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A Soviet flagship nuclear submarine B-59 was moving past a US Navy barricade near the coast of Cuba. On board it held nuclear torpedos, every single one of them held 10 Kilotons of explosive power, enough to destroy anything within a 12 kilometer radius of the explosion, and there were 20 on board. If one of the nuclear torpedoes was ever used to attack an enemy, immediately a nuclear war would begin destroying the whole planet in 2 hours.
To stay undetected by the American radars, for the last 3 days, the submarine had to maintain a very great depth.
Although they had accomplished the task of staying hidden from the Americans, the radio signals were blocked - disabling communications with Moscow. So the three commanders on board had to rely on their own observations to decide whether a war had broken out yet.
The explosion was unexpected. It created a shockwave that shook the soviet sub from aft to stern throwing the men onto the floor.
The noise of the explosion deafened the crew for a few dreadful moments, rolling on the floor and clutching their ears. But otherwise no major damage was done. Captain Savitsky, a 38 year old veteran, at this point had absolutely no doubt that the capitalists had attacked his ship in an act of aggression, symbolising the beginning of the end: the third and the last war in the history of humanity. Although he was not quite certain that the global disaster had begun, he knew for a fact that if he didn't launch the torpedoes, the Soviet Union would be obliterated before their enemy.
What Savitsky didn't realize at the time, was that the bomb dropped on his submarine was a device used by the American Navy to force enemy vehicles to come up to the surface, so that radio communication could be established between the two parties. In the barricade these were dropped regularly to ensure that no one could pass without their knowledge, after all, president Kennedy promised that if the soviets tried to sneak more nuclear missiles to Cuba, military action would be used.
At this point in time, war hadn't begun - but the next decision Savitsky made could easily start it.
"So, are we launching those torpedos?" Savitsky asked the two other commanders, without whose decisions he did not have a right to strike.
Ivan Maslennikov, who for the past 18 years had been brainwashed by soviet propaganda, could not resist saying no. He hated everything about capitalism - the fact that everyone was divided into classes, the fact that the higher class owned most of the property, and the idea that unlike in the Soviet Union, the people were at the mercy of market forces. And most importantly - he hated America for intervening in every single conflict in the world, and killing his father in Vietnam 7 years ago.
He nodded his head in agreement to Savitsky - he wanted revenge.
With two out of the three commanders agreeing to launch the nuclear torpedo, it was up to Vasiliy Arkhipov to determine the fate of humanity, since they hadn't been receiving any radio signals from the USSR, he could never be certain that the war had begun. Unlike the other two men, he believed that the bomb dropped on their submarine was not a real bomb as it hadn't caused any damage to the structure. It was a very tough decision for Arkhipov to make, but in the end he decided that, although what the other two commanders were saying was very logical, he trusted his own observations over the opinions of others. He said "No, we are not launching anything!"
The thunderous expressions on Savitsky's and Maslennikov's faces said everything; they were spitting fury. Arkhipov did not cave in under the weight of their, otherwise, compelling arguments. He stood there, and calmly said once more, "No".
His veto prevented a nuclear war from breaking out and for his service in the military was awarded multiple awards, including the hero of the Soviet Union - the most prestigious medal of all.
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