific Ocean. It had been scheduled for exercises off Alaska’s
Aleutian Islands, but heavy storms and high waves prevented flights and the refueling of
the Midway’s escorts. After the arrival celebrations conclude, many of the Midway’s
crew are granted leave.
4:00 PM — In a cabinet meeting, Kennedy announces that he has settled on the blocade
option for Cuba.
4:39 PM — NORAD issues orders for the dispersal of F-106 interceptors armed with
MB-1 Genie nuclear air-to-air missiles from their main bases.
5:00 PM — Kennedy meets with Congressional leaders two hours before his national
address. Sen. Richard B. Russell and Sen. William Fulbright are among the most
prominent voices that denounce Kennedy’s decision as not aggressive enough and push
instead for airstrikes and an invasion. After the meeting, a furious Kennedy swears, “If
they want this job, fuck ‘em. They can have it. It’s no great joy to me.”
6:00 PM — U.S. embassies begin notifying foreign allies about the Cuban crisis and what
President Kennedy plans to do. Britain, Germany, and France all receive advance notice
and agree to back Kennedy to the hilt. Charles de Gaulle does so without bothering to
look at the U-2 photographs.
6:15 PM — Khrushchev receives Kennedy’s notice from the American embassy. He is
relieved that Kennedy does not plan an immediate invasion and believes he has won a
moral diplomatic victory. He nevertheless orders most of the ships bound for Cuba to
reverse course. Only those with non-military cargos and those close to Cuban waters will
continue. The four Foxtrot-class diesel submarines en route to Cuba also will continue.
He also orders Soviet forces worldwide to move to a higher state of readiness and Soviet
forces in Cuba to hold tight to their nuclear weapons.
6:39 PM — In Terre Haute, Indiana, a nuclear-armed F-106 crashes on landing at
Hulman Field. Its nuclear-tipped MB-1 Genie missile is undamaged. It is the first of
many American incidents involving nuclear weapons during the crisis.
6:40 PM — Fidel Castro orders the mobilization of the 105,000-strong Cuban Army. The
country is divided into three defensive segments. In the east, Raul Castro has overall
command. In the west, Che Guevara commands. In the center, Juan Almeida commands
with Castro in Havana.
7:00 PM — More than 100 million Americans watch President Kennedy address the
nation from the Oval Office. His opening words:
“Good evening, my fellow citizens. This government … as promised … has maintained
the closest surveillance of the Soviet military buildup on the island of Cuba. Within the
past week … unmistakable evidence has established the fact that a series of offensive
missile sites is now in preparation on that imprisoned island.” …
As Kennedy speaks, American armed forces go to DEFCON 3 alert. This sets in motion a
chain of preplanned maneuvers, including the dispersal of more than 200 nuclear-armed
SAC bombers from their bases.
Tuesday, October 23, 1962
1:00 AM — An American aircraft bringing ammunition to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base
crashes on landing, damaging the runway. The situation turns from bad to worse when
the ammunition aboard explodes, scattering debris more than a mile away. The eight-man
flight crew is killed. Supply missions continue almost as soon as the fires are out.
3:00 AM — In a meeting of the Presidium, Admiral Gorshkov, head of the Soviet Navy,
convinces Khrushchev to merely slow the arrival of Soviet submarines to Cuba, rather
than cancel it entirely. Instead of proceeding at their normal course and speed, the
submarines will slow their pace in hopes of avoiding the blockade.
4:00 AM — With the crisis growing, KGB officers arrest Oleg Penkovsky, a Soviet
intelligence officer spying for the United States and Britain. Penkovsky had been under
surveillance for some time, but the KGB felt he could not be allowed to continue spying
during the crisis. Penkovsky agrees to feed false information to his handlers.
7:00 AM — Loaded with nuclear weapons, the Soviet freighter Aleksandrovsk is ordered
to proceed to the nearest Cuban port. This is La Isabela, more than 200 miles away. It
arrives late in the day and proceeds to disgorge 44 2-kiloton warheads. It also contains
warheads for Soviet intermediate-range missiles, but these are left in the ship because no
secure facility exists to hold them.
12:00 PM — Six RF-8 Crusaders from Naval Air Station Key West take off for low-level
photo reconnaissance of the Soviet MRBM sites near San Cristobal, Sagua la Grande,
and other Soviet sites around Havana. When they return to Key West, each aircraft is
painted with a dead chicken, signifying its participation in the mission. Subsequent
aircraft also receive chicken markings.
In Cuba, the low-level overflights inspire Herculean efforts to get more missiles ready
and more defensive structures built. A tally finds 42,822 Soviet soldiers on the island out
of a planned deployment of 45,000.
7:00 PM — Kennedy signs the two-page blockade order in the Oval Office after the
Organization of American States votes 19-0 to support the blockade of Cuba.
9:30 PM — Bobby Kennedy visits the Soviet Embassy in Washington on what will be
the first of several attempts to start negotiations.
In Cuba, Fidel Castro begins a 90-minute televised diatribe denouncing the United States.
When he is finished, spontaneous torchlit rallies take place across Cuba, with most
participants chanting some variety of “Death to the Yankees”.
Wednesday, October 24
6:00 AM — Chinese forces, which have been advancing steadily against the
outnumbered and outgunned Indian soldiers fighting them, halt their advance just south
of the contested border regions. Chinese premier Zhou Enlai begins negotiations in
earnest with Indian prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
8:00 AM — In Moscow, Khrushchev meets with Westinghouse president William Knox,
whom he believes is one of the prominent industrialists who really run the U.S.
government. Khrushchev alludes to the presence of short-range missiles in Cuba and tells
Knox the Soviet Union will stand firm in the face of the American blockade of Cuba.
10:00 AM — In the opening Ex-Comm meeting of the Day, CIA director John McCone
informs the president about the approach of the freighters Yuri Gagarin and Kimovsk to
the 500-mile blockade line. The two ships are being escorted by a Soviet submarine. In
fact, the ships are headed away from Cuba.
In Omaha, SAC Gen. Thomas Power orders the Strategic Air Command to DEFCON 2,
placing America’s strategic nuclear weapons at the highest level of readiness short of
war. He gives the order in a conference call to SAC bases over an open frequency.
Whether by design or not, the order is intercepted by the Soviet military.
11:00 AM — At the New York Stock Exchange, prices go up and down throughout the
day based on the latest news. After dropping 10 percent on Tuesday, they fluctuate on
Wednesday. An economist named Alan Greenspan warns of “massive uncertainty” in the
In Greenwich Village, Manhattan, a songwriter named Bob Dylan awakens and spends
most of the day drafting two songs: “A Hard Rain’s Gonna Fall” and “The Ending of the
In Washington, Kennedy believes the Navy is about to intercept the Kimovsk and Yuri
Gagarin. In haste, he orders the Navy to observe, not board the ships. The order is
rendered irrelevant when further radio intercepts show the ships are well away from the
blockade line. Nevertheless, the impression of ships “turning around right at the line” is
created, and the White House believes “the other fellow has just blinked.”
In the Caribbean, a P5M Marlin from Bermuda Naval Air Station discovers a submarine
snorkeling on the surface about 500 miles south of Bermuda. This is the Foxtrot-class
submarine B-130, which had been escorting the two Soviet freighters. Unlike the
freighters, it has received no orders to avoid the blockade line. The Marlin patrol aircraft
radios the submarine’s location to the task force built around the aircraft carrier USS
Essex, which changes course toward the submarine.
The submarine had been rushed to Cuba on a short schedule. There had been no time to
replace its batteries, which were almost flat. The timetable demanded by the Soviet Navy
required the submarine to run almost at full speed toward Cuba for more than a month.
Two of the submarine’s diesel engines had broken down, and temperatures in the
submarine soared to more than 130 degrees in the tropical heat. Adding to the crew’s
misery, they listened to American and Bermudan radio stations that mentioned “special
camps are being prepared on the Florida peninsula for Russian prisoners of war.”
1:00 PM — The American military buildup in Florida is in full swing. A British
correspondent covering the buildup compares it to the weeks immediately before D-Day
in England during WWII. Materiel and men are stacked up in the few available facilities,
and civilian locations throughout Florida are occupied by the American military because
of the need for staging bases. In the Florida Keys, resorts are taken over by various
branches of the military, CIA, or other intelligence services. Gulfstream Park, a horse
track south of Fort Lauderdale, becomes home to the U.S. 1st Armored Division. Across
the U.S., munitions factories go on three-shift production to meet the expected demand.
5:15 PM — Outside the White House, reporters learn that Soviet ships have turned back
before meeting the blockading U.S. Navy. Walter Cronkite, in the middle of his evening
TV broadcast, relays the news to the American public first.
6:00 PM — In a strategy meeting, Fidel Castro agrees to redeploy his antiaircraft guns
from their stations in Havana and other Cuban cities and position them around the nuclear
missile sites and other strategic battlefield locations. The Soviet SA-2 SAMs are
excellent at attacking high-altitude targets, but low-level aircraft, such as those that
overflew Cuba the previous day, cannot be hit by the SAMs. They must be engaged by
7:00 PM — From Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Soviet Union uses an R-7 rocket to launch
the Mars 1962A probe (also called Sputnik 22) toward the red planet. The mission was
intended to have a satellite fly by Mars, but the upper stage exploded, showering
fragments across low Earth orbit. At Clear Air Force Base in Alaska, radar operators at
the Ballistic Missile Early Warning System site see the missile as a possible Soviet
attack, but after they calculate its trajectory and see it break up in orbit, their initial alarm
10:30 PM — Soviet missile targeters finish work on the punch cards needed to guide the
R-12 medium-range missiles to their targets in America. The cards are distributed to the
three R-12 regiments ready for launch. The missiles themselves are kept at Condition 3
— 140 minutes from launch. They only need to be mated with their warheads, which are
kept in a storage facility about 14 hours distant.
Because of the American reconnaissance flight the day before, rocket forces commander
(Cuba) Maj. Gen. Igor Statsenko orders the R-12 regiments to alternative firing positions.
In addition, because the Yuri Gagarin will not be arriving any time soon, he has to juggle
a limited number of fueling trucks among the three missile regiments.
Thursday, October 25, 1962
3:00 AM — In a meeting of the Presidium, Khrushchev declares that the Soviet strategy
will now be to extract concessions from the United States in exchange for removing the
missiles from Cuba, instead of basing them permanently there. “If necessary, the missiles
can appear there again in two or three years,” Khrushchev says.
8:00 AM — In order to get an intelligence report to Moscow before nightfall, the KGB
office at the Soviet embassy in Washington collects a mass of half-truths and inaccurate
information before sending it to Moscow. The biggest item in the report is a fourth-hand
story collected from the National Press Club in Washington about pre-invasion planning
and how the Kennedy administration had already decided on an invasion and needed only
12:00 PM — A low-level reconnaissance mission to a medium-range missile site instead
uncovers the Soviet 146th Motorized Rifle Regiment. This is the first time that American
intelligence has concrete information about large-scale Soviet ground forces in Cuba.
Also photographed are the launchers for the 2-kiloton FROG tactical nuclear warheads.
2:00 PM — Unbeknownst to the United States, two regiments of AS-1 Kennel cruise
missiles are in Cuba. Each regiment has eight launchers capable of carrying a 14-kiloton
warhead — the equivalent of the Hiroshima bomb — about 110 miles. Each regiment has
a stockpile of 40 nuclear-armed missiles. On the 25th, Raul Castro coordinates with Col.
Dimitri Yazov to move the regiment in Oriente province (near Guantanamo) in position
to attack the base if needed. He also meets with Col. Dimitri Yazov, commander of the
Soviet motorized rifle regiment in the province, which similarly digs in near the base.
5:00 PM — In New York City, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Adlai Stevenson confronts
Soviet ambassador Valerian Zorin in the chambers of the U.N. Security Council. After
Zorin denies the Soviet Union has missiles in Cuba, Stevenson unveils U-2 photographs
showing missile bases under construction.
10:30 PM — With the Soviet freighters withdrawn, the four Soviet Foxtrot-class
submarines have a new mission: explore the sea passages between the Atlantic Ocean and
Cuba to gauge the effectiveness of American antisubmarine capabilities. Submarine B-36
is ordered to explore the Silver Bank Passage between Grand Turk and Hispanola. It is
promptly detected by a SOSUS station on Grand Turk, which radios forces toward the
Friday, October 26, 1962
1:00 AM — A security guard at a U.S. interceptor base in Duluth, Minnesota, spots
someone climbing the base’s perimeter fence. Fearing a saboteur, he sounds the intrusion
alarm. Alarms sound at other bases across the Midwest, as per the plan that surmises
Soviet sabotage would be done en masse. Aircraft are scrambled for their protection, but
after the “saboteur” turns out to be a bear, the nuclear-armed interceptors return to their
8:00 AM — The U.S. Navy intercepts the Lebanese freighter Marucla in the first
boarding action of the blockade. The boarding action is performed with sailors in full
dress uniform and completely polite, and uncovers nothing out of the ordinary.
In Washington, photo analysts discover the FROG missiles and the large Soviet
encampment south of Havana that was found by the low-level flight the previous day.
Photo analysts are puzzled as to why the inaccurate FROGs are on the island, as they
have no evidence or knowledge of the nuclear warheads for the missiles.
8:15 AM — B-36 is forced to dive in the Silver Bank Passage by an anti-submarine
aircraft. The submarine has been at sea for four weeks, and although its engines are
functioning correctly, unlike those on B-130, tensions are running high amid the stifling
tropical heat in the steel tube of the submarine’s hull. A diary entry by a Soviet
submariner aboard describes the situation:
“Everyone is thirsty. That’s all anyone is talking about: thirst. How thirsty I am. It’s hard
to write; the paper is soaked in sweat. We all look as if we had just come out of a steam
bath. My fingertips are completely white, as if Lyalechka was one month old again, and I
had just washed all her diapers. … The worst thing is that the commander’s nerves are
shot to hell. He’s yelling at everyone and torturing himself. He doesn’t understand that he
should be saving his strength, and the men’s too. Otherwise we are not going to last long.
He is becoming paranoid, scared of his own shadow. … I feel sorry for him, and at the
same time angry with him.”
After an emergency dive, B-36 is subjected to hours of depth charge practice as hand
grenades are dropped from American aircraft on the submarine. Though harmless to the
submarine’s steel hull, they make an enormous racket and ratchet up the tension for the
men aboard. Adding to their misery is the Soviet requirement to surface at midnight
Moscow time daily to check for further orders. No one in Moscow seems to care that
midnight in Moscow is 5 PM in the Caribbean — still broad daylight in the tropics. But
since Capt. Dubivko of the B-36 expects combat orders to arrive at any hour, he still will
12:00 PM — Kennedy is informed about the nuclear-armed FROG missiles. He takes the
news in stride, as he has no plans to invade Cuba unless absolutely necessary.
1:00 PM — The Coolangata, a Swedish ship out of Leningrad with a load of potatoes, is
intercepted by the U.S. Navy as it travels to Havana. The ship’s captain refuses to stop
for inspection, and Kennedy orders that the ship be let through as a neutral. It is
shadowed until it enters Cuban waters, when the escorting destroyer Newman K. Perry
returns to the blockade. The Coolangata’s passage goes unremarked amid the furor
around the Marucla, which consumes the attention of the Washington press corps.
In Havana, Castro meets with Soviet ambassador Alexandr Alekseev. Castro stresses the
need for the Soviet Union to announce its defense treaty with Cuba in order to dissuade
the U.S. from invading Cuba. The lack of such an announcement has made Castro
nervous that the Soviet Union might be persuaded to compromise with the U.S.
2:00 PM — At Malmstrom Air Force Base in Washington, the first Minuteman missile is
ready for launch. The world’s first solid-fueled ICBM, it is ready to fire with a single turn
of a key — if bugs don’t ground the system. Because of the urgency of the situation, the
normal two-key system that requires two men to launch the missile is bypassed. Only a
single key is needed to launch the missile. Through the next 48 hours, problems
repeatedly crop up with the new missile and launch system. Despite these problems,
technicians press additional Minutemen into service. Another missile silo is readied
almost every eight hours.
6:00 PM — In a series of meetings, Castro dispatches a message to the U.N. in New
York, declaiming the low-level U.S. overflights of Cuba. He also orders his antiaircraft
units to fire on the next overflight and asks his Soviet allies to turn on their air defense
radar — Cuba has almost none of its own — to intercept the aircraft. Gen. Pliyev is
reluctant to do so, but reports that five of the six MRBM sites on the island are fully
operational and the sixth is partially ready. In total, 20 MRBMs are ready for launch
within three hours, if needed.
7:35 PM — ABC reporter John Scali speaks with Washington KGB station chief
Alexandr Felisov, following up on a conversation the two men had earlier in the day.
Felisov had proposed the Soviet Union might be willing to dismantle its Cuban bases in
exchange for withdrawal of the blockade and a non-invasion pledge. Secretary of State
Dean Rusk, a friend of Scali, asked the reporter to pass on the administration’s interest.
The Soviet ambassador to the U.S., Anatoly Dobrynin, does not believe Scali’s proposal
is a serious one, and does not sign the telegrammed proposal. This forces Felisov to send
the proposal through channels to the KGB, instead of directly to the Presidium — a
possibility with Dobrynin’s signature.
9:00 PM — The final portion of a letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy reaches the White
House. It had been delivered to the U.S. embassy in Moscow at 9:45 AM, but needed to
be translated, enciphered, radioed to Washington, deciphered and delivered to the State
Department. From there, it was analyzed and a summary and statement of possible intent
written. It reached the White House more than 11 hours after initial delivery, and in it,
Khrushchev offered to consider the possibility of withdrawing Soviet “advisers” from
Cuba if Kennedy recalled the U.S. fleet and pledged to not invade the island. The letter is
a lengthy message coated in platitudes, and most U.S. reaction is summed up by Gen.
Curtis LeMay, who says, “Khrushchev must believe we’re a bunch of dumb shits if he
expects us to swallow that syrup.”
11:00 PM — In Cuba, Castro is receiving regular reports from his intelligence service.
The reports are based largely on U.S. wire service reports that state Kennedy might be
getting ready to invade the island. Cuban planners believe the most likely scenario is an
air strike followed by invasion, with the air strikes most likely to come at night.
Gen. Pliyev, normally a stable and stolid man, is worn down by days of ratcheting
tensions. He accedes to Castro’s request to turn on the air defense radars and orders his
soldiers to full combat readiness. He also authorizes his air defense commanders to fire
on American aircraft and begins dispersal of the nuclear warheads for the R-12 MRBMs
targeted at the United States.
Trucks begin leaving a hillside bunker at Bejucal, 20 miles from Havana, for the 250-
mile, 14-hour drive to Sagua la Grande, the site furthest from the storage facility. The
work is slowed by improvised equipment, tropical heat, muddy roads and paths, and the
radiation sickness afflicting several of the Soviet workers who have the most contact with
In Oriente province, near Guantanamo Bay, three nuclear-tipped cruise missiles are
moved from a staging area near Vilorio to Filipinas, about 15 miles from the American
military base. In the darkness, a truck plunges off the road and kills two Soviet soldiers
and a Cuban. The cruise missiles roll on toward their destination.
Saturday, October 27, 1962
12:00 AM — As fugitive American civil rights leader Robert F. Williams pleads over
Cuban radio for black American soldiers to revolt, Cuban civilians dig trenches in and
around Havana for air raid shelters. Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugray is ordered to draft a
report about the effects of an American nuclear attack on Havana.
12:40 AM — The USS Oxford, an intelligence-gathering spy ship six miles north of
Havana, detects the signals of Soviet air defense radars lighting up across the Havana
area and radios to Key West that the Soviets are armed and waiting for the next
2:00 AM — At Baikonur Cosmodrome, the Mars 1 probe intended to be launched toward
the red planet on the 29th is taken down from its R-7 launcher and replaced by a 2.8
Megaton warhead targeted on New York City. Although the R-7 is obsolescent as a
nuclear launcher and is used primarily for scientific purposes, the shortage of available
ICBMs forces it to be pressed into military service.
3:00 AM — In Havana, Castro and the rest of his staff are awake and waiting for what
they expect is an imminent American invasion. A report of American ships east of
Havana causes alarm but is revealed to be Cuban fishing boats trawling for crabs. In a
meeting with the Soviet ambassador, Castro says his goal in any American invasion is to
die with the greatest dignity possible.
3:35 AM — Above Novaya Zemlya, a pair of islands north of Russia, a Tu-95 Bear
bomber drops a 290-kiloton nuclear bomb as part of a scheduled test.
4:00 AM — A U-2 reconnaissance aircraft takes off from Eielson Air Force Base in
Alaska on an air sampling mission to collect fallout from the Soviet nuclear test in order
to determine its strength and the composition of the bomb.
5:00 AM — In Moscow, Khrushchev begins drafting a letter to Kennedy, outlining a deal
where American missiles in Turkey would be withdrawn in exchange for the withdrawal
of Soviet missiles from Cuba. The idea comes from an American newspaper columnist,
Walter Lippman, who has connections to the Kennedy administration. Khrushchev
believes Lippman’s column is really Kennedy speaking in a deniable manner.
6:00 AM — Soviet nuclear cruise missiles aboard trucks reach their deployment position
at Filipinas, 20 miles from Guantanamo Bay. American radio intercept officers detect
Soviet transmissions and target the position for air attack if needed, but they do not
realize that the missiles are nuclear-armed.
A CIA memorandum delivered to Kennedy in the White House Situation Room indicates
five of six MRBM sites in Cuba appear to be operational, and the sixth likely will be
operational on Sunday.
In the Caribbean, aircraft fan out to search for the freighter Grozny, the next Soviet ship
to near the blockade line. An RB-47 reconnaissance aircraft crashes on takeoff from
Bermuda, killing its three crewmen.
7:00 AM — In London, protesters gather in Trafalgar Square, chanting anti-American
and anti-Kennedy slogans. Nearby, Prime Minister Harold Macmillan orders an increase
in British readiness levels from his temporary quarters at Admiralty House. 10 Downing
Street is being renovated, and British V-bombers and Thor missiles go on a 15-minute
9:00 AM — Major Rudolf Anderson’s U-2 takes off from McCoy Air Force Base in
Florida for another overflight of Cuba. Fewer U-2s have been used since the U.S. Navy
began low-level reconnaissance of Cuba, and Maj. Anderson’s flight is the only one of
five that day to not be canceled.
Several thousand feet below Maj. Anderson’s aircraft, an RB-47 flying an electronic
intelligence intercept mission is targeted by Soviet SAM radars near Cuba before turning
away from the island.
9:20 AM — High above the North Pole, the U-2 sent on the air sampling mission to
detect the capabilities of Soviet nuclear weapons becomes disoriented by the Northern
Lights, which block out the stars and prevent him from getting an accurate fix for
10:00 AM — Radio Moscow begins broadcasting the letter Khrushchev drafted to
Kennedy eight hours earlier but which Kennedy has not yet received. He offers to
withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba if Kennedy removes the blockade and withdraws
American missiles from Turkey.
10:15 AM — Maj. Anderson’s U-2 begins its photography run over Cuba. The aircraft is
picked up by Soviet air defense radar.
10:18 AM — Radio Moscow’s message is picked up by the Associated Press, and the AP
bulletin is read in the White House. Kennedy is confused by a reference to a possible deal
outlined in a Khrushchev letter, as he has received no such letter. Kennedy and ExComm
discount the possibility of a deal.
10:40 AM — As tensions rise, Kennedy accedes to pressure from the Joint Chiefs and
authorizes deployment of nuclear weapons to F-100 Super Sabre fighter-bombers in
11:12 AM — Cuban antiaircraft guns open fire on low-level U.S. Navy reconnaissance
aircraft, and the Soviet air defense commander issues orders to launch SAMs at the highflying
11:19 AM — Maj. Rudolf Anderson is killed instantly as his U-2 is destroyed by two
SAMs launched from Banes, Cuba.
11:46 AM — 100 miles northeast of Johnston Atoll in the Pacific Ocean, an American B-
52 drops an 800-kiloton nuclear bomb as part of Operation Dominic, a series of
aboveground nuclear tests.
11:59 AM — Chuck Maltsby, piloting the U-2 over the North Pole, crosses the border of
the Soviet Union and begins flying over the Soviet Union. After regaining radio contact
with an American aircraft monitoring his mission, he turns directly east. As he crosses the
shoreline of the Soviet Union, six Soviet interceptors take off on a mission to shoot him
12:15 AM — In the White House, President Kennedy meets with several American
governors on the subject of civil defense in the event of a nuclear attack. On the sidewalk
in front of the White House, half a dozen separate groups protest. There are peace
activists advocating pacifism, American Nazis calling for an immediate invasion, pro-
Communists, anti-Communists, and people simply holding a prayer vigil for the
12:30 AM — Gen. Power, commander in chief of SAC, is called from the golf course as
news of Maltsby’s errant flight reaches Omaha. Thanks to interceptions of Soviet air
defense transmissions, SAC is aware of both Maltsby’s position and that of the six
interceptors racing to shoot him down. Air traffic controllers in Omaha begin guiding
Maltsby back to Alaska via his chase plane above the Arctic Ocean.
In Norfolk, Virginia, the Naval Academy defeats Pittsburgh on the football field, 32-9.
Admiral George Whelan Anderson, Chief of Naval Operations, is in the stands to cheer
on the Midshipmen.
1:00 PM — The destroyers USS Beale, Cony, and Murray begin the investigation of a
reported sonar contact.
1:41 PM — In a meeting with Defense Secretary McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff
express their disgust with the handling of the crisis thus far and strongly suggest that
Khrushchev is using his publicly announced letters to Kennedy as a means to manipulate
the diplomatic situation. As the meeting takes place, McNamara receives word that
contact has been lost with a U-2 flying out of Alaska.
1:45 PM — Kennedy is interrupted in the middle of his afternoon exercise routine by
news of the missing U-2 from Alaska. If it overflew the Soviet Union and was shot down
by Soviet interceptors, the Soviet Union might view the flight as a last-minute attempt at
reconnaissance ahead of nuclear war. “There’s always some son of a bitch who doesn’t
get the word,” Kennedy says.
1:50 PM — After turning off his engine to conserve fuel and gliding across the Bering
Strait, Maltsby is met by two nuclear-armed F-102 interceptors that had been scrambled
from Galena Air Force Station to rescue the U-2. The fighters guide the U-2 to a rough
landing at Kotzebue, a small airstrip on the Chukchi Sea coast north of the Arctic Circle.
At McCoy Air Force Base in Florida, crewmen wait in vain for the arrival of Maj.
Anderson’s U-2 from Cuba.
2:00 PM — It is now night in Moscow, and radio operators of the Soviet Navy in
Moscow are continuing their frantic efforts to contact the four Foxtrot-class submarines
deployed around Cuba. The authority to release nuclear weapons had previously been
given to individual submarine commanders, but has now been revoked. Nuclear weapons
are to only be used on Moscow’s authority, but this new order cannot reach the
2:03 PM — As McNamara meets in the Pentagon with the Joint Chiefs about the lost U-2
over the North Pole, an Air Force officer notifies him about a U-2 that has not returned
from its mission over Cuba. McNamara’s snap decision is to order the cancellation of all
U-2 flights outside the U.S. in order to avoid causing another problem.
2:30 PM — SAC has more bombers and missiles on alert than at any point in its history.
60 B-52s are in the air at all times, and SAC has a total of 804 airplanes and 44 missiles
ready to go at a moment’s notice. The number in each category continues to increase
throughout the day.
3:00 PM — Cuban radio announces that “unknown aircraft” flew over the island earlier
that day but were driven off “by the gallant efforts of our antiaircraft guns.”
3:15 PM — Nuclear warheads arrive at the Calabazar and Sagua la Grande MRBM sites.
Eight 1-Megaton warheads are mated to their missiles and are ready to fire. Because of
the rush, any order to launch will have to come via radio, which has been strongly
jammed all day by the United States. But there are no electronic locks preventing the men
of the battery from launching on their own.
3:30 PM — The CIA intercepts orders from Castro to sabotage cells across Latin
America and — theoretically — in the United States as well. The only result is an attack
on an American-owned power station in Venezuela which destroys the power plant. The
attackers are killed, however, when they blow themselves up with their dynamite.
3:41 PM — Low-level U.S. Navy reconnaissance aircraft fly over Cuba in the latest
effort to gain intelligence. They are fired upon by a 37mm antiaircraft gun near one of the
MRBM sites, and one aircraft is hit before heading back to Key West.
4:00 PM — Kennedy meets with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maxwell
Taylor, about the U-2 shootdown. He decides not to order a reprisal raid on the SAM
sites that shot down the aircraft, angering many in the Pentagon, but indicates that if
another aircraft is shot down, he will authorize retaliation.
(Note: Throughout the day, Kennedy keeps in close contact with U Thant, the Secretary-
General of the United Nations, in an effort to broker some sort of agreement with the
Soviet Union, using Thant as the go-between.)
4:17 PM — The USS Beale makes contact with the Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine B-59.
In an attempt to "communicate," the Beale begins pinging with active sonar and drops
practice depth charges on the submarine.
4:28 PM — In Washington, Kennedy and ExComm agree to a response to Khrushchev 's
trade letter, and agree to the deal as long as the American missile withdrawal will be kept
secret. In exchange for that concession, the United States will agree to a guarantee of
noninvasion with Cuba.
4:59 PM — The USS Cony, having also arrived on the scene with the Beale attempts to
signal B-59 with hand grenades dropped in the water above the submarine. Though aware
that American tactics involved the use of practice depth charges, the Soviet submariners
believe they are under attack.
This perception comes amid a scene of exhaustion and tension aboard the submarine.
Though it is not in as bad mechanical shape as the B-130, which is operating on only one
diesel engine, the B-59’s ventilation system has broken down, several electrical
compressors are broken, and the diesel coolers are choked with salt. Forced to submerge
several times earlier in the day by sub-hunting aircraft, the submarine’s batteries have
almost no charge, and carbon dioxide is reaching dangerous levels within the hull.
Temperatures are between 110 and 140 degrees because of the breakdowns, tropical heat,
and close conditions.
All these factors pile the strain upon the submarine’s commanding officer, Capt. Valentin
Savitsky. He had been unable to surface for the regular radio message from Moscow, and
for all he knows, war has broken out while the submarine has been forced to stay under
water. Suddenly, a strong explosion, more severe than the hand grenades, rocks the B-59.
The submarine’s interior lighting, already dim, flickers out in places, and exhausted
crewmen stagger to close hatches that spring open from the explosion.
