Stanislav Petrov died

Petrov was a Soviet military officer and worked in a nuclear early warning centre and was credited for averting a possible nuclear disaster. In 1983, at the peak of the Cold War he was on duty when the computers wrongly detected incoming missiles from the US. Petrov did not report this to his superiors and possibly prevented a nuclear war.

He received data in the early morning of Sept 26th in 1983 that suggested that several US missiles had been launched. He took the decision that they were a false alarm and reported a system malfunction to the duty officer at army headquarters. If he had been wrong the first nuclear blasts would have happened only minutes later. The next few minutes he passed in anxious expectation.

Then he realized that nothing was going to happen. Later it was discovered that Soviet satellites had mistakenly identified sunlight reflecting on clouds as the engines of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Stanislav Petrov might just have saved the world with his decision. He died in May earlier this year but his death was only now made public.

nuclear early warning centre – das Atomfrühwarnsystem

to credit (ˈkredɪt) – jdm etw zuschreiben, anrechnen

to avert (əˈvɜ:t) – etw verhindern, abwehren

peak (pi:k) – der Gipfel, Höhepunkt

duty (ˈdju:ti) – im Dienst

to detect (dɪˈtekt) – etw entdecken, bemerken

superior (su:ˈpɪəriəʳ) – der/die Vorgesetzte

to prevent (prɪˈvent) – etw verhindern, vorbeugen

to receive (rɪˈsi:v) – etw erhalten, bekommen

to suggest (səˈʤest) – etw andeuten, auf etw hinweisen

several (ˈsevərəl) – einige

malfunction (ˌmælˈfʌŋ(k)ʃən) – die Funktionsstörung, Ausfall

headquarter (hedˈkwɔ:təʳ) – das Hauptquartier

blast (blɑ:st) – die Explosion, Detonation

anxious (ˈæŋ(k)ʃəs) – nervös, beunruhigt, besorgt

to realize (ˈrɪəlaɪz) – etw begreifen, sich bewusst machen

to discover (dɪˈskʌvəʳ) – etw herausfinden, entdecken

cloud (klaʊd) – die Wolke

engine (ˈenʤɪn) – der Motor, das Triebwerk