TDISH: Avoiding Nuclear War

On September 26, 1983, in the midst of heightened Cold War tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union, the USSR’s Oko early warning system for nuclear strikes went off, indicating that the US had fired five nuclear missiles.  Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov was the ranking officer on duty at the time and could have made a call to his superiors that would likely have triggered a nuclear war.  Instead, he recognized that the one-year old Oko system had bugs and could be mistaken.  He also thought it odd that the United States only launched five missiles.  If this was nuclear war, one would think that they would launch many more.  Petrov held off for a few minutes and was able to confirm that it was a false alarm.  The retired lieutenant colonel downplays his heroism, stating “I was in the right place at the right moment.”

Featured Image: “Stanslav Petrov.” By Petrow_semperoper2.JPG: Z thomasderivative work: Hic et nunc – This file was derived from  Petrow semperoper2.JPG:, CC BY-SA 3.0.
Source: Thomson, Iain. “30 years on: The day a computer glitch nearly caused World War III.The UK Register. 27 September 2013.
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