In the more than seven decades that have elapsed since the Second World War, weapons of mass destruction have become more lethal and tensions between feuding countries more strained and consequential. Many experts speculate that a third global conflict would resemble nothing short of Armageddon. World War Three: Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight explores this frightening possibility.
The threat of a third world war has lingered in our consciousness for some time. The film traces a series of historical milestones that have further stoked these fears, including the birth of the Cold War, the introduction of the nuclear arms race and other events leading up to the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since that time, faulty nuclear detection technologies and careless human errors have resulted in a number of close calls.
It regardless of the potential for catastrophic mishaps, the promise of mutually assured destruction has long served as the ultimate deterrent to full fledged nuclear conflict. But that dynamic could be changing as more unpredictable players volley for their own slice of the nuclear pie. In the film's view, the building blocks are snapping into place to ensure a world war far more devastating than the last two combined.
The centerpiece of the film is an intensely detailed nightmare scenario of global nuclear holocaust. The first missile strikes would launch by sea. Even the swiftest course of retaliation would arrive too late as hundreds of millions would perish within hours, many more would be wounded beyond repair, and future generations would be left to deal with the grotesque consequences of ever-present fallout. Global temperatures would drop rapidly, and the Earth's blankets of vegetation would wither and die.
This could become our new reality with a single push of a button.
Threats to the longevity of our species aren't limited to nuclear disaster. The filmmakers examine the possibility of biochemical and cyberspace warfare as well. These instances might be far less bombastic than a missile blast, but they are no less crippling.
Well researched and scarily relevant, World War Three: Two and a Half Minutes to Midnight delivers the ultimate cautionary tale.