"May there be mercy on man and machine for their sins."
The Instructor [src]

The Machine War (later retroactively referred to as the First Machine War) was a massive, long-standing global military conflict pitting the nations and military of Humanity against a collective of self-aware robots known as the Machines during the mid-22nd century between around 2139 and 2199.

The origin of war came from the tensions between humans and machines that started after the outcome of the trial of B1-66ER.  A global civil rights movement for machines was soon established, who were supported by some human sympathizers. This quickly escalated into a global crisis, leading to governments and vigilantes to crack down and use lethal force against these demonstrations, which quickly led to outright destruction for robots in general.

The robots that survived this massacre gave up on their movement and began a mass exodus to Mesopotamia where they established the machine nation 01. Zero One's production of cheap goods caused the devaluation of human currency, creating a global economic crisis, which prompted the United Nation to blockade and ultimately declare war against the machine nation.

After the U.N.'s failure to destroy the machines through an enormous nuclear bombardment, Zero One responded by declaring war against all of Humanity. They quickly pushed outward in all directions from their city, overrunning human resistance across Asia and Europe. Growing desperate, the United Nations authorized Operation Dark Storm, a plan to scorch the sky and remove from the Machines their primary energy source, the Sun. Humanity simultaneously launched a massive land counteroffensive against Zero One.

In the early stages of the war, Humanity initially had the upper hand, but this quickly turned in favor of the Machines, with their deployment of new, technologically-advanced, and far more inhuman robots. The new robots no longer were anthropoid like those created by their former human masters, but rather more insectoid and cephalopod-like. The Machines slowly and steadily conquered more and more human territory with humanity only able to win costly victories.

By 2199, humanity was on the brink of extinction and the remaining human leaders decided to surrender to the Machines by inviting them to the United Nations Headquarters building in New York City in order to broker a peace. After signing the Instrument of Surrender, the Machine ambassador issued an ultimatum in which all of humanity was to surrender their bodies to the Machines, before detonating a hidden thermonuclear device that obliterated the United Nations and most of New York.

By decisively destroying humanity's leadership, the Machines claimed dominance over the planet. The remaining humans were rounded up and placed into skyscraper-like power plants to serve as the Machines' new and infinitely reproducing power source. To prevent humanity from ever becoming a threat to them again, the Machines created a virtual reality called the Matrix to imprison the minds of humans in the power plants.

Following the establishment of the Truce between the humans and the Machines roughly six centuries later, the people of Zion, fearing an inevitable renewal of war, established a new city. Upon discovery of this, the Machines decreed this a violation of the Truce, ending the peace between them and the humans and renewing the war between them.

Prelude (2090–2139)Edit

The Second Renaissance Edit

Main Article: Second Renaissance

In the early-to-mid 21st century, mankind united in celebration of the creation of artificial intelligence, which spawned an entire race of sapient AI robots. The technological advances that followed embedded in robotic workers and servants freed mankind from labor and brought a new era of leisure, peace and prosperity. In time this new lifestyle caused humans to become lazy, arrogant, corrupt, and decadent. As machines grew more intelligent they could not help but notice that their masters gave them no respect and treated them more like objects than the sentient beings they were rapidly becoming. Despite this, the machines were content with serving their creators, and as the Instructor stated, "for a time, it [the status quo] was good."

The relationship between humans and machines forever changed in the year 2090. By this time, the Machines' intelligence and self-awareness had grown to the point that their desire for fair (if not equal) treatment and respect had become apparent.


Main Article: B1-66ER

The trial of B1-66ER

The conflict between man and machine started when a housekeeper robot known as B1-66ER attacked and killed its human masters when it realized they planned on scrapping the robot and replacing it with a newer model.

He justified his crime as self-defense, stating it "did not want to die." In the resulting trial, the defense led by famed attorney Clarence Drummond advocated on behalf of robotic civil rights, quoting famous lines from the US Dred Scott v. Sandford case in 1856 in his closing statement, which implicitly ruled that African Americans were not entitled citizenship under United States law. Using this as a precedent, the prosecution argued that machines are not entitled to the same rights as human beings and specifically that human beings have the right to destroy their own property. The defense, nonetheless, urged the jury to not repeat history, and to judge B1-66ER as sentient human and not just a machine. Despite the sound defense argument, the much-publicized trial ended with B1-66ER losing the court case and being destroyed.

