In an alternate timeline, the Soviet Union doesn’t fall like it does in our universe, and the US and USSR stay enemies until the year 2068, when nuclear war breaks out between the United and the USSR. My question is, what other countries, besides the two I just mentioned, would be targeted in nuclear war?


So, the Soviet Union in the mid 70s, reformed their government to be less strict and grant its citizens more freedoms. This led to the government being much more powerful and it stayed one of the four main superpowers, along with the USA, China, and the European Union.

In this world, China is much more communist than it is today, but just like our universe China is the country with the largest population.

The European Union is similar to ours ( except Brexit never happens) and it includes most of the Western European countries, except Sweden and Switzerland.

America, do to bring much under competition with the other superpowers, has more advanced tech, about 30 years beyond our own timeline. The global arsenal is about 78,000 nuclear weapons.

Japan is an ally of the United States, and so is South Korea, but North Korea was annexed by China.

Australia is part of a new government called the Oceania commonwealth, of which New Zealand is also a member. They have publicly stated that they are allied with the EU and the USA, making them an enemy of the Soviets. They are the 6th most powerful superpower.

The fifth being the middle eastern alliance, a government that has tried to stay neutral, but since they are raising their oil prices for the Soviet Union, they are seen as an enemy. Terrorism still happens in this region but not to the extent as in our universe ( 9/11 doesn’t happen)

  • $\begingroup$ I like the question, but I suspect it's way too broad. Ultimately while you've provided a lot of detail about the major blocs, individual countries and their capabilities are still vague. You mention that Brexit doesn't happen, but does (for example) Australia align more with USA or EU? Also, you've missed out the fact that even in today's world, Asia (not just China) is building into a massive economic bloc of it's own, with its own agenda. What would (for example) a Japan / Korea / Indonesia / Malaysia economic alliance be capable of and a threat to whom? $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Mar 4 '18 at 8:01
  • $\begingroup$ @Tim B I will edit my question $\endgroup$ – Bryan 2 Mar 4 '18 at 8:02
  • $\begingroup$ Before the question can be asked, some important questions need to be answered. #1 Do Britain, France, Israel, Pakistan and India still have nukes? #2 Why did the war start (just a pissing match between US and USSR, or were others involved)? #3 Was there a ground war before the nukes started flying? #4 Where was the war? #5 Since the PRC stayed Communist, that implies that their economy did not modernize as much, which means they're still poor. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Mar 4 '18 at 8:03
  • $\begingroup$ Yes they still have nukes $\endgroup$ – Bryan 2 Mar 4 '18 at 8:10
  • $\begingroup$ In "total" nuclear war, ALL the countries would be targeted. There's no reason not to hit them all. $\endgroup$ – Aify Mar 4 '18 at 8:13

Ultimately when it comes to total nuclear war, you can expect ALL countries to be struck, especially when you have an ordnance count like what you describe. The reason the war starts is irrelevant. Having nuclear weapons makes you dangerous to others; using them makes you a threat. Any power launching their weapons is going to have to know that retaliation will come from somewhere, or at least that a pre-emptive strike from a neutral nuclear power is imminent as they've shown the willingness to use these weapons on their enemies; it's only a matter of time before we (the neutral party) is seen as an enemy.

From that perspective, everyone will go in one strike. The only thing that we really need to account for is the order, or the priority of different strikes. So, the breakdown will go something like this;

1) Enemy States
2) Neutral Nuclear States
3) Neutral Economically powerful States
4) Friends of All of the Above

Missile silos will be targeted first, then major cities. Perhaps very large infrastructure like dams or nuclear power stations. The rest you leave.

Why? Because you're trying to defeat your enemies (and potential enemies), not wipe them out completely. There's a good reason for that. You still need arable land to farm to feed your own survivors. If someone else retaliates and wipes out everything you can think of in your own land, whatever people survive are going to need to migrate, and take over lands of others. So you leave something for them to conquer, and generally make sure everyone domestically knows where that will be. By convention, everyone else will do something similar. This means that you've wiped out entire economies and technological capabilities and it could take generations for that to be reinstated, assuming the knowledge survives.

Ultimately such a war is going to make the earth a hard place to survive on for some time. Nuclear winter, major infrastructure and population centres gone, massive numbers of people dead and the survivors left with little to no leadership or governmental infrastructure. The order of destruction almost becomes inconsequential dealing with such a war.

So; the question becomes, where would you like to be in such a case?

The answer is Broome. Broome is a community in North-Western Australia. Australia has the geographic size of the USA, but all the major cities and are based in the South-Eastern part of the country. Even Perth and Darwin, the closest capital cities, are thousands of kilometres away. So; even if Australia gets hit, this town, close the equator, good fishing community, is largely free of radiation (depending on weather conditions), and can potentially start some agrarian practices (along with fishing) to survive. In a nuclear winter, it's possible (though unlikely) that its proximity to the equator may make it more livable than most of the major population centres on Earth that reside far closer to the poles (except for Asia and the Middle East of course).

Broome's risk of radiation contamination is ironically more likely to come from Jakarta (Indonesia's capital) than from an Australian target. Even in such a case, it's still remote enough to be relatively safe.

All in all, this is still a bad scenario and given that all targets are likely to retaliate according to the same priority list, pretty much every country will have inbound within minutes of this war breaking out.

Einstein once said that he didn't know with what weapons WW3 would be fought, but that he knew that WW4 would be fought with sticks and stones.

Even in this scenario, he'd be right.

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  • $\begingroup$ With the exception of a few military bases in Australia, the Sovs wouldn't target the southern hemisphere. $\endgroup$ – RonJohn Mar 4 '18 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ Unfortunately, they know about Broome, and all belligerents have put it at the top of their lists out of pure malice $\endgroup$ – Kilisi Mar 4 '18 at 18:54
  • $\begingroup$ Not forgetting Pine Gap and the US bases in Darwin. By Broome, I assume you mean North West Cape. The OP's scenario suggests Oceania may have nuclear weapons. Then Southern Hemisphere countries will be targeted. $\endgroup$ – a4android Mar 4 '18 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ @RonJohn Regional powers would be pretty high on the list of targets if the war was going badly. that means indonesia, south africa, nigeria, brazil, etc would all be "sideways targetted". $\endgroup$ – Famous Jameis Aug 11 at 18:42

I would go for the "Republic of Nauru", just saying.


Maybe in an alternative timeline, this small country had a deposit of Unobtainum, that makes them a threat to world stability. Instead of the Obesity capital of the world.


Nauru is a 21 square kilometres (8 sq mi)[1] oval-shaped island in the southwestern Pacific Ocean


Fauna is sparse on the island, because of a lack of vegetation and the consequences of phosphates mining. Many indigenous birds have disappeared or become rare owing to destruction of their habitat


Nauru had 11,347 residents as of July 2016,


By measure of mean body mass index (BMI) Nauruans are the most overweight people in the world;[102] 97% of men and 93% of women are overweight or obese.[102] In 2012 the obesity rate was 71.7%.[104]

Nauru has the world's highest level of type 2 diabetes, with more than 40% of the population affected.[105] Other significant dietary-related problems on Nauru include kidney disease and heart disease


There are no personal taxes in Nauru. The unemployment rate is estimated to be 90%, and of those who have jobs, the government employs 95%.

In the 1990s, Nauru became a tax haven and offered passports to foreign nationals for a fee.[84] The inter-governmental Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF) identified Nauru as one of 15 "non-cooperative" countries in its fight against money laundering. During the 1990s, it was possible to establish a licensed bank in Nauru for only $25,000 with no other requirements

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    $\begingroup$ :) While I like this one, the problem is going to be viability of Agriculture. Nauru has one of the largest incidences of diabetes per capita of any nation because they now live largely on processed foods. They've sold all of the minerals and nutrients that made their soil so fertile long ago now so they'd have trouble growing enough crops to survive. That said, a nuclear winter would have to be good for their prospects given that global warming is threatening to inundate their island. $\endgroup$ – Tim B II Mar 4 '18 at 9:44
  • $\begingroup$ I figured I'd go for the most ridiculous answer I could think of, lol. The good news here is it would only take one or 2 nukes in the megaton range to take them out. And from what I read, it might be doing them a favor. Poor B@....rds.. So if anyone from Nauru reads this, but considering their population is like 11k I doubt it, nothing personal. It seems like a traditional pillage the land by colonial powers sort of bad deal they got. $\endgroup$ – ArtisticPhoenix Mar 4 '18 at 9:50
  • $\begingroup$ @ArtisticPhoenix I actually grew up on Nauru, in my time it was the richest country on earth per capita. But it cannot support 2000 on it's own resources if it couldn't import anything, most of the land is not able to be cultivated except a fringe around the edges. Wasn't colonial pillaging, it was corrupt leaders, same thing happening to most of the independent Pacific. Considering I used to walk around the whole Island, it wouldn't even take a nuke to end it, conventional bombs would easily do the trick $\endgroup$ – Kilisi Mar 4 '18 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ Oh, sorry to hear about the state it's in, I hate seeing places and people being pillaged for profits. It's one of mankinds less redeeming qualities. And the environmental impacts can be hard or practically impossible to reverse. $\endgroup$ – ArtisticPhoenix Mar 5 '18 at 3:56

The countries below might be targeted in a total nuclear war

1) U.S.A - The U.S has a very strong nuclear defense program and has the richest economy, therefore opposing countries would want to throw the U.S into total anarchy.

2) North Korea - While small the country has a large nuclear defense program and since North Korea is such a secretive country that doesn't like many other countries, so it's safe to assume that North Korea is right behind the U.S.A.

3) Any other country with a stronger nuclear program that could wipe a bigger country out.

3A) Iran

3B) Russia/USSR

3C) China

The least likely to get nuked country is Canada. Canada is pretty much allies with everyone and it would be shocking if they weren't the last ones to join the war, IF, they ever did.

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  • $\begingroup$ I would nuke Canada first, just saying. PS Canada is right next door to me.... :) Oh, and they still owe me a can of pepper spray they took from my wife at the border ... $\endgroup$ – ArtisticPhoenix Mar 4 '18 at 14:06
  • $\begingroup$ canada has many of the return bases for the nuclear bombers. $\endgroup$ – Famous Jameis Aug 11 at 18:42

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