The “Minutemen,” a team of costumed crime fighters, was formed in 1939 in response to a rise in costumed gangs and criminals; the “Watchmen” was similarly formed decades later. Their existence has dramatically affected world events: in particular, Doctor Manhattan’s superpowers help the United States win the Vietnam War, resulting in President Richard Nixon being reelected for a third term. Dr. Manhattan gives the West a strategic advantage over the Soviet Union, which by the 1980s threatens to escalate the Cold War into anuclear war. During that time, growing anti-vigilante sentiment leads to masked crime-fighters being outlawed. While many of the heroes retire, Dr. Manhattan and the Comedian operate as government-sanctioned agents, and Rorschach continues to operate outside the law, becoming a fugitive as a result.