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It is stated in the book that the initial zombie outbreaks (before the first winter, when Phalanx was still being used) happened during an election year in the United States, and that it was four years after a previous president had been in office for eight years, and the current administration had been trying to "clean up the mess" from the "last brushfire war" for the past four years, so they were unwilling to fully mobilize the United States' military forces for what at the time seemed like an implausible threat. It is heavily implied that author Max Brooks is referring to the Iraq War and the two-term presidency of George W. Bush, after which another president was in office for four years.

In real life, Bush's successor turned out to be Barack Obama, but because Brooks wrote World War Z before Bush's term was over, it's not clear who he meant to be president. The US president at the beginning of World War Z apparently dies from stress, and is succeeded by his Vice President. This Vice President is apparently meant to be Colin Powell: he's never referred to be name, but he is stated as having family in Jamaica, and implied to be black. In real life, Obama's Vice President is Joe Biden. The outbreak began (in China and soon other parts of the world) in 2012, when Bush's successor was facing re-election. The Battle of Yonkers took place the August after these November elections. Thus, the battle took place according to Brook's future time line, in August 2013.

The 2012 phenomenon is a present-day cultural meme proposing that cataclysmic or transformative events will occur in the year 2012. The forecast is based primarily on what is claimed to be the end-date of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar, which is presented as lasting 5,125 years and as terminating on December 21 or 23, 2012. Arguments supporting this dating are drawn from a mixture of amateur archaeoastronomy, alternative interpretations of mythology, numerological constructions, and alleged prophecies from extraterrestrial beings. How this end year was calculated? Explorers took the Maya Calendar and the Gregorian calendar, and found the common date in the 16th century, the century when Spaniard conquistadores actually destroyed the civilization of Maya.

A New Age interpretation of this transition posits that, during this time, the planet and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era. Conversely, some believe that the 2012 date marks the beginning of an apocalypse. Both memes have been disseminated in numerous books and TV documentaries, and have spread around the world through websites and discussion groups. The idea of a global event occurring in 2012 based on any interpretation of the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar is rejected as pseudoscience by the scientific community, and as misrepresentative of Maya history by Mayanist scholars.

1: Bush had an 8 year term, followed by Obama, fitting the story at top.
2:the planet and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation; The zombie transformation can be described as both.
3:The book says it happened in 2012 starting in August. An infection would take about 4 months to spread from China in the small towns to the rest of the world putting it about December. The 2012 calendar issue says December 21, 2012.

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