Stanislav Petrov

25 years ago, on September 26, 1983, nuclear war was narrowly averted when a Soviet Air Defenses lieutenant colonel named Stanislov Petrov deviated from standard Soviet Doctrine (and protocols he himself had written) by positively identifying a missile attack warning as a false alarm.

This decision, according to several sources, was a major factor in preventing a retaliatory nuclear attack on the United States.  Investigation of the satellite warning system, which had indicated the launch of five missiles from the U.S., later confirmed that the system had been malfunctioning

With merely 2-3 minutes to react, he later explained his reasoning, “When people start a war, they don’t start it with only five missiles. You can do little damage with just five missiles.”  Petrov retired (or was forced out) several months later and his actions remained secret until 1998. “I just did my job. At the right place. At the right time.”

Chillingly, not only was this neither the first nor last time retaliatory strikes in response to false missile warnings have been averted, but they occured on both sides of the iron curtain.

Advertisements
Explore posts in the same categories: History, Whew

Tags: , , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: