The Redeker Plan (commonly known as “The South African war plan”) is a strategy employed in the fictional world of World War Z, a novel written by Max Brooks. The Redeker Plan is essentially the intentional sacrifice of a large portion of the population in order to save a population in a more defensible or important location.
The strategy is named after its creator Paul Redeker, who had previously redrafted Plan Orange 84, the “doomsday scenario” survival plan for the Apartheid government should the Black African population rise up in a general insurrection against the White Afrikaners. Redeker himself was a logical and dispassionate man, who believed emotions such as love and hate to be irrelevant and inefficient. Plan Orange made Redeker a hated man in South Africa, and he assumed that in the chaotic times of South Africa’s Great Panic (which started weeks earlier than the panic in the Unites States), someone would finally exact retribution for it.
During the zombie outbreak in South Africa, The South African government covertly sent a special forces team to retrive Redeker – not to kill him as he suspected, but to adapt Plan Orange 84 into a zombie survival plan for the nation. Redeker had already drafted most of the plan out of boredom, being holed up in a cabin since the initial outbreaks. After his plan was introduced, the South African president and most of his surviving cabinet were ready to reject the plan outright out of a combination of it’s heartlessness and out of hatred of Redeker himself, calling him a “demented” war criminal. It was at this point Mandela stepped in to personally vouch for Redeker’s plan, and he embraced Redeker to emphasize this. The unexpected shock of this hug may have caused Redeker to go through an emotional and mental breakdown, which resulted in Redeker functioning under the assumed identity of Xolelwa Azania.
The plan was as coldly logical as it was brilliant, with no detail left out. Everything from geography and military capability, to the nature and capabilities of the undead and their “motivations”, to available resources, to civilians, their vocations, physical and mental heath, their skills, and their location to potential crisis zones. The plan called for the government and military to relocate to a fortified “Safe Zone”, a reasonably large area with as many natural barriers, such as mountains canyons and rivers, so as to give the undead fewer entry points into the safe zone, and to reduce the resources and manpower needed to fortify those entry points. The plan listed those refugees and civilians who would be chosen to inhabit this safe zone (since not everyone could be saved), to provide a skilled labor pool for wartime production and to eventually repopulate retaken infested areas. This part of the plan was consistent with any general strategy of retreat.
The most controversial part of the plan (which many claim that Redeker will be damned for) is to keep pockets of isolated survivors deep into infested areas, to distract the hoards of zombies. These isolated survivors would need to be resupplied by the government occasionally so the the survivors can continue to act as bait, for every zombie attacking their fortification is one less attacking the government’s safe zone.
This is a utilitarian notion, which has ethical implications, because it implies that there are people who are less fit to survive than others. With this plan, the value of people is not based on socio-economic value or any cultural bias, but rather strategic location. An example would be a large population existing at bottle neck landmark. In World War Z, the military withdrew from a bottle neck area, leaving unarmed or poorly supplied civilians to fend for themselves. This occupied the outbreak while the military was able to reform and fortify the bottleneck.
Most nations who adopted the plan used their own variant that was more (or arguably less, depending on your perspective) humane, that called for organized supply drops into the decoy zones of men and material. The United States in particular established schedules of supply drops on larger fortifications, dropping medicine, food, and even reinforcements of Special Forces personnel to train the survivors in combat and lead them in battle. While at first this appears to be an entirely humanitarian effort to not abandon those outside of the safe zones (and indeed, it was intended to seem that way), it had the added effect of ensuring the decoy populations of survivors would remain in one place and in numbers large enough to remain a lucrative target to the hordes of zombies.
The Redeker Plan goes by several names, most notably the “South African Plan”, from which Paul Redeker hails. It is called “The Chang Doctrine” in South Korea and the “Prochnow Plan” in Germany.
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