This Man Saved The World From Nuclear War By His Single Choice! The Story Of A Fatal “Panic Button”

Date October 10, 2018

Some incredible stories become a public domain only after a while. It was impossible to talk about them before due to increased secrecy. One of them happened back in 1983, and only decades later we were allowed to learn about it. The political situation in the world changed, and some of the secrets of the past became no longer classified.

Regardless of how unbelievable it might sound, this story is about preventing a nuclear catastrophe that could have happened during the Cold War between the two countries – the USSR and the USA. The hero of the miracle who turned out to have saved the world is Soviet air defense forces lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov.

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Публикация от Alex Griffel (

On September 26, 1983, he was on duty at the command post of the missile attack warning system, when computers issued an alert indicating that a ballistic missile had been launched from the territory of the United States. The officer on duty had to make the most important decision in his life – to confirm the signal or not. Depending on his choice, the USSR authorities would have to press the “nuclear button” to fire in response. This could have resulted in millions of dead people all around the world. Petrov had only 15 minutes to assess and analyze the situation.

The military realized that everything had to be checked before calling upstairs confirming the real threat to the country. Petrov took his time checking other observation systems and his assumptions were confirmed – the computers just failed. The United States didn’t launch any missiles. The officer reported to his commander, and they told the country’s authorities that it had been a false alarm. The world was saved.

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Публикация от @history_of_russia

As it turned out later, satellites perceived the reflected solar glare for a moving target. Therefore they gave an alarm signal about approaching missiles. Further, according to the plan, retaliatory measures must have been launched in the enemy direction. Even though such decisions are made by computers on the basis of an incredible amount of data, this time the machine just failed, and all responsibility for the world’s fate fell on one person.

This story became public in the 90s when the USSR disappeared as a country. By that time, Stanislav Petrov had already resigned from the army and led his modest, quiet life, not mentioning that episode. He believed that he just competently performed his duties.

In the world there is a different opinion about this, so a military pensioner has repeatedly become the hero of various publications. He received several international awards for saving the world from the nuclear war. There even has been a documentary The Man Who Saved the World of Denmark production. By the way, the actor Kevin Costner, who played the Soviet officer in this film, sent him $500 as a gratitude gift for not having blown half the world up.


Публикация от WowAnneta (@wowanneta)

Stanislav Petrov died in May 2017. The obituaries didn’t even mention about this since his death became public by chance. A German activist and Petrov’s friend called him to find out how he was doing but heard from his son that the dad had passed away.

Here they are, the modest heroes of our world. Are you impressed by the man’s feat? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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