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.)