Is the Prospect of World War III just a Big Lie?
Is the Prospect of World War III just a Big Lie? by
World War III. The Big One. The (Presumed) End of Life as We Know It. There is no other prospective event that so captures the imaginations the public at large. The military plans and practices for it. Politicians bloviate about it. Hollywood churns out movies about it. Authors and game designers craft intricate narratives about it, sparing no detail in the grim consequences.
And of course, preppers prep for it. The looming specter of another World War, one fought with real doomsday weapons, is a chilling reminder and call to action: be ready. A World War today would likely be the ultimate survival test in a way. Anything worse would be completely unsurvivable, but it is likely to be so bad only the luckiest, most exceedingly prepared or well-connected have any prayer to.
It has been over 70 years since the end of World War II, and while there have been innumerable wars and smaller conflicts in that time, despite the proclamations of pontificating pundits not one of them have truly met the grisly watermark set by either of the previous wars that hold that lofty, terrible title.
So, though the prospect is terrifying, is another World War a likely occurrence? Would it have already happened by now or are we just lucky? What are the chances that global gamesmanship and maneuvering could send us over the brink into the next Great War? Is it all just posturing? Is the prospect of a new, genuine World War a lie?
The Shadow of War
Why worry about World War III at all? Hasn’t the world been at war for decades, now? America certainly has, tramping all over the Middle East since 9/11 in a ceaseless effort to stamp out terrorism. The Middle East and Africa have enjoyed their own countless, smaller conflicts, uprisings and police actions.
Major world powers fight wars by proxy, installing and removing governments in smaller, weaker countries as it suits their needs. Chemical weapons are deployed. Atrocities are committed. Robotic weapons kill with nary a soldier or pilot within thousands of miles. All of this is war, is it not? The sights, sounds and cost in flesh and treasure will certainly verify this is so.
These conflicts, viewed as a mosaic of human suffering sure seem like the whole world is at war, but they are not truly intercontinental wars, with incalculable commitments of men and materiel from superpowers aimed at one another. And yet, none of these conflicts, however awful, have even come close to the destruction and death wrought by the two, true World Wars.
The prospect of a major war is terrifying enough for participants, and also has far-reaching consequences for civilians at home: shortages, rationing, curfews, potential attacks on population centers, economic depression and more.
On a larger scale, international trade will cease or be severely curtailed. Few nations are as fortunate as America, with two enormous oceans to either side and a large friendly ally on the northern border. Invasion and occupation will become the rule of the day as borders are trampled or rewritten entirely across the globe.
Alliances will form, shift and break apart. Entire countries and cultures will never be the same. Many will not survive in any appreciable form. All dreadful consequences but lack the final, crowning horror that a true World War will entail: the chance of global catastrophe from superweapon deployment.
World War I was believed to be “the war to end all wars”: its combination of militarized technological leaps and advancements, trench warfare, chemical weapons and a staggering number of casualties, both civilian and military, led historians to proclaim that it alone would have quenched mankind’s thirst for bloodshed.