The Man Who Saved the World

Phil and Stephen discuss the signficicance of one man’s action (or rather inaction) 35 years ago. Did Stanislav Petrov save the world

Stanislav Petrov, ‘The Man Who Saved The World,’ Dies At 77

Stanislav Petrov was a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces, and his job was to monitor his country’s satellite system, which was looking for any possible nuclear weapons launches by the United States.

He was on the overnight shift in the early morning hours of Sept. 26, 1983, when the computers sounded an alarm, indicating that the U.S. had launched five nuclear-armed intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“All I had to do was to reach for the phone; to raise the direct line to our top commanders — but I couldn’t move. I felt like I was sitting on a hot frying pan.”

After several nerve-jangling minutes, Petrov didn’t send the computer warning to his superiors. He checked to see if there had been a computer malfunction.

He had guessed correctly.

“Twenty-three minutes later I realized that nothing had happened…”

This may be the closest we ever came to nuclear war.

Maybe even closer than the Cuban Missile crisis?

Should there be a holiday in honor of Petrov?

How many times did this scenario play out — on both sides through the course of the Cold War?

Is this proof that we (humans) are a little smarter than we might suspect when it comes to preserving ourselves at the species level?

WT 475-793

Eternity Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) | Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License | http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0
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