What if We Nuke a City?

What if We Nuke a City?


Playing around with nuclear weapons in videos is fun. There’s a visceral joy in blowing things up, and a horrifying fascination with things
like fireballs, shockwaves, and radiation. And while it does help put our destructive
power in perspective, it’s not the best way of understanding
the real impact of a nuclear explosion. This isn’t about city stacks of TNT, or about how bright an explosion is. Nuclear weapons are about you. So we’ve partnered with the Red Cross
and Red Crescent movement to explore what would really happen if a nuclear weapon were detonated in a major city today. Not nuclear war, just one explosion. *Intro* We begin our story in the middle of
downtown in a major city. People are going to work, studying for exams, are lost in their thoughts and daily lives. Right here a nuclear weapon is detonated
and time freezes. The first phase of the explosion happens
within less than a second. In a millisecond, a ball of plasma hotter than the Sun appears and grows in a fireball to more than 2 kilometres across. Within this ball, everyone is just gone. Think of water dripped on to a very hot pan. A sizzle, and then there’s nothing. Most buildings, cars, trees,
tacky sculptures and people… … all evaporated. First, the flash: an intense tsunami of light washes over the city in an instant. If you happen to have your head pointed in the direction of the explosion, it renders you blind for a few hours. The heat of this light produces a thermal pulse, so energetic and hot that it just burns everything as far as 13 kilometres from the detonation site. What this means is that everything in an area of 500 square kilometres that is able to burn, starts burning. Plastic, wood, fabric, hair, and skin. If you happen to be in reach of the thermal pulse, one moment, you’re on your way to work, the next moment, you’re on fire. Now the second phase begins. It happens in a few seconds. Most people will now first notice
that something is wrong, but it’s already too late for hundreds of thousands. The flash is followed by the shockwave. The heat and radiation of the fireball create a bubble of superheated and super-compressed air around it that’s now expanding explosively. Faster than the speed of sound, creating winds stronger than hurricanes and tornadoes. Human infrastructure is no match for its power. Most major buildings within a kilometre of the fireball are just ground up down to their base. Only steel reinforced concrete is able to
partially resist the pressure. In the surrounding parks where retirees feed the ducks, trees blackened and smoldering from the heat a second before snap like toothpicks. If you’re outside, you get tossed away
like a grain of dust in a tornado. The shockwave weakens as it travels outwards but still, about 175 square kilometres of houses collapse like they’re made of cards, trapping tens of thousands of people
who didn’t have any time to react. Gas stations explode and fire spread
throughout the rubble. A mushroom cloud made from the remains of the fireball, dust and ash rises kilometres into the sky in the next few minutes and casts a dark shadow over the ruined city. This violently pulls in fresh air surrounding the city, destroying more buildings and providing
an abundance of oxygen. It depends on the city what happens next. If there’s enough fuel, fires may turn into a firestorm that burns the rubble, everybody trapped in it and people trying to flee the devastation. Up to 21 kilometres from the explosion, people just like you rush to their windows to take pictures of the mushroom cloud, unaware that the shockwave is still coming at them, about to shatter their windows and create
a blizzard of sharp glass. The third phase begins in the coming hours and days. We’re used to the idea that help will come,
no matter the disaster. This time is different: a nuclear explosion is like every natural disaster at once. There are hundreds of thousands or millions of people with serious injuries: lacerations, broken bones, serious burns. In the next few minutes and hours, thousands more will die because of these injuries. Countless people are trapped in collapsed buildings like in earthquakes or blinded by the flash, deaf from the blast wave and unable to flee through streets impassable with rubble and debris. They’re terrified, confused, and don’t know what’s happened to them or why. Most likely, many hospitals have been leveled along with all the other buildings and most medical professionals are either dead or injured, along with everyone else. The survivors lucky enough to have been in metro tunnels or standing in the right place to be unburned and unhurt won’t have truly escaped harm yet. Depending on the type of weapon, where it explodes and even the weather, an awful black rain can begin, with radioactive ash and dust descending on the city, covering everything and everyone. The invisible, malicious, silent horror of
radiation takes its turn. Every breath carries poison to the lungs of the survivors. Over the coming days, the people who receive the highest doses of radiation exposure will die. There will be no help, not for hours or maybe even days. Civilisation doesn’t operate when
there is a total breakdown of infrastructure. Roads are blocked, train tracks warped, runways cluttered with rubble. No water, no electricity, no communication, no stores to replenish supplies from. Help from surrounding cities will have a hard time entering the disaster zone and even if they can, the radioactive contamination will make it risky to get too close. After a nuclear attack, you’re on your own. So, bit by bit, people emerge from the rubble on foot, contaminated with radioactive fallout, carrying what little they may have left. They are slow, in pain, traumatized, and they all need food, water and medical treatment fast. And the damage done by a nuclear weapon doesn’t end when the fires burn out and the smoke clears. The hospitals in the neighboring cities are under-equipped for a disaster of this scale and overwhelmed with tens or hundreds of thousands of patients with serious injuries. In the weeks, months and years to come, many of those who survived will succumb to cancers like leukemia. The reason no government wants you to think about all this is because there is no serious humanitarian response possible to a nuclear explosion. There’s no way to really help the immediate victims of a nuclear attack. This is not a hurricane, wildfire or earthquake or nuclear accident. It is all of these things at once, but worse. No nation on earth is prepared to deal with it. The world has changed in the past few years, with world leaders again explicitly and publicly threatening each other with nuclear weapons. Many experts think the danger of a nuclear strike is higher than it has been in decades. Governments tell their citizens that it’s good that we have nuclear weapons, but it’s bad when anyone else gets them. That it’s somehow necessary to threaten others with mass destruction to keep us safe. But does this make you feel safe? It only takes a small group of people with power to go crazy or rogue, a small misstep or a simple misunderstanding to unleash a catastrophe of unimaginable proportions. Exploding stuff in videos is fun. Exploding things in real life, not so much. There is a solution though! Eliminating all nuclear weapons
and vowing never to build them again. In 2017, almost 2/3 of all the world’s countries, supported by hundreds of civil society organizations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement agreed to prohibit and eliminate nuclear weapons. It’s not about who has nuclear weapons and who doesn’t. The weapons themselves are the problem. They are deeply immoral and an existential threat to all of us. No matter what country you come from, no matter what political side you find yourself on, we need to demand that they disappear forever. This will not happen without pressure. If you want to be part of this pressure, there are things you personally can do too: Visit notonukes.org to learn more about nuclear weapons and what you can do about them. *Outro Music* *QUACK* *Outro*

