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8 Potentially World Ending Nuclear Scares

Kenny Cheung . . . Comments

For more than 40 years, the two great superpowers of the world (America and the USSR) and their allies were locked in a nuclear confrontation known as the Cold War. Both sides were on a hair-trigger to launch massive nuclear strikes which would have global consequences, due to MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction). If one side launched its missiles, it would surely be destroyed as well by the retaliatory attack. With so many devastating weapons, and such high tensions, the threat of a nuclear accident, or starting a global war was very real. Even after the collapse of the Soviet Union, nuclear war still remains a risk, as more and more countries (such as India, Pakistan, China, and North Korea) develop the technology, and means, to deliver nuclear weapons. This list looks at a few of the many instances when there was a real danger of either starting a nuclear war, or accidentally detonating a nuclear weapon.


Duluth Air Base Intruder

F-16 At Duluth Air National Guard Base

In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, on October 25th, 1962, a guard at an air base in Duluth, Minnesota, spotted an intruder scaling the perimeter fence. He fired on the intruder, and raised the alarm, which also activated alarms at all bases in the area. However, at Volk Field air base in Wisconsin, the alarm had been wired incorrectly. Instead of sounding a sabotage warning, the alarm ordered F-106A Delta Dart interceptors armed with nuclear missiles to take off. As there are no practice alert drills when DEFCON 3 is in force, the pilots believed a nuclear war with the Soviet Union had begun. As the aircraft were about to take off, a car from the air traffic control tower rushed towards them and signaled the aircraft to stop. The intruder had been identified as a bear.


Thule Air Base Crash

Thule Air Base Aerial View

A B-52 carrying 4 hydrogen bombs was flying over Baffin Bay near Greenland on the 21st January, 1968, as part of a “Hard Head” mission. This is where bombers armed with nuclear weapons loitered outside Soviet airspace, so that they could deliver either a rapid first strike, or an immediate retaliatory attack should war break out. However, on this flight, a fire broke out onboard the aircraft. Six of the crew managed to eject, but the last was killed as he tried to bail out. The plane crashed onto sea ice, causing the high explosive component of the nuclear bombs to explode, sending radioactive material over a wide area. There was no atomic explosion as the bombs had not been armed. A huge cleanup operation was launched, with the base camp situated at the crash site. Eventually, 6700 m3 of contaminated ice and snow were removed and transported to the United States. After obtaining a number of documents under the Freedom of Information Act, the BBC claimed that one of the four nuclear weapons had not been accounted for during the cleanup operation. However, the Danish Institute for International Studies launched their own study in 2009, which refuted the BBC’s claims.


RAF Lakenhealth B-47 Crash

Screen Shot 2010-11-28 At 10.59.52 Am

On July 7th, 1956, after a routine training mission, a B-47 Stratojet bomber of the 307th Bombardment Wing attempted to land at the USAF airfield at RAF Lakenhealth, Suffolk, England. However, the plane careered out of control as it came in to land, and crashed into a nuclear weapons storage bunker (also called an igloo). The aircraft then caught fire, killing the four-man crew and covering the bunker in burning fuel. Inside the igloo were three Mk6 airdropped atomic bombs. To quote a communiqué from General James Walsh to the Strategic Air Command: “The B-47 tore apart the igloo and knocked about 3 mark sixes…preliminary exam by bomb disposal officer says a miracle that one mark six with exposed detonators sheared didn’t go…” If the fire had not been extinguished so quickly, it is likely that the high explosive part of the bomb would have detonated from the flames – the resulting explosion would have spread radioactive material over a part of eastern England.
The rest of the message can be seen here:


Training Tape Incident


At 8:50am, on the morning on November 9th, 1979, a warning appeared on the computers of four American command centers (including at the Pentagon and at the Strategic Air Command’s bunker deep beneath Cheyenne Mountain) that a massive Soviet ICBM strike was en route to the United States. Minuteman nuclear missiles were readied to launch a retaliatory attack, and the National Emergency Airborne Command Post (a 747 modified to resist the effects of EMPs and radiation) took off, although the president was not on board. Senior officers quickly convened a threat assessment conference. However, after six tense minutes, early warning satellites and radar showed that no Russian missiles had been launched. It was later discovered that a training tape depicting a massive Soviet attack had accidentally been loaded into the early warning computers, and had generated the false alarm. After an investigation of the incident, a new off-site facility was created on which to run training tapes.


Norwegian rocket incident


On January 25th, 1995, a team of scientists launched a Black Brandt XII research rocket from Norway. Russian radar stations quickly picked up the launch, and it was believed that this was the launch of a Trident missile from a submarine positioned off the North Cape. It was believed that the EMP (electromagnetic pulse) from the explosion of the missile’s eight warheads in the atmosphere were designed to knock out Moscow’s command and control system, as a prelude to a full-scale nuclear attack. An alert was immediately sent to the Russian high command, and the Russian President, Defense Minister and Chief of the Armed Forces held a tense video-conference. One can only imagine the tone and content of this conversation. After eight minutes, the Russian computers calculated that the missile would actually splash down in the Norwegian Sea. It was not aimed at Russia. Russian nuclear doctrine stated that there should only be 10 minutes before detecting a launch to deciding on a course of action. Therefore, President Yeltsin had perhaps only 2 minutes before he would have had to choose: launch his own missiles and start a global war, or risk complete destruction.


U-2 Confrontation

Screen Shot 2010-11-28 At 11.02.02 Am

Another event during the Cuban Missile Crisis which almost led to war was when a U-2 reconnaissance flight accidentally strayed into Russian airspace on October 27th, 1962. The U-2, flown by Captain Charles Maultsby, was on a flight from Alaska and flying over the North Pole, when the bright aurora borealis (or northern lights) prevented him from taking accurate readings with his sextant. He accidentally flew into Soviet airspace, and MiG fighters were scrambled to intercept and shoot him down. In response, two F-102 Delta Daggers took off from Alaska to protect the U-2 and guide it home. The F-102s were armed with Genie nuclear-tipped air-to-air rockets, with a yield of 1.5kt (a blast equivalent to 1500 tonnes of TNT), and the decision was left up to the pilots to decide if they should be fired. After a tense confrontation, the MiGs departed and the U-2 landed safely back at base.


The man who saved the world


Just after midnight, on September 26th, 1983, Lieutenant Colonel Stanislav Petrov was on duty at the Serpukhov 15 bunker, at Gantsevichi, Belarus. Suddenly, the bunker’s computers alerted him that one of the Oko warning satellites in orbit around the Earth had detected the launch of 5 Minuteman II ICBMs from their hardened silos in mid-West America. A nuclear exchange which would threaten the entire world, it seemed, was imminent. However, Petrov disobeyed Soviet procedure and refused to pass the warning higher up the chain of command. The reliability of the computer system had been called into question in the past, and Petrov reasoned that if America did launch an attack, it would involve thousands of missiles, not five. Afterwards, he said “When people start a war, they don’t start it with only five missiles. You can do little damage with five missiles.” It later turned out that the satellite’s infra-red sensors had mistaken the light and heat of the sun for the hot exhaust gases from a missile launch. In 2006, he travelled to America where he was honored by a United Nations meeting in New York City, and he was presented an award by the Association of World Citizens.


Cuban Missile Crisis Confrontation


On the morning of October 14th, 1962, an American U-2 plane from the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing flew over the Communist island of Cuba, and discovered launching sites for a number of SS-4 medium range missiles, sparking the Cuban Missile Crisis. The United States wasn’t best pleased by the building of missile launchers right under their noses and considered a number of options for dealing with the threat, from doing nothing, to launching airstrikes to destroy the missiles, to a full scale military invasion. Eventually, it was decided to blockade the island to prevent any more missiles being delivered to Cuba. Tensions mounted, as the Soviets viewed this as an act of aggression. For the first and only time in history, the American Strategic Air Command was raised to DEFCON 2 – the second highest readiness level. During the blockade, on October 27th, an American destroyer detected the Soviet submarine B-59. Practice depth charges were dropped near the submarine in order to force it to surface. The captain of the submarine ordered the submarine’s nuclear tipped torpedoes to be readied for firing in retaliation. However, to be allowed to fire, the ship’s captain, political officer and second in command all had to agree on this. Only the second in command, Vasili Arkhipov, was against the launch, but that was enough. He vetoed the launch and managed to persuade the captain to surface the submarine and await orders from Moscow, therefore averting nuclear war.

  • rain

    God why did they invent these weapons? If a nuclear war breaks out the safest place will be Mars.

    • murpheyslawyer

      Because America is awesome!!!! That's why!!!!

      • rain

        No America is a threat to every person in the world.

        Look at the list. America is PARANOID.

        • rosihan

          Without the nuclear bomb, many wars would have started.

        • murpheyslawyer

          If America is paranoid then all nations should be paranoid. You don't get this powerful without making enemies. Look at corporations.

        • jason

          but russia's not?

    • Aviator Zero

      a little thing called ending WWII. sound familiar? Japan would never have unconditionally surrendered without it. and the 34 people who agree with you are just as poorly educated as you are

      • david

        that is complete bullshit. Japan was ready to surrender due to the huge losses they suffered at the hands of the Soviets and the US. But Truman wanted to leave a legacy, rather than being in the shadow of FDR, and also wanted to have more bargaining power after the war. That was why he authorised the bombing

        • George

          japans emperor wanted to surrender. the military itself didnt. the emperor wanted to surrender months before the atomic bombs were dropped but the heads of the military vetoed it and said they would fight till the last man, woman, and child was dead before they ever surrendered.

  • cqsteve

    Thank God, Allah, Buddah or whatever deity you might acknowledge for the personal strength and character of people like Lieutenant Colonel Petrov (#2 on this sobering list). And damn that bear at Duluth!

    • soph123

      The interesting line breaks and lack of punctuation make that read like poetry. Well done!

      • gaby

        damn that stupid at at Duluth who could not tell a bear from a person
        such animal

        • Dopamine Addicted

          the fence was far away

    • Magnumto

      …and thanks to the Almighty for Vasili Arkhipov in #1. It' s good to know there are still people out there who have their heads on straight.

    • dhaanujay

      Now we know why Colbert fears bears!!

      • cqsteve


    • krypto092108

      Yeah, that bear could have been a russian KGB field operative on a reconaissance mission against the USAF! <lolz!>

    • Jack H

      What if was a Russian bear? It might've been a spy…

      • Dopamine Addicted

        lol good one

  • jonoob

    It sure is scary that in some cases there was only one person's judgement call standing in the way of a potential war.

  • Amy

    It's going to happen someday! North Korea's leader is nuts.

    • North Korea doesn’t have the balls to do it. They have maybe 4 or 5 missiles and they can reach the coast of california at best. So if they did start a nuclear war it would basically be suicide.. The USA would bomb the hell out of them and there would be nothing left of that tiny little country.

  • Amy

    if by peace you mean communism, totalitarianism, and a constant threat of nuclear war then yes…very peaceful.

    • mahala

      how do you think the WW2 ended?

      • soph123

        Isn't replying to yourself when no one else has said anything rather like talking to your self?

      • Amy

        hahah, by America being the alpha dogs. Hiroshima…..and by Germany surrendering to us.

        • electricauntjemima7

          I think Kim Jong-Il reads Listