Author of Be Ready for Anything and Prepper’s Pantry
(April 14, 2017) If an all-out war erupts, it will be like nothing the Earth has seen before. All of our “progress” means that each side now has the weapons at their disposal to destroy their enemy many times over. Because of this, we can’t as readily look back in history to learn how to survive World War 3.
Most of the time, when I write an article, it’s based on research or personal experience. I can find times when the incident has occurred in the past and study them. I can learn what catastrophes came hand-in-hand, and analyze what we need to know ahead of time to survive. The potential of a conflict like WWIII is quite different because, during the last World War, our technology was a drop in the bucket compared to what is now available. The situation we have now is called MAD – Mutually Assured Destruction – and the acronym couldn’t be any more accurate because it’s utter madness to destroy our world.
I have to be honest. This is based on speculation because we just don’t know how it would play out. It’s based on the most likely consequences, on what I know of our economy, on how wars have played out for ordinary citizens in the past, and on what I know of general preparedness. Earlier this week, I posted a compilation of readers’ comments about what we could face if we went to war. You can read that article here.
If there are developments, I’ll send out alerts via email, so make sure you’re signed up to the newsletter.)
What this article is not about
There are some topics I won’t be covering in this article.
Current events: This won’t cover the current bombings, sabre-rattling, and incidents. I recommend the following sources for that coverage:
The dubious morality of war: A lot of folks seem to be thrilled at the concept of war. They don’t seem to comprehend that whatever our military does to another country, someone else could come along and do to us. The stuff I saw on social media reminded me of that naive scene in Gone with the Wind, when Civil War was declared and all the young men at the barbecue were whooping with excitement, having no idea of the horrors and brutality that would soon occur.
The United States is not untouchable, and I won’t even discuss the dubious morality of war. All I’ll say to those folks who are cheering from the sidelines and treating it like a football game, “You have no idea what you’re asking for.”
Nuclear war: Although a nuclear strike is a possibility, that isn’t a topic that will be covered in this article. To study up on nukes, you’re going to want to read our Nuclear War Survival Anthology. That horrible prospect requires far more than I can provide in the scope of a single article. (Here’s some basic information on surviving a nuclear strike .)
Attacks on American soil: This article is pretty long already and that topic deserves its own article – find it here.
Rainbows and Unicorns: And finally, before we get started, a quick note to all of the people who scorn articles like this as “fear-mongering:
Is it less frightening to face a situation with no knowledge of how it might play out? Is it preferable to be blithely unaware of what might befall us? Would you rather it all be a horrible shock for which you are completely unprepared? If that’s your philosophy, stop reading now. I’d hate to ruin the surprise for you. Go ahead and believe in unicorns and rainbows.
For the rest of us, who want to give our families the best possible odds, read on.
Prepping to Survive World War 3
In a non-nuclear conflict, there are two possible scenarios: fighting in distant lands and conflict on our soil. Many of the preparations are the same, so we’ll start with involvement from a distance.
While some people will become mind-blowingly wealthy due to war, it won’t be ordinary folks like us. If previous World Wars are a good indicator, we’ll be asked to make sacrifices to “support” our soldiers. Think about all of the WW2 propaganda posters that encourage people to raise their own food, to go without certain items, and to whole-heartedly embrace rations. I can assure you that people who own stock in defense companies won’t be dining on pigeon and squirrel, but I can’t say the same for the rest of us.
Whether you wish to live frugally or not, it will be forced upon all but the most well-to-do. This is in part due to shortages (which we’ll discuss below) that will drive up the cost of consumer products. The price of transportation will also increase due to inflated gasoline prices, and this will affect the cost of every single good that has to be transported across any distance.
It’s likely that jobs will be available, due to increased enlistment in the military. (This could be due to a draft or simply voluntary sign-ups.) However, the money you make will have to go much further to combat the price increases.
Here are some immediate steps you can take to help counteract these potential economic ramifications. And if nothing bad happens, this won’t go the way of the Y2K preps. All of these are logical and reasonable steps for anyone to take to protect themselves from a financial downturn.
Stock up NOW. There’s no time to waste, given current global tensions. You need to have as much food quietly stashed away as possible. Remember that hungry friends and neighbors can be a threat later if you have food and they don’t, so keep your preps on the down-low.
