The world teetered on the brink of nuclear Armageddon in 1983, a recently declassified American report has confirmed.
The report - to a Presidential committee - said that the Soviet military was preparing to launch a nuclear strike and that relations were on a ‘hair trigger’.
In 1983, the Soviets became convinced that a NATO nuclear training exercise - Able Archer 83 - was actually a cover for a real nuclear strike against Warsaw pact countries.
Soviet forces began moving nuclear missiles to launch sites in Europe, the new report confirms - and elements within the Soviet military were prepared for war.
It’s thought to be the closest the world came to nuclear armageddon since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, according to the New York Times.
Any conflict between the Soviet Union and the United States would have seen hundreds of millions dead, and much of Europe made uninhabitable by the radiation from hydrogen bombs.
A recently declassified Feb. 15, 1990, analysis by the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, said, ‘In 1983 we may have inadvertently placed our relations with the Soviet Union on a hair trigger.”
The report continued that it ‘strongly suggests to us that Soviet military leaders may have been seriously concerned that the U.S. would use Able Archer 83 as a cover for launching a real attack,’ and that ‘some Soviet forces were preparing to pre-empt or counterattack a NATO strike launched under cover of Able Archer.’