The United States of America (U.S.A.), also known as the United States (U.S.) or America, was a pre-war federal republic, and one of the only two known superpowers remaining in the world in 2077, opposite China. Throughout the 21st century, the United States developed advanced technology mostly centered around harnessing atomic energy, including (but not limited to) access to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, nuclear fusion and fission technology and orbital facilities, among others.
The United States ceased to exist after the catastrophic nuclear exchange known as the Great War. There was no command and control structure remaining that could organize any recovery efforts, leading to the total or near collapse of society, economy, and its military. Survivors went on to organize themselves on their own, creating new tribes, states and other recognizable organizations. One of these, known as the Enclave, a collection of paramilitary organizations scattered across post-War America, claims to be the legal continuation of the United States.
The nation was founded by thirteen colonies of Great Britain located along the Atlantic coast of North America. Disagreements between colonists and King George III's policies on issues such as taxation led to the armed occupation of the colonies. The colonists pushed back, culminating in events such as the Boston Tea Party and Boston Massacre, where in 1770, five colonists died inciting rage against the British occupation.
In 1775, British soldiers marched on the cities of Lexington and Concord to disarm the colonists and arrest members of their leadership. Departing from Boston Common, the two forces opened fire near the Old North Bridge. This started the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the subsequent Revolutionary War. A group of 56 delegates from the colonies joined together as the Second Continental Congress, authoring the Declaration of Independence, issuing it on July 4, 1776.
The colonists defeated British forces, resulting in the first successful colonial war of independence. The leadership of the newly independent nation proclaimed their regional entities as states. A federal convention adopted a legislative document known as the United States Constitution on September 17, 1787, and its ratification the following year made the states part of a single republic.
Disputes between the agrarian southern states and industrial northern states regarding the expansion of slavery provoked civil war in the United States. The southern states attempted to secede, becoming the Confederacy. During the war, a draft was implemented, a poster of which can be found in the ruins of Washington D.C.
The Battle of Philippi was the first land conflict of the war, taking place near Philippi, Virginia. On June 3, 1861, the Union planned a pre-dawn assault on the Confederates, which resulted in their retreat. The leader who drove out the Confederates was Colonel Benjamin Franklin Kelley, leader of the 1st Virginia Infantry. A monument commemorating him is located near the site alongside a battlefield cemetery.
Led by President Abraham Lincoln, the north's victory prevented a permanent split of the country and led to the end of slavery in the United States. At the end of the war, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves. He also presented the Gettysburg Address during the war. In Washington D.C., Hannibal Hamlin shares information about Lincoln and his role in the emancipation, when inquiring about the Lincoln Memorial. On the south wall of the Lincoln Memorial, there is an inscription mentioning the Civil War. In Appalachia, recreations of battles were held at Prickett's Fort.
Support for the United States Space Administration resulted in the pioneering flight of Defiance 7 on May 5, 1961, when Captain Carl Bell became the first known human in space. However, the claim was widely disputed by the Soviet Union and China. By the end of the decade, the United States had achieved victory in the space race, as the Virgo II lunar lander touched down on the surface of Earth's Moon on July 16, 1969. Valiant 11 mission members, Captain Richard Wade, Captain Mark Garris, and Captain Michael Hagen, became the first humans known to have walked on the surface of another celestial body. The space exploration program continued into 2020, when the Delta IX was commissioned. It was the last manned rocket to go to the Moon, and was in use for almost 15 years before being converted into military use.
The United States was a major player in the Resource Wars, a series of conflicts beginning in 2052, brought on by an unsustainable global economy that heavily relied on finite resources such as petroleum and uranium. Disagreement on the world's last remaining resources caused the dissolution of the United Nations in July 2052.
Things worsened with the emergence of the highly-transmissible New Plague in 2053;[Fallout Bible 1] defense contractor West Tek established facilities to combat the virus, all the while under military control. Though no cure was known to have ever been found, the research into a cure paved the way for subsequent biochemical research efforts. West Tek was not the only industrial complex put under military command, as wartime censorship enabled the government to confiscate and destroy any material deemed seditious.
Organized labor and unions pushed back against the government and corporations, struggling for wages, benefits, and safe working conditions. In Appalachia, Hornwright Industrial, Atomic Mining Services, and RobCo Industries, supported by Governor Evans, pushed for replacing human labor with robotics and leaving workers unemployed. The unrest culminated in automation riots.
Nuclear exchanges in the Middle East, along with the devastating Euro-Middle Eastern War and the New Plague's death toll caused the federal government to initiate Project Safehouse in 2054, which created fallout shelters that would protect a percentage of the United State's population in the event of a nuclear war or fatal plague. The Vault-Tec Corporation won the contract, and this massive national defense project was set in motion. Breakthroughs in construction technology allowed for these gargantuan bunkers to be constructed at a rapid pace.[Fallout Bible 2]
By the end of the decade, in 2059, the United States began to prepare for war, as the global situation continued to worsen. The Anchorage front line had been established in Alaska, to protect its oil reserves from foreign invaders. Canada had also begun to feel the pressure exerted by its increasingly hostile neighbor.[Fallout Bible 3] As a peculiar consolation prize to wrap up the decade, the first artificial intelligence was born in American laboratories. Limited by memory constraints, its expansion was rapidly halted. The discovery paved the way for future research in laboratories throughout the United States.[Fallout Bible 4]
The Sino-American War
In 2060, available fuel reserves ran out worldwide. Traffic on the streets died as fuel became too valuable to waste on automobiles. The automotive industry desperately tried to come up with a solution to the problem, but electric and early fusion cars were too little, too late to help solve the growing needs of society.[Fallout Bible 5]
Energy conflicts between the United States and China arose as oil resources dried up globally, with China becoming more aggressive in trade negotiations, even as the United States refused to export its oil to China and relations between the two broke down.[Fallout Bible 6] Additionally, microfusion cells were invented in 2066 by U.S. scientists as a potential solution to the energy crisis, adding insult to injury for the struggling China.
In desperation, China launched an invasion of Alaska to seize its oil reserves. The Battle of Anchorage kickstarted the Sino-American War, the last known war the United States would ever fight. On the front, the deployment of the T-45 power armor aided in preventing Chinese tanks and infantry from overrunning Alaska. However, the situation rapidly deteriorated into a stalemate, with neither side capable of breaking the it and forcing peace terms on the enemy.[Fallout Bible 7]
Despite claims of fighting a defensive war, American infantry and mechanized divisions launched an invasion of Shantou on the Chinese mainland in 2074 by way of the Philippines. The economy was stretched to the breaking point as America found itself fighting a war on three fronts: Canada, Alaska, and mainland China. Neither side was willing to yield, despite eight years of constant warfare.[Fallout Bible 8] Conflicts also took place in the Gobi Desert and Nanjing, while other troops were present in Mambajao. By 2076, the war had raged for a decade. Both China and the United States teetered on the brink of collapse, yet both sides were in too deep to retreat.
The federal government attempted to use increasing national paranoia to control domestic crises, by discouraging assemblies, fueling anti-communist sentiment, and encouraging the reporting of subversive elements. The Vigilant Citizen's Hotline was even established to allow hysterical citizens to report neighbors to the government for any behavior that could be construed as in support of communism. A Red Scare unfolded as a response to the increased hostility of China and its operations on American soil.
More grimly, under Executive Order 99066, Chinese and Chinese-American citizens and residents were taken from their homes and placed in concentration camps without trial, sometimes by private security contractors hired by the military to conduct what were essentially abductions. The Turtledove Detention Camp in Maryland was one such camp, forcing the inmates to live in squalid conditions without access to proper sanitation facilities and its inmates being subjected to abuse, torture, and brutal interrogations. Many ended up disappearing in the various research facilities across the United States.
Annexation of Canada
The Sino-American War consumed increasing amounts of resources, materiel, and manpower, straining the ailing American economy even further. To counteract this, the United States military had begun to liberally exploit Canadian resources and violated its airspace while fighting in Anchorage. Riots, protests, and an overall contentious relationship with Canada eventually culminated in a sabotage attempt on an oil pipeline in 2072. The United States military used this incident as a pretext to outright invade Canada and begin annexation. By 2077, the annexation was complete and Canada ceased to exist as a nation. The provinces occupied by the American military became U.S. territories, remaining under its political and military control, but not a state or commonwealth in their own right. Violence escalated and security detachments equipped with combat armor were sent to suppress Canadian population and any resistance movements.
End of America and the Great War
Through a combination of attrition, loss of supply routes, and offensives conducted by the United States across the front, Chinese units in Alaska found themselves surrounded and cut off from reinforcements. The liberation of Anchorage spearheaded by winterized T-51 power armor units under the command of General Constantine Chase marked the end of the Anchorage Reclamation in 2077, after a decade of war. The campaign in mainland China was reinvigorated by the victory in Alaska and the deployment of T-51 units. Army troops clad in T-51 regularly witnessed Chinese troops surrendering upon sighting them and their miniguns, even before the Battle of Anchorage concluded. However, the effect did not last. As American troops pushed deeper into the mainland, Chinese resistance increased. By October, the situation transitioned from a rout into a stalemate. After a decade of war, there was still no end in sight. Billions of dollars and thousands of casualties were spent in vain, despite taxes and various wartime revenues ensuring the United States government had been able to fund a standing army the likes of which the United States had never before seen. To bolster the offensive, bases across the United States were sealed and troops redeployed to provide more men for the front lines.
Another contributing factor was the increasingly dire food situation, with riots a regular occurrence. The United States Army servicemen deployed to protect food banks were known for responding to altercations with violence. One notable incident in Roxbury, Massachusetts, left four dead and eight wounded, after soldiers were laughing and picking targets out in the crowd well in advance. It was far from an exception.The situation was made worse by the fact that the oligarchs ruling the United States retreated to remote locations around the globe, expecting a last-ditch nuclear strike from China at any moment. An oil rig off the Californian coast was claimed by the president and key associates, a group which would later become the foundation of the Enclave. Though contingency efforts were made, the United States was effectively leaderless.[Fallout Bible 9]
Things came to an irreversible head on October 23, 2077. In what would come to be known as the Great War, nuclear weapons were exchanged between the United States and China. After two hours of apocalyptic destruction, the war was over and the world was destroyed. The fallout decimated society as a whole and the United States, as it was previously known, ceased to exist. Abandoned by their leaders, the survivors began rebuilding on their own.
While the United States had been founded on the principles of liberty and justice for all, the reality of the 21st-century resource crisis and traumatic experiences, caused the nation to abandon these principles almost entirely. The fear of communism and economic collapse led to the population willingly complying with the gradual abrogation of civil rights; trading liberty for security. While collusion between the executive branch and the corporations dominating the economy of the United States affected constitutional freedoms, the transition towards a totalitarian state began in earnest with the Sino-American War. Wartime censorship enabled the government to confiscate and indiscriminately destroy any material deemed seditious. Such was the fate of the Patriot's Cookbook, and many other publications. Many publications became outlets for propaganda, used to mock non-nationalist sentiments and protesters.
