27 Oct: The Man Who Saved The World

Soviet naval officer Vasili Arkhipov lacks the name recognition of Castro, Kruschev and Kennedy – but his actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis probably prevented World War Three from erupting on 27th October, 1962. 

On-board a sweltering Russian submarine, he talked Captain Valentin Savitsky down from firing a nuclear torpedo at the United States Navy, whom – Savitsky falsely believed – were attacking his boat. 

In this episode, Arion, Rebecca and Olly speculate how Arkhipov stopped Savitsky from firing his ‘special weapon’; explain why his heroic story was untold until the ‘90s; and reveal where Jimmy Carter kept his nuclear codes… 

Further Reading

• How Vasili Arkhipov Literally Saved The World From Nuclear War (All That’s Interesting, 2018): https://allthatsinteresting.com/vasili-arkhipov

• ‘9 Times the World Was at the Brink of Nuclear War — and Pulled Back’ (Business Insider, 2018): https://www.businessinsider.com/when-nuclear-war-almost-happened-2018-4?r=US&IR=T#:~:text=The%20Cuban%20Missile%20Crisis%20is%20perhaps%20the%20closest,DEFCON%203%2C%20two%20steps%20away%20from%20nuclear%20war

• ‘Arkhipov family awarded Future of Life award’ (University of Cambridge, 2017):