Fate of the rest of the world in 1980s nuclear war scenario?

I don't see any real evidence for this, given the U.S. didn't collapse during the oil embargoes of the 1970s.

The oil embargoes only stopped OPEC crude. The US could still buy crude from say the North Sea and Canada, they could buy any tooling or chemicals they may have needed from West Germany, you still had functional pipelines domestically to get oil products to consumers... Tightened supplies raised prices, but it only lowered input into the system, it didn't threaten any structures within the oil production and distribution system itself.

WWIII is effectively an everything-embargo that your system is going to have to survive indefinitely.
 
I see it as a systems collapse, similar to the theory about end of the Bronze Age. Modern society is built out of so many structures that are dependent upon one another, and if pulling the foreign inputs that even one depends causes it to fail, it can bring everything else down with it.

Say in post-WWIII Australia that they run out of a refinery precursor chemical they'd been buying from America. While the chemical exists in Australia, they can't refine oil for a couple months while they implement a domestic substitute at scale.

Your food production is dependent on gasoline and mechanized agriculture. While you can harvest some of it by hand, the population of millions in Australia was built on the expectation of Green Revolution agriculture. So you're going to have a largely failed harvest, and a winter where a lot of people are starving.

As the saying goes, no government is more than three missed meals away from a revolution. So now you've got a revolt/civil war on your hands, with basically a pre-mechanized army to fight it. If the army depended on NATO for imports of bullets, they're going to find themselves in a deeper mess . And meanwhile, you can't work on the precursor for gasoline because you lack the social stability. And it just spirals out of control...

It depends on what card gets pulled out of the house, but any loss of a foreign prerequisite required for electricity, food, water, sewage, oil, or medicine could send things downhill very quickly and take those other items with it.

You are exaggerating the impacts considerably. In a scenario where both Aus and NZ avoid any hits other than Pine Gap (optimistic, not impossible), why exactly would people abandon all of the completely intact tools, machines, and factories?

You do not understand agriculture in Australia. We produce truly spectacular quantities of food with very little effort compared to most countries. There are vast reserves of livestock, massive fishing resources, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Starvation just is not going to happen. In the 80's there's no need to worry about climate change either. Any one state in Australia could feed all of the others at need, barring infrastructural challenges of moving the food around, and not a single nuclear weapon will be deployed against rural Australia under any circumstances. We might have shortages of luxury foods, but basic nutrition is very easy to achieve.

In terms of energy needs to harvest, well, that's not a huge deal once the export market is a non-factor. We produce plenty of food very close to the big cities, close enough that it can be transported pretty quickly. While we are likely to abandon more remote production, but that is surplus. Event today we produce more than double the food we need, in the 80's it was more like triple. Herds of animals are easy enough to move around as well.

I think you don't really understand Australia. We are not a revolutionary country in any way, shape, or form. We are incredibly stable, and were more so in the 1980's. Australian culture is to a very large degree premised on the fact that this continent provides us with a very easy life, and that is what we value. This is reflected in our politics, our mythology, and even in language. Even if we lost 3-4 cities the end result would be... a united Australia. For all that in the last few decades there has been a concerted effort to erode our faith in government on the part of the right (a non-factor in the 80's), Australia also has a very long history of public/private cooperation to achieve material goals. It is incredibly effective, and would not be abandoned. This is not like the United States at all. We are a far more collectivist society, despite often saying otherwise, with a very pragmatic approach to governance. There would be no revolution, nor a civil war. There probably would be a range of different civil violence incidents, but it is very unlikely that any party participating in violent acts would be opposed to the Australian government as such. Even modern 'secessionist' movements such as the Westralian nonsense never has any real traction due to the lack of need for it - and I can guarantee that if Australia lost a couple of cities, but not Perth, the sandgropers would be rather pleased to suddenly be a much more important part of the Commonwealth and would not have any real interest in leaving. Secessionism there is mostly about feeling materially ripped off.

I won't speak for the Kiwis in detail, but there national unity is if anything stronger. A couple of medium sized islands with one government and no near neighbours is a rather obvious way to organise society there, and they too are a fundamentally practical people in terms of governance.
 
The oil embargoes only stopped OPEC crude. The US could still buy crude from say the North Sea and Canada, they could buy any tooling or chemicals they may have needed from West Germany, you still had functional pipelines domestically to get oil products to consumers... Tightened supplies raised prices, but it only lowered input into the system, it didn't threaten any structures within the oil production and distribution system itself.

WWIII is effectively an everything-embargo that your system is going to have to survive indefinitely.

And Australia, for example, could do rationing and import from Indonesia. If the Soviets have committed to no nuclear strikes, the infrastructure, expertise and everything else to run society is completely intact.
 
And Australia, for example, could do rationing and import from Indonesia. If the Soviets have committed to no nuclear strikes, the infrastructure, expertise and everything else to run society is completely intact.

If push came to shove and modern methods were unsustainable I expect in the 1980's there would be a reasonable amount of practical instutional knowledge of how things were done pre WW2. There would be a reasonable number of people still able to at least teach or supervise others who would have been adults pre WW2.

Maybe oil refining for example reverts to pre ww2 tech if key imports for modern processes are not available.

One way or another I expect intact first world nations would find a way to keep going.
 
Say in post-WWIII Australia that they run out of a refinery precursor chemical they'd been buying from America. While the chemical exists in Australia, they can't refine oil for a couple months while they implement a domestic substitute at scale.
Realistically, they would have stockpiles of this chemical on hand (especially since we're talking about the 1980s, before "just-in-time" was universal). Instead of simply doing without gasoline for a few months, they would take over the existing stockpiles of both oil products and this precursor chemical and ration them out to meet essential needs (probably while also implementing substitutes for oil itself, e.g. alcohol). Yes, that means that people can't use their cars for a while, but that's a far cry from "oh well, everyone dies".

Most things are like that. There are stockpiles, or simpler, less resource-intensive processes that could be used, or small-scale production that could be used to meet critical needs while larger production is scaled up and usage is rationed.
 
If push came to shove and modern methods were unsustainable I expect in the 1980's there would be a reasonable amount of practical instutional knowledge of how things were done pre WW2. There would be a reasonable number of people still able to at least teach or supervise others who would have been adults pre WW2.

Maybe oil refining for example reverts to pre ww2 tech if key imports for modern processes are not available.

One way or another I expect intact first world nations would find a way to keep going.

Agreed.
 
Australia in the 1980s was a far more independent society than it is today. In the 1980s, it still had a large manufacturing industry because it was expensive to build and import stuff from overseas. We truly became a "free trade" society in the 1980s, removing most of the tariffs and other preventions of building stuff overseas. Today, we are much more dependent, particularly on China.

In the 1980s we would have seen initially a return to a slightly earlier age not a complete collapse of Society. We might have seen rationing of petrol and other oil based products until production ramps up. We would see fewer electronic devices, such as pocket calculators. But apart from that not much else would have happened. We would not have seen mass starvation nor much in the way of social disruption. Australian society is more unified and coherent than American society was even then.
 

Riain

Banned
I've seen it suggested that Amberley would eat a nuke, to get the F111s. But I would think the F111s would be deployed to operational bases to fight the war, so there wouldn't be a neat target to kill the F111s.
 
In my opinion, the big winners, so to speak, are Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa; I would say Brazil too, but I do not know about their position to speculate upon it. I think the U.S. would be able to save much of its command authority and in the aftermath organize surviving assets to flee to Mexico. From there, you may get a hybridized nation in the long run, given the relative demographics.
 
What happens to South and Southeast Asia? Will radiation even pass through the Himalayas? Will the US even think of Nuking Vietnam and the like?
If India and Pakistan manage to be relatively unaffected because of the vast food production ability of the Indo-Gangetic plain , I still think there would be shortages because of the Huge population of the region
 
I've seen it suggested that Amberley would eat a nuke, to get the F111s. But I would think the F111s would be deployed to operational bases to fight the war, so there wouldn't be a neat target to kill the F111s.

What threat would the F-111s represent? They are purely conventional bombers and not at that point armed with laser guided bombs. Their range is limited, they represent no threat to the fUSSR or the PRC.
 
Slightly off topic, but on the subject of which countries could theoretically cope with the world economy going bye-bye, Canada still had a fair bit of protectionism in the early 1980s, and with that a massive (and quite dispersed) industrial sector, a significant portion of which was still dominated by crown corporations (meaning any surviving government could micro manage the economy to some extent). So Canada's fate would largely depend on how much of Canada is still left when Pierre Trudeau comes out of the Dieffenbunker. Which is a big question because I've heard everything from "only the major cities" to "Canada gets it at least as thoroughly as America".
 
Of note, as others have pointed out, South Africa would be doing really well here. Soviet and Chinese aid to its enemies is suddenly gone and the policy of autarky sought by the National Party means they would largely be inoculated from the collapse of the global economy. Millions of now homeless Europeans and Americans (Re: Whites) are also available to grabbed and re-settled within SA, considerably boosting the security of their internal situation and institutions. The 1983 Reforms have also already been passed which will largely align the Coloureds and Indians with with the NP, while the Zulus remain opposed to the ANC anyway.
That wouldn't be in line with National Party policy. They only wanted Dutch people and colonists from other parts of Africa. And there may not be many Dutch people left after WWIII.

On the other hand, should the delicate peace in in sub-saharan Africa break down the remaining Angolan, Zambian, Zimbabwean, ect... whites will probably make their way south with due haste.
 
A nuke shoot out in the 1980's? Pretty much NATO vs the then USSR? Not surprisingly to some and a wonder to most there would be many places and regions and perhaps nations in the Northern Hemisphere that would survive the shooting war without a scratch. The problem is surviving in modern form the long drawn out peace afterwards.

Considering the collapse of various world wide infrastructures, (even back in the 1980s) like transportation, communication, energy, food production and others the long term outlook for the North would be very grim while the Southern Hemisphere might or might not do better. Basically no food. Expect a 20 year world die back of 90% or more.
 
