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Thursday, March 11, 2010

How a Soviet Submarine Commander Spared the World From Nuclear Destruction

Many are familiar with the Cuban Missile Crisis. In October of 1962, the world came close to nuclear war. A standoff occurred between President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev. Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed and the world was spared nuclear disaster.

Little known is a fact that surfaced just a few years ago. In his recent book, COUNSELOR, Kennedy presidential advisor, Ted Sorenson, writes that during the crisis, a Soviet tanker approached Cuba. Beneath the ocean’s waters, a Soviet submarine escorted the vessel.

An American destroyer’s sonar system picked up signals indicating the presence of a submarine. American sailors then dropped grenade size depth charges to signal to the sub to surface and identify itself.

Inside the Russian sub, panic reigned. As one crewmember recalled, they felt like they were “sitting in an empty barrel, while somebody constantly beat it with a stick.” Moscow had given the submarine’s commanding officer the authority to fire a nuclear torpedo at his discretion. The crew made abundantly clear where its sentiments lay; they pleaded with their skipper to fire the nuclear weapon.

Perhaps, sensing the gravity of the situation, the Soviet skipper refused to do so unless he received authorization from Moscow. Communication with the Soviet government failed. Sorenson writes that one man may very well have prevented the world from experiencing a nuclear war, or even global destruction. And, we will never know his name.

Occasionally, I am asked why I believe in God. There are many reasons. One of them is this, with all of the nuclear weapons that have been available to the world the past sixty years, and with as many people as we have seen have access to fire these weapons, with the amount of variables involved in nuclear weapons, I consider it the work of a gracious God that we have not had a nuclear weapon detonated on or inside a country since 1945.

Too many people could have made honest mistakes. Too many computers could have broken down. Too many people have had access to nuclear arsenals through the years, who could have suffered breakdowns leading to catastrophe.

No, there is a God. Nothing happens of which He is unaware. No weapon will be detonated unless He, in His wisdom and in His timing, allows it.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. That is the most ridiculous reason I've ever heard for anyone believing in god. As well, those last three sentences are about the most nonsensical, vacuous, ridiculous things that can be said of the very smart and clear thinking that an Atheist did to save humanity and probably most life on Earth. It's statements like yours that give the power of utterly senseless thinking to religious zealots who DO have the power to make and certainly would have made the mistake that this Russian Atheist did not.