Though the true "defining" event of this timeline happens later on, the (rough) point of divergence for this timeline begins with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the eastern bloc happening slightly differently, but more so following the formation of new factions even prior to its collapse. The shift in the balance of power during and after the fall of the iron curtain leads to worldwide tensions, further exasperated by several nuclear terrorist attacks, exploding into numerous initially non-nuclear wars. However, on October 9th 1994, the wars degenerate into a worldwide nuclear exchange, devastating humanity. However, despite the devastation, the Nuclear exchange does not in fact end the human world, but simply push it into a new chapter.
NOTE: This timeline will try to treat the fallout of these events in a scientifically realistic way, though by no means will it follow it perfectly, and may purposely contradict it if it works better for the story.
A rough synopsis will be displayed (separated between "Pre-Collapse" and "Post-Collapse") on this page, though a more detailed account of specific events and nations will be found on their respective pages.
Pre-Great Collapse Overview
As the Soviet Union began to enter its final decline and collapse with Mikhail Gorbachev's rise to power, a relatively obscure ideology came to the forefront in America: Producerism. In response to the increase of Corporate power and the beginning of outsourcing, a concerned American named Anthony Vance began calling out for a revolution, becoming heavily entwined with the growing producerist minority. Eventually the Producerist Party of America would be formed in early 1986. Within 6 months of its formation, the party had swelled in numbers, setting records for growth rates. Whilst the corporately minded Republican Party and the debased Democrats both attempted to smear the Producerists and push them under the rug, their efforts ultimately came with no fruits.
In 1987, despite having only existed for barely a year, the Producerists had grown in numbers to such an extent that they closely rivaled both the Republicans and Democrats. Mere months later, mass congressional defections had begun, with shifts in party memberships leaving a drastically different congress. Alongside this, a massive paramilitary force called the Maroonshirts came to being, supporting the Producerist Party whilst unofficially remaining separate from it. partisanism and corruption in the military and the various intelligence branches also led to the Producerists (as well as the other parties to far lesser degrees) having unofficial, if direct, power over considerable parts of the government. However this would be overshadowed during America's transformation in 1988 when Anthony Vance would be elected President and the Producerists winning a super-majority. Shortly thereafter, in an illegal but popularly supported move, President Vance officially dissolved the Legislative bodies of the Federal Government and the states, appointing various party councils to replace them at the different levels. By 1990, Vance had complete control of the government and nation and had cultivated fanatical loyalty from the populace and party. To this end, he officially reformed the United States of America into the North American Union, declaring that he would make good on bringing about the Manifest Destiny of America.
Throughout this time, Anti-Americanism and Latin Pride in South America had led to the formation of the Pan-South American Alliance (PSAA), which sought to remove the presence of American Corporations and political influence from South America. The Producerist Reforms of the Vance Administration served to, unintentionally, aid this. The PSAA, whilst initially a private group unaffiliated with any South American Government on an official level, was soon elevated to the status of a Continent spanning supranational government with widespread power after the formation of the North American union. Though unwilling to call it Producerism due to its American connotations, the PSAA adopted a similar model to Vance's in order to further liberate themselves from foreign influence.
Meanwhile, as a result of an uncovering of a corporately backed plan to remove Vance from office, Vance ordered the arrest of nearly every higher up (and former higher up) in American Corporations. Alongside this, he declared that while all corporations would function as they did before the purge (and even slightly more like they did before rise of Producerist Reforms), they would be the property of the people (and therefore the Government). At this time, various surviving corporate officials, pushed underground, put their remaining (considerable) wealth together and formed a highly secretive group known as the Acendancy. Alongside this, they would form a terrorist ring disguised as a Romano-American Styled Neo-Fascist and Pro-White group, which they called the Western Imperium (often simply referred to as "The Imperium", in order to carry out attacks across the globe without endangering their identities. They immediately began a quest to obtain nuclear weapons from the collapsing Soviet Union. At this time, they also aligned themselves with the corporate elite of Western Europe, Bankrolling the campaign's of politicians in favor of furthering of European economic and political ties, as well as bribing additional officials to support it. Thus, in 1992, right as the Soviet Union Prepared to Dissolve itself, the European Union was formed by the Treaty of Dijon. From the get go, all true power in the Union, which initially encompassed Western and some of Central Europe, was in the hands of European and Exiled American Corporate Giants. Two months after its formation, the former Eastern Bloc of Europe was incorporated into the union, alongside the Balkans another month later. These areas very quickly were converted into areas of cheap labor for the wealthier Western Zone of the Union, which increasingly became infused with it's controllers' Western Imperium.