Captain Savitsky is furious at the attack on his boat. He knows nothing about American
communication procedures, and with no communications from the general staff, he
becomes convinced that war has begun. “Maybe the war has already started up there
while we are doing somersaults down here,” he shouted. He orders the submarine’s single
nuclear torpedo to be readied.
Savitsky roars, "We're going to blast them now! We will perish ourselves, but we will
sink them all. We will not disgrace our navy!" Attempts to dissuade him prove fruitless,
as many in the crew believe that the submarine is already at war, and that if they will die,
at least they will take some Americans with them. Attempts to surface continue, as do
discussions among the boat’s officers about what to do. The submarine’s batteries are
almost exhausted, victims of the inability to surface to recharge, and the boat is lit only
by the dim glow of emergency lights. Air lies thick and fetid, and the humid atmosphere
is difficult to breathe. The repeated blasts of grenades add to the sense of helplessness in
5:13 PM — Captain Second Class Vadim Orlov makes one final attempt to talk Capt.
Savitsky from his course of action, and seems to succeed. Suddenly, an explosion — the
closest yet — rocks the boat, causing men to lose their footing, in many cases stumbling.
Orlov, intent on persuading Savitsky, fails to steady himself in time. He falls forward,
awkwardly, and smashes his head on the side of a nearby map console. Emergency help
is summoned, and Orlov is rushed to the medical bay, where a corpsman begins to work
on the unconscious officer. Savitsky, sadly, confirms his previous order. The attack will
move forward. There is no other option.
5:16 PM — A single 15-kiloton nuclear torpedo is launched from the B-59. At 40 knots,
it closes the distance between the submarine and the USS Cony quickly.
5:16:28 PM — A 14.7 kiloton nuclear blast vaporises the USS Cony and USS Beale. The
accompanying USS Barry is completely wrecked. Dozens of crewmen aboard the nearby
aircraft carrier USS Randolph are blinded due to the closeness of the blast, and several of
its accompanying destroyers are damaged as well. The B-59, meanwhile, is hit by a
massive underwater shockwave which buckles its hull. Water floods the various
compartments of the submarine, sending it deeper and deeper into the ocean, collapsing
compartment by compartment due to the pressure. Ironically, the last compartment to be
destroyed is the one occupied by crewmen who refused to go along with the orders to fire
the nuclear torpedo.
5:31 PM — President Kennedy is informed of the nuclear detonation. Reportedly, his
first words are "Ours or theirs?"
5:46 PM — Following an emergency conference with ExComm, Kennedy orders
immediate retaliation against Soviet submarines. No nuclear weapons are authorized to
be used, but Soviet submarines west of 60W are to be killed on sight, but no action is to
be taken outside of the western Atlantic Ocean. The Soviet Ambassador, Anatoly
Dobrynin is to be notified of this fact immediately. In Moscow, no one is yet aware of the
5:50 PM — The order to hunt and destroy Soviet submarines in the western Atlantic is
recieved by US Navy ships at sea along the blockade line. The USS Essex, which is
heading a task force hunting a submarine at the time of the message, launches alert
aircraft, and all ships arm weapons.
5:52 PM —Premier Khrushchev is at his dacha in the Lenin Hills when he is notified that
a nuclear detonation has taken place in the Caribbean. The report comes from the
freighter Pella, which had seen a large mushroom cloud to the north as it approached the
quarantine line. Khrushchev demands an immediate verification and orders that a
message be sent to the embassy in Washington. As a precaution, he orders a heightened
state of alert for Soviet strategic forces.
5:59 PM — Anatoly Dobrynin arrives at the White House to meet with President
Kennedy. A heated exhange follows, and Dobrynin leaves the White House fifteen
minutes later, almost at a run. This fact is observed by reporters who have been watching
the comings-and-goings at the building since the beginning of the crisis. Dobrynin's car
speeds away in the direction of the Soviet Embassy.
6:16 PM — The Essex task force, having finally located the Soviet submarine it was
tracking, begins to launch depth charges against the submarine. The attack proves
successful, and the submarine is driven to the surface where it is sunk by gunfire from the
depth-charging destroyers. Before being destroyed, it manages to transmit a distress call
indicating that it is under attack by American ships and is sinking. The garbled call is
picked up by nearby Soviet ships and is relayed across the Atlantic to the Soviet Union.
6:43 PM — Dobrynin finishes encoding his message to Moscow. Rather than send a
bicycle messenger to the Western Union office as is usual, he employs the Embassy’s
sole radio in hopes of speeding the message toward Moscow.
6:49 PM — News of the sinking of the submarine by the Essex task force reaches
Moscow. Upon reciept of the news, Khrushchev orders immediate counter action,
ordering the Soviet military to full readiness and also ordering that Soviet ships and
submarines may attack American ships at sea. Civilian ships are to dock at the nearest
7:12 PM — The Soviet Zulu-class submarine B-75 acknowledges receipt of its orders
and orders torpedoes armed. The B-75 had been ordered to the Caribbean in early
October with orders to defend Soviet merchant ships, but after Kennedy instituted the
blockade, the submarine was ordered back to the Soviet Union. When it receives its new
orders, it is in the mid-Atlantic.
Due to a misunderstanding of those orders by its captain, Nikolai Natnenkov, its first
target is an American freighter bound for Jacksonville. The freighter is hit by two
conventional torpedoes and sinks, sending out a distress call as it goes to the bottom. As
with the Soviet submarine's distress call an hour before, the message is passed on by
other ships. It is only one of three to go across the radio within fifteen minutes as other
Soviet submarines begin to work. One of the sinkings is east of the 60W line set by
7:35 PM — News of the freighter sinkings reaches Kennedy's desk. He orders that
American ships board Soviet vessels in the Atlantic Ocean. If they resist, he authorizes
the Navy to sink them. After extensive negotiations with the Joint Chiefs and ExComm,
he orders that a strike be readied for the missile sites in Cuba. If war is at hand, Kennedy
thinks, those missiles must not leave the ground.
7:47 PM — Ambassador Dobrynin's message reaches Premier Khrushchev. Khrushchev
questions the message, as the Americans now seem to be attacking Soviet submarines. He
demands Dobrynin ask Kennedy if a state of war exists between their two countries.
7:48 PM — US Navy vessels on the quarantine line and around the world acknowledge
the presidential order. Over the next twenty minutes, 17 Soviet vessels will be sunk
around the world. Six American ships will join them at the bottom of the sea.
8:25 PM — Amid all the chaos of what has just become World War III, John F. Kennedy
tucks his daughter, Caroline, and his son, John Jr., into bed. To his brother, he expresses
his worry for them and “the children everywhere in the world who would be wiped out in
9:13 PM — Khrushchev's message, relayed through the embassy radio because of its
urgency, reaches Dobrynin in Washington, who immediately calls the White House to
demand a conference with Kennedy over the phone. The conversation is short and to the
point, as Kennedy is furious over the nuclear attack and the perceived Soviet sneak
attack. The first real stages of fear setting in, Dobrynin again relays the message to
Moscow via radio, and requests that Khrushchev come to the radio in person so that a
direct channel can be set up between him and Kennedy.
10:15 PM — The Soviet submarine B-88 departs Petropavlovsk in the Kamchatka
Peninsula with orders to attack Pearl Harbor if the situation in Cuba deteriorates into allout
war. Commanded by Captain Konstatine Kireev, B-88 carries at least one 15-kiloton
10:57 PM — As a precautionary measure, and in response to panicked phone calls from
several congressional leaders, President Kennedy issues a Civil Defense Defense
Emergency message, informing Civil Defense authorities across the country of attacks
against American ships at sea. As a result of the Defense Emergency, Civil Defense
measures begin to be put into place, and in several cities, air raid sirens are accidentally
switched on, causing panic.
11:48 PM — As tensions heighten in around the world, in Berlin a brief firefight breaks
out between American and Soviet soldiers. A Soviet soldier, patrolling with a loaded
rifle, trips, firing a single shot harmlessly into the air. On the other side of the border,
American soldiers, tense with the news from the other side of the Atlantic, fire on the
Soviet soldiers that they believe are attacking. After ten minutes of firing, each side
retreats deeper into its sector of Berlin, having received pullback orders from their
respective commanders, who want to avoid conflict as long as possible.
Over the next few hours, the situation at sea continues to deteriorate as diplomats on both
sides of the world work to arrange a voice-to-voice meeting between the two leaders.
Meanwhile, ships and submarines are fighting a war while most of the western world
sleeps. In Washington, Kennedy is increasingly bombarded by questions from political
leaders across the country as news of the nuclear attack and subsequent sinkings trickles
out. Not many people in the United States have gone to sleep, and stay glued to their
televisions and radios for the latest news bulletins. Premature air raid sirens have awoken
many from bed, and in some cities there are riots and bouts of looting, which are
suppressed by local police.
Sunday, October 28, 1962
12:04 AM — In Washington and Moscow, Kennedy and Khrushchev hang up their
phones with a sense of finality, concluding a nearly 90 minute discussion — if such a
disorganized, shout-filled conversation deserves that label — that leaves both leaders
believing the other has fired the first shots. During the argument, Khrushchev revealed
one important bit of information in an effort to dissuade the United States from invading
Cuba — that there are tactical nuclear missiles in Cuba, and that the Soviet commander
on the scene has the authority to use them.
Until this point, Kennedy has avoided full mobilization and nationalization of the
National Guard because he fears it will be a provocative move. After the conversation
with Khrushchev, he orders the National Guard to be mobilized.
12:23 AM — Kennedy is notified about the Berlin firefight.
12:56 AM — Khrushchev is notified about the Berlin firefight.
1:16 AM — After discussing the conversation and the reports out of Berlin with the
ExComm, Kennedy orders a review of the air strike plans presented by General Taylor on
the 21st. Pressured by many members of the ExComm, and by his military advisors,
Kennedy believes that the best way to bring the crisis to an end is to destroy the missiles
that are causing it. Khrushchev ’s warning about the nuclear-tipped FROG missiles
cautions Kennedy against a seaborne invasion, at least until those missiles are put out of
commission by air strikes.
After a review of the plans, Kennedy okays a combined strike intended to destroy the
IRBM and MRBM launchers so far pinpointed as well as the three airfields holding
nuclear-capable IL-28 bombers. As a support mission, aircraft are also tasked with hitting
the five SAM sites protecting the launcher sites. General Taylor reminds the President
that only about 90 percent of the known launchers will likely be destroyed, and that there
may be other launchers not pinpointed by U-2s and the CIA. Kennedy, in a deep malaise,
and seeing no other option, authorizes the strike. He repeatedly reminds himself that the
risk is worth it, that it could save the lives of millions of Americans. He has one final
hope: a second phone conference with Khrushchev, scheduled for 2:15 AM.
That hope does not keep him from ordering Press Secretary Pierre Salinger to have the
nation’s television and radio networks be ready for a nationwide address at 2:45 AM,
even though many are off the air because of the late hour. Kennedy has two speeches
ready: one if the conference gets results, and one if it does not.
1:37 AM — After nearly an hour of discussion, Khrushchev comes to an undeniable
conclusion — the Soviet Union is in a position it cannot win. A strike against the NATO
countries, even if successful, would invite a massive nuclear attack, something that would
utterly destroy his country. He is aware, even if the United States is not, of the massive
gap between his ability to hit the United States and its ability to hit back. His country is
ringed by missiles, and it cannot destroy them all in time. Over protests from his military
advisers and many of the Presidium, he orders that a new line to be established with the
White House. He will unconditionally withdraw Soviet missiles from Cuba, and
hopefully bring the nascent conflict to the end. Unnoticed in the commotion, First Deputy
Prime Minister Alexander Shelepin slips from the room, and begins to make phone calls
to close friends in the KGB.
1:46 AM — President Kennedy gives the final go-ahead for the strikes against IRBM and
MRBM missile launchers in Cuba. Due to the distance from staging airfields and
Kennedy’s belief that the second telephone conference will be no less acrimonious than
the first, Kennedy’s order goes out before the conference’s scheduled beginning. If the
conference is successful, the attacks can be postponed or called off entirely. If it is not,
American planes will have a greater surprise advantage. The first bombs are scheduled to
fall at exactly 2:35 AM.
In a conference with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Kennedy is appraised of the nuclear
situation, and the fact that the latest Strategic Integrated Operations Plan, the plan for
nuclear war with the Soviet Union, China, the Warsaw Pact, or any other nation on Earth,
has been updated with the latest information, and that the most up-to-date installment,
SIOP-63, has been implemented and is ready for execution at any time. Kennedy refuses
to discuss the topic, and instead veers conversation towards the upcoming attack on
1:53 AM — A firefight similar to the one that took place in Berlin takes place along the
inter-German border, near the town of Wanfried. Unlike in Berlin, both sides call for
reinforcements, believing that an invasion is underway (Berlin’s long history of tension
causes commanders there to be more reluctant about engaging in hostilities, particularly
on the Western side, where the strategy is to retreat deep into the city and force the
Soviets to fight house-to-house.) Battalion-level artillery is engaged, beginning a fight
that will last for nearly an hour, as both sides finally realize that there is no wide-scale
invasion taking place. Yet.
2:00 AM — Daylight Savings time ends in the United States. Clocks “fall back” one
2:13 AM — As the preparations for Khrushchev ’s second conference with Kennedy are
nearly complete, the Premier settles in his chambers and waits for the connection to be
made. It will never take place. As midday sunlight streams through the windows of his
office, the door bursts open to admit several KGB soldiers, who enter in a hail of gunfire.
Khrushchev dies quickly, and across Moscow, similar firefights take place as Shelepin’s
coup unfolds. In Washington, Kennedy waits for a phone call that will never come. A
potential recall order goes ungiven.
2:24 AM — The first wave of American aircraft are picked up by Cuban radar sets. The
entire Cuban air defense network is at full alert.
2:31 AM — The first American aircraft cross into Cuban airspace. MiG fighters launch
from Cuba, but they are vastly outnumbered by the approaching American aircraft, which
number nearly 200.
2:34 AM — SAMs lift off from the five closest sites to the MRBM launch positions.
2:35 AM — MiG fighters engage USAF F-104s and US Navy F-4 Phantoms in air
combat above Cuba. Due to the odds stacked against them, the dozen-plus MiGs are shot
down in short order, with the loss of only three American aircraft. Twenty-four American
fighters establish an orbit over each of the three defending airfields, with an additional 12
2:37 AM — The first bombs begin to fall on Cuban SAM sites. Though the American
bombers take a few losses from SAM fire, Cuban antiaircraft gunnery is atrocious, and
downs no aircraft. All five SAM sites are destroyed, and additional bombers tasked with
hitting the Cuban airfields begin their work. In total, more than 1,400 targets have been
identified in Cuba in the days since the crisis began. For the 1,200 U.S. aircraft available,
the mission is as much about air traffic control as it is hitting their targets. Because the
strikes take place at night, bombing accuracy is atrocious. But the sheer number of
aircraft make up for their lack of accuracy through brutal firepower and numbers.
2:39 AM — The first bombs impact amid the nine known Cuban MRBM missile sites.
The five-hundred and thousand-pound weapons explode with deadly effect, rupturing
fuel lines, destroying launch trailers, and more importantly, fragmenting nuclear
warheads across the landscape. Several missiles explode in secondary blasts, adding to
the destruction. The first wave of American aircraft departs the scene, leaving behind an
ocean of destruction, as lakes of rocket fuel burn uncontrollably, having been ignited
when fully-fueled missiles were struck by bombs.
2:45 AM — Kennedy’s second Oval Office address in less than five days is much less
smooth than his first. Kennedy, addressing an audience dampened by the early hour but
swollen by premature air raid sirens and worldwide tension, appears tired. He pauses
frequently and his appearance is more unkempt than would be expected from a president
making a nationwide address.
“My fellow Americans:
With a heavy heart, and in necessary fulfillment of my oath of office, I have ordered …
and the United States Air Force has now carried out … military operations, with
conventional weapons only, to remove a major nuclear weapons buildup from the soil of
Cuba. … Every other course of action involved risk of delay and further harm to our
armed forces and Americans at home. … With no prospect of real progress in removing
this intolerable communist nuclear threat into the Americas … prolonged delay would
have meant enormously increased danger, and immediate warning would have greatly
enlarged the loss of life on all sides. It became my duty to act. …”
3:16 AM — The second wave of American aircraft arrives, smashing targets that have
already been hit. More launchers and missiles go up in flames, as do the hangars housing
Soviet IL-28 bombers. MiG-17 fighters from bases further away manage to down a few
more American aircraft, as do the surviving SAM sites, but the bombing proceeds apace.
3:57 AM — The third and final wave of American aircraft arrives to drop bombs on the
pinpointed offensive missile sites. Three more SAM sites are knocked out, as is another
airfield suspected of housing nuclear-capable bombers. This time, no Cuban aircraft rise
to challenge the Americans, and the only opposition comes from an increasing number of
SAM missiles and antiaircraft artillery fire. When the last aircraft finally heads north, it
leaves behind a moonscape of fire and shrapnel, torn bodies and wreckage. More
importantly, it leaves behind a single intact launcher and four untouched SS-4 missiles.
4:15 AM — Having taken the air strikes on Cuba to be a declaration of war, Fidel Castro
begins the attack on Guantanamo Bay Naval Station. Forces have long been in place, and
only needed the order to act. A massive artillery barrage begins to fall on the base. Castro
asks Moscow for assistance. Moscow has more pressing concerns. Soviet ground forces
in Cuba remain in their barracks.
5:00 AM — With the Cuban missiles having been destroyed beyond his wildest
expectations, Kennedy breaks out of the malaise he has been in since hearing of the
nuclear attack against the U.S. Navy. Yes, there is a worldwide naval war going on, and
Cuba is now fully at war with the United States, but the threat of imminent destruction
seems to have passed. Now, the work of fighting the war can begin.
6:45 AM — It is now early afternoon in Moscow, and the counter-Khrushchev plotters
have gained the upper hand. In the short term, they agree to govern the Soviet Union via
a committee, but all of them know that won’t last. In the meantime, there is still the issue
of the Cuban situation, which has only gotten worse. The plotters agree to a man that the
Soviet Union must respond with force, and eliminate the western nuclear threat. It will be
a great challenge, but all agree to a plan of action — an invasion of Western Europe, with
the aim of eliminating western nuclear arms that might threaten the Soviet Union.
The plotters believe NATO’s nuclear capability is similar to their own — with most
delivery vehicles limited to short- or intermediate-range missiles backed by a handful of
ICBMs and long-range bombers. Invading Western Europe will eliminate these weapons,
leaving the Soviet Union facing only bombers and missiles based in the United States and
Khrushchev, knowing the real numbers on the ground — the United States with 27,000+
nuclear warheads, versus the Soviet Union’s 3,000+, and most of those on short-range
launchers — knew the strategy wouldn’t work. The plotters do not. Contacting the
various commanders of armies along the frontier, they set their plan into motion. Some
subterfuge is needed, giving orders as if they come from Khrushchev (after all, his death
can be played off as being the fault of a CIA assassination when the time comes), but the
plan goes surprisingly smoothly. Everyone is too focused at the enemy in front to worry
about what might be happening behind them. H-hour will be at dawn the next day, in
order to achieve the greatest amount of surprise possible. The Red Army may not be fully
ready, but neither will NATO… or so the thought goes.
9:00 AM — The war in Cuba is now in full swing. President Kennedy has called for a
special meeting of the combined Congress in order to take a vote on a declaration of war.
The question on everyone’s mind is whether it will be only against Cuba, or also against
the Soviet Union. In Cuba itself, Kennedy has authorized the use of everything short of
nuclear weapons in order to ensure the safety of Guantanamo Bay. Planning proceeds in
regards to an invasion strategy. In his heart, Kennedy had hoped that the air strikes would
not bring Cuba into war with the United States, but it had been a long shot at best, and the
potential payoff had been too high. Reconnaissance flights continue to search for any
missiles or launchers that might have escaped the three air strikes, but nothing is found.
11:00 AM — After a short struggle, the plotters in Moscow succeed in relieving several
Red Army commanders who had shown themselves to be more loyal to Khrushchev than
was otherwise healthy. The strategic nuclear forces of the Soviet Union are firmly within
the grasp of the KGB, and thus the plotters as well. Doubts about moving ahead with an
invasion so quickly are quashed by the need to distract Soviet citizens until the plotters
can secure their hold on power entirely. Until then, no official announcement of
Khrushchev’s death is reported, and life continues as it has throughout the Cuban Crisis.
12:00 AM — SAC speeds its readiness process and continues frantically getting more
nuclear weapons on bombers and missiles fueled. More than 170 missiles are ready to
fire, and 1,200 airplanes are combat ready. Together, they are able to deliver more than
2,860 nuclear warheads against the Soviet Union at a moment’s notice.
1:00 PM — In what is perhaps the oddest joint session of Congress in the history of the
United States, a formal state of war is declared between the United States and Cuba. Over
a third of the assembled chamber casts votes via telephone, due to the fear of a surprise
Soviet attack. This bending of the rules is allowed due to the extraordinary circumstances
of the vote. Immense public pressure is being placed on Kennedy to retaliate in nuclear
form, given the public knowledge that the Soviets have already used a nuclear weapon,
but Kennedy feels as in control of the situation as he’s been in the last 24 hours, and
resists the pressure.
3:00 PM — Several hundred miles northwest of Cuba, the Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine
B-4 spots an ideal target — the aircraft carrier USS Essex. The B-4 is the only Soviet
submarine of the four in the Caribbean to have remained unpursued by the U.S. Navy.
Though detected by patrol aircraft, it escaped pursuit. Unlike the B-130 and B-36, which
were sunk quickly after Kennedy’s order, the B-4, captained by Rurik Ketov and armed
with a nuclear torpedo, remains a threat.
3:04 PM — After closing within 4,000 yards of the Essex — as close as he dares —
Ketov orders a long-range deflection shot at the Essex. The 15-kiloton nuclear warhead
will kill the carrier even if it detonates a ways off after running out the 4,000m
programmed distance. After launch, the B-4 executes an emergency turn, and slips away
3:06:03 PM — Having run its programmed course, the 53cm torpedo detonates its 15
kiloton warhead fewer than 200 yards from the hull of the Essex, which has completely
failed to spot its attacker, the torpedo, or to take any sort of zig-zag course, confident as it
is in its screen of destroyers. It, along with three of its escorts, is vaporized in less than a
second. Only one destroyer, which had detected the noise of the B-4’s emergency turn
and had gone to investigate, evades massive damage.
3:21 PM — News of the second nuclear detonation reaches Washington. Unlike the first
nuclear attack, reports are immediately picked up outside the White House, and the
President is bombarded by calls for retaliation against Cuba. Kennedy is shocked and
appalled. One nuke might have been a mistake. Two is planned.
4:49 PM — After a meeting of ExComm, a retaliatory strike is agreed upon. The city of
Guantanamo, Cuba, will be targeted by a 50-kiloton nuclear device, to be delivered by
the U.S. Air Force. Kennedy understands that this is a major escalation, but by attacking
a Cuban site, he hopes to demonstrate that he intends the war to remain limited to the
Caribbean. The attack will have the effect of responding to the Soviet move, as well as
relieving pressure on the embattled defenders of Guantanamo Naval Base.
5:37 PM — A massive protest begins outside the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C.
Rioters storm the gates of the embassy, burning buildings, and lynching the few people
still present in the building. Police, unwilling to stop the violence, stand by while the
building burns before eventually breaking up the protest. Ambassador Dobrynin, having
been evacuated several hours earlier, watches the events unfold on television. He will
leave for Mexico in less than an hour, en route to Moscow, having been quietly recalled
by the new regime.
Any hope of mediating an easy end to hostilities ends with his departure. The destruction
of the embassy radio leaves the assistant ambassador no secure means of communicating
with Moscow. Furthermore, his junior status makes him reluctant to act unilaterally,
without prior instructions from higher authority. Dobrynin was more willing to act
independently, part of the reason for his recall. With the embassy destroyed, the Soviet
assistant ambassador is forced to rely on encoded messages sent via Western Union
telegram, a process that takes hours — even without problems caused by outright war.
6:21 PM — Three B-52s of the 96th Bomb Wing launch from Dyess Air Force Base in
Texas, each armed with a single 50 kiloton nuclear bomb. Only one is scheduled to drop
its weapon, but the other two are backups in the event that the primary bomber is shot
6:42 PM — Aircraft lift off from various bases across Florida and the Caribbean. Their
mission will be to clear the airspace around Guantanamo and ensure the safe arrival of
7:17 PM — The first wave of aircraft begins hitting SAM and antiaircraft positions
around Guantanamo city. Several go down to Cuban SAM-2s, but many more missiles
are successfully evaded. Operation of the sites is hampered by the unfamiliarity of Cuban
personnel with the Soviet weapons, and reload time is slow. Many sites are destroyed
before they can launch a second missile. A few MiG-17s scramble from Cuban airfields,
but are shot down in rapid succession by the F-4 Phantoms that maintain a constant
presence over Cuban airfields.
7:52 PM — A second coordinated wave of aircraft begin launching attacks on
Guantanamo city’s defenses. Many sites uncovered during the first wave’s attack are
destroyed in this wave of bombing. The way is opened for the B-52 attack.
8:34 PM — 45 minutes after sunset, the B-52s arrive at Guantanamo. Only one makes an
approach over the target, as the other two aircraft stand off in reserve. A few American
bombers make one final run through the remaining defenses to draw off whatever
missiles or antiaircraft fire remains. As a result, only one SAM is launched at a B-52, and
that at one of the reserves, which is damaged in the attack.
8:36:11 PM — The B-52 “Lucky Lady” drops its weapon on Guantanamo, half a
kilometer north of the city’s center. The resulting explosion incinerates the town, killing
an estimated 20,000 people instantly. Along the perimeter of the Naval Base, firing
comes almost to a complete halt as defender and attacker alike turn to stare at the
enormous fireball rising into the sky a dozen miles to the north. The early twilight is
banished by the atomic blast. Before the fireball has even risen to its peak, the fighting
8:49 PM — Fidel Castro learns of the destruction of Guantanamo. For a moment, the
voluble Cuban leader is struck silent. He quickly launches into a tirade, demanding an
immediate nuclear response from General Issa Pliyev, commander of Soviet forces in
Cuba. Though Pliyev is still reeling from the assault on his longer-ranged missiles, Castro
knows that the general still has several short-ranged, small-warhead missiles intended for
battlefield use. He demands that the general use these against Guantanamo Naval Base in
retaliation for the American nuclear strike.
Pliyev refuses. He has direct orders from Moscow, received on the 22nd, to not use any
nuclear weapons without further instructions. Besides, he has sent nearly half of the
41,000 Warsaw Pact soldiers on the island to aid in the attack on Guantanamo. Pliyev
fought the Germans from the gates of Moscow to the borders of Hungary. He will not
endanger his country for Castro’s revenge. His soldiers will have to do. For Castro, it is
not enough. Nuclear weapons have fallen on Cuban soil, and he must respond in kind.
9:17 PM — The Moscow Plotters receive news of the destruction of Guantanamo. For
most, this only hardens their resolve that NATO’s nuclear bases in Western Europe must
be destroyed quickly, and at as low a price as possible. The initial phase of the invasion,
scheduled for launch in only a few hours, will consist of a series of massive air raids
against NATO airbases and missile sites, coupled with a land invasion aimed at Brussels
and Paris. Air support of ground forces will be sacrificed to missions targeted at NATO
missiles and air power. Those are the primary targets, and they must be destroyed.
9:36 PM — Cuban soldiers, under direct orders from Fidel Castro, forcibly take over a
Soviet FKR cruise missile unit near the village of Filipinas, 15 miles equidistant from
both the burning city of Guantanamo and the American military base. It’s a peaceful
takeover — no Soviet technicians or soldiers are injured — but Castro’s deputies make it
clear to Major Denischenko, the unit’s commander, that they will brook no resistance to
their launching of the missiles, orders or no orders.
In theory, the missiles can be launched only on the orders of the regimental commander,
Colonel Maltsev. But there are no codes or locks on the missiles or their warheads. All
that is needed are two radio operators to guide the missiles to their destination and
detonate the warhead. The missiles had already been set up and emplaced. Only the final
10:02 PM — Despite the threat of violent death at the hands of gun-toting Cubans, only
one radio operator is willing to help the Cubans, and only then after his comrades are
threatened with execution. Through painstaking translation and crude show, he
demonstrates how the instruments in the control vans operate. Through this, a group of
Cubans gathers in one control van while the Soviet radio operator works in the other. The
third control van is left vacant; there simply are not enough even half-capable people to
try to launch the third missile. Shortly after 10 PM Eastern time, two FKR missiles lift off
from Filipinas. Shaped like MiG fighters with their cockpits removed, they roar into the
air on trails of fire, each carrying one 14-kiloton warhead.
10:05 PM — Having traveled the roughly twenty miles from their launch site, the
missiles and their nuclear warheads begin their return to Earth. One missile overshoots
the base entirely, landing in the Caribbean Sea. The other, piloted by the Soviet radio
operator, has its engine cut off at the southern end of Guantanamo’s McCalla Field, one
of two airstrips on the base. When the Soviet operator sees the radio altimeter pass below
500 feet, he pulls the trigger.
The resulting blast was somewhat underwhelming by atomic standards, but by any others,
it was absolutely devastating. In less than 3 seconds after detonation, Guantanamo’s
eastern airstrip had ceased to exist, killing hundreds of Americans in an instant. Whole
slabs of concrete were torn from the ground or vaporized, along with the control tower,
hangars, and other buildings on the airfield. The docks immediately to the east, along
with many of the administration and supply buildings nearby were heavily damaged or
Leeward Point airfield to the west, across the mouth of Guantanamo Bay, was largely
undamaged by the bomb. Its isolated position, however, made it vulnerable to
conventional artillery, and it soon was kept out of service by regular bombardment.
Though the Marines fighting along the base’s perimeter were unhurt by the blast, the
heart of their logistics had been ripped to shreds. Among those killed are the commanders
of the Marine brigade. Though the marines fight on, they have largely lost contact with
10:12 PM — Pliyev learns of the Cuban seizure of the missiles when the Cubans release
Soviet technicians following the launch against Guantanamo. He is utterly furious, and
aides are forced to separate Pliyev and Castro, who are at each others’ throats over the
issue. Pliyev storms out of Castro’s headquarters in Havana, heading west to Pinar Del
Rio and the Soviet long-range missiles.
10:31 PM — News of the destruction of Guantanamo reaches Washington, D.C.
Kennedy and the rest of the ExComm, who had no inkling of the Soviet cruise missiles,
are stunned to the core. The CIA and aerial reconnaissance had revealed the presence of
short-range FROG missile launchers on the island, but they were wholly ignorant of
nuclear weapons for those missiles or even the bare existence of the weapons used
against Guantanamo. Kennedy feels a brief instant of guilt for his previous actions to
escalate the conflict, but quickly moves to what should be done.
