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A Soviet officer who prevented a nuclear crisis between the US and the USSR and possible World War III in the 1980s has quietly passed away. He was 77. In 2010 RT spoke to Stanislav Petrov, who never considered himself a hero. We look at the life of the man who saved the world.
A decision that Soviet lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov once took went down in history as one that stopped the Cold War from turning into nuclear Armageddon, largely thanks to Karl Schumacher, a political activist from Germany who helped the news of his heroism first reach a western audience nearly two decades ago.
On September 7, Schumacher, who kept in touch with Petrov in the intervening years, phoned him to wish him a happy birthday, but instead learned from Petrov’s son, Dmitry, that the retired officer had died on May 19 in his home in a small town near Moscow.
On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov was on duty in charge of an early warning radar system in a bunker near Moscow, when just past midnight he saw the radar screen showing a single missile inbound from the United States and headed toward the Soviet Union.
“When I first saw the alert message, I got up from my chair. All my subordinates were confused, so I started shouting orders at them to avoid panic. I knew my decision would have a lot of consequences,”
Hoping that there are others who can follow in your footsteps...
During the close-call in 1979, defence chiefs at the North American Aerospace Defence Command in Colorado were told of a major, imminent attack by Soviet forces.
Computer screens at the top-secret base filled with images showing the early stages of an attack, and they prepared to retaliate.
It was only after a thorough investigation and a check of the back-up radar that a revenge strike was called off at the last minute.