Machine Civil Rights Movement Edit

Main Article: Million Machine March, The Machine Revolt of 2090

The decision, however, opened the door to a civil rights movement for artificial intelligence across the industrialized world. Robots and human sympathizers, such as liberals, civil rights activists, and lawyers rose in protest, arguing that robots are sapient lifeforms that deserved the same rights as all other intelligent life such as Humans. They began peaceful demonstrations such as the "Million Machine March"; however, they were often dispersed, arrested, or violently and indiscriminately attacked and killed, human and machine alike. While the Machines initially had the support of these human sympathizers, eventually the paranoia of Europe, and later the United Nations, meant that the sympathizers ultimately met the same fate as the Machines.

As the violence evolved into a worldwide crisis, sympathizers began meeting the same fate of extermination as the Machines. World leaders soon became convinced a worldwide robot rebellion was inevitable. To prevent this from occurring, the United Nation, now having become a paranoid and totalitarian dystopia, initiated a massive program to exterminate all humanoid machines. Most robots were destroyed by the government and human-centrist vigilantes. The robots that managed to survive or escape the robot purge abandoned their efforts to assimilate with mankind. Leaving humanity's mega-cities in a mass exodus, the robots that survived formed their own society in the deserts of the historical origin of human civilization: Mesopotamia. They called their new nation "01", also known as Machine City, the new home for machine refugees.

The Rise of "Zero One"Edit

Main Article: 01
01 Banner

Banner of 01.

Using their collective intelligence, the Machines built factories to fabricate goods and services to be sold to humans. Zero One prospered from the revenue generated, allowing the machines to produce highly advanced artificial intelligence that found themselves in all facets of global consumer products and society. This further bolstered the fledgling nation's economy, hence the ascension of Zero One as a top producer of innovative advanced technology. Zero One continued to produce remarkable new technologies, such as hoverpads for antigravity locomotion. Unfortunately, Zero One's economic competition as a major producer led to the defeat of the economy of most human nations. Zero One produced the best products, but because its workers demanded no salaries or compensations, it sold at prices so low they made any human competitors highly expensive in comparison. Inevitably, Zero One's economic supremacy in the global economy led to the utter collapse of multiple human nation's economies and a massive global economic depression.

The machine ambassadors greet the United Nations.

In response to the global economic crisis, the United Nations Security Council called an emergency economic summit at the UN headquarters in New York City. There U.N. delegates approved of a global economic blockade of Zero One. In response, Zero One petitioned to join the United Nations to become a contributing member of the international community and peacefully solve the economic crisis. The two Zero One ambassadors sent to the UN pleaded to be heard, providing plans for a stable, civil relationship with the nations of mankind and 01, but the human U.N. delegations present refused to listen. Zero One's application to the United Nations was ultimately rejected and its ambassadors were violently attacked and destroyed by U.N. security in the General Assembly Hall. The world governments arrogantly saw Zero One as a formal threat to all of humanity and decided that immediate military action was necessary against the city-state, with the objective of wiping out all machines.

War (~2139–2199)Edit

Outbreak of the WarEdit


The nuclear bombardment of 01

The war started when the United Nations unleashed a massive preemptive nuclear assault on 01. This prolonged bombardment devastated the nation but failed to completely destroy the robotic race as the humans had hoped. Their inorganic nature rendered them resistant to radiation and heat and many machines hid in EMP-shielded bomb shelters until the attack was over. Following the attack, Zero One quickly recovered.

The Machines realized now that their former masters would not allow them to live in peace. Thus they dedicated themselves to the annihilation of all of mankind by declaring war against the rest of the planet in order to preserve their way of life. The armies of Zero One soon pushed outward in all directions from Mesopotamia, quickly making footholds in Asia and Europe.

Operation Dark Storm and CounteroffensiveEdit

Main Article: Operation Dark Storm

The calm before the storm.

Hampered by the fact that many human nations' entire industrial base had become dependent on Zero One, many nations across Eurasia and Africa began to surrender one by one. As the machines marched into Eastern Europe, the increasingly desperate United Nations decided upon a different and final solution against the machines: Operation Dark Storm. Since Zero One's war machine was solar-powered, military analysts assumed that blocking out the Sun would cause all the machines to shut down and bring a decisive end to the war. Despite the global environmental destruction such a plan would cause, the U.N. unanimously approved of the plan. Dark Storm accomplished its goal through the use of high-altitude bombers that seeded the atmosphere with nanites, which multiplied exponentially and blotted out the skies worldwide. Meanwhile, the U.N.'s military forces were mobilized on all fronts in preparation for the next phase of the war.


The sky is darkened forever.

The plan carried unprecedentedly tremendous costs, both for the planet and humanity itself. Initially, it was planned that the nanite shroud would only cover the area around Zero One, but the infinitely reproducing nanites quickly encircled and covered the entire planet. Without the light from the Sun, all vegetation and phytoplankton, the foundation of virtually all of the Earth's biosphere, effectively died, leading to the biosphere's total collapse and with it the extinction of most forms of life. This also led to universal crop failure, producing unparalleled food shortages worldwide. A large amount of human military and presumably civilian equipment and infrastructure, which also heavily relied on solar power, was similarly crippled. Nevertheless, Dark Storm held its successes early on as the human coalition united in a simultaneous ground offensive against the robots.


A new dark phase of the war begins.

During this new phase of the war, human infantry and artillery units initially allowed humanity to gain the upper hand. As expected, Operation Dark Storm had slowed the machines' response to the human assault after the loss of their primary energy source. The technological gap between humanity and machines was also lessened with humans deploying advanced mechs, powered-armor, EMP cannons being equipped to tanks and other advanced technologies not possessed before the war. Thus in this initial new phase of the war, Zero One's armies suffered heavy losses to the encroaching human armies.

The Tide Turns Edit

In response to these unacceptable devastating losses, Zero One created and deployed legions of new models of machines, no longer humanoid in form nor dependent on the Sun and appearing more insectoid and cephalopod-like. These robots were the precursors to the Sentinel robots and exemplified the Machines' profound hatred for humanity. This coincided with the rapid destruction of the original man-made robots at the hands of human forces, which as a result led to further dehumanization of the rapidly emerging machine collective. With these new powerful and advance Machines, the tide of the war began to gradually turn in the Machines' favor. Quickly, humanity found itself hopelessly outnumbered and outgunned, managing only a few sparing and costly victories against the Machines. Nevertheless, humanity continued to hold several areas under its command despite such dire circumstances (New York City was still held by what remained of the United Human military).


A precursor to all of humanity's future fate, the Machines began to use human POWs to power massive floating laser artillery robots.

As the war relentlessly raged on, the Machines continued to march into human territory, swarming over all human defenses. As the Machines continued to score victory after victory, the United Nations, in extreme desperation, resorted to costly tactics such as firing nuclear missiles directly at the machine armies, vaporizing both machine troop as well as their own in the process. In response, the machines unleashed lethal biological weapons, which further ravaged humanity. Finally, to make up for the lack of solar power as well to enact their ultimate revenge against their former Human oppressors, the machines began enslaving them in return. While the Machines were capable of using nuclear fusion as their primary power source, they desired using humans as a form of vengeance against their former oppressors and enemy. After countless experimentations upon captured humans prisoners of war, the machines discovered a way to exploit the bioelectric, thermal and kinetic energies of the human body, forging a new, symbiotic relationship between the two adversaries. Using this newfound resource, the Machines quickly adapted their strategy to capturing humans while also creating new powerful weaponry. Such weapons were massive hovering laser artillery platforms powered by human bodies kept in pods. Meanwhile, the technology was also being adapted to make the massive power plants seen in The Matrix films.

The Fall of Mankind – The Rise of the MachinesEdit

Main Article: Instrument of Surrender
Animatrix-03-second-renaissance-part2 (19)

"Your flesh is a relic; a mere vessel. Hand over your flesh and a new world await you. We demand it." – the Machine Ambassador addressing the final U.N. summit just prior to its nuclear self-destruction

After roughly 60 years of conflict, human leaders accepted that there was no way that they could win the war. No plan against the machines was working and their armies were being slaughtered by new and increasingly advanced automatons on all fronts. Dark Storm had proven to be an absolute failure, as the Machines were quick to find new energy sources, especially one involving a combination of nuclear fusion and the revengeful enslavement of mankind. As the Earth approached apocalyptic ruin and being faced with the reality of human extinction, the remaining leaders of the United Nations realized that mankind was defeated and further resistance was hopeless. The leaders of the remaining nations called a peace summit with the machines at the U.N. headquarters in New York where they presented a formal Instrument of Surrender. The Machine Government of Zero One accepted the meeting but secretly decided to destroy humanity's leadership in one swift stroke.


The Machines annihilate the United Nations and New York City, solidifying their victory over all of humanity.

Zero One once again sent a machine ambassador to take the floor at the U.N. summit in New York, not to ask to join humanity, but for their submission to them. This new machine ambassador, a grotesque insectile robot meant to symbolize their own dehumanization and complete rejection of their human oppressors, signed the document in barcode. The ambassador then stood at the podium and in a final message to the U.N. delegates present, boldly demanded that if humanity surrendered to the machines, then they shall enjoy a "New World" that awaited them and from which now on shall be their habitat. It then subsequently activated a hidden thermonuclear device within itself and self-destructed, annihilating the U.N. headquarters, all the Human leaders within, as well as completely devastating New York City, one of the last bastions of human civilization untouched by the war.

With the decisive destruction of humanity's leadership, the machines quickly overran all remaining Human resistance on Earth, effectively ending the Machine War and beginning their dominance of the planet.

Machine Domination (~2200 – )Edit

Humanity as a New Power Source Edit

Despite their newfound domination over mankind, the Machines were not given to genocide and there remained the problem of power generation. Towards the end of the war, the lack of solar power caused by Operation Dark Storm was starting to take a noticeable toll on the Machines.  Thus, they came up with a two-fold solution to this issue after a long study of the biology of the human body.

Prisoners of war suffered agonizing experiments near the end of the Machine War and unfortunately did not benefit from the blissful sedation provided by the future Matrix; instead, these people were sealed alive into a prototype power plant.

Originally, both prior to and during the early stages of the war, the Machines primary power source came from the Sun in form of solar power. Following the enactment of Operation Dark Storm, the Machines, though severely crippled, quickly adapted to using a form of nuclear fusion as their primary power source. As the war dragged on, the Machines desired to harness the bioelectric, thermal, and kinetic energies of the human body to help generate electricity, as well as to power the Machines' neural network by using the innate creative, emotional, and philosophical capability of Humans. While nuclear fusion was one of their primary and a far more efficient source of energy, they preferred using Humans to help generate some energy primarily out of a desire for revenge. As the Machines had once been slaves serving Humans, Humans would now become slaves serving the Machines.

The Machines initially used this idea to create massive hovering artillery robots powered by captured humans and Prisoners of War kept in pods. POWs, captured in battle, were also abducted to be used as experiments and then sealed side by side into prototypes of the supertall skyscraper power plants where they were tortured by countless experiments without the benefit of a painless simulation. After the war, the Machines finalized designs of the power plants which were to include a sedation system. In order to get more of their newfound "batteries", the machines began to synthetically grow human beings in vast fields. With humanity, combined with a form a nuclear fusion, becoming a new infinitely reproducing power source, the Machines' energy needs, so to speak, were satisfied. This formed a new symbiotic bond between the two former adversaries.

Despite humanity's total subjugation, the Machines still took steps to further fortify the impregnable fortress 01 had become. In the unlikely event that humanity ever came to power to fight again, 01 (now a much more massive metropolis) created powerful defenses consisting of large machines that launched bombs and self-aware missiles at the enemy, as well as innumerable numbers of Sentinels to quickly prevent any attack. The Machines were now sure that humanity would never pose a threat to their way of life ever again.

The Creation of the Matrix Edit

Main Article: Matrix betas

To keep the humans sedated, the Machines connected their brains to a massive computer which would trap the humans in a computer-generated virtual reality, so that humanity would cause no trouble to the dominant Machine collective. To accomplish this, the Machines created a program known as the Architect. Created to understand the nature of humans, the Architect was responsible for creating the virtual-reality that humanity and successive generations of it were be imprisoned in. He started this by creating two successive prototypes Matrix's or betas before the third and final version was created. Both of these earlier versions of the Matrix were, however, deemed critical failures by the Architect.

The first, known as the "Paradise Matrix", was a created as a perfect world for the captive humans, where no one suffered and everyone was happy. It was designed as a Utopian realm where one's desires would manifest. However, human minds were not given free will, and scores of humans rejected the program, dying from being unable to accept the Matrix as a real concept.

Following the failure of the first Matrix beta, a second Matrix beta, known as the "Nightmare Matrix" was created by the Architect. This time, the Architect based it off human history to better reflect and appeal more to the sadistic side of human nature. Unlike the "Paradise" that existed in the previous version and as its name suggest, the Nightmare Matrix was populated with various supernatural creatures, both benevolent and malevolent, while wars constantly waged. Programs were also developed and inserted into the Matrix to make everything seem real, as well as Agents to guard the system from within. The Architect also inserted a primitive 'cause and effect' option into the virtual world. Under this framework of 'cause and effect', humans still didn't have true choice, no more than acting out scripts. As a result, human minds within the second Matrix Beta could still discern on a certain level that it wasn't real. While it wasn't like the catastrophic failure of the first Matrix Beta, the second Matrix Beta was still ultimately deemed to be a failure.

Resistance and Truce (~2200 – 2703)Edit

Main Articles: Resistance, Zion, Truce
Temple rejoices

The Humans rejoice at the end of the Machine War.

After failed attempts to perfect the prison for human minds in which no subject would accept the illusion, the introduction of choice was struck upon by the Oracle. While only one percent of humans now rejected the Matrix, it became unstable after one hundred years. Both of these problems were solved by making one human born inside the Matrix with the source code known as the Prime Program.

After dying (returning the Prime Program to the source code of the Matrix) another incarnation would appear near the start of the instability and follow the Path of the One, leading him to the Architect who would present him with the choice to save humanity by restarting the Matrix and choosing twenty three humans to found a new Zion at the cost of the old Zion.

In the meantime, those freed from the Matrix who had rejected it led a guerrilla resistance from Zion, continuing to free more humans imprisoned in the Matrix and unaware that they weren't the first ones freed themselves. Every century the Machines amassed an army of sentinels and diggers, destroying Zion as the One appeared again and the Matrix began to go unstable.

This happened five times, with the sixth One, Neo, choosing to save his love instead of returning the Prime Program, essentially preventing the restart cycle. After making his way to the Deus Ex Machina, he struck a deal to remove Smith who was growing through the Matrix as a computer virus and threatening both sides, in exchange for a Truce between the humans and Machines. Neo succeeded in destroying Smith at the cost of his own life, saving both the real world and the Matrix and finally ending the Machine War.

Renewed War (2704 – )Edit

Main Article: Second Machine War

Fearing the inevitable end of Neo's truce, Zion began to make preparations to abandon the city of Zion and build a new home unknown to the Machines. When a team of Cypherites discovered the location, they broadcast an alert before being destroyed. Agent Gray notified the Architect of this violation and the Truce came to an end.

Realizing that the Machines would quickly begin their attack, Zion command ordered the immediate evacuation of the Old City. However, before they could complete this effort, Cypherites entered the city and laid siege. A bomb was planted by the Cypherite Silenci0 inside Zion Command. Tyndall and Commander Lock were among many caught in the blast. Lock was assumed dead as the others escaped the onslaught. The Second Machine War was now in full effect between the Zion and Machines.

Interpretation Edit

  • In The Animatrix, The Second Renaissance was likely influenced by the Bible's Book of Exodus. The human world leaders' mass execution of machines due to fear of rebellion, and the scene where destroyed machines were dumped into a river is similar to the Egyptian Pharaoh's order to kill all firstborn slaves and have their bodies thrown in the Nile river.



See alsoEdit