|World War III|
Map of the War's Belligerents in 2051
|1.7 million||1 million|
|Casualties and losses|
World War III (WWIII or WW3)also known as the Third World War, was a global war that lasted from 2051 to 2055, though some related conflicts in Asia began before 2051. It involved the vast majority of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Alliance and the Coalition. It was the most widespread war in history, involving over 5 million people across the planet. Unlike the two previous World Wars, World War III was not a "total war," but rather a precision war. Marked with few civilian casualties, the destruction of critical infrastructure points, hypersonic precision strikes of enemy military assets, all under the threat of nuclear retaliation for any action that went to far, it only resulted in an estimated 110,000 fatalities. These made World War III the deadliest conflict of the 21st Century, but was relatively bloodless compared to the previous World Wars.
The Turkish-Japanese Coalition aimed to dominate Eurasia as a new Superpower, with japan controlling East Asia and Turkey controlling the Middle East, Balkans, and Southern Russia. Japan was already at war with the People's Republic of China in 2048, but the world war is generally said to have begun on January 1, 2051 with the attack on the US Orbital Defense Network and subsequent declarations of war on Turkey by Poland and India and declarations of war on Japan by the United States and Korea.
World War III altered the political alignment and social structure of the world. The great powers that were the victors of the war—the United States, Poland, China, the United Kingdom, and India all formed alliance systems that directly cooperated with the United States. The US remained the world's dominant power, while the sphere's of Turkey and Japan were curtailed.
The start of the war is generally held to be 1 January 2051, beginning with the Japanese attack on American forces in Space; The United States, Korea, and the Republic of China declared war on Japan two days later. Other dates for the beginning of war include the start of the Third Sino-Japanese War on 8 June 2048.
Others follow the American historian Leland Sambo, who held that the Sino-Japanese War and war in the Pacific and the Southeastern Europe occurred simultaneously and the two wars merged in 2051. This article uses the conventional dating. Other starting dates sometimes used for World War III include the Turkish invasion of the Don Republic on 3 October 2046.
The exact date of the war's end is also not universally agreed upon. It was generally accepted at the time that the war ended at the ceasefire of 22 July 2055 (V-T Day), rather than the formal surrender of Turkey(2 August 2055); it is even claimed in some American histories that it ended on V-J Day (8 May 2055). A Treaty of Peace with Turkey was signed in 2057, to formally tie up any loose ends such as compensation to be paid to Allied prisoners of war who had been victims of abuse.
Climate Change started the Third World War. Perhaps that's a gross oversimplification, but its the popular consensus of those who lived through that age. The world had just gotten used to the new coastlines with the loss of the South Greenland Ice Sheet, but in 2039 to 2041 the already tense geopolitical conditions were through into overdrive with the loss of Antarctica's coast-lying ice sheets, driving sea levels up to just under 30 meters above Pre-Anthropocene levels. All but a handful of the Earth's greatest cities were lost beneath the waves, and only the hearts of once great megalopolises survived. Billions of people were displaced, driving border protection policies by some countries while others aggressively tried to take advantage of potential additions to the workforce. Some of these people desperately tried to flee for the new off-Earth colonies, but Mars quickly reached pre-terraforming capacity, while the outer planets could barely handle a few million more citizens. Most were left on Earth to flee where they could. The most dramatic instances of this second wave of refugees/immigration to the developed world were seen in the low-lying countries that had already contributed substantially to the immigration boom in coastal Russia and North America. The newcomer was the former United Kingdom; with the storm of 2043, London and many major British cities were left underwater, with little hope of reversing the damage. With Australia's drought leaving the land virtually uninhabitable, and few other options available to them, a great British migration to the Americas occurred in late 2043 thorough much of the decade. With the Atlantic seaboard flooded, most settled in the American heartland like many refugees had for the the last decade. Those that did not settle in the United States made it to Newfoundland, and the newly independent first nations in the Arctic Circle to capitalize on the demand for skilled labor in the petroleum industry. Newfoundland went so far as to achieve independence from Canada proper in 2048, taking advantage of geographic isolation via Quebec. What remained of the United Kingdom quickly fractured. Scotland formalized its independence in 2044, Ireland reunified after the British military pulled out of Ulster to secure the British mainland, but to secure Britain itself the United States positioned 10,000 military and humanitarian operators in the former UK. By 2045 the British Parliament dissolved the monarchy to take direct control of its remaining lands to secure population interests, and the Republic of Britain became little more than an American protectorate. On the mainland Germany and France found themselves in a similar position with the Dutch and Belgians who had lost the majority of their nations to the Sea, and formally annexed these territories in 2049.
