Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov Stopped the Cuban Missile Crisis From Starting A War.
In 1962, during the already stressful Cuban Missile Crisis, Arkhipov’s nuclear-armed submarine was discovered by US forces and surrounded by eleven Navy destroyers and an aircraft carrier. American forces started dropping depth charges on the sub in hopes of forcing it to the surface. Because the sub was too deep under water to monitor radio broadcasts, the soldiers inside had no way of knowing whether a war had started.
The sub’s captain, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, believed they were under attack and wanted to launch a nuclear torpedo at
American forces. Fortunately, protocol required three officers on board to agree to the launch and while Captain Savitsky and
political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov were in favor of the launch, Arkhipov was against it. Eventually, Arkhipov persuaded
the others to surface and await orders from Moscow, averting a nuclear war. In 2002, the director of the National Security Archive
thanked Arkhipov publicly by saying “a guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world.”
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