I find it somewhat amusing that a significant chunk of 80s post-nuclear based visual entertainment (American straight-to-video flicks, Hokuto no Ken et al) derived its setting and most of the other aesthetic touches from the Mad Max movies, when the bleak surroundings of Mr Rockatansky came about not through a nuclear holocaust but through a conventional conflict over dwindling resources, followed by a gradual socio-economic breakdown. It seems that world ended not with the bang of its proteges but a (relative) whimper.
That said, the third in the trilogy seems to validate the theory of reciprocal causation, inserting nuclear desolation into its narrative; I suppose one could smirk and see it as a case of paying homage to the homage-payers, but I can’t help but think it dilutes the uniqueness of George Miller’s dystopic universe somewhat. Nevertheless, when one looks at the trilogy as a whole, this insertion reverses the line of post-nuke causality; whereas in your typical post-nuke narrative (I’m looking at your world, Kenshiro!) the social collapse follows the mushroom clouds, the Mad Max flicks depict the social disarray preceding the appearance of giant flaming mushrooms!
So, rather paradoxically, imitation births innovation for Miller and Co – kinda cool, in a fucked-up way, I suppose….