Clearly, the air strikes on the known IRBM sites were not enough. This leaves only one
option for a President who wants to eliminate the nuclear threat in Cuba — invasion.
FROGs and FKRs, unlike SS-4s, are too easily transported and too easily hidden to be hit
reliably from the air, and although an invasion force will be exposed to these weapons,
there is no other option if Florida and the rest of the southern United States are to be truly
safe. A full-scale nuclear bombardment of Cuba might eliminate the missiles, but even at
this late stage, Kennedy is reluctant to give up all hope of a conventional solution.
Also weighing on Kennedy’s mind are the surviving Marines in Guantanamo, who are
hard-pressed and falling back. Kennedy is tempted to order an immediate evacuation of
the remaining soldiers, but General Taylor reminds Kennedy that any invasion will face
long odds, and an evacuation will sap resources from the invasion effort as well as
eliminate a distraction for the Cuban defenders. If the Marines can hold out for 24 hours,
the invasion will bring them relief. Otherwise, they will become a liability, rather than an
Reluctantly, Kennedy agrees that the Enterprise and Independence carrier groups to the
west and south of Jamaica, respectively, should prepare to assist the invasion rather than
begin an evacuation. After an additional consultation with ExComm and others, Kennedy
agrees to the Joint Chiefs’ request for a nuclear strike on Havana both to retaliate for the
attack on Guantanamo Bay and to soften Cuban defenses for the invasion, which has an
H-hour set for noon, 14 hours hence.
Kennedy is under enormous pressure from Congress to “level Cuba” and end the threat
once and for all. Ironically, this would probably have been the right move, as it would
have irrevocably eliminated the nuclear threat from the island — at the cost of every
human being living on it. Kennedy’s humanity prevents him from taking that coldblooded
action. In his heart, he knows that the invasion of Cuba will cost many lives, but
those lives will mean a cost far less than that of the devastation of Cuba. As long as there
is still hope, Kennedy will not destroy the world.
10:53 PM — A single B-52 of the 9th Bomb Wing, based at Homestead, Florida, lifts off
from Homestead Air Force Base south of Miami. Due to the large number of SAMs and
antiaircraft fire expected around Havana, the bomber is armed with a single AGM-28
Hound Dog standoff missile. As more and more SAC bombers are called into service,
armed, and sent to standoff positions near the Soviet Union, every bomber is valuable,
and this one will not be risked.
11:11 PM — From a position 100 miles west of Marathon, Florida, the B-52 “Super
Sally” releases its missile towards Havana. It falls to an altitude of 5,000 feet before
igniting its engine and rocketing toward Cuba. Cuban radar is completely ignorant of its
11:26:15 PM — After covering the 200 miles from its launch point as a speed in excess
of Mach 1, the 1.1 megaton nuclear bomb in the tip of the missile detonates. Although it
explodes over the south side of the city, rather than the downtown section of the city, the
large size of the warhead renders any inaccuracy moot. Among the nearly 1 million
people who die in the first five minutes after the detonation is Fidel Castro, who has been
directing the ongoing fight from a bunker beneath the city.
General Pliyev, driving west in a chauffeured car, is rocked by the explosion, despite
being 30 miles from the city. The car slows, then continues on. The Cubans will be
utterly enraged, he realizes — he has to secure the remaining nuclear weapons in order to
prevent the Cubans from seizing them. His car has no radio, and he must act quickly. He
has no desire to see a Cuban-launched nuclear missile start a war between his country and
the United States, not out of any love for the United States, but rather a love for the
Monday, October 29, 1962
12:35 AM — An exhausted President Kennedy emerges from a conference with the Joint
Chiefs of Staff and other American military advisers. Virtually every topic in relation to
the growing war is discussed, ranging from the pending invasion of Cuba (Kennedy gives
the go-ahead for operations to commence in 12 hours’ time), the growing Soviet activity
in Europe (Kennedy okays a war-warning message to Gen. Lauris Norstad, Supreme
Allied Commander, Europe, as a precautionary message), and the growing number of
flashpoints around the world, from the Korean border to the Persian/Soviet border, to
Europe, Berlin, and the situation at sea, which is finally settling as ships that had been in
close contact with vessels Soviet Union are either sunk or sink those near them.
The only bright spot is China, which has offered to negotiate a cease-fire between the
United States and Cuba through the United Nations. In a statement from its embassy, the
Chinese state that they have no interest in becoming involved in the conflict, and hope
that the Soviet Union, United States, and Cuba will accept its neutrality and offer of
mediation. The CIA backs the statement, as no offensive actions have been observed
from China, and indeed the opposite has occurred, demonstrated by a CIA intercept of a
communiqué between China and North Korea, warning the latter against any invasion of
South Korea while the United States is occupied — China clearly has no interest in
seeing its corner of the world blanketed in nuclear fire as Cuba has been. To show its
earnestness in avoiding conflict, Chinese soldiers begin retreating from a contested
border region with India.
In light of the circumstances, Kennedy orders that America’s primary nuclear war plan
include not attacking China. There had been some doubt about China’s intentions, even
two years after the split between it and the Soviet Union had become public. Partially
because of that split and partially because of Kennedy’s horror at SIOP-62, which called
for a complete and all-out nuclear attack on every communist country on Earth,
regardless of true status, Kennedy had ordered the creation of SIOP-63, the plan currently
in effect. SIOP-63 allows for “holds,” or non-attack orders against specific countries or
targets in individual countries.
Before adjourning to bed for a short rest — Kennedy has been awake for more than 40
consecutive hours — he remarks that it’s a dark day when the only good news is from
China, and that he hopes the world will still be there when he wakes up.
12:50 AM — Upon receiving the war-warning from Washington, Gen. Norstad orders a
full NATO war alert (the highest peacetime alert having been given some time before)
and orders the dispersal of NATO command from its peacetime headquarters in Paris to
its secret alternate command posts near the French/German border. In semi-buried
positions in the mountains of Alsace, the NATO high command will be relatively secure.
An increasing number of “Soviet activity” messages are reaching his desk, and those,
plus the global situation, point to one conclusion — invasion.
1:15 AM — The Moscow Plotters meet for the final time before the invasion. Already,
many in the Red Army are beginning to question who exactly is giving them their orders.
Had there not been a large emergency staring them in the face, they probably would have
already uncovered the truth. Of course, had there been no Cuban Crisis, there would have
been no need to remove Khrushchev. Now, everything is being put on this one last roll of
the dice. Events in Cuba have made it abundantly clear to the plotters that if things are
not handled quickly, they will not be handled at all. Khrushchev believed he could handle
Kennedy — events in Cuba showed otherwise.
Many bombers are already in the air, streaming from bases deep inside Russia to targets
in Western Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. Only the bare reserves — nuclear-armed
retaliatory bombers — stand in reserve to finish things if the strikes do not succeed.
1:17 AM — Raul Castro, personally commanding the Cuban and Warsaw Pact forces
attacking the beleaguered defenders of the ruins of Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, learns
of the destruction of Havana and the presumed death of his older brother, Fidel Castro.
When asked what his orders are, he replies, “Fight. What else can we do?” He orders
word of Havana’s destruction be spread among the soldiers, in order to spur them to fight
1:24 AM — NATO radar stations in West Germany and Norway pick up an enormous
swarm of aircraft over Eastern Europe. Electrons know no borders, and the Soviet and
Warsaw Pact buildup is noticed with alarm by NATO aerial commanders. With General
Norstad out of communications and en route to his alternate command post, NATO sector
commanders are left to order their horrifically outnumbered aircraft into the air. Air
defenses along the line are put into operation with varying degrees of quickness.
1:39 AM — President Kennedy is awoken from a deep sleep in the White House. Blearyeyed,
he is ushered into the Situation Room and informed of events in Europe.Exhausted,
and having gotten less than an hour of sleep, he orders American air defenses to full
readiness, and orders an Air Defense Emergency for NORAD and Civil Defense even
though no aircraft are believed to be approaching the United States. Across the United
States and Canada, air raid sirens begin to howl, startling the few Americans and
Canadians who have gone to sleep into wakefulness.
Kennedy asks if any missiles have been detected. When a negative is received, there is an
ironic laugh. At least they’ll be able to see what hit them, Kennedy remarks. He orders
SAC to Defcon One. The instant a bomb falls on North America, he’ll order a strike on
the Soviet Union.
Several of Kennedy’s military advisors are extremely agitated at this statement. By
ignoring strikes against American forces outside North America, he is endangering the
United States’ ability to strike back, they declare, and by limiting America’s response to
targets outside the Soviet Union, he would be inviting a counterstrike. Despite his
exhaustion, Kennedy weathers the arguments. Unless the Soviets attack first, he will not
give the order to launch. His military leaders stifle the obvious response — so what
happened in Cuba, then?
Eventually, the aircraft turn back, but many remain in holding patterns that mirror
American bombers holding at fail-safe positions near the Soviet Union.
1:42 AM — Gen. Pilyev reaches the site of his remaining nuclear weapons. Detoured
several times due to American air strikes, the dispersal site holding the final remaining
SS-4 launcher and missiles, as well as three Scud-B short-range missiles is guarded by
400 Soviet soldiers and over 5,000 Cuban soldiers. Immediately upon arriving, Pilyev is
confronted by an agitated Cuban officer, who says he has orders from Castro to secure
the launch of the remaining nuclear weapons against American targets.
Pilyev, having seen the destruction of Havana in the rear-view mirror of his car, rebuffs
the furious officers, and orders him to return to his post. The sentiment festering among
the Cubans guarding the missiles, however, is a hostile one — having heard of the
destruction of Havana, they want revenge, particularly the soldiers who had families in
the city. The nuclear weapons at hand are the perfect way for them to get that revenge,
and they cannot understand why “that damned Soviet general” will not let them be fired
off. The Americans, after all, have already used nuclear weapons on Cuba — it is only
right that they should have revenge.
Pilyev warns the Red Army troops to be alert. He doesn’t like being out of contact with
higher authority, the broadcasts he’s picking up from the United States are making him
nervous, and worst of all, the Cubans look mutinous. If things are as bad as American
radio is making them sound, he wants to launch the missiles on his authority, not those of
some ragged militiaman. And if the orders never come to launch, he’ll be even happier.
But that won’t matter a damn if the Cubans don’t go along, he thinks darkly.
1:50 AM — Soviet soldiers cross the border from East Berlin and Potsdam into the
western sections of Berlin in an attempt to cut the city in two. French, British, and
American forces resist where possible, but retreat to pre-planned fortress lines. House-byhouse
fighting, point-blank armor fights, and brutal combat will be the hallmarks of the
fight for the city, the first operation of the Soviet invasion of western Europe.
1:57 AM — Soviet aircraft begin bombing targets in West Germany, Norway, and other
NATO countries. The first targets hit are airfields, SAM sites, and suspected nuclear
storage sites. The aircraft are met by a hail of ground fire as well as the alerted mass of
the NATO air forces. F-104s clash with MiG-21s over Germany as the largest aerial
battle in history unfolds as dawn breaks over Europe. The sky is streaked with missile
and aircraft contrails and the dots of ejected pilots’ parachutes. Below, NATO troops
hunker down for what they know is coming. They won’t have long to wait.
2:01 AM — Artillery and rockets begin to fire across the German border. Warsaw Pact
armor and infantry follow on the heels of the initial bombardment, slashing across the
countryside — for the first 100 yards. They are then met by a storm of anti-tank missiles,
counter-artillery, and every rifle in Western Europe. Warsaw Pact forces advance
extraordinarily slowly, despite chemical bombardment.
2:07 AM — Soviet tanks storm across the Soviet-Norwegian border in an attempt to simultaneously neutralise NATO forces in Norway and gain airfields from which to attack Britain and Iceland. As most NATO forces had been stationed along the inter-German border, the Soviets in Norway face far less resistance, although what there is is exceedingly stubborn and the awful terrain favors the defending Norwegians. Partisan resistance behind Soviet lines also helps to slow up the Soviet advance.
2:12 AM — Gen. Norstad establishes command at the alternate NATO headquarters in
eastern France. Taken aback at the ferocity of the assault, he orders aerial reserves into
2:37 AM — The initial Warsaw Pact air assault plan is in shambles. Rather than
concentrating on wearing down NATO air defenses, Soviet aircraft have been diverted to
air-to-air fighting, forcing them to jettison their bombs before engaging NATO aircraft.
Soviet air planners are at a loss. Their mission orders were specific — to target NATO
special weapons depots wherever found — but the necessities of the fighting mean that
the mission must be pushed back. Adding to their troubles is the standing order to keep
20 percent of nuclear-capable aircraft in reserve — just in case. Their only consolation is
that NATO forces are surely in even worse straits.
6:02 AM — A hasty early battle analysis given to Gen. Norstad indicates that Warsaw
Pact air attacks have primarily been focused on air defenses and special weapons storage
sites. Surprisingly, almost no attention has been paid to ground forces actively engaged in
combat, allowing NATO troops to put up a solid, if weakening, defense.
The question of why the Soviets aren’t providing close air support in the amount
expected is brushed aside as Norstad orders the creation of a deception plan designed to
take advantage of the Soviet focus on nuclear weapons sites.
10:00 AM — The initial bombardment of Mariel, Cuba begins. Despite the chaos
surrounding the destruction of Havana, some Cubans return fire on the American
destroyers shelling the town and surrounding coast. They are quickly silenced, but
sporadic artillery fire continues to fall around the ships. In less than a half hour, La Boca,
at the entrance to the harbor, is in flames, as is the airfield on the shores of the harbor.
American aircraft are everywhere, strafing and launching rockets against anything that
even looks like it might be hostile. Guantanamo and the two nuclear torpedoes used
against American ships ensure that no one is in the mood to take prisoners.
11:13 AM — Gen. Pilaev is again approached by the same Cuban officer, who demands
that he use the Soviet nuclear weapons. The Americans are attacking Mariel, he declares,
and begs Pilaev to use his weapons to drive the Americans back. The begging escalates
into cajoling, and when Pilaev still refuses — into threats. If Pilaev will not help, then he
is no better than the Americans attacking Cuba’s shores. If Pilaev continues his
intrangesince, then he is leaving no other option than for the Cubans to take and use the
weapons themselves. In a moment of pique, Pilaev replies, “you can have these weapons
when you pry them from my cold, dead, hands.” The Cuban officer, furious, marches off.
Pilaev orders the company guarding the missiles to be ready for anything, and orders the
radiomen feverishly working to establish contact with anyone in Moscow — or barring
that, the Soviet combat group in San Antonio de los banos — to work faster. Time is
clearly running out.
11:49 AM — A Soviet heliborne operation to capture the American headquarters at
Nurnberg on the left flank of the main Soviet advance captures several documents
reportedly detailing the locations of several redeployed stockpiles of tactical nuclear
weapons. The information is quickly helicoptered back to East Germany and passed up
the chain of command.
12:05 PM — The United States begins execution of Operation Scabbards — the invasion
of Cuba. Paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions begin landing in Cuba.
Assigned to the far eastern and western flanks of the invasion, respectively, the 101st
lands near the town of Abajo and its adjacent airfield, while the 82nd lands in and around
Cabanas. Fortunately, the weather is good, and only smoke from the burning of Havana
mars what is otherwise a picture-perfect jump for the 101st. Even the Cubans seem quiet
as the Screaming Eagles fall from the sky, as many militiamen have been distracted by
the destruction of Havana, 15 miles to the east.
That destruction has required last-minute modifications to the invasion plan. As late
midnight, the airborne divisions were scheduled to attack targets closer to Havana. With
the nuclear bombardment of that city, alternatives have been assigned. The same goes for
amphibious landings close to the city.
The 82nd is greeted by light small arms and antiaircraft fire, and the Cubans there have
no burning Havana to distract them. The men of the “All-American” division dig in under
increasing fire, and await support. It isn’t long in coming.
1:37 PM — 90 minutes of preinvasion bombardment end as the first elements of the 1st
Armored division and several Marine brigades begin landing to the west and east of
Havana, respectively. The First Armored, better known by its nickname, “Old Ironsides,”
lands to the west, and scout elements strike quickly inland to capture the Mariel airfield,
two miles from the beach. Resistance is light, as the Cuban militia in the area have been
largely cowed by the naval bombardment, repeated airstrikes, and the landing of a
company of airborne infantry on the airfield.
The same can’t be said east of the destroyed Cuban capital, where the Cuban defenders
were well aware of the threat posed by the area’s excellent beaches. Soviet cruise
missiles answer the preinvasion bombardment before their launchers are destroyed.
Fortunately, they are armed only with conventional high-explosive warheads.
Unfortunately, several hit invasion transports packed with troops. Ashore, the first
Marine regiment ashore becomes drawn into close combat with a regular Cuban Army
company. Cuban deserters from the fighting begin streaming south, only to be strafed by
American aircraft under orders from higher authority to ensure that the masses of Cuban
militia do not arrive on the beaches. The fact that the columns are moving away, not
towards the battlefront, is ignored.
After the initial sharp fighting, the men of the 2nd Marine Division storm ashore. Thanks
to the destruction of Havana, the preinvasion bombardment, the fierce fighting of their
predecessors ashore, and aerial bombing, casualties are light. The division had anticipated
up to 500 KIA on the first day, but fewer than 10 are killed in the first hour of the
invasion, which echoes those that took place two decades before in the Pacific. Despite
the threat of nuclear weapons, little chemical or nuclear protective gear has been
distributed. Only gas masks had been readily available before the invasion, and the need
for a rapid strike prevented adequate gear from reaching the Marines in time.
2:22 PM — Gen. Pilaev is alerted to a commotion in the Cuban camp nearby. Handed
binoculars, he observes a mass of Cuban militiamen and regulars scrambling around as
the officer he had a confrontation with gestures wildly. He is about to order a pre-emptive
mortar bombardment of the Cuban camp — which seems ready to launch an attack on
him — when a radioman rushes up. Contact has been made with the Soviet group at San
Antonio. He immediately orders reinforcements for his position, but is taken aback when
the officer on the other end of the radio replies that the Americans have landed only 11
miles to his north.
Pilaev is torn — clearly, there is a danger to his missiles, but equally clear is the even
greater danger from the American invasion. He cancels the request for reinforcements
and orders that every attempt be made against the American landing. Several minutes
later, the order turns out to be justified as the several thousand Cubans in the nearby
camp march out in good order to the northwest — towards the Americans — and away
from him. Inwardly, Pilaev breathes a sigh of relief.
3:11 PM — The first two full companies of the 1st Armored Division are formed up and
receive orders to advance inland. One company drives west to provide reinforcement to
the increasingly embattled 82nd Airborne, while the other drives south, to engage Cuban
forces that have begun digging in near Poblado Quiebra Hacha. East of Havana, the
Marines likewise move inland. Unlike to the west, however, they are hampered by vast
streams of refugees fleeing Havana.
3:56 PM — In accordance with the pre-invasion briefing, which emphasized speed,
speed, and more speed, lead elements of the 1st Armored refuse to be bogged down in the
town of Poblado Hacha, and instead attack west of the town, breaking through the thin
Cuban line and sweeping south of the town in order to encircle it. The Cuban militiamen
have virtually no weapons that can reliably disable the American tanks, and are forced to
retreat in the face of superior firepower. The few Cuban regulars in the area have none of
the new Soviet RPG-7s, and the RPG-2s they have been supplied lack the range to knock
out American tanks conveniently. Sneaking within range is nearly an impossible task due
to the open terrain, but several American APCs are destroyed in a lucky ambush.
Nevertheless, the American armored advance continues.
4:17 PM — The Moscow Plotters meet to discuss the latest developments in the fighting.
Many of the plotters, having lost faith in the plan to eliminate NATO’s nuclear capability
through conventional means, call for the employment of several tactical nuclear weapons
in order to ensure the destruction of known enemy weapons. Alexander Shelepin is one
of several to vocally object to this idea. Though the Soviet Union can far better suffer
nuclear attack than the NATO forces, Shelepin has no desire to see nuclear fire rain down
on Europe. He wants to lead the Soviet Union, not kill it.
Forced by events to reveal the Nurnberg discovery, he declares that even now, Soviet
aircraft are en route to destroy the NATO bunkers described in the documents, and that
soon, all the talk of nuclear action will become moot. On that note, the plotters disperse,
but there is the unspoken feeling that if this attack is not successful, a new approach may
4:44 PM — Elements of the First Armored Division complete the encirclement of
Poblado Quiebra Hacha. As the men of the unit celebrate their minor victory, word comes
in that large numbers of Soviet troops and a small amount of armor is assaulting the
Marine beachhead east of Havana. Air support is plentiful, but the Marines are hardpressed,
and orders go out for the First Armored to make every effort to relieve the
pressure on the Marines by driving inland and drawing Soviet attention.
5:46 PM — South of the town of Brujo, Gen. Pilaev watches through his binoculars as a
ragged stream of battered Cuban trucks and soldiers marches into the formerly abandoned
camp. They are clearly the worse for wear, and crude bandages can be seen on many of
the Cuban soldiers. Pilaev orders one of the few friendly Cubans that remain to get as
close to the camp as possible in order to find out what happened. He has suspicions, but
feels the risk is worth the potential benefit.
His suspicions are verified when the man returns with news that the column is the
remains of the group that left the camp three hours ago. Thanks to constant American
aerial attack, they had only gotten thirty miles before turning back in the face of air
strikes. Nearly half their number had been killed or injured by the constant American
attacks. Pilaev can believe it. American aircraft have been flying overhead for nearly two
days now, and although his missiles are hidden in caves blasted from the mountainside —
an abandoned coal mining operation — he still fears discovery from the ever-present eyes
in the sky.
Even more troubling, however, the Cuban reports that many in the camp are threatening
to get Pilaev’s missiles themselves, regardless of whether or not the Soviets will
6:03 PM — A shot rings out in the treeline near Pilaev’s missiles. One of the patrols of
Soviet soldiers guarding the missiles confronts a group of Cubans intent on seizing the
missiles. Both sides draw guns. No one knows who fires first, but the situation devolves
into a firefight that draws more and more men from both sides into the fighting. The
problem is that Pilaev only has 400 men he can count on — the Cubans have many, many
6:26 PM — More than 500 Soviet aircraft, guided by the information in the captured
documents, launch attacks on bunkers and sites across southwestern Germany. The vast
majority of the aircraft encounter a multi-pronged ambush as the night skies light up with
vast amounts of antiaircraft fire, SAMs, and NATO aircraft that seem to be everywhere.
Nonetheless, the Warsaw Pact aircraft press the attack, and launch bombs and cruise
missiles that hit nothing but empty fields and bunkers. Norstad’s disinformation plan has
been a complete success, and over 200 Soviet aircraft are downed for the loss of only a
handful of NATO aircraft. In the air, the tide is beginning to swing in NATO’s favor. The
same cannot be said on the ground.
6:47 PM — Pilaev’s two companies of Soviet troops last less than 45 minutes against the
tide of enraged Cubans. Driven by an irrational fear of the approaching American army
(which has been engaged in heavy fighting by the Soviet brigade), the destruction of
Havana, and fear for their families, they overrun the final platoon of defenders. In the
chaos and confusion, Pilaev’s final order — to destroy the launch trailers — goes
unheard. Pilaev, pistol in hand, dies defending his dream of protecting the Soviet Union
from nuclear war.
In the minutes that follow, Cuban soldiers swarm over the missiles in the nearby caves
and wait for orders — no one, it seems, knows what to do next.
7:13 PM — Someone in charge finally arrives at the former Soviet missile site in Cuba.
The few Cubans who have been at least partially trained on the Soviet equipment are
ordered to get the missiles ready for launch. In order to avoid American air attack, all
available missiles will be fired simultaneously. The approaching night, it is hoped, will
shield the movement of the launchers from their caves.
8:42 PM — The lead elements of a fresh Soviet armored division, after several hours of
fierce fighting with the US V Corps, achieve a breakthrough in the NATO line in
southern Germany. Soviet tanks begin the race towards Frankfurt. Small amounts of
American reserves — all that’s left after reinforcing embattled units all day — can only
slow the Soviet breakthrough.
9:01 PM — American aircraft overfly the former Soviet missile base in Cuba where the
Soviet missiles have been wheeled from their caves and into position for launch. In a
panic, and fearing detection, the Cuban commander on the scene orders an immediate
launch over the protests of the few Cuban technicians with any sort of training on the
Soviet missiles — the single SS-4 remaining has not finished calibrating its gyroscope,
something that must be done in order to ensure accuracy. The Cuban commander on the
scene orders the missiles launched anyway. The SS-4, targeted at Jacksonville, is only a
small part of the attack anyway — what is important are the short-range missiles, which
will destroy the Americans on the beaches and destroy their staging areas in southern
9:06 PM — Over the next three minutes, a total of nine missiles will be fired from the
former Soviet missile base near Brujo. Two additional missiles fail to fire, possibly due to
damage from the previous American airstrikes. A third explodes shortly after launch,
showering the launch area with fiery debris. The Cubans on the scene scatter, fearful of
an American attack and fleeing the fires started by the debris.
9:07 PM — Two of the five FROG short-ranged missiles targeted at the American
beachhead at Mariel begin veering off course due to poor guidance by their Cuban
missile men. They explode harmlessly at sea.
9:08 PM — A special mobile radar site in Central Florida, hastily rushed into service by
the Cuban Crisis, picks up four missiles lifting off from Cuba. (They do not pick up the
low-altitude, short-range FROG missiles.) After verification that the missiles are not
artificial (in the days previous, false warnings had been frequent, and in one notable
instance had been caused by a training tape left in the radar unit) the news is flashed to
Washington. Further tracking reveals three missiles are aimed at targets in southern
Florida, while the fourth seems to moving somewhat erratically.
9:09 PM — Three 2-kiloton FROG missiles impact at various points along the Cuban
coast from Cabanas to Mariel, devastating the American beachhead west of Havana.
Thousands of American soldiers are killed or injured in the first minute. The thickskinned
armor of the tanks and APCs of the First Armored division fare well — those
that were further away and buttoned up, at least — but the trucks and men supporting
those tanks take heavy losses. The 82nd Infantry division, having been engaged in heavy
fighting south of its Cabanas drop zone, takes gruesome losses. Cuban soldiers also are
killed in the detonations, but even more are blinded by the detonations to their north.
9:11 PM — The first Scud-B launched from the Cuban site reaches its target as it
plummets to the sea 100 yards northwest of Raccoon Key, a suburb of Key West. The
resulting 350 kiloton detonation obliterates the island, much of Key West, and the
adjacent Boca Chica Naval Air station. What portions of the town and base survive the
blast are soon engulfed by the resulting firestorm.
9:12 PM — President Kennedy, who has gotten only 5 hours of sleep in the previous 72
hours, receives word of the Cuban launch from the Florida radar station. He immediately
orders a full civil defense alert and orders that Washington be evacuated. Kennedy
himself refuses evacuation.
9:12:56 PM — The hastily-launched SS-4 impacts three miles south of the small town of
Eufala, Alabama, on the Alabama-Georgia border. Due to not having been spun up and
fired properly, the missile oscillated in flight, revolving in a roughly circular pattern that
brought it several hundred kilometers west of its intended target — Jacksonville, Florida.
(Jacksonville had been thought of as the best target to assist in the defense of Cuba — the
Cubans cared little for destroying Washington or New York — those would not help
defend their country.)
The 1.1 megaton detonation obliterates the small town, vaporizing it instantly. Over
10,000 are killed in the first few minutes. However, due to Eufala’s geography, more will
die in the hours following the detonation than in the first five minutes. The detonation,
which takes place almost directly over the nearby Walter F. George reservoir, creates a
radioactive tsunami that moves south at hundreds of miles an hour. Though the dam has
only recently been completed and the reservoir is not full, the wave smashes the dam at
Fort Gaines, Georgia, releasing a wall of water that inundates everything in its path.
Tragically, the casualties will be greatly enhanced by President Kennedy’s Civil defense
warning, which instructs people to seek shelter — usually a basement. For Americans
along the banks of the Chattahoochee River, they do not have time to realize what has
happened and escape from their basements to higher ground. As the flood gathers steam,
it travels downstream, meeting Lake Seminole along the Florida border and breaching the
dam there as well. This further enhances the flood, which inundates the towns of
Chattahoochee and Apalachicola in Florida before escaping into the Gulf of Mexico.
Fortunately, by the time the flood had reached those towns, news had spread, and many
were able to evacuate. Despite that fact, the nuclear detonation and resulting flood killed
more than 30,000 people, making it one of the deadliest dam collapses in history.
9:13 PM — The second Scud-B lands eight miles southwest of Florida City, in the
Everglades. The resulting detonation sparks an enormous wildfire, but due to the fact that
it landed in an unpopopulated area, there are fewer than a dozen killed or injured.
9:13:47 PM — The third and final Scud-B lands in the then-small town of Goulds,
Florida, between Miami and Homestead. The resulting 350-kiloton detonation
wrecks the nearby Homestead Air Force Base, and kills more than 30,000 people,
injuring tens of thousands more. Every window in Miami is shattered by the detonation.
The resulting fires threaten to spread to the north, but firebreaks blasted by Miami
firefighters eventually stop the fire in the town of Pinecrest, barely a dozen miles from
9:33 PM — An American divisional commander, having lost the vast majority of his
command in a vain attempt to keep the Soviets away from Rhein-Main Air Force Base,
personally authorizes the use of nearby nuclear weapons, despite having received no such
orders from NATO command or Washington. Washington is still grappling with the
launch from Cuba, and no orders are coming from above. The chaos of battle is such that
his orders are not questioned as every available man rushes to try to beat back the
approaching Soviet armor.
9:38:27 PM — Two 10-kiloton nuclear devices immolate the lead elements of the Soviet
armored division approaching Rhein-Main.
9:47 PM — After a hurried evacuation of Washington by most of the government,
President Kennedy convenes a teleconference with the Joint Chiefs of Staff as to the best
response to events in Cuba. No further missiles have been detected as incoming, but
Kennedy is advised that it does take some time to reload the missile launchers,
particularly if they are being crewed by inexperienced Cubans.
The situation on the ground is bleak, as the three nuclear blasts have grievously injured
the right (western) flank of the invasion, and the First Armored is in a fight for its life as
the Cubans exploit the gaps in the line. The beachhead east of Havana is in scarcely
better shape as the marine division there grapples with a strong brigade of Soviet troops.
Hesitantly, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff recommends a full nuclear response
to cover an evacuation of the island. Clearly, the situation is untenable, and the threat of
further attacks demands a nuclear response.
