What would be the effects on European cultures & societies in the event of a WWIII in the 1960s?

Based on some old book I read a long time ago so I don't remember the title or anything, and yeah thread title is a word salad. I remember reading about it mentioning that if WWIII broke out in the 60s (the usual nukes fly and people die kind of thing) Europe would most likely suffer a lot (mild understatement perhaps), and having a generation dying and a lot of stuff being smashed for the 3rd time in as many generations in the same century. The book postulate that the effects on various European cultures and societies in the long term this time around would be extremely negative, as it became "obvious" that any long term planning (economically, poticalically, etc.) is pointless as there's always something that will come along and destroy everything within a generation or 2. This would have a significant knock on effect of hindering any post war recovery.

I don't necessarily agree with that assessment (mostly because if that's the case then I don't think human civilization would form in the first place)

So what would the be the effects on various European cultures & societies in the aftermath of a 60s era nuclear WWIII? This thread is less concerned with the geopolitical situation (or lack of). Assuming a general WWIII scenario result of USA gravely mauled, USSR & PRC effectively cease to exist as coherent geopolitical entities, and Europe getting wrecked.
Last edited:
Europe would suffer greatly but Eastern Europe would be that which would be screwed or even totally destroyed. Soviets hadn't enough nukes to cause such destruction that counties would be effectively wiped from face of Earth.

United Kingdom would suffer massive damage and many cities would be hitten but the country would survive but needs much of foreign aid. Might be that UK would turn quiet authotarian and isolationist.

Ireland as neutral nation wouldn't suffer much but might get some fallout from Britain. And Irelanders probably gets some refugees from UK.

Iberia is quiet safed. Soviets hardly care about Portugal and Spain very much. But Spain might get massive refugee wave.

France would be hitten badly but it not be end of the nation.

Benelux countires would too get some nukes but they probably might survive but there is massive refugee wave.

Germany would be effectively non-exist and there would be several city states. Almost all cities would be destroyed and most people are dead.

Eastern Block would be nuked to ground. Speciality Russia would be effectively wiped off.

Switzerland has much job with huge refugee waves.

Italy suffers bit but survives as functional nation.

Yugoslavia surivives but faces refugee crisis.

Austria might suffer bit but survives.

Most of Northern European nations would suffer largely but at least Norway and Finland might survive. Denmark might be or not doomed. Sweden would be important player on post-war situation.


It is interesting which year during 60s. Because at the end of the decade the Evil Empire had much more nukes than during the Cuban Missle Crisis. But if we are talking about the most possible war during the Cuban Crisis going hot. Well, I can say that both Germany and Poland are probably nuked to a glass desert. In the european part of the Evil Empire big cities are also destroyed, but country is even there so wast, that wast areas of "empty" fields, forests and such are possibly still able to sustain human life. There is also a matter of a nuclear winter, it is debatable if something like that even is possible. But some short period climate changes for worse are very probably. Even in the Cuban Crisis nuclear war. Still that war is a smaller issue than the Able Archer War, because both sides had fewer nukes.

When the Soviet Empire had too few intercontinental nuke rockets to destroy a lot in the US, they still had enough potential to cause serious damages in western Europe, especially in West Germany. For the NATO, well they will just nuked soviet conventional forces ammased in East Germany and other countries. For Poland there will be nuked transport lines from the Soviet Empire to the west, especially that they have east-west direction and are across rivers, so bridges are natural targets... Plus of course fallout from those bombs and missles.

One caution. I don't believe into "limited" nuclear exchange and that cities and targets like that won't be nuked. It will be a total war, the war to ultimate crush the enemy.

So in Poland and Germany there won't be any culture. Just a big falloutesque LARP, without two headed cows.
Well France might not get hit. After leaving NATO joint command, De Gaulle planned to negotiate a separate peace with the eastern bloc if there was a war so France would not end up getting dragged in. West Germany and the Benelux are easily overrun by the Warsaw Pact, but De Gaulle would be able to save France from a nuclear apocalypse