The Man Who Saved the World

The Man Who Saved the World Finally Recognized

Stanislav Petrov was a Soviet army officer monitoring the satellite system for signs of a U.S. attack, the year was 1983, and his instructions, if he detected missiles targeting the Soviet Union, were to push the button and launch a counter-offensive.

He didn’t. Minutes later, no missiles came; months later, the frightening data across his monitor was determined to have been a system glitch. Today, the Association of World Citizens is calling him “the forgotten hero of our time,” a title befitting the man whose responsibility had been to start World War III.

Take a minute and read the whole thing; I can’t even fathom the stress this guy was under.

FILED UNDER: National Security, World Politics
Leopold Stotch
About Leopold Stotch
“Dr. Leopold Stotch” was the pseudonym of political science professor then at a major research university inside the beltway. He has a PhD in International Relations. He contributed 165 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and February 2006.


  1. carla says:

    Very cool story. Thanks for posting it.

  2. Herb Ely says:

    There’s be more to the story than this- but I’m not sure what it is. In November of 1983 the US conducted a nuclear exercise Able Archer. (Scary name from a Soviet PThis was part of the story known as the “war scare”. It influenced Reagan and Gorbechev towards negotiating strategic arms reduction. For my version of the story click here . For a CIA write up go here

  3. Herb Ely says:

    The incident followed the KAL 007 shootdown which occurred on 1 Sept 1983. Tensions were already high and were to become higher as the year went on. No one knows how close were were at the time.

  4. N.S. says:

    There’s a tribute Web site with details about the false nuclear attack warning involving Stanislav Petrov:

    Articles, photos, links, an audio/video interview with Stanislav Petrov, etc. — all well worth seeing. (Among other things, see the “Stanislav Petrov – World Hero” article and the “Weekendavisen” article.)