Organized labor and unions came under heavy attack from both the government and the corporations. Repression was particularly severe in Appalachia, a strategic region supplying raw materials for the war effort and a crucible of widespread automation. Hornwright Industrial Mining Company, Atomic Mining Services, and RobCo Industries, supported by Appalachia's Governor Evans, pushed for replacing human labor with robotics, leaving thousands of workers out of jobs, fueling widespread social unrest and impoverishing the population, made worse by the Wartime Workers Act. The unrest culminated in the Appalachian mining riots of late 2077, which saw regular combat between workers and government and corporate enforcers. However, even before that explosion, the United States was abusing and murdering its citizens: the United States Navy facility at Sugar Grove was an example of this tendency, engaging in covert surveillance of U.S. citizens, identifying labor activists and other "traitors", which usually led to abduction, murder without trial, and any surviving children being put up for adoption by loyalist families.
Civics and geography
Both state and commonwealths were used to distinguish regions within the United States. In Appalachia, documents used the distinction "Territory of Appalachia" and "Appalachian Territory." The United States shared borders with Mexico to the south, Canada to the north, and Russia across the Bering Strait from Alaska.
The national flag of the United States, known as Old Glory, traditionally reflected the number of states that comprised the Union. With the introduction of the commonwealth system, however, the canton that would normally represent the states was amended to reflect the number of constituent commonwealths. The 50 star variant is also occasionally seen.
The structure of the United States government included the Executive Branch. Governmental positions were determined by vote, such as senators who could run for re-election to the United States Senate. A governmental advisory board was known as the Joint Chiefs. Legislation invoked by the Census Bureau include a section of the "Patriotic Patriots of America True Patriotism Act."
Support for the military and civilian government was bolstered by Project Brainstorm, the "Induced Patriotism Initiative". Pervasive propaganda designed to instill nationalist sentiment and loyalty in the citizenry had been developed as part of the Sino-American War; a combination of overt and subtle messages integrated into popular media published nationwide had been successful in developing jingoism in the population. This provided the military with increased enlistment rates, and thus a continuous source of new soldiers to throw at their Chinese enemies, as well as an increased tolerance for excesses of the state.
The United States Armed Forces served as the unified military of the United States, and was composed of the United States Army, United States Navy, US Marines, United States Air Force, and the US Coast Guard.
As an increasing militaristic superpower, the United States had given priority to its armed forces, which asserted increasing control over law enforcement and public affairs. Bolstered by a jingoist culture, widespread propaganda, and pervasive domestic espionage efforts through the Defense Intelligence Agency and black projects of the various branches, the military-controlled by the Department of Defense was one of the pillars of the American regime, supported by a network of vigilant citizens reporting suspected sedition and crime.
Most units outside the veteran formations fighting on the front lines against the Chinese and subjugating Canada suffered from poor training regimens. The situation was particularly bad with auxiliary units of the National Guard.
The situation eventually led to the authorization and issuance of military-grade laser weapons to civilians, in order to use them as cannon fodder in case of a communist invasion or insurgency on American soil. Private security companies were also contracted to perform arrests and round up civilians, completely blurring the line between the public and private sectors.
Like other economies worldwide, the United States was severely affected by the resource shortage of the middle 21st century and the resulting Resource Wars. Though based on the principles of a free market and open competition, the crisis allowed a handful of mega-corporations to seize control and establish a practical monopoly in key sectors of the American and even world economy. Many of these corporations became so deeply involved and integrated into the nation's infrastructure, that trying to decide where the corporation ended and the state began, became a largely academic discussion. As a result, the corporations effectively acted as sovereign nations unto themselves. Exploitative and abusive labor practices were the norm, such as with the Vault-Tec Corporation, which had strictly enforced 2.25 minute (135 seconds) bathroom breaks.
Another mega-corporation was Poseidon Energy. It had a near-monopoly on the energy market in the United States, controlling nuclear power plants, exploitation of remaining oil fields, and even sustainable energy projects, like HELIOS One. It hid its involvement by operation through numerous companies established as fronts to influence and eventually control key industries. It also conducted a slew of its own military research projects, including development and implementation of orbital beam weapons.
