Early Cold War-era studies suggested that billions of humans would nonetheless survive the immediate effects of nuclear blasts and radiation following a global thermonuclear war. Some scholars currently argue that nuclear war could indirectly contribute to human extinction via secondary effects, including environmental consequences, societal breakdown, and economic collapse.
Additionally, it has been argued that even a relatively small-scale nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan involving 100 Hiroshima yield weapons, could cause a nuclear winter and kill more than a billion people.
Russia’s Foreign Minister has warned against the emergence of a new arms race – on an even greater scale than the Cold War. Speaking at a conference on disarmament in Geneva, Sergey Lavrov said he regrets America’s willingness to undermine some cornerstone treaties on controlling weapon stockpiles. At the same time Washington questioned Moscow’s intention to prevent an arms race.
The threat of a nuclear holocaust plays an important role in the popular perception of nuclear weapons.
It features in the security concept of mutually assured destruction (MAD) and is a common scenario in survivalism.
Nuclear holocaust is a common feature in literature and film, especially in speculative genres such as science fiction, dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction.
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