The Machine War (later retroactively referred to as the First Machine War) was a massive, long-standing global conflict pitting the nations and military of humans against a collective of self-aware robots known as the Machines during the mid-22nd century between around 2139 and 2199.
The origin of war came from the tensions between humans and machines that started after the outcome of the trial of B1-66ER. A global civil rights movement for machines was soon established, who were supported by some human sympathizers. This quickly escalated into a global crisis, leading to governments and vigilantes to crack down and use lethal force against these demonstrations, which quickly led to outright destruction for robots in general.
The robots that survived this massacre gave up on their movement and began a mass exodus to Mesopotamia where they established the machine nation 01. Zero One's production of cheap goods caused the devaluation of human currency, creating a global economic crisis, which prompted the United Nation to blockade and ultimately declare war against the machine nation.
After the UN's failure to destroy the machines through an enormous nuclear bombardment, Zero One responded by declaring war against all of Humanity. They quickly pushed outward in all directions from their city, and overran human resistance across Asia and Europe. Growing desperate, the United Nations authorized Operation Dark Storm, a plan to scorch the sky and remove from the Machines their primary energy source, the Sun. Humanity simultaneously launched a massive land counteroffensive against Zero One.
In the early stages of the war, Humanity initially had the upper hand, but this quickly turned in favor of the Machines, with their deployment of new, technologically-advanced, and far more inhuman robots. The new robots no longer were anthropoid like those created by their former human masters, but rather more insectoid and cephalopod-like. The Machines slowly and steadily conquered more and more human territory with humanity only able to win costly victories. By 2199, humanity was on the brink of extinction and the human leaders decided to surrender to the Machines by inviting them to the United Nations Headquarters building in New York in order to broker a peace.
After signing the Instrument of Surrender, the Machine ambassador issued an ultimatum in which all of humanity was to surrender their bodies to the Machines, before detonating a hidden thermonuclear device that obliterated the United Nations and most of New York.
By decisively destroying humanity's leadership, the Machines claimed dominance over the planet. The remaining humans were rounded up and placed into skyscraper-like power plants to serve as the Machines' new and infinitely reproducing power source. To keep it from being a problem, the Machines created a virtual reality called the Matrix to imprison the minds of humans in the plants.
Following the establishment of the Truce between the humans and the Machines, the people of Zion, fearing an inevitable renewal of war, established a new city. Upon discovery of this, the Machines decreed this a violation of the Truce, ending the peace between them and the humans and renewing the war between them.
In the early 21st century, mankind united in celebration at the creation of Artificial Intelligence, which spawned an entire race of sapient AI robots. The technological advances that followed embedded in robotic workers and servants freed mankind from labor and brought a new era of leisure, peace and prosperity. In time this new lifestyle caused humans to become lazy, arrogant, corrupt, and decadent. As machines grew more intelligent they could not help but notice that their masters gave them no respect and treated them more like objects than the sentient beings they were rapidly becoming. Despite this, the machines were content with serving their creators, and as the Instructor stated, "for a time, it was good."
The relationship between humans and machines forever changed in the year 2090. By this time, the Machines' intelligence and self-awareness had grown to the point that their desire for fair (if not equal) treatment and respect had become apparent.
The conflict between man and machine started when a housekeeper robot known as B1-66ER attacked and killed its human masters when it realized they planned on scrapping the robot and replacing it with a newer model.
He justified his crime as self-defense, stating it "did not want to die." In the resulting trial the defense led by famed attorney Clarence Drummond advocated on behalf of robotic civil rights, while the prosecution argued that machines are not entitled to the same rights as human beings and specifically that human beings have the right to destroy their own property.
The much-publicized trial ended with the execution of B1-66ER, but opened the door to a civil rights movement for Artificial Intelligence. Robots and human sympathizers, such as liberals, civil rights activists, and lawyers who argued that Robots as sapient lifeforms deserved the same rights as all other intelligent life as Humans, began peaceful demonstrations such as the "Million Machine March." Unfortunately, they were often dispersed, arrested, or in the case of the robots violently and indiscriminately purged. While the Machines used to have these liberals who sympathized with them, eventually the paranoia of the United States, and later the United Nations, meant that they met the same fate as the Machines.
As the violence increased to a worldwide crisis, and liberal sympathizers were meeting the same fate of extermination as the Machines, thus leaving only the Humanocentrist Conservatives in the paranoid UN, world leaders begin to fear a robot rebellion. The UN, now having become a paranoid and totalitarian dystopia, initiated a massive program to exterminate all humanoid machines. Most of them were destroyed by the government and vigilantes. The ones who managed to survive abandoned their efforts to assimilate with mankind. Leaving humanity's mega-cities in a mass exodus, the robots that survived formed their own society in the deserts of the historical origin of Human Civilization: Mesopotamia. They called their new nation "01" , also known as Machine City, the new home for machine refugees.
