This is the last map I had prepared for posting over the summer. A bit convoluted, but given the subject matter it's necessary. Enjoy.
A war between the Western and Eastern Allies is, to many, inevitable. While the two were united against the forces of the Third Reich, it was a situation of the two sharing an enemy. To the Western Allies, the Soviet Union was another totalitarian dictatorship that would happily take all of Europe had it had the chance, and it did invade Poland along with Hitler. To the Soviets, the Western Allies were distrustful and happily let the Third Reich rampage through the East. Furthermore, the disastrous Trinity test, which killed everyone at the test site, convinced American military planners that nuclear weapons were too unstable to be used. Instead, the Allies planned on launching a conventional invasion of the Japanese Home Islands.
Things escalated quickly after Operation Downfall. Stalin reneged on declaring war against Japan, opting instead to keep troops in Europe in case of a major war. This was seen by some Allied planners, including Winston Churchill, as a nefarious plot to take control of Europe while they were tied up with Japanese resistance. Thus, the Allied troops in Europe were ordered to stay in high alert, in case of a surprise Soviet offensive. The Soviets responded in kind. This kept tensions high, when the powder keg was lit during the Berlin.
In November of 1945, as Allied troops were still hunting down Japanese fanatics in the mountains, the Soviets had refused to allow the Allies into Berlin. The Allies attempted to supply them via air, to which the Soviets responded with warning shots. It's not entirely clear whether or not the Soviets intentionally shot down an Allied transport craft or not, but this was responded to with fire by the transport's escorts. Soon, all of Berlin was engulfed in a firefight between Soviet and Allied troops. With both sides on high alert, fighting spread before a political arrangement could be reached. Churchill, Truman and Stalin had all believed that this day was inevitable, and thus ordered their countries to go to war.
The initial stages of the war heavily favored the Soviets. Allied troops were pushed back to the Pyrenees, upon which the Allies made a quick agreement with the Franco dictatorship to preserve his regime if he joined the war effort and opened his country up to Allied troops. Fearing Soviet invasion, Franco agreed. Meanwhile, Great Britain once again became a great staging ground for another amphibious invasion of the European continent, planned for Calais. The European continent itself was riven with partisan conflict and civil war, some conflicts involving up to five different sides fighting for pro-Allied and pro-Soviet causes, with some independent and even pro-Axis movements thrown into the mix. In the East, the Soviets launched an offensive into Manchuria and Korea, bringing the shaky Republic of China into the war. At the homefront on both sides, war weariness gave way to outrage at the "betrayal" their ally against the Axis committed, and both Allied and Soviet leaders had no trouble in calling for the imposition of a new world order to prevent another conflict from happening again.
By 1947, the bombing runs were taking their toll, as the Allies enjoyed total air superiority over their Soviet foes. The landing at Calais was a success, although not as successful as the Normandy invasion. Furthermore, the Soviets experienced difficulty in subduing southern Europe, where the Soviets learned about the danger of partisans as their German predecessors had, and they also blundered in Finland. But the true turning point was the discovery of various Trinity documents that revealed something drastic: the scientists had made a miscalculation in the bomb's construction. The Little Boy and Fat Man bombs, which had already been produced, should work without destroying the bombing craft. And at any rate, averting a Soviet-dominated Eurasia was worth a single bomber crew. At the news, atomic bomb production was put into overdrive.
The Little Boy was dropped on the city of Hamburg, which was serving as a major staging ground for the Red Army. Nearly eighty thousand Soviet soldiers perished during the bombing, along with about a hundred thousand civilians. Stalin was horrified at such a weapon, but the Allies demanded unconditional surrender. He would fight on. The decision proved to be disastrous: the Allies began to strike the Soviet Union proper. Sevastopol was hit with a nuclear bomb, and in February of 1948, Vladivostok was destroyed. In March of 1948, Minsk was hit, which broke the back of the Soviet forces attempting to defend their country against the Allied invasion. Stalin himself began to lose the confidence of his inner circle, who believed that if they did not surrender, they would meet the same fate as Hitler. Stalin would have none of it, and threatened his inner circle with another purge. This was the final straw, and a group of conspirators successfully killed Stalin in May of 1948. However, the conspirators were caught after the act, and a small civil war was sparked within the Soviet Union itself. This was ultimately stopped by Zhukov, who ordered the Red Army into Moscow to take control and, most importantly, surrender to the Allies.
The Allies agreed that a new, united, democratic world order was necessary to save the world from the dual threats of totalitarianism and world war. It was under these principles that the United Nations was founded, and after the Soviet Union's "betrayal," it was proved to be more necessary than ever. The UN today isn't the global superstate envisioned by its more idealistic founders, but it is a powerful global force, with a sizable detachment of Peacekeepers that have the authority to depose governments that are deemed to be threats to world peace. The UN even has zones which it administers directly, mostly carved out from the defeated Axis and Soviet powers. The European Community and the Pacific Community are two international organizations that share currencies, have free travel between members and share some regulations, in an attempt to keep these regions from going to war by banding them together.
The UN is technically led by the Big Four of the US, UK, France and China, but everybody knows that the US is the first among them. The United States sees itself as a global policeman, and thus has troops and bases all over the world. Internally, the United States is the most conservative of the Big Four, save China, with society being one of silent consensus much as it was during the post-war era.
The United States' European allies are just as committed to the cause of peace. Although much poorer due to having borne the brunt of World War II, the European Allies are no slouches in the military intervention department. Britain and France are democracies that a bit more left-wing than the United States, but are ultimately "radical" in their moderation: both overly right-wing and overly left-wing politics are seen as too close to Nazism and communism, respectively. Just ignore the fact that ex-fascists tended to run the show in Italy and the German remnants in the post-war era. The Intermarum, on the other hand, is very conservative and Catholic, seeing itself as a liberated nation continuing the legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. The Intermarum is very committed to keeping the Germans and the Russians down, although they hate the Russians far more for historical reasons.
The Russian Republic is a corrupt democracy forged from the post-war Allied occupation of the Soviet Union. The Allies attempted to purge all elements of Soviet rule from the new Republic, and thus staffed the Republic's government with political prisoners. What the Allies did not understand is that many of these political criminals were also criminals in a very conventional sense, which quickly corrupted the Republic. However, Russia knows that it cannot challenge the UN, and so it keeps its military to within the levels permitted to it by the UN and abides by all of the UN's directives. After all, the politicians cannot loot a dead nation.
But the American-led UN consensus is not strictly obeyed. In the East, China has broken off and taken its own path. Although still a member of the UN, China merely uses it as a forum for keeping the UN out of its affairs. China remains a dictatorship under the KMT, but its vibrant economy and major trade with the West overshadows any possible internal dissent. Because of the world's aversion to war, the UN is content to let the Chinese be, and the Chinese are disinterested in hitting the American hornet's nest. China does have an international network of "independent" states, chief among which is the Union of Arab Republics. Founded on the principles of Arab nationalism, the UAR sees the UN as a Western imperialist plot, but the strongmen that have led the UAR have always seen the value in oil revenue. Thus, they work to keep the Middle East stable.
The world is a peaceful place, but not a pacifist one. There are still many armed conflicts around the world, but until they reach a level where the UN feels compelled to intervene, they are allowed to continue on. There are those that wish to overthrow the current world order, but they rarely have followings larger than a few thousand people. Nobody is fearful of nuclear war, as both the UN powers and China realize that it would be a disaster, noting the minor climate change that occurred at the end of the Second World War. This leaves some people wondering what a third world war would look like, but apart from novel writers and online posters, nobody really cares.