While the World War III scenario in Europe was always unlikely, it was also the most dangerous. We now know that, instead of an escalation to nuclear war being a possibility, it was virtually guaranteed. The only question would have been to what extent—and whether or not human civilization would have survived it.
Kyle Mizokami is a defense and national security writer based in San Francisco who has appeared in the Diplomat, Foreign Policy, War is Boring and the Daily Beast. In 2009 he cofounded the defense and security blog Japan Security Watch. You can follow him on Twitter: @KyleMizokami.