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[[quoteright:275:[[VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/genzh_tao_defeat1.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:275:"Soon your base will glow like the sun!"]]
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->'''Adam:''' Let's go; there's a nuke. Just telling you again.\\
'''Herman:''' That's what they do to everything; it didn't work in ''Film/IndependenceDay''.
-->-- ''Film/LazerTeam''

When faced with a MonsterOfTheWeek, military commanders show an unhealthy urge to move right up to the (current) [[NuclearOption Final Option]] ([[FantasticNuke or the local equivalent]]) when the monster [[ImmuneToBullets can't be killed with bullets]]. They never stop to consider using something else in their arsenal that's a bit more powerful than a rifle, but won't cause as much collateral damage as a tactical-yield nuclear bomb. It's all or nothing. If [[FiveRoundsRapid hand-held guns didn't do the trick]], forget artillery, [[TanksForNothing tanks]], [[BigBulkyBomb bunker-busters]], fuel-air explosives, chemical or biological agents, just ''get the nukes''.

The heroes will probably object to this, only to be told that there's no time to "study the monster", it has to be taken out now ([[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill along with every other living thing inside a radius of five kilometers]]) before it gets bigger and destroys more things!

From there, it becomes a race to see if the good-guy scientists can find the monster's AchillesHeel or get the ForgottenSuperweapon back online before the Army gets its approval to start lobbing warheads. Of course, if the Army wins the race, it's likely that the nukes will either do nothing, or make things much, much worse, making the heroes the last hope.

As such, note that Nuke Em is only when using nukes is a bad idea, either because it's clearly overkill or it's likely to backfire. If it's a well-considered and reasonable choice given [[GodzillaThreshold the situation]], then it's the NuclearOption. Sometimes exactly which trope the planned nuking falls under may be debated InUniverse.

Very common in ScienceIsBad stories and usually involves a GeneralRipper (in fact, the TropeNamer for GeneralRipper made this his signature). A popular way of ruining someone's day with DeathFromAbove. Related to the IdiotBall, depending on the size of the strike.

Related to DeusExNukina if the nuking is being used in a situation where it should be obvious that it realistically wouldn't have any effect, fallout and massive collateral damage aside. For the biological weapon equivalent, see BiologicalWeaponsSolveEverything.

If you happen to be playing a video game, and you're directly responsible for launching it, it's a YouNukeEm situation.

See also: FiveRoundsRapid, ImmuneToBullets, TheEvilArmy and RadiationImmuneMutants. Not related to the [[VideoGame/DukeNukem incredibly egotistic alien-slaughterer of the same name]].