An exhausted Kennedy, after further discussion, agrees. He can see no other alternative,
and he doesn’t want to see all of the American troops in Cuba die in nuclear fire. He
okays nuclear attacks in order to shield the evacuation and on suspected missile sites. In
the eyes of Gen. Curtis LeMay and the other military advisers, they have just been given
a blank check for anything involving nuclear weapons in Cuba.
9:59 PM — The Soviet corps commander on the scene orders an immediate retaliatory
strike on Rhein-Main.
10:01 PM — Kennedy receives word of nuclear attacks in Europe, but details are not
easy to come by. Stunned by the news, he is tempted to call off the upcoming nuclear
bombardment of Cuba for fear of escalating the conflict, but decides that there is no
alternative — the United States cannot afford more missiles launched from Cuba.
10:14 PM — Three Soviet nuclear devices destroy Rhein-Main Air Force base and the
scratch forces attempting to defend it. The temporary no-man’s land created by the five
nuclear detonations buys American forces time to contain the Soviet breakthrough.
10:31 PM — The final go-ahead for the initial phase of the nuclear bombardment of
Cuba is given. The first phase consists of a full regiment of MGM-29 Sergeant surfaceto-
surface missiles and a squadron of B-47 Stratojet bombers, an ironic paring of the
latest Army missiles with some of the oldest aircraft in SAC’s inventory (newer planes
having all been called into alerts against the Soviet Union). Between 10:30 and 11:30
PM, over 40 nuclear devices ranging from 50kt to 4 Mt will be deployed in Cuba. Most
are dropped or launched into the Pinar Del Rio region of Cuba west of Havana, at
suspected missile launch sites and airfields, but many are deployed on the flanks of the
invasion. Five are deployed around Guantanamo as the survivors of the naval base are
evacuated. Fewer than 1,000 of the pre-war 20,000+ contingent survive.
West of Havana, the evacuation proceeds at a strange quick but calm pace. Repeated
nuclear strikes have brought the fighting almost to a halt, and American soldiers embark
on the beaches at night in a surreal scene lit by the enormous fires that surround the
beachhead. Those who have chemical and nuclear gear wear it, adding to the strangeness
of the scene. Many evacuees describe the scene as something beyond hell, as badly
burned men are loaded onto evacuation ships. The armor of the Marines and First
Armored holds back what little hostile action there is.
11:12 PM — Kennedy finishes a conference with Prime Minister Macmillan of Great
Britain and Charles DeGaulle of France. Macmillan has informed the President that he
intends to strike first at Soviet targets should the inevitable escalation continue. Great
Britain is directly in the Soviet line of fire, and barring the sudden outbreak of common
sense, the only way for Britain to survive is to strike first. Nuclear fighting has clearly
broken out in Germany, and Macmillan informs Kennedy that he has authorized his
forces on the ground to respond to nuclear attack with missiles of their own — even to
strike first if it appears that the Soviets are going to employ nuclear weapons. Britain is
already undertaking full Civil Defense measures, Kennedy is informed.
Macmillan himself is leaving London for the massive BURLINGTON bunker complex in
Wiltshire, in the west of England. Should war come, he and four thousand government
officials will stand ready to conduct the war as best they can.
France, pledges DeGaulle, will stand with her NATO friends and contribute what she can
to the continuing fighting. During the conversation, DeGaulle expresses his wish that the
war had been held off just a few more years so that France might be able to respond with
weapons of her own. After the talk is concluded, Kennedy remarks that DeGaulle seems
almost eager to get into the fighting. “Maybe he just wants to get it over with,” is the
reply from the darkened Situation Room.
11:55 PM — In Moscow, an emergency meeting of the anti-Khrushchev plotters
devolves into a shouting match as Alexander Shelepin begs his fellow communists not to
employ more nuclear weapons in Europe. He is ignored, and is asked to leave. As he is
escorted from the room, he finally understands what Khrushchev hoped to accomplish by
voluntarily evacuating the Cuban missiles. Now, those missiles are gone, having taken
with them thousands of American invaders’ lives.
After Shelepin is removed, the discussion moves along rapidly. The destruction of Cuba
and now the blasts in West Germany have made it clear to the plotters that the West is
clearly on a course of nuclear war. In his absence, they curse Shelepin for keeping them
from acting sooner to destroy the West’s nuclear capability — even those who had
supported Shelepin participate in his damning in order to save their own positions. It is
agreed that the West’s nuclear weapons must be destroyed as quickly as possible, and
that the only way to accomplish that mission is to use the Soviet Union’s nuclear
Tragically, those who most strongly advocate for the use of nuclear weapons do not have
the information that Shelepin and Khrushchev had — that of the gross imbalance in
nuclear power between the Soviet Union and United States. A first strike, the plotters
feel, would have great effect on the no-doubt limited number of nuclear weapons the
United States and NATO could bring to bear, and thanks to the sacrifice of Cuba, that
number should be even further degraded. After only 35 minutes of conversation, a
consensus is reached — the missiles will fly in three hours. That is enough time, the
plotters feel, to alert Soviet forces in Europe, and set the country ready for what few
American missiles make it through the Soviet strike. NATO’s nuclear capability has been
damaged by the ongoing fighting in Europe, and Soviet strikes at missile bases in Turkey
and Iceland have no doubt taken even more missiles away from the equation. The plotters
depart for their shelters with a sense of confidence that everything will be all right. As
they drive through the streets, air raid sirens begin to howl.
Tuesday, October 30, 1962 — The Last Day
12:37 AM — Orders go out to the Strategic Rocket Forces, PVO air defense, and Long-
Range aviation. The attack is to commence in three hours. Soviet bombers, already at the
ready, begin to take to the air, while ICBMs begin spinning up their gyroscopes and
begin receiving location and targeting information.
1:32 AM — Having misinterpreted the preparation order, the Soviet commander on the
northern flank of the invasion of Germany issues an order allowing for local commanders
to use tactical nuclear weapons as they deem appropriate.
1:46 AM — British and Dutch forces defending the embattled city of Hamburg are
vaporized as a spread of six tactical nuclear weapons is employed in a semicircle around
the city. British forces respond with their own nuclear weapons to stem the resulting
Soviet breakthrough. Losses on both sides are massive, and at least one detonation takes
place in the city itself, causing enormous civilian casualties.
1:58 AM — A radio broadcast, reportedly by Ludwig Erhard, Vice Chancellor of West
Germany, is picked up by radios across the front. The message calls for an immediate
cease-fire and says that the government of West Germany will surrender unconditionally
to the Soviet Union in exchange for a suspension of nuclear and chemical attacks in West
German territory. The message repeats several times before suddenly cutting off. No
official contact with the West German government has been made since the early hours
of the Soviet attack, when Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was presumed killed in a Red
Army Faction assault on his armored limousine. The broadcast is not taken seriously by
either side, and fighting continues.
2:07 AM — Informed of the events near Hamburg, and informed by his military advisors
of an increasing number of radar contacts near the Soviet Union, Kennedy authorizes the
use of American nuclear weapons in a “forward defense” role, similar to the strategy
already employed by Prime Minister Macmillan.
2:12 AM — Three 10 kiloton nuclear artillery rounds land in a Soviet staging area west
of Hannover, presumably fired by elements of the US V Corps. Soviet commanders on
the scene respond with nuclear artillery fire of their own on the position from which the
rounds were launched. These, in turn, are responded to by nuclear-tipped Corporal
rockets launched by US Army forces nearby. In total, the series of stroke-counterstrokecounter-
counterstroke and so forth will encompass 17 warheads in the span of 42
minutes. These all fall within 15 miles of the front.
2:17 AM — After several hours of fighting, embattled Soviet forces reach the Bin-
Charlottenburg U-Bahn station in the heart of West Berlin, cutting the combined
American, British, and French contingent in two. For the time being, the Soviet strategy
will consist of reducing the southern, largely American half of West Berlin, while lighter
forces hold the British and French brigades in place. Multiple armored columns attempt
to move from the Zossen area into the central portion of the city in an effort to quarter
West Berlin, but are stopped near the Papester U-Bahn station by hastily-placed mines
and ferocious antitank fire.
2:34 AM — President Kennedy is once again contacted by Prime Minister Macmillan,
who informs him that if the situation continues to deteriorate, he will order a first-strike
nuclear attack on Soviet-captured airfields in Norway and bomber bases in the Kola
Peninsula. Kennedy attempts to talk Macmillan out of the approach, calling it “insanely
dangerous,” but is interrupted by a string of messages about the nuclear fighting in
Germany. As he reads through the messages, Bobby Kennedy, who has remained with
JFK in Washington, remarks, “Well, there’s only one thing left to do now, John.”
No sooner has he uttered the words when another officer enters, bringing word that a
large number of Soviet bombers have been detected by radar at Thule Air Force Base in
Greenland and by radar stations in Alaska. Though the aircraft have not yet crossed into
Canadian or American airspace, they have continued on their headings for several
minutes, and given the large number of aircraft, the Joint Chiefs of Staff believe this to be
a major Soviet attack.
Silence falls in the White House’s situation room. After several moments, Kennedy
orders fighters to intercept any bombers that cross the border. When clarification is
requested, Kennedy furiously responds, “That means shoot the damn things down — I
don’t care what you use, but those aircraft are not to reach the United States!” When
asked by Gen. LeMay, Commander in Chief of the Strategic Air Command, if this means
he is free to execute SIOP-62, the nuclear plan for action against the Soviet Union and
Eastern Europe, Kennedy hesitates. Not yet, he declares softly, clearly unsure. “I want to
see what they do next,” he says over the crackling line to Omaha, where LeMay is
guiding his bombers to their Fail-Safe positions.
LeMay responds heatedly, demanding that they not wait until the bombs are falling on
the United States, and Kennedy fires back with harsh words of his own, saying that he
will not risk nuclear war. LeMay fires back with a barb of his own — “Mister President,
in case you haven’t noticed, the people of Eufala and Key West might argue differently!”
The truth of the words take Kennedy aback — has he been looking so intently at the big
picture that he might have been willing to sacrifice the country one small piece at a time?
Quietly, he agrees to LeMay’s suggestion that should a nuclear attack take place
anywhere in North America, he will be free to release the bombers to their missions.
With the issue settled, Kennedy hangs up the phone, and begins to address the next crisis
in a long list of them. In Omaha, LeMay is handed an extensive list of bomber
dispositions and fuel states, and with a sinking feeling, realizes that if he does not issue a
go order in the next 15 minutes, nearly 20% of his bomber force will need to turn back
for refueling. Many bombers have been holding at Fail-Safe for far longer than was
planned, and many are now on the edge of being able to perform their missions and
return to North America, let alone their staging airfields.
While one-way missions are only to be expected, 20 percent is a large proportion of the
force in the air, and that will be on top of a large number of bombers that have already
cycled back from Fail-Safe or are only now returning to it. Those bombers will be needed
for follow-up strikes, and they cannot be thrown away, LeMay believes. Quietly, he
hopes that the issue will be decided soon.
2:48 AM — A battery of Soviet surface-to-surface missiles launches an attack on a
suspected NATO special weapons depot in central Germany. Six Soviet nuclear weapons
devastate the area, destroying a stockpile of Corporal missile reloads. Over 60 NATO
nuclear warheads are destroyed. Unfortunately for the Soviet Union, there are over 5,000
NATO-controlled nuclear warheads still in Western Europe.
The attack creates a crisis in the NATO command. British, Belgian, and Dutch
commanders, with Prime Minister Macmillan chiming in from an underground bunker in
Wiltshire, demand immediate action against Soviet airfields and known fixed missile
positions in Eastern Europe. The threat is clear, they declare to Gen. Norstad — the
Soviet Union is clearly on course to escalate the conflict, and the more nuclear weapons
NATO destroys, the fewer that can be launched against Western Europe. When Norstad
counters that he does not have the freedom to launch nuclear weapons without the
authorization of the President, Macmillan replies that Kennedy’s orders of “forward
defense” cover this situation, and that by not attacking, Norstad is violating Kennedy’s
orders, not following them.
Norstad attempts to find a compromise solution, but there is none. Macmillan announces
his intention to use Britain’s nuclear capability, with or without Norstad’s assistance —
but without Norstad’s help, the effectiveness of the attack will be greatly lessened.
Norstad is torn — on one hand, Kennedy’s instructions to him were to avoid widening
the war whenever possible, but on the other, nuclear war has clearly broken out. He
cannot risk splitting NATO in wartime. If he didn’t go along with Macmillan, and the
war ended tomorrow, could NATO survive America throwing England to the Soviets in
its darkest hour? No, he decided. It couldn’t. Reluctantly, he agrees to Macmillan’s plan,
but requests some time to coordinate his forces. Communications are growing more and
more difficult, thanks to Soviet attacks, telephone lines being cut, and the increased radio
interference caused by the nuclear detonations. “Time,” Macmillan replies, “is something
we do not have much of at the moment.”
2:50 AM — In Omaha, SAC commander Gen. Curtis LeMay is facing a similar
conundrum. If he does not issue the go order immediately, his bomber force will lose a
substantial portion of its strength for at least three hours. On the other hand, if he does
issue the go-order, it might trigger a full-scale nuclear war, not just the little one in Cuba
After a conference call to NORAD headquarters at Ent Air Force Base in, he issues the
order. The Soviet aircraft approaching Canada and Alaska have not turned back, so his
decision is the obvious one. Unless a full recall is issued, his aircraft are to continue on to
Russia and destroy their targets. Though they’ve used up all their loiter time, the bombers
on the edge should still have enough fuel in their tanks to hit their targets and crash-land
somewhere in North America — barring battle damage. And of course, if the Soviet
bombers turn back, they can always be recalled. But as LeMay looks at the situation
board, deep underground, that doesn’t seem likely.
2:53 AM — As the Moscow Plotters settle into bunkers across the Soviet Union, the final
order is given — perhaps by all, perhaps by only some. Transmitted by landline, the men
of the Strategic Rocket Force receive their final orders and prepare to launch. Due to the
patchwork nature of the coup, the precise coordination of the Strategic Rocket Force is
not fully imitated among Red Army-controlled launch facilities in Eastern Europe.
Approximately 40 percent of the Red Army’s IRBM and MRBM facilities fail to
acknowledge the initial order. Many will eventually launch at targets in Western Europe,
but many more will be destroyed by the NATO counter-stroke.
2:55 AM — At missile sites in Central Asia, missile erectors raise themselves to an
upright position and fire. Similarly, eight concrete missile silos blow their rocket-propelled
hatches clear and fire their missiles, and finally, eight old missiles roar off of simple launch pads. In total, 24 of the Soviet Union’s October
1962 total of 36 ICBMs will reach their targets. Two are not in service because of
maintenance problems. Two explode either during launch or shortly after (one of which, unbeknownst to anyone in NATO, completely destroys Plesetsk Cosmodrome). Four suffer
engine malfunctions and either fail to reach space or land well short of their targets.
Three break up on reentry, due to manufacturing defects or navigation malfunctions. One
will suffer a gyroscope error and will impact in north-central Montana, incinerating the
village of Hays, Montana (population 486 in 1962).
Eight of the missiles will be SS-6 Sapwoods (two of the ten in service are down for
maintenance and will not be available at the time of launch) launched from Baikonur and
Plesetsk. Plesetsk will launch seven, and Baikonur only one, with two failed missiles
coming from Plesetsk. These are the same type of missiles that launched Sputnik.
The other 26 missiles launched will be SS-7 Saddlers, eight launched from hardened silos and the other 18 from soft (non-silo)
positions. Due to the newer nature of the missiles, only eight of the 26 will fail in flight, a
far lower percentage than the primitive SS-6s. As they launch, curving northward from
their launchers in Central Asia, they will proceed undetected, below the horizon, for
nearly a third of their flight.
At T+11 minutes, they will be picked up by the Ballistic Missile Early Warning radar
station at Clear, Alaska. A warning will be flashed to NORAD and Washington.
At T+12 minutes, they will be picked up by the BMEWS at Thule, Greenland, which
should detect the missiles as they cross the horizon and arc over the North Pole. Further
warnings will be issued, but NORAD will already be well aware of the situation.
At T+14 minutes, they will reach the detection range of the still under-construction
BMEWS radar at Fylingdales, in the UK. If it hadn’t been destroyed shortly thereafter, it
would have been operational in 1963.
President Kennedy, upon hearing the news, issues a full-scale civil defense alert, but the
highest level of alert — that of a Civil Defense Air Emergency — had been issued 24
hours earlier. There simply is no higher run on the alert ladder.
The attacks from Cuba have put Americans at a higher state of alert than any government
warning could provide, but the last-minute alert, issued at T+17 minutes through the
pulsing alert of the civil defense sirens, causes many in urban centers to begin fleeing in
their automobiles at high speed through the night, toward the safety of the countryside.
Kennedy himself refuses evacuation, instead ordering that his brother be pushed onto the
helicopter and escorted to Mount Weather. JFK has no desire to see what tomorrow will
bring, or to live with the knowledge that he helped cause a nuclear war. Either way — a
postwar impeachment, trial, and execution, or a nuclear detonation — would kill him just
At T+22, the missiles disappear from the radar screens at the BMEWS facilities. Their
radars only point in one direction, and cannot track the missiles to their ultimate targets,
nor do they have the processing power to analyze where the missiles might hit. They only
serve to warn, and with their jobs done, they wait to be annihilated.
At T+29, the missiles begin to become visible to Canadians and Americans looking
skyward. The night sky provides a brilliant backdrop to the fiery streaks of the reentry
vehicles, which shoot across the stars like meteors.
Between T+30 and T+35, all 25 still flying at this point impact within the United States
and Canada. None are targeted on sites in Western Europe, as these are well within the
range of IRBM and MRBM launched from Eastern Europe and western Russia. The
missiles aren’t fired at American missile silos either, since these early Soviet missiles
lack the accuracy to reliably knock out hardened targets. Exceptions are made in the
cases of Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs — headquarters of NORAD — and
Offut AFB in Omaha — SAC headquarters — these are the only exceptions. The missiles
will not be targeted at early-warning radars or interceptor bases — no one in the world
had the capability to shoot down an ICBM at the time, and the most the United States can
do is watch as the missiles streak in. Theoretically, a nuclear-tipped BOMARC or Nike-
Hercules missile could destroy an incoming ICBM, but that would require a level of
coordination with radar and computer-aided guidance not available in 1962.
In the end, likely targets include soft military bases, command posts, and major
population centers. These Soviet missiles lack the accuracy for anything else. This is
somewhat countered by a 3.5Mt warhead, but even a near miss will leave buried targets
As Soviet targeting data is not yet available — nor will it likely ever be — I can only
guess at what twenty targets will be destroyed. Still, here is a list of what I think will be
targeted, how many missiles will be used on the target (where necessary) and a
justification of why.
• Washington, D.C. (2 missiles)
This is the most critical target in the United States, beyond even NORAD HQ. It’s the
peacetime center of the government, and the immense blow to American pride and
prestige, as well as the confusion and chaos its destruction will create is immense, and
will not be overlooked. One missile targets the Pentagon, but its warhead is large enough
to devastate Washignton, D.C. as well. End result: The central portion of the District of
Columbia and Arlington County destroyed.
• Ent AFB, Colorado Springs, Colorado (2 missiles)
Headquarters of NORAD, this U.S. Air Force Base was replaced in OTL when Cheyenne
Mountain Complex was completed in 1967. In 1962, most NORAD functions are in
aboveground buildings. There are a few buried bunkers, but in the event of an attack,
many will be destroyed or damaged. Those that survive will be cut off from the outside
world. End result NORAD HQ destroyed with Colorado Springs and the Air Force
• Offut AFB, Omaha, Nebraska
This is the headquarters of the Strategic Air Command, and where Gen. Curtis LeMay,
CINC-SAC, will be located during the fighting. The base and city nearby will be utterly
destroyed, and the bunker below has a good chance of being knocked out as well, but
little is known about it, due to the fact that it is an active command. End result: Omaha
and Offut destroyed, SAC HQ knocked offline for several hours, and perhaps days.
• Syracuse, New York
One of the three combat centers for the SAGE (Semi Automatic Ground Environment)
system, the SAGE system is what makes NORAD work. State-of-the-art computer
systems, tied in to the three early-warning radar lines, SAM sites and interceptor bases
across Canada and the United States, as well as links to ships at sea and aircraft in the air,
enable the SAGE system to vector individual fighters to individual bombers as they are
detected in flight. This is a massively complicated system of coordination, roughly
similar to the British sector stations during the Blitz, but far more advanced. Syracuse’s
SAGE Combat Center is located above-ground, in a giant facility with a four-story video
screen and half an acre of computers. End result: Syracuse destroyed, Syracuse SAGE
Combat Center offline.
• North Bay, Ontario
This is the third of the three (the first being Ent AFB) main SAGE Combat Centers in
North America. Located 700 feet underground, it can survive a nearby hit. It was
intended to be the first of several “super-SAGE” sites designed to withstand an ICBM
attack However, due to the fragility of computers at the time, and the fact that this was an
untested technique, I believe even a near-miss will knock the center offline. With all three
main SAGE Combat Centers destroyed or knocked off line, the backup BUIC (Back Up
Interceptor Control) units will take over, but at a reduced rate of effectiveness. End result:
North Bay destroyed, SAGE center crippled.
• Groton/New London, Connecticut
Groton is the headquarters of the United States’ submarine fleet, and is of critical
importance in that it is a soft target that houses nuclear weapons — ballistic missile
submarines. While many of these will be at sea, the destruction of the Groton/New
London submarine base will destroy a large number of warheads waiting to be transferred
onto submarines, it will destroy the large submarine construction facility located there,
the training facility located there, and possibly any submarines unable to sail away due to
drydocking or other problems. End result: New London and Groton destroyed, several
submarines sunk, submarine yards destroyed, submarine reloading capability reduced.
• McChord AFB, Tacoma, Washington
In 1962, McChord is a major air defense point, home to a SAGE command center,
headquarters of the 25th Air Division and the Seattle air defense region. A hit on
McChord also will devastate nearby Tacoma, Washington, a major port in the northwest
United States. Seattle will be out of the blast area, however.
• Norfolk, Virginia
Norfolk is the largest American naval base on the East Coast. It is the home port to the
vast majority of the United States’ Atlantic Fleet, and is the site of a very large
shipbuilding industry located in Norfolk and nearby Newport News. At least one aircraft
carrier will be in drydock at the time, and a large stockpile of naval nuclear weapons is at
the base. In addition, Naval Air Station Oceana is close by, as is the Marine Amphibious
base at Little Creek, Langley Air Force Base, and Yorktown Weapons Depot. End result:
Both Newport News and Norfolk will be completely obliterated, as will all the naval,
marine, and Air Force bases in the area. NAS Oceana, furthest to the east, will suffer
damage, but may not be totally destroyed, due to its distance from Norfolk. Virginia
Beach will suffer light damage.
• San Diego, California
San Diego is one of the largest cities in California, and is also the home of one of the
largest naval bases on the West Coast. It is the home to Miramar, training facility for
pilots of the US Marine Corps, and Coronado is home to one of the two training facilities
of the US Navy Seals. In addition, North Island Naval Air Station has a large contingent
of aircraft. End result: A blast over the harbor will obliterate Coronado, North Island, and
anything in port, as well as damaging Mischer Field at Miramar and destroying the city.
Nearby Camp Pendleton is out of the blast zone, but may suffer broken windows,
depending on atmospheric conditions at the time of the blast.
• Richards-Gebauer AFB, Kansas City, Missouri
In 1962, Richards-Gebauer was home to a SAGE command center, headquarters to the
29th Air Division, and the Kansas City air defense region. It housed interceptors as well
as transport aircraft. An attack on Richards-Gebauer will destroy the base, SAGE center,
and much of southern Kansas City. Downtown Kansas City will escape with minor
• Barksdale AFB, Bossier City, Louisiana
Bossier City is located in northwestern Louisiana, near the Texas and Arkansas borders.
A suburb of Shreveport, Louisiana, it is also home to the Louisiana Army Ammunition
plant. Barksdale AFB in 1962 is home to the headquarters of the Second Air Force, a
major component of SAC. End result: Barksdale AFB destroyed, Shreveport in flames,
75% of the city leveled instantly, heavy primary damage to the western portions of the
Louisiana Army Ammunition plant. Secondary explosions may further damage or destroy
• Ellsworth AFB, Rapid City, South Dakota
Home to the 821st Air Division, Ellsworth is today home to the B-1 bomber. In 1962, it
was a major B-52 bomber base, and the Air Division included a large missile component
as well. End result: Ellsworth AFB and Rapid City destroyed, missile silos intact, as these
are hardened targets and are far from the base.
• Grand Forks AFB, Grand Forks, North Dakota
Home to the 319th Bomb Wing, 449th Bombardment Group, and 4133rd Strategic Wing
in 1962, Grand Forks is a major bomber base. End result: Grand Forks AFB destroyed,
broken windows and light damage in the town itself.
• Forbes AFB, Topeka, Kansas
Home to the 21st Air Division, Forbes AFB controls a large number of ICBMs as well as
a substantial number of bombers. Topeka is also the capital of the state of Kansas, and
thus center to a state government. End result: Forbes AFB destroyed, massive damage to
the City of Topeka, but no damage to the missile fields to the west of the city, or to the
town of Lawrence to the east.
• Fairchild AFB, Spokane, Washington
In 1962, Fairchild was the home of the 18th Strategic Aerospace Division, an umbrella
organization that combined the B-52 bombers and KC-135 Stratotankers of the 92nd
Bomb Wing with squadrons of Atlas ICBMs located nearby. Today, Fairchild helps
Washington State achieve the distinction of having more nuclear weapons than four
countries combined, thanks to the location of a nuclear reserve depot on the base. End
result: Fairchild AFB destroyed, possible damage to unstable Atlas missiles, (the missiles
must be kept pressurized at all times in order to provide support for the missile, or
destruction of the missile will result — this caused problems when a dropped tool could
rupture a fuel line and cause an explosion, due to the weak fuel tanks and lines.) Spokane
west of the river destroyed, damage to the city’s eastern portion.
• New York City, New York
You shouldn’t need to ask why New York would be hit. Ideally, due to its size, it would
be hit by several nuclear weapons, but I imagine that only one missile would be targeted
there, simply because of its proximity to the Canadian border and thus availability to
bomber attack. For the sake of argument, I’ll target the missile at the Brooklyn Navy
Yard, which in 1962 was still very much in operation. End result: Brooklyn, lower
Manhattan destroyed, 50% of the city in flames, massive panic, damage to eastern
portions of Staten Island and New Jersey. Broken windows as far north as Yonkers.
Newark damaged, Statue of Liberty knocked over, Empire State Building and Chrysler
• Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, in addition to being one of the most populous cities in the United States,
also has great historical meaning and is home to the Philadelphia Naval Yard, again one
of the largest naval bases on the East Coast of the United States in 1962. End result:
Philadelphia virtually destroyed. Broken windows as far as the Delaware border, with
fires raging unchecked for miles.
• Alameda, California
Alameda is home of the third-largest naval base on the West Coast. In addition, the
Oakland Army Base and Alameda Naval Air Station are within range of a single hit. End
result: A hit on Alameda will vaporize the Oakland Army Base, Treasure Island Naval
Station, Alameda supply depot, NAS Alameda, and most of downtown Alameda. The
Oakland Bay Bridge will be completely destroyed, and Oakland itself will suffer major
damage, as will the eastern shore of San Francisco, including the naval station. Damage
will extend across the city.
• Ottawa, Ontario
Ottawa is the capital city of Canada, and thus is an important administrative and
transportation center. It’s one of the largest cities in Canada, and is home to the National
Defence Headquarters, which provides direction to Canadian forces around the world.
It’s a priority target. A five-megaton hit on Ottawa will obliterate the city, which is in a
geographically small location. RCAF Ottawa, located south of the city, will be damaged
• Toronto, Ontario
Canada’s largest city, Toronto is a prime target. Because it is spread out over a larger
area, there will be more survivors, but deaths are expected to be high. Fires will range
from Mississagua to Richmond Hill to Markham to Pickering.
• Goose Bay, Labrador
RCAF Goose Bay is headquarters to 5 Wing of the Royal Canadian Air Force and is one
of the largest airbases in eastern Canada in 1962. It houses a manual SAGE direction
center. It’s a NATO base operated jointly with the United States and other NATO
countries, and houses more than 20,000 members soldiers at the time of the war.
Permanent detachments of the German Luftwaffe, the Royal Netherlands Air Force and
the Italian Aeronautica Militare and temporary training deployments from the Royal Air
Force are located there. It’s a control center for both the Pinetree and Mid-Canada radar
lines and operates B-52 bombers as well as fighter interceptors and helicopters. Located
in Labrador, it commands the far eastern flank of the likely Soviet bomber routes
southward. A hit on the base will completely destroy it as well as the small town of
• Elmendorf AFB, Anchorage, Alaska
The farthest north ICBM target, an attack on Elmendorf is necessary because Alaska
remains out of range of IRBMs deployed in the Soviet Far East, which are based near
Vladivostok or Chita. Elmendorf is home to the 11th Air Force, Alaskan Air Command,
Alaskan Command, NORAD’s Alaska Region, a squadron of interceptors, the Alaska Air
National Guard, and other assorted units. An attack on Elmendorf also will destroy
nearby Fort Richardson, home to elements of the U.S. Army Alaska, and downtown
Anchorage, Alaska, the largest city in that state.
A Note on Targeting:
Those are the targets I feel most likely to be hit in a 36-ICBM attack that results in 24
successful hits. They provide a mix of Air Force and Navy targets, as well as civilian
targets. Targets have been chosen to maximize the number of American nuclear weapons
destroyed, as would likely be the case in a real Soviet attack. Several missiles would
likely be targeted on additional areas or possibly at targets listed above, but due to the
failure rates of Soviet missiles at the time, these will not reach their targets.
National Defense Research Council data indicates 36 total Soviet ICBMs in existence at
the time of the Crisis. (http://www.nrdc.org/nuclear/nudb/datab2.asp) 26 of these,
according to Astronautix.com (http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/r16.htm) are R-16
missiles. The remaining ten are older R-7 types similar to the rocket that launched
Sputnik. Based on tests conducted before 1961, the R-7 had a success rate of
approximately 64.52% (http://www.astronautix.com/lvs/r7.htm), so it can be expected
that six out of ten R-7s will reach their targets, barring any maintenance concerns that
would prevent one or more from launching. OTL data gives the R-16 missile an 86.79%
success rate. The problem with this figure is that it includes a large number of tests done
after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and includes many updated versions of the R-16 that
weren’t even on the drawing board during the Crisis, let alone ready to launch at the
United States. Therefore, that figure needs to be taken with a very large grain of salt. In
1962, the R-16 was not yet fully approved for military operation, though production and
deployment had begun.
Because of these two factors, having an R-16 success rate of 18/26 (69%) makes sense.
It’s better than the success rate of the older R-7, but isn’t quite at the success rate of OTL,
as later and more stable designs have not yet been introduced at the time of the war.
For the purposes of this timeline, I have imagined that the missiles targeted on Los
Angeles, Detroit, Chicago, Boston, New York (2nd Missile), Denver, St. Louis, San
Antonio, Dallas, Oak Ridge, Los Alamos, and Baltimore were those that failed to reach
their targets. Note that this is only due to random chance, and not due to the fact that
these cities were left off the target list.
2:57 AM — Various radars in Britain detect a large number of intermediate-range Soviet
missiles, heading west. Panicked operators contact their superiors, who rapidly pass the
information up the chain of command. The Prime Minister is notified.
2:58 AM — In an instant, Prime Minister Macmillan knows all is lost. Though he will
likely survive from his bunker deep below the hills of Wiltshire, the vast majority of
Britain — and Europe — will not. “We won’t have to fight them on the beaches this
time. The war’s already over.” Macmillan orders an immediate retaliatory strike against
Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union with every available weapon. In buried BBC
studios a few hundred yards from the Prime Minister, word of the attack is broadcast to
all corners of the British Isles. Across the UK, air-raid sirens blare and telephones ring as
the four-minute warning is put into effect. The name will be somewhat of a misnomer —
it won’t take four minutes for the Soviet missiles to reach their targets. It will take nine.
3:00 AM — Further radar observations passed to the Prime Minister’s bunker indicate
the apparent targets seem to be limited to military bases only. The fact that many of these
bases are near major cities is a fact known by everyone. Macmillan, after a moment of
hesitation, does nothing. The attack will continue as planned. V-Bombers to targets in
Soviet-occupied Norway and the Kola Peninsula, and No. 77 squadron’s Thor missiles
will be targeted at sites across Eastern Europe, as planned.
3:01 AM — At airfields across the United Kingdom, Valiant, Victor, and Vulcan
bombers armed with American-built W-38 gravity bombs lumber down the runway and
into the air. Many pilots anxiously turn their eyes skyward, half expecting to see the
contrails of incoming missiles. In peacetime, the pilots took pride in their ability to reach
the Soviet Union before even the bombers of the Strategic Air Command. Now, in the
face of an unknown number of Soviet fighters and SAMs, that pride turns to a growing
In Lincolnshire, at five RAF bases, missile launchers are thrown upright by giant
hydraulic rams, and toxic rocket fuel is pumped into fifteen separate American-built Thor
missiles. At the launch site, crewmen work in frenzied panic, one eye on their work, and
another on the sky. By the book, it takes fifteen minutes to fire the Thor from its
horizontal storage position. Driven by fear for Britain and more importantly, themselves
— it will only take six. For those that make it, that is.
3:03 AM — Gen. Norstad authorizes a full NATO nuclear response to the ongoing attack
and orders a full nuclear defensive posture. For many locations in West Germany, the
warnings will come too late. Many units have dispersed, particularly the nuclear and
chemical units, but those in close contact have not. Moreover, the sheer number of
incoming warheads will negate much of both sides’ dispersal strategy.
In Italy, two squadrons of nuclear-armed Jupiter IRBMs are readied on the launchpad.
From their locations north of Taranto, they can reach deep into Eastern Europe. If, of
course, they can be launched in time.
3:05 AM — President Kennedy is informed of the massive European missile launch. He
immediately sends authorization for Gen. Norstad to use any means necessary to ensure
the security of Europe — an order more redundant than anything a President had ever
given. In addition, he authorizes the execution of SIOP-62, Option B, with a hold against
China — the targeting of Soviet and Warsaw Pact military and communications
installations. As with the Soviet strike, the fact that many of these targets are in or near
major population centers is conveniently overlooked.
In Omaha, Gen. Thomas S. Power is far too involved with the immediate actions of his
SAC bombers to be worried about the targeting restrictions placed on him by Kennedy.
With scarcely a word, he acknowledges Kennedy’s operations order, gives several
targeting orders of his own, and orders SAC’s nuclear missiles to launch. President
Kennedy’s authority is no longer needed. With the order given, Power’s main concern
shifts to ensuring that none of his bombers will be shot down by NORAD’s fighters over
the Arctic Ocean.
In the air, every SAC bomber not previously en route to the Soviet Union begins to wing
its way towards that country. Even those that had been turned back for refueling now
make 180-degree turns back towards Russia. Fuel to return to America is a luxury some
of Power’s bombers cannot afford. All that matters now are the bombs dropped on target.
Over 1,300 American bombers are now winging their way north, across Canada and the
3:06 AM —BMEWS Clear detects 28 inbound Soviet ICBMs.
3:07 AM — BMEWS Thule confirms 28 inbound Soviet ICBMs. Three will break up on
reentry, and one will miss its target badly, but twenty-four will land close enough to
destroy their targets. News of the incomings adds to the air of fatalism among the few
people who remain in the White House. Despite efforts by the Secret Service to
physically manhandle President Kennedy to a waiting helicopter, Kennedy refuses
evacuation. He even refuses evacuation to the White House bomb shelter, instead
choosing to wait out the missiles on the roof of the White House. From his viewpoint, he
savors the night despite the cold temperature and the pain in his back. The streets are
empty, and the only sound is the discordant wail of the air-raid sirens. Kennedy looks
skyward and waits.
In Lincolnshire, the first Thor missiles begin to take fight, soaring upward on a pillar of
fire. Before the last of them leave the launch rails, an enormous roar in the air signifies
the arrival of several Soviet missiles. RAF Helmswell, Feltwell, and dozens of other
airfields in Britain are annihilated. The scene is repeated in Western Europe and North
Africa, from SAC bases in Morocco to Italy and Turkey and northward, to the
unoccupied portions of Norway, as Soviet IRBMs reach their targets.
The attacks devastate NATO airfields and naval bases, but civilian targets — excepting
those near major communications, command, and military centers — are not hit. Though
the Soviet missiles have a failure rate approaching 23 percent, the sheer number of
missiles ensures that every major target, including every SAC base, is hit at least once.
BMEWS Fylingdales is hit by no fewer than five nuclear weapons, completely
vaporizing the facility, and eliminating any chance to observe future attacks.
In West Germany, tactical nuclear weapons and chemical warheads fly with abandon,
devastating both sides equally. Dispersal is little help, due to the immense number of
warheads. In Berlin, fighting slows as the night sky is lit with dozens of mushroom-cloud
explosions at all points of the compass. No weapons fall in Berlin itself — it appears no
one was willing to risk hitting their own side.
North of Taranto, Soviet IRBMs destroy virtually all of the American and Italian Jupiter
IRBMs on the launch rails. Only two of the 30 missiles manage to escape the first strike,
and one will be driven off course by a detonation, landing harmlessly in Hungary. In
Turkey, the third squadron of American Jupiters, the centerpiece of Kennedy’s missiles-for-missiles proposal that would have brought an end to the Cuban crisis, has long since
been destroyed by conventional Soviet bombing. In the end, only one Jupiter does anything significant: the very first Jupiter launched from Italy plunges back into the atmosphere and impacts less than one kilometer south of the center of Lviv, which is instantly incinerated by the 3 megaton blast.
3:15 AM — In the air, fighting rages as Soviet fighters and bombers clash with American
fighters of the 343rd Fighter Wing.
Dozens of short-range bombers fall prey to the AIR-2 Genie nuclear rockets of the
American fighters, which rack up an impressive kill total. In the end, the simple realities
of fuel and ammunition bring down the Delta Darts defending Alaska. For every bomber
they bring down, there are two more, launched from bases in nearby Siberia. And with
their bases gradually destroyed by Soviet attacks, there is no way to refuel and rearm.
The vast majority of the fighters launched from Elmendorf and other airfields eventually
run out of fuel and have their pilots bail out. A handful manage to reach Juneau or a
Canadian airfield, but almost none are refueled in time to defend again.
Across the Bering Strait, a mirror of the Alaskan battle is played out over Siberia as
Soviet fighters clash with Alaska-based bombers. Thanks to the virtue of being based a
thousand miles closer to their targets, the Alaskan bombers find themselves engaging an
alerted and able Soviet defense. They go down in gruesome numbers, but not without landing a few hits of their own. Few
survive to return to Alaska, and only a handful limp back to friendly bases.
3:20 AM — At missile silos across the United States, rockets blast off silo covers as SAC
ICBMs take to the skies. At some silos, however, all is quiet. They represent something
the Soviet Union does not have — a reserve.
It will take only 25 minutes for the first missiles to reach their targets, long before SAC
bombers — which passed the fail-safe line over nearly 40 minutes previously — reach
3:22 AM — Britain’s revenge begins hitting Eastern Europe as the survivors of Britain’s
15 Thor IRBMs begin to land in the Warsaw Pact. Those that fall in East Germany are
lost in the frenzy of tactical and short-range nuclear destruction. Outside of East
Germany, the capitals of several Eastern European nations join the nuclear bonfire. Inside
of East Germany, there is already very little left. In Berlin, scattered fighting continues,
but with fewer and fewer orders coming from higher authorities on either side, and the
obviousness of what has happened, no one seems willing to press home the attack.
3:25 AM — Soviet ICBMs begin to land in the United States and Canada. From New
York to Washington to the West Coast, millions of people die. In the space of five
minutes, more Americans die than in every American war combined. In Washington,
Kennedy watches the meteor-like trails of the incoming warheads from the roof of the
White House. A few streaks rise to meet them — Nike-Hercules antiaircraft missiles —
before the sky brightens with one final sunrise. It’s the last thing President Kennedy sees.
3:29 AM — At Mount Weather, Virginia, Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson and
other members of the Executive Branch are read the list of targets in a sense of gloom.
When the list reaches Washington, there is a pause. “I guess that makes me next,” says
the new President in his Texas drawl. Five hundred feet below the mountains of western
Virginia, LBJ takes the oath of office surrounded by other members of the executive
branch in the crowded confines of a rocky tunnel. He’d rather be anywhere else.
3:32 AM — The Afsluitdijk, the biggest of the Dutch flood control dikes, is destroyed by
a Soviet nuclear weapon. Across the Netherlands, dozens of dikes are opened by either
direct nuclear attack or damage from attacks to nearby towns and cities. Millions of Dutchmen and -women die in the resulting floods.
3:34 AM — Above the dark, frozen wastes of Greenland, American fighters clash with
Soviet bombers intent on the destruction of Thule Air Force Base, the northernmost
northernmost American fighter and bomber base in the world.
A full squadron of specially-equipped Tu-95K bombers is tasked with the destruction of
the base and the adjoining BMEWS radar station, roughly 18 miles northwest. The
bombers are engaged several hundred miles north of the target, and several are shot
down. Unfortunately for the defenders, this leaves five bombers, which continue onward,
juking and weaving. Roughly 250 miles away from the airfield, the survivors release their
underwing AS-3 Kangaroo cruise missiles before they are shot down in turn. No
crewmen from the downed bombers will survive the icy, dark shores of Greenland, but
their loss is not in vain. Five supersonic cruise missiles streak towards Thule.
Thanks to forewarning from the intercepting fighters, Thule is ready. A score of
BOMARC missiles roar into the air from the darkened base, lancing forward at a closing
speed well in excess of Mach 6. Small multi-kiloton warheads explode in front of the
cruise missiles, knocking them from the air or destroying them outright. Only a single
missile survives. But that’s all that’s needed. The 3 Megaton warhead explodes a bare
thousand feet over the base’s runways, destroying the base instantly.
The radar operators at the BMEWS radar station eighteen miles away are spared
immediate death from the nuclear detonation, only to suffer a prolonged death from
starvation and freezing, as the site is completely isolated from a United States with far
greater problems on its hands. They will be joined by a few homeless pilots who bail out
of their fuel-starved aircraft.
For the Soviet Union, it’s a costly, if successful operation. And it’s one that can’t be
repeated. The 12 specially-modified bombers represent almost the entire AS-3 capable
force, barring two aircraft down for maintenance. In addition, the extraordinarily
unwieldy missiles require more than 20 hours to be attached, armed, fueled, and readied
for launch. Soviet planners anticipate using the remaining stock as second-strike weapons
for targets that escape the initial attack. Unfortunately for those involved, they will not
get that chance.
3:45 AM — The first American ICBMs begin to strike targets in the Soviet Union. From
Anadyr in the east to Murmansk in the west, from Moscow to Baku, Baikonur to
Chelyabinsk, the Soviet Union is hit by approximately 140 warheads. Hardest hit are
airfields, communications systems, command and control systems, and military bases. As
with the Soviet attack, where possible, cities are avoided — where possible. Cities like
Moscow, Vladivostok, Murmansk and Archangel, which housed large military bases or
command facilities, were hit regardless of their civilian population. The Soviet Union had
done the same.
The door is now open for the bombers of the Strategic Air Command, which have had
their orders confirmed by the new President of the United States, Lyndon Johnson.
Johnson also confirms the orders of the American ballistic missile submarine fleet, which
has been instructed to attack the Soviet Union under SIOP-62. The submarines’ Polaris
missiles lack the accuracy to hit military targets, but that doesn’t matter. What matters
now is hitting back, and hitting as hard as possible.
3:47 AM — Canadian-based interceptors begin to engage Soviet bombers above the
Canadian Far North. As the bombers come in at low level, the radars of the Distant Early
Warning Line have difficulty locating many of the Soviet aircraft. This is further
compounded by the loss of the SAGE combat centers to Soviet ICBMs. Due to that loss,
coordination among the remaining SAGE centers and backup interceptor control is
For every Tu-95 or M-4 that is intercepted, another breaks through to attack the DEW radars and continue south. For every radar that is destroyed, more bombers
remain undiscovered, hitting the line and winging their way south. The SAGE operators
do their utmost, but as the radars go down, one by one, enormous gaps are torn in the Far
North radar and airfield network, allowing more and more bombers to avoid American
and Canadian interceptors. But the damage to the Soviet bomber force is immense. Of the
approximately 120 bombers sent across the Arctic Ocean, fewer than 40 survive to
3:48 AM — Soviet IRBMs hit several targets in the Iberian Peninsula. Due to the long
range, most of the missiles land away from their intended targets. Lisbon is heavily
damaged and Madrid is destroyed, as are the military bases at Rota, Torrejon, Morón, and
Zaragoza. Approximately 4.5 million people die as a result of the strikes, yet Spain and
Portugal are among the most lightly-damaged nations in Europe.
4:12 AM — Nuclear fighting in Europe continues as British V-Bombers strike at Sovietheld
airfields in Norway, relieving pressure on Britain from the north. Several bombers
continue onward to strike targets in the Kola Peninsula, but many find that their targets
are already burning, victims of American ICBMs. All eventually find some target worthy
of an atomic bomb, or are shot down. The survivors turn westward, with many bomber
crews bailing out over Britain, unable to find a usable airstrip on which to land. Several
others land in neutral Sweden, which has fared fairly well in the fighting, and are
4:20 AM — Sunrise does not come for the survivors of Berlin, nor for much of Europe.
Dark clouds of ash blot out the sky over Germany, and dark rain begins to fall as water
vapor coalesces around ash from hundreds of nuclear detonations. Survivors remember it
as heavy, heavier than anything they can remember. Throughout the growing storms,
NATO and Warsaw Pact bombers and fighters continue to clash.
With an enormous gash ripped in the front line, aircraft from both sides can engage in
combat without a fear of ground fire, and can penetrate deep into the opposition’s
territory before facing enemy fire. From Germany, bomber strikes move east and west.
The gap in defenses allows NATO bombers to hit Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia
with ease, just as Warsaw Pact bombers can hit targets in the Netherlands, Belgium,
France, and Britain. The only major threat to these aircraft comes from each other and
from the hundreds of mushroom clouds they must avoid.
In many cases, communications have broken down between what remains of higher
authority and the bases launching attacks. As more and more weapons fall, the situation
continues to grow worse, with greater and greater civilian casualties. Only the
accelerating rate of attrition and the destruction of the remaining stockpiles of weapons
and operational aircraft provides an end to the fighting. In some cases, fighters from each
side resort to suicide ramming attacks against attacking bombers after their weapons are
exhausted and their bases destroyed.
In less than 90 minutes, more than 40% of the nuclear weapons detonated during the
entire course of the war have exploded, primarily in Europe, Asia, and North America.
Approximately 1,500 Megatons of destruction has been scattered around the world,
instantly killing tens of millions, wounding even more, and setting much of Europe
ablaze. The war will last for several more days, and for civilians in Europe, the Soviet
Union, and much of central Asia, the worst is yet to come.
4:32 AM — A regiment of Soviet Tu-16 bombers near Vladivostok launch an attack
against American bases in Japan and South Korea. American, Japanese, and Korean
fighters intercept many of the aircraft, but several make it through the fighter coverage,
dropping their weapons before being destroyed. 13 megaton-scale bombs will hit the two
countries, grievously wounding South Korea, which feels the impact of seven weapons.
American bombers based in Guam will avenge the hits by completely leveling the area
around Vladivostok, which has itself already been hit by two ICBMs.
In South Korea, Seoul, Osan Air Base, Taegu, Chongju, Gwangju, Kwangju, and an
isolated position between Seoul and the inter-Korean border all suffer nuclear attack.
This opens the door for North Korea, despite the Chinese warning, to pour across the
South Korean border en masse. American forces in Japan, which have suffered hits on
Okinawa, Misawa, Iwakuni, Atsugi, Yokota, and Yokohama, are in no position to support
the battered South Korean military.
5:36 AM — The USS Sam Houston, an Ethan Allen-class ballistic missile submarine,
launches its load of 16 Polaris missiles from a location in the southern Kara Sea, south of
the islands of Novaya Zemlya. After firing from a depth of 10m, the submarine slips
away undetected as scattered Soviet aircraft respond to the radar contacts.
The scene will be repeated five more times over the next 48 hours, as various Polaris
missile submarines contribute their missiles to the firestorm engulfing the Soviet Union.
Of the 80 missiles fired, 67 will successfully hit their targets. Two additional submarines
will remain silent, a floating reserve to complement the missiles sitting in SAC silos. Two
more commissioned ballistic missile submarines lack missiles, and one — the USS
Thomas A. Edison is destroyed when Charleston is attacked. Two uncommissioned
submarines at sea survive the war, but three others still fitting out or under construction
Not everything goes the way of the American submarine force. The USS Abraham
Lincoln is lost with all hands in an encounter with a Soviet hunter-killer submarine after
firing its missiles. Additionally, the Regulus missile-carrying submarines fail to mirror
the success of their Polaris counterparts. Due to their weapons’ minimal range, their
success is no greater than that of the Soviet missile submarines to which they compare.
All are sunk before launching their targets, killing several hundred American sailors in
6:13 AM — B-52 bombers of the Strategic Air Command based in Spain and Morocco
begin attacks on the southern flank of the Warsaw Pact. Bulgaria and Romania, as well as
select targets in the Ukraine and the Caucuses. The bombers take some casualties from
fighter aircraft, but none from ground fire. Because their bases have been destroyed by
Soviet IRBM and bomber attacks, the crewmen of the bombers are forced to divert to
remote airfields in Turkey, Greece, and Cyprus. None will make a second mission, due to
a lack of weapons or because they are destroyed on the ground by Soviet counter-attacks.
7:04 AM — The Soviet bombers that survived interception in the Far North begin to
encounter the radars of the Mid-Canada and Pinetree defensive lines. Coming in low over
the empty forests, the scattered bombers manage to evade most contact. However, once in
range of the radars of the two southernmost lines — which happen to overlap —
interceptors can be efficiently vectored to the incoming bombers. Of the forty survivors,
twenty-five are downed by fighters guided by the radars of the Pinetree and Mid-Canada
lines. Not a few manage to strike back at their attackers, hitting radar sites before going
down. Two bombers manage to destroy the Mid-Canada control facilities at Dawson
Creek and Stoney Mountain, respectively. Those losses tear an enormous hole in the
western sections of the Mid-Canada line.
The sacrifice of their counterparts allows bombers to get through the Mid-Canada Line
undetected. Many more, however, are shot down while trying to penetrate the eastern
sections of the line in an effort to get at rich targets like Quebec, Detroit, or Chicago.
Though the immense spaces involved and the confusion caused by Soviet ICBMs aid the
bombers in their effort to avoid detection and interception, the mere fact that two Mid-
Canada control centers have been destroyed is enough to indicate to NORAD that Soviet
bombers have already reached deep into Canada. American interceptors mass over the
7:29 AM — The first large wave of American bombers cross the north coast of the Soviet
Union. Over one hundred have been shot down over the Arctic Ocean by Soviet
interceptors, but more than a thousand are still in the air, storming southward towards
targets scattered from one end of the Soviet Union to the other. Soviet air defense has
been shattered by ICBM and submarine-launched missiles, but the surviving fragments,
unguided by higher command, are still deadly. It is a target-rich environment for the
Only the sheer number of American bombers prevents the Soviet defenses from having
greater effect. Without a central system to coordinate interception, Soviet fighters must
be guided by their onboard radar or the facilities from their basing airfields. With more
than a thousand aircraft heading south, the otherwise strong effort of the surviving Soviet
defenders is split too thin. Strikes on defending airbases further reduce the effectiveness
of the Soviet defenses, as fighters often are unable to find an intact base to refuel and
9:19 AM — The final Soviet fighter base covering the north coast of the Soviet Union is
destroyed by a bomb dropped by a B-52. In total, almost 300 American bombers have
been shot down by Soviet fighters. Unfortunately for surviving citizens of the Soviet
Union, this still leaves more than 900 nuclear-armed bombers to range over the wide open
spaces of the country. What little opposition remains is limited to SA-2 sites near
primary targets, most of which have already been destroyed by ICBM warheads.
10:33 AM — The city of Vancouver, British Columbia, is destroyed by a five-Megaton
nuclear bomb dropped by a Tu-95 of the Long-Range Aviation Division of the Soviet Air
Force. The attack is somewhat of an accident — Seattle was the primary target for the
bomber, but due to repeated momentary contacts with Canadian and American fighters,
the crew spends more time evading than navigating towards its target. The attack does
serve to light the way for a following Soviet bomber, which avoids interception and
makes a successful attack on Seattle before running out of fuel.
The two attacks are the first of 15 successful bombings of major North American cities
by Soviet long-range bombers. Eight of the attacks, due to faulty navigation, purposeful
attack, or harassment by interceptors, take place against Canadian targets. Two bombers
successfully destroy American cities: Seattle and Minneapolis are destroyed by M-4s that
subsequently run out of fuel in central or western Canada. Two separate attempts by
Soviet bombers to penetrate Chicago’s defenses by Tu-95s are defeated by nuclear-tipped
BOMARC anti-bomber missiles, which knock the low-flying aircraft into Lake Michigan
with their shock waves. Two more bombers are intercepted by Canadian fighters as they
attempt to make attacks against the American Northeast. American airfields and nuclear
research facilities suffer far more heavily at the hands of the bombers. Hanford,
Washington; Arco, Idaho; Loring AFB; Larson AFB; and Mountain Home AFB are hit
by Soviet bombers. The strikes on Arco and Hanford are particularly devastating as the
explosions blow open several nuclear reactors, releasing enormous clouds of persistent
radiation skyward. Together, these two weapons release more radioactive fallout in the
United States than every other weapon that hits the United States — combined. Fortunately, much of this "secondary" fallout (as opposed to the "primary" fallout from the bombs themselves) falls over a thinly-populated part of the United States, making its effects far less severe than they could have been.
In addition to Vancouver, Canada loses Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Saskatoon,
Regina, and Comox on Vancouver Island. RCAF Cold Lake, a major interceptor base in
Alberta, also is destroyed. Montreal is obliterated by the sole Soviet bomber to penetrate
the defenses of the American and Canadian northeast. The M-4 only succeeds in its
mission by avoiding four interceptors before executing a kamikaze descent that takes it
below the height needed to trigger the pressure detonator on its armed nuclear weapon.
The bomber, trailing interceptors, and Montreal are all destroyed in less than a second at
the heart of a five-Megaton explosion.
As bad as the damage is, the population centers and airfields of northern Canada and
Alaska fare even worse. Though Anchorage had a population of just 45,000 people, it
was the largest city in the region. After the attacks of medium-range bombers, the largest
settlement is Dawson City, which boasts fewer than 1,200 people.
By 4:00 PM, the last long-range Soviet bomber has been destroyed. None, excepting
those few that turned back before the DEW line, return to the territory of the Soviet
Union. Though the shorter-ranged Tu-16s have blasted northern Canada and Alaska into
virtual oblivion, their success is not shared by the Tu-95s and M-4s that make up the bulk
of Soviet Long-Range Aviation. Fewer than ten percent of the Soviet Union’s long-range
bombers successfully reach their targets before falling to interceptors or fuel starvation.
By the end of the day, the bomber threat to North America is over.
2:32 PM — The final aircraft of the first wave of SAC bombers cross out of Soviet
airspace en route to safe airfields in Canada, waypoints on the way home; many, however, mostly those that spent a lot of time at their Fail-Safe positions before receiving the go order, never make it there, running out of fuel over the northern Soviet Union, the Arctic Ocean, or far northern Canada. Already,
SAC’s second wave of aircraft is nearing Soviet airspace, bringing several hundred
Megatons of further destruction to what is left of the Soviet Union. In the words of
CINCSAC Gen. Power, “We’re going to keep it up until the rubble is rubble.”
October 31 — By early afternoon, no more American bombers are being shot down over
the Soviet Union — there is no one left to shoot back. Remaining SA-2 sites are
abandoned en masse by soldiers fearful for their lives. The remaining active sites are
destroyed by nuclear bombardment. President Johnson orders a focus on the other nations
of the Warsaw Pact, and a gradual stand-down of SAC operations. There simply aren’t
enough weapons left to continue at the same tempo for much longer, and equipment and
crewmen are beginning to break down under the strain.
At 9:00 PM Eastern time, President Johnson makes a nationwide radio and television
address, giving the American and Canadian public an update on what has happened. For
those Americans within range of a working radio, the news is a series of hammer blows.
The new president confirms the list of destroyed cities, killing the hopes of millions of
Americans who had family in or near the Soviet targets. He also states that President
Kennedy is presumed killed in the destruction of Washington, something everyone had
assumed, given the pre-attack reports of his refusal to evacuate. The news is still a shock,
and although conspiracy theorists will continue to put forth the idea that Kennedy
somehow survived the attacks, President Johnson declares that he is indeed in charge and
has instituted martial law across the United States. Attacked areas will be evacuated, and
the government is already stepping in to ensure the continued operation of critical aspects
of life like electricity, water, and communications. The mid-term elections scheduled on
November 4 will have to be postponed as a matter of necessity. Meanwhile, the war goes
November 4 — By the sixth day of SAC’s nuclear campaign, the war begins to wind
down. In Europe, surviving elements of the NATO command received cease-fire requests
from the surviving elements of the individual Warsaw Pact nations’ militaries. In most
cases, individual units (even those far from the supposed “front”) made the requests, as
virtually no government officials survived the bombardment.
In Berlin, a cautious calm prevails as both Soviet and NATO survivors realize that they
have survived in the middle of an immense dead zone. The immediate consideration for
both sides is to find shelter from the heavily-radioactive rain and fallout that is now
sweeping in from the west.
November 5 — From his command post beneath Mount Weather, President Johnson
declares an immediate break in the Strategic Air Command’s bombing campaign.
The order stems from three primary reasons. The first and most obvious is the request by
the Warsaw Pact nations for a cease-fire. In many cases, the request is coupled with a
declaration that the surviving members of the government are willing to surrender
unconditionally if the bombing stops. Only the Soviet Union fails to make some sort of
contact, and that failure is due to the simple fact that no one is left to make a decision.
The second reason is because SAC has virtually run out of targets. Nearly 5,200
Megatons of nuclear firepower have been leveled against the Soviet Union and Warsaw
Pact, wiping out any vestiges of government or a will to fight in the Soviet Union or its
now-disintegrated alliance. Time is needed to gather intelligence and prepare strikes
against surviving Soviet nuclear arms. Since the afternoon of October 30, the only
nuclear attacks performed by the Soviet Union have been submarine-launched, low-yield
tactical weapons, or mobile, short-range missiles. A new strategy is needed to address
these last fragments of Soviet nuclear power.
That nuclear power managed only about 800 Megatons before being utterly destroyed by
SAC. Only about one-quarter of that — approximately 200 Megatons — was directed against the United States — and
much of that fell in Alaska, as Soviet bombers destroyed isolated radar stations in almost
uninhabited terrain. Most of the remaining 700 Megatons has been deployed in Europe,
concentrated on NATO military bases, troops in the field, population centers, and
The third reason is the one most pressing on CINCSAC Gen. Power. In the five days of
full-scale nuclear war, SAC has lost nearly 40% of its bomber strength, and has employed
more than 2/3 of its ICBM capability. Crews and aircraft are running on the ragged edge,
with many bombers still flying with heavy battle damage. Time is needed to rest and
refit, bring weapons forward from surviving storage in the continental United States, and
take care of all the other minor concerns that five days of all-out nuclear war let slip.
November 6 — The commander of East German forces in Berlin unconditionally
surrenders to the NATO commander, having been prompted by the threat of further
attacks from surviving NATO aircraft. Via radio, he authorizes all other surviving East
German units to do the same, barring a counteracting command from higher authority.
None is ever received.
November 7 — Josip Broz Tito requests a cease-fire from both NATO and surviving
Warsaw Pact countries. Yugoslavia has been struck by several nuclear weapons from
both sides, but the warheads were primarily targeted at supposed military movements,
rather than civilian targets. Yugoslavia suffers from the war, but is the least-damaged
country in Eastern Europe. Tito is also one of a handful of surviving heads of state in
November 9 — 53 looters are shot in New York City by National Guardsmen. It is the
largest single execution for looting so far, but it will not be the last. By the time martial
law is finally lifted in the United States, an estimated 60,000 Americans will have been
killed in summary executions for various offenses.
November 10 — North Korean forces, having advanced deep into South Korea, are
struck by the redeployed might of a wing of Strategic Air Command Bombers based at
Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines and other bases in the central Pacific, including
Guam. North Korean MiGs down many bombers, but North Korea’s military and civilian
infrastructure is largely destroyed over the course of three days.
