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In 1983 the period of detente had come to an end. The new president of the United States, Ronald Reagan, had referred to the Soviet Union as an ‘evil empire’ and commissioned the construction of the Strategic Defence Initiative, a missile defence system that was supposed to protect the United States from a nuclear attack. Furthermore, three weeks before, a Soviet fighter jet shot down a commercial aeroplane that flew through Russian airspace from New York, killing all two-hundred-and-sixty-nine passengers, including over sixty Americans. It seemed that the Cold War, could become hot at any moment - and it nearly did, in a Soviet control room that one night suddenly started giving warnings and alerts of a nuclear attack had launched from the United States towards Russia. If the Russians would follow protocol and respond, it would mean an all-out nuclear total war.

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Sources:

Stanislav Petrov, who averted possible nuclear war, dies at 77: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-41314948

Ex-Soviet officer credited with preventing nuclear war dies aged 77:
https://www.independent.ie/world-news/exsoviet-officer-credited-with-preventing-nuclear-war-dies-aged-77-36148032.html

Photos, paintings and imagery: Public Domain, Wikicommons


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