Author: Kennedi Daugherty

100 thoughts on “What if We Nuke a City?

  1. As you may have noticed, we like to blow stuff up on this channel. So when the International Red Cross approached us to collaborate on a video about nuclear weapons, we were more than excited. Until we did the research. It turned out we were a bit oblivious off the real impact of nuclear weapons in the real world, on a real city. And especially, how helpless even the most developed nations on earth would be if an attack occurred today.
    This collaboration was a blast (no pun intended) and we want to say a huge thank you to the International Red Cross! Please check out https://www.notonukes.org to learn more about nuclear weapons and what you can do to stop them.

  2. What happens when they drop a nuke on a city everyone everyone gets fucked up and the city is fucked up beyond all recognition

  3. Says you should agree no matter where you stand politically. . .

    Proposes a deeply divisive, controversial, and impractical solution.

    Good luck with that.

  4. What if?? Well…. we did, it's not some sci-fi scenario. This is exactly what happened to hundreds of thousands of innocent people. Lest we forget.

  5. I wish this WOULD happen so I could do the post-blast stand-up comedy on what used to be the street corner: "Evening, ladies and germs. Oh, did I say 'germs?' Too early? Sorry about that, folks, I know some of your immune systems are out of whack. Speaking of 'whacked,' how about that thermonuclear burst, eh? Tony Soprano would have had to work for about a hundred years to whack that many people. But seriously, folks, how about this weather, huh? I mean, seventeen million degrees in the shade… AND THERE AIN'T NO SHADE NO MORE! Thank you, thank you– sir, please do NOT clap unless your hand remains secured to your wrist, okay? Thank you. YOU, madam, what's your name?"

    "Urrhuh… khaaah… burburburb…"

    "Karen? Okay, Karen, what do you do for a living?"

