45

The archeological evidence would be the presence of long lived fission products or activated material from neutrons of fusion bombs. Ice cores from Antarctica (if the ice is not melted for global warming) or sediments would not only contain traces of the mentioned substances, but indicate exceptionally high levels of ash in the air only to be found in ...


43

My aunt and uncle were both stationed in Germany for many years as part of the US force that was ready to face the Soviets coming through the Fulda Gap. In the words of my uncle (who spent most of his time there in Tanks) they were a "speed bump". There was no way on earth that they could have stopped the Soviets in a stand up fight. They just didn't have ...


39

The US considered demonstrating the devastating effect of an atomic bomb before attacking Japan in an attempt to convince the Japanese to surrender without massive civilian casualties. They concluded that they could propose no technical demonstration likely to bring an end to the war. For the same reasons that the US didn't announce the existence of nuclear ...


35

It Depends It depends on the technology level of your futuristic society. If they already know about radiation and can detect it, then some radioactive isotopes will still remain. If they do not have advanced technology, then they will have to rely on digging up layers of soot/ash from the nuclear winter, or discovering vitrified remains. Radioactive ...


31

You asked for problems: Attribution of attacks: A goes to war against B. Suddenly, A's forward troops within the territory of B get nuked. There are no radar traces of missiles or aircraft, and data on nuclear and non-nuclear artillery shells is highly ambiguous. Who did it? Would A sacrifice a few of their own regiments to get B taken out by cat's paws? ...


23

No, and we thought they were (kinda) close to one The Germans probably could have made a bomb if they hadn't gotten caught up on the whole "heavy water" thing. In fact, Einstein warning FDR about German bomb efforts in his letter was part of what prompted the Manhattan project. Late in the war, the Germans tried to send the Japanese the Uranium they had, ...


22

HAMMER only works if the other countries can get their nukes in first, and completely destroy that countries' nuclear capacity, including nuclear submarines. MAD hinges on the fact that destroying a country does not make you survive. For example, Britain can still strike the capital city in retaliation long after the country has been reduced to ash. Rogue ...


21

Probably not. The place around Czechoslovakia borders was swarmed by nuclear mines, so if any attack would occur (and yes, there were plans for that), probably the Warszaw army would be stopped, but....Germany and Czechoslovakia would end as post-nuclear wasteland. If you are interested, you can put this article into google translator, it is really ...


21

It all depends on the kind and size of the H-bombs used. Current versions are way to feeble to do what you ask. For reference: $1\times 10^{17}$ J Energy released on the Earth's surface by the magnitude 9.1–9.3 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake $2\times 10^{17}$ J Yield of the Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear weapon ever tested (50 megatons) $4\times 10^{22}$ ...


16

The simple answer is no. The historical fallacy at the heart of this question is that Japan surrendered because the USA dropped two nuclear bombs on Japanese cities. It is considered that the real reason for Japan's surrender was the declaration of war against Japan by the Soviet Union. Japan was well aware that Russia had a score to settle with them over ...


14

The first thing is that archaeologists in the future will know we were here, and that we had some pretty sophisticated tech, because we'll get fossil plastic imprints. Fossil shells are commonplace throughout the geological record. We have enough plastic junk around that some of it will be lost in mud pits. Over years that plastic bottle or whatever will ...


14

One, detonated in the Van Allen Belt, at least in theory. It goes like this, the modern world is hyper-reliant on electricity and electrically powered machinery, so in theory the EMP from an enhanced nuclear weapon is potentially many times more destructive than the physical explosion and fireball. The idea is that the Van Allens will magnify the EMP effect ...


14

I don't think it's game-theory stable, because a defecting nation can force the game-ending loss decision in the hands of cooperators: I, leader of Foostanistan offer an ultimatum: I intend a limited nuclear strike on Barbaria to end our long-stalemated conventional war. If, in response, we detect an inbound HAMMERing, we will explode cobalt-laced bombs ...


13

This question hinges on the timing; the year matters quite a lot. Warsaw Pact (Soviet) and NATO (American) strategy varied over time, but we have recently declassified evidence from both sides to inform our estimations. In 1979 the USSR had planned an operation rather bluntly named "Seven Days to the River Rhine" (declassified 2005 by Polish authorities). ...


13

Geologically, no. Physically moving the masses involved to split the USA into essentially four new tectonic plates with oceans between them is far beyond the range of even the strongest nuclear weapons. Even if nukes could move that much mass in a short time, it would inject enough energy into the biosphere as to wipe earth clean. Consider that man's ...


