Newly Declassified Documents Reveal What Nuclear War Would Look Like

Annie Jacobsen presents a scenario for a nuclear war, set in the present day, where North Korea attacked the United States.

Newly Declassified Documents Reveal What Nuclear War Would Look Like

The trigger, according to the book, is a miscommunication.

In an increasingly uncertain world, the spectre of nuclear conflict remains a haunting possibility. The outbreak of such a war would unleash unimaginable chaos and devastation on a global scale. The global situation is arguably the most dangerous since the Cuban missile crisis, with the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine and conflicts brewing in other parts of the world. Against this backdrop, Pulitzer Prize finalist Annie Jacobsen has frighteningly outlined in her book 'Nuclear War: A Scenario' what will happen if a nuclear war breaks out today.

"For decades, people were under the assumption that the nuclear threat ended when the Berlin Wall went down. Nuclear weapons and the whole nomenclature around them have been so rarefied it's been reserved as a subject for those in the know," Ms Jacobsen told The Guardian.

Her book is based on interviews with presidential advisers, cabinet members, nuclear weapons engineers and countless experts, and newly declassified documents.

The book presents a scenario for a nuclear war, set in the present day. It takes Robert Oppenheimer's famous quotation of the Bhagavad Gita - "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds" - to its logical conclusion by providing a second-by-second, minute-by-minute and hour-by-hour breakdown of the nuclear war scenario.

The nightmare scenario talks about North Korea launching a surprise missile attack against the US, leading Washington to respond with a salvo of 50 Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), as per Forbes.

This would lead to chaos, mass deaths and hysteria, says the book.

The portrait of the Armageddon is made more impactful by depiction of people turning to ash, birds falling from the sky and survivors die in agony form acute radiation sickness. And those who manage to survive all of that receive the consolation prize that is the drastic climatological shift known as nuclear winter.

The trigger, according to Ms Jacobsen's book, is a miscommunication, an unforeseen technological malfunction, as per Forbes. She has not named any of the key players (presidents, dictators, spies, generals and radar technicians).

"My jaw dropped at so much of what I learned, which was not classified but had just been removed or rather sanitised from the public discourse. I found myself constantly surprised by the insanity of what I learned, coupled with the fact that it's all there for the public to know," the author told The Guardian.

The outlet said the number of nuclear warheads have declined from 70,000 to just over 12,000, but this number too is enough to reduce the Earth to a radioactive desert.