Cold War

How A Soviet Officer Broke The Rules To Save The World

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Stanislav Petrov was the lieutenant-colonel in charge of the Soviet Union's early warning radar system in a bunker near Moscow. And just after midnight on September 26, 1983, he made a decision that saved the world. The radar was showing a single incoming missile from the United States. But the real question: Was the missile real, or was it a computer error? Sirens were sounding in the bunkers, and giant red letters appeared on the screens saying "start." The signals were telling Petrov and his crew that four more missiles had been launched. But Petrov considered the logic behind a move like that... and it didn't add up. He decided not to tell his superiors (which broke Soviet military rules) of the missiles, and was proved right because there were no missiles.

Soviet officer saves world from Armageddon - Cold War unknown facts

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. Stanislov Petrov was the lieutenant colonel in charge of the Soviet Union’s early warning radar system in a bunker near Moscow. 00:39

  2. Stanislov Petrov had only 30 minutes to respond to four potentially incoming missiles from the U.S. in 1983. 01:21

  3. Stanislav Petrov broke Soviet military rules in 1983 to make a decision that saved the world. 01:57

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