- I’m a big fan of food buckets when you need to stock up fast.
- My book, Prepper’s Pantry, goes into detail about building a pantry even if you’re on a tight budget.
- Here’s a quick article about building your pantry
- Here are 50 non-food stockpile items you should stash away.
Enact your self-reliance strategies NOW. If you’ve been idly pondering the idea of a garden or a few chickens, put those plans into action. Raising food isn’t as easy as throwing some seeds in the dirt or erecting a chicken coop and tossing the birds a handful of grain now and then. Thinking that a survival homestead is something you can do later, on the spur of the moment is a terrible – and potentially deadly – mistake.
- Here’s an article about my first year attempting to raise food and why you need to expect some initial failure.
- Even if you live in the city, there are things that you can do in order to be more self-reliant. This article has more than 300 links to give you some ideas.
- This book is a reference for all things homesteading, no matter where you live.
- Learn to preserve what you raise or acquire with home canning or dehydrating.
Keep cash on hand. In a crisis, banks often close and if this happens you won’t be able to access your money. Another possibility is that a cyber attack could cripple the financial system. Keep at least enough cash for a month’s worth of expenses. Have the cash in small denominations so that you won’t have to try and get change during an emergency.
- Here’s an article on building an emergency fund
- Here’s one on breaking up with the banking system.
- Bank holidays are no holiday for ordinary people, as folks learned a few years back in Greece.
- Check out this excellent book on financial preparedness.
Invest in precious metals. For many of us, the best investment is tangible goods like food, tools, and homesteading supplies. However, if you are in a situation in which you have wealth to guard, the best way to do this is with precious metals. Gold and silver will hold their value even if the dollar goes under.
Learn to live frugally. Living beneath your means will help you survive potential economic woes.
- Here’s a link to the frugality archives on this site.
- I also strongly recommend The Complete Tightwad Gazette (my very favorite book in the world) as a fantastic reference to help you get into a frugal state of mind.
- Learn to mend and repair instead of throw out and replace. This is a great book from WW2 Britain on the topic.
Focus on general preparedness. Aside from the specifics mentioned above, do everything you can to become more prepared in a general way. This will help you take any difficulties in stride.
- Read this very comprehensive book.
- This article has tons of general preparedness and skills resources, and many of them are free.
Shortages That We Could Expect
Another issue that comes hand in hand with war is shortages. We live in a country that runs on imports. The US has a trade deficit of over $500 billion. (source) This means that we import far more than we export, which could be a massive issue in the event of a war. This could happen in a few different ways:
- Another country could halt our supply routes
- Other countries could refuse to do business with us
- Prices could rise dramatically due to the conflict from increased transportation costs, worries about safety risks during transport, or by the countries from which we import suffering their own shortages.
When President Trump was inaugurated and said that he was going to tax imports, many articles were written about how an import tax could affect our cost of living. The same information is applicable if you look at it through the scope of war. Although the imports wouldn’t necessarily be taxed, we’d be looking at similar shortages. (This article on Consumer Reports gives an excellent overview on what could be affected due to an import tax.)
Here are some of the shortages we could anticipate and supporting links to help you prep for them:
Gasoline: A fuel shortage will, quite literally, affect everything. It will increase the cost of goods because getting them from one side of the country to the other will be more expensive. It will cause shortages because importing the goods into the country from elsewhere will be more difficult and costly. The ability to travel or commute will be affected for many people, causing it to be more difficult to get to work or school. Our worlds will get much smaller in such a situation.
This could happen in a few different ways. First, our fuel could be diverted to the war effort, or secondly, since a quarter of our petroleum comes from other countries (source), a shortage could evolve the same way as shortages of consumer goods, as addressed above.
- Here’s an article on preparing for fuel shortages
- This study by the American Trucking Association is eye-opening: When Trucks Stop, America Stops
- This book is specific to a fuel crisis: Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs: A Thrivalist’s Guide to Life without Oil – and it’s only $6.99.
Food: For all of the reasons mentioned above, we could be facing food shortages. America imports $130 billion per year worth of food, and we have all become accustomed to blueberries in December and bananas on demand. In 2011, statistics showed that 20% of our food is imported with particular emphasis on seafood (70%) and produce (35%). With droughts and weather concerns plaguing agricultural hubs of the country over the past few years, this percentage has surely risen, although I was unable to find specific recent statistics.
