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On a visit to a cold war bunker in York, the guide told us of many dignitaries that had visited, military people from US, Europe and beyond. He found out from these people that the bunker was only ever prepared twice- once during the cuba crisis and once in the 80s. At this point, the military go quiet but there was a major incidence during the 80s that brought us close to World War 3.
Last night, a program 1983 the brink of apocalypse explained how various incidences led to very nearly world war 3:
- Early in 1983, Regan had inflamed the Soviets by calling them an evil empire.
- The excuse for the US invasion had been made, the Soviets had shot down a Korean airliner.
- So when in 1983, NATO decided to go ahead with a huge war game Operation Able Archer the Soviets were convinced that like the Nazis 50 years earlier that this was pretense for an invasion.
Had Ronald Regan actually gone to Germany to pretend to press the button then this would have been WW3. However, I'd like to talk about Stanislav Petrov who at the height of this tension was watching the screens beaming messages from the USSR satellites that were watching the US bunkers. The satellites reported a US missile launch, then another and then another. He believed that the satellite technology was wrong and ignored the flashing lights telling him that there were 3 launches - he expected many many more launches in a short time. In the end he was proved right. - it was reflections from the sun. He literally saved millions of lives as had he reported this to the seniors, this would have started the nuclear war.
The real scary thing is that this whole incidence brought us so close to nuclear war and no-one knew about it.