- For types of Safe Zones, see: "Zones (World War Z)"
During World War Z, human civilization stood on the brink of collapse, until the "Redeker Plan" was developed in South Africa, and then was adopted around the world. This strategy involved retreating into several major "Safe Zones".
The Redeker Plan
- See main article, "Redeker Plan"
The war strategy of the Redeker Plan consisted of two major points:
- 1 - A conventional military retreat to an isolated national "Safe Zone", where the depleted military could be reconsolidated. Safe Zones relied on various kinds of natural obstacles, such as mountains, rivers, or even off-shore islands.
- 2 - Intentionally only evacuating only a fraction of the population to this Safe Zone, not only because they would put a strain on its limited resources, but so they could be left behind as "human bait". Secondary Safe Zones and survivor enclaves outside of the official, national Safe Zones would distract the zombie hordes, keeping them rooted in the spot rather than attacking the primary Safe Zone.
Types of Safe Zone
Safe Zones were established in a variety of ways:
- Mountain Ranges - many Safe Zones were established by retreating to a smaller land area behind large mountain ranges, which could be defended as natural choke points. Examples include the west coast Safe Zone in the United States behind the Rocky Mountains, Scotland in the British Isles, the Alps in Europe, the Himalayas for India, and the Andes in South America.
- Island Terrain - several isolated islands were turned into Safe Zones, though they were still in danger of zombies washing up on the coasts, or spreading from infections within their own borders. Examples include Hawaii, Cuba, Ireland, and Tasmania. Due to their small size, however, island Safe Zones could be easily overwhelmed by infected refugees - examples of which include Barbados and Iceland.
- Snow line - continental regions without large islands would often at least try to establish Safe Zones north of the snow line, because zombies freeze in winter. Frequently this was combined with large mountain ranges, making frozen mountain passes doubly hard for zombies to migrate through. Other areas were unfortunate not to have mountain ranges running west-east to block zombies coming from the south. Continental Scandinavia was totally overrun by infected refugees and remains uncleared even a decade after the official end of the war, as was Iceland. Many survivors fled to unofficial safe zones in the Canadian sub-arctic only to be followed by zombies in the spring. Russia is the major example of a country that had to rely purely on the snow line: the Urals blocked zombie hordes coming directly from Western Europe, but zombie mega-herds developed in the open plains of Central Asia to their south, with no mountain ranges to block their path. China eventually adopted a similar doctrine.
- Artificial walls - a rare method for establishing Safe Zones, this was implemented by Israel during the opening phases of the global pandemic, actually predating the Redeker Plan. Israel withdraw to its pre-1967 borders, leaving Jerusalem to the Palestinians, to retreat to a smaller and more defensible perimeter. Israel then built a massive reinforced concrete perimeter wall around all of its land borders. This was possible due to Israel's relatively small size, but was impossible for larger nations (the United States, Germany, etc.) China eventually incorporated part of this, when they became the last major country to adopt the Redeker Plan: China's Safe Zone was established north of the Great Wall of China, above the snow line, after which the Great Wall was quickly reinforced and rebuilt in a massive construction project.
- Total evacuation - a few countries were so indefensible that they staged massive evacuations of their population to other nations. The major example of this is Japan, which was forced to evacuate to the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia.
Known Safe Zones
A full list of all of the major national Safe Zones across the world has not been given. By the time the United Nations voted at the Saratoga Conference to launch campaigns to reclaim lost territory, it only had 72 member nations left (reduced from 192 when the war began). Only about 20 of these have been specifically identified by name.
Not including isolated Safe Zones or survivor enclaves, the major national Safe Zones mentioned to have been established include:
- North America:
- United States - west of the Rocky Mountains, with the capital relocating to Hawaii. Due to its high rate of private gun ownership, the USA also had the highest number of isolated survivor enclaves of any nation in the world.
- Canada - Canada's government still existed, but it couldn't clear its vast land sub-arctic wilderness without help from the USA later in the war. Presumably Canada had a Safe Zone west of the Rocky Mountains like the USA did.
- Mexico - Mexico was also too weak to clear its own territories, due to the massive influx of refugees from Central America. Its government still existed in some form, receiving aid from the US military later in the war. In unclear circumstances the nation was renamed "Aztlan" at some point. Mexico may have also established a Safe Zone west of the Rockies, perhaps in Baja California.
- Central and South America:
- Most South American nations apparently retreated to Safe Zones west of the Andes Mountains, comparable to how the USA's Safe Zone was west of the Rocky Mountains. Chile also established Safe Zones on its outlying island chains such as the Chiloe archipelago (centered around Ancud). Most of the east was overrun, with Buenos Aires and French Guiana directly stated to have fallen.