- Eating locally and in-season will be the most affordable option if transportation becomes an issue.
- Learn more about how the drought in California affected food production and increased our reliance on imports.
- Read about the food shortages in Venezuela
Prescription medications: We are also a nation that is heavily reliant on prescription medications, many of which are made offshore. A whopping 80% of our prescription drugs are imported, according to the FDA website. In the event of a war that halts imports, the almost 70% of Americans who regularly rely on prescription drugs will be in big trouble.
Shortages of prescription medications could result in increased use of medical facilities due to uncontrolled heart conditions, diabetes, or other chronic ailments. This could cause reduced access to physicians, fewer available beds in hospitals, and higher prices for drugs that are available.
- Sign up here to get a special report on Venezuela that discusses the medical crisis there that erupted due to pharmaceutical shortages. (It also lists the other things that they ran out of first during their own economic crisis.)
- Look for options other than pharmaceutical for a backup plan. This book is loaded with natural remedies in the event that meds are no longer available.
- Do your best to reduce your reliance on prescription medications if you can at all. Some health conditions can be managed with good nutrition. If you have an underlying issue that can be taken care of, do so now.
Power: In previous conflicts, power has been rationed in some parts of the world. This could be anything from predictable rolling blackouts to cutting power entirely in order to “support the war effort.”
Of course, during WW2, people were less reliant on electronics for every facet of their lives. Now, we are all completely hooked into the grid. Most folks rely on it for everything: information, warmth, communication, money, and food storage. If that grid was no longer reliable, everything would change and some people would have a lot of difficulty adapting.
If your budget is tight, I strongly recommend against investing in a generator. First of all, they’re expensive and that money can be spent elsewhere. Unless it is solar, you’ll have to have fuel to run it. And it’s a pretty safe bet that if electricity is rationed, fuel will be outrageously expensive and difficult to acquire.
- Here’s an article on why I’m prepping low-tech.
- Here’s an article about preparing for rolling blackouts.
- Here’s an article about the rationing of electricity in Venezuela.
What are your thoughts?
How could you see an offshore conflict affecting us here in the US? What are you doing to prepare for it? Share your thoughts in the comments.
Check out the rest of the WW3 Series
Part 1: Is World War 3 Coming? 18 Preppers Discuss Effects, Shortages, and How to Get Ready
Part 2: How to Survive World War 3: Prepping for an Off-Shore Conflict
Part 3: How World War 3 Will Happen: “The citizen will be the last to know.”
Part 4: How to Survive World War 3: Prepping for a US Mainland Conflict
Since precious metals may not be so easily obtained by people with lower incomes, do you think stocking liquer is a good idea for trade and bartering?
Liquor is one option. In a situation where the trucks stop delivering, what would you miss the most( toilet paper, cooking oil, fuel, soap, OTC meds, ect ).
after wwii in europe the most commonly bartered items were alcohol, chocolate, tobacco, and coffee. in america it would be similar, and add coca-cola.
Add cooking oil to that list. Germans after the war considered cooking oil one of the most valuable commodities and fetched a high barter price.
While in Afghanistan, we watched the price of cooking oil closely as a indicator of possible social strife.
I think one of the best ideas for trade and bartering is disposable razors. First, they are lightweight, so it’s easy to store a lot and carry them with you. Second, people definitely need them. Third, it isn’t something that you can try to make yourself if there is a shortage, unlike other things, like alcohol.
For that very reason, I have a straight razor, strop, and shaving brush.
Reading glasses in different strengths is another good bartering item.
Liquor is a great barter item. but keep in mind who you might be dealing with and someones addiction problem on the flipside.
One of us does know how it is going to play out: The day of the next false flag using the stolen nuke from 2007 and blamed on Iran is the day Russia, China and the whole SCO nuke and invade the USA. This is the war of Armageddon and you can know it is now because of the chemtrails sprayed every day globally to hid the approaching red Planet X. Planet X caused the sinking of Atlantis and Noah’s flood. This time around it will end the coming, planned WW3 when it rips North America into thirds, erupts Yellowstone super volcano and kills 5/6 of the 200 million SCO invaders but 90% of Americans will be dead by then. There will be no food or water for two years. The SCO invaders will eat our food in our midst while hunting us down like dogs. And dogs….what will happen when the millions of dogs stop getting their dog food? Bible says “I will send the teeth of beasts upon you.” People will eat their families. Many will die from nukes and fallout, especially fallout in the remaining surface water. As Planet X approaches closer, the sun will get hot enough to scorch man. Then there is Yellowstone which will blow. Research that one. And all of this is planned and being implemented right in front of the stupid sheeples’ eyes and yet they remain clueless and focused on their stupid materialistic, drama-based lives.
So, uh, if you know how it is going to to play out, could you also post the winning Mega-Ball numbers so we could all get rich, fast?
BTW, so, what are you doing to prepare for . . . the SCO invaders, red Planet-X, eating your family members?
Go away criminal government liar. I know what you are:
I am still waiting for that government paycheck.
I think your alien theory is more plausible.
How to survive WW3:
Move to Switzerland
If ther were an EMP, would the solar equipment that converts solar,
charge, or convert be fried?
(shrug) hard to say. large distribution systems will of course generate large voltage transients, but they’re designed to withstand direct lightning strikes and it’s not likely emp will exceed that. one argument is that modern micro-electronics is designed for extremely low voltages that emp will exceed, but since emp requires long conductors to generate large transient voltages it’s not likely that those micro-electronics will experience those transients.
in any case if emp has any significant effect then a loss of electronics and solar panels will not be the major problem.
Regarding the question about EMP hardening of solar power systems, the only people I’ve found who have an EMP-hardened option in their solar power systems are in Parker, Texas:
On their home page, there is an extensive comparison chart showing their features versus many other competitors. They claim they are the only company making a mil-spec EMP hardened option available to the general public.
Not surprisingly, none of the other solar system suppliers (that I’ve seen) care to mention the EMP hardening issue. It’s not hard to guess why.
I am a Christian first and foremost and I consider myself a Patriot. However, as horrible as what is happening in the Ukraine, much of what the Russians are doing there, the U.S. did to people in Germany and Japan during WWII. Bomb cities into ruble, no regard for the plain old non-military folks. Let’s not mention the treatment of our Native Americans by our military also.
I guess every nation has someone’s blood on its hands.
the real issue is NEVER what is done. the real issue is ALWAYS who is doing it. “you do it, it’s evil. we do it, it’s good.” and even that hypocrisy is a deliberate deception: the real morality behind it is “we’re good. you’re evil.” it’s tribal morality, nothing more or less.
“A lot of folks seem to be thrilled at the concept of war. They don’t seem to comprehend that whatever our military does to another country, someone else could come along and do to us.”
they do comprehend it. it’s just that the ones behind all this control BOTH sides, so they know THEY won’t be targeted.
If there was a WW# it would be a nuclear war. Which is exactly why TPTB will not allow it.
Part of being a Prepper and being situationally aware requires an understanding of World politics.
Globalism, if we can use that term, is a program that creates a world economic system – for TPTB’s profit. They control the financial system and politicians, so they make the rules.
A nuclear war or WW3 is not profitable – regional wars are.
If it was going to become a “world war”, it would have happened by now. But if you watched the news, Biden and other leaders have backed down from directly engaging Russia and it’s allies.
There is another aspect to this also. No Western nation has the capability to sustain their own country without imports from other countries. All of which has major impacts on sustaining life.
Europe and the US import fossil fuels, fertilizers and even food from Russia.
Almost all electronics and replacement electric parts used in industry, autos and most importantly farm and construction equipment comes from China, a Russian Ally.
In the US, we do not make enough steel to build military equipment( all other needed resources aside) to replace the losses in a major war. Without the Electronic parts from China, everything would grind to a halt. Food production would suffer and famine set in. Which would cause the US to capitulate to Russia or to face internal strife and possibly a Civil war.
Not the kind of outcomes that are good for our politicians nor for TPTB.
One must realize that they also exert control over Russia and her allies also.
However causing Fear, (panic buying, stock piling etc.) is great for generating profits for TPTB.
