The Atomic Wars was a global nuclear war started in 2070 by the possibly psychotic President of the United States Robert L. Booth. Although a number of the Mega-Cities had their own laser defence systems, the rest of the world was reduced to vast irradiated wastelands, the most famous being the Cursed Earth and Radlands of Ji, from which many threats have sprung.
The road to warEdit
During the mid-21st century, the United States suffered a horrific crime problem. Powerful gangs rampaged through the urban sprawls that would become Mega-Cities, able to intimidate jurors and become virtually immune to prosecution, at one point even storming the White House itself. Such violent incidents led to the formation of the instant justice system in 2031 to mass public support, with specially-trained Judges taking over the roles of police, jury and executioner. However, at the same time America was becoming increasingly nationalistic. In 2068 his Vice-President Robert L. Booth secretly rigged the vote to gain office himself and, claiming the rest of the world was living off America's back, he drove already bad international relations into the ground.
In 2070 Booth ordered the US Army to occupy various key industrial points around the world. Following this mass protests were received from the Mega Cities, nations and alliances worldwide (with the exception of Brit-Cit). Booth issued an ultimatum: either they backed down or America would nuke every other nation -- Booth's insanity was now apparent to the Judges. The American population was whipped up into a furor, with both they and Booth believing that huge shields, anti-nuclear screens, would shelter America from any retaliation.
Early on the morning of 12 June 2070 Judges were called to the White House to find one of Booth's staffers dead in the Catfish pond; since the man was known to be anti-war he was assumed to have committed suicide. Later in the morning the chief Judges of the Mega Cities met to discuss what to do about Booth. However Booth would never listen to them and would abolish the Judges instead, a coup was postulated, but at the time the Judges simply were not able to take that step since it would have meant betraying the laws of the United States, an act which even given the coming holocaust they were not yet ready to undertake. At the end of the meeting Booth starts the war and the Judges rush back to their home cities (MC2's Chief Judge dying in a blast over the mid-west).
After the ultimatum expired at around 1300 on 12 June 2070, Booth launched a massive number of nuclear weapons and received a massive counterattack. America's defenses failed, devastating much of the continent; the Mega-Cities defensive lasers kept them safe, with a few exceptions such as Baltimore Quadrant.
By June 13th, the Atomic War had ravaged the entire planet, with only Mega-Cities surviving the brunt of it; however, they were not protected fully from widespread looting and power failures. All Judges and regiments of soldiers were sent out into Mega-City One's streets to maintain order, but often the Judges found themselves fighting the soldiers; Judge Dredd's first experience of Judicial killing came when he was forced to execute a rape gang made up of soldiers.
Aftermath (United States)Edit
Sporadic civil disturbance and looting went on for the next few days with the Judges desperately trying to hold things together while trying to find a solution to the problem of Booth. A few days later a White House staffer came to the Judges and confessed that Booth had rigged the 2068 elections and that the staffer found dead on the 12th had probably been murdered and had the proof in a hidden location. Through this the Justice Department discovered the proof that Booth had rigged the election. The Judges now consulted former Chief Judge Eustace Fargo who urged them to remove Booth.
Using the election fraud in their cause – and the Declaration of Independence as a legal precedent – the Judges ordered Booth to stand down. Under mass public support, Chief Judge Goodman seized the reins of power and abolished democracy. After brief fighting, the Judges marched on the White House but Booth fled to the Rocky Mountain military bases. It took over a year of war but the Judges finally caught Booth and put him on trial, sentencing him to one hundred years in suspended animation. The civil war cost many lives on both sides. The final "Battle of Armageddon" was fought in Death Valley and cost 100,000 Judges and Mega-troopers their lives.
Booth was not sentenced to death but to cryogenic freezing, as it was decided that future generations would make the choice of his punishment with the benefit of hindsight. When thirty years later Dredd found that Booth had inadvertently been revived, he resentenced Booth to hard labour for life, working on a Cursed Earth farm cleaning up the mess he had made. Booth escaped however, and raised an army to take back the country in 2129. He failed and died an ignominious death when he was used as a human shield by the Judges and shot by his own men.
Most of the survivors of the Atomic War fled to the Mega Cities. The United States gradually changed into the three independent Mega-Cities - Mega-City One, Mega-City Two and Texas City - as did most of the rest of the planet.
Most of the world was reduced to only Mega-Cities, with vast radioactive wastes around them; tribes of Mutants eke out a meager existence outside the city walls; many countries, such as South Africa and most of the Middle East, have been completely destroyed; and geography has been wildly altered in places.
There was a massive drift offworld, with colonies on many planets scattered across space. Weaker alien races have been conquered and exploited.
The Judge system had already spread across much of the world - Mega-City One ensured it spread further, backing pseudo-Judges in Brit-Cit and pressuring Euro-City to take them up. Some continued to remain Judge free,either for political reasons (Puerto Luminae) or economic (Indonesia). Where Judges do exist, almost all have become dictatorships.
Brutal chaos spread through much of the world:
- The United Kingdom fell into brutal civil war between any and all comers until the criminal overlords in southern England banded together and called themselves "Judges". With American aid, they had control of Brit-Cit by 2081.
- The remains of Russia and China became the Sov Block and Sino Block, and waged the Sino-Sov-Megacity Wars throughout the 2070s.
- Africa became so factionalised that the Pan-African Compromise had to be drawn up, with Pan-African Judges mandated to try and enforce a semblance of order.
The balance of global power has been altered - for example, the Antarctic has a Mega-City and is a key geopolitical player, with Antarctic "delegations" popping up in several stories. The remaining European Union was forced to form its own megacity, Euro-City, in the 2080s.
Earth's environment is a wreck, with radiation and pollution wiping out most known species. New mutant lifeforms (such as dogvultures) have taken their place, and supernatural beings such as satyrs have begun to pop up in breeding communities.
The supernatural - demons, ghosts, vampires, and magic - has become widespread since the wars. Every major megacity has a Psi-Division and magical group of Judges, and Vatican City has militarised to protect Earth from the infernal. Centres of Pestilence orbit the planet.
End of DemocracyEdit
Another casualty of war was democracy which due to Booth's actions was now discredited, the Judges became dictators in most countries. In Mega-City One only very limited democratic government occurred until the reforms of Judge Volt in 2117. Though democracy campaign movements existed, they never had a broad popular base (a few million out of hundreds of millions of citizens) and lost most of their influence when a free election confirmed the Justice Department in power in 2113. Democracy was further discredited in 2126 when the "Total War" terrorist group nuked three sectors of the city in a demand for democratic change.
When he was rescued in 2129, the dying Fargo told Dredd that the Judges' rule should not last forever, and as such Dredd has begun careful moves for change, since while Dredd still believes in the Judges, he does intend to bring about reform, especially regarding the anti-mutant laws which he wishes to see repealed. He has found an ally in this in Cadet America Beeny, who also believes that while the Justice Department is still the only real option it does need to change (ironic since Benny's parents were known democracy supporters and in her mother's case a known terrorist).
Role of Joe DreddEdit
During the war, then Cadet Dredd briefly served as a full judge during the worst of the nuclear holocaust, maintaining law and order on the streets. The epic "Origins" is largely made up of his memories of the war and the time leading to it.