I suppose it depends on whether the scenario is a BoTB attack as Doomsday or the result of a build up and war as in Protect & Survive, Threads, The Day After and others.

Either way, prospects for the Northern Hemisphere aren't brilliant though those on islands may have more chance albeit at a subsistence level.

For Australia and New Zealand, assuming limited nuclear strikes, the infrastructure of Government should endure and while NATO military survivors may find their way (and their skilled crews would be invaluable), it's hard to see many other refugees being able to make any kind of journey that far.

As others have said, food shouldn't be a problem for NZ even with more mouths to feed and especially so if there have been no strikes, It will be much harder if Auckland and Wellington have been hit. NZ would rapidly assert control over the islands of Polynesia and would co-operate with Australia in dealing with any refugees trying to reach the Far North of Australia from Papua New Guinea or elsewhere.

I bump up against economics a little here - the world economy has gone and the "value" of money has gone with it. I presume Australia and NZ could come up with a new currency based on the value of gold but I don't quite see how it functions in isolation. For most people, money becomes meaningless and food is provided through rationing and food distribution and fuel supplies would be tightly controlled.

It would be a renaissance for rural NZ with a new wave of farmers and growers taking far more land under cultivation to feed the population so while it might be tempting to kill off the cattle and sheep I doubt that would happen and you'd have a new diet based more on fish (plentiful and uncontaminated) and vegetables.
 

Riain

Banned
What threat would the F-111s represent? They are purely conventional bombers and not at that point armed with laser guided bombs. Their range is limited, they represent no threat to the fUSSR or the PRC.

At their core they are nuclear capable theatre bombers, the suggestion was that the Soviets wouldn't want a wing of nuclear capable long range bombers hanging around in the postwar world. Who knows, perhaps in the shooting Australia gets hold of some nukes, perhaps a couple of USN or USAF assets arrive with nukes on board or we do a crash development of our own.
 
I've seen it suggested that Amberley would eat a nuke, to get the F111s. But I would think the F111s would be deployed to operational bases to fight the war, so there wouldn't be a neat target to kill the F111s.
My own opinion / $.02

It does not seem unreasonable that eliminating an air base of a U.S. Ally that can support F111's might have been a Soviet War aim.
 
At their core they are nuclear capable theatre bombers, the suggestion was that the Soviets wouldn't want a wing of nuclear capable long range bombers hanging around in the postwar world. Who knows, perhaps in the shooting Australia gets hold of some nukes, perhaps a couple of USN or USAF assets arrive with nukes on board or we do a crash development of our own.

They are though, however rather isolated to a part of the world which is of little interest to the Soviets. I somehow doubt they would bother with them. The premise that we MIGHT get a hold of some nukes is IMO a bit far fetched. Then there is the problem, USN nukes are incompatible with USAF aircraft. Even if we go a hold of some USN nukes, I don't think they would work that well from a F-111. The USN and the USAF rarely talk to one another, except to snipe.
 
My own opinion / $.02

It does not seem unreasonable that eliminating an air base of a U.S. Ally that can support F111's might have been a Soviet War aim.

There are numerous air bases which support F-111s. All you need is a long enough runway. They would IIRC eliminate all the major airbases in Australia - usually near the capital cities, plus the odd ones including Woomera (World's longest runway when built). Then, there would be runways at Port Moresby and Djarkata, Wellington and Christchurch, amongst others. I think the F-111s are pretty safe.
 
I suppose it depends on whether the scenario is a BoTB attack as Doomsday or the result of a build up and war as in Protect & Survive, Threads, The Day After and others.

Either way, prospects for the Northern Hemisphere aren't brilliant though those on islands may have more chance albeit at a subsistence level.

For Australia and New Zealand, assuming limited nuclear strikes, the infrastructure of Government should endure and while NATO military survivors may find their way (and their skilled crews would be invaluable), it's hard to see many other refugees being able to make any kind of journey that far.

As others have said, food shouldn't be a problem for NZ even with more mouths to feed and especially so if there have been no strikes, It will be much harder if Auckland and Wellington have been hit. NZ would rapidly assert control over the islands of Polynesia and would co-operate with Australia in dealing with any refugees trying to reach the Far North of Australia from Papua New Guinea or elsewhere.

I bump up against economics a little here - the world economy has gone and the "value" of money has gone with it. I presume Australia and NZ could come up with a new currency based on the value of gold but I don't quite see how it functions in isolation. For most people, money becomes meaningless and food is provided through rationing and food distribution and fuel supplies would be tightly controlled.

It would be a renaissance for rural NZ with a new wave of farmers and growers taking far more land under cultivation to feed the population so while it might be tempting to kill off the cattle and sheep I doubt that would happen and you'd have a new diet based more on fish (plentiful and uncontaminated) and vegetables.

You are correct that money itself has no intrinsic value of it's own. It's value is what people place on it. However, the value is not derived from overseas. It is what the locals believe it is worth. The Australian and New Zealand dollars are printed locally. I really don't see what the problem with their continued use downunder could be.
 
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