Thursday, August 06, 2015

The man who saved the world, documentary 2014

Last night on TVO (Ontario public TV) we watched a riveting and scary documentary, “The Man who saved the World.”  It was like a reality show with actors doing the flash backs to 1983. If you get a chance, it’s well worth your time.

From Wikipedia summary:  “For a few crucial moments on September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov held the fate of the world in his hands.

When an alarm suddenly went off at Soviet nuclear early warning center Serpukhov-15, Stanislav was responsible for reacting to a report that five American nuclear missiles were heading toward the Soviet Union. Rather than retaliate, Stanislav followed his gut feeling and went against protocol, convincing the armed forces that it was a false alarm. His decision saved the world from a potential devastating nuclear holocaust.

Three decades later, this forgotten hero went on a spectacular journey to the United States, where he was finally acknowledged for his historic deed and found the strength to reconcile with his past. On his journey, he was greeted by Walter Cronkite as "The Man Who Saved the World" and met Kevin Costner, Robert De Niro, Matt Damon, and Ashton Kutcher.

Shot on location in the former Soviet Union and the United States, The Man Who Saved the World shines a light on nuclear disarmament. It shows how precarious our world has become in the nuclear age and how our own belief in humanity and each other is the hope that we must foster in order to survive and thrive.

Stanislav Petrov was born Sept. 9, 1939  in Odessa, Ukraine. With a skyrocketing military career bringing him to almost every corner of the former Soviet Union, Petrov ended up as lieutenant colonel of the Soviet Air Defense Forces at age 43. On Sept. 26, 1983, Petrov was the duty officer at the command center for the Oko nuclear early-warning system when the system reported five nuclear missiles being launched from the United States Petrov judged the report to be a false alarm, and his decision is credited with having prevented an erroneous retaliatory nuclear attack which could have wiped out millions of people, or even the planet.  Sort of scary to watch as we wait to see what will happen when Iran has the bomb in a few months. Will there be anyone with his courage and training and intelligence in Iran, the U.S. or Israel.

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