Congo Ground War
War of 1996


July 2nd - July 4th, 1996




Human pyrrhic victory

  • Neutralization of alien threat
  • Half of the human population killed in the conflict
  • Emergence of human global unity
  • Creation of the Earth Space Defense

United Nations United Nations, composed of:
United States United States
Russia Russia
China China
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Japan
United Kingdom United Kingdom
France France
Germany Germany
Romania Romania
Italy Italy
Israel Israel
Flag of Iraq (1991-2004).svg Iraq
India India
and all other countries



United States Thomas Whitmore
Russia Boris Yeltsin[1]
China President of China
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Yasumichi Marukawa
United Kingdom John Major[1]
France Jacques Chirac
Germany Helmut Kohl[1]
Romania President of Romania
Italy President of Italy
India President of India
Israel Prime Minister of Israel
Flag of Iraq (1991-2004).svg President of Iraq
and other countries' heads of states and military leaders

Harvester Queen
An alien supreme commander


United States U.S. Armed Forces
Russia Russian Armed Forces
China People's Liberation Army
Flag of Japan (1870-1999).svg Japan Self-Defense Forces
United Kingdom British Armed Forces
France French Armed Forces
Germany German Bundeswehr
Romania Romanian Armed Forces
Italy Italian Armed Forces
India Indian Armed Forces
Israel Israel Defense Forces
Flag of Iraq (1991-2004).svg Iraqi Armed Forces
Iran Islamic Republic of Iran Army
and other military forces

Harvester forces



Total (killed/captured)


The War of 1996 was a full scale assault on Earth from July 2 to July 4, 1996 by a vast extraterrestrial race (later named the "Harvesters") seeking to harvest Earth's natural resources. It was the largest military conflict in the history of mankind, taking the lives of 3 billion people. Within a span of two days, over 108 cities were outright destroyed and/or damaged, as the aliens began a systematic and genocidal campaign of wiping out humanity. The onslaught was halted when humanity coordinated a global counterattack after the United States managed to disable the aliens' force-field technology and the subsequent destruction of the alien mothership, thus ending the war in human victory.

The conflict drastically altered the political alignment and social structure of Earth. Humanity set aside their previous cultural and nationalistic rivalries and united globally. The Earth Space Defense was established to defend Earth and humanity from future extraterrestrial threats.


Acknowledgement of extraterrestrial life was secretly confirmed when in 1947, an alien vessel crash landed in Roswell, New Mexico.[3] U.S. military authorities recovered the wreckage and the bodies of its occupants to the future military base Area 51, where they remained in secret for the next four decades while Area 51 and the Roswell incident became mythologized in popular rumors and conspiracy theories.

Only a few selected people in the U.S. military and intelligence agencies knew and discouraged revealing this secret to the public for fear of mass panic and the tense political climate of the Cold War between the United States and Soviet Union. At the same time, the United States were hiding a secret war with aliens.[3][4]

The InvasionEdit

On July 2, a 550 km wide alien mothership enters Earth's orbit and deploys 36 saucer-shaped "destroyer" spacecraft, each 15 miles (24 km) wide, and taking position over some of Earth's major cities. The aliens made use of human satellites to relay signals between vessels and coordinate their attack. Human response was in panic and uncertainty as people tried to flee from the targeted cities while the governments placed their military forces on high alert and making attempts to contact the aliens while remaining ignorant of the extraterrestrials' hostile intentions.

L 1a des

Destruction of Los Angeles.

David Levinson, an MIT graduate working for a cable company in New York City, discovered the aliens' hidden transmissions in Earth's satellites, which he realized is a timer counting down to the aliens' coordinated attack. With the support of his estranged wife Constance Spano, the White House Communications Director, Levinson was able to notify President Thomas Whitmore about the attack. However, Levinson's warning proved too late for Whitmore to issue a large-scale evacuation, and at 2:32 AM EST,[3] the aliens attacked with advanced directed-energy weapons and reduced the 36 targeted cities to ruins.

On July 3, the City Destroyers began to move onto other cities while facing human opposition. However, human attacks against the Destroyers proved severely ineffective, as the aliens are protected by force fields, making their vessels invulnerable to conventional weapons. This resulted in a one-sided massacre on human military forces. Afterwards, the aliens began methodically eliminating many military installations, such as NORAD and NATO headquarters in Brussels.[3]

After the failed counterattack, President Whitmore and his remaining staff, who escaped from the destruction of Washington, D.C., soon learned the secret of Area 51 from Secretary of Defense Albert Nimziki and arrived there in hopes of learning anything that could stop the invaders.

During a failed assault on a City Destroyer in Los Angeles, an alien pilot was captured by Captain Steven Hiller, a Marine Corps pilot, and taken to Area 51. When scientist Dr. Brackish Okun attempts to autopsy the alien, it regains consciousness and attempts to escape. When questioned by Whitmore, the alien attempts a psychic attack against him, but is killed by Whitmore's security detail. Whitmore learned that while he was being attacked, he saw the alien's thoughts and its kind's intentions to plunder Earth's natural resources at the cost of destroying all life on the planet. Whitmore then orders a nuclear attack on the Destroyers, but the first attempt in Houston fails to penetrate the force field of the vessel. Whitmore ordered an immediate withdrawal of the bombers.

Other nuclear states agreed to not launch their arsenals until the results of the Houston attack were clear.[3] Similar strikes were quickly abandoned. By midnight on July 3, most major cities had been abandoned and military forces had been routed. A select few, including Whitmore, began considering ways of how they could resist the inevitable ground invasion by the aliens.[3]

July 4 CounterattackEdit

Main article: July 4 counterattack

On July 4, Levinson devises a plan to use the repaired attacker to introduce a computer virus and plant a nuclear missile on board the mothership, theorizing that this will temporarily disrupt the force fields of the destroyers. Steven Hiller volunteers to pilot the attacker, with Levinson accompanying him to implement the virus. The shutdown of the force fields would coincide with a globally coordinated attack on the destroyers with the Americans leading the first assault.

With not enough military pilots to man all available aircraft, volunteers including Whitmore are enlisted for the counterstrike. With the successful implantation of the virus, Whitmore leads the attack against an alien Destroyer approaching Area 51. Although the force field is deactivated and the fighters are able to inflict damage, their supply of missiles quickly becomes exhausted. As the Destroyer prepares to fire on the base, one pilot, Russell Casse, has one missile left, but it jams. He decided to fly his plane directly into the alien weapon in a suicide attack, which kills him but destroys it.

Following the destruction of the City Destroyer, the Americans then informed other resistance forces from around the world on how to destroy the alien ships. Hiller and Levinson successfully launched the nuclear device that destroys the mothership, and managed to escape the ensuing destruction unharmed. The loss of the mothership ensured the disorientation and subsequent destruction of the remaining alien forces left on Earth.


Ending 10

Steven Hiller with Dylan Dubrow watching the remains of a City Destroyer.

Following humanity's 'Independence Day,' Earth was devastated from the invasion as more than a hundred of the planet's populous and historical cities along with irreplaceable institutions such as museums and libraries were destroyed, and at least three billion human beings were killed.[2] Those alive would never recover from the wounds of the invasion, both physical and emotional.[3]

Within time, the international community recovers and becomes more politically united by common cause due to a newfound fundamental sense of self-awareness that humanity as a whole is not alone in the universe and had barely escaped from their extinction.[3] Coinciding with this unity, the United Nations formed the Earth Space Defense to prevent the possibility of a similar extraterrestrial invasion in the future. The remains of the alien vessels were salvaged and reverse-engineered by humanity to creating new technology for consumer and military use, and further help in Earth's reconstruction process.

Alien survivors were discovered in the aftermath in which many were captured or killed. Others, however, were able to establish a temporary resistance against human forces. One such example was in the African Congo in which an alien cell survived for more than ten years after the invasion.[5]

Twenty years later, it was revealed the aliens were able to send a distress signal on the X-Band frequency before the mother-ship was destroyed[2], which results in forcing the aliens' queen to personally come to Earth and threatening the human race once more in 2016.

