Could world war 3 happen WITHOUT nuclear weapons?

Every time the theoretical topic of a third global war comes up, it is always assumed to be a nuclear holocaust. But why? it just seems entirely illogical, end all life on earth? really?. Looking at this from a logical standpoint, wouldn't it be much simpler for warring superpowers to utilize military... show more Every time the theoretical topic of a third global war comes up, it is always assumed to be a nuclear holocaust. But why? it just seems entirely illogical, end all life on earth? really?.

Looking at this from a logical standpoint, wouldn't it be much simpler for warring superpowers to utilize military resources to fight and control certain areas instead of blowing up the entire earth and killing everybody forever? it almost seems lazy. Like, me and this guy at the pub disagree with eachother, so instead of fist fighting, we will both simultaneously press buttons to blow the building up killing everybody inside including ourselves.

Seems like a total copout, an insane one at that.
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