Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov : retired lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defence Forces.
On September 1, 1983, Korean Air Lines passenger jet Flight 007 was shot down over the Sea of Japan by a Soviet fighter jet. All 269 passengers and crew, including a US Congressman, were killed in cold blood. Anti-Soviet sentiment in the United States soared. Tensions rose to heights not seen since the Cuban Missile Crisis. Three weeks later, just after midnight, the Soviets detected a missile heading straight for Moscow. Stanislav Petrov was the duty officer at the nuclear early-warning center that morning.
At first, Petrov could not move, unable to believe what he was seeing. But with the alarm sounding, the red screen in front of him flashed “launch”. A quick check of the “Confidence Interval” showed that this alert had the highest level of reliability. There could be no doubt. The Soviet…
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