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The effects of Global Thermonuclear War

As written by Wm Robert Johnson

A mushroom cloud in the aftermath of a nuclear explosion.

12:00 midnight CDT 5/6 August 1988: The nuclear exchange is generally over. In the U.S. 5,800 warheads detonated totaling 3,900 mt. Soviet and NATO weapons successfully used in Europe numbered 3,300 (1,200 mt) (excluding tactical weapons). About 6,100 warheads (most of them American, but some Chinese, British, and French) exploded in the U.S.S.R. with a total yield of 1,900 mt. Mainland China (P.R.C.) received 900 (detonating) warheads (1,300 mt) from its northern neighbor. Other areas receiving at least a dozen warheads include Canada, North and South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Greenland, Puerto Rico, India, Israel, Australia, Guam, Cuba, Syria, and Egypt. Hundreds of other nuclear weapons have been used in naval combat, in troop combat in West Germany and along the U.S.S.R./P.R.C. border, and in defending the Soviet Union from nuclear attack. About 50% of the global strategic and theater nuclear arsenal has been used. About 10% was launched but did not reach a target and 30% was destroyed on the ground. Altogether, World War III has involved the detonation of 18,000 warheads with a total yield of 8,500 mt. Including tactical weapons, there were 67,000 nuclear weapons in the world a day ago; now, there are 10,000 left.

In Texas 6,400,000 have been killed (38% of its original population). Of the 10,400,000 survivors, 3,000,000 have severe injuries and 2,000,000 have lesser injuries. In the Rio Grande Valley 340,000 have been killed (49%) and 90,000 injured (13%); in Travis County over 400,000 are dead (75%). In the U.S. about 110,000,000 people have died altogether, with the 135,000,000 survivors including 30,000,000 injured. In the U.S.S.R. about 40,000,000 have been killed out of a pre-war population of 285,000,000. Mainland China has had 100,000,000 killed out of a population of 1,090,000,000. Examples of other countries: United Kingdom, 20,000,000 killed (out of 57,000,000); Denmark, 2,700,000 killed (out of 5,100,000); Australia, 3,000,000 killed (out of 16,000,000). In Mexico over 3,000,000 have been killed, mostly in cities on the border with the U.S. Throughout the world about 400,000,000 have died.

Despite reading a lot of cold war history (I am reading May Day: Eisenhower, Khrushchev and the U2 Affair now), I was stunned by the amount of nuclear warheads that existed in 1988.  67,000 nuclear weapons is mind boggling.

Today there is still over 23,000 nuclear warheads.

Status of World Nuclear Forces in 2009