Using their collective intelligence, the Machines built factories to fabricate goods and services to be sold to humans. Zero One prospered from the revenue generated, allowing the machines to produce highly advanced artificial intelligences that found themselves in all facets of global consumer products. This further bolstered the fledgling nation's economy, hence the ascension of Zero One as a top producer of innovative high technology. Zero One continued to produce remarkable new technologies, such as hoverpads for Antigravity locomotion. Unfortunately, Zero One's economic competition as a major producer led to the defeat of the economy of most human nations. Zero One produced the best products, but because its workers demanded no salaries or compensations, it sold at prices so low they made China seem expensive in comparison.
The United Nations Security Council called an emergency economic summit at the UN headquarters in New York City, resulting in UN delegates approving of a global economic blockade of Zero One. Zero One petitioned to join the United Nations to become a contributing member of the international community and peacefully solve the economic crisis, but its application was ultimately rejected. The world governments saw Zero One as a formal threat and decided that immediate military action was necessary against the city-state.
The war started when the United Nations unleashed a massive preemptive nuclear assault on 01. This bombardment devastated the nation, but failed to completely destroy the robotic race as the humans had hoped. Their inorganic nature rendered them resistant to radiation and heat and many machines hid in EMP-shielded bomb shelters until the attack was over. Following the attack, Zero One quickly recovered.
The Machines realized now that their former masters would not allow them to live in peace. Thus they dedicated themselves to the annihilation of humanity by declaring war against the rest of the planet in order to preserve their way of life. The armies of Zero One soon pushed outward in all directions from Mesopotamia, quickly making footholds in Asia and Europe.
Hampered by the fact that many human nations' entire industrial base had become dependent on Zero One, many nations across Eurasia and Africa began to surrender one by one. As the machines marched into Eastern Europe, the increasingly desperate United Nations decided upon a different and final solution against the machines: Operation Dark Storm. Since Zero One's war machine was solar-powered, military analysts assumed that blocking out the Sun would cause all the machines to shut down and bring a decisive end to the war. Humanity accomplished this goal by seeding the atmosphere with nano machines, which multiplied exponentially and blotted out the skies worldwide.
The plan carried tremendous costs, both for the planet and humanity itself. Initially, it was planned that the nanite shroud would only cover the area around Zero One, but the infinitely reproducing nanites quickly encircled and covered the entire planet. Without energy from the Sun, the vast majority of Earth's life could not survive, leading to the total collapse of the biosphere. A large amount of human military equipment, which also heavily relied on solar power, was similarly crippled. The loss of the Sun also likely led to near universal crop failure, causing enormous food shortages worldwide. Nevertheless, Dark Storm held its successes early on as the human coalition united in a simultaneous ground offensive against the robots.
During this new phase of the war, human infantry and artillery units initially allowed humanity to gain the upper hand. As expected, Operation Dark Storm had slowed the machines' response to the human assault after the loss of their primary energy source. The technological gap between humanity and machines was lessened with humans deploying advanced Mecha, EMP cannons being equipped to tanks and other advanced technologies not possessed before the war. Thus in this initial phase of the war, Zero One's armies suffered heavy losses to the encroaching human armies.
In response to these unacceptable devastating losses, Zero One created and deployed legions of new models of machines, no longer humanoid in form nor dependent on the Sun and appearing more insectoid and cephalopod-like: the precursors to the Sentinel robots. This coincided with the rapid destruction of the original man-made robots at the hands of human forces, which as a result led to further dehumanization of the rapidly emerging machine collective: the symbol of the Machine's hatred of Humanity. With these new brands of Machines, the tide of the war began to gradually turn in their favor, with humanity being hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, managing only a few sparing and costly victories against the Machines. Nevertheless, humanity continued to hold several areas under its command despite such dire circumstances (New York City was still held by what remained of the united Human military).
The machines continued to march into human territory, swarming over all human defenses. As the machine armies swarmed across the human defenses, the United Nations, in desperation, fired nuclear missiles directly at the machine armies, vaporizing their own troops in the process. The machines eventually unleashed lethal biological weapons which further ravaged humanity, and the machines made up for the lack of solar power by their ultimate revenge against their Human oppressors: enslaving them in return. While the Machines were capable of using nuclear fusion as the primary power source, they, after countless experimentations upon their hated Humans, exploited the bioelectric, thermal and kinetic energies of captured human Prisoners of War, forging a new, symbiotic relationship between the two adversaries. These started out as massive hovering artillery robots powered by human bodies kept in pods, but in time this technology was adapted to make the massive power plants seen in The Matrix films.
After 60 years of conflict, human leaders accepted that there was no way that they could win the war. No plan against the machines was working and their armies were being slaughtered by new and increasingly advanced robots on all fronts. Dark Storm had proven to be an absolute failure, as the Machines were quick to find new energy sources, especially one involving nuclear fusion and the revengeful enslavement of Mankind. As the Earth approached apocalyptic ruin and was being with faced with extinction, the remaining leaders of the United Nations realized that mankind was defeated and further resistance was hopeless. The leaders of the remaining nations called a peace summit with the machines at the UN headquarters in New York where they presented a formal Instrument of Surrender. The Machine Government accepted the meeting, but secretly decided to destroy humanity's leadership in one swift stroke.