The North Korean advance into South Korea slows and eventually stops due to a lack of
fuel. Surviving on scavenged food, North Korean soldiers are forced to abandon
motorized vehicles and heavy weapons in favor of infantry weaponry. South Korean
forces manage to hold the line, but due to heavy casualties, fail to push the North Koreans
back to any major degree. The fighting devolves into World War One-style infantry-and trench
combat as both sides grow hungrier and increasingly short of ammunition.
In the Pacific Ocean, Soviet submarine B-88 launches a 15-kiloton nuclear torpedo at the
mouth of Pearl Harbor. It detonates within the channel, almost directly west of Hickam
Air Force Base. The airbase is almost completely destroyed, and some naval installations
on the south side of the harbor are heavily damaged. Owing to the small yield of the
torpedo and the fact that it detonated within the harbor channel, however, most of the
harbor is undamaged. Ford Field suffers minor damage, but Honolulu escapes almost
wholly unharmed. B-88 escapes in the confusion and surrenders in late November, one of
only three Soviet submarines to survive the war.
November 11 — With Rome having been hit by several nuclear weapons and the
situation in the damaged city deteriorating by the day, Pope John XXIII decides to move
the Papacy to Sardinia until the situation in Rome can be stabilized. Much of Vatican
City, including St. Peter’s Basilica, was destroyed in the Soviet Attack, but Pius, most
church officials, and much of the church’s archives and artifacts survived the attacks in
underground shelters and catacombs.
November 12 — Taking advantage of the uncertainty in Iraq, Colonel Abd as-Salam Arif
launches a coup against the President of Iraq, Muhammad Najib ar-Ruba'i. As no one
knows whether Iraq will soon suffer the same fate as Turkey, just to the north, Arif’s
coup, though ill-prepared, successfully takes advantage of the timing. Arif becomes the
new President by use of military force.
November 15 — At the request of surviving members of the Canadian government,
President Johnson orders several regiments of American troops into Canada to help
maintain order. Initially intended as a minor move to assist the stability of the Canadian
government, the American role in Canada expands over the next several years and
eventually involves five divisions of American soldiers.
November 16 — As the UN presence in New Guinea dissolves with most peacekeepers
returning to their home countries, Indonesia assumes control over the western portion of
the country. The handover doesn’t go as smoothly as planned, but the end result is still
the same. Indonesia now has a new province.
November 18 — The cease-fire between the United States and the Warsaw Pact
(surviving NATO countries have also agreed to abide by the American cease-fire)
becomes permanent as a final treaty is signed with the final Warsaw Pact nation,
Romania. No treaty will ever be signed with the Soviet Union, though several months
later, an accommodation will be quietly reached with the highest-ranking Soviet official
that can be found — Colonel-General Yakov Kreizer, Commander in Chief of the Far
East Military District, who had survived in a bunker near the Chinese border.
Fighting around the world does not come to an end as easily as the signing of a treaty,
however. Nuclear attacks will continue in Europe for over five months as fragmented
Soviet and Warsaw Pact units with nothing left to lose refuse orders to surrender and
launch occasional missiles against presumed targets.
As the winter snow falls, blackened by soot, Europe is in the midst of a refugee crisis as
bad as anything following the Second World War. Unlike that war, there will be no help
coming from North America, which has its own problems. Little aid arrives comes from
Oceania, South Africa, and South America. In one of the great ironies of history, it is
India that offers the most aid to a ravaged England, sending food and supplies and taking
in refugee experts and scientists who might offer their expertise to a new country
undamaged by war.
November 19 — With problems in damaged and attacked American cities increasing,
President Johnson orders quarantine zones established around cities that have been struck
by Soviet missiles. The area within the quarantine zones is completely evacuated, and as
a safety and security measure, U.S. Army and reservist soldiers are ordered to maintain
the quarantine. No one is to be allowed inside the quarantine for fear of spreading
radiation or disease. The large numbers of bodies create a threat of infectious disease, and
an outbreak of typhus in Connecticut causes great concern. Fortunately, cold weather and
an organized corpse-burning campaign stems further larger outbreaks from occurring in
the United States.
November 22 — A Soviet submarine, having avoided American attack, launches a 5
Megaton nuclear missile at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam. The base and the
northern half of the island are obliterated before the Soviet submarine is tracked down
and sunk. The incident, coming on the heels of the attack on Pearl Harbor 12 days earlier,
sparks an intense search for remaining Soviet submarines. The picket line of destroyers
along the East and West coasts of the United States, removed after the Romanian ceasefire,
At sea, the hunt for rogue submarines takes place on similar grounds as the hunt for
missiles in the territories of the former Soviet Union. Due to the uncertainty of how many
submarines were destroyed in Soviet ports, the hunt is a tense one, particularly given the
ability of the submarines to hit virtually any location in the world. In the end, however,
the hunt proves to be an immensely successful one. Only two submarines manage to
make any sort of attempt on a target after the destruction of Guam, and both are sunk
shortly after surfacing. The destruction of Guam is the last time an American base will be
attacked by nuclear weapons in the war.
November 23 — In the Congo, a United Nations force created to reunite the breakaway
province of Katanga with the rest of the Congo begins to fall apart with the departure of
most of the Western military advisers. Without western military assistance, the Congo
government cannot capture the key Katangan stronghold of Elizabethville.
November 30 — The British government leaves its bunker for the alternative seat of
government: Cheltenham in Gloucestershire. The government’s first action upon
establishing itself in its new location is to force the resignation of Prime Minister
Macmillan, who goes willingly. Fearing for his safety amid the wild unrest spreading
through the country, Macmillan departs England for Canada.
Replacing Macmillan as Prime Minister is Enoch Powell, the Minister of Health. Powell
had departed to the bunker three weeks earlier than the rest of the government, and had
been a dynamic force in the countryside. He had directed the construction of dozens of
refugee camps, controlled the distribution and rationing of health care — in the few
places it was available — and relieved the suffering of tens of thousands of British men
and women. Powell was a natural choice for the position, and took the job willingly.
December, 1962 — In Europe, the eastern portions of France, the Netherlands, and
Belgium, along with Luxembourg, Germany, western Poland, and much of
Czechoslovakia and Austria form an immense dead zone where virtually nothing survives
amidst a blackened, radioactive ruin. Most survivors come from the edges of the zone, as
they are able to flee to less-damaged areas. There are very few of those, however. From
Narvik to Gibraltar, no corner of Europe escapes damage. The capitals of old Europe —
Paris, London, Brussels, Rome, Madrid, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, and so on — are all
destroyed. Only Berlin remains, and its citizens have almost all fled northward with the
surviving NATO and Warsaw Pact soldiers.
The old Warsaw Pact is horrifically damaged, and the former NATO countries not much
better off. Southern France and Spain survive relatively well, and outside of NATO bases
such as Faslane, Holy Loch, and cities such as Glasgow, Scotland does as well. Northern
Norway is ravaged by both NATO and Soviet weapons, and Sweden suffers a handful of
minor strikes in its northern territories in addition to the hit on Stockholm.
Ireland is perhaps the most undamaged country in Europe, having suffered only minor
damage from the destruction of Belfast in Northern Ireland and little fallout from
detonations in England. It serves as a hub for recovery efforts in the British Isles, just as
Spain, Portugal, Sicily, and Libya do for other parts of Europe.
December 1 — China, after negotiations with the United States, invades North Korea.
President Johnson has neither the inclination nor ability to deploy the American troops
needed to push the North Koreans out of South Korea, and nuclear strikes would damage
South Korea along with the North Korean soldiers. American soldiers are needed at home
for rescue efforts, to maintain martial law, and keep food and industrial supplies running.
The Chinese move into what is effectively a power vacuum in North Korea. The
American attacks in the first half of November have leveled the North Korean
government, and it is only that when the Chinese advance across the former border with
South Korea, ironically enough, do they meet any large organized resistance from North
Korean military forces. Until then, the main obstacle comes from the poor state of the
transportation infrastructure in North Korea.
December 5 — With their supplies nearing exhaustion and the collapse of the Second
Berlin Airlift due to problems in Britain, NATO forces in Berlin are ordered to retreat
northward to the Baltic for evacuation. More than a million German civilians and
disarmed Warsaw Pact soldiers accompany the NATO soldiers in the largest organized
refugee movement in Germany following the war.
December 6 — The Swiss government officially closes its borders to all non-Swiss
citizens. Foreigners already in the country will be allowed to stay, but no more refugees
will be admitted. Swiss soldiers are deployed along the borders to enforce the quarantine,
and Swiss aid efforts beyond its borders largely end. Giant defensive works, constructed
by refugee work parties, block the approaches into Switzerland. Rationing is intensified,
and the Swiss government begins conducting a large-scale airlift with what few aircraft
are available. Regular long-distance flights are made between Swiss cities and Ireland
and Wheelus Airfield in Libya, a major transshipment point for aid inbound to southern
The airlift is virtually unsuccessful in relieving shortages in Switzerland, however, and
the Swiss government begins audacious plans to repair a series of rail lines and roads
running from the Swiss border to the Mediterranean coast in hopes of opening a stable
supply line. Large-scale work does not begin until the spring, however.
December 7 — The Indian government, coordinated by Prime Minister Nehru, unveils a
plan to accept large numbers of technically-skilled and educated refugees from Europe,
with special preference given to British refugees. Due to lasting Indian resentment at
British colonialist policies, few of the British refugees serve in any capacity beyond that
of teachers or instructors. Many serve as simple laborers, but are grateful for the chance
to survive in relatively easy conditions. The Royal Navy provides transportation for tens
of thousands of refugees while bringing aid to Britain from locations around the world.
December 10 — Iranian Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi is declared killed in the
destruction of Tehran by Iranian state radio, breaking the news to most Iranians. The
announcement triggers the beginning of the Iranian Civil War, a conflict that will last for
nearly 20 years and cost over one million lives. The fighting is a four-cornered affair.
One faction backs the restoration of the monarchy. Another faction backs the
establishment of a state founded on Islamic law. A third faction favors the establishment
of a secular, parliamentary democracy. The final faction is not such much a faction as a
group of warlords, who each want to carve out their own kingdoms backed by military
force. At various periods during the course of the war, the warlords side with various
factions in an attempt to gain an advantage.
December 17 — Moise Tshombe, prime minister of the breakaway Congo province of
Katanga, begins to offer a settlement plan to that of India and Australia. Targeted at
Belgian refugees, it is eventually successful at attracting nearly 50,000 Belgians who,
along with several thousand Belgians already in the country, ultimately create the largest
minority group in the new central African nation.
December 21 — Stockholm, Sweden, site of several of the negotiated surrender treaties,
is destroyed as a result of a radio broadcast that declares it to be instrumental in the peace
negotiations. The broadcast is picked up by a Soviet unit in Karelia that discovered an
unfired short-range missile. The ten-kiloton explosion is comparatively small, but kills
more than 30,000 Swedes, shocking a nation that thought it had avoided the worst.
Cuban Missile War v1.9 - Part 2
Cuban Missile War v1.9 - Part 2
January, 1963 — As the weeks wear on and surviving Warsaw Pact units join NATO
forces in hunting for these rogue units, their numbers drop dramatically. Of the 56 attacks
that take place after the Romanian Treaty, only 14 take place after the destruction of
Stockholm, and only four in January 1963, with the last one taking place on January 17.
These attacks are not the result of units that remained silent since the war’s beginning,
but rather the result of shattered Soviet units discovering intact missiles, then launching
those new missiles at targets in Western Europe. With their homes destroyed and their
families killed, many members of the surviving Soviet military take advantage of the
opportunity provided when finding a missile lost in the confusion. The missiles are
mostly short-range, low-yield weapons, though one 25-kiloton warhead does strike
Lyons, France on December 26.
In the north, Finland provides a staging area for American and NATO air- and heliborne
troops searching for loose missiles. Finnish forces also participate in the search, but
owing to the size and limited scope of the Finnish military, their efforts are limited to
western Karelia. In Asia, Japan fills much the same role, as does Iran, which provided
several emergency bases for SAC bombers and suffered a few nuclear hits because of it.
By the end of January, the last of these ‘rogue’ missiles has been either destroyed or
secured by NATO forces. With no more missiles to fire, even the most die-hard Soviet
units have no choice but to surrender or simply fade into the wilderness that the Soviet
Union has become. Persistent rumors circulate until the 1970s that China had taken
possession of at least a dozen former Soviet nuclear missiles from Colonel-General
Yakov Kreizer in exchange for granting the Soviet officer asylum.
January 11, 1963 — Relatively untouched amidst the chaos of Germany, France, and
Italy, Switzerland seals its borders to avoid being inundated by a flood of refugees. In the
weeks prior to the border closure, the Swiss militia employs several hundred thousand
refugees as coolie labor to construct defenses and blockades along the border.
January 17, 1963 — With the refugee crisis in the Iberian Peninsula reaching critical
mass, Spain and Portugal develop a joint resettlement plan that involves transporting
foreign and domestic refugees to Portugese holdings in Angola and Mozambique. The
‘settlers’ are furnished with 100 acres and crude shelter. Thousands die in the Iberian
refugee camps, thousands more en route, and even more after arriving in Africa. Still,
most are grateful to have a chance to escape Europe.
January 23, 1963 — Kenya, under control of the Kenya African National Union, declares
its independence from Britain, and forcefully asks all British forces to leave the country.
February, 1963 — Chinese forces link up with South Korean forces deep inside the
territory of South Korea. As per its agreement with the United States, China withdraws to
the 38th Parallel following the final eradication of North Korean Army. China leaves
behind a large number of “reconstruction experts” in South Korea to assist in the
rebuilding of that country.
Worldwide, recovery is stifled by one of the coldest and longest winters the world has
seen in recent memory. Roughly 6,000 Megatons of explosive force have driven millions
of tons of dust into the upper atmosphere, blocking sunlight and turning a cold winter into
a nightmare. In the Northern Hemisphere, global temperatures are 6C below average, and
in the Southern Hemisphere, roughly 3C below normal. The following summer comes
late, and is far cooler than normal, ravaging crops. For the few historians that remember
such things, the weather is reminiscent to the summer of 1816, when an eruption of the
Tambora volcano drove temperatures far below normal.
In Europe and much of northern Asia, the effects are far more savage than the average.
Throughout much of Eurasia, massive plumes of ash from burning cities, forests, and
people blot out the sun, driving temperatures up to 12C below normal, killing many of
the Soviet survivors of the attacks. Effects are strongest in Eastern Europe, the Balkans,
Turkey, and the Ukraine. Across much of the region, black rain and snow fall, the result
of precipitation coalescing around ash and soot from the enormous fires. The
precipitation is extremely radioactive in places, contaminating areas far away from the
initial attack. Much of the Black Sea, and thus the Eastern Mediterranean, is
contaminated in this way.
Further east, China, which was spared almost all attacks, suffers from drought caused by
the shift in weather and the radioactive rain, which contaminates much of the Tarim
Basin. Only a handful of nuclear weapons fall on Chinese soil, almost all from rogue
Soviet commands (and in one case, an off-course American bomber, which is
subsequently shot down).
March, 1963 — American forces used in the search for ‘rogue’ Soviet missiles begin to
return home under orders from President Johnson, who needs them to help uphold martial
law in the United States.
The Berlin refugee column arrives along the Baltic, and evacuations begin. NATO’s
Berlin Brigade leaves from the central point of the evacuation effort — Barth, Germany
— leaving over a million refugees to still be evacuated. Their plight is aggravated by the
cold weather, disease, starvation, and the lack of a coordinated evacuation effort. Fewer
than 70,000 Germans are evacuated by the few freighters that make voyages through the
Baltic to Barth. Transported to refugee transshipment points in Britain and Spain, even
fewer survive to emigrate to Africa or South America. 40,000 former Warsaw Pact
soldiers are also evacuated alongside the Berlin Brigade.
South Africa announces that it is throwing open its borders to refugees who “meet
nominal standards of admittance” — meaning whites only, preferably educated whites.
These refugees are settled along South Africa’s relatively undeveloped border and are
granted plots of land and prefabricated shelters. The Apartheid government surmises —
and is ultimately proven correct — that the new settlers, having seen the worst of the war
in Europe, will fight to the last man against any encroachment — particularly any black
Other former-British colony nations follow suit: Bechuanaland, the Federation of
Rhodesia and Nyasaland, Australia, New Zealand, and others all create settlement plans
for European refugees with varying standards of admittance. Some nations limited
admittance on racial or national grounds, while others, such as Australia, chose not to,
basing admittance only by the number of refugees.
In Morocco, the Moroccan government orchestrates several “incidents” near the Spanish
enclaves of Ceuta and Melila. The incidents, it is hoped, will be enough to provoke the
Spanish government, damaged by the Cuban Missile War, to evacuate the enclaves and
return them to Morocco. The Spanish military responds with force against the organized
mobs that attempt a “popular revolution,” and Spanish reinforcements quickly stabilize
the situation after being flown in from bases in mainland Spain. With the soldiers badly
needed to help maintain order in Iberia and Europe at large, however, Spain is forced to
recognize Moroccan control of Western Sahara. In exchange, Morocco agrees to
recognize Spanish control of its enclaves. The compromise leaves no one happy, and
there is a sense of unfinished business on both sides.
April, 1963 — With a deteriorating situation in Britain, Prime Minister Enoch Powell
orders British forces around the world home to help maintain order. British troops
evacuate bases from Hong Kong to Malaya to Kuwait to the Falklands, while token
forces remaining where required. One area where the British military is actively
strengthened is in Northern Ireland, the site of several large refugee camps.
Almost immediately following the withdrawal of the British military from Kuwait, the
Iraqi Army occupies the country, which the government of Iraq has claimed as its 19th
province since Kuwait’s independence in 1961. Though Saudi Arabia deplores such an
aggressive action on its border and occupies the former demilitarized zone between
Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, it makes no other hostile moves toward Iraq.
In the United States, President Johnson fails to give a similar blanket order to American
forces overseas, forcing many bases and units to fend for themselves, causing long-term
resentment among the local populations forced to support American soldiers. Eventually,
many isolated units are redeployed to the United States or Canada to help maintain
martial law and the quarantine zones around affected cities.
In Sardinia, Pope John XXIII begins plans to reconvene the Vatican II Council in
Sardinia. Foremost among the issues to be debated is the Church’s role in reconstruction
and refugee relief, in Europe in particular. It will be several months before
representatives — who have mostly returned to their home countries — can gather in
May, 1963 — Following President Johnson’s failure to reinforce or adequately resupply
surviving American forces in Japan, the Japanese government announces that it is
restructuring Article 9 of the Japanese constitution in order to ensure Japanese security in
the absence of the American military. The move is announced as needed to ensure
domestic security, but the U.S. government is too distracted domestically to respond with
anything but acceptance.
In Algeria, popular riots erupt against Europeans, Jews, and the French military, which
operates several bases in the Algerian Sahara. With the near-total destruction of the
French government and military during the war, French nationals and Jews have been
fleeing the country since the end of the war. Many head to Israel or points further south in
Africa after being turned away from France.
Pope John XXIII dies in Sardinia. The Vatican II Council is suspended until a new pope
— Paul VI — is elected. Paul declares that he will continue the Council and proclaims
his full support for John’s “resurrection” campaign for Rome and the Vatican.
June, 1963 — The withdrawal of British advisers from Yemen causes a massive setback
to royalist forces in the Yemeni Civil War. Already suffering due to the loss of support
from Europe, the Royalists suffer a devastating defeat at the hands of Republican forces
backed by the Egyptian government. With their prime supporter — Saudi Arabia —
having withdrawn support, the few hundred surviving Royalists continue to fight a
desperate but futile guerilla war. By the end of the year, virtually all resistance to the
Republican government has come to an end.
August, 1963 — From his office within Mount Weather, President Johnson issues an
executive order making segregation on racial or religious grounds illegal in the United
States. The order, intended to assist rebuilding efforts and increase available manpower,
instead alienates his conservative political base.
To counter his loss of support, Johnson announces his intention to hold the 1964 elections
on schedule. As a first step before the election, he will convene the 88th Congress on
January 1 at a location to be determined. The move is enormously popular with the
American public, which is struggling through an unseasonably cold year.
October, 1963 — With support from the Indonesian government, the former British
colonies of Malaya, Singapore, northern Borneo and Sabah proclaim the creation of
After lengthy debates over the location for the new Congress, President Johnson
announces that St. Louis, Missouri will serve as the interim capital until Washington can
be rebuilt. The federal government will begin setting up in St. Louis immediately, with
the first official day of business to be January 1, 1964.
In far eastern Turkey, surviving bands of ethnic Kurdish people create a new nation —
Kurdistan. With the loss of virtually all government in Turkey, the new nation is not
threatened by outsiders at first. It simply has to deal with the fact that its population is
trying to survive in the aftermath of a nuclear war.
November, 1963 — Mass starvation occurs in the Northern Hemisphere as crop failures
result from an unnaturally short growing season during 1963. By November, most
surviving stockpiles of foodstuffs have been exhausted. China and India, which suffered
virtually no damage as a direct result of the fighting, are greatly affected by the food
shortages, as they were not self-reliant in food production prior to the war. Riots and
mass uprisings occur in both countries and in most other nations in the Northern
In the United States and China, the food riots are quelled by applications of military force
and shipments from less-affected areas. Martial law prevails in the United States and
Canada, and soldiers are commonly employed in the food distribution process as needed.
Greenland declares its independence from the no-longer-existing nation of Denmark.
December, 1963 — An uprising begins in the small nation of Brunei in northern Borneo.
The fighting is three-sided: one faction favors independence, another favors incorporation
into Malaysia, and another demands the unification of Malaysia’s Borneo provinces with
Brunei to create the North Borneo Federation.
In Sardinia, Pius XXIII reconvenes the first session of the Second Vatican Council,
which had been interrupted by the outbreak of war. The primary issues revolve around
reconstruction and refugee efforts. Pius XXIII shocks many of the delegates when he
announces his intention to rebuild Vatican City as quickly as possible. Given the collapse
of the Italian government, Pius’s plan seems a far-off dream to many of the attendees.
In western Iran, the Kurdish portions of the country begin to move towards unification
with Kurdish elements in the former country of Turkey. Due to the chaos in the aftermath
of the death of the Shah in the destruction of Tehran, the Iranian Kurdish population
makes a mostly clean break with what little remains of the central government in Iran.
Negotiations soon begin between the Iranian Kurdish population and the surviving
Turkish Kurdish population, which has created a crude Kurdistan nation out of the
wreckage of eastern Turkey.
January, 1964 — President Johnson opens the 88th U.S. Congress in St. Louis, Missouri
to wild applause and celebration despite heavy snow. Johnson’s official residence is a
short distance away from the building serving as the temporary capital, and empty office
buildings across the city have steadily filled with new government workers attempting to
rebuild offices ranging from the Department of the Interior to the Internal Revenue
Almost immediately, however, the exuberance over the reconvening of Congress is
tempered by the realization that Johnson will veto any bills calling for the lifting of
martial law or those that might relax government control of major American industries.
By the end of the month, pre-war and Governor-appointed legislators alike are growing
frustrated at Johnson’s intransigence.
In the Congo, the central government, already weakened by the secession of the province
of Katanga, fragments further as the eastern provinces rise in revolt. The central
government, based in Stanleyville in the western portion of the country, lacks the
resources to prevent the rebels from breaking away. The rebels, who are strongly antiforeign,
commit multiple massacres against individuals from the central government and
the few hundred white people in the region. As many are from the small country of
Katanga to the south, the events provide an impetus for fighting to break out between the
new nation of Kwilu and Katanga. Skirmishes, low-level fighting, massacres, and
counter-massacres will take place on a sporadic basis for the next forty years. Both
nations, however, manage to find a point of agreement in their hatred for the rump
government of Congo, which controls the western third of the country. Nasty threecornered
fighting will continue for decades.
February, 1964 — 15 National Guardsmen are killed outside Philadelphia’s quarantine
zone by raiders based inside the zone. News of the incident manages to avoid being
censored before going out over the radio, serving to illustrate the growing problem of
raiders and bandits within the quarantine zones. Soldiers are prohibited from pursuing the
bandits within the zones, which have become havens for crime and those seeking to
reclaim artifacts from destroyed homes. The fences bordering the closed zones have
become impromptu memorials for people killed in the attacks as relatives and friends
leave notes and gifts in memory of the dead. A few even slip through the fences to make
a last search for their loved ones.
In southern France, a group of far-right French generals institute a coup d’etat against the
French Prime Minister, Georges Pompidou, whom they felt was not doing enough to
ensure the continued survival of France. Pompidou had been acting as the head of the
French government since the death of Charles de Gaulle during the war. Surviving
records indicate the generals were influenced — but not led — by the far-right
Organisation armée secrète (OAS), several members of which had returned to France
following the war. Ironically, following the coup, the OAS — which had violently
protested against the withdrawal of France from Algeria — begins calling for a “France
First” policy in regards to the French military and recovery efforts.
In Egypt, Egyptian President Abdul Nasser begins to plan a grand strategy for the
unification of Arab states in the Middle East. With the quick victory of the new Nasserbacked
government in Yemen, his prestige had been largely restored to what it had been
before Syria had abandoned the short-lived United Arab Republic in 1961. The question
for Nasser now was what to do. Though Egypt and the Middle East had largely escaped
direct effects from the Cuban Missile War, Egypt had lost its main arms supplier in the
Soviet Union and its economy had suffered greatly. By 1964, however, the Egyptian
economy had largely recovered thanks to enormous food and aid purchases by surviving
March, 1964 — A protest march of approximately 50,000 people in Windsor, Ontario,
calling for the withdrawal of American troops from Canada is broken up by American
troops. After rocks are thrown at the troops, the soldiers fire into the crowd, killing eight
Canadians. Additional protests break out in other Canadian cities and several in the
United States as well. Aggravating the situation is President Johnson, who refuses to
reprimand the officer responsible for fear that it would undermine the authority of martial
Several protest marches over the Windsor Massacre and other, unrelated topics —
including rationing — are also broken up, sometimes violently by American troops under
orders from superior officers.
In France, the new oligarchy that has replaced the Fifth Republic issues orders for the
withdrawal of French military forces from bases in Algeria amid continued violence in
that country. The soldiers are needed to help deal with the massive refugee crisis in
southern France and help rebuild what portions of the nation still survive. In perhaps the
most epic example of the scorched earth policy to date, the retreating soldiers explode
three 2 Megaton nuclear weapons on their abandoned bases in order to deny the
equipment and bases left behind to the Algerians. The French generals at the head of the
new government promise to return one day to “restore to France what is rightly hers.”
April, 1964 — Egypt, Syria, and Jordan begin secret plans for a combined attack on
Israel. With their main arms supplier gone and Israel’s primary allies in no position to
come to her aid, the leaders of each of the three countries realize that if they do not attack
soon, their militaries will grind to a halt for lack of spare parts and replacement
equipment. Nasser, eager to espouse the cause of pan-Arab unity, takes the lead in
negotiations and pledges to forge a coalition of nations to defeat Israel.
May, 1964 — With the Windsor Massacre and other, similar incidents, growing larger in
the minds of many Americans, the 88th Congress prepares legislation calling for the end
of martial law. Recent events have given Congress enough votes to override Johnson’s
veto, and the final vote is expected in mid-June.
With the French military having fully withdrawn from Algeria, Algerians angry at past
French slights and the recent detonations of three nuclear weapons on its soil begin a
campaign of ethnic cleansing against Europeans and Jews remaining in the country. Tens
of thousands of people die in one of the worst atrocities of the post-war period. Only the
lack of anyone else to kill brings the slaughter to a halt.
June, 1964 — While riding in his Presidential limousine, President Johnson is injured by
a large bomb that detonates near his vehicle. Though his injuries are minor, Johnson is
profoundly shaken by the incident. Later in the month, Congress votes in favor of lifting
martial law in the United States by a margin sufficient to override Johnson’s veto.
Despite the vote, Johnson refuses to lift military authority in the United States.
July, 1964 — With Johnson blatantly disregarding the Constitution, the wishes of the
88th Congress, and those of millions of Americans in the United States, several members
of Congress prepare impeachment proceedings against President Johnson. As Congress
debates what to do about Johnson’s refusal to lift martial law despite the law passed by
Congress, more and more Congressmen join the campaign to impeach President Johnson.
Saudi Arabian intelligence officers learn of the secret plan to attack Israel. With
Nasserists in power in Syria and Jordan forced to go along with the Egyptian plan due to
the loss of Britain, the attack could take place at any time. After much debate in the Saudi
government, the Saudis secretly pass information of the attack through back channels to
the Mossad. Though Saudi Arabia can not overtly aid Israel in any conflict with an Arab
state, the Saudi government believes it cannot let itself be dominated by an Egyptcontrolled
pan-Arab state. This is a particular concern due to the loss of Saudi Arabia’s
August, 1964 — On the day scheduled for the impeachment vote of President Johnson,
members of the 88th Congress are barred from meeting by military officers under orders
from the president. When a majority make a move to meet in another building, the
officers arrest over half the Congress under martial law regulations for ‘disturbing the
Massive demonstrations break out across in cities across the United States, and many turn
violent as the military moves to break them up under the martial law regulations. In
response, Johnson issues an executive order banning meetings of large groups of people.
Egypt closes the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping traffic. The move is Nasser’s attempt
to take the lead in the brewing war against Israel and is a demonstration of his willingness
to take the lead of the coalition arrayed against Israel. Israel, with warning of the
impending attack from its own intelligence sources and confirmed by intelligence sources
from the Saudi Arabian intelligence service, begins to make plans for a pre-emptive strike
against Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The Israeli Defense Force high command theorizes that
with their stocks of Soviet heavy weapons destroyed, the Arab states will pose a limited
threat to Israel, which has a far larger internal weapons industry than all of the Arab
In what was eastern Turkey, the small town of Hekari becomes the new capital of
Kurdistan. Though small, isolated, and lacking infrastructure, it has a major advantage
over larger Kurdish cities: It wasn’t attacked in the war.
September, 1964 — Violence in the United States escalates, with many protesters taking
increasingly-violent approaches to resisting the martial law regulations. In many cases,
the actions are counter-effective, driving moderates to support the regulations in an effort
to curb the violence. In St. Louis, a march of 100,000 citizens is broken up and turns
violent. Eleven Americans are killed.
September 5, 1964 — Two weeks after Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli traffic,
Israel opens the war against Egypt with a surprise combined air and ground assault on
Egyptian forces in the Sinai Peninsula. Caught by surprise, many Egyptian aircraft are
destroyed on the ground. Owing to the fact that some Egyptian aircraft have not yet been
moved into the region in preparation for the Egyptian attack, however, later days of the
war turned into somewhat of a protracted air battle, rather than the single knockout punch
Israeli strategists had hoped for.
On the ground, Israel achieves the element of surprise, thrusting deep into the Sinai
Desert. Egyptian units are encircled, bombarded, and destroyed piecemeal. After being
surprised by the Israeli attack, Egyptian commanders order a large-scale counter-attack
directed at the Israeli border in hopes of striking back.
September 6, 1964 — The Egyptian counter-attack succeeds only in drawing most
Egyptian forces in the Sinai into a giant “sack,” allowing for an Israeli encirclement.
Over 150,000 Egyptian troops were captured, killed, or injured. By the end of the day,
Israeli forces had advanced deep into the Sinai.
September 7, 1964 — Israeli troops reach the Suez Canal. By reaching and holding the
eastern bank of the Suez, Israeli forces cut off the surviving elements of the Egyptian
Sinai force. Fewer than 5,000 Egyptian soldiers escape the encirclement, aided largely by
a heroic if futile effort by the remaining aircraft of the Egyptian air force. After leaving
behind a force sufficient to stop any cross-canal attack by Egypt, Israeli troops begin to
redeploy to the Syrian border, where fighting has broken out.
By this time, word of the Egyptian defeat has reached Jordan. King Hussein of Jordan is
reluctant to enter the war, fearing his exposed position and the threat of Israeli attack. If
he does not attack, however, he risks civil war from the large numbers of Palestinian
refugees within his country as well as the strong native anti-Israel movement. In the end,
what tips the balance against war for Jordan is the quick negotiation and signing of a
military aid agreement with the Saudi Arabian government. The Saudis have no interest
in seeing an Egyptian-led Arab coalition gain dominance in the Middle East, and by
pledging military support for Jordan’s neutrality, they hope to restore the balance of
power in the region. Saudi forces begin to deploy to Jordan, ostensibly to “protect against
Zionist threats,” but in reality to defend the Hussein government against any uprising by
the Palestinians. In secret, Jordan reaches a cease-fire agreement with Israel.
September 8, 1964 — Fighting begins to break out on a large scale along the Syria-Israel
border. Syria, seeing that Israel has attacked Egypt first and not knowing of the scale of
the Egyptian defeat, activates its mutual defense treaty with Egypt and declares war on
September 9, 1964 — Arriving Israeli reinforcements redeployed from the Sinai begin to
turn back the advancing Syrian attack. Syria, which has so far enjoyed an advance
relatively free from air attack, begins to come under increasing bombardment from the
IAF. The Syrian air force responds, however, and puts up a far better showing than the
Egyptian Air Force. Air superiority is slightly in favor of the Israelis at first, though as
the days go on, Israel expands its air superiority over the Syrians.
September 10, 1964 — Israeli forces recapture the town of Saifid, which had been taken
by the Syrians two days earlier. Lebanon, after skirmishing with Israeli forces with
several days, largely ends its combat support of Syria under pressure from Jordan and
Saudi Arabia, which are quickly creating a new, second Arab coalition.
September 11, 1964 — Israeli forces cross the former Israel-Syria border and seize the
September 12, 1964 — Israeli forces begin to penetrate into the Syrian heartland, but are
ordered to stop. Though the Israeli defense industry is more self-sufficient than those of
the Arab states, it is not completely self-contained, and stores of ammunition, spare parts,
and other supplies are beginning to run low. In addition, many pilots, soldiers, and
support personnel are becoming extremely fatigued. A stop to regroup and recuperate is
September 13, 1964 — Israel continues air strikes on suspected weapons and ammunition
depots in Egypt and Syria. Israel “encourages” Arab citizens in the Sinai, Gaza, and
Golan to flee west and east, respectively, even going as far to allow corridors for safe
passage. Several million Palestinians, Egyptians, and Syrians take advantage of the
opportunity to flee. In Jordan, the announcement that Jordan will not enter the war is met
with outrage and shock by the PLO and many Jordanian citizens. Scattered fighting
begins between Palestinians and Jordanian forces erupts, and there is a threat of civil war.
September 14, 1964 — With the Syrian military nearing collapse, Israeli spearheads
again begin the advance across Syria. The goal is not one of conquest, but of
disarmament. Roving columns attack and destroy stockpiles of Syrian equipment, while
Israeli airstrikes do the same across Egypt. With their irreplaceable equipment gone, the
Israelis hope to create a long-term atmosphere of security.
September 15, 1964 — An expeditionary force from Iraq, sent to assist Syria, is virtually
destroyed by a combined-arms Israeli assault. Owing to high casualties, the Iraq
government abandons its plans to enter the war on the Syrian side and recalls the remains
of its expeditionary force.
September 16, 1964 — Saudi Arabia offers to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and
Egypt/Syria. Jordan also acts behind the scenes, but is unable to offer much due to the
growing unrest in the country. Mostly-neutral Lebanon also offers its services.
September 17, 1964 — After Israel continues its offensive, the three neutral Arab
countries threaten to enter the war against Israel if it does not agree to a cease-fire.
Jordan’s threat is made publicly, and does a little to stem the civil unrest. After the
announcement, Israel issues a hold in-place order to its forces, but continues to destroy
stockpiles of weapons as they are found.
September 19, 1964 — After several days of negotiations with all parties, Israel declares
a unilateral cease-fire. As a show of its good faith, it will retreat its forces to the Golan
Heights, which are, after all, the best defensive position in the region. Egypt and Syria do
not publicly respond to the cease-fire, but they unofficially accept. Scattered fighting
continues for several days, but eventually tapers off.
No official agreement is ever signed, but the fighting does come to an end. September 19
is the traditional date given for the end of the Two-Week War. Israel has been largely
successful in eliminating the threat to its borders, but its own stocks of military hardware
are extremely low. Following the war, the Israel government begins negotiations for the
purchase of surviving stockpiles of military equipment from Britain and France. The two
countries are still in desperate need of help, and both eagerly agree to sell heavy
equipment to Israel.
October, 1964 — Appalled at the increasing violence in America, many groups across the
United States turn to the non-violent approach of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of
Atlanta, James Donahue of Indiana, Richard Davis of California, and Douglass Peachtree
of Texas. The most common refrain among all of these groups, which conduct large,
peaceful marches and acts of civil disobedience is “A return to normalcy.” Thousands of
protesters are arrested, but thousands more join the non-violent protests, which attract far
more followers than the violent fringe.
Israel grapples with the problem of several million Palestinians and Arabs in its captured
Sinai territory. From Gaza, Palestinian groups have mounted dozens of attacks and
bombing campaigns, and the area has turned into a running sore preventing the Israeli
military from fully demobilizing.
November, 1964 — With the violence in Gaza and the Sinai continuing, Israel’s
government begins the most controversial operation of its 20-year history. Operation
Midas entails the expulsion and transfer of non-Jewish residents in the Gaza strip and the
Sinai. Finding a location to deport the residents to turns out to be an involved process, as
neither Egypt nor Jordan will accept the refugees. Syria only accepts a few from the
Golan, and eventually Israel is forced to ship tens of thousands of refugees in cramped
freighters to the coast of Turkey, where they unceremoniously dropped.
Israel is loudly criticized by virtually every surrounding nation, and the operation serves
as a catalyst for outside terrorist operations until the present day. Israel’s relationship
with even nominally neutral nations like Saudi Arabia and Jordan is badly affected. The
prevailing attitude in Israel, however, is equated to the old aphorism: “Let them hate so
long as they fear.”
Many Palestinians, dropped into an extremely unstable and unsafe situation in the former
nation of Turkey, die as a result of their deportation. Israel makes little effort to ensure
their security, and is mainly concerned with the security of its nation. As a result of the
deportations, a Palestinian-esque nation arises along the southern coast of Turkey. Poor
and isolated, it nonetheless pledges war against Israel, and carries out attacks to the best
of its limited ability.
December, 1964 — President Johnson orders the arrests of the ‘ringleaders’ of the
“Normal Movement,” as it has become known. In response to the imprisonment of Dr.
King, Donahue, and others, supporters of the movement begin a general strike.
In Jordan, several months of attacks by the Palestinian Liberation Organization have
begun to turn the ordinary people of Jordan against the PLO. Indiscriminate terrorist
bombings have largely eliminated the goodwill felt toward the Palestinian cause and have
erased much of the anger of normal Jordanians created by their country’s failure to attack
Israel alongside Syria and Egypt.
January, 1965 — With the general strike growing and expanding, President Johnson is
forced to use reservists and soldiers to perform duties the strikers have abandoned. In
isolated areas, however, soldiers refuse to perform those duties. Several are shot for
February, 1965 — With the growing instability in the United States apparent to outside
observers, the Taiwanese government secretly undertakes a plan to develop and produce
nuclear weapons. Diplomatic overtures are made to the government of Israel, which has
been similarly interested in acquiring nuclear weapons to defend its also-tenuous
After several months of Palestinian violence following Jordan’s failure to enter the war
against Israel, Jordan declares the Palestinian Liberation Organization to be a “rogue
organization” and orders its expulsion. The PLO and tens of thousands of Palestinian
refugees are deported into Syria. The PLO comes to refer to the event as “Black
February” and will launch several retaliatory campaigns against Jordan, which it now
sees as an ally of Israel. With limited resources, however, it is extremely limited in what
it can do.
March, 1965 — At a large protest in Detroit, Michigan, soldiers are again ordered to use
force to break up the rally. Rather than fire upon the non-violent marchers, however,
many soldiers elect to join the marchers. Many officers also join the marchers, who make
citizens’ arrests and detain the officers who resist. Around the country, the scene is
increasingly repeated as soldiers either join marchers or simply abandon their posts and
April, 1965 — During a protest of an estimated 250,000 people in St. Louis, President
Johnson orders nearby soldiers to fire into the crowd. The soldiers hesitate and disobey
the order. In the confusion that follows, President Johnson is arrested and thousands of
political prisoners are released. Around the country, the few soldiers still loyal to Johnson
are arrested or (in a few cases) killed. By and large, it is a peaceful revolution as the vast
majority of Americans have had their fill of martial law and wartime attitudes. Many
simply believe it is time for peace.
The 88th Congress is reconstituted and announces that martial law is now lifted. In
addition, the 1964 elections, which had been cancelled by President Johnson, will be held
on November 4, 1965. As one of its first actions after the lifting of martial law, the 88th
Congress orders an emergency census. This will not be completed until 1966, however,
and the 1965 elections take place in districts mandated by the 1960 census, something
that causes problems later on, as many of these districts have been nearly depopulated, creating massive numbers of rotten boroughs.
May, 1965 — The “Normal Party,” a coalition of various groups and political
organizations devoted to returning the United States to its pre-war condition, is formed in
St. Louis. From the beginning, the party is extremely varied and has members from all
parts of the political spectrum. It is also heavily favored to win the upcoming election for
the vacant presidential seat.
June, 1965 — China is poised for a great leap northward into the vast empty expanses of
Siberia. With the United States distracted by the popular ‘revolution’ against President
Johnson, no great international protest is raised to the Chinese claim of former-Soviet
Growth northward is hampered by the lack of foreign investment. Prior to the conflict,
ninety percent of Chinese military equipment had been based on plans from the Soviet
Union, and a substantial portion had actually been manufactured in that country. Despite
the cooling relations between the Chinese and Soviet governments, much the same was
true for non-military equipment. Due to this fact, exploration and exploitation of Siberian
resources by the Chinese in many ways resembles the construction of the Trans-Siberian
railroad in the 1880s and 1890s. Masses of Chinese laborers work, often with hand tools,
to clear forest, lay railroad track, and dig mines. The work is slow, and though the lack of
powered equipment will eventually be remedied by domestic production and small-scale
imports, China’s ability to take advantage of Siberia is greatly limited, even though the radioactive
plots that dot the vast expanse of north Asia are no big deal for a nation with 660,000,000
people to spend on cleanup and settlement.
In conjunction with the annexation of former Soviet territories, the Chinese government
adopts an ‘internalist’ viewpoint agreed upon by all of the major leaders of the Chinese
government, including Zhou Enlai, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xioping. Mao, in his role as
the decider of Communist orthodoxy, declares that the Soviet Union was brought down
not by internal conflict, but because it attempted to move too quickly. The doctrine of
international revolution has been disproved in the largest way possible. Clearly, the goal
of establishing Communism in one country first is the correct ideological path to take.
This does not mean that all attempts to spread the revolution will be abandoned, of
course. Enlai favors diplomacy with China’s neighbors in an effort to ensure that China
will remain undisturbed in its expansion northward. Mao and others, disagree, however,
favoring the development of a ring of client states around China in order to secure its
borders during the northern annexation.
July, 1965 — Following the Chinese annexation of the Soviet Far East, Japan announces
the annexation of Sakhalin Island, the Kurile Islands, the Komandorski Islands, and the southern tip of the
Kamchatka Peninsula, including the destroyed city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatskiy. Soldiers from the
Japanese Self-Defense Force make landings in the islands shortly after the
announcement. China protests the move as an encroachment on its territorial claims, but
makes no move against Japan and eventually drops the protests.
Encouraged by the United States, Japanese Defense Force soldiers also begin patrols of
Chukotka. Because of the enormous areas and few soldiers
involved, the patrols are little more than an unspoken warning to the PRC to give Alaska
a wide berth under its new settlement program.
Behind the scenes, the Chinese government decides that the Japanese annexation will
actually strengthen China’s claim on the former-Soviet Far East, as the Chinese claim
cannot be called invalid without hypocrisy unless Japan also withdraws its claims. The
Japanese claim also causes Enlai, who had favored a conciliatory approach to
neighboring countries, to lose prestige.
In Iraq, Abdul Rahman Arif becomes president of Iraq after his brother is assassinated.
The assassination is believed to be the work of the Mossad, who probably hoped to
destabilize the Arab state with the largest surviving military following the Two-Week
War. Iraq had sent an expeditionary force to Syria during the Two-Week War, but had
decided against formally entering the war after the expeditionary force’s defeat.
August, 1965 — After a contentious and chaotic nomination process, the Normal Party
selects its candidate for President — James Donahue, from Indiana. One of the original
leaders of the Normal Movement, Donahue controls much of the populist, agrarian
portion of the party, and has a weaker hold on many of the conservative members as well.
Balancing the ticket is his Vice President, Martin Luther King, Jr., who controls the black
vote as well as the liberal side of the party.
With members of the Normal Party controlling most governmental functions following
the overthrow of President Johnson, the interim American government (ostensibly run by
the 88th Congress in a manner akin to the Continental Congress), is pressured into
formally writing into law Johnson’s executive order abolishing racial discrimination —
including at the polls.
September, 1965 — The Chinese and Japanese claims of former Soviet territory inspire
Iran and Syria to make similar claims on Soviet and Turkish territory. Neither country is
in a position to immediately capitalize on their claims, however. The Iranian civil war is
still in full swing, and claims to former Soviet territory by the combatants are not taken
seriously by outside observers who happen to note the declarations. In addition, the
Caspian Sea was heavily contaminated by runoff from American attacks on Soviet sites,
resulting in the death of virtually all the life within its waters.
Syria, though avoiding any direct damage from the war, suffered a large amount of
indirect damage as a result of fallout from Soviet attacks on Turkey and the subsequent
refugee crisis created by the collapse of organized authority in Turkey. Compounding the
problem is the virtual destruction of the Syrian military in its war against Israel and the
Palestinian refugee crisis created by Jordan’s expulsion of the PLO.
October, 1965 — The interim American government, under pressure from the general
public, announces the end of food rationing in the United States. Critical industrial
supplies such as gasoline are still rationed, albeit at a more relaxed level. Food prices
immediately spike for several weeks before stabilizing at a high — but sustainable —
November, 1965 — By the largest margin in American history, James Donahue is voted
into office as President of the United States on November 4. Due to the fact that the
office of president is officially vacant, he takes the oath of office two days later, rather
than waiting until January. November 6 is traditionally considered the official restoration
of Constitutional law in the United States, though several months and years of rough
going lay ahead for the United States.
December, 1965 — Quarantine zones in the United States are officially abolished
according to American law, though in practice, the quarantines had not been kept since
the first few months of the year.
January, 1966 — The corrupt government of South Vietnam collapses amid an attempted
military coup. Since the Cuban Missile War, its control of the South Vietnamese
countryside has been increasingly shaky, and during the last few months of 1965, its reach had
extended barely beyond the border of Saigon, its capital city. Three days after the
government’s collapse, North Vietnamese Army soldiers advance south across the
Demilitarized Zone dividing the two countries in order to “restore order.”
By the end of the month, the Peoples’ Republic of Vietnam is formally created from the
merger of North and South Vietnam. The next few years see the new government
struggle with resistance from the Catholic minority in the country, but a “re-education”
campaign is largely successful in quieting most unrest by 1971.
February, 1966 — The United Nations General Assembly reconvenes for the first time
since the Cuban Missile War. The meeting is prompted by the unilateral Chinese
annexation of the former-Soviet Far East territories, and takes place in Santiago, Chile.
Notably absent from the meeting are representatives from the United States, People’s
Republic of China, and most European nations. Despite the impetus for the meeting,
proposals for reforming the structure of the United Nations dominate the discussion.
March, 1966 — The growing numbers of white settlers in the Federation of Rhodesia and
Nyasaland lead to conflict between the native black population and the newer white
population. Events come to a head when the white-controlled parliament proposes a
union with South Africa, which borders the Federation to the south. The black population
of the Federation violently protests the union proposal, and military clashes result.
As the armed struggle grows, the Federation Parliament asks South Africa for military
assistance. Fearing the potential spread of unrest to its own black population, the South
African military deploys several divisions of troops to the region.
April, 1966 — The Vatican II Council concludes in Sardinia. The annual meetings of the
Council have been as much devoted to the Catholic Church’s aid efforts around the world
as to doctrinal reforms. Much of what is decided revolves the overall theme of
decentralization. Masses in local languages are approved, and local parishes are given
greater authority. The unspoken guiding force behind the new doctrine is that if
something should happen to the Pope, the Church will continue. One controversial aspect
of the Council is the dictate that all Catholic parishes around the world should tithe to the
Vatican in order to pay for the reconstruction of St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican. The
decision is an unpopular one in the many regions affected by the war. Church aid
continues to be important, in particular in eastern Europe, where most governments and
other organizations have collapsed.
May, 1966 — Even though fighting between black guerillas and white soldiers is now in
full swing in the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland, the white-controlled parliament
passes a treaty of unification with South Africa by a wide margin. With the ratification of
the treaty on the first day of 1967, South Africa now encompasses a swath of territory
from the Congoese nation of Katanga to the southern tip of Africa. The Portuguese
colonies of Angola and Mozambique border the newly-extended country to the west and
east, respectively, and its new northern border also touches the independent country of
Tanzania and the Congoese nation of Kwilu.
June, 1966 — Owing to the continued difficulty of administration in many of the outlying
regions of Canada, the Canadian government redistricts much of the Canadian Far North
and northern plains under an expanded Northwest Territories. Northern Ontario and
Quebec, in addition to Baffin Island and many other Canadian Arctic islands are
separated into a new Northeast Territory.
In the United States, the emergency census ordered by the 88th Congress releases its
results. It records an American population of just over 170 million people, a decrease of
more than 9 million from the 1960 census. As bad as this decrease is, it hides some
casualty figures from the war. Natural increase from births and immigration means the
true American death toll during the Cuban Missile War approaches 12 million people.
Millions more have been crippled.
Alaska has suffered the most, proportionally. From its 1960 population of 228,000, the
state now has just 105,000, less than half its prewar total. Only one state, California, has a
population of more than 15 million. New York, the most populous state in 1960, has
about 14.5 million people, down from 16.8 million in 1960. Illinois, one of the states to
benefit from internal migration and the relocation of the federal government to St. Louis,
has a population just slightly more than 14 million. Based on these new figures,
congressional districts across the United States are reapportioned for the 1966 elections,
Congressional midterms that return to the pre-war schedule mandated by the
Constitution. In several cases, state disagreements about redistricting are resolved by
federal fiat in order to have the lines redrawn by November.
July, 1966 — In Britain, Prime Minister Powell’s latest attempt to restore private
enterprise and the economy fails miserably. Though he has been successful in
establishing some vestige of safety for surviving British citizens, millions are still
isolated in impoverished refugee camps with no hope beyond a hopeful emigration to
Australia, Canada, or Africa. The British Pound is utterly valueless, and what little trade
goes on is conducted through crude barter or precious metals exchange. Little enterprise
beyond the government functions.
The World Cup, scheduled to be hosted by Britain in July, does not take place.
August, 1966 — The secular, pro-democracy faction in the Iranian Civil War begins to
gain the upper hand thanks to covert support from Israel — and, to a lesser extent, from
India. Self-proclaimed Prime Minister Gholam Hossein Sadighi establishes an Iranian
capital in the city of Qom.
September, 1966 — Under pressure from crop failures, the war with secessionist Eritrea,
and unstable leadership, the government of Ethiopia collapses when Emperor Haile
Selassie is overthrown by a military coup. Among the coup’s participants are a Marxist
element that survives beyond the destruction of the Soviet Union. Selassie dies three
months later, while in military custody.
October, 1966 — In Sydney, Australia, professor Irvin Doress releases his bestselling
book, “Psychology of the Apocalypse,” in which he attempts to come to terms with the
“survivor guilt” many Americans and others feel four years after the war. Doress himself
had flown on Qantas to Sydney from New York the day after Kennedy announced the
blockade. He left behind a wife and two children, all of whom died in the war.
July, 1967 — King Hussein of Jordan is assassinated by a Palestinian angry at the King’s
perceived support of Israel. The assassination fails to create the assassin’s desired change
in the Jordanian government, however, as replacing Hussein is Prince Hassan, who is, if
anything, even more liberal than Hussein. The assassination forces the new king to expel
the thousands of remaining Palestinians from the country, as popular will within Jordan is
that the Palestinians are now unwanted guests. The assassination eliminates the last bit of
good will felt towards the Palestinian movement by most ordinary Jordanians.
May, 1967 — Facing increasing international pressure over its annexation of the former
Soviet Asian territories, the Chinese government begins the “Great Farm” movement, a
thinly-disguised purge of anti-Maoist leaders and intellectuals who may have posed a
threat to the new “internalist” mode of Chinese thought. Schools were closed, outside
influences (including religious and pre-Revolution icons) were destroyed, and many
academics and other “reactionary” elements were sent northward to “expand the Great
Farm” composed of the former Soviet territories.
Mao’s influence, having recovered from the debacle of the Great Leap Forward, allowed
him to remove opponents such as Liu Shaoqi, Zhou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping. Shaoqi
was imprisoned and later died, while Enlai and Xiaoping were merely “transferred to
leadership positions in the Great Farm” and effectively exiled in the former Soviet
territories, where they would remain until their deaths in the 1980s.
July, 1967 — Harvard University publishes a study of the world’s estimated population
following the Cuban Missile War and the climactic changes that followed. In 1962, the
world’s population was just under three billion people. The 1967 Harvard estimate puts
the global post-war population at or near 2.4 billion. More than 500 million people are
estimated to have been killed in the six days of full-scale nuclear war and the famines and
refugee crisis that followed.
From the Soviet Union’s pre-war population of 210 million people, no more than eight
million people are estimated to have survived. The “death” rate of 96% can partially be
attributed to refugee flight, as Chinese reports of Soviet refugees are somewhat
inaccurate due to the chaos caused by the crop failures and riots of 1963. There is even
less information about refugees who fled west.
In Europe, roughly 400 million of the pre-war population of 600 million was killed
during the war, including nearly half of the pre-war non-Soviet population of Europe.
Virtually all of the 150 million people in the European portion of the Soviet Union were
killed in the fighting or by fallout and climate change.
January, 1968 — With the Iranian Civil War raging, Abdul Rahman Arif, the President of
Iraq, issues orders for the occupation of a formerly disputed section of Iranian territory
along the country’s border with Iraq. Arif manages to avoid conflict with any of the
parties in the Civil War by making covert donations of arms to each group of combatants
in the region — each without the other’s knowledge.
February, 1968 — Amid ostensibly democratic elections, a new Communist People’s
Party assumes power in Mongolia. In reality, the new government is merely a shell for
rule from Beijing, which has largely taken over a nation that was largely depopulated
during the war and which lies between China and its new former-Soviet territories.
March, 1968 — As part of its arms purchases from Britain and France, Israel arranges for
the purchase of a dozen nuclear warheads. Recovered from European stockpiles, they
serve as Israel’s nuclear deterrent until the development of its own atomic arm.
April, 1968 — Attempting to take advantage of the unstable situation in Ethiopia,
Somalia tries to forcibly annex a contested region in eastern Ethiopia. The result is that
Somalia is dragged into a power struggle in Ethiopia that includes Eritrean separatists and
different elements of the Ethiopian government.
May, 1968 — The Portuguese government, as part of the rebuilding of Lisbon, announces
the reconstruction of the Technical and Classical universities of Lisbon. Emphasis is
given to the Technical University, befitting the global trend toward technical education to
rebuild destroyed cities and infrastructure. During the next two decades, far more
students enter technical vocations than classical ones, mirroring the increased emphasis
on rebuilding and restoration rather than contemplation.
June, 1968 — The newly proclaimed Democratic Republic of Baden-Wurttemberg
announces that it is the official surviving government of Germany and should be
accorded all the aid and inherit the treaties and duties of West Germany. The capital of
the new nation is Pforzheim, which boasts a population of less than 40,000 people,
despite having not been attacked during the Cuban Missile War. Despite the Republic’s
claim of inheriting the official German government, it is not taken seriously, as it is just
one of dozens of small governments to have made similar claims.
General Ne Win seizes control of the revolutionary council leading the southeast Asian
nation of Burma. He will remain at the head of the country until his death in 1990.
August, 1968 — A food production survey conducted by the United Nations lists Brazil
and Argentina as the second and fifth-largest producers of food in the world, respectively,
in terms of total production. The United States is first, China third, and India fourth.
These countries will maintain their respective positions throughout the century, even as
absolute production skyrockets due to better technology, seed stock, and improved
Brazil and Argentina are the first and third largest food exporters, with the United States
second, though continued recovery from wartime damage will eventually allow the
United States to pass Brazil for first place. China and India, despite producing a great
deal of food, are forced to import large amounts of food until the mid-1980s as a result of
their large populations.
Acting on tips from nearby survivors, aid workers discover the remains of a vast refugee
camp in southeastern Poland. Evidently established in the months following the war, little
remains of the vast, burned project. After extensive surveys, it is estimated that the site
contains over 120,000 corpses. It is the largest — though far from only — such find in
Europe. The camps are the remains of desperate government plans during the war to
provide for millions of refugees. When the food, water, or other supplies ran out, people
with nowhere else to go gradually starved to death or were killed by radiation, biological
effects, or chemical weapons.
November, 1968 — President Donahue is elected to a second term as president, his first
full term, promising to continue his “Drive toward Normalcy.”
April, 1969 — The South African Army is now in a full-fledged guerilla war against
black rebels in the northern portions of its newly-annexed Zambian province. Though the
South African government has deployed upwards of 50,000 soldiers to the area, the
rebels find aid and comfort in the nearby Congoese nation of Kwilu, which is fanatically
opposed to white influence in Africa. To stem the flow of Kwilu aid to the rebels, the
South African government begins to equip the nearby nation of Katanga with heavy
military equipment. Katanga has been involved in a low-level war with Kwilu since the
two countries’ secession from Congo, and serves as a natural ally to South Africa.
May, 1969 — Amid growing demands for change and unrest in British refugee camps,
Prime Minister Powell is forced to hold the nation’s first general election since the war.
In a not-so-surprising turn of events, the left wing of the Labour party is thrust into power
by a general public angry at the perceived notion that the Conservative Party was to
blame for the war and the government’s inability to rebuild afterward.
In addition, the few positive aspects to the rebuilding process — the reconstruction of the
rail network, the restoration of electrical power through much of the country, and the
successful organization of government-run refugee camps — are seen to have come from
the Labour party’s suggestions. The few wholly Conservative projects — which mostly
revolved around the encouragement of private enterprise — are judged to be abject
failures. In the wake of the election, Labour has a strong majority, and the resurgent
Liberal Party has been resurrected from a pre-war grave. It attracts many people who are
reluctant to vote Conservative, but who see Labour as far too close to Soviet Socialism,
the cause of the war. Richard Crossman is elected Prime Minister by the Labour majority.
September, 1969 — King Idris of Libya abdicates in favor of Crown Prince Hasan as-
Senussi for reasons of ill health. Although Idris lives until 1983, his advancing age and
health problems made ruling Libya an insurmountable problem. The handover of
authority goes smoothly, and although some Libyans protest the monarchy during the
ceremony, the vast majority of Libyans are happy with a world that has seen their country
become the wealthiest and most successful in North Africa. Neighboring Egypt has not
recovered from the Two-Week War, and Libya’s ties with Europe ensure a stable and
Seven years after the war, the Earth’s ozone layer has returned to normal, ending the
“Ultraviolet Summer” that damaged plants and animals the world over. Skin cancer rates
for people born after this date in non-fallout areas are comparable to pre-war rates. In
fallout-affected areas, rates are somewhat higher. Crop damage and eye damage to
unprotected people are the biggest effects of the Ultraviolet Summer, and food
production continues to rise after the ozone layer is restored, aiding rebuilding efforts.
December, 1969 — On Christmas day, Pope Paul VI holds his first mass in Rome. Citing
a message of “rebirth and resurrection,” Paul returns the papacy to the Vatican after more
than half a decade of self-imposed exile in Sardinia. The rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica
and the rest of the Vatican is still in an early stage, and the pope’s temporary offices
consist of a strange hybrid of surviving Renaissance structures and temporary buildings
thrown up in the reconstruction efforts following the war.
January, 1970 — Following a proposal by the Indian government to establish an
“International City” outside of Goa, the new UN General Assembly convenes in Goa
after four years of meetings in Santiago, Chile. The complex of UN buildings will take
several years to complete, but the meeting is the first to consist of nations who have
signed the new UN charter.
February, 1970 — Lin Biao, the de facto second in command of the Chinese government
dies in a plane crash. Histories released in the 21st century reveal that Biao had been
unhappy over Mao’s internalist policies and had hoped to renew the Sino-Indian conflict
that had been aborted by the Cuban Missile War. A few of the histories propose that Mao
had Biao killed before he could act against Mao’s government.
