1983: Reagan, Andropov, and a World on the Brink by Taylor Downing
In 1983 cinema audiences flocked to see the latest James Bond movie in which Roger Moore defeats a Soviet general who attempts to launch a nuclear first strike against the West. Like all Bond movies, audiences believed that the storyline was entirely fictional if not totally crazy. Little did they know that while they munched on their popcorn, the Soviets were indeed preparing to launch a real nuclear attack on the West.
1983 was a dangerous year. In the United States, President Reagan increased defence spending and launched the Star Wars Strategic Defence Initiative. When a Soviet plane shot down a Korean civilian jet, he described it as a crime against humanity. Moscow was growing increasingly concerned about Americas language and behaviour. Would they attack? The temperature was rising, fast.
By November, Soviet leader Yuri Andropov, a life-long KGB man, had his finger on the nuclear button. Had the US made a move, it would have meant global nuclear Armageddon.
It was only the following year that the US - which had never considered a first strike - came to learn just how terrified the Soviet Union was, and just how close to the brink the world had come.
In 1983, Taylor Downing draws on previously unpublished interviews, and over a thousand pages of secret documents that have recently been released by Washington to tell the gripping, astonishing story that was almost the end of the world. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction.
The Soviet Side of the 1983 War Scare
Sign in. Breakout star Erin Moriarty of " The Boys " explains how her newfound popularity is fueling Season 2 of the hit series. Watch now. This day is now acknowledged as one of most perilous on the whole of the Cold War. I learned a lot from this movie. I served on a US Navy submarine from to
Context: Soviet Cold War Setbacks. Why an Intelligence Alert?
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The Cuban missile crisis of November is usually cited as the time when apocalypse was nearest. In the end a secret deal and mutual concessions resolved the crisis. Twenty-one years later an equally threatening moment occurred, but it was one that hardly anyone in the west was aware of at the time.
Washington, D. The Andropov speech, Politburo-level warnings about the war risks from NATO exercises in the fall of , and other previously secret Soviet documents and declassified U. As the delegation of U. Hines, Ellis M. Unclassified with portions "retroactively" classified. The Reagan administration knew that there actually was a second plane, an Cobra Ball aircraft, in the vicinity and on a parallel route of KAL that was monitoring a pending SSX missile test.