- This Was the Day the World Almost Ended
- You (and Almost Everyone You Know)You’re your Life to This Man
During the height of the Cold War, the world almost ended on 27th October 1962 due to nuclear war. Here’s the rundown:
The Cold War was a time of geopolitical tension between the United States and the Soviet Union
So, why Cuba?
- In 1959, Cuba became a communist country led by Fidel Castro and siding with the Soviet Union.
- The US had nuclear missiles stationed with its allies in Italy and Turkey, in range to attack the Soviets.
- So, in turn, the Soviets wanted to arm Cuba with nuclear missiles too to be in range against the US.
- The US formed a blockade surrounding Cuba, to stop the Soviets from arming Cuba with missiles.
- Despite the blockade, some Soviet vessels managed to slip pass undetected.
- On 27th October 1962, a Soviet submarine with nuclear warheads was discovered by the US navy.
- Unable to communicate, the US vessels dropped dummy depth charges (non-lethal) to get the soviet submarine to resurface and identify themselves.
- The Soviet submarine thought this was a sign that war had begun on the surface.
- There was no way for them to verify this as they were running covertly without communications.
- Believing war had broke out, they contemplated on launching the nuclear warheads.
- The top 3 ranking officers on board had to unanimously authorise for the launch, 2 of which approved it.
- Vasily Arkhipov, the commander, opposed it. His action avoided a nuclear war.
An agreement was later made between the US and the Soviets to withdraw the missiles from Italy, Turkey and Cuba, ending the crisis. Thank Vasily Arkhipov and his temperament that we don’t have to deal with nuclear fallout.