As a result of its controllers' power over Europe and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Imperium eventually managed to acquire a small arsenal of nuclear weapons. With secret launch sites built in the disputed Territories of Western Sahara in the previous year to render the arms usable once acquired, the Imperium was able to, on November 29th 1993, launch its newly acquired arsenal at various targets. Whilst some were able to be intercepted, most reached their targets successfully. These targets were primarily military bases, research sites, and politically important major population centers. All of the Great Power's capitals were obliterated at this time by the weapons. The Imperium itself avoided taking credit, instead allowing world governments to accuse each other of launching false flag attacks on themselves and others. China (which had previously remained neutral throughout the build up), the NAU, the PSAA and the EU all blamed each other and ultimately declared war over the attacks, launching the Third World War on January 7th 1994.
Initially it had been expected that a massive nuclear exchange would occur, but, due to the fear of mutually assured destruction, this was avoided. Within two months, worldwide devastation had occurred as nearly every nation was dragged into the war, supporting whichever faction conquered or liberated them. President Vance would be assassinated by the Imperium (which, for the first time, took credit not only for the assassination, but also for the nuclear attacks, knowing well that it would do nothing to stop the war and rather would simply fuel it further), allowing a member of the Ascendancy to seize control of the NAU. This in turn led to the NAU, unlike any other government, being able to construct, in the vast and uninvaded Canadian Shield, a series of government preservation shelters and deep underground military bases. By June 1994, the Chinese controlled Russian government had overrun EU positions all the way to Cologne in the North, seizing Scandinavia in it entirety whilst managing to seize Italy and march to the outskirts of Dijon in the south. In North America, the NAU held out in the arctic, isolated from the remaining stronghold in the Midwestern United States and the secret strongholds beneath the ground of Chinese Occupied Central Canada. South America suffered only a small occupation on its Northern Seaboard, otherwise standing relatively unmolested by foreign armies, even though its cities were largely ruined by bombing runs. China itself stood relatively similar to South America in terms of damage, and unlike any other nation, suffered no occupation. By October 2nd 1994, it seemed as if South America and China were poised to defeat the EU and NAU. However, the Ascendancy had expected this would occur and had made preparations to ensure its survival and the death of all of its foes. On October 6th, it ordered the Western Imperium to Rise up in full, launching a series of biological weapons attacks in South America and China, while at the same time effectively seizing control of the remaining territories of the EU. On October 8th, several PSAA nuclear weapons were set off by the Imperium along the Panama canal, effectively crippling the efficiency of the PSAA in the area and allowing a separately coordinated NAU team to, in the commotion, set off confiscated Imperium Bio weapons in occupied Mexico, causing further disarray. Hours later, in the early morning of October 9th, the PSAA launched its full arsenal at various targets worldwide, causing the EU, Chinese and NAU to fire all of the nuclear weapons under their control at various targets of their own. The world that morning was engulfed in nuclear fire, devastating the planet and effectively ending the Third World War due to the de facto deaths of all involved nations. The ultimate result was what is now known as the Great Collapse; the end of the World as it had been known.
Post-Great Collapse Overview
After more than a week of meteorological chaos, the dust, if not absent, began to settle. The slate had been wiped clean, the great powers of the past snuffed out. Remnants of the NAU military quickly declared a state of martial law over all NAU territory, but due to the collapse of society, this ultimately only served to encompass a small area of the Midwestern United States. The remnants of the Imperium, now out of the control of the Ascendancy, declared a great victory, celebrating the "cleansing" of the world of its "inferior peoples". The Imperium, split apart geographically, evolved into various new states. In North America, the Imperium gathered outside of the ruins of Boston and formed the New American Republic. In Western Europe, its forces gathered in Southern France before entering Italy, where they entered the largely unharmed (beyond the collapse of order and civil services) Rome, which they had protected during the Collapse through prematurely detonating all nukes targeted at Rome and nearby cities before they could reach their targets. In Rome, the Imperium declared the rebirth of the Roman Empire. The Imperium forces stranded in Central and Southern America would ultimately be wiped out by the surviving locals or would merge into their society, abandoning their racist beliefs in the face of worldwide devastation. There, in South America, the only large scale organized group that would rise up would be the State of Gran Colombia, which would even then exist in near anarchy. The Remains of the EU which did not merge into the Imperium along its way to Rome largely dispersed, struggling to survive, which would also be the case for the majority of the world, including China. The remains of India broke into various republics and petty Kingdoms, the contrived unity of the diverse nation buckling in the face of its devastation. The tribes of Africa would assert their authority after the collapse, with the struggling nations of the past era being completely snuffed out. Ultimately, in the early days, the world seemed to have truly ended.