Third World War was once very close to starting. Do you really know how close it was? In September 1983, the nuclear war was closer than anyone could have imagined. Here is the course of events that could have ended in a disaster for humanity.
The worst relationship for a long time between East and West
During the 1980s relations between Soviet and Western powers had tinted against earlier. Weaknesses existed and in September 1983 it was really cool. A passenger plane belonging to South Korea had been shot down in Soviet airspace.
Nearly 300 people died, of which several Americans. The Americans were furious after this incident and the Soviet believed that an attack led by the United States was as high as possible.
Soviet intelligence and radar were at the highest level of preparedness. It was believed that the United States was preparing to fire its nuclear weapons.
Alert about nuclear attack!
On September 26, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov is sitting a dozen kilometers from Moscow in the Soviet satellite monitoring center. This center would detect nuclear weapons missiles at an early stage.
If the alarm was triggered, the order was that the Soviet would immediately go to a counter-attack by firing its own nuclear weapons. In other words: discover something, shoot back. A simple order right?
The time is just after midnight when the alarm suddenly starts. The computer at the command central shows that a missile in the direction of the Soviet Union has been fired!
According to order, a counterattack would be initiated. But Petrov is still calm and suspects that the technology is showing wrong. This is because of the computer alarm about only one missile. If an attack on the Soviet Union had been initiated, probably hundreds of missiles would have been fired at the same time.
More nuclear missiles are fired
Somewhat later, the computer alerts again. Now four missiles have been discovered and everyone is heading for the Soviet Union. Petrov concludes that even this time there is a false alarm from the computer.
There is no possibility for Petrov to verify the data. Intercontinental missiles travel so far too high to be detected by the radar facilities. He must, therefore, wait a few more minutes to confirm his suspicion.
The reason for the false alarm
Any missiles from the United States had not been fired. The Third World War never started, thanks to one person; Stanislav Petrov.
Later it would turn out to be false alarms due to an unusual slant of sunlight combined with clouds at high altitude.
For his calmness and experience, Petrov was praised highly and received several awards.