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Vasili Arkhipov

I've always loved history, specifically U.S. history.

The U.S.'s history has unfolded in recent times and something interesting is always happening with the U.S.

Take October 27, 1962, for example.

This day was the peak of the Cuban Missile Crisis between the U.S. and the Soviet Union, who were in an arms race to be the world's dominant force.

A Soviet B-59 submarine was ordered to stop near an American blockade. After being spotted by American forces, the B-59 submerged themselves to conceal their presence but lost all communication in the process.

The U.S. forces tried to get the Soviets to resurface by dropping non-lethal depth charges. What the U.S. didn't know was that the B-59 had nuclear weapons that were ready to be fired under any reasonable circumstance.

The team in the B-59 was panicking.

They had no communication with their command, and the temperatures in the submarine were above 40 degrees celsius. To top it off, the Soviets feared the U.S. depth charges were the first strikes in a nuclear war.

That's when one of the Soviet captains said fuck it:

We're gonna blast them now! We will die, but we will sink them all - we will not become the shame of the fleet.

But in order to attack, he needed the B-59's other two captains to sign off. The 2nd captain said yes, the third said no.

That third captain was a man named Vasili Arkhipov, and he's the most important person in history you don't know.

Keeping a level-head, Vasili calmed down the other two captains and explained that the ship was not in danger, but being told to surface.

The B-59 resurfaced and found no nuclear war taking place. Vasili was right.

He also saved the world from WWIII, a war that probably would have ended humanity.


Note 1: What happened within the B-59 didn't become public knowledge until 2002 (40 years later). It makes you think about how many other stories like this we still haven't heard.

Note 2: If you're interested in U.S. history, I would recommend checking out Oliver Stone's Untold History of the United States. One of my favourite tv series.