OCTOBER 27, 1962

Sometimes, something historic happens and we never hear about it, for whatever political reasons. I had to pass this on because it should be something all of us should know. Well, the young kids of today probably couldn’t give a damn about this either way but for those us who are longer in the tooth, this should be interesting to you.

50 years ago, at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis, second-in-command Vasilli Arkhipov of the Soviet submarine B-59 refused to agree with his Captain’s order to launch nuclear torpedos against US warships and setting off what might well have been a terminal superpower nuclear war.

The US had been dropping depth charges near the submarine in an attempt to force it to surface, unaware it was carrying nuclear arms. The Soviet officers, who had lost radio contact with Moscow, concluded that World War 3
had begun, and two of the officers agreed to ‘blast the warships out of the water’. Arkhipov refused to agree – unanimous consent of 3 officers was required – and thanks to him, we are here to talk about it and we didn’t enter into a nuclear war with Russia.

His story is finally being told – the BBC is airing a documentary on it.

Raise a glass to Vasilli Arkhipov – the Man Who Saved the World.

PS – The PBS documentary, ‘The Man who Saved the World’, is online here:

Watch The Man Who Saved the World: Full Episode on PBS. See more from Secrets of the Dead.

The documentary claims the facts of the matter were only ‘recently’ revealed. This is not quite true; the Boston Globe reported on it 10 years ago in 2002:

The Wikipedia article was created in 2005, citing a 2004 book by Noam Chomsky: