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Resource Wars (Leading to The Great War)

 Battle of Anchorage
The Great War was commenced following a period of high tension between major nations around the world, the tension itself being a result of dwindling fossil-fuels such as petroleum. The decreasing amount of resources was due to the technologies of the Fallout universe that were not energy efficient and required large amounts of fossil-fuels to operate. The major nations around the globe began scrambling to take the remaining supplies for themselves, leading to several military conflicts across the planet. The United Nations recognized the increasing hostility and tried to maintain peace and order but failed. By 2052, the UN disbanded. 
In 2066, the Chinese invaded Alaska after learning about the oil reserves being kept there. In response, the United States initiated their own invasion of China, and their military prowess eventually forced the Chinese to retreat from Alaska. 

The Great War

 The bombs drop
On October 23, 2077, the Resource Wars ended as nuclear bombs began falling from the sky. It is not known who launched the first nuke, although President Dick Richardson claims it was the People's Republic of China. The Great War only lasted two hours, but it was enough to decimate the entire planet and drive it into a permanent scorching wasteland. However, some cities such as Washington D.C. were not completely flattened, and the Metro tunnels in the aforementioned city remained relatively intact after the atomic explosions ended. 
When the air raid sirens were first heard, many people shrugged it off as a drill. Those that did not have access to a Vault were forced to retreat to shelters and subways. However, these did not provide adequate protection against the radiation and explosive power unleashed by the bombs; almost everyone that was not inside a Vault was either vaporized or turned into a Ghoul.
All of the Fallout games take place long after the Great War.

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