World War III

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Before the War

  • Simmering international hostilities had continued for decades on Earth following the slow global economic downfall and climatological crises of the early 21st centuries (TNG: "The Neutral Zone"; DS9: "Past Tense")

Major Events

May 1, 2053

  • At 0230 UTC, the Eastern Coalition (ECON) launches a first strike nuclear attack against the states of the New United Nations (NUN), consisting of a wave of ICBMs simultaneously with a viral cyberattack against the network infrastructure of their targets. ("Star Trek: First Contact"; TLE Novel: The Sundered)
  • The NUN responds immediately with their own nuclear strikes, as well as bomber- and satellite-strikes against targets across the Middle East and Asia. (TLE Novel: The Sundered)
  • Nuclear and conventional explosions over numerous major and capital cities across the planet lead to the deaths of nearly 500 million people in the first minutes of war (TLE Novel: The Sundered)
    • Due to the various cyberattacks and the electromagnetic disruption caused by the the hundreds of warheads, four in five ICBMs on both sides fail to detonate, with unexploded nuclear ordnance later found around many of these cities. (TLE Novel: The Sundered)
  • Largely unaligned before this point, the Pacific nations side with ECON in response to the indeterminate nature of NUN strikes. (TLE Novel: The Sundered)
  • Following the countless initial conventional and cyberattacks, the nuclear and force projection capabilities of all involved nations are essentially destroyed in the war's initial hours, leading to an extended ground war with fronts across the globe that include both ground troops and AI-driven drone and robotics strikes. (TLE Novel: The Sundered; ENT Novel: Uncertain Logic)
    • Said ground attacks include covert operations using android imposters as assassins (ENT Novel: Live by the Code; TNG Novel: The Buried Age)
    • These actions lead to a general disinterest in strong AI development by United Earth researchers for decades to follow (ENT Novel: Live by the Code)

July 2053

Siege of Las Vegas

  • Final battle of Colonel Amber's Regimental Volunteers, Caesar's Palace (DS9 Short Story: "Second Star to the Right...")


  • Climate impacted harshly by nuclear winter, which ironically helped to stave off the growing effects of global warming long enough for Vulcan aid to resolve it entirely. (TNG: "A Matter of Time"; DTI Novel: Watching the Clock)
  • Innumerous individuals and terrorist organizations take advantage of the chaos to strike out themselves, with biological, chemical, and small-scale nuclear attacks recorded worldwide in addition to the global military action. (TLE Novel: The Sundered)
    • One of the more notorious such figures is Colonel Phillip Green, whose devoted faction of eugenicists and ecoterrorists, the Optimum Movement, saw significant resurgence from their earlier decline decades prior. Claiming a wide swathe of land in the United States, he and his movement held power with an iron fist against those they considered harmful to the Human genome. (TLE Novel: The Sundered; ENT: "In a Mirror, Darkly, Part II", "Demons"; TOS: "The Savage Curtain")
  • The continued war leaves much of the world in near-anarchy, most major governments collapsing and many local forces (including the aforementioned Colonel Green) claiming hold of wide swathes of territory in the absence of national forces. (ENT: "Terra Prime"; TOS: "The Savage Curtain")
  • Many nations resort to drugging their own soldiers to keep order in the ranks which, while effective at preventing desertion, turned combat into even more of a bloodbath. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")

Late 2053

  • Few national governments survived the war, but those that did agreed to end the fighting
  • Ceasefire signed in San Francisco, one of the only major cities within the warzones to survive the war largely unscathed. (ENT: "Demons"; "Star Trek: First Contact")
    • Damage that was inflicted on San Francisco includes the destruction of Coit Tower (TNG Novel: A Time for War, A Time for Peace)

After effects

  • The Post-Atomic Horror, a dark period across numerous portions of the globe still not yet recovered or rebuilt, continued for decades on Earth, not being settled until the late 21st century. (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")
    • Colonel Green himself continued to hold power until 2056, before finally being arrested and executed along with the other heads of his movement. (ENT: "Demons")
  • Most estimate the death toll at a minimum of 600 million, not including later deaths inflicted by radiation sickness or the effect of nuclear winter. ("Star Trek: First Contact")
  • The horrors of the war coupled with open first contact with extraterrestrial life shortly after lead to a global reappraisal of the direction of humanity, resulting by the early 22nd century in the global abolishment of poverty and hunger, as well as encouraging the development of a global government.
    • The formation of various international alliances in the aftermath of the war, such as the European Hegemony, eventually lead directly to the formation of the United Earth government. (TNG: "Attached")
  • Full environmental recovery is still not complete in certain areas of the planet even by mid-23rd century. (TLE Novel: The Sundered)