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droid
12-11-2010, 12:35 PM
At dawn on November 11 1983, a combination of NATO stupidity and brinksmanship and (perhaps understandable) Soviet paranoia brought us to a button press away from armageddon. The anniversary was yesterday:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1630001170436508560#

Mr. Tea
12-11-2010, 01:15 PM
Fascinating, thanks for that. I'll have a look over the weekend so I can put the sound on.

I bet that's not the only close call that's happened (apart from Cuba '62, of course) - there could have been loads of other incidents that have just stayed hushed up. I remember reading about one occasion when a Soviet nuclear-armed sub lost contact with Moscow during a particular period of tension with NATO; the policy at the time was that under such circumstances, a pre-emptive strike should be launched if the three ranking officers on board agreed it was in the best strategic interests of the USSR to do so. Two of the sub's senior chaps wanted to launch...but the third guy vetoed it.

droid
12-11-2010, 01:38 PM
Not sure if this is the same incident, but apparently that happened during the Cuban missile crisis. it was only the refusal of a Russian sub commander to launch that stopped nuclear war.

Those bloodthirsty Russians, eh?

Mr. Tea
12-11-2010, 01:46 PM
No shortage of paranoid nutters on either side, I think that's pretty clear.

Were subs armed with ballistic missiles in the '60s? I dunno, you could well be right, I can't remember what stage of the Cold War it (nearly) happened in.

droid
12-11-2010, 01:56 PM
Of course, but it seems like every time I read about this kind of stuff it was Russian restraint (at some level) that stopped us all from being burnt to a cinder, and its fair to say that the soviets put up with a lot of shit that would've had the Americans opening the silos... U2 spy plane activity in the late 50's/early 60's etc... The Americans would've reacted very violently to similar Russian incursions into US airspace.

nomos
12-11-2010, 09:37 PM
thanks for that, droid. i found a downloadable one here if anyone wants it: http://stagevu.com/video/qnjiojostfnl

Sectionfive
12-11-2010, 10:10 PM
Really don't know if I could keep my finger off the button if U2 had spy planes any where near my gaff.

Dr Awesome
13-11-2010, 06:01 AM
Excellent.
Interestingly enough the Russians went to lengths to develop a system called Perimeter which was designed to act as a dead man's switch in the event of a decapitating nuclear strike that took out the Soviet high command.
Apparently (http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/17-10/mf_deadhand?currentPage=all), it's still in use.

alex
13-11-2010, 07:41 PM
watched this earlier, really good doc.

edit thanks for posting

swears
14-11-2010, 06:53 PM
Armageddon 1999:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11753050

He's still a proper knob, tho.

IdleRich
14-11-2010, 09:21 PM
"Interestingly enough the Russians went to lengths to develop a system called Perimeter which was designed to act as a dead man's switch in the event of a decapitating nuclear strike that took out the Soviet high command."
Isn't that the thing they have in Dr Strangelove? Which was supposed to be a reductio ad absurdum that went far beyond the levels of stupidity that humans had actually reached. At that point.

Mr. Tea
14-11-2010, 09:41 PM
Armageddon 1999:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11753050

He's still a proper knob, tho.

Restrospectively covering up the fact that he's a massive puss, if you ask me.

swears
14-11-2010, 11:32 PM
Well, I would have got out of doing my GCSE's anyway.

"This may be the last voice you ever hear..."

"Yay! No school tomorrow!"

Dr Awesome
14-11-2010, 11:55 PM
Isn't that the thing they have in Dr Strangelove? Which was supposed to be a reductio ad absurdum that went far beyond the levels of stupidity that humans had actually reached. At that point.

Actually I just had bit of a read up about it on Wikipedia (the worlds best sauce of state secrets), and it seems that it isn't actually as crazy as it sounds. Rather than being a true doomsday device, it was (is?) controlled by people on the ground - the idea being that when activated during a crisis it gave permission for guys that were tucked away in a bunker somewhere to launch outside of the nominal chain of command if it certain requirements were met.

IdleRich
15-11-2010, 02:18 AM
"Actually I just had bit of a read up about it on Wikipedia (the worlds best sauce of state secrets), and it seems that it isn't actually as crazy as it sounds. Rather than being a true doomsday device, it was (is?) controlled by people on the ground - the idea being that when activated during a crisis it gave permission for guys that were tucked away in a bunker somewhere to launch outside of the nominal chain of command if it certain requirements were met."
Yeah, I read it too. I take your point. Also, in Dr Strangelove the fatal flaw is that they never notify the US which means that it can't work as a deterrent and in fact is useless for anything except blowing up any survivors in the event of nuclear armageddon. I'm guessing that as we know about this thing the US military is probably aware of it too - though it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't....

Dr Awesome
15-11-2010, 08:16 AM
I'm guessing that as we know about this thing the US military is probably aware of it too - though it wouldn't surprise me if they weren't....

Of course they would be.

IdleRich
15-11-2010, 04:28 PM
Yeah, sorry, that was a joke.