June, 1970 — The first biennial "Civilisation Patrol" is conducted by naval and aerial units of the militaries of several nations, as well as the Red Cross and many other humanitarian organisations. It aims to find out just what new microstates are ruling what used to be southern Russia, and discovers twelve small nations around the Black Sea. Notable among them are four nations in the Crimea, which suffered relatively little in the war; as a result, these are some of the strongest (although "strong" is here very much a relative term) nations in the former USSR, and it turns out that they have all signed a "Friendship Pact" among themselves. Another Civilisation Patrol is conducted every two years after this, although the 1978 Civilisation Patrol has to be cut short due to a regional war involving several microstates.
July, 1970 — Mexico City, chosen by a reconstituted FIFA to host the first World Cup
since the war, sees Brazil defeat Argentina in the championship game, 2-1. The English
team, suffering through a drought of support, nonetheless qualifies and manages an
unexpected advance to the semi-final round before being eliminated 1-0 by Brazil. The
event is a source of inspiration for many in England and later becomes the basis for a
popular 1985 movie.
August, 1970 — Israel, in Operation Jericho, detonates its first nuclear weapon at a test
site in western Turkey. The region has been largely abandoned after the war, and serves
as an excellent test site for the new Israeli weapons purchased from surviving French and
British stockpiles. Richard Crossman, the new British PM, had been a strong supporter to
the sale of nuclear weapons to Israel. In his view, Israel should be Britain’s primary ally
in the Middle East. In exchange for the weapons, the British and French receive critically
needed medical supplies and reconstruction materiel.
July, 1971 — In a secret test conducted in the South Pacific, the Taiwanese nuclear
program detonates its first nuclear weapon. The Taiwanese nuclear program will not be
officially announced until the early years of the 21st Century, but Chinese intelligence
operatives are quietly allowed to ‘discover’ the program and its policy of ‘second-strikeonly’
in the late 1990s.
August, 1971 — The central Ethiopian government collapses under internal struggles and
wars against secessionist Eritrea and Somalia. The country fissions into five independent
regions that fight among themselves about borders, resources, and other issues. Eritrea is
one of the regions and becomes an independent country. Somalia assumes control of
much of eastern Ethiopia, and promptly becomes embroiled in conflicts with the
Ethiopian successor states. Token Chinese aid ensures Somalia doesn’t suffer much under
the strain of low-level fighting.
November, 1971 — Following a bombing attack on a checkpoint in Northern Ireland, the
British Army mounts a large operation against Irish Republican Army strongholds in the
Republic of Ireland. Though the Irish government strongly protests, and cuts off aid
shipments to Britain for three months, it cracks down on IRA action in the months
following the British incursion.
The size and ferocity of the of the British incursion shocks many Irish citizens and
surviving members of the IRA, which largely ceases to become a moving force in
northern Ireland. The sheer numbers of British refugees have isolated the IRA and
nationalist supporters in Northern Ireland, and ironically, many IRA members end up
uniting with protestants who believe that the refugees are overwhelming their pre-war
existence in the country.
December, 1971 — Using South African aid, the government of Katanga begins a largescale
offensive against the government of the Congo, the nation from which it seceded
over a decade previously. The South Africans are displeased, as they had hoped the
Katangans would focus on their mutual opponent, Kwilu.
October, 1972 — The Canadian government passes laws granting increased autonomy to
individual provinces, primarily due to pressure from citizens of Quebec, which has
become the largest province in Canada in terms of population. Over seven times as many
people live in the provinces of Ontario and Quebec as in all the other Canadian provinces
November, 1972 — Israel and South Africa sign a technology-sharing agreement
covering nuclear weapons. In exchange for Israel sharing its technological knowledge,
the South Africans will supply needed uranium ore to the Israeli program.
Martin Luther King, Jr. is elected President of the United States as the heir apparent to
President Donahue, who retires after one full term and part of another.
March, 1973 — British Prime Minister Richard Crossman dies. Labour Minister Michael
Stewart replaces him, and continues many of Crossman’s socialist policies, which have
begun to restore the British economy to something beyond postwar subsistence levels.
Stewart continues Crossman’s policy of establishing dozens of public hospitals and
hundreds of public housing apartment towers to replace housing destroyed in the war.
The crude concrete cinderblock towers are given the ironic nickname “estates” by
residents. The estates become the most common building style in Britain by the 1990s,
and largely replace the refugee camps.
Following Crossman’s death, Britain’s second postwar general election is held. During
the campaign, the Conservative party repudiates the “law and order” political platform
that it had itself championed during the 1969 election. Pointing out the Labour Party’s
restrictions on free speech and public meetings will be one of the Conservative Party’s
strongest campaign attacks into the 21st Century.
July, 1973 — With the population of Portugal’s colonies now far outweighing the
population of Portugal itself, the colonies have become the tail that wags the dog.
Millions of European refugees from the Iberian Peninsula and places across Europe have
made Mozambique, Angola, the Cape Verde Islands, and Guinea-Bissau “little Europes”
in the heart of Africa. With a growing demand for self-government, the Portuguese
government is forced to create a Colonial Congress that contains representatives from all
Portuguese colonies and deals with issues affecting all Portuguese foreign territory. The
colonies themselves have free reign to create whatever government they deem fit.
October, 1973 — As the debate over self-government continues in the Portuguese colony
of Guinea-Bissau, a compromise is reached between the independence-minded natives
and the European refugees who arrived in the country after the war. Since their arrival, a
low-level insurgency had been going on in the country, and only the lack of heavy
weaponry had prevented the conflict from spiraling out of control. In October, 1973, a
province-by-province plebiscite was held, with each province deciding by majority vote
whether to declare independence as part of a new country, remain a colony, or join the
Portuguese Colonial Congress as a representative state.
In the provinces of Tombali and Gabu, over 2/3 of the population voted for
independence. In the northern provinces of Cacheu, Biombo, and Oio, where most of the
refugees had settled, the population was in favor of joining the Colonial Congress. The
same was also the case in the island province of Bolama and the capital province of
Bissau. The two provinces of Bafata and Quinara were closely divided. In the end, the
two divided groups decided to split the country in two. Tombali, Gabu, and the southern
portions of Bafata and Quinara declared independence as a new country, while the
remaining provinces joined the Colonial Congress. The split was not clean, however, and
scattered fighting between the two sides continued for several years before a permanent
cease-fire was reached. In addition, a large number of internal refugees were created as
people moved to either the new country or to the portions of the colony that were
remaining in Portuguese control.
July, 1974 — The final American patrol is conducted in Canada. Though American bases
are still common on Canadian soil, the U.S. Army is no longer conducting regular
security operations in Canada. The ending of the regular American presence in Canada is
largely symbolic, however, as few patrols have been conducted since the beginning of the
King Administration and the accompanying slashed defense budgets.
August, 1974 — With France under a restrictive military government, a new class of
refugees has begun to leave French ports for places like French Guiana, the Caribbean, or
the South Pacific: Political asylum-seekers. Because their flight is seen as an “internal
transfer” rather than actual flight, the generals at the head of the French government fail
to crack down on the growing flight of France’s best and brightest.
September, 1974 — Increasing local unrest in Angola forces the Portuguese colonial
government there to pass laws allowing for universal suffrage for native residents. A lowlevel
insurgency still brews, fueled by the idea that Portugal should leave, but it is all but
isolated from the outside world. Without outside support, any opposition to the
Portuguese-led Colonial Congress can’t get traction. In addition, the several million
European refugees who have Angola their home prove to fight fervently for their new
homes — both through the political system and in the occasional street fights that
sometimes mar the unruly Angolan democracy.
October, 1974 — With American defense budgets having fallen to their lowest levels
since before the Second World War, several south Asian nations sign a military accord in
an effort to fend off the growing threat of Chinese dominance. India, Indonesia,
Malaysia, Taiwan, Japan, and Siam are the founding members of this new military
organization, the Alliance of Asian Nations, or AAN.
The organization is reminiscent in many ways of the old NATO, differing primarily in
the fact that each nation is responsible for its own nuclear arsenal. Anti-nuclear sentiment
is extremely strong in several of the member nations, and a joint nuclear force is out of
the question. The nations are still united in most conventional aspects, and several
important intelligence-sharing and free trade agreements are also packaged with the
military agreement. In many respects, the AAN will come to resemble a stronger version
of the pre-war European Economic Community.
November, 1974 — In just the third “free” election in South Korea since the Cuban
Missile War, the South Korean Socialist People’s Party — a front for Chinese influence
— is swept into power. As one of its first actions, it signs a treaty of mutual defense with
China and grants basing rights throughout the country to the Chinese military.
Shortly after the election, China announces that it will be ending its two-decade-long
occupation of North Korean territory and, in conjunction with the South Korean Socialist
People’s Party, will be unifying that territory under the South Korean Government. The
announcement gives the new government a great deal of influence among many elements
of the populace that had voted against it.
January, 1975 — In retaliation to another Irish Republican Army bombing in Northern
Ireland, the British Army embarks on another incursion into Ireland. The Irish
government responds by cutting off formal aid shipments to Britain once more — the
fourth time since 1971. This time, the cutoff is permanent, due to increasing hostility
between the British government, which sees the Irish government as providing shelter to
the IRA, and the Irish government, which sees the British as unnecessarily aggressive in
events it has no control over.
In the end, however, the attack is the last major move by the independent IRA. Most of
the IRA has already been subsumed into the joint Protestant-Catholic Alliance Army of
Northern Ireland, which proclaims its support for the pre-war population of Northern
Ireland. The former Protestant/Catholic divide in the country has been replaced by the
Native/Refugee divide, and although their goal is new, they still cling to the same tactics
of bombings and reprisals as the old Catholic and Protestant militant organizations.
February, 1975 — Mao Zedong dies. Hua Guofeng succeeds him in a smooth succession,
and promises to continue Mao’s policies. The harshest portions of the “Great Farm”
campaign do come to an end with Mao’s death, however.
April, 1975 — South Africa, as a measure of its increasing influence in Africa and the
world, detonates its first nuclear weapon. The explosion, at the Vastrap test range, is the
first nuclear weapon to be developed outside the former NATO, Warsaw Pact, and China.
July, 1975 — A small-scale border skirmish erupts along the Vietnamese border with
China. A battalion-scale engagement results, but both sides eventually calm the situation.
China claims that the Vietnamese force wandered into its territory and responded with
gunfire when informed that it was on the wrong side of the border, but most outside
observers and the Vietnamese government simply observe that most of the fighting
occurred on the Vietnamese side of the border.
In response, the Vietnamese government mobilizes its military and conducts several
aggressive exercises in the northern provinces of the country. The situation is eventually
calmed, but Vietnam maintains an increased alertness in regards to China. Negotiations
begin between Vietnam and the newly-formed AAN.
May, 1976 — The city of Cayenne in French Guiana is rocked by the largest bank
robbery in the city’s history. Black-masked bandits make off with nearly $10 million, but
are caught a few weeks later. The incident does little to reduce Guiana’s growing
reputation as the “Switzerland of the South”, particularly given the quickness with which
French police captured the perpetrators.
French flight from the increasingly-authoritarian government of southern France and the
accelerating development of South America have given Guiana an excellent opportunity
to become one of the financial centers of the world.
September, 1976 — After over a decade of fighting, the South African government is
forced to declare a cease-fire in its fighting against black rebels in its northern Zambian
provinces. Domestic pressure from anti-war groups has grown to the point where the
South African military can no longer afford to send tens of thousands of soldiers into
endless combat far from home. In exchange for a cessation of hostilities, the rebels are
granted a modicum of self-government, and establish a capital at Mplungu. Despite the
official declaration, scattered fighting between whites and blacks continues to take place
in northern Zambia.
November, 4, 1976 — By a narrow margin, Republican Ronald Reagan is elected the
first non-Normal Party president since the overthrow of the Johnson Administration. His
victory is a major sign of the growing fissures in the Normal Party. The post-Johnston
eagerness to put aside differences to rebuild the country more quickly has ended.
March, 1977 — The Silesian Peoples’ Republic is proclaimed. With a capital in Legnica
— the largest intact city in the new Republic — it comprises portions of former East
Germany, Poland, and Czechoslovakia. Silesia is one of dozens of small nations to
emerge from the wreckage of central and eastern Europe. Switzerland, as the largest
nation in central Europe, has assumed a status of regional power.
December 15, 1977 — Due to growing distance between the more conservative agrarian
wing of the Normal Party and the liberal side of the party, coupled with the loss of the
presidential election, the liberal wing of the Normal Party officially breaks away from the
main body of the party as the “American Democrat Party” is founded in Chicago. Its
leaders attempt to portray themselves as continuing the legacy of the pre-war Democratic
Party while avoiding any references to the Kennedy administration.
August, 1978 — Pope Paul VI dies in Castel Gandolfo, Italy, southwest of Rome. The
Pope’s summer residence has become a “temporary” Vatican as Rome is rebuilt. Though
an effort was made to make accommodations in Rome, the rebuilding effort and shortage
of available facilities required a move to Castel Gandolfo. The subsequent College of
Cardinals is summoned to Castel Gandolfo appoints Italian Albino Luciani, who becomes
Pope John Paul I. A cardinal from Venice, John Paul I was attending Vatican II when that
city was destroyed in the war. John Paul I is widely considered a “pastoral” pope who
emphasizes human connections rather than institutional ones. In a reversal of Paul VI’s
intent to rebuild the Vatican quickly, he promotes the idea of “people, not buildings,” and
says the Church should enable charitable works.
September, 1979 — After several years of negotiations, Vietnam formally joins the AAN
as a probationary member. After a 12-month period, Vietnam joins as a full member and
begins coordinating its military with the other AAN nations, who welcome Vietnam
despite its communist government.
June, 1980 — In a diplomatic showdown, Morocco cuts off European aid shipments
through its ports in an effort to pressure Spain to return the enclaves of Ceuta and Melila.
After shipments are merely diverted to ports in southern France, Italy, Ireland, and other
North African countries, Morocco is forced to back down.
November, 1980 — In the United States, Ronald Reagan wins re-election by a wide
margin, taking advantage of the still-raw divide between the Normal Party and the
American Democrat Party, neither of which can muster enough votes for their
presidential candidate to seriously threaten Reagan’s position atop the polls.
February, 1981 — Protests break out in northern Iraq, where the predominantly Kurdish
population favors secession in order to join independent Kurdistan, a nation formed from
portions of eastern Turkey and western Iran. Iraqi forces are supported by the Syrian
military as they violently suppress the dissent. Syria has its own problems with Kurdistan
as it attempts to expand into the power vacuum left by the destruction of Turkish
authority, and hopes to gain Iraqi support.
November, 1981 — After nearly 20 years of self-imposed isolation, the Swiss
government announces that it will reopen its borders to all travelers on Christmas Day.
The government had sealed its borders in order to stem the enormous tide of German,
French, and Italian refugees in the years after the war. The borders had remained closed
due to the fear of disease, foreign invasion, or other outside conflict.
April, 1982 — Five Dutch microstates announce plans to begin reclaiming some of the
land lost to the sea during the war. It is believed that after the land is dammed and
drained, it will be relatively uncontaminated, unlike much of the rest of the Netherlands.
The immense effort needed to restore drainage, however, ensures that few other
microstates follow the coalition’s lead.
June, 1982 — The last official British refugee camp closes its gates. Millions of Britons
are housed in concrete cinderblock apartment towers, nicknamed “estates”. The
unemployment rate in Britain hovers around 42% despite vast government work
programs and a private economy that has somewhat rebuilt itself. Emigration to
Australia, Canada, and Africa is still extremely high, however.
July, 1983 — The nearly 20-year-long Iranian Civil War comes to an end as forces
controlled by Gholam Hossein Sadighi’s government succeed in driving Islamicist forces
across the Pakistani border. The Islamicists, who have been receiving support from the
Pakistan government, continue to launch cross-border raids, but fail to pose a major
threat to the central government.
October, 1983 — The French government announces plans to build a space rocket
launching facility near Kourou in French Guiana, but due to the high population of the
area and massive protests from local businesspeople who fear accidents, the site for the
proposed facility is shifted inland, to the rural Camopi commune near the Brazilian
October, 1984 — The Australian territory of Western Australia holds a vote on the issue
of independence from the rest of Australia. Several dozen million refugees from the
Cuban Missile War and their Australian-born children have become increasingly upset at
their marginalization in Australia’s growing economy. Though the vote fails by a margin
of 57% to 43%, it inspires governmental reforms that do much to increase assimilation
and reduce resentment among second-generation Australians.
November, 1984 — The American Democrat Party nominee for president, Pennsylvania
Senator Richard Schweiker, wins election over Republican James G. Watt, whose
campaign was dogged by an off-the-cuff remark that was perceived as being hostile to
those with genetic disorders. The Normal Party does not put forward a serious candidate
for president, a sign of its continuing decline.
January, 1985 — Switzerland announces that it is closing the last of its “Work Refuge”
camps in Italy. The camps, designed to shelter refugees are infamous for forcing refugees
to work on Swiss infrastructure projects in order to remain in the camp. The alternative is
‘allowing’ the refugees to leave into the unorganized wilds of Germany, Italy, or Austria.
The Swiss government responded to accusations of ill-treatment by declaring that any
measures were necessary for the survival of Swiss citizens and the refugees.
With stable governments now formed in most of northern Italy and southern Germany,
however, the need for the camps has largely been eliminated. In addition, Switzerland
now has sufficient connections between itself and the Mediterranean ports on which it
relies for trade. There is no further need for large-scale ‘forced’ labor.
March, 1985 — Following the death of its leader, the Portuguese government collapses.
The dictatorship that had led the country since before the Cuban Missile War had become
increasingly moderate since 1970, but had maintained a firm grip on power. Now, with a
moderate-centrist government being formed and a new constitution written, true
democracy is introduced to Portugal for the first time. The former Portuguese colonies
represented by the Colonial Congress are still caught in between full independence and a
kind of Portuguese federalism.
July, 1985 — India announces that it has increased agricultural production to the point
where it can meet demand without importing food. Due to Indian demand for highquality
produce from South and North America, however, hundreds of billions of Rupees
are spent annually on food imports. The “green revolution” in agricultural technology,
coupled with new foodstuffs, has allowed Indians a better diet on average than at any
other point in the nation’s history.
January, 1986 — On the first day of the year, the British colony of Hong Kong is
formally returned to Chinese control.
June, 1986 — The pro-democracy government in control of Iran holds its first general
election, nearly 25 years after the destruction of Tehran during the Cuban Missile War.
Gholam Hossein Sadighi is elected the nation’s first president.
February, 1987 — Brazil becomes the first country in South America to independently
develop a nuclear weapon. Though several of the central European successor states have
nuclear weapons acquired from lost pre-war NATO and Warsaw Pact stockpiles, the
reliability of the weapons is in question after a quarter-century of storage. In addition,
none of the countries with pre-war weapons has the ability to increase their stockpile as
July, 1987 — After two years of intense debate and discussion, a new Portuguese
constitution comes into effect. The result is a federal system with European Portugal,
Timor, and the African colonies participating. Each federal “state” has a prime minister
and bicameral state parliament that governs matters in the state. At the federal level is an
OTL-style French parliament with two houses, a prime minister, and a president. The
upper house consists of uniform representation: three democratically elected
representatives per state. The lower house is population-based, but each state can
determine how to elect its representatives to the national parliament. In European
Portugal, this is done through a democratic vote. In Mozambique — at least at first — the
lower house representatives are appointed by the prime minister. The first president of the
new Portuguese government is António Spinola.
October, 1987 — Just over one year after taking office, Iranian President Gholam
Hossein Sadighi dies of natural causes. Perhaps surprisingly for a nation wracked by
nearly 20 years of civil war, his vice president, Massoud Rajavi, assumes power
November, 1988 — American President Schweiker is defeated in his re-election bid by
Republican Lawrence Eagleburger, whose stories of flight from the American embassy in
Belgrade, Yugoslavia, during the war give a powerful human face to someone whose
foreign expertise is praised.
August, 1988 — Buoyed by greater-than-expected gains in the aviation sector, the
Bombay Stock Exchange Industrial Average (BSEIA) passes the 10,000 Rupee mark.
June, 1989 — Britain’s 14th general election since 1969 results in its first non-Labour
Prime Minister as a coalition government between the Liberal Party and Conservative
Party results in Paddy Ashdown’s election. The coalition government is fragile, but
succeeds in passing several laws relating to individual rights and free speech.
Unfortunately, one of the government’s main campaign promises — to eliminate the
National Service program of conscription — failed to pass due to continuing problems in
March, 1990 — General Ne Win, leader of the Socialist Republic of Burma, dies. He is
replaced by General Huo Nimong, who continues the militaristic nation’s rapproachment
with China. Burma, along with nearby Cambodia, are the only two nations in southeast
Asia to maintain close relations with China.
April, 1991 — The British-dominated Northern Ireland Parliament, in response to
continued bomb attacks by elements of the Alliance Army, illegalizes most Alliance
political parties in Northern Ireland. Thanks to the massive influx of British refugees, and
the widespread belief that the British presence is good for northern Ireland, only
approximately three percent of the population of the country indicates favoritism towards
the Alliance Army cause at the time of the illegalization.
February, 1992 — Citing repeated aggressive Chinese actions in the Yellow Sea and the
increased pace of nuclear development worldwide, Japan announces its intention to
develop nuclear weapons.
June, 1992 — With his father’s death, Muhammed as-Senussi becomes the third king of
Libya. Born in Tripoli less than two weeks before the start of the Cuban Missile War, he
inherits a position that has become increasingly ceremonial. His father had encouraged
the growth of republicanism as a stabilizing force, and as-Senussi assumes the head role
of the monarchy in a Libya that has largely become a western country.
July, 1992 — After António Spinola declines to run for a second term as Portugal’s
president because of his age, Francisco Sá Carneiro becomes Portugal’s second president.
Pope John Paul I dies at Castel Gandolfo in Italy at age 80. His mission to expand the
“human assets” of the Catholic Church have proven successful, particularly in Europe
and Asia, where the church community had been obliterated with much of the population.
Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez, Cardinal of the Dominican Republic, becomes Pope
Valentine II. He is more traditionalist than John Paul I, and he believes that the Vatican
should be rebuilt “for the millennium.”
August, 1992 — Argentina becomes the second country in South America to develop
nuclear weapons after detonating a bomb off the southern tip of the continent.
November, 1992 — The 30th anniversary of the war is marked by worldwide observances
and memorials. Strontium-90 and Cesium-137 isotopes in the fallout zones have decayed
through a full half-life, reducing the fallout zones’ strength and size by half. In the United
States and other places where organized decontamination efforts took place after the war,
many of these fallout zones have already been cleaned up.
American President Eagleburger wins re-election against American Democrat Mike
March, 1993 — The French military government, weakened by the continued flight of
the best and brightest of France to places like French Guiana or the Caribbean
government, collapses amid popular protests. Preparations are made for the first
democratic elections since 1958 and the institution of the Sixth Republic.
October, 1994 — In response to further bomb attacks by Alliance Army elements, the
Parliament of Northern Ireland passes a law allowing for warrantless searches of homes
thought to be “harboring Alliance terrorists and sympathizers.” The law is extremely
popular with British former-refugees, who are primarily the targets of the attacks.
December ,1995 — The Iraqi government again clashes with Kurdish separatists in the
northern portions of the country. The secessionists, aided by nearby Kurdistan, begin a
guerilla war with the central Iraqi government that will last for several decades.
April, 1995 — Australia signs a trade accord with the AAN, which bargains as a
collective economic unit for the first time on the international stage. Australian resources
have become increasingly important to the growth of the AAN, and in particular the
Indian economic boom.
November, 1996 — Republican Donald Evans, former governor of Texas, wins the final
presidential election of the 20th century against American Democrat Albert Gore of
Tennessee. The Normal Party, which has not run a significant presidential candidate in
than a decade, wins only six Senate seats and a scattering of House seats.
December, 1996 — Japan detonates its first nuclear weapon on the island of Naha Jima,
thus joining the club of nuclear-capable nations.
February, 1997 — With bomb attacks continuing in Northern Ireland, the British refugeedominated
Northern Ireland government announces its intention to completely seal the
border between Northern Ireland and Ireland proper. Between February and April, the
border is lined with hundreds of miles of barbed wire dozens of guard towers are
constructed, and multiple minefields are laid. The end result reminds some people of the
pre-war border between the two Koreas. All of it is built with the full support of the
British government, which strongly desires to protect the millions of British subjects who
have made Northern Ireland their home.
The event causes the few remaining Alliance Party members in the Parliament to stage a
walkout, proclaiming that the Northern Ireland Parliament is nothing more than a sham
designed to further British interests in the country. At no point since the Cuban Missile
War have the native Northern Irish and the former refugee population been further apart.
July, 1997 — Francisco Sá Carneiro wins a second term as Portugal’s president.
April, 1998 — A small riot breaks out in Lincoln, Lincolnshire, England between
Conservative and Labour supporters in one of the several “estates” that dot the
countryside around the town. The riot is widely publicized in the English media due to its
violence, and is held up as an example of the tensions between the two separate political
parties. High unemployment is also cited as a reason for the violence, as the average
unemployment rate in Britain is still above 28% despite the growing economy and the
successful restoration of the fiat Pound as a form of everyday currency.
March, 1999 — Pakistan, fearing the increasing prominence of outside influence in Asia,
detonates its first nuclear weapon. The detonation is the culmination of a decade-long
development program. Pakistan sees its nuclear deterrent as critical to maintaining its
neutrality between the Chinese and Indian spheres of influence.
April, 1999 — On Easter, Pope Valentine II celebrates the first mass in the reconstructed
St. Peter’s Basilica. Though much work remains in Vatican City; as Valentine calls it,
“the work of centuries,” the seat of the Catholic Church returns to the Vatican.
January 1, 2000 — The world celebrates the end of the bloodiest century in human
history with relief. The Earth has survived a third world war, but can it survive a fourth?
Appendix A: Song List
Suggested Song List:
Foreigner: “Feels like the First Time”
OMD (Orchestral Manouevres in the Dark): “Enola Gay”
Blue Öyster Cult: “Don’t Fear the Reaper”
Europe: “The Final Countdown”
Yo La Tengo: “Nuclear War”
Antonio Variacoes: “O Corpo E Que Paga”
Appendix B: List of American Presidents
John Fitzgerald Kennedy (D): 1961-1962
Lyndon Baines Johnson (D): 1962-April 1965
Vacant April-November 1965
James Donahue (N): November 1965-1973
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (N): 1973-1977
Ronald Reagan (R): 1977-1985
Richard Schweiker (AD): 1985-1989
Lawrence Eagleburger (R): 1989-1997
Donald Evans (R): 1997-
Appendix C: Architecture
The general architectural style of the post-war world can be summed up in the Brutalist
style of OTL. Heavy unornamented concrete, stone and steel construction dominates,
with heavy reinforced concrete columns and steel-frame construction. Outdoor
ornamentation is rare, and is generally confined to painted murals or frescoes.
Ornamental stonework is rare. The overall goal of most post-war architecture is to create
a sense of safety and security for the occupants. Natural light and airflow is shunned,
with builders favoring a closed-control atmosphere of central air conditioning and
Glass is uncommon, though block-glass windows are popular in residential dwellings.
Glass doors are considered a form of ostentation, and are typically inset from building
facades. The same is true for windows, which are normally situated low to the ground, if
they can be found at all. It is not uncommon for a 30-story building to have no more than
a handful of windows, none higher than the second story.
Underground construction is common, and many buildings use earthen insulation to
create a more efficient climate control system. Many housing developments in the United
States built after the 1980s take a so-called low-impact approach where the only thing
aboveground is a garage or storage shed or two. Elaborate landscaping and gardening on
the open space above the house is typical, and access to the home is usually given
through a series of sloping concrete ramps that end in a blank door. Most underground
homes have at least one alternate exit due to fire and safety codes. A specially-reinforced
“strongroom” is common to upscale homes, and many residents keep these stocked with
ample supplies of canned goods and bottled water for emergencies. More often than not,
however, the extra space is merely used as a closet.
Arenas and other large public areas, such as shopping malls, sometimes exhibit a hybrid
of the Brutalist and Subterranean styles. Mall of America, built in 1989 outside St. Louis,
the capital of the United States, is one such example. Covering several acres, it was built
in an excavated pit with half of the concrete structure above ground. A parking garage
occupies much of the top of the structure, while outdoor dining and recreation areas
occupy the other portions of the structure seen from the surface. Inside, the mall extends
downward for several levels, and encompasses several hundred independent stores. So-called
“refuge areas” are located in several places throughout the mall for use in the event
of an emergency such as a fire, earthquake, or nuclear attack. The refuge areas are
mandated by civil defense building codes that require all large public buildings to have a
certain number in proportion to the overall capacity of the building. The refuge areas
typically provide sufficient water, air, and food for several dozen people for several days.
Most load-bearing frames use the simple arch or a triangle shape in order to achieve
maximum strength. Arches are particularly common in private homes, and it is
uncommon to find many vertical walls in a home in the United States built after 1970.
For OTL examples of Brutalist architecture, see the Ryerson University Library in
Toronto, Canada (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:R..._Library.JPG); The Long Lines
Building in New York City (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:A...building.jpg); and
Dunelm House at Durham University (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imageunelm3.jpg).
Several excellent posts have been written about different aspects of this timeline, but for
whatever reason, I’m unwilling to put them into the timeline verbatim. It’s usually
because they go into more detail than I’m willing to touch in the timeline. If you’re
interested in going into more detail, you may consider the following posts to be canonical
in this timeline, unless details need to be changed for plot reasons.
Antarctica in October 1962, by Archangel:
Countries’ political alignment in 1962, by Archangel:
Freddy Mercury, Antonio Variacoes, and universities, by Archangel:
OTL African colonial settlement figures, by Viriato:
The rise of ministates in Europe, by Vaude:
Postwar Belgium, by Vaude:
Stan Lee in the Cuban Missile War world, by Hnau
Maps and other information, collected by Glowjack
Last edited by Alternate History Geek; November 21st, 2012 at 10:34 PM.. Reason: Fixing.
That seems pretty kinda skeezy to take over someone elses timeline.
Also you probably should preface it or epilogue it with what's actually different considering it's enormous length at this point.
Differences between v1.8 and v1.9
The European microstates are all grey, except for the four Crimean ones with the Friendship Pact; the ones mentioned in the TL are dark grey, the others medium grey.
Last edited by Alternate History Geek; November 21st, 2012 at 06:59 PM..
I appreciate the effort you are willing to invest into this AHG, but unless you get Amerigo's permission to take over the timeline, you should refrain from reposting all of his material. Just post stuff that you think should be included.
I don't think the development of microstates in Europe was all that well-planned. The map doesn't look that great. Check out the 1983 Doomsday map to see what a good post-nuclear war map looks like, and even that one can be improved (by getting rid of former subdivision borders), making it less pixellated. I'll see what I can do to help you out on this.