11

No, it’s utterly implausible. A mutant isn’t a person with special powers, it’s a person with a genetic disease, varying from trivial to fatal depending on the nature of the mutation. A very very few mutations give some selective advantage and enter the general gene pool of the species, but your screamers need a completely impossible number of different ...


9

Soviet military art in that era was essentially WWII on steroids, using masses of troops at decisive points to overwhelm the enemy (supported with "Fire corridors" laid down by mass artillery). Soviet operational art included heavy use of deception, "radio electronic combat" and special forces to confuse their enemies as to where the decisive point was ...


9

According to an answer to a previous question, it is possible to support one person per 800 $m^2$. Converting that to square kilometers, we get 1250 people. Converting to square miles, about 3200 people. Roughly half the world's land is used for farming, as per National Geographic. So cut that down to 1600 people. Let's assume that the original estimate ...


9

It all depends on whether the belligerent parties are sane or not. If the belligerent parties are sane, then a modern form of the Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) doctrine applies. Consider for example the position of the United Kingdom or France, who maintain just enough nuclear warheads to be certain of their ability to hit Moscow. (Moscow is protected by ...


8

It seems that what you want is something that retards human problem-solving skills. This can be done with disease or toxins. Exposure to certain types of disease or toxins. Diseases like whooping cough, measles, or meningitis can cause intellectual disability if medical care is delayed or inadequate. Exposure to poisons like lead or mercury may also ...


7

This is an "I want X to happen, but I don't want to deal with the consequences of X" question. Anything that would evaporate that much water would devastate all life on earth. Nothing man can do (today) can do that. So, let's look at a natural possibility, no matter how fantastic. The water needs to go somewhere inaccessible. The only place it can go is ...


6

Fossil Evidence There are millions of bits of dinosaurs, and around 10,000 "full" dinosaur fossils. Dinosaurs lasted for about 160 million years, and died off about 65 million years ago. In terms of biomass, I'll assume humans are about as dominant as dinosaurs (all of them together) are. Dinosaurs left 1 artifact every 160 years on the planet (and one "...


6

No this would not have deterred the U.S. For the concept of Mutually Assured Destruction to work, there has to have been a demonstration in a real city as to the effects. The United States is bigger than Japan, and we had more bases in different places. It would not have been too difficult at this point in the world to run an air blockade on Japan. As other ...


6

The US had the capability to not only build a nuke, but get and drop it on Japan, whereas by 1944 Japan had no such capacity. Thus, not many worries that Japan might nuke us. Also, if we knew where they were developing the bomb, that would have been our prime target. Even if it were in Manchukuo, we'd have found a way to bomb it, no matter the expense, ...


5

By the late-war period (mid-1944 onward) when Japan could reasonably be expected to have an atom bomb, Japan had no way to reliably deliver such a bomb to a target in the United States. Enola Gay and Bockscar were able to drop their bombs unhindered because Japan was desperately short on fuel, ammunition, and aircraft. Japanese policy was to ignore single ...


5

There could also be geologic evidence in the form of shatter cones (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shatter_cone). They are typically indicators of meteorite impacts but they can also be formed by a nuclear explosion.


5

They have forfeited their sovereignty as a nation There are four different reasons for which a country may lose its sovereignty: Violations of The Genocide Convention Violations of The Non-Proliferation Treaty Giving aid, comfort and harbour to wanted terrorists Threatening another country's sovereignty This tin-pot country of yours just nuked three of ...


5

Able Archer ('83) was a pretty close call; while that's somewhat later than the question asks for it does give one a historical reference point. Earlier post-WWII conflicts in Hungary ('56) and Czechoslovakia ('68) are ominous enough points to extrapolate from. I for one certainly wasn't looking forward to the 50% est survival rate of an Atlantic AirSea ...


5

Nuclear explosions can indeed trigger earthquakes. But they can only release the energy already stored in Earth's crust, they can not create any new geological faults. Magnitude 8 earthquake is comparable to 15 megaton bomb in the amount of energy released, and magnitude 9 earthquake - to 500 megaton bomb. We need much bigger bombs to split tectonic plates, ...


5

This might work if nuclear weapons are very expensive and somewhat limited in numbers (say like India vs Pakistan), since the size and amount of retaliation is going to be limited. But what happens if you have a large power like the Soviet Union or the United States which is geographically large and has a very large arsenal of its own? The US and USSR had ...


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