City CasualtiesEdit

108 cities were completely destroyed in three waves by the aliens, and 35 suffered from some structural damage in order to prevent a fourth wave.[1]

First Wave Second Wave Third Wave Intercepted Wave
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil Sao Paulo, Brazil  Buenos Aires, Argentina  Caracas, Venezuela
New York City, U.S.  Philadelphia, U.S. Pittsburgh, U.S. Cleveland, U.S.
Washington, D.C., U.S.  Atlanta, U.S.  (1) Houston, U.S.  Dallas, U.S. 
Los Angeles, U.S. NORAD, U.S. Phoenix, U.S. (2) Area 51, U.S.
San Francisco, U.S. Seattle, U.S. Vancouver, Canada Las Vegas, U.S.
Toronto, Canada  Chicago, U.S. Detroit, U.S. St. Louis, U.S.
Mexico City, Mexico  Guadalajara, Mexico  Monterrey, Mexico  El Paso, U.S.
Havana, Cuba  Miami, U.S. Boston, U.S. Montreal, Canada
Dakar, Senegal  Abidjan, Ivory Coast  Kinshasa, DRC Tripoli, Libya
Lagos, Nigeria  Addis Ababa, Ethiopia  Nairobi, Kenya  Cape Town, South Africa
Jakarta, Indonesia  Medan, Indonesia  Perth, Australia   Sydney, Australia
Singapore, Singapore Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia  Rangoon, Myanmar  Mandalay, Myanmar
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Phnom Penh, Cambodia  Vientiane, Laos  Bangkok, Thailand
Manila, Philippines Hanoi, Vietnam  Pingxiang, China  Kunming, China
Shanghai, China  Ningbo, China  Hangzhou, China      Wuhan, China
Seoul, South Korea  Pyongyang, North Korea  Busan, South Korea   Hiroshima, Japan
Beijing, China  Shenyang, China  Changchun, China Quiqihar, China
Hong Kong, U.K. Guangzhou, China Macau, Portugal Taipei, Taiwan
Tokyo, Japan  Yokohama, Japan  Nagoya, Japan  Osaka, Japan
Calcutta, India  Dhaka, Bangladesh  Kathmandu, Nepal  Lahore, Pakistan
Bombay, India  Bangalore, India  Madras, India  Colombo, Sri Lanka
New Dehli, India  Hyderabad, India  Mogadishu, Somalia  (3) National Republic of Umbutu
Karachi, Pakistan    Islamabad, Pakistan  Kabul, Afghanistan  Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Jerusalem, Israel  Tel Aviv, Israel  Damascus, Syria  Beirut, Lebanon
Tehran, Iran  Baghdad, Iraq  Riyadh, Saudi Arabia  Cairo, Egypt
Vladivostok, Russia Harbin, China  Sapporo, Japan  Petropavlovsk, Russia
Moscow, Russia  St. Petersburg, Russia  Helsinki, Finland  Stockholm, Sweden
Kiev, Ukraine  Odessa, Ukraine  Volgograd, Russia  Corum, Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey  Bucharest, Romania  Belgrade, Yugoslavia Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina
Athens, Greece  Naples, Italy  Algiers, Algeria  Casablanca, Morocco
Rome, Italy  Venice, Italy  Milan, Italy  Monaco, Monaco
Warsaw, Poland  Vienna, Austria  Prague, Czech Republic  Budapest, Hungary
Berlin, Germany  Hamburg, Germany  Frankfurt, Germany  Munich, Germany
London, U.K. Birmingham, U.K. Liverpool, U.K. Belfast, U.K.
Paris, France  Lyon, France  Marseille, France Barcelona, Spain
Amsterdam, Netherlands  Brussels, Belgium  Antwerp, Belgium  Rotterdam, Netherlands

1. Houston was destroyed by a nuclear missile.

2. The original target was San Diego.

3. The Umbutu ship was the only City Destroyer to survive intact before it was shutdown following the destruction of the mothership.


Arrival of the City DestroyersEdit

The City Destroyers attackEdit

July 4th counterattack, a.k.a. The FourthEdit

Behind the ScenesEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 War of 1996 website
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Independence Day: Crucible
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Independence Day: Official Novelization
  4. Independence Day: Silent Zone
  5. Independence Day: Resurgence

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