On October 28, 1962, U.S. strategic (i.e., nuclear) forces were at DEFCON 2 due to the Cuban Missile Crisis, including missiles on Okinawa, Japan. That evening, the operators of those missiles received launch instructions. [more inside]
For 13 days in October 1962, the world held its breath while "the leaders of the United States, the Soviet Union, and Cuba gambled with millions of lives to garner advantages for one country over another." One day before President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev reached apparent agreement today on a formula to end the crisis over Cuba, the nuclear doomsday clock was seconds away from midnight. Vasili Arkhipov, the Brigade Chief of Staff on submarine B-59, was one of three people who needed to approve the launching of a nuclear missile. When the USS Beale began to drop depth charges on the B-59 to force it to surface, not realizing B-59 was armed with nuclear-tipped torpedoes. The B-59's Captain Valentin Savitsky and political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov thought this was signalling an all-out attack. Arkhipov disagreed, and in doing so prevented the sub from launching a nuclear missile that could have triggered mutually assured destruction. [more inside]
Based on Robert Kennedy's book Thirteen Days, with a stunning cast and a riveting screenplay, broadcast a scant 12 years after the event... The Missiles of October. [more inside]
Most of us reading on the blue lived through at least a portion of it. Forty-plus years of tension between the world's two superpowers and their allies. That's right: The Cold War. Then, they made a documentary. Aired on CNN in 1998, and never released on DVD, the 24 episode, 20 hour series features tons of archival footage, along with many interviews with individuals directly involved at some of the highest levels. You might not be able to see it on DVD, but you can watch the full series on Youtube, starting with Part 1: Comrades (1917-1945).
Today's post of tenuously related audio brings you ten historic radio broadcasts, 529 eternal questions in popular music, and one mildly amusing black metal band prank call.
Robert McNamara and Fidel Castro met in Cuba last October at a conference on the anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Interesting article about this meeting and the professor who arranged it.