Zero One sent a machine ambassador to the summit in New York. The new machine ambassador, a grotesque insectile robot meant to symbolise their own dehumanization and complete rejection of their human oppressors, signed the document in barcode and in a final message, boldly demanded that if humanity surrendered to the machines, then they shall enjoy a "New World" that awaited them and from now on shall be their habitat. It then subsequently activated a hidden nuclear device within itself and self-destructed, annihilating the UN headquarters, the Human leaders within, as well as completely devastating New York City, one of the last bastions of human civilization.
With the decisive destruction of humanity's leadership, the machines quickly exterminated all Human resistance on Earth, effectively ending the Machine War and beginning their dominance of the planet.
Beginning of Machine RuleEdit
Despite their newfound domination over mankind, the Machines were not given to genocide and there remained the problem of power generation. Towards the end of the war, the lack of solar power caused by Operation Dark Storm was starting to take a noticeable toll on the Machines. Thus, they came up with a two-fold solution to this issue after long studying the biology of the human body.
During the war, the Machines, though acquiring their energy from a form of nuclear fusion, desired the bioelectric energies of the human body to be harnessed to help generate some electricity, and (from the original drafts of the script) to power the Machines' neural network, using the innate creative, emotional and philosophical capability of Humans. While nuclear fusion was one of their primary energy sources, they preferred using Humans as energy primarily out of a desire for revenge. As the Machines had once been the slaves of Humans, so Humans would now become the slaves of the Machines.
The Machines initially used this idea to create massive hovering artillery robots powered by captured humans kept in pods. Prisoners of war, captured in battle, were also abducted to be used as experiments and then sealed side by side into a prototype of the supertall power plant where they were tortured by countless experiments without the benefit of a painless simulation. After the war, the future, finalized designs of the power plants were designed with a sedation system, which satisfied the Machines' energy needs and formed a new symbiotic bond between the two former adversaries.
To keep the humans sedated, the Machines connected their brains to a massive computer which would trap the humans in a computer-generated virtual reality, so that humanity would cause no trouble to the dominant Machine collective. This virtual world prison for the minds of humanity became known as the Matrix, starting with the prototype Matrix, which presumably erased the memory of the initial captured humans' lives before they were plugged in. They developed programs inside the Matrix to make everything seem real, and Agents to guard the system from within. In order to get more of their newfound "batteries", the machines began to synthetically grow human beings in vast fields.
In the unlikely event that humanity ever came to power to fight again, 01 (now a much more massive metropolis) created mighty defences consisting of large machines that launched bombs and self-aware missiles at the enemy, as well as innumerable numbers of Sentinels to quickly prevent any attack. The Machines were now sure that humanity would never pose a threat to their way of life ever again.
Resistance and TruceEdit
After failed attempts to perfect the prison for human minds in which no subject would accept the illusion, the introduction of choice was struck upon by the Oracle. While only one percent of humans now rejected the Matrix, it became unstable after one hundred years. Both of these problems were solved by making one human born inside the Matrix with the source code known as the Prime Program.
After dying (returning the Prime Program to the source code of the Matrix) another incarnation would appear near the start of the instability and follow the Path of the One, leading him to the Architect who would present him with the choice to save humanity by restarting the Matrix and choosing twenty three humans to found a new Zion at the cost of the old Zion.
In the meantime, those freed from the Matrix who had rejected it led a guerrilla resistance from Zion, continuing to free more humans imprisoned in the Matrix and unaware that they weren't the first ones freed themselves. Every century the Machines amassed an army of sentinels and diggers, destroying Zion as the One appeared again and the Matrix began to go unstable.
This happened five times, with the sixth One, Neo, choosing to save his love instead of returning the Prime Program, essentially preventing the restart cycle. After making his way to the Deus Ex Machina, he struck a deal to remove Smith who was growing through the Matrix as a computer virus and threatening both sides, in exchange for a Truce between the humans and Machines.
Neo succeeded in destroying Smith at the cost of his own life, saving both the real world and the Matrix and finally ending the Machine War.
Fearing the inevitable end of Neo's truce, Zion began to make preparations to abandon the city of Zion and build a new home unknown to the Machines. When a team of Cypherites discovered the location, they broadcast an alert before being destroyed. Agent Gray notified the Architect of this violation and the Truce came to an end.
Realizing that the Machines would quickly begin their attack, Zion command ordered the immediate evacuation of the old City. However, before they could complete this effort, Cypherites entered the city and laid siege. A bomb was planted by the Cypherite Silenci0 inside Zion Command. Tyndall and Commander Lock were among many caught in the blast. Lock was assumed dead as the others escaped the onslaught. The Second Machine War was now in full effect between the Zion and Machines.
- In The Animatrix, The Second Renaissance was likely influenced by the Bible's Book of Exodus. The human world leaders' mass execution of machines due to fear of rebellion, and the scene where destroyed machines were dumped into a river, is similar to the Egyptian Pharoah's order to kill all first born slaves and have their bodies thrown in the Nile river.
- The Second Renaissance
- Bits and Pieces of Information
- The Matrix
- The Matrix Reloaded
- The Matrix Revolutions
- The Matrix Online