Series 2012 - The Man Who Stopped WW3: Revealed

The Man Who Stopped WW3: Revealed

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As we approach the fiftieth anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, this film reveals an unnerving and long-hidden side to the events of October 1962.

Today, the public remembers Kennedy and Khrushchev's public battle of wills. However, away from the spotlight of global politics, this programme reveals a shocking drama on board a Russian submarine, which brought the world closer to World War III than anyone had ever thought.

As the world held its breath, four Soviet submarines sailed for Cuba while the might of the US Navy was unleashed to hunt them down. On 27th October, with the crisis at its height, the two made contact. Surrounded by hunter-killer groups depth-charging his submarine to drive it to the surface, Captain Savitsky panicked. Unable to contact Moscow and fearing the war had begun, he ordered the launch of his 'special weapon' – a nuclear torpedo with the same payload as the bomb that devastated Hiroshima.

Along with Savitsky, two other men had to authorise the fire – the political officer Masslenikov and the chief of staff, Arkhipov. With temperatures reaching 120ºF and CO2 levels growing dangerously high, Masslenikov agreed. All they needed to unleash nuclear Armageddon was the say-so of one man.

The story of what happened that fateful day remained hidden for decades, only emerging in Russia in recent years. With brand-new eye witness accounts, the first ever TV interview with Arkhipov's widow and dramatic reconstruction, this documentary reveals the actions of Vasili Arkhipov, the man who saved the world.

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