World War III is the First Meme of 2020

If war is coming in 2020, it will have been foretold by the drumbeat of memes.

Within hours of the U.S.’s assassination of Iranian general Qassem Suleimani, people wondered if it might be the catalyst for  World War III. Major global conflicts have begun under similar circumstances, and the Trump administration’s predisposition toward Middle East war has everyone on edge. And as if to take that edge off, internet users dealt with news of potential impending doom in the way it always does—by memeing it.

Some might argue World War III memes are in poor taste. While war may seem like a joke to privileged Americans with time to kill on the internet, it’s far less funny to the Iranians in the line of fire or the American troops shipping off to fight it, as one viral post pointed out. But in an increasingly frustrated world where imminent doom feels like it’s around every corner, sometimes joking helps.



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