Before the angry comments begin, I don’t mean anticlimactic in the sense of I hoped for more, or that I am attempting to downplay death and destruction. Rather in a sense of it being nowhere near the grand apocalypse what we’ve come to expect. I grew up in the 1980s and the prevailing opinion was that any nuclear war would be “the last war”. Humanity would be wiped out, all major cities would be struck, the Earth would be rendered uninhabitable, etc. This is so deeply entrenched in people’s understanding of the world, it’s never really questioned.
There’s the quote often attributed to Albert Einstein:
I do not know with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.
There are, however, a handful of variables that make this outcome extremely unlikely: