History of Nuclear War III
This is the third of four tournaments in a series which explores the history of nuclear war. This tournament will focus on the Cold War.
Eligibility: To play in this tournament, you must be premium, have a turns-taken record of 98% or better, at least 100 completed games, and be at least a PFC on sign-up. Procedure: In each tourney in this series, the first nine phases will consist of multiplayer Standard games. In each of these phases, only the first player eliminated from each game is eliminated from the tournament. All others will continue to the next phase. As soon as all games in a phase have had one player eliminated, I will begin the next phase with the survivors. Winning these games will not influence the course of the tournament; only that first elimination is significant. In the Final phase, all remaining players will play simultaneously in nine multiplayer Terminator games. These games will be completed and winning them will count, as will the number of kills. Settings: All games will be Casual and Automatic, with Chained reinforcements. Maps will vary widely from phase to phase. Needless to say, spoils in all games will be nuclear. Fog or Sun: Foggy or Sunny status will be established by the votes of a majority of the remaining players. Please indicate your preference when you sign up, and this will settle it for the first phase. When players are eliminated, their votes will cease to count, so later phases may have a different Fog status than the earlier ones. You may also change your vote if you wish (just don't change it often enough to become annoying.) I won't bother chasing people for their votes; this will be a bonus for people who pay attention.
show: Phase 1
At the end of WWII, the U.S. was the only nuclear-armed nation on earth. Others were continuing their efforts, and by 1949 the Soviet Union deployed its first nuclear weapon.
Phase 1 40 players in 5 groups will play 8-player games on the Soviet Union map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round.
show: Phase 2
If anyone had thought that the end of WWII would mean a time of peace, they were soon disappointed. Even before the war had ended, the major powers had been jockeying for postwar position. In Europe there was a consolidation of Communist power in Russian-occupied Eastern Europe, but no direct military challenge was mounted, because neither the Americans nor the Russians wanted outright war between themselves.
In Asia, however, things were different. Here, a series of "proxy" wars were fought, where Asiatic armies aligned with one side or the other did most of the fighting, and there was no direct contact between Russian and American forces. In China, an indigenous Communist army led by Mao Tse-tung battered Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist army, and by 1949 had forced the Nationalists to retreat to the island of Taiwan, there to begin an exile still in place today. In Malaysia, Indonesia, and Indochina there were local independence movements with strong Communist ties. And in Korea, a Communist government formed in the Russian-occupied north squared off against a Republican government formed in the American-occupied south. By 1948 Korea had been de facto partitioned, and in 1950, when the North invaded the South, a full-scale war erupted. Phase 2 35 players in 5 groups will play 7-player games on the Far East map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round.
show: Phase 3
On November 1st, 1952 the U.S. tested the first the thermonuclear weapon, based on a design that Edward Teller had been advocating since his days with the Manhattan Project. The device was 450 times as powerful as the bomb that had been dropped on Hiroshima. Detonated on Elugelab Island, it obliterated the island and left a crater 2 miles wide where the island had been.
Within a year, the Soviet Union tested its own thermonuclear device. The pace of nuclear proliferation was accelerating. By the end of 1955, the U.S. had over 3,000 nuclear weapons. The Soviets at the time had only 200, but were putting their production program into high gear. A full-scale arms race was under way. Phase 3 30 players in 5 groups will play 6-player games on the Arms Race map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round.
show: Phase 4
With nuclear war seeming imminent, nations gave significant thought to issues of civil defense. Although there was virtually nothing that could save a person caught near Ground Zero in a nuclear strike, it was thought that survival techniques and fallout shelters could significantly improve the chances of those who were further away. The usefulness of civil defense techniques and self-preservation techniques like "Duck and Cover" has always been hotly debated.
Phase 4 25 players in 5 groups will play 5-player games on the Duck and Cover map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round.
show: Phase 5
While hot wars raged in East Asia, and the industrial capacities of the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were harnessed for the Arms Race, the iconic Cold War scenario was played out in the city of Berlin. Here British, French, American, and Russian forces actually saw each other on a daily basis. Provocations took place, but never erupted into actual combat.
Berlin was originally divided up between the various Allies in World War II, and the manner of its division was indicative of the stresses and tensions between the Allies, as the war against Germany drew to a close and the Allies secretly began thinking of war between each other. The Russians considered themselves to be one half of an East-West partnership. In their eyes all the Western allies were part of the same Capitalist club, joined at the hip, and Russia was the only truly independent Ally. They thus demanded a full half of Germany and Berlin. The Americans saw their interests as being very different from the British and refused to be lumped in together, and thus wanted a three-way split. The British, although heavily indebted to America, were just as mistrustful of the Americans as of the Russians. To avoid being outnumbered in a three-way split, they insisted that the French should be treated as an equal ally, and demanded a four-way split. In the eventual compromise reached, each point of view was partially represented. As was typical in those late-war conferences, the Russians got the best deal: a segment that was somewhat less than half, but considerably more than one-third. The Americans got almost, but not quite, the one-third they wanted, the British slightly less, and the French least of all. All of Germany was similarly divided, but Berlin was completely encircled by the Russian zone of occupation, which eventually became East Germany. The military position of the Western Allies inside the city of Berlin was, despite air power nearby in West German bases, essentially untenable. It was therefore a test of the Allies resolve to not back down despite repeated Russian provocations. The first major crisis was in 1949, when the Russians closed the border to rail traffic from the west, expecting to force the Allies out through starvation of the civilian population. The Allies responded with the Berln Airlift, successfully bringing as many supplies into Berlin by aircraft as had previously come by rail. This was a real shock to the Russians, whose had expected the Allies to utterly fail, as the Germans had failed with the attempted airlift to Stalingrad. After the Airlift there was calm for a while, but in 1958 the Russians delivered an ultimatum demanding Allied withdrawal. Tensions rose, the ultimatum was refused, but war did not erupt. By 1961 more than 2 million Germans had used Berlin as an avenue to escape to the West, and the East German government persuaded the Russians that the city needed to be sealed off. On August 13, 1961 the border was closed and construction rapidly began on the Berlin Wall. Barbed wire was rolled out along the entire 87 mile perimeter of West Berlin within a few days, but construction continued for decades, as the barbed wire gradually was uprgraded to a fully fortified concrete wall. Again, tensions increased, troops were mobilized on both sides, but war did not erupt. On October 22nd, the American chief of mission was stopped while crossing into East Berlin, a violation of the Potsdam agreements. On October 27th, he again crossed into East Berlin, this time with tanks accompanying him to the checkpoint. The Russians brought up tanks of their own. For 18 hours, Russian and American tanks, both with orders to fire if fired up, faced each other at Checkpoint Charlie. It was the closest the two sides had come to actual combat since the beginning of the Cold War. After numerous conversations, Kennedy and Khruschev agreed to withdraw their tanks, and the Cold War thermometer dropped by a couple degrees. Phase 5 20 players in 4 groups will play 5-player games on the Berlin map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round.
show: Phase 6
In 1959 Fidel Castro succeeded in leading a Communist revolution in Cuba. The CIA, encouraged by its successful counter-revolutions in Iran and Guatemala, organised the Bay of Pigs counter-invasion, which failed disastrously.
On October 14th, 1962, a spy plane brought back photographic proof that Soviet missiles were being deployed in Cuba. The American response was a naval blockade of the island. The next 13 days saw heavy deployments and mobilizations of air and naval forces by both sides. On October 27th, for the first time actual gunfire was exchanged between the two sides. On the morning of the 27th, a U2 spy plane was shot down over Cuba by Russian missiles, and later that day a Russian submarine was forced to surface by American depth charges. The submarine was equipped with nuclear torpedoes, and the captain ordered them to be fired. He could not complete the firing, however, without the agreement of his deputy, who refused. The deputy, named Vasili Arkhipov, has been called the "man who saved the world." Brought back from the brink of war, Kennedy and Khruschev made a secret deal the next day, under which the Russian missiles were removed from Cuba, while American missiles were removed from Turkey. Kennedy also agreed to attempt no further invasions of Cuba. Both Kennedy and Khruschev have been criticized within their respective nations for giving up too much in the deal. Phase 6 16 players in 2 groups will play 8-player games on the Cuban Missile Crisis map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round.
show: Phase 7
After having come to the edge of open war in the Berlin Crisis and the Cuban Missile Crisis, the superpowers both retreated from such brinksmanship and reverted to proxy wars. Communist or communist-sympathetic revolutions either continued or began across much of Africa and Asia. To a large degree, many of the revolutionaries were not, strictly speaking, communist in their outlook, but they turned to the Soviet Union for aid because the regimes they were fighting were either European colonial empires or post-colonial governments with strong ties to the West.
Phase 7 14 players in 2 groups will play 7-player games on the Eastern Hemisphere map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round.
show: phase 8
In Indochina, a proxy war spun out of control, as successive American governments attempted to save an anti-communist regime in South Vietnam from its communist counterpart in North Vietnam. Starting with a small handful of observers and trainers, the American mission in South Vietnam gradually became a full-scale military deployment. It is a popular myth that the Americans "lost" the Vietnam war. In fact, in every single engagement the Americans succeeded in beating the NVA back. The American withdrawal took place because the War had become a political liability at home. At the time of the withdrawal, not a single town in the South was under Viet Cong or NVA control.
Nonetheless, American support was withdrawn from the South, while Russian and Chinese support for the North continued unabated. Only 22 months after the American withdrawal was the North confident enough to resume the war. Fully rested and re-equipped with brand-new Soviet military hardware, including 700 new tanks, the NVA was able to finally defeat the South. Phase 8 12 players in 2 groups will play 6-player games on the Indochina map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round.
show: Phase 9
During the era of proxy wars, the U.S. had somewhat de-emphasized its nuclear arsenal while the Soviets had built more nukes at an increasing rate. By 1978, for the first time, the Russian stockpile of 25393 nuclear warheads exceeded the American stockpile of 24826. Soviet military expenditures by this point constituted 25% of their GNP. Although that level of expenditure was slowly bankrupting the Soviet economy, this was not clearly visible to the outside world. With new (largely anti-American) revolutions overthrowing the governments of Nicaragua and Iran, it seemed to many that the West was losing the Cold War.
In 1979 the Soviets sent troops into Afghanistan to prop up their puppet regime there, and Jimmy Carter withdrew from the SALT II talks in protest. He immediately set in motion a large buildup of U.S. forces, including both a conventional buildup and the new MX nuclear missile. This buildup was continued by Ronald Reagan, who also began the Strategic Defense Initiative, revived the B-1 bomber program, and deployed Pershing II missiles in Germany. The years from 1979 to 1983 saw the largest peacetime military buildup in U.S. history, and coupled with the continuing buildup by the Soviets it constituted a new arms race. Phase 9 10 players in 2 groups will play 5-player games on the Arms Race map. The first player eliminated in each game is out of the tournament. The remainder will go on to the next round. The finals will be different from the first nine phases.
show: Phase 10 - Finals - The nuclear cataclysm
Phase 10: The nuclear cataclysm In the final round, the eight remaining players will face off simultaneously on all nine maps used in the tournament thus far. (The Arms Race map, which was used in two phases thus far, will therefore be played twice.) These games will be Terminator, and players will score 1 point for each kill and two extra points for winning a game. The player who scores the most points in the Cataclysm phase will win the tournament.
For more information on this series, visit the
History of Nuclear War Series InfoCentre