Saturday, July 9, 2016

Nuclear War (False Alarm)

Wow. This is intense.

Five ballistic missiles were heading towards the Soviet Union from the west coast of the US.

On the monitor in front of Petrov the word "launch" flashed repeatedly in red. The horror of what was unfolding in front of him threatened to overwhelm the officer and he was initially frozen with fear.

If he believed his eyes he was witnessing a preemptive strike by the US, which could kill thousands of his people – the start of World War III.

Protocol demanded that Petrov, then 44, immediately telephone a senior Kremlin official.

However, he hesitated. The lieutenant colonel knew his call would probably trigger a retaliatory attack and a devastating nuclear war could ensue.

He was suspicious that Soviet ground radar had not picked up the approaching missiles. He was also mistrustful of the satellite technology, which was still in its infancy.

As the most senior man in the bunker, he faced an awful choice – follow the rules and make the call or trust his instincts and simply do nothing.

Petrov took the second option and reported the incident as a false alarm.

As the minutes ticked by his heart was racing and he could feel beads of sweat trickling down his back. Petrov's story is told in a new drama-documentary about his life, The Man Who Saved The World, which reveals how close the world came to nuclear war on the night of September 26, 1983.

"I took a gamble," admits Petrov.

"It was probably 50:50 but I had a funny feeling in my gut."


If I esteem mankind to be in error, shall I bear them down? No. I will lift them up, and in their own way too, if I cannot persuade them my way is better; and I will not seek to compel any man to believe as I do, only by the force of reasoning, for truth will cut its own way.

I could not love thee, dear, so much,
Loved I not Honor more.

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