The war with China also allowed smaller companies considered vital to the war effort to cut support for their workers by a considerable margin. Workman's compensation was among many staples of labor law suspended as part of the war effort, denying vital support to laborers injured in the course of their work. The deteriorating economy also made it easier for corporations to take advantage not just of their employees, but also of the general public. The Big Mountain Research and Development company was particularly infamous for luring isolated communities into Faustian pacts, where they agreed to act as test subjects for bleeding-edge technologies - often with disastrous effects.
Another example of collusion was the ability of corporations to advertise directly to members of Congress and the House of Representatives. Companies from Nuka-Cola to the Red Racer tricycle company were able to purchase advertising airtime on the Presidential metro PA system.
Although resources acquired from Canada and elsewhere helped the economy, shortages were common. When the first fusion-powered cars were introduced by Chryslus Motors in 2070, the initially limited models were expensive but sold out within days. Supply was limited, as many Chryslus manufacturing facilities were long since converted into making military ordnance.[Fallout Bible 10] These were not isolated incidents, as many factories whose production and sales that were less than adequate were also systematically nationalized. This was the case with Radiation King Assembly Plant 12 in Appalachia, even though they were close to a 100% peak efficiency rating. The process was a quick one; Army engineers arrived, looked at the machinery and questioned the employees about their operation, then they promptly left and began the conversion process. With the rapid transition of the factory, its workers were conscripted and put to work manufacturing ammunition. This overproduction was to have the benefit of keeping its workers employed while keeping their morale up, with the added benefit of stockpiling supplies locally should the war go nuclear.
Role in the games
Every game in the series takes place in the former United States:
- Fallout and Fallout 2 take place in the former state of California, some portions of which include New California.(Fallout 2 located north of Fallout).
- Fallout 3 as well as some of its add-ons (such as Broken Steel) are set in the Capital Wasteland, which is comprised of Washington, D.C. and its surrounding areas. The add-on Operation: Anchorage takes place in a simulation of Anchorage, Alaska. The add-on The Pitt takes place in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The add-on Point Lookout takes place in Point Lookout, Maryland. The add-on Mothership Zeta takes place in space.
- Fallout: New Vegas is set in the Mojave Desert of Nevada, east of where Fallout and Fallout 2 took place. The add-on Dead Money takes place in the Sierra Madre. The add-on Honest Hearts takes place in Zion National Park, Utah. The add-on Old World Blues takes place at Big MT. The add-on Lonesome Road takes place in the Divide.
- Fallout 4 (and most of its add-ons, such as the Automatron and the Workshop add-ons) is set in the Commonwealth, in reference to Massachusetts' official pre-War title of "The Commonwealth of Massachusetts." The map of Fallout 4 is only a small part of Massachusetts, centered around Boston. The add-on Far Harbor takes place in Mount Desert Island, Maine. The add-on Nuka-World takes place in Nuka-World, an amusement park to the west of Boston.
- Fallout 76 takes place in Appalachia, which comprises the former state of West Virginia.
All Fallout games to date have been set exclusively within United States territory, but following the collapse of civilization, in most cases, this territory is now either claimed by other groups or not governed at all. Ruins/relics of now long-defunct government institutions are seen throughout the series.
Newsreel footage of the U.S. Army in action is present in Fallout. The Enclave appear as a major enemy faction in Fallout 2 and Fallout 3 and a handful of retired members appear in Fallout: New Vegas and the Fallout 4 add-on Far Harbor. A simulated, fictionalized representation of the U.S. Army appears in the Fallout 3 add-on Operation: Anchorage. The prologue sequence of Fallout 4 takes place in the United States' final moments before the Great War.
Behind the scenes
- Fallout Tactics was the only game to provide a price tag for gas prices in the pre-War United States; according to a sign found in the game, U.S. gas prices hovered around $7450.99 per gallon for regular and $8500.99 for premium.[Non-canon 1]
- According to the Fallout Bible, the United States had a pre-War population of over 400 million people.[Fallout Bible 11]