Cold War turns hot in the 1950s

edited April 2020 in Atomic
I'm working on a story about what World War III might have looked like if it had happened in the 1950s.

Key point is that we don't have (a lot of) intercontinental ballistic missiles at this point, so the war would largely be fought with World War II-era weapons: long-range bombers, tanks, and - of course - nukes.

I'm using Britain's Operation Unthinkable (1945) and America's Operation Dropshot (1949) for inspiration as well as 1964 and 1979 Warsaw Pact war planes, declassified after the Cold War by the governments of the Czech Republic and Poland.

It's hard to come by pictures, because NATO didn't do large-scale military exercises in Europe in this period.

I would also appreciate recommendations for maps.

Please share materials you think I ought to include here! Thanks.


  • I'm happy to report this story is now online, titled "World War III Without Missiles".

    I was able to find quite a few maps and illustrations.
  • Added another cool map to this story:

    It's from 1962. You'll notice Iran is still considered a Western ally.

  • Imagine the outcome of that war be a world like Beyond Aukfontein. But more retro and Mad Max.

  • Harry Turtledove's Hot War trilogy was on exactly this - and it had a very interesting way of delivering bombs long range: in long-range bombers whose crews would bail out and get on submarines after leveling a city.

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