Avada Kedavra < ICBM

I know Voldemort despises mudbloods and muggles but even he couldn't deny the brutality of muggle weapons. An intelligent and dark mind such as his must have been drawn to and must have appreciated the sheer lethal efficiency of muggle technology.

Burned a few tents Voldy? Aw, that's sweet. Take a look at Hiroshima. The Holocaust. The Sabra and Shatila Massacre.

All Voldemort would have to do is brew up some polyjuice potion that would disguise him as an MP, drink some Felix Felicis, aparate into Number Ten, use an invisible ropes charm on the Prime Minisiter, force him to drink a bit of Truth Serum to reveal nuclear codes, do the same in the other five nuclear powers and...done. The world is his.

None of Rowling's vague references of Voldy 'terrorising the muggle worrld' in the backstory, or indeed, the day Voldy brought the UK's entire economy to a grinding halt by destroying a single footbridge, would come anywhere remotely close to the destruction he could reek with muggle weapons.

Maybe nukes are a bit too fast for Voldemort's liking. What about some weaponised smallpox? Or napalm? Or white phosphorus?

It makes no sense at all, genuinely.

Edit All civlisations would have no choice but to submit to his will. Even wizarding civilisations would have no choice. Even if wizarding communities were left completely untouched by a nuclear bombardment, the surrounding land would be scarred and radioactive, the rain would be poisoned, there would be no plants, no infrastructure. I'm sure there are charms against such a poisonous environment, but the magical folk would constantly be creating charms against the outside world, to create food, to heal themselves, and would be near-powerless against a death eater attack.

The whole world, with all its magic and all its time-turners (provding he put this plan into action pre-1996) and all its secrets regarding immortality would be his.

There's also shorter-term reasons here as well. Voldemort is genuinely scared of Dumbledore, and Harry is a genuine threat. Launch a nuke, or even a surface missile at Hogwarts and the inhabitants would have no hope. He wouldn't have had the nostalgic thrill of destroying his old school in person, but like I say, there's pragmatism here, and that final battle did even turn out to be his undoing.

Magic is..well magic, meaning it very conviently automatically fills up all plot holes. But in the films and the books we see the teachers of Hogwarts taking weeks (maybe longer) to shore up Hogwart's defences with protective wards, and that was because they knew long, long in advance that Voldemort had returned to power.

I'm sure Lucius, Bellatrix or even the big V himself could pull off the acquisition of a surface to surface missile after the events of The Goblet of Fire. Heck, I don't see why Professor Quirrel couldn't pull it off before the first book even began. There's five military bases in Scotland. Quirrel could take a stroll down the road, and easily acquire a muggle soldier and a missile using his knowledge of the Dark Arts. Moderate to liberal application of the cruciatus curse to find out what all these confounded muggle switches do and instantly no more Hogwarts, no more Dumbledore. Harry would never manifest into a real threat. No way would any teachers have a second to prepare any charms.

True there could be passive protective wards, even personal wards around the teachers and students themselves, but I'd like to draw attention to these quotes:

But before he could draw himself up to pull height, the top of his head collided with the Durseley's open window. Harry felt as though his head had been split in two. Eyes streaming, he swayed, trying to focus on the street to spot the source of the noise, but he had barely staggered upright when two large purple hands reached through the open window and closed tightly around his throat.


The bread knife slipped off the board and landed, point down and quivering ominously, exactly where Sirius's right hand had been seconds before.

Ominously is the key word there. There's a real threat of Sirius being seriously hurt. I doubt that bread knife had a counter-ward charm applied to it. I seriously doubt the dursley's window sill is magical.

Wizards and witches respond to physical objects. And I am told Trident is quite the physical object:


Plot hole? Yep. No way would Voldemort ignore the possibility of watching entire continents of rebellious muggles writhing in nuclear fire.

  • Somewhat relevant reddit.com/r/FanTheories/comments/1p68gy/…
    – Starkers
    Apr 15, 2014 at 0:34
  • Not sure what the appeal process is for un-marking this as duplicate, but there are reasons specific to Voldemort's personality that are different than the reasons that magicians in general might not employ these methods. I gave a couple examples in a comment on the accepted answer; others addressed specific things about Voldemort's particular goals, which makes this a sensible separate question (it should definitely link to the proposed duplicate, of course).
    – msouth
    Jul 10, 2015 at 18:13
  • 1
    I feel like owning the world loses some of its appeal once you've turned it into a radioactive chunk of slag.
    – Misha R
    Jan 12, 2017 at 15:31
  • 1
    This isn't a duplicate of the linked question. Harry and his friends have different reasons for not using muggle technology than Death Eaters do.
    – Molag Bal
    May 22, 2017 at 17:43
  • Plot hole? Absolutely not. I agree though that it's not a duplicate question. But still it's a silly question. There's a reason the acronym MAD is so brilliant. Yes, yes, of course that refers to mutually but that's really not all that relevant. Never mind the fact how do you expect Voldemort to obtain the raw materials to develop these weapons?
    – Pryftan
    May 19, 2018 at 0:54

2 Answers 2


I can't give a definite answer, but here are some fair reasons:

Wizard ignorance

For starters, I wonder how aware is Voldemort, or any other wizard, of the Muggle world. Just look at Ron's father - someone fascinated with everything Muggle, yet oblivious to, well, everything Muggle.

If Arthur doesn't have the faintest idea about rubber ducks or airplanes, he probably doesn't know about computers. Much less about missile silos. And, even less, about nuclear protocols. I can hardly believe Voldemort having any greater knowledge on those aspects than Arthur. Besides, he was a busy guy - making horcruxes, learning about dark magic, and being half-dead.

I don't think that Voldemort understands muggle technology. He probably doesn't even know about warships, bombers and other crafts - just like any wizard.

He doesn't need to kill muggles

He plans for pureblood wizard dominance. You don't need to kill the muggles for that. It would very well be more productive to just enslave them - make them kneel upon the wizard supremacy.

Mass-destruction weapons will kill pureblood wizards too

Ok, let's suppose that Voldemort does indeed have nuclear knowledge. Would he fire a missile? Mass-destruction weapons have the side-effect of killing unintended targets as well. This may include pureblood wizards.

Voldemort doesn't want to kill pureblood wizards - certainly, he wouldn't care, but killing purebloods only makes his quest for wizard dominance much harder.

He is confident he can kill Harry with his own magic

Voldemort is clearly arrogant enough to think he can best Harry in any magic duel, no need for help. Except for the Elder Wand, which he sought because of the twin-core weakness, of course.

  • 3
    Answered by the dark lord himself I see! You're dead right about the ignorance. Especially considering Arthur is what wizards would regard as an expert in the field of Muggle Studies.
    – Starkers
    Apr 15, 2014 at 0:21
  • 1
    Two more things that come to mind is Voldemort's canonical ignorance-due-to-arrogance. The phoenix tears--something he should have known about because it was an effective counter to one of his own weapons--are an example of something he had forgotten about. And another is his showmanship--he's extremely focused on showing that he will be the one to kill Harry, and do it in front of many witnesses, even when there might be more convenient and reliable ways of doing it. "He had to resort to muggle technology" is something Voldemort would never want said about him.
    – msouth
    Jul 10, 2015 at 18:07
  • To be fair; he spent the first part of his life living in the muggle world, Arthur did not. It is an unfair comparison on those grounds alone.
    – Weckar E.
    Mar 30, 2017 at 12:39
  • And how exactly would you get the materials to make these weapons anyway? Materials including the infrastructure etc. It's an absurd notion that he could have just easily done this. It'd also reveal something very wrong in the world - whether or not the Muggles could do anything about it is really not too relevant.
    – Pryftan
    May 19, 2018 at 0:56
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    Another point that falls under ignorance due to arrogance: We shouldn't forget that all Death Eaters, including Voldemort himself, consider everything muggle far inferior. The last sentence of @msouth's comment sums it up quite well. He wouldn't want to have used something he considers this dirty.
    – Egor Hans
    Jul 27, 2019 at 19:31

First, muggle tech goes haywire around magic, so most of those methods would be a very unreliable choice.

But second and more importantly, we need to remember that Voldemort's stated objectives and his actual objectives don't really match up. If his primary goal was to wipe out muggles, he could do it much more effectively, with magic or with muggle tech. But that's not his major motive.

Voldemort's about power and control. Muggles are a great scapegoat, and he genuinely dislikes them, but his own personal goals are focused on immortality and domination. His anti-muggle rhetoric is mostly just a party line to appeal to the purebloods in his cabal. Killing all the muggles would mean he'd have to find a new scapegoat. Harassing the muggles gives him the appearance of being hard on them and provides his lackeys a sense that they're getting things accomplished without actually disrupting the status quo too much.

Voldemort doesn't want to wreck everything. He's not an anarchist, he's not Davros, and he's definitely not suicidal. He wants to rule the world, and that means not breaking it too hard in the process. Even if muggle tech were going to work on magical targets (which it almost certainly wouldn't), the kind of overkill you're describing isn't in line with his plans: he wants to dominate a civilisation, not a nuclear wasteland.

  • Valid point about magic going haywire, but still doesn't quite cover it. Magical people can walk about fine in the muggle world without devices malfunctioning (as we all know Dumbledore has to actively put out street lights) so a death eater could easily infiltrate a muggle institution. Voldemort could still use muggle tech to dominate and threaten all civilisations rather than destroy them. Or destroy everything but a "perfect" island he could shape to his will.
    – Starkers
    Apr 14, 2014 at 23:59
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    Pick one: Why doesn't Voldemort nuke muggles back to the stone age? or Why doesn't Voldemort dominate muggles with their own tech? You're countering objections to one question by bringing up the other question, and it's not productive.
    – BESW
    Apr 15, 2014 at 0:04
  • Tweaked title for less nihilism
    – Starkers
    Apr 15, 2014 at 0:06
  • 3
    Changing the title doesn't change the question. You're still working on the assumption that Voldemort wants to destroy rather than control: "No way would Voldemort ignore the possibility of watching the entire world writhe in nuclear fire." I answered that question by challenging your assumption about his motive, and you commented "But what about <totally different motive>?" If your objection to my answer is a different question, then you need to actually make it a new question for people to answer.
    – BESW
    Apr 15, 2014 at 0:08
  • Not really, the threat of such a fate intrinsically brings power.
    – Starkers
    Apr 15, 2014 at 0:22

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