The Real (Underwater) Cuban Missile Crisis Almost No One Knows About

Sebastien Roblin
Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1174810

Sebastien Roblin

History, Americas

World War III was possible.

The Real (Underwater) Cuban Missile Crisis Almost No One Knows About

Next time you think of the Cuban Missile Crisis, don’t think first of Kennedy brooding over his options in Washington. Think instead of dehydrated, harassed men trapped in a fragile metal box under the surface of the ocean, trying to decide whether or not to go down in a blaze of radioactive glory.

It is commonly accepted that the world has never come closer to nuclear war than during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the United States confronted Soviet Union over its deployment of ballistic nuclear missiles to Cuba. But in popular imagination, the decisions for war would have come from national leaders sitting in the comfort of executive offices in Washington or Moscow.

In fact, that decision was nearly taken out of Khrushchev and Kennedy’s hands by a group of men in the throes of dehydration and CO2 poisoning as they sat in a malfunctioning submarine surrounded by U.S. destroyers, unable to consult with Moscow.

This appeared earlier in 2016.

Two officers gave the order to prepare a nuclear weapon for launch.

Fortunately, they brought their boss with them.

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