In the 1980s, the Cold War tensions were at their highest point. The existence of the world as we knew it was resting on the shoulders of the military leaders and the world were waiting for the other person blinks first. Things came to a head in 1983, and if not for the first impression of a man alone, I probably would not be sitting here now. According to the Washington Post, where he died on May 19, 2017, only he realized his family. Let us now.
Man Oko monitoring when the alarm was sounded Stanislav Petrov, a lieutenant colonel in the Soviet air defense forces. He was 44 years old, son of a nurse and a fighter pilot of World War II. He was born at the beginning of the war – on September 7, 1939 – went to the Faculty of Engineering Radio-Technical Kiev Mayor of the Soviet Air Force, according to The New York Times, his career moved very quickly once who joined the Effective air defense. He had been with Oko from the beginning, and it was his job to decide what to do with the information the team was giving him.
When alarms started ringing, about 200 people were looking to him for instructions while time stops. The missiles would only be in the air for 25 minutes before they reach their destination, and when it is a matter of life or death, which is not long at all. Sitting at his desk was a direct telephone to the highest of the high command line, and I knew I had to pick up that phone and tell them that a nuclear attack was on the way. “I could not move,” he told the BBC. “I felt like I was sitting in a hot skillet.”
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It is impossible to emphasize how difficult a decision Petrov when faced with warning lights began flashing. On the one hand, he could do what he had been trained to do, pick up the phone, call Soviet high command, and start World War III. (Without exaggerating.) On the other hand, you could ignore the protocol, and if he was wrong, he would be leaving her defenseless country in the face of a nuclear attack.
That’s the very definition of “between the sword and the wall”, without even considering the threat of what would happen to him once the high command learned. This was the Cold War USSR, after all, and this was not training mission.
“I had a strange feeling in my stomach. I did not want to make a mistake. I made the decision, and that was it,” he told The Washington Post. “I refused to be guilty of starting World War III. … If you make the wrong choices, many people will die. A lot of people will die.” Petrov would say that his decision was based largely on one thing does not make sense at the time. According to Oko, there were five missiles on the road. Why US send only five? He decided not to press the big red button.
Obviously, we do not know everything that happened behind the closed doors of the USSR, but we know Petrov some serious interrogation meanwhile faced in choosing not to alert his superiors of the potential danger, decide for himself which was a false alarm. did not have much evidence on their side: only ground radar that had not reported any signs of an attack, and he does not believe the US start a war with only five missiles. But later would the Washington Post after a brief pat on the back, which was on the receiving end of a major investigation.
One of the big questions that was asked was why he had not recorded every event that had happened that night, and his response was one of the record books: “Because I had a phone in one hand and the intercom on the other, and I have no third hand “.
Waiting to hear in a movie, delivered by someone like Colin Farrell. Petrov did not get off easy, however, and although colleagues and superiors pushed the scapegoat for the entire incident, eventually left with only an official reprimand: According to the BBC, was disciplined for mistakes in his logbook.
It took several minutes for him to decide warnings were false, and 23 minutes after taking its decision … nothing happened. The BBC even told years later, Petrov said he believed he was about 50-50 point, he guessed right, and it is impossible to imagine how long these minutes must have seemed. He also said he felt happy it was him in service at the time, because he was the only one there who had had the experience of civil education.
“My colleagues were all professional soldiers, they learned to give and obey orders,” he said. If it had been someone else, military protocol was followed and that Big Red Button was pushed. Instead, he said to ignore it.
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Let’s be honest here. If you saved the world, you want everyone to know about it, right? If you run into out nuclear war, you’d probably go out and buy a horse just so you can ride into the sunset every night because heroes do. Petrov himself as a hero, told the BBC, “It was my job. ”
Whenever Petrov spoke about the decision, he made it clear that there was no confidence getter that you think the movie release. He told RT, “My legs relaxed. I felt I could not even STANDING. It is the nervousness that I was when I took this decision. I admit, I was scared. I knew the level of responsibility in my fingers “. And is not that the real heroism?
Petrov never reached the rank of colonel, and Komsomolka said he left the army was entirely voluntary. He retired to care for his sick wife. They lived in a small apartment and dreamed of being able to afford a double-glazed window that would keep the project from the kitchen. They were supported on his military pension, which was not much – the New York Times said it began, even the potatoes growing so they would have something to eat.
His wife, Raisa, lost his battle against cancer in 1997, and when Petrov died of hypostatic pneumonia May 19, 2017, there were only a few people who noticed. He lived alone at the time, and when the German activist Karl Schumacher called to wish him happy birthday in September, the son Petrov, Dmitri, said he had been buried with a funeral that had only a few members of family present. Schumacher told the Washington Post when he announced the death of Petrov in the world, saying that he regretted that he had not been there himself. He did not say what he wanted to say, “Thank you, Mr. Petrov. ”