Saturday, 7 February 2015

THE ANTIQUARIAN: Vasili Arkhipova, The Man Who Saved the World

During the Cuban Missile Crisis, a fleet of four Russian submarines were armed with nuclear weapons and stationed off the coast of Cuba.  The subs did not need permission from Moscow to launch their "special" weapons―instead three men on site had to agree, including Commander Arkhipova who had veto power.

After being harassed by American destroyers above, thinking war had been declared and low on batteries, the decision was made by two of the three men to launch the nuclear weapons.  It was only Vasili Arkhipova's staunch refusal that saved the world from nuclear annihilation.

Commander Vasili Arkhipova
Arkhipova ordered the subs to surface and surrender to the Americans.  The subs were never boarded but held hostage until the crisis had reached a political conclusion; at this point the Americans released the submarines and they returned to Russia.

Instead of being lauded for his courage and humanitarianism, Moscow berated the Commander for shaming the Russian military by surrendering.

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