My rules for a Alternative History of World War III Writing an alternative history of an hypothetical World War III is a very difficult task, mainly because there is an over-production of fictions, models an hypothesis on what it could have been. Every historian or alt-historian has his own precise idea on how it could unfold. For this reason, I prefer to set some basic rules for this Alternative Timeline before writing it, useful for any further debate on this board. 1. Historical context: I chose the Able Archer Crisis of 1983 because it is increasingly recognized by historians as one of the three most dangerous moments of the Cold War (along with the Berlin Crisis of 1948 and the Cuban Missiles Crisis of 1962). While the other two crisis went “public” immediately, the Able Archer one is still a mystery. Were we really close to war or not? Increasing evidence suggests that we were. But there is still a window open for alt-history imagination. 2. Inspiration: I will try to free my mind from any fictional account produced in the 80s, both from the more pessimistic scenarios of nuclear-end-of-the-World (like “Threads”, “When the Wind Blows” and many others) and the overly optimistic scenarios of all-conventional-theatre-war (like Hackett’s “Third World War” and Clancy’s “Red Storm Rising”). I would try to rely on real planning of both sides, given that many key documents are declassified. Where there are no declassified war plans, there are still many writings on doctrine and oral history that could fill the gap. 3. Rationality: I know that a plan is the first victim in war. It could die in the first hour of conflict. After that first hour, I assume that both sides are relatively rational, because both showed restrain during the entire era of the Cold War. Even if war resulted from miscalculation (like in this case), their rationality could persist also during a conflict. I presume that nobody wanted to destroy the World, but “simply” win the war. 4. Technology: I would use only existing military technology already deployed in 1983, but I assume that, in case of war, both sides could try to deploy also new tested (although not yet deployed) systems and use existing or old technologies in new and “creative” manners. Given those rules… happy reading!