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World war iii

The meaning of «world war iii»

World War III or the Third World War, often abbreviated as WWIII or WW3, are names given to a hypothetical third worldwide large-scale military conflict subsequent to World War I and World War II. The term has been in use since at least as early as 1941. Some apply it loosely to refer to limited or smaller conflicts such as the Cold War or the War on Terror, while others assume that such a conflict would surpass prior world wars in both scope and destructive impact.[1]

Due to the development and use of nuclear weapons near the end of World War II and their subsequent acquisition and deployment by many countries, the potential risk of a nuclear devastation of Earth's civilization and life is a common theme in speculations about a Third World War. Another major concern is that biological warfare could cause a very large number of casualties, either intentionally or inadvertently by an accidental release of a biological agent, the unexpected mutation of an agent, or its adaptation to other species after use. Large-scale apocalyptic events like these, caused by advanced technology used for destruction, could potentially make the Earth's surface uninhabitable.

Prior to the beginning of World War II (i.e., in 1939), World War I (1914–1918) was believed to have been "the war to end [all] wars", as it was popularly believed that never again could there possibly be a global conflict of such magnitude. During the interwar period, WWI was typically referred to simply as "The Great War". The outbreak of World War II in 1939 disproved the hope that mankind might have already "outgrown" the need for such widespread global wars.

With the advent of the Cold War in 1945 and with the spread of nuclear weapons technology to the Soviet Union, the possibility of a third global conflict became more plausible. During the Cold War years, the possibility of a Third World War was anticipated and planned for by military and civil authorities in many countries. Scenarios ranged from conventional warfare to limited or total nuclear warfare. At the height of the Cold War, the doctrine of Mutually Assured Destruction ("MAD") had been developed, in which determined an all-out nuclear confrontation would cause the annihilation of all of the states involved in the confrontation. The potential absolute destruction of the human race may have contributed to the ability of both American and Soviet leaders to avoid such a scenario.

Time magazine was an early adopter, if not originator, of the term "World War III". The first usage appears in its 3 November 1941 issue (preceding the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941) under its "National Affairs" section and entitled "World War III?" about Nazi refugee Dr. Hermann Rauschning, who had just arrived in the United States.[2] In its 22 March 1943, issue under its "Foreign News" section, Time reused the same title "World War III?" with regard to statements by then-U.S. Vice President Henry A. Wallace: "We shall decide some time in 1943 or 1944 ... whether to plant the seeds of World War III."[3][4] Time continued to entitle with or mention in stories the term "World War III" for the rest of the decade (and onwards): 1944,[5][6] 1945,[7][8] 1946 ("bacterial warfare"),[9] 1947,[10] and 1948.[11] (Time persists in using this term, for example, in a 2015 book review entitled "This Is What World War III Will Look Like".[12])

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