Shortages also allow prices to be increased with little need to prove why there was a need for such an
large increase.( prices seldom, “return to normal”, after such increases as they are generally permanent, once the population gets used to paying them).
In short, regional wars are great for profits, world wars are not.
So don’t use the (propaganda) news to assess the World situation, but follow the money and what TPTB are doing. They are making money, not panicking.
There are quite a few experts on the East, Russia and China, that point out that the “a nuclear war is unwinnable” is a Western position. Both Russia and China consider that a nuclear war is winnable.
They don’t think the same way the West does, so applying our logic may not be a good thing.
And if you go far enough down some conspiracy theories on the elites wanting a global population reduction to some number under a billion and add in the theories that the elite have made sure they have their bunkers where they would survive even a full fledged nuclear war, then you can get to a position where a nuclear war would meet their end goals.
So, while I may not put a whole lot of stock in those theories I can’t prove that they are wrong either.
Because both of those theories are possible no matter how unlikely, I choose to prepare for the possibility of a nuclear war the best I can.
Surviving the Apocalypse in the Suburbs: A Thrivalist’s Guide to Life without Oil – and it’s only $6.99…
That must have been this morning’s price. The link in your article to Amazone lists the lowest price as Kindle at $14.95, paperback is $19.95. A lot of people read your today’s article a lot earlier than I did!
If you’re limited on space for a garden try container gardening. My wife and I started the spring of 2020. We’ve successfully grown tomatoes, green & red bell peppers, salsa peppers and corn. We use 5 gal buckets and drilled drainage holes. And use bagged soil specifically for a garden at our local Rural King.
You can raise spuds, carrots, onions, turnips and other root veggies in buckets, too. And root veggies are calorie dense and easy to store without processing.
Even folks living in cities can garden on (flat) rooftops, folks who rent a house and whose landlord won’t let them dig a garden spot can line their driveway with buckets and raise food in them.
Every bit of food that you raise makes you less dependent on the supply chain, makes your family a bit more secure and saves money.
We are all being lied to…big surprise right? One side of the story is being told and that is the Ukrainian side only. Lots of compelling atrocities to whip up the fervor for getting involved. You need to dig deeper to find the reality here. Yep it’s an invasion, yes it’s bad, but not for us to solve. Sorry….I am out this time. I have been part of all of it since 1985 and have not “missed” any of the “conflicts.”
If it’s nukes…I really don’t want to survive that. Even though I probably will because I live no where close to potential sites.
I will probably still try…
I want to be angry at the great betrayal we all face, and I am, but this is a sign of what is to come. None of us here can change the course or direction of what is to come. Is this the beginning of the trials and tribulations? Probably…Honestly I wish I had been born 40 years earlier. So depressing right? Well we all have to drive on and get prepared to take care of ourselves and our local communities because that is the only thing we can change and/or protect. This site is my only outlet for my voice.
Good news is one of my Brahma hens is broody and is sitting on 6 eggs. I will be expanding my flock to 16 hens. Garden is going in and we will be expanding. Bought more Mason jars yesterday. Have a local grower for tomatoes so will be canning up a storm. Have half a cow and pig coming in a few weeks. So yeah I am going to keep plodding along…BTW Winnco has bulk brown rice for $18.00 (25 lbs.) That fills 16 quart jars with oxygen absorbers: use a “Seal a meal” to pull all the air out. They have 50lb bags of sugar as well. And…I will have more strawberries then I will know what to do with this year hopefully! Good luck to all…
We will not expect food shortages due to “imports.” Just because we import a $130 billion in food doesn’t mean we rely on it. It is luxury. You don’t actually need that imported tilapia or catfish. We won’t have to ration food, just because we did it in WWI (100 years ago) or WWII (80 years ago). We’ll have to go back to 1985 or so with regards to food sourcing. The real problem is fuel costs. I have the feeling that there won’t be any shortages of actual food, but there will be enormous price increases because fuel is a part of the growing and then transportation logistics.
I worry about prescriptions. I’m a heart patient, and seven of the ten meds I’m prescribed are from China. There were shortages of ARBs and beta blockers back in 2019 because certain Chinese-made drugs had cancer-causing agents in their manufacturing processes and we boycotted them.
Let’s go Brandon!