On September 26th 1983, in his bunker in Moscow, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov of the Soviet Air Defense Forces saw a blip on the early warning system. Heading straight towards the Soviet Union was an Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles(ICBM). The Americans have attacked!… or did they? LtC Petrov, suspecting a false alarm, asked for confirmation. With no other verification of an attack, LtC Petrov suspected a computer failure. Then, almost immediately, the early warning system went off again. The Americans have attacked, now with four ICBMs!…. or did they? LtC Petrov once again requested further confirmation before requesting a full scale nuclear retaliation. His rationale was that an American first strike would involve far more than five missiles. Once more, authentication from other early warning stations and ,most importantly, visual confirmation could not verify an attack. LtC Petrov stood down a Soviet full scale retaliation, thus saving the world from an almost certain nuclear apocalypse.
Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov
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