    "Gack… sssspppsss…"

    "Street walker? Well, you're certainly in the right place at the wrong time, eh? I mean, there was a street here… I said, there *WAS* a street here…! Is this thing on? Oh, of COURSE NOT! We've just experienced an EMF pulse that knocked out EVERYTHING! Think of it as Rocky for your electronics, people: 'Yo, Adrian, I'm gonna turn off all the electrical things, watch…'"

    "You know, one day, this is all going to go back to normal, just like it used to be. You'll play like you used to, love like you used to, even eat like you used to. Except for one thing: I'll bet none of you ever eat another MUSHROOM for the rest of your lives, eh? Am I right? Mushrooms no longer a favorite? Yeah, I feel ya. Did you see that mushroom cloud? I mean, did you *SEE* that mushroom cloud? It made the sky so dark, I couldn't see two feet in front of me… until I stumbled over a pair of charred FEET inconveniently placed in my way. Thank you, Mrs. Morrison…"

  6. This video completely ignores that nuclear weapons are one of the main reasons there hasn't been another world war or even multiple world wars nukes as ironic as it seems have kept the world in relative peace the reason the major powers haven't been at war since ww2 is because of mutually assured destruction no one wants to fight a war where everyone loses

  7. To answer your question: yes it makes me feel safe to know that my nation has nuclear weapons.
    The idea that people shouldn't have nuclear weapons is an absurd one, all technologies that can be used for war have been and will be. Everything from bronze, to air foils, to engines, all of it that has been used for war and we should treat nuclear weapons no differently. If a technology exists and can be used for war for the reasonable people to throw such weapons away guaranties that they will be under-equipped to fight back. The western world has faced down and gained victory over a nuclear belligerent without destroying the world, why would we throw away a tactic that served us so well in the past.

    Furthermore, one of my biggest issues has to do with the fact that this channel has often cited the fact that resisting the progress of technology is foolish, so why when it comes to securing the safety of whole nations of people from those that wish to destroy them do you wish to do just that. History has shown that if you want your way of life to continue, you must be able to fight. We don't live under the Nazi regime because we were able to fight them, we don't live under Soviet dictators because we'd have been able to fight them, and we are safer from what ever next threatens us because we're able to fight.

  8. If it weren't for nukes, we would have a WW3 long time ago, I'm not saying nukes are good, but they are one of the reasons why we have 70 years of peace

  9. There's an incredibly diverse yield on how powerful these weapons can be. What yield are you basing your figures off of here?

  10. uh yah if there is a nuclear blast in the distance i AINT taken no picture im going to running away as fast as i possibly can. hopefully my car still works if not its on foot then. ill look at the weather pattern and get myself somewhere that the radiation from fallout and the debris from the boom wont get me then im going to go and find my family and hold them tight and pray that its over. nukes are those weapons i wish we could un invent. that and chem / bio weapons. disgusting things.

  11. And let’s just ignore the fact that dropping nuclear bombs on Japan saved millions of lives and ended the greatest global conflict the world had ever seen, and that the strategy of Mutually Assured Destruction won the Cold War without a single shot being fired. NuKeS aRe BaD

  12. Get rid of nuclear weapons? No thank you. We live in the most peaceful times ever and anybody who doesn't think nukes are to thank is simply blind.

  13. A great example of this destruction portrayed properly in art and media is Akira. The movie shows it, but the Manga puts you in it, and it is truly a depressing moment of Devour Hope.

  14. Speak softly and carry a big stick. That's an awful good sentiment but once the tech is out there you cant put the genie back in the bottle. It's an insurance policy to make sure no one will use them on us if we have them. It sucks but that's reality. Murder would stop if we all decided to stop killing. But dammit there's crazies

  15. Nuclear war isn’t as scary as an isolated nuclear attack, by terrorism or a rogue state.

    In a nuclear war, you’ll just die. If you survive a single attack, well then it’ll be hell.

  16. First of all, there is M.A.D., which stands for "mutually assured destruction." While this doesn't guarantee that it won't occur, it does help. Additionally, how could we ever trust shady countries like China or Iraq to be honest if they state that they will not keep their nuclear weapons?

  17. Shouldnt we also consider that nuclear weapons are also a large part of the "long peace" were experiencing? We havent had any major conflicts not because we are suddenly better people but because we now have the power promise mutual destruction.

  18. This was cool and pretty great until the preachy end bit.
    Yea sorry but if you dont even understand what a power play is then you shouldnt talk about politjcs at all. Fuck off with this anti-nuke retard shit

  19. The thing is. Nuclear weapons are the reason why there hasn’t been a major world war since the Second World War. Yes they would be terrible if ever used. But the sheer destructive power of them has made major nations afraid to wage all out war on each other and therefore acted as a detergent. It would be great if we could live in a world without weapons of mass destruction and no chance of any nut jobs using them. But the fact is that humanity is destructive right now due to religion and politics and we are not ready as a globe to be rid of these detergents. 😢

  20. I really would not want the United States government to disarm all nuclear weapons. Because I know there are nations that WOULD NOT get rid of them, no matter what (i.e. North Korea and Iran), and I really don’t want to see a world where countries like those have all the nuclear power.

  21. This video – altough great – is very naive. You at kurzgesagt know best, that doors opened in science never close again. And this door of nuclear weapon's been pushed open. They'll never disappear as long as our global civilization exist.

  22. Don't fully agree with the ending segment. Not that I like nuclear proliferation, and obviously an actual nuclear war would be arguably the wrist thing to ever happen to humanity, but the genie is out of the bottle now. We know how to make nuclear weapons, and nobody can really every again be sure that everyone else has actually given them up. Sure, a lot of countries signed a treaty, but most of them didn't have the resources to develop them anyway, and they will still want them if the chips are down and someone is pointing one at them.

    Also, it's not like conventional warfare that has existed for thousands of years is noticeably better. The existence of nuclear weapons has coincided with an unusually peaceful time in the history of humanity, with no wars fought between great powers since they were introduced.

    Also, while the deaths at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were obviously tragic, the death toll was substantially lower than what it would have been if the US had continued to Japan and invaded the homeland. In a way, the use of those nuclear weapons saved millions of more lives than they ended.

  23. It's amazing that even after the first nuke was dropped and all this happened, the Japanese continued to fight and resist, knowing that this would happen again. Just shows how little they care for their citizens.

  24. pandoras box has already been opend fools, the only thing we can do is hope, or complete revolution of every nation and going back to living in the stone age

  25. Interesting questions: In the last 75 years, how many countries without nuclear weapons were invaded and destroyed? what about those that have nuclear weapons? Now try to convince someone who has nuclear weapons to give them up.

  26. The threat of nuclear weapons is the reason the Cold War was cold. WW3 against Russia would make WW2 look like a skirmish

  27. (What happeneds if we nuke a city)

    (japans nuke )(Hiroshima and Nagasaki : Press F to pay respect)

    (USA closets thing to either of them)
    (USS Arizona : Hold My Beer )

    (The first to be nuked). (Ozyorsk and Chernobyl : ahem ladies … )

  28. 80 what if aliens come and we need a destructive bomb and we have 2 minutes to strike and we can't cause we need to build them

  29. May I point out that developed nations have not entered war against each other since WW2 which is also when the bombs came about. Hundreds of millions have been spared by the threat of nuclear arms. I’d rather walk on a flimsy type rope than just walk off to my death, nuclear or conventional. Being afraid is bad, still better than dying.

  30. Shame you took a perfectly good video and twisted into a false political message. If it were simply as easy as having everyone agree to get rid of nukes, we could just as easily all agree never to nuke eachother. But we obviously don't consider that sufficient because some nations' leaderships would gladly violate that agreement when they see an opportunity for power. The only difference here is that when we agree to disarm, we make it impossible to retaliate when a country like North Korea inevitably breaks the agreement and nukes us. In fact, by disarming ourselves, we likely CAUSE our own nuking, by announcing that we'll be disarming ourselves for the agreement.

    What an asinine, un-thought-out, deadly stance to take. Truly disappointed to see Kurzgesagt use their platform to preach a doctrine of impotence and indoctrinate young viewers.

  31. As a side note to the destruction and all that,
    Can I just say that the heli animation at 5:50 was smooth af. I didn't know you could emulate 3d objects with your animation setup!

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