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
{{Manga}} and {{anime}} is mostly immune to this, due to the NuclearWeaponsTaboo. In fact, [[InvertedTrope expect the opposite to be true]]: that even if it's proven that [[NuclearOption nothing]] ''[[NuclearOption but]]'' [[NuclearOption a nuke would work]], there will be extreme resistance to the idea. DarkerAndEdgier such stories may even play this straight, of those responsible for finally pressing the button considering everything up to [[{{Seppuku}} ritual suicide]], as a [[MyGodWhatHaveIDone result of guilt]].
* In ''Manga/SevenSeeds'', the Fuji Ship during the Minor Heat arc is basically an armoury stacked to the roof with guns, rifles, revolvers, anything that shoots bullets. Like the other Fuji shelters, it was built to sustain over time and [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the meteor impact]], housing a big number of people to keep them safe. The ship did have another purpose, though, which was this Trope! [[spoiler:If the people on the ship thought that things were absolutely hopeless and there was no chance of recovery, they were to activate the rockets on the ship. These rockets, which included one nuclear warhead, were to be shot out and rain all over Japan, [[KillEmAll killing everyone]]. This sequence would also start the self-destruct sequence of the ship, sealing all exits and exploding after the rockets were launched with a 24 Hour span of time after the activation of this sequence.]] Needless to say, the plot of the Minor Heat arc is to prevent this from happening.
* In ''Manga/HunterXHunter'' [[spoiler:Mereum, the main villain of the Chimera Ant Arc, was so powerful he literally was unbeatable. The strongest man in the world at the time could not even put a scratch on him, let alone defeat him. So he set off a nuke stored ''inside'' his body, in an attempt to kill Mereum... Except he ''survives'' and only dies hours later because of radiation poisoning.]]
* Amusing case in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'': The army do try almost everything in their arsenal before resorting to [[NuclearWeaponsTaboo N2 mines]], and when they fail decide [[HumongousMecha giant human shaped robots are the best bet]].
** "Believing a giant human shaped robot is the best bet" only occurred after the first two episodes at least: based on the conversation with [[SmugSnake Gendo Ikari]] after expending their [[NuclearWeaponsTaboo N2 mines]], their thought process was more towards "we've used all of our strongest options. Let's see your inferior robot do better". And Nerv showed them, yes, they can do better... and since, the army asked for Evangelion intervention with haste every other time an Angel appeared. ... "Eva 'em"?
** Another reason the N2 mines weren't used was because they'd incapacitate the Angel... [[DestructiveSavior and drastically alter the ground around it]] (the characters remark on redrawing the map more than once). Contrast the Eva's, who at most will level a part of the (already submerged) city.
* The ''Anime/{{Macross}}'' series are an exception to the NuclearWeaponsTaboo, although its reaction weaponry isn't nuclear ''per se'' -- it's an ''annihilation'' weapon, that is, an ''antimatter'' charge (and is itself eventually ''surpassed'' in power by dimension/fold weapons, which warp ''spacetime itself''):
** ''Anime/MacrossZero'': The propelling force of the final episode's bizarre ending is that, just after the hero has used ThePowerOfLove to subdue the monster controlled by his girlfriend, [[InterruptedCooldownHug the navy launches nukes and makes everything worse]]. Though, admittedly, every other ship with smaller weapons was wiped out ten minutes ago.
** ''Anime/{{Macross 7}}'': Lampshade hung in that, for all that it's implied that nuclear weapons are a weapon of last resort (Earth Command authorizing their use is seen as a big thing), ''every ship in the fleet'' seems to have unlimited stores of them (probably because the Protodeviln ship commanding their enemies is ''just that tough''). At one point, Basara even exclaims "Reaction weapons! Reaction Weapons! Any time something goes wrong, is that the only solution you have?!"
** ''Anime/MacrossFrontier'' shows that even chronically [[RedShirtArmy redshirted]] NUNS (New United Nations Spacey) pilots could be pretty effective when armed with the stuff. Of course, arming everyone with such weapons means that the NUNS forces on board the Frontier are reaching the end of their rope, as [[AdaptiveAbility the Vajra have managed to adapt to everything else]] (and, eventually, adapt to reaction warheads too...).
** The ''Anime/{{Robotech}}'' adaptation of ''Anime/SuperDimensionFortressMacross'' also features judicious use of nuclear weapons and their 'reaction' upgrades, here called 'reflex weapons'.
* In ''Anime/LegendOfGalacticHeroes'', because of the "Thirteen Day War" that occurred centuries before the canon timeline, which nearly exterminated the human race, nuclear weapons on planets were considered a taboo. [[spoiler:Still doesn't mean none are willing nuke their ''own'' planets just because.]]
* Happens in ''Manga/GetterRobo Go'', after [[spoiler:Shin Getter Robo goes berserk]] they various governments make several attempts to try and stop it, eventually resorting to a nuclear strike. [[spoiler:The machine ends up ''grabbing the missile and [[CombiningMecha combining with it]]'' ]]
* ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'' had [[spoiler:''Soi Fon,'' [[{{Ninja}} of all people]]]] pulling this as Bankai. Naturally, [[spoiler:she didn't like its nature.]]
** There's also the [[spoiler:Kidou Cannon]] from the first movie.
* In ''Anime/CodeGeass'', [[spoiler:Britannia decides to go with nuking things as soon as they get them. They decide to give the first one to Suzaku, who really doesn't want to do it, but he ends up doing it anyway. Schneizel takes this to the logical conclusion of nuking every major city in the world to achieve world peace.]]
** ''Manga/DogSoldier'': [[AfricanTerrorists Zardoz]] is willing to nuke Tokyo, while UsefulNotes/MuammarGaddafi plans to use a massively powerful nuke on the West.
* In ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEED'' and ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamSEEDDestiny'' nuking ZAFT is Blue Cosmos leaders Muruta Azrael and Lord Djibril's ''first'' response. ZAFT creates devices like the [[AppliedPhlebotinum Neutron Jammer and Neutron Stampeder]] to make sure that it can't happen again. The Neutron Jammer inhibits nuclear reactions from taking place, and is ZAFT's primary defense during ''SEED''. Since the Blue Cosmos gets its hands on Neutron Jammer Canceller technology late in the war[[note]]Technology ZAFT had invented, because Neutron Jammers don't have an "off" switch and their own DoomsdayDevice (GENESIS, designed to [[ApocalypseHow/Class5 wipe out all life on Earth]]) needed nuclear fission to function.[[/note]], nukes become a viable weapon again. In the aftermath of the war, ZAFT know that mere illegality won't keep N-Jammer Cancellers from being used again someday. So they develop a much nastier defense in the form of the Neutron Stampeder, which ''forces'' any nuclear warhead within its area of effect to detonate. Thus, when Blue Cosmos attempts a preemptive nuclear strike early in ''SEED Destiny'', the Stampeder is activated and the nuclear-armed fleet is forced to nuke itself.
* Nukes were also the first weapons deployed in the One Year War of the original ''Anime/MobileSuitGundam'', by both Zeon and the Earth Federation. The Antarctic Treaty banning nukes (and biological/chemical weapons too) came about because before either side knew it, nearly half the human population had been wiped out in the space of a few weeks.
** In ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundam0083StardustMemory Gundam 0083]]'', the Earth Federation develops the Gundam [=GP02A=] "Physalis", designed for the express purpose of tactical strikes; it's armed with a bazooka that launches nuclear warheads and a massive shield packed with radiators to help it weather the shockwaves and heat generated by the nuke. Zeon remnants steal the Physalis and use it to attack the Federation's naval review as part of their master plan: a ColonyDrop on North America.
** Nukes show up again in ''Anime/MobileSuitGundamCharsCounterattack'' as Londo Bell is forced to take up a bunch of nuclear missiles to stop Axis from falling. However, Neo Zeon steals most of them to shove into Axis, forcing Londo Bell to use what's left.
** Nukes pop up again in full force in ''Manga/MobileSuitCrossboneGundam'', when the Jupiter Empire invades the Earth Sphere. [[BigBad Crux Dogatie]] dismisses claims of violating the Antarctic Treaty by saying that [[LoopholeAbuse Jupiter never signed it]]. Dogatie is also using nukes because he's explicitly trying to inflict ''as much environmental damage as possible'' to Earth; he wanted the planet to be a dead rock. The Crossbone Vanguard uses their own tactical nuclear weapons against the Jovian forces, due mostly to the GodzillaThreshold having been crossed in their opinion.
* ''Anime/TurnAGundam'' expressly defies the NuclearWeaponsTaboo, with Militia forces uncovering a stockpile of warheads left over from the Dark History. The Moonrace tries to warn them about how dangerous the warheads are, but the Militia doesn't heed the warning until ''after'' they accidentally detonated one. Afterwards, Loran carries the remaining nukes in the Turn A's chest silos for several episodes, eventually using them to destroy a runaway space station [[ColonyDrop before it can fall on Earth]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Subverted in ''ComicBook/{{Preacher}}''. When the Saint of Killers obviously isn't falling to the forces of Starr's soldiers, Starr declares the battle lost and drops a nuke, wiping out the rest of his troops. Then the Saint emerges from the blast site. His only words? [[ImplacableMan "Not enough gun."]]
* In ''ComicBook/AtomicRobo'' this is the ''hero's'' response to [[spoiler:a giant moving pyramid headed toward Luxor]].
-->'''Robo:''' I didn't found this crazy organization to '''not''' nuke things.
* In a lengthy story arc where ComicBook/TheMightyThor had gained the [[AGodAmI powers of Odin]] and became a WellIntentionedExtremist, the government lured him to a deserted island and nuked him. It's debatable whether this would have worked on [[NighInvulnerable normal]] Thor, but all it did to [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity Odin-powered]] Thor was anger him to the point of crossing a MoralEventHorizon.
* In ''ComicBook/KingdomCome'', [[spoiler:this is the government's response to the super hero war that threatens to engulf the world.]]
* In ''ComicBook/WorldWarHulk'', someone suggested Nuking the Hulk and his Warbound. Maria Hill pointed out that this would just make him stronger.
** In the ''Future Imperfect'' miniseries, Hulk is able to send his [[EvilMeScaresMe evil]] [[FutureMeScaresMe future]] counterpart, the Maestro, back to Ground Zero of the very gamma bomb test that spawned the Hulk in the first place. And even getting vaporized by a gamma bomb at point blank range didn't kill the Maestro completely.
* In the ''Armor Wars'' storyline in ''ComicBook/IronMan'', CorruptCorporateExecutive Edwin Cord constructed the [[PoweredArmor Firepower suit]] for a military contract. Among its [[MoreDakka many armaments]] was a low-yield nuclear missile named the Terminax, which was ultimately used to destroy the Silver Centurion armor. Cord later blackmailed the military into keeping Firepower for himself by threatening to tell the press that this nuclear-armed battlesuit was intended for [[TheresNoKillLikeOverkill riot control]]. The "new" Iron Man was able to [[CurbStompBattle tear Firepower apart]], though, and shut down another Terminax before it could destroy the Stark Enterprises campus.
* The default strategy of ''Webcomic/BioApocalypse'' is to saturate the monster with nukes. [[SerialEscalation When it only hurts the monster but fails to stop it, they launch even more. When that doesn't work they unleash]] a [[spoiler:device [[MoreDakka that fires 50 nukes per second!]] And while it royally fucks up the monster, even THAT doesn't work.]] Beyond just using nukes as a go-to weapon of choice, Nuke Em seems to be the default strategy for everything, but [[CrapsackWorld considering the setting]] [[EldritchAbomination of the story]], [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu it makes sense]] in context.
* In ''ComicBook/TheSecretHistory'', the nuke dropped on Nagasaki was really just to kill [[spoiler:William de Lecce. It's a matter of speculation whether he's really dead or not.]]
* Cheshire, of Creator/DCComics, famously once destroyed {{Qurac}} with a nuclear explosive to prove that she wasn't bluffing about having nukes or being willing to use them. It gets brought up from time to time, but [[ThrowawayCountry nobody really cares about the country itself being gone]]. And this was the reason ''why'' she chose Qurac, because she knew if most people tried to call her a monster because of it they would be reminded that she destroyed a country considered to be the terrorist capital of the world, and that secretly, they may have been glad she did it. She murdered millions just to troll the world, and laughed as the country burned.
* The short original run of ''Marvel Boy'' depicted its titular superhero (despite his prodigious combat-oriented abilities) as wiping out a group of enemy agents by simply flying over their base and dropping a nuclear weapon on them.
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'' has always had a thing about nukes, but two prime examples that stand out are Dredd infiltrating a Sov nuclear bunker during "The Apocalypse War" to use East Meg One's own nukes to destroy them to end the war and during "Judgment Day" to destroy every city that has been lost to the ZombieApocalypse in order to leave Sabbat with fewer zombies.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': [[spoiler:Jinnai]]ís reaction to the taking of his fleet is trying to turn Buenos Aires and a chunk of Argentina into a smoking crater by launching dozens of nukes.
* ''Fanfic/AdoptionNightmare'': What do you think when an annoying AI VideoGame/{{Civilization}} keeps on bugging you? Brina suggests this trope after taking the cities that are in anarchy.
* ''Manga/Evangelion303'': At least [[ObstructiveBureaucrat one of the members]] of the [[HauledBeforeASenateSubcommittee Senate Subcommittee]] overseeing the Black Project Evangelion maintains that the best way to deal with [[AncientConspiracy Seele]] was nuking the whole country where they were hiding in lieu of building Evangelions to launch a pre-emptive targeted raid.
* In ''FanFic/ShinjiAndWarhammer40K'', when Gendo asks Kaji how many UN warheads, dirty (nuclear) bombs or otherwise, are pointed at Tokyo-3 in case Misato and Risuko's plan against Iruel fails, Kaji's reply...namely, ''[[MoreDakka all of them]]'', meets with his satisfaction.
* ''Fanfic/ThousandShinji'': Nukes are used all over the place to finish an enemy [[spoiler:or Nerv itself.]]
* ''GodsAngelsAndKings'': Shamshel is hit with an N2 mine instead of Sachiel in this story. Franchise/{{Godzilla}} is also hit with one when he goes on his literal {{Roaring Rampage of Rescue}}. [[NoSell It doesn't even slow his stride]].
* Also shown in the remake of the above fic, ''Fanfic/{{Leviathan}}''. Nuclear weapons were used against Godzilla in the past, and Israfel is hit with an N2 mine.
* [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5378267/1/bConquest_b_of_the_bEmperor_b_The_World_of_Naruto The Grand Empire]] somewhat does this to Madara and his Zetsu's. But it is implied that they first had someone check to see what the impact of the fallout would be. Their {{plan}} for the effects of the fallout makes it this trope.
* In [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4236712/1/Project_Tatterdemalion Project Tatterdemalion]], the top authorities involved initially wanted to nuke the facility after the Hollows began rampaging. Bad idea. As Juushirou explains, heat and radiation kill a lot of things, but only if they're contained long enough. If the Hollow virus was sporific, all nuking the facility would've done is pop open the box the Hollows were kept in, and spread still-infectious Hollow bits up into the jetstream, dooming the world...and infecting the spaceports. And as Juushirou said, all they knew for certain was 'Alien,' and 'Dangerous,' so it could've indeed been sporific, or close enough for an apocalypse.
* In the Fanfic/DevaSeries [[spoiler:the Americans use a pair of [=SLBMs=] to obliterate a massive swarm of [[ImplacableMan Seeds]] that were heading for either New York or London. Even though nothing else significant was harmed -- middle of the ocean, and all -- Hayate was not happy, since she feels that it wouldn't be too much of a stretch now for someone to think to launch a barrage of nukes at Al Hanthis... which would obliterate Cairo in the process. Also, the Al Hantheans are utterly horrified once they learn exactly how nuclear weapons work. It is probably worth noting that there is InUniverse debate as to whether this was Nuke Em or NuclearOption; it did work, and [[WarriorPrince Yussef]] and [[SergeantRock Maunders]] don't consider it an overreaction. Yussef notes that point defences now make anything short of a nuclear MacrossMissileMassacre worthless against Al Hanthis and would rather not use another if possible, but is mentally prepared to do so [[GodzillaThreshold if all the chips are down]], unlike Hayate who absolutely refuses to consider it.]]
* In [[http://www.fanfiction.net/~mrevil Mr. Evil's]] WesternAnimation/{{Ben 10}} fanfiction [[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/4267279/1/Hero_High_Sphinx_Academy Hero High: Sphinx Academy]], the Head of the Tempus Family questions why they can't just Nuke the city school they know the BigBad to be in. Her assistants reveal that from the structural design he already re-enforced the school to protected it against such an attack.
* ''FanFic/FalloutEquestria'': [[spoiler:Need to get rid of the [[HiveQueen queen]] of a [[UtopiaJustifiestheMeans brutally pragmatic]] HiveMind AND the Zebra [[TomeofEldritchLore Necronomicon]] at the same time? Blow both of them to atoms with the same [[FantasticNuke balefire bomb!]] [[SubvertedTrope It works.]]]]
* ''FanFic/AnEndToAllThings'': ''Someone'' nukes the town in the opening act, according to Okazaki's memories. Or will nuke the town, the story has a measure of AnachronicOrder with regards to that event.
* Discord's plan to destroy humanity in ''FanFic/DiariesOfAMadman'' involved this. It worked, but not quite well enough for his goals...
* ''FanFic/{{Eugenesis}}'' notes that a lot of Cybertron's surface has been nuked over the course of the war. Since its inhabitants are robots, it's not as dangerous for them as it would be for most lifeforms, but most of the nuked cities are long abandoned anyway.
* ''FanFic/Zero2ARevision'': When [[OriginalCharacter Shaun]] attempts to head to Little Edo to gather up reinforcements in hopes of gathering a resistance against the Digimon Emperor, the entire population of Little Edo ends up getting brainwashed along with a "surprise" should he manage to survive for two hours: a ''freakin'' nuclear warhead that the Emperor chucks towards Little Edo to prevent TheAce from interfering with his plans. Had Davis and (Agumon) not arrived in time, Shaun would have being outright obliterated by it.
* ''Franchise/{{Tron}}'' In the fic ''[[https://archiveofourown.org/works/9436712/chapters/21352286 The Contingency]]'', Alan Bradley solves the ''entire'' situation by walking right up to Clu, [[spoiler: delivering a very firmly worded KirkSummation, and then pointing out that if he and Flynn do not get off the Grid alive, Lora is standing by, prepared to reformat the entire hard drive, wiping out every Program and Iso on it. Clu, realizing that Tron's User is even ''less'' inclined to bluff than Tron was, [[OhCrap lets them all go]]. ]]

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/MonstersVsAliens'', the robot probe is found to be indestructible and the President wants to simply launch all the nuclear missiles on him when General Monger stops him.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* When asked how to deal with the Xenomorph threat in ''Film/{{Aliens}}'', Ellen Ripley responds with the famous line "I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. ItsTheOnlyWayToBeSure." In hope of a different answer the CorruptCorporateExecutive asks Corporal Hicks for ''his'' advice and he repeats the same thing. Of course, Ripley turns out to have been ''right'' in this case, and anyway there was only one uninfected person left alive in the colony. The line is frequently acknowledged in other mediums.
** The above quote is referenced in one of the ''{{Webcomic/Narbonic}}'' strips linked [[http://www.webcomicsnation.com/shaenongarrity/narbonic/series.php?view=archive&chapter=9860 here]].
** And by [[http://nukeitfromorbit.com/ this webpage. Literally.]]
** And in the pilot episode of ''WesternAnimation/ClerksTheAnimatedSeries''.
* After being made aware of the aliens' plan to exterminate the human race and strip Earth of all its resources by means of a telepathic vision, a furiously badass President Whitmore in ''Film/IndependenceDay'' gives the order to "Nuke 'em. Let's nuke the bastards." Subsequently, a U.S. stealth bomber attacks the alien spaceship over Houston, Texas with a nuclear weapon, which [[spoiler:predictably, has no effect on the spacecraft whatsoever]]. See also: HopeSpot
** Later in the film, [[spoiler:the alien craft from [[RoswellThatEndsWell the Roswell crash]] is refitted for human pilots and used to smuggle a nuke up to the aliens' orbital mothership. Since the nuke detonates from ''inside'' the mothership's DeflectorShields, this time it's very thoroughly effective.]]
* Extended in ''Film/{{Evolution}}'', but it uses napalm. The army gets [[KillItWithFire napalm to destroy a lifeform]], just after the protagonist discovers a smaller sample expands by many times after being touched by fire. They tell the army, [[TooDumbToLive they attack anyway]] and the monster becomes about a million times bigger.
** [[spoiler:[[LethalJokeWeapon And then the scientists kill it with shampoo.]]]]
* Subverted in ''Film/MarsAttacks'': Nothing Earth has done thus far can so much as scratch the Martians. The GeneralRipper has spent the movie insisting on using nuclear weapons, and the President, depressed at how nothing is working, finally gives the go-ahead. The Martian response to a nuke headed their way is... a small flying nozzle which intercepts the missile and sucks up the explosion. The Martian leader inhales the explosive gas and speaks with a squeaky voice, as though the gas were helium. It's possible that this was a subtle joke: when you fuse hydrogen (as in a hydrogen/fusion bomb), you get helium.
* Subverted too in the 1953 version of ''Film/{{The War Of The Worlds|1953}}''. The military throws everything against the Martians before reluctantly turning to a nuke as a last resort. Notably the civilian scientist hero does ''not'', unlike his counterpart in ''Film/IndependenceDay'', object to the use of nukes. The nuke fails to do anything to the Martians. Unlike the original H.G. Wells novel, in which the Martians ''are'' vulnerable to Earthly weapons, but theirs are so much more powerful that resistance is futile once the element of surprise is lost.
* ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'':
** In ''Film/KingKongVsGodzilla'' the military actually seriously considers nuking Kong. Luckily the heroes manage to find an alternative. Although, this proposal only appears in the English version.
** In ''Film/TheReturnOfGodzilla'', not only did nuking him not work, it made him stronger. Nukes against Godzilla. Smart thinking, guys. That's like [[ShootingSuperman using a flamethrower against the Human Torch]].
** Variation-In the 1991 film ''Film/GodzillaVsKingGhidorah'', present-day Japan decides to nuke the Godzillasaurus that would've become Godzilla (who is now at the bottom of the Bering Sea) so that he can fight King Ghidorah. Subverted in that, he's already been nuked/mutated...in a sense (by absorbing the radiation from all the sunken nuclear subs already present in the area) and nuking him...again...only makes him bigger and far more powerful than before.
** It should be noted that Godzilla ''can'' die from too much radiation (as seen in the film ''Film/GodzillaVsDestoroyah''). The only problem is that doing so causes him to go into a nuclear meltdown which would result in destroying all life on earth and reducing the earth to a wasteland. [[spoiler:Unless you have an adolescent Godzilla (IE: Junior) around to absorb the radiation and reach his adult form.]]
** In ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}'', Serizawa explains that at least some Pacific nuclear tests were not tests, but attempts to nuke the monster. [[spoiler:Stenz intends to try and eliminate all three monsters with warheads, but this ends up backfiring when the female steals two from a train, and the Male steals the third one ''after it has been armed'', and takes it to the centre of San Francisco.]]
* ''Film/AliensVsPredatorRequiem.'' is a weird case :[[spoiler:The "Predalien" has already managed to overrun the entire town with its more classically-styled offspring. The military solution, after the recon unit sent in is quickly butchered? Nuke the town and tell those still alive to congregate in the center of the town for an airlift, so as to keep the aliens from spreading out.]] While this decision is completely justified [[ItsTheOnlyWayToBeSure given the circumstances]], it's strange that they settle for that option so fast, given how little information they have on the threat.
* ''Film/TheAbyss''. While suffering from paranoia, Coffey decides to destroy the aliens by sending down an armed nuclear warhead.
* From ''Film/RoboCop1987'': 'Get them before they get you... [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OmSSVt7Mfkk Nukem]]!'
* ''Film/TheReturnOfTheLivingDead''. They nuke the zombies (and all the main characters in the process), but, of course, [[spoiler:that just causes the zombification juice to re-enter the atmosphere and create ''more'' zombies]]. Good going, dumbasses.
* In ''Film/BeneathThePlanetOfTheApes'', the remaining human faction [[spoiler:worships a fully functional cobalt bomb.]]
* ''Film/TheAndromedaStrain'' has this subverted, in that the scientists order the nuking but the message doesn't get through due to ForWantOfANail.
* In the Sci-Fi channel movie ''Baal Lord of Storms'', the military considers nuking ''a storm front''. While it's clearly the wrong option, there's a techno-babble reason given (something to do with disrupting electro-magnetic waves) to make it merely a bad idea and not simply a completely cracked out of their mind idea. Ironically [[spoiler:it actually ''helps'' by weakening Baal enough for [[SummonBiggerFish El, the God the heroes have summoned]] to defeat him.]]
* In the original ''Film/{{Stargate}}'' movie, Colonel O'Neil secretly brings a nuke through the Stargate with the team on its very first exploration mission. His orders? Nuke the place if there's any sign of hostiles. [[spoiler:They end up using the nuke to kill Ra.]]
* In ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'', [[OmniscientCouncilOfVagueness the World]] [[WellIntentionedExtremist Security]] [[ObstructiveBureaucrat Council]] decides that the Avengers are going to lose the final battle and decide to just nuke Manhattan Island (along with all its inhabitants) to disrupt the wormhole through which the Chitauri army is invading. [[spoiler:Tony winds up nearly sacrificing himself to guide the nuke into space and chuck it at the alien ship instead.]] Needless to say, neither Nick Fury nor any of the Avengers were particularly impressed by their stellar display of competence.
-->'''Fury:''' I realize that the council has made a decision, [[CrowningMomentOfFunny but given that it's a stupid-ass decision, I've elected to ignore it.]]
* How the first few {{Kaiju}} were defeated in ''Film/PacificRim''. [[HumongousMecha Jaegers]] were developed specifically because no-one liked the idea of having to do this ''repeatedly''. [[spoiler:In the end, it's their creators' turn.]]
* Same as ''Film/IndependenceDay'', ''[[Film/{{Oblivion2013}} Oblivion]]'' has the protagonist Jack Harper smuggled a nuke to the alien ship Tet and detonate it to save humanity. Only difference is that the hero [[HeroicSacrifice dies with the alien ship]].

* Subverted in the book and the 1971 film version of The ''Literature/AndromedaStrain.'' The titular extraterrestrial organism (a single-celled, quasi-crystalline life form) mutates as it's exposed to ionizing radiation - at a rather sedate rate under atmospheric UV exposure, extremely rapidly with more powerful sources. Of course, the secure biohazard laboratory where this bug is being studied is equipped with a thermonuclear device for "terminal sterilization" in case of contamination, and the lab becomes contaminated when the organism mutates to a form that degrades organic polymers, thus compromising the synthetic rubber gaskets and hatch seals throughout the lab. FailsafeFailure ensues. The greatest {{Irony}} in all that was that with mutation into the "rubber-eating" form the organism ''stopped'' being dangerous to humans (which was just an unfortunate coincidence anyway), but subjecting it to the radiation of a nuclear blast [[NiceJobBreakingItHero might mutate it into something even more horrific]].
* Attempted in ''{{Literature/Touch}}'', as a way of dealing with an otherworldly horror from before the dawn of man. [[spoiler: It only mostly fails.]]
* Believe it or not, there's actually a ''spell'' to do this in ''Literature/TheInheritanceCycle''. Of course it's never actually called that, because this is a Medieval Fantasy setting where most people are shocked to find out the earth is round, but the effects it has are all exactly the same, right down to the radioactive fallout, or "invisible poison" as it gets called, (though there are spells to get rid of that too). [[GodzillaThreshold It's not used much because of the collateral damage]], and the fact that the ''[[TakingYouWithMe user]]'' [[TakingYouWithMe is the one whose atoms get split to make the boom]]. The two times it was used, both users had already gone insane: once before the series started, when a Rider named Thuviel saw his dragon killed in [[BigBad Galb]][[HeroKiller atorix]]'s purge, rendering the island of Vroengard uninhabitable in the process; the second was [[spoiler:Galbatorix himself, after a CareBearStare [[DrivenToSuicide drives him to kill himself]] in TheFinalBattle.]] And what are the words to this spell? [[spoiler:"Waíse Néiat." Be Not.]]
* This trope is the final solution to the ensuing HellOnEarth in Creator/JohnCWright's ''Literature/WarOfTheDreaming''. [[spoiler:It almost doesn't work.]]
* In ''Day by Day Armageddon'', the US Government decides to nuke most of the major US cities due to the spread of zombies getting out of hand. [[spoiler:Unfortunately, this doesn't fix things, because the zombies who weren't caught in the nuke blasts absorbed the radiation and it ''somehow'' turned them from slow zombies into fast zombies.]] Obviously, these people have not read Literature/TheZombieSurvivalGuide, which specifically argues against this (for pretty much this very same reason).
* ''Literature/{{Victoria}}'' has a rare case: nuclear weapons used for ''crowd control.'' When a series of Black gangs overthrow the civic government of Atlanta and declare "the Commune." The hero, John Rumford, decides to nuke the whole city, stealing the bomb to do it because he has no authority and is a military consultant to an ally. Unlike most examples this is treated in-universe as an unambiguously good thing, with the unanimous approval of the military, cheering crowds after the fact, and no negative consequences whatsoever.
* Mentioned in passing in ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. Donald Morgan mentions having killed a {{Skinwalker}}, a quasi-divine being with a portfolio of pain, torture and despair, he fought into the American Southwest in TheFifties by luring it to the site of an atomic bomb test and teleporting out a split second before detonation.
* ''Literature/Timeline191'' has WorldWarII turn into a nuclear (though they're called [[CallARabbitASmeerp Superbombs]] in this timeline) conflict as more and more nations gain them. First the Germans nuke Petrograd to force Russia to surrender. They don't, so they turn around at try the same on Paris. That succeeds and France pulls out of the war. Britain proceeds to nuke Hamburg, so Germany nukes Britain ''three'' times (Norwick, London, and Brighton) in response. The CSA smuggles a shoddily-made bomb into Philadelphia, which still manages to cause a great deal of damage. In response, the USA nukes Newport News in attempt to assassinate Confederate president Jake Featherstone, which fails, and then later does the same to Charleston to strike a symbolic victory against their opponent. Ironically, the the Empire of Japan manages to avoid being nuked altogether.
* In the Australian satire ''Year of the Angry Rabbit'', a landowner gets the army to use atomic mortars on his property because it's become infested with rabbits. This leads to giant radioactive rabbits rampaging across Australia.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Despite actor Bruce Boxleitner's self-penned nickname to his series character on ''Series/BabylonFive'', John [[FanNickname "Nuke 'Em"]] Sheridan, who uses nuclear weapons no less than four times against seemingly unbeatable opponents [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome and winning all four times]], is an '''aversion''' to this trope, as he used nuclear weapons in [[NuclearOption important strategic methods under his authority]]. Boxleitner's use of the nickname in the commentary track for 'Thirdspace' makes the nickname all but official.
** "Thirdspace" was probably the closest Sheridan ever got to this trope, as this particular use of a nuclear weapon had no tactical subtlety whatsoever (Sheridan carried the bomb himself and planted it on the thing to be destroyed, an idea even ''he'' realized was nuts), but it was still a reasonable option under [[GodzillaThreshold the circumstances]].
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'': The new series gleefully hurls nukes around with wild abandon. [[spoiler:In the mini-series alone the Twelve Colonies are hit by thousands of nukes: Helo reports seeing six mushroom clouds just from the one area his Raptor has landed in on Caprica in the space of about an hour. ''Galactica'' itself withstands a direct hit from a nuclear missile, although it sustains heavy damage and more than 80 casualties. ''Pegasus'' was also nuked a couple of times while in dock during this time. Nukes are also later used to destroy a Cylon basestar and Gaius Baltar appropriates one, allegedly for his research but this is later used to blow up at least three of the refugee ships and kill more than 3,000 civilians. The high-point for the use of nukes is when ''Pegasus'' withstands no less than three nuclear hits at pointblank range and shrugs them off to inflict grievous damage on the attacking Cylon basestars with its guns. Nukes are later used to destroy the Cylon Resurrection Hub and in the stand-off between ''Galactica'' and the rebel basestar. In a moment of possible high irony, the ''Galactica'' finally reaches Earth (the first one) to find the planet irradiated by a nuclear war, which has left the planet uninhabitable. Finally, the Colonial Fleet uses all of its remaining nukes to destroy the [[VeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon Cylon Colony Ship]] (and most all of the Cylons) in the GrandFinale.]]
* ''Series/{{Farscape}}'': Does this ''twice'', once in the first season in order to destroy Scorpius' Gammack Base (Though it isn't ''technically'' a nuke per se, the yield is similar), and again in the last season, where [[TheHero John]] creates a makeshift nuke to use as leverage in his {{plan}}.
* ''Series/MacGyver'': In the pilot, the army plans to use a nuclear warhead to stop a chemical leak. In the end, Mac fixes it with chocolate.
* Played for laughs in ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'', when London gangster Dinsdale Piranha thinks (correctly, as it turns out) that he's being stalked by a gigantic hedgehog named Spiny Norman. Dinsdale somehow comes to the conclusion that Norman sleeps in a hangar at Luton Airport, and blows it up with a nuclear bomb that he had previously used to [[ItMakesSenseInContext extort nightclub owners]]. We later see Norman in the episode's climax, suggesting that either Dinsdale was wrong about where he slept, or he's immune to nuclear weaponry.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'': This show likes to nuke them.
** In "The Light Brigade" the titular human warship is hit by two nukes.
** In "Trial by Fire" the US president tries to nuke the aliens who have splashed down in Earth's oceans.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'':
** [[spoiler:After allying with Randall and gaining a permanent source of power, Monroe manages to build a nuclear bomb and attempts to use it to destroy Atlanta and cripple the Georgia Federation. Fortunately, the protagonists stop this just in time]] ("[[Recap/RevolutionS1E13TheSongRemainsTheSame The Song Remains the Same]]", "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E14TheNightTheLightsWentOutInGeorgia The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia]]").
** In the [[Recap/RevolutionS1E20TheDarkTower first season finale]], [[spoiler:Randall Flynn takes advantage of the power being turned back to fulfill his plan: to launch Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles at Philadelphia and Atlanta. He then shoots himself in the head after doing this. Then it turns out that he was working on behalf of the American government, which was hiding out in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for years. Now that Randall has completed his mission, the government is coming back into the USA to retake what's theirs]].
* ''Series/SaturdayNightLive'': Parodied this in the (are you ready?) "[[RefugeInAudacity Attack of the Masturbating Zombies]]" sketch: a professor suggests dropping an atomic bomb on the town square, only to be told, "Professor, that's your solution for everything."
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** This show will sometimes resort to this, with early seasons favoring the FiveRoundsRapid treatment of nukes (namely epic failure) to give the title object and title team justification for existence. There is one early case where a nuke is actually used to prevent them all from being sucked into a black hole.
** Later seasons started using them more frequently, such as the Mark IX "Gatebuster", a [[{{Unobtainium}} naquadriah]]-enhanced warhead with a supposed yield of several gigatons[[note]]For reference, the most powerful nuke ever actually detonated in reality was "merely" 50 megatons, which is roughly 100 times weaker than the Gatebuster[[/note]]. Of course, given that they were fighting [[EnergyBeings the Ori]] in their last season, it's logical that they would bring their most powerful weapons to bear.
** The SpinOff ''Series/StargateAtlantis'', on the other hand, practically giggles any time nukes are mentioned to the point where [[TheHero John Sheppard]] makes putting a nuke on the enemy ship his ''default'' anti-capital ship tactic, though he's more often than not justified in this (Wraith Hive Ships are quite large and for most of the series the only other weapons capable of reliably destroying them are the perpetually-in-short-supply Ancient drone weapons), and pretty much every application works as intended. Nukes are used [[spoiler:on the first two Hive Ships sent to Atlantis, one flown into the Dart Bay, the other beamed on. Nukes are beamed onto two more Hive Ships. The Wraith are quick learners though, and find a way to jam Asgard beaming devices after this. The Genii use one to kill one of their own armies and their boss in a coup. Finally, Sheppard single-handedly flies an F-302 into the Dart Bay of a [[FinalBoss Super Hive Ship]] undetected and armed with a nuke.]]
*** Then there's the giant Horizon planetary attack missile launched against the Asuran homeworld, which carried '''six''' Mark IX warheads.
* ''Series/ThumbWrestlingFederation'': The Big Time can cause nuclear explosions simply by winding up and slamming his opponent to the mat. [[SuperStrength Yes, he's that strong]].

* Music/RandyNewman's "Political Science" ([[RefrainFromAssuming incorrectly known]] as "Let's Drop the Big One Now") deconstructs and mocks this trope by suggesting the flimsiest, most frivolous excuses for nuking everyone and everything (except Australia).
* The topic of the TitleTrack from ''Massive Killing Capacity'' by Music/{{Dismember}}.
* The [[Music/InsaneClownPosse ICP]] track "Bang, Pow, Boom!" is about a sentient version of this. A nuclear level, thinking explosion, that cleans out the scumbags and evildoers from the Dark Carnival when it gets crowded.
* The music video for Miike Snow's ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_SlAzsXa7E My Trigger]]'' is set during the UsefulNotes/ColdWar. As in real life, both the USA and the USSR have nukes at their disposal, and both are severely tempted and pressured by their respective staff to press the BigRedButton. In the end neither one goes for it.

* Fully embraced by Creator/SegaPinball's ''Pinball/StarshipTroopers''. Not only are you awarded points for nuking planets, the game even has lanes labeled "Nuke", "Double Nuke", and "Super Nuke".

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Used intermittently in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''.
** Actual nuclear weapons are not prominent, being relegated to use by garrison forces for the most part. When a cosmic horror rears its head the three most favoured options are [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill saturation]] [[DeathFromAbove orbital bombardment]], [[EarthShatteringKaboom Exterminatus]] or deploying the Grey Knights.
** Weapons on the same or greater scale as nuclear weapons include: plasma torpedoes (200 meter inter-ship ordinance), engineered viruses (including the Worldkiller Virus,) [[SphereOfDestruction Vortex weapons]], and Cyclonic torpedoes (which burrow into a planet's crust and detonate in the mantle, causing widespread surface devastation.)
** When it looks like a Space Marine force isn't going to be able to protect or take back a planet, it is their responsibility to blow the planet up before they leave. After all, if the [[BadassArmy Space Marines]] go up against something and can't win, it's very likely nothing can.
** Let's talk a bit about the [[SarcasmMode lovely]] [[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast Death Korps of Krieg]], who subjected their own seditious homeworld to 500 years of "atomic cleansing".
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'', Ares Macrotechnology used a tactical nuke in an attempt to saturate Chicago's astral plane with toxicity and kill the hordes of bug spirits that ravaged the city. Fortunately the bug spirits' own energy-shield trapped the physical and metaphysical blast ''inside'' the bugs' nest, preventing its full impact from reducing Chicago to a radioactive ruin. You gotta give props to FASA: it takes nerve to nuke your game company's own hometown. Their own headquarters, as a matter of fact.
* Averted in GDW's cold war tactical games like ''VideoGame/{{Harpoon}}'' and ''VideoGame/AirStrike'' which focused on conventional weapons. For a nuclear variant the game designers recommended dousing the game in lighter fluid and setting it on fire.
* ''VideoGame/{{Mekton}}'' has rules for nuclear weapons, with the degree to which you are screwed being directly proportional to how close you are to the centre of the blast. If you're within the basic blast radius, you automatically die unless you have a ''really good'' excuse. Outside of that, you're simply ''very likely'' to die. It also gives some key rules about using them so as not to destroy the ''game'', just the ''battlefield'', such as "Only drop them to establish a scenario, rather than as a cheap Draw button" and "if you ''must'' drop it during the fight, do so in the centre of the battlefield." (Just to reinforce this, the "nuclear" upgrade for missiles and bullets is very expensive.) Supernovas use the same rules, although the rules state that you just treat the hex you're in as ground zero and quit whining -- the ''entire system'' is screwed, why should you be immune unless you're flying an Excessive Scale HumongousMecha that could [[DidYouJustPunchOutCthulhu stomp Cthulhu underfoot]]?
* In ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'' many nations resorted to nukes, orbital kinetic strikes, and antimatter bombs to try and halt the [=TITANs=] during the Fall. The end result was the death of 90% of humanity and a mass exodus from earth. Not an uncommon modus operandi for [[WellIntentionedExtremist Firewall]] either.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Toon}}'' supplement ''Tooniversal Tour Guide''. In ''Atomic Monster Theater'', Colonel Rock Daring's policy towards giant monsters is literally "Nuke 'em!''
* ''TabletopGame/CarWars'' said "Using a nuke ends the game". The standard play maps used were 2x3 feet or so, and the smallest available nuke would destroy five maps in all directions, damage which no car would survive.
* Nukes, along with biological and chemical weapons, are supposed to be banned by the [[FictionalGenevaConventions Ares Conventions]] of ''TabletopGame/BattleTech''. The presence of even a single nuclear weapon was cause for mass panic and alarm during the times of the Succession Wars. Then came the [[ChurchMilitant Word of Blake]], who decided that if they couldn't have the Inner Sphere, no one could; the Word proceeded to deploy and use more nuclear weapons in fifteen years than the universe had in three hundred, to the point of developing the most [[LethalJokeCharacter lethal of joke characters]], an ''Urbanmech'' carrying [[http://imgur.com/KNJjYRx a tactical nuclear missile launcher]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/DukeNukemForever'', [[spoiler:[[TropeNamer Duke Nukem]] himself was once nuked by the U.S. government along with the Cycloid Emperor. But, being the Duke, he survived of course, as revealed in The Doctor Who Cloned Me DLC Chapter.]]
* In ''VideoGame/{{Crysis}}'', [[spoiler:after pulling off the island, the Navy decides to nuke the aliens, deflecting Dr. Rosenthal warnings that they absorb energy with comments along the lines of "There's no time to study them." To nobody's surprise, the aliens absorb the blast and get stronger. Just as predictably, [[AllUpToYou it's all your problem from there]]. And then played straight by having the player use a ''nuclear grenade launcher'' on the alien space ship.]]
** In the sequel, [[spoiler:the military decides to do this to the Ceph Lithoship floating above Central Park. Even though it didn't work last time, to the same aliens that are attacking this time. And even though the blast would destroy much of the New York City area, rendering it uninhabitable for years even if it ''did'' work. Fortunately, Col. Barclay stalls them long enough for you to shut the ship down yourself.]]
* In ''VideoGame/WorldInConflict,'' this happens twice in the campaign. First a tactical nuke is called in to take out an overwhelming Soviet force headed for a "hold at all costs" level objective. Then, at the end of the campaign, you are racing against time to push the Russians out of Seattle before their Chinese reinforcements arrive and the president is forced to obliterate the city. And you can call in as many as you want in multiplayer.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSeries'':
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberiumWars'' Kane's discovery of Killian Qatar's [[spoiler:apparent]] betrayal and alliance with GDI results in a [[VillainousBreakdown slightly angry response]]. His subsequent orders are to, well....
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRenegade'' he decides to nuke a small town just to eliminate the protagonist and his squad. Justified in that he just killed his way through a mansion filled with Nod's elite.
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianSun'' Kane, dissatisfied with General Vega (an [[DrugsAreBad Eye Candy addict]]), decides to reprimand him. With a tactical nuke. Sadly, he misses [[ColonelBadass Commander McNeil]] by a few minutes.
** In ancient history, in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerTiberianDawn'' you get nuked by Kane during the final mission. He sure likes his nukes.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlertSeries'':
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert'', Stalin launches nukes against capital cities of the Allies to ensure victory. Of course, the good guys disarm them in flight.
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2'', Chicago is destroyed by a nuclear bomb after the player destroys the psychic amplifier and the USSR has no further use for the city. A technical FissionMailed too.
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert2: Yuri's Revenge'' the mission Power Play basically revolves around you trying to stop Yuri from nuking the city every ten minutes. It doesn't help that Yuri tends to use his first nuke to destroy your War Factory and you don't have a Construction Yard in this mission.
** In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRedAlert3,'' Soviet General Krukov and Premier Cherdenko go back in time and kill Einstein to prevent him from granting the Allies technological superiority. On their return, they find that Japan has become the Empire of the Rising Sun and is invading Leningrad. Krukov orders the entire Soviet nuclear arsenal to be used in defense of Leningrad. Nuclear what now? [[NiceJobBreakingItHero Oops.]]
* In ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'' the Chinese have nukes. And you can build as many silos as you want. Each with a separate nuclear silo. You don't need line of sight to fire them either. DeathFromAbove indeed. General Tsing Shi Tao is noted to be ''obsessed'' with nuclear weapons, and is eager to use them in every combat situation [[WeHaveReserves without regard to the safety of his own men]].
* The iconic Black Mesa Research Facility is destroyed by a nuclear blast at the end of ''VideoGame/HalfLife1: Opposing Force''. Curiously you spend a large chunk of the game trying to avert this, but a few minutes after succeeding you see the G-Man reactivating the bomb from afar. Obviously you survive, as do a number of other characters who go on to appear in ''VideoGame/HalfLife2''.
* ''Franchise/{{Metroid}}'':
** ''VideoGame/MetroidPrime3Corruption'': The [[TheCorruption Leviathan Seed]] on Skytown is protected by an [[DeflectorShields energy shield]], and unlike the last level the generators are out of reach. So what solution does the local supercomputer come up with? Assemble some parts they happen to have lying around the place, and ''drop a nuke on it''. It's called a 'Theronian Bomb', but is also referred to as a nuclear weapon, so presumably [[CallARabbitASmeerp it's pretty much the same thing with slightly different ingredients]].
** The Omega Cannon in ''VideoGame/MetroidPrimeHunters'' is practically a portable nuclear bomb. It's the only weapon that can kill the final boss and in multiplayer, it kills anyone, including the shooter, instantly if they are caught in the blast.
* In ''VideoGame/{{DEFCON}}'' your job is to pretty much nuke the entire world (with the exception of your own continent). While several other weapons beside nukes exist, they are mostly used to shoot down nuclear missiles. Or shoot down airplanes carrying nuclear missiles. Or sink submarines that can sneak up on you and fire nuclear missiles. And all is shown in the style of the final scene from ''Film/WarGames''.
* ''VideoGame/OperationFlashpoint'' and its successor Armed Assault and VideoGame/ArmA 2 all feature nukes to some extent - though in keeping with the ultra-realistic tone of the games they are only used as a last resort by madmen. And their detonation, should you fail to stop them, is shown to kick off global thermonuclear armageddon. Particularly true in VideoGame/ArmA 2 bonus mission 'Eagle Wing', which starts off with your AH-64D moving ahead of a naval taskforce to engage Russian forces, but goes all to hell... A panicked "Pull Back!" message from command is cut short by a nuclear detonation, and your helicopter is smashed out of the air. You then have to escape and evade in a silent, devastated world (and this is well outside the blast radius, which covers most of the 100km^2 map!) with your character clearly panicking as an enormous mushroom cloud towers over the horizon and black ash falls from the sky. Incredibly well done.
* Every game in the main ''VideoGame/{{Civilization}}'' series features the development of nuclear weapons (or "Planet Busters" in ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri'') in the late game, which are by far the most devastating offensive units available even after it becomes possible to build countermeasures. However, using them makes all AI players declare war on you automatically, releases vast amounts of pollution, and in some games advances the GlobalWarming timer by a significant amount. Too bad the AI doesn't have nearly the same compunctions about deploying them. What makes it stand out is [[MemeticPsychopath Nuclear]] [[UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi Gandhi]], thanks to a GoodBadBug in the first game turned him from nuke-averse to ''extremely'' nuke-happy. People liked it, so devs made it so intentionally in subsequent games.
* In ''VideoGame/{{MUGEN}}'': The [[GameBreaker A-Bomb]]. It nukes your characters and completely vaporises anything that isn't as overpowered.
* ''Global Effect'' (an early 90's PC game) would let you nuke enemy cities at will. Made the whole screen fade into white for a few moments. It was a guaranteed way to punch an ozone hole in the sky.
* The Carronade or Hex Cannon in ''VideoGame/BreathOfFireIV'' is depicted as a particularly (and ''literally'') nightmare-inducing magical thermonuclear weapon equivalent. The really scary thing is in the power source and in the ammo; the power source is a princess who is converted into an artificial Endless so that she can be perpetually tortured, whilst the ammo consists of people with a close connection to the target being literally tortured to the point of a mental breakdown and then subjected to human sacrifice. It's the pain, rage, and suffering that ends up being the "warhead".
** Depicted originally as a plot-point in a town that was Hex Nuked, including literal Hex Decontamination Teams. [[spoiler:Even with this, it is stated will take many years for the hexed city to recover--which has had to be evacuated of residents.]]
** Depicted most tragically in Fou-lu's storyline[[note]]Peasant girl meets dragon-god. Peasant girl falls in love with dragon-god. Peasant girl is taken prisoner by empire dragon-god founded 600 years ago, tortured horribly, and ultimately used as Tactical Thermonuclear Peasant in attempt to kill dragon-god. Dragon-god survives (barely) and [[KillEmAll goes completely bugfuck nuts]][[/note]] when he realises ''who'' was used as the ammo. Suffice it to say that it does ''not'' end well for the EvilEmpire.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'', Operation: Firebreak, which is nuking the area, is the FinalSolution to deal with a virus infecting a town.
* The first major arc of ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiI'' ends with [[spoiler:the Americans dropping nuclear missiles on Tokyo. You later TimeSkip 30 years into the future, and not surprisingly, the rest of the world has been reduced to nuclear ruin.]]
* In ''VideoGame/ShinMegamiTenseiIV'', [[spoiler:the Four Archangels continued with the example set in ''I''. Any world they visit and judge unclean, they arrange a nuclear war in and open a gate to the Expanse so the resident demons finish off the remains of Humanity.]]
* ''VideoGame/BlazBlue'' reveals that [[MadScientist Kokonoe]] keeps a fully-loaded silo in range of her lab just in case she needs a quick solution to [[ArchEnemy Yuuki Terumi]] or whatever he may be cooking up this week. [[HeroAntagonist Hakumen]] (who saw a nuke strike against the Black Beast do jack-shit to it) is understandably horrified when he finds out.
* ''VideoGame/HeavyWeapon'': Your tank's {{Smart Bomb}}s, which are easy to obtain, destroy all regular enemies on the screen, and hurt bosses for a lot of damage (without destroying most of the landscape) when used. These can be used in dire situations and against particularly tough bosses to soften them up.
** The enemy Red Star forces have the [[DemonicSpiders Havanski Atomic Bomber]] presumably sent after you once they find out that you're a credible threat. These guys drops A-bombs which instantly destroy you (and [[TotalPartyKill your party]] in Survival mode) [[OneHitKill regardless of shielding]] if one of them even ''touches'' [[AlwaysAccurateAttack anywhere]] on the ground!
* One of Axton's skills in ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'' lets him set off a mini-nuke when deploying his SABRE turret(with its own cooldown).
** The Nukem rocket launcher from the same game is ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin. Don't fire at anything ''too'' close to yourself.
* In the ''[[Videogame/{{X}} X-Universe]]'' series, Hammerhead Missiles are nuclear-tipped [[PlanetTerra Terran]] missiles. A single Hammerhead is more than capable of wiping out an entire fighter wing or destroying a corvette [[OneHitKill with one shot]]. Pirates love to fire these things off [[MacrossMissileMassacre in mass]]. In ''X3: Reunion'', the missiles are simply labeled as "Unknown Object" until the [[LostColony Terrans]] show up.
* Near the end of ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil3Nemesis'', the United States government concludes that Raccoon City cannot be saved. In order to avert wide-scale pandemics of the zombie plague, they fire a nuclear missile. As the news report at the end puts it, "Raccoon City has been literally wiped off the map."
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil6'' has Tall Oaks nuked to prevent the spread of the C-Virus, though the protagonists note that the BigBad, [[spoiler:Derek Simmons]], is more interested in destroying the evidence than preventing the spread.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'':
** One of the first sidequests has the option to detonate the nuke in the center of Megaton, which can be done as soon as you leave the Vault.
** The game also provides miniature nukes for the player to use in very, very small supply, launched by either the Fat Man or the [[NoKillLikeOverkill ridiculously overpowered]] nuclear shotgun that is the [[InfinityPlusOneSword Experimental MIRV]].
* ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas: Lonesome Road'': Ulysses plans to use the remaining nukes in the Divide to wipe out both the NCR and the Legion, in revenge for the Courier inadvertently turning the Divide into a [[DeathWorld Death City]].
* In ''Videogame/Fallout4'' DLC Far Harbor, one of the ways you can deal with the radiation-worshipping [[{{Cult}} Children of Atom]] is to convince their leader to initiate "Division", AKA mass ritual suicide via a nuke in their base.
** From the base game, [[spoiler: you [[ButThouMust have to]] destroy the Institute if you didn't side with them. This barring the fact that the Brotherhood of Steel confiscates and studies technology, and the Railroad and Minutemen will gain everything from utilizing the advanced technologies for rescuing synths (in the case of the Railroad) and making Commonwealth life better in general (for both factions).]]
* ''VideoGame/Fallout76'' has a handful of nuclear launch sites scattered around the Appalachian region. Resourceful and determined players can seek them out, along with the launch codes necessary to use the nukes, to bomb any part of the region into Kingdom Come.
* In ''VideoGame/HotlineMiami2WrongNumber'', this happens to [[spoiler:San Francisco]] in 1987. [[spoiler:There's also a full scale nuclear war annihilating ''at least'' Miami and Hawaii in the ending.]]
* ''{{VideoGame/Touhou}}'' gives us Utsuho Reiuji (aka Okuu), who gained the power of manipulating nuclear fusion after eating a sun god (although her attacks don't use the traditional mushroom cloud, since she tosses miniature stars at people). She uses this power to ensure the fires of Hell keep burning. She's not very bright in canon, which fans like to interpret as her cheerfully throwing out vast spheres of starstuff at the slightest provocation.
* In the backstory of ''VideoGame/StarControl'' ''2'' it's mentioned that, after a nuclear exchange between Middle East countries that took place during 2015 -if memory serves right- that claimed several million lives, all nuclear weapons were stored in the so-called "Peace Vaults" so they'd never been used again... until the Chenjesu came asking mankind to join the war and they were re-opened much to their delight.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Parodied during the "That Which Redeems" arc of ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'', where the nuke dropped on the [[DemonicInvaders demon army]] turns out to be an acronym for "'Notification of Unified Kindness' Envelopes." Instead of vaporizing everything for miles around, the "nuke" blankets the area with thousands of polite yet stern letters asking the demons to please stop their invasion. This is still considered an abominable act by most Dimension of Lame residents due to the collateral damange:
-->'''Alt-Gwynn:''' Terrible thunder. Paper cuts impending. Litter unimaginable.
* Standard Operating Procedure for [[AxCrazy Black Mage]] of ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater''.
* In ''Webcomic/AmongTheChosen'', nukes are listed as ''conventional weapons'' by a space-faring MegaCorp, which use them almost offhand like any other ordinance. PsychicPowers on the other hand...

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The German technocracy nukes Verona (core Italy) and about a dozen Russian cities in the UsefulNotes/WorldWarII of the Literature/ChaosTimeline.
* Attempted in ''{{Literature/Touch}}'', as a way of dealing with an otherworldly horror from before the dawn of man. [[spoiler: It only mostly fails.]]
* In ''Literature/TheSalvationWar'' noted several times where Nukes might of been useful, and WordOfGod said that if the legions of Hell were NOT in a place where quick military action was able to take place they would of Nuked them. It wasn't needed in the first book just because [[MugglesdoitBetter of the effectiveness of modern military hardware]]. [[spoiler:The second book however has three Nukes, and one of them plays this trope straight in a sideways way. One was launched by a Nuclear sub being controlled by an angel, and another was used to wipe out an angel army. The third almost killed [[MagnificentBastard Michel]], who sensed the cart he was puling was a bit to heavy, and kicked it back through a portal.]]
* ''Literature/RejectionAndRevenge'': The premise is Osama Bin Laden getting his hands on nuclear materials during the breakup of the Soviet Union. New York, Century City, Las Vegas, and ''[[WhereIWasBornAndRazed Riyadh]]'' are hit on [[spoiler:February 11, 1993. Tel Aviv was also a target, but a terrorist was apprehended by Israeli before anything could happen]]. Iran, due to the terrorist fingering Hezbollah is blamed. [[spoiler:Bill Clinton decides to drops nukes on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard]].
* ''Literature/AGiantSuckingSound'': [[spoiler:The Aum Shinrikyo apocalypse cult, best known for its sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway OTL, obtains a nuclear bomb and '''nukes Nagoya, killing 2 million people''']].
* ''Roleplay/RockPaperAnything'' has nukes of various kinds used every now and then.
* ''Literature/ForAllTime'' has nuke gets getting tossed around by snowballs. They're first used to destroy three cities in Germany and three in Japan to end World War II, then to quell communist uprisings in the Philippines. After the Soviets drop a hydrogen bomb on Zagreb, it just goes downhill from there. Hands down the most impressive developmental example goes to [[spoiler:Korea's Great People's Revolutionary Hammer, a ''250,000 Megaton'' DoomsdayDevice - which ends up bringing an end to Korea after it's bombed to hell by a coalition of world powers.]] However, the achievement for most destruction goes to [[spoiler:the Soviet Union under Andrei Chikatilo. They wipe out China in a nuclear exchange in 1973, unleash an unprovoked attack on the Middle East in 1975, and finally turns its arsenal ''on itself'' in a nuclear civil war in the 1980's.]]
* Part of the dystopian nature of ''Literature/NoW'' is that nukes are used with reckless abandon by both nations and terrorist groups alike. As of this writing, the list of cities nuked includes [[spoiler:Colombo, Moscow, Tbilisi, Cairo, and ''most of Pakistan and northern India'']].
* In ''[[Literature/PayMeBug A Rake by Starlight]]'', Baron Minerva Tyrelos' enemies aren't above using [[ThereIsNoKillLikeOverkill nukes]] in their assassinations.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/MegasXLR'' is apparently armed with nuclear weapons. In the "Viva Las Megas" episode, Coop proposes using them to blast out of an underground bunker, but is waved off by Jamie and Kiva. He laments "What's the point of havin' nukes if I can't use em?"
* In ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'', when Finland decides to confess to the space police they are harboring stolen space money. Randy, along with every country in the world agree to get rid of Finland. Immediately, nuclear missiles wipes Finland off the planet in a matter of seconds.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'', standard Guardian protocol for dealing with a Class 5 web-creature in a system like Mainframe is to destroy the entire system. A Class 5 creature is capable of opening a portal to the Web, and through Mainframe's connections that can lead to an invasion of the entire Net. The Guardians themselves dislike this policy, but [[EldritchLocation the Web]] and [[EldritchAbomination the creatures within it]] are seen as so great a threat that even the loss of an entire system is preferable to a war. They do at least send operatives to the systems in question to positively confirm that there ''is'' such a web-creature present, even they would not blow up a city on an unconfirmed rumor, but once the rumor is confirmed they push the button without a second thought.
* In ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'', [[GeneralRipper General Wade Eiling's]] ''first thought'' after he is told to fix the Doomsday situation is to drop a nuclear warhead (with a little kryptonite mixed in) on Doomsday and, by extension, {{Superman}} and San Baquero. Since Eiling planned to get to Superman eventually and had long wanted to stop drug smuggling from San Baquero, he considered it killing three birds with one stone. [[EvenEvilHasStandards Even Amanda Waller is disgusted by this attitude]].
* Coiffio orders Model Robot in ''WesternAnimation/PerfectHairForever'' to "[[ElmuhFuddSyndwome Twansfohm into an A-bomb and bwoh yohself up.]]" for no real reason than he hates Model Robot. Model Robot complies, instantly (as opposed to the excessively long transformation sequence he displayed earlier in the show) and takes Coiffio's entire ship with him when he explodes (though Coiffio himself miraculously survives.)
* Creator/{{Toonami}}'s ''WesternAnimation/TheIntruderII'' sees this combined with HoistByHisOwnPetard [[spoiler:as WesternAnimation/TheIntruder is killed by TOM using the very ship he used to lure the ''Absolution'' there, overloaded the engines and destroying the ''Absolution'' and the Intruder with it.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', Nelson has a poster in his room which says "''Nuke the Whales''".
-->'''Lisa:''' You don't really believe that, do you?\\
'''Nelson:''' (''shrugs'') Gotta nuke ''something''.