- Cuba - the entire island of Cuba became a major Safe Zone for the entire western hemisphere. Due to its island geography and disproportionately strong military, the infestation never established a significant hold there, and the nation went into lockdown even as the mainland was being overwhelmed. Several other Caribbean islands became Safe Zones, but other such as Barbados were overrun with infected refugees, spreading the plague.
- Europe in general didn't have the high rate of private gun ownership of the USA, but it did have widespread medieval castles, which the USA and Canada totally lacked. Thus Europe also had a high number of surviving pockets of survivors, at castles whose original purpose was to keep out infantry-based invaders. Nonetheless, due to its high population density, much of Europe was totally overrun. Most of Europe's surviving governments apparently established Safe Zones around the Alps (and perhaps the Carpathians as well, extending east). The Scandinavian peninsula and Iceland were also totally overrun, inundated with refugees trying to flee to colder climates. Continental France was also overrun (as was French Guiana) - though its government survived, perhaps relocating to the Alps or French Polynesia.
- Germany had a southern Safe Zone in the Bavarian Alps, and also a northern Safe Zone centered around the Denmark peninsula, above the Nord-Ostsee Kanal (abandoning Hamburg to the south). Germany referred to the Redeker Plan as the "Prochnow Plan"
- It is mentioned in passing that Spain was not overrun. Apparently, the entire Iberian peninsula (including Portugal) was turned into a Safe Zone by blocking the Pyrenees mountain range separating it from France.
- British Isles - Scotland north of the Antonine line, and the island of Ireland
- Most of eastern Europe was overwhelmed, due to their larger land area and comparatively weaker militaries. Ukraine desperately fell back to a Safe Zone in the Crimea peninsula, deploying nerve gas against crowds of infected civilians to prevent them from entering.
- South Africa - a region around Cape Town (Stellenboch was converted into a subsistence farming base). Other regions in Africa haven't been mentioned: their weak Third World militaries may have been overwhelmed.
- Israel - retracted to its old 1967 boarders, abandoning Jerusalem, to construct a massive containment wall around the entire land perimeter of the country. Israel was practically the only nation to take advanced warnings of the zombie plague seriously and act on them pre-emptively.
- Iran and Pakistan eradicated each other in a limited nuclear exchange, sparked in a panic during the height of the initial outbreak. Their governments ceased to exist.
- Central and East Asia:
- China - country where the plague originated, and the absolute last to implement the Redeker Plan. The Politburo never considered any city to be truly lost, and continued to send wave after wave of conscripts at infested cities, spreading themselves thin while swelling the ranks of the undead. After several years, half of China's military mutinied over this failed strategy, overthrowing the Politburo and only starting to implement the Redeker Plan a full five years into the war - at a time when the United States was starting to launch its great counter-offensive to reclaim lost territory, China was only just starting to implement an organized retreat. The Chinese Safe Zone was established north of the Great Wall, centered around Manchuria, away from the great mega-hordes in the populous south.
- Japan - realizing early on that their high population density, low military numbers, and low private gun ownership resulted in an indefensible combination, the Japanese government initiated an organized evacuation to a Safe Zone in Russia's Kamchatka peninsula, abandoning the Home Isles. Many also fled to South Korea. The Japanese people, however, for the most part survived to eventually reclaim their homeland.
- Russia - trans-Ural Siberia
- India - mountain valleys of the Himalayas
- All contact was lost with North Korea when the war began, and has not been re-established even two decades later. Apparently the population retreated into underground bunkers, but they may have brought the infection with them, bottling up millions of dead waiting to be released. While no zombies come out of North Korea, it is not considered a Safe Zone.
- South Korea - apparently established a Safe Zone in the north to northeast of the country, due to the government's insistence that it could not leave the DMZ with North Korea undefended. Eventually liberating the country was also slow, because the government insisted on keeping a full half of its military behind to defend the DMZ. At least, due to a combination of North Korea's impassable defenses, and because China's Safe Zone was in Manchuria, South Korea never had to face major hordes coming overland from the rest of Asia. South Korea suffered a Yonkers-like defeat at Inchon on the west coast, and Seoul may have been overrun. South Korea referred to the Redeker Plan as the "Change Doctrine".
- Hawaii - became the wartime capital of the United States, separate from the main Safe Zone on the west coast
- Australia - established a Safe Zone on Tasmania island
- New Zealand - mention of a Maori defense against the Auckland horde may indicate that there was a Safe Zone on one or both islands
- So many refugees tried to flee to the small islands of the Pacific Ocean that historians refer to it as the "Pacific Continent". Some managed to establish self-sufficient survival economies, but far more died due to taking the infection with them, or simply starving to death without adequate supplies or land area to sustain them all. The "Pacific Continent" settlements that did survive beyond the first year weren't a stable economic base for the war effort, so much as "a refugee culture stretching from Palau to French Polynesia".