Sean Sears and Amanda Peck


Seven Minutes to Midnight- A Short Historical Fiction


He knew it was bound to happen. There wasn't much doubt; the clock was going to change. The war in Vietnam had been going on for some time now, and with France and China was rising as real competitors in the arms race; America's foes were gaining some momentum. So when Professor Harris was notified of the change, his reaction was nonexistent.

Professor Harris was a nuclear physicist, and was working with the military to find new ways to protect the country from nuclear warfare. Along with his work with the U.S. Military, he was also a regular contributor to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, giving his insight on the cold war and its effect on science. Harris was a graduate from the University of Chicago, and first started publishing his finds in the bulletin during his final year at the school. Harris was the go to man of this crisis, given his background on the situation, and this time was no different. It was the first change in five years and the doomsday clock was now seven minutes away from midnight, meaning the world was getting closer to nuclear destruction. The world has seen steady increase in the past decade, moving away from midnight, promising an end to the cold war. But with the recent changes, the rest of the world had just been working hard to catch up with the likes of Communist Russia, and the United States.

The Professor was about to be bombarded with high ranking military figures, asking him if his research was ready to be put into action. He knew he would have to explain what seven minutes from midnight really meant. He would then have to convince the gun-ho war minds not to start the war themselves. The truth was, Professor Harris hated working for the military. He hated dealing with “shoot first” type people every day. But he knew if he were not here, Armageddon would be in the near future. Harris knew the government respected his opinion greatly, and made all their final decisions based off that opinion. He had put the time in, and he never seemed to be wrong.

Harris knew the clock was showing the world arms race was hitting the peak, he knew this was a turning point. Things had to be settled now, or things would end horribly. The clock was the closest thing he had to measure how much trouble the world was in, and midnight was fast approaching. Action was needed, but not with nuclear violence. There had to be an agreement. These weapons were too dangerous, and Harris was finding better things to use nuclear energy for. But things could not advance if he had to constantly worry about bombs dropping from other countries. Nuclear energy was not being used to its full use, and needed a new direction.

treaty.jpg
In 1991 the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty is signed, and the clock is the furthest away from midnight it's been since being created.
ussr.png
In 1984, the arms race continued between the United States and communist countries.
1968.jpg
In 1968, the Vietnam War escalated while China and France obtained and began testing nuclear weapons.
graph1.png
In this graph, the points represent how close the world is to midnight/nuclear chaos.
clock.jpg
The Doomsday Clock represents in minutes how close the world has been to nuclear destruction.



Works Cited
"The Cold War." Cemetery Research Group Henry County GA. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://www.crghenry.org/other_pages/cold_war/the_cold_war.html>.

"Doomsday Clock: Minutes to Midnight." DoomsDay Clock. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://www.doomsdayclock.org/>.

"Doomsday Clock." Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 14 May 2011. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doomsday_Clock>.

Kristensen, Hans M. "Timeline | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists." It Is 6 Minutes to Midnight | Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. Web. 16 May 2011. <http://www.thebulletin.org/content/doomsday-clock/timeline>.