The United States of America was a pre-Great War federal republic and one of the last surviving economies in the wake of the mid-twenty-first century global energy crisis. As fossil-fuel resources depleted, the United States became increasingly isolationist and aggressive towards other countries and its own citizens in their pursuit of tapping the last remaining sources of crude oil and uranium worldwide. This put the United States at odds with China, the world's second largest economy, with their relations eventually breaking down and resulting in the outbreak of the Sino-American War.
The American Commonwealths编辑
Prior to the Great War in 2077, the United States of the Fallout universe had an intermediate level of government between the fifty states and the federal government. The nation was divided into thirteen commonwealths sometime after World War II ended in 1945 but before the Virgo II mission landed Americans on the Moon in July 1969. This division was carried out probably by a Constitutional amendment in response to the Second Red Scare of the 1950's, in which Americans came to fear Communist infiltration by the Soviet Union. The United States flag was changed as well to reflect the new political reality. Accordingly, the new flag depicted fourteen stars - thirteen in a circle to represent the commonwealths and one in the middle to represent the federal government and the nation as a whole.
It was believed that the new administrative division of the country would help create legislation broad enough to benefit those states with common regional concerns, but narrow enough to not affect those states with dissimilar interests or political cultures, which would help the nation better meet the challenges posed by the Communist threat to American democracy. In reality, it created even more political strife in the American government, as commonwealths typically did everything they could to promote their own interests at the expense of other commonwealths. The thirteen American commonwealths were the:
- Columbia Commonwealth - Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia
- East Central Commonwealth – Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee
- Eastern Commonwealth – West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York City
- Four States Commonwealth – Utah, Colorado, Arizona, New Mexico
- Gulf Commonwealth– Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida
- Midwest Commonwealth – Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan
- New England Commonwealth – Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut
- North Commonwealth – Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota
- Northwest Commonwealth – Northern California, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska
- Plains Commonwealth – Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma
- Southeast Commonwealth – Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina
- Southwest Commonwealth – Southern California, Nevada, Hawaii
- Texas Commonwealth – Texas, Arkansas
It is unknown whether there were any changes to this system of commonwealths after the annexation of Canada in 2076. It is possible that Canada was under military rule until annexation was finalized (2076). Because of the relatively small size of its population, Canada was equal in size to a single, large American commonwealth. Border changes were also possible, e.g. concerning Alaska and the pipelines.
The pre-Great War federal government of the United States was not too different from that of twentieth century America in our own universe, albeit with certain differences. Agencies of the federal government mentioned in the games include two concerned with military affairs: the War Department and the Department of Defense, which may have actually been the same agency or, if they were separate entities, were both responsible for overseeing the development of various military research projects, from HERMES to the West Tek T-51b Power Armor. If they were actually separate agencies, one of them probably oversaw the American armed forces directly. This was probably the Department of Defense, just as in our world.
Other federal agencies mentioned in the games are the Department of Energy (or Water and Power), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Unamerican Activities Force, Secret Service, Bureau of Alcohol, Drugs, Tobacco, Firearms and Lasers and the United States Space Agency. The legislative branch of the federal government was still composed of the House of Representatives and the Senate, though whether they still represented the individual states or now represented the different American commonwealths in some form is unknown.
The United States Armed Forces were the overall unified military forces of the United States before the Great War, composed of the United States Army, United States Marine Corps, United States Navy, United States Coast Guard, and United States Air Force. The President of the United States served as the commander-in-chief of the American military, with the Department of War (sometimes called the Department of Defense) acting as the principal organ by which military policy was carried out.
After the Great War, the Enclave Armed Forces are the direct descendant of the American military. The Brotherhood of Steel, on the other hand, was started by former U.S. Army soldiers who rebelled against their unethical orders to protect scientists carrying out involuntary mutational experiments on military prisoners.
Members of the Enclave both embraced the idea of a nuclear war and knew that the common man could not survive it. They believed that as long as the "important people" of the United States survived, they could regroup quickly and wipe out Communism once and for all. Though not technically part of the Enclave, many powerful corporations benefited from the Enclave’s actions and their research facilities were protected during the nuclear firestorm of 2077.
In 2073, as the global race to exploit the handful of remaining fossil-fuel resources reached its fevered peak, the United States managed to stake a claim on the world's last known supply of crude oil, buried thousands of feet beneath the Pacific Ocean. Poseidon Energy, a major American energy company, was contracted to build an oil rig and extract the oil. Before long, the oil ran dry and the oil rig was abandoned by Poseidon.
In 2077, with total nuclear war imminent, the President of the United States and a number of other American government officials left their posts in Washington, DC to take refuge in a number of secret locations around the world. Among them was the Poseidon Oil Rig off the coast of Califronia. Here, the president himself set up a secret base from which the United States could continue to exist and wage war on China, with the eventual goal of retaking the continental United States from its post-atomic state. From 2077 on, the remnant of the American government surviving on this oil rig started to openly call itself the Enclave.
The Enclave mostly continued the pre-Great War American government, making alterations to fit their smaller size and increase the fluidity of operations. Some new departments that were established after the Great War included the Atomic Energy Commission and the Chemical Corps.
Ever since the end of World War II in 1945, the United States in the Fallout universe had sought to become the sole remaining superpower in the world, aiming to control the major energy resources and other countries, possibly due to the Enclave formed within its highest echelons (the origin of this American shadow government is unknown). In the twenty-first century this trend became even more apparent, because as the Resource Wars raged between the European Commonwealth and the oil-rich states of the Middle East and the United Nations disbanded in acrimony, the United States found itself with no real rival on the global scene...except the People's Republic of China, which had become the second largest economy in the world despite its officially Communist government.
However, the energy crisis of the mid-twenty-first century hit the United States harder than expected, coupled with the outbreak of the New Plague in 2053. In 2054 a nuclear exchange in the Middle East prompted the American government to establish Project Safehouse, which was intended to create 122 underground shelters that would save a select portion of American society from the ravages of nuclear war or an unstoppable global pandemic. Five years later, in 2059, in order to protect its Alaskan oil interests, the United States established the Anchorage Front Line, to defend its stockpiles of oil from potential invaders.
In 2060, as stockpiles of oil ran dry and the last underground reservoirs of petroleum emptied, the American economy ground to a halt. People stopped traveling by car and pressure on researching alternative sources of energy (as late as it happened) increased. To maintain its status as a superpower in spite of the crisis, the USA expands its military and commissions West Tek to create powered armor, intended to replace tanks on the battlefield. This project eventually proved to be the salvation of American industry, as in the summer of 2066, the first crude nuclear fusion cell was developed.
This fact, coupled with American unwillingness to share the world's last untapped oil field in the Pacific Ocean with other energy-starved nations, prompted China to declare open war against the United States and invade Alaska in 2066, initiating the Sino-American War. The initial Chinese campaign was successful, but soon, Chinese and American soldiers found themselves bogged down in a war of attrition, with both sides unable to gain any sort of meaningful advantage over the other. Even the mighty American T-45d Power Armor units did not tip the scales, as China's Crimson Dragoon units rampaged behind American lines, disrupting the U.S. Army's logistics and transport.
The United States' northern neighbor, Canada, proved unwilling to accept the increasingly aggressive behavior of the United States as it fought to repel the Chinese invasion. Faced with almost open hostility and the threat of military action, Ottawa relented, allowing American troops and aircraft to pass freely through its territory. This led directly to the annexation of Canada by the United States in 2076.
War and the energy crisis took a toll on American citizens. Together with the development of the FEV (Forced Evolutuionary Virus) being leaked to the mainstream news, 400 million citizens became increasingly restless as the global and national situation deteriorated, throwing the country into turmoil. The U.S. Army was deployed into major American urban centers to contain riots in the year just before the Great War, leading to the American Army firing on its own citizens in certain circumstances.
All these events became meaningless in 2077, as the atomic holocaust wipes the slate clean, engulfing the world in flames and destroying human civilization.
Post-Great War America编辑
However, as life has it, humanity survived. Even the American federal government managed to survive and became the Enclave, the only known remnant of the pre-Great War federal government.
Surviving American citizens, particularly in what had once been the state of California, soon started rebuilding and eventually established the New California Republic.
- In Andale, Jack Smith states that they live in the "Commonwealth of Virginia", having claimed to have participated in an election. However, whether it's true or not is doubtful. The name had to come from history and was likely the pre-Great War political division of the area south of the Capital Wasteland. Furthermore the matter is complicated as the current state of Virginia is officially the Commonwealth of Virginia. So it is unclear whether Smith is referring to the state borders of Virginia as we know them in our universe or whether the territory was expanded.
- D.C is mentioned, however, it is not explained whether it is still an independent district. Furthermore the state of Maryland is not mentioned at all, save in one of President Eden's speeches (see below), so it is likely that if the two were absorbed into Virginia it (probably) would align to the pre-Great War "Columbia Commonwealth". (Desmond mentions in Point Lookout that the Calvert family used to own half of Maryland, back when there was a Maryland to own.)
- While the 50 states were officially changed into 13 commonwealths in the mid-twentieth century, it is plausible that people would still identify themselves by their original state or more likely, regionalism between the states remained, even between those that were in the same commonwealth. In President Eden's radio addresses he makes several references to individual states, saying that he grew up in rural Kentucky. In his speech about baseball, he makes mention of what is likely a Washington D.C.-based team, the Capital Congressmen, playing teams from every state, including Pennsylvania and Maryland rather than referring to the commonwealths these states were a part of before the Great War.
The Flag 编辑
The United States of the Fallout timeline, at least since the formation of the thirteen American commonwealths in the mid-twentieth century, seems to use the highly obscure Cowpens Flag, an American Revolutionary War-era flag used in the Battle of Cowpens, South Carolina in 1781 that resulted in one of the major victories of the young nation over its British mother country.
The only difference between the flags is a much enlarged middle star used on the American flag in the Fallout universe, probably to represent the nation as a whole.
Appearances in games 编辑
All Fallout games produced so far take place in the territory of the former United States. In Fallout 3, the new version of the American flag can be seen in old U.S. propaganda posters with an American soldier in power armor holding it.
Behind the scenes 编辑
The initial idea of dividing the country into thirteen zones came from Leonard Boyarsky during the development of Fallout. In Fallout Bible 8 Tim Cain reported that Leon said he used that flag because it looked cool and he didn't want to use a standard U.S. flag with 50 stars. Eventually he planned to make up something about 13 super-states or something, but he never did. It was further elaborated upon by J. E. Sawyer, who broke up the U.S. into Commonwealths.
There is much misunderstanding about the number of stars on the flag and the corresponding zones, because not all of them are actually visible in the only available picture depicting it. Chris Avellone stated that there are 13 of them in Fallout Bible 8. He was "corrected" by Red, who sent him the picture with the location of 11 stars marked. In 2005, J. E. Sawyer tried to clarify the issue by saying that according to Tramell Isaac, who rendered the intro cinematic for Fallout said that they just took the old colonial flag with 13 stars in a circle and added a new star in the middle.
Sawyer's explanation was widely accepted until 2008, when Bethesda Softworks released Fallout 3, which features a flag with 12 stars in a circle and one in the middle, which is currently the only version of the flag fully seen in a released game.