On September 26, 1983, the world was one
person’s decision away from
nuclear war. The military officer had to commit insubordination to stop
automatic process. Tensions were high, three weeks after the Soviet
military shot down the passenger jet, Korean Air Lines flight 007,
269 passengers. President Reagan called the Soviet Union “the empire of
President Reagan escalated an arms race and was pursing the Strategic
Defense Initiative (Star Wars).
NATO was beginning a military exercise Able Archer 83 which was a
thoroughly realistic rehearsal for a first strike. The KGB considered
exercise as possible preparation for the real thing.
On September 26, 1983, Air Defense Lieutenant Coronel Stanislav Petrov
was the duty officer at the Soviet air
defense command center. His
responsibilities included monitoring the satellite early warning system
notifying his superiors when he observed a possible missile attack
against the Soviet Union.
Shortly after midnight, the computers showed that an intercontinental
ballistic missile was launched from the US and headed for the Soviet
Petrov considered this a computer error since any first strike would
involve several hundred missiles, not just one. Accounts differ if he
contacted his superiors. Later, the computers identified four more
missiles launched from the US.
Had he notified his superiors, it is entirely possible that the
Eliminate Nuclear Weapons Before They
Eliminate Us - 2