Huge Nato war games exercise took world to edge of nuclear war in 1983
Incident 'far more serious' than 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis
A massive Nato war games exercise took the world to the brink of nuclear disaster when the Soviet Union mistakenly believed the drill was a real attack, freshly released classified documents have revealed.
The threat came in 1983 when the British- and American-led exercise, Operation Able Archer, moved 40,000 troops across Western Europe.
The operation was so realistic that in response the Soviet Union deployed nuclear submarines under the Arctic and prepared a dozen aircraft carrying nuclear weapons.
Just how close Nato came to provoking the Soviet Union was only realised by the West when Oleg Gordievsky, a KGB double agent, briefed British officials in London.
The incident was detailed in British Cabinet papers obtained by the Nuclear Information Service through a Freedom of Information request.
The non-profit group, which campaigns against nuclear weapons, has claimed that the newly-disclosed brush with annihilation was a greater threat to the world than the Cuban missile crisis in 1962.
Nuclear Information Service director Peter Burt said: ‘We were one button-push from an irreversible nuclear war. This, in my view, was far more serious than the Cuban missile crisis.’
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 3 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 4 African jawbone discovery pushes birth of humanity back by 400,000 years
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Out-of-touch MPs ‘don’t get it’, says ex-Civil Service chief
George Clooney and Amal fail to get special treatment at New York restaurant
'A girl is more responsible for rape than a boy': The statement that shocked the world... except India
African jawbone discovery pushes birth of humanity back by 400,000 years
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist historic buildi...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small but very busy (and f...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company has become known a...
£35000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrig...