In the 1980s the Soviet Union (now split into 15 countries) and the USA were embroiled in the cold war and geopolitical tensions all over the world were incredibly high at the time. The threat of nuclear war and the incredible struggle for power among the two superpowers in the world was also a major cause of the cold war between the two nations.
At the time, the West was leading the Capitalist movement and the reconstruction of most of Europe along with Russia.
Nuclear war was also on the doorstep of humanity and the final nail on the coffin was almost hammered in when the Soviet Union’s early-warning system falsely reported the launch of several intercontinental ballistic missiles from the USA on 26 September 1983.
Stanislav Petrov was the only one who realized the false alarm and single-handedly saved the world from full-scale nuclear war.
The 1983 Soviet nuclear false alarm incident caused a lot of turmoil in the world and it came in a time when the relations between the USA and the Soviet Union were incredibly tense. On the contrary, the Soviet Union was a Marxist–Leninist state applying communist views in the world.
Times were very hard at the time and war could break out at any time between the two superpowers. A war between the two meant total war all over the world and many experts believed that they could cause another world war.
Luckily, Soviet Air Defense Forces lieutenant colonel Stanislav Petrov was at hand to avoid the danger and save the world from potential nuclear war.
The 1983 Soviet Nuclear False Alarm Incident And The Subsequent Heroism Of Stanislav Petrov
After the Soviet early missile detection gave a false alarm about the US launched missiles heading towards the Soviet Union the officer on duty at the Serpukhov-15 which was the command center for Soviet early-warning satellites decided not to report the first warning of an intercontinental ballistic missile considering it to be an error in the system.
He then decided all the reports provided by the machine were false alarms as only a small number of missiles were deployed and Petrov believed that if the USA launched a full-scale attack it would have been a massive strike destroying all possible countermeasures the Soviet Union had in one fell swoop.
The Soviet leader had decided that the appropriate reaction to an attack by the United States would be an immediate retaliation with nuclear missiles. They also believed in mutually assured destruction in which both parties involved in a nuclear war would attack each other and cause the complete annihilation of each other.
How Much Did The United States And The Soviet Union Spend On Nuclear Weapons?
The Cold War cost all the parties involved a lot of money. The US alone spent around $5.5 trillion on nuclear weapons manufacturing, research and application from 1940 to 1996. Similarly, the cost of disposing of radioactive waste is a further $320 billion.
Breaking down the cost of the amount spent by the US, they spent $409 billion on developing, testing, and building. Similarly, they also spent $831 billion on communications and command. Then they spent around $937 billion on setting up defenses against nuclear attack.
In addition to this, the Soviet Union also spent a lot on its military. Their spending in 1988 alone was $33 billion.
Interesting Facts About Stanislav Petrov
Stanislav Petrov was born Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov on 7 September 1939 in Vladivostok, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union and passed away on 19 May 2017 in Fryazino, Russian Federation.
Petrov was given $1,000 along with the World Citizen Award by the San Francisco-based Association of World Citizens.
He was not appraised or rewarded by the Soviet military, in fact, he was praised by the General Yury Votintsev but was recalled after he filed in wrong paperwork.