In the Pacific, facing a demographic disaster from an aging population and the loss of Tokyo to the Sea despite an immense government effort to construct a robust sea wall network, Japan began more aggressive campaigns into Pacific Russia, China and South East Asia to secure territory for its displaced population, which flooded by the millions into the Pacific Russian territories and Manchuria. Securing their economic and social claims meant a Naval buildup that conflicted directly with US naval interests, and despite formally cordial relations, the Japanese invested heavily into the construction of satellite tracking and ship destroying missile bases in the South Pacific. By middle of the 2040s Japan stood as America's chief rival in Earth Orbit and on the Moon, stationing civilian and military facilities at in Earth Orbit the Lagrange points and on the far side of the moon (though in this area they American presence will still dwarf that of Japan.)
Climate Change (2025-41)
Rising sea levels, culminating with the lost of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet in 2041, were a major driving force of Japanese action in mainland Asia that led to the war. Japan lost a great deal of territory to the rising sea levels over the last 20 years, forcing a pseudo-colonization of neighboring territories in Asia. The flooding resulted in the military occupation of Chita and Kamchatka and the creation of Extraterritorial Districts all along the North Pacific Basin; in addition, it exposed the weakness of the United Nations as a force to preserve peace. The UN levied sanctions against Japan, who had simultaneously been petitioning the organization for Security Council permanent membership, driving Japan to resign in protest.
Japan Invades China (2048)
In July 2048, Japan captured the communist Chinese capital of Beijing after instigating the attack on their Manchurian satellite tracking station, which culminated in the Japanese campaign to invade all of China. The Koreans quickly signed a non-aggression pact with China to lend materiel support, effectively cementing China's alliance with the Taiwan government and the Americans. The Communist Chinese deployed the People's Liberation Army to retake the capital, and with pressure from the US, the Japanese relented, falling back to Manchuria and their Special Economic Districts in the outskirts of Beijing.
For the next two years Japan would conduct a number of similar "peace-keeping" activities throughout China, installing puppet governments and expanding their territory through formally legal means. Containment strategy by the Americans forced Japan to only take incremental gains. The Chinese communists, furious over the international system's seeming abandonment of them, resigned from the UN after being called to recant their declaration of war with Japan.
Friday Revolution (2040)
War along the Turkish axis defined the late 30s and much of the 40s as Turkey faced resistance groups to its power and conventional conflicts to secure its interests, culminating in the the Friday Revolution in Egypt. Following the flooding of Cairo, rioters in Egypt combated with the miltary led government, driving Turkey to deploy peacekeepers to secure regional interests. These peacekeepers would aid in the instillation of a pro-Turkey moderate-Islamist regime, and enabled turkey to control the Suez Straight. With a position in Egypt, Turkey pushed its sphere west into North Africa, becoming the decisive power in Western Eurasia. Israel, already on friendly terms with the Turks and seeking an accommodation with the growing power, and Turkey not wanting to enter into a conflict with the small, but powerful enclave, entered into a mutual non-aggression pact in late 2040. Control of the Suez Straight meant control over Arabia, despite endless conflict with Arab insurgents, and presented itself as a major threat to Iranian interests.
Eurasian occupations and agreements
As the dominant power over the oil and Natural Gas of Southern Russia to the Arabian Peninsula, Turkey found itself as a natural Ally of the Japanese, and established a formal Alliance in 2043, the Eurasian Trade and Security Coalition. While Formal alliances of this type were unusual in this age, the necessity of the global climate and refugee crisis drove these two powers to formalize their interests to secure mutual interests against the rising tide and against American interests. This event forced the United States to realize the new reality in Eurasia, as Turkey and Japan posed a credible risk to uniting the continent under a single power (though not a single state). With an economic depression in the Arab region, Turkey positioned itself as a neo-Islamist power, gathering support from pan-Turkics and Islamic fundamentalists. Facing mutual threats on two fronts, the United States increased support to India and China dramatically, going so far as to support Chinese nationalists over American and Taiwanese puppet regimes in Southern China for the sake of regional cohesion. By 2045, Poland, supported in the US effort to counter the Turks, brought Slovenia and Croatia into the Visegrad Group, despite a limited Turkish Presence in Former Bosnia. The Eurozone watched this developing crisis intensely, playing a game of wait and see, but finding itself on increasingly more amicable terms with the Turks, not wanting to see a United power on their Eastern Border again, and Germany once again made into a battlefield. At this juncture Germany began to a quiet effort to aid the Turks in every way short of war with Poland, by imposing greater influence on Danish and Croatian business interests to prevent Polish access to the Atlantic and therefore the United States.
The Americans pursued an extremely effective policy of containment against this new Coalition, arming the Poles, Chinese, Indians, and Koreans against the Turks and the Japanese, a policy that in turn drove the Japanese and Turks to increase their military readiness, and so on, driving the planet to war. With a halt in American trade of high tech goods to prevent any technology transfer, Japan and Turkey were left believing a full blockade could be next. With America supporting nationalists efforts in Arabia, Egypt, Russia, and the Ukraine, the Turks were convinced that war would be the next inevitable act by the Americans to cripple them. As such, war plans by the Turks and Japanese began to take shape.
Balkan crisis (2050)
The key American military threat no longer lied at Sea, but in Space. Since the Space Boom began in the late 2010s the United States had been quietly increasing its military presence in Earth Orbit and on the Moon, protective of valuable energy, mining, and manufacturing operations on Near Earth Asteroids and the lunar surface. During the 2030s the United States reached out to several contractors it had worked with on the commercial mining of lunar Helium-3 to develop increased infrastructure for commercial and eventually military ventures. Gradually the US abandoned the costly and ineffective policy of deploying overburdened infantrymen and petroleum burning vehicles to far corners of the planet to exert its power, to a system of rapid response, force projection technologies that could operate from mobile sea-based platforms and from US Soil directly. These systems still required a global command system, however and to that end the US began the construction of an extensive network of command and control satellites, all managed by three geostationary positioned Orbital Command Stations. Built in secret at the Tycho Shipyards on the moon, the Orbital Command Stations networked with unmanned spy satellites, refueling and repair facilities and orbital bombardment stations. No longer relying on vulnerable land based command centers, the United States could project its power with minimum effort and superb accuracy. Primary command and control moved to the Orbital Command Stations to limit the number of failure points, with space based systems seeming invulnerable to smaller powers. OCS Eisenhower was stationed over Uganda, OCS Kennedy over Papua New Guinea, and the main command station, OCS Reagan was stationed over Ecuador. These stations constituted the primary threat to the Turks and Japanese. Commanding fleets of hypersonic unmanned aircraft and coordinating Naval support around the planet, the Orbital Command Stations could impose devastating blockades on the Turks and Japanese. By 2050 war plans were well underway, and Japan new that to secure its regional interests it had to destroy the American command structure in space, and prevent any future launches by capturing the American manufacturing and military installations on the Moon. As the Japanese prepare for their attack, the Turks stage a crisis in the Balkans, pushing the Poles to the absolute edge of war, even allowing facilities in the Caucasus to be attacked by Polish drones. While the Geneva peace conference is being mediated by the Americans, Japan prepares to strike, hoping the Americans would rather accept a world with three great empires than risk its own empire in another World War.
Course of the War
War Breaks out in the Pacific
The destruction of the American Orbital Defense Network, and its air and naval fleets only prolonged the time until the Coalition defeat by the Alliance system of the United States. With an American decalartion of war, rather than the expected negotiations, Japan committed itself to an invasion of American assets on the Moon, believing that while they may not be able to win the war, they could at least secure their positions in Space. Japan easily captured the cities of Aldrin and Armstrong, securing the largest Helium-3 supplies outside of Triton, and pushed south to Tycho. Meanwhile American armored and robotic infantry units fought to secure Pacific territory from the Japanese, who had gone so far as to deploy troops to defend their assets in British Columbia and the Yukon, prompting an American invasion North into Canada.
The United States bought crucial time for its Alliance in a daring strike on Japanese and Turkish facilities on Earth with the limited air forces, while the newly commissioned Space Force deployed Marines to defend Tycho along side American personnel stationed in Lunar military bases. Eventually the space forces retook Armstrong and Aldrin, and expelled Japan from the moon after the capture of Horikoshi Base. Even with Germany and France's entrance into the war, and the invasion of Poland led by the Turks, defeat was ultimately assured after the deployment of OCS Retribution, a canceled Orbital Command Station that had been steadily upgraded in the Tycho shipyards over the last decade, and the deployment of next generation hypersonic drones by 2054. Germany and France separately sued for peace after US reinforcements arrived in Poland, and by 2055 Japan and Turkey, beaten back to their original claims, surrendered at the Geneva Peace Conference.
After four years of fighting, World War III ended not with a mushroom cloud, or with an occupation of the enemy capitals, but for the sake of sanity, a ceasefire, just like World War I. The United States agreed to honor Japan's interests in Chita and Kamchatka, while Japan agreed to remove all forces from the rest of mainland Eurasia. Turkey accepted a Chinese presence in Central Asia, but was aloud to keep its Empire. Poland, having suffered the most during the war, screamed for Turkish blood, and demanded territory concessions from Germany. The United States vetoed these calls, but did impose limitations on the size and type of Turkish and Japanese near-space weapon systems, and a ban on all military space activities by every nation, save for itself of course. This drove what is now known as the Amero-Polish Schism, as even Poland was forbidden from developing space based weapon systems. The war established several new paradigms, the shift of European power to the East, American dominance over Space and Sea, and the shift from total war to war fought by precision and armored infantrymen. Many new states were carved out of the peripheries of the coalition to provide buffer zones, and keep Eurasia in chaos, and power in balance.
The United States gained more than just a formal recognition of its claims to space (though these territories would not be given any kind of representation in Congress), it also found itself directly occupying British Columbia (Cascadia) and the Yukon after the Japanese surrender, as well as direct control over the Guyanas after the French sued for Peace. With Britain in shambles still, American and former British forces organized a hasty alliance in the former Eurozone to prevent Polish expansion westward, but the degree of integration of Britain into the American system became so entrenched that the British found themselves in a Free Association with the United States, along with Newfoundland and even Australia by the end of the year. The ecological disaster from the flood effected many other territories far worse, but Britain was one of the few that was loosing its culture. With more than 70% of its population now living in either Newfoundland or the United States, many are unsure of what the future holds.
Hope may come from the Earth Working Group, a consortium of businesses, NGOs and governments that for the last ten years have undertaken an ambitious project to apply terraforming techniques being used on Mars and Venus to Earth to cope with the effects of climate change. After a decade of work in Greenland, Antarctica, Kazakhstan, the Sahara Desert, and the Australian Outback, as well as several smaller projects from Utah to the Great Rift Valley, sea levels have already fallen to 20 meters above pre-Anthropocene levels. Operations continued uninterrupted by the war, as artificial basins were created in existing basins and ancient river beads. The excess of sand and rock would be used to reconstruct the world's beaches, and create hills around the new Seas and lakes to create an artificial rain-shadow effect. New forests and grasslands were planted along the Kanduna river's expanded tributary, and around the growing new seas and rivers to further promote a healthy biosphere. With the positioning of several solar shields in polar orbit above the North and South Poles a rapid drop in polar temperatures and return the North and South polar ice has begun as well, further dropping sea levels. The shields would not return the Glaciers of the South Greenland Ice Sheet, however, as this ice sheet was the last of those from the ice age, and was doomed regardless of human intervention. Rather the temperature would fall just enough to keep snow on the ground and Solar radiation from being absorbed by rock and soil to heat the pole.
The Arctic nations were, naturally, furious at this effort, as it would return their lands to frozen tundra year round, and destroy their booming economies. With oil outmoded by space based energy sources however, the rest of the world turned a deaf ear to these calls, and now it seems war between the Arctic nations and their larger southern neighbors may come only a few short years after the end of the last world war.