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In Fallout, much of the populace knows about the US before the nukes, but how is that possible when the destruction made the whole nation (and possibly the rest of the world) revert to the stone age?

Surely history and knowledge of the pre-war world shouldn't be known so widely.

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  • 3
    I'm sure they took some books with them into the fallout shelters.
    – Steve-O
    Sep 17, 2017 at 20:05
  • 2
    The destruction of the US by nukes is not an unexpected twist. The fallout shelters were logically built long before the nukes were launched. If you're already building fallout shelters just in case, why would you then not prepare books and tapes for the people who will use the fallout shelter? The existence of the shelters proves that the pre-nuke US was already preparing for the possibility of being nuked, and transferring knowledge of the old world is an obvious bullet point on that todolist.
    – Flater
    Sep 18, 2017 at 13:26

3 Answers 3

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There would be a few sources:

  • Vaults had schools: you can encounter one in Fallout 4 in Vault 81 and your character goes to one in Fallout 3 (vault 111). Since propaganda was important part of the Vault-Tec, you can expect kids to learn about the "glorious pre-war USA"
  • Books: surprisingly there are quite a few of them, as well as magazines. Fallout 2 and 3 (I believe...) even show functional library.
  • Ghouls/supermutants: many of them are over 200 years old and remember the world first-handed.
  • Organisations: New California Republic is actively trying to rebuild the world and they have people that are educating the population. To a lesser degree Brotherhood of Steel and Enclave would also sometimes had to "reach to the community".

In summary: world hasn't been destroyed as much that people would forget about the pre-war era.

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Within the game series you encounter a range of (fictional) pre-war non-fictional magazines. Taken together you'd probably get a pretty good impression of the pre-war world, albeit with a notably right-wing and libertarian bias.

Telsa Science Magazine
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Guns & Bullets
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Live & Love
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plus "skill books" like The Big Book of Science

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and Lying: Congressional Style
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Pre-war knowledge is maintained by those who survived in the Vaults that weren't sabotaged by Vault Tech and groups that existed in the pre-war era. People forget that the Enclave started as a secret organization within the United States that actively prepared for nuclear war & had fallout shelters throughout the United States as well as a base in the Pacific Ocean. The Enclave held onto pre-War knowledge in their bunkers and even some Enclave groups like the capital Wasteland Enclave run by Henry Eden would host radio shows to tell people about the pre-War glory of the United States. Anyone with a Pip Boy or a radio could listen to these radio shows and even though the Enclave were isolationists, some Enclave members left to help the people of the Wasteland while other branches (like the one in Appalachia hiding in the Whitespring bunker in West Virginia) recruited outsiders in rare situations when their numbers were low. The Enclave even helped Vault-Te c through Project Safehouse to fund the Vaults as social experiments. Anyone in these experiments that survived would have access to pre-War documents and learning materials, so this one faction - both intentionally and unintentionally - helped to make sure information of the pre-War world remained.

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