That they contemplated, the world could be savedEveryone who has read about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis, knows how close the world was towards a nuclear war. The deployment of nuclear missiles by USSR in Cuba had almost drawn the United States into a nuclear war. Trigger-happy military generals on both sides were eager to jump into the war. However, John F Kennedy, the US President and Nikita Khrushchev, the Soviet premier held their nerves. They resisted the war cry of their generals and instead contemplated on the consequences of a war, which would have wiped out one-third of the human race. A US aircraft was even shot down and the pilot killed. The President still held his nerves. He negotiated, talked with everyone who mattered to prevent this all-destructive war. His perseverance finally paid off, when the Soviets agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba.
40 years later, the world realized with horror; it was closer to a nuclear war then was previously thought. During the missile crisis, the US Navy had blockaded all routes to Cuba. Any warship trying to slip through was being intercepted. A Soviet nuclear-armed submarine, which was in the area, was also intercepted. The Americans did not know the nuclear status of the submarine. The Soviet submarine commanders assumed war had broken and thus prepared to fire the nuclear torpedo. For firing a nuclear weapon, it required two commanders to give the go ahead. Both commanders gave their okay, but luckily, for the Americans and for the entire world, there was a third commander present in the submarine that day. He was Vasily Arkhipov, senior to the other two commanders. In that crisis moment, he contemplated and thought it unwise to fire a nuclear weapon just on the assumption that the war had begun. He dissuaded the other two and thus a sure nuclear war was averted.
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