London: A new documentary has revealed how a Soviet submariner stopped World War III, when relations between Washington and Moscow had collapsed.
For 13 days in October 1962, the world held its breath as the USSR and the USA were on the brink of a nuclear war.
But a new Channel 5 documentary ‘The Man Who Saved The World: Revealed’, has revealed that it was the actions of one man alone, Vasili Arkhipov, a Soviet submariner, which saved the world from destruction.
According to the Sun, one torpedo fired by either side would get a mirror response from the other, which would have triggered ‘a shower of destruction’ that could have wiped out human life.
It was in this atmosphere of suspicion and fear that four submarines secretly sailed from Russia, with only a handful of the submariners on board knowing that their ships carried nuclear weapons.
The Americans desperately started hunting for the Soviet submarines, and it was not long before that they were spotted.
Arkhipov’s sub, B59, was forced to make an emergency dive. The US navy was trying to force the Soviet sub to come to the surface to ‘recharge its batteries’, and decided to ratchet up the pressure, and dropped warning grenades into the sea.
Valentin Savitsky, the captain of B59, was convinced the nuclear war had already started and demanded that the submariners launch their torpedo, and save some of Russia’s pride.
In any normal circumstances, Savitsky’s orders would have been followed, and World War 3 would have been unleashed.
But Arkhipov did not follow Savitsky’s order. As commander of the fleet, Arkhipov had the last veto. And although his men were against him, he insisted that they must not fire, and instead surrender to the Americans. It was a humiliating move, but one that saved the world. The Soviet submariners were forced to return to Russia, where they were given the opposite of a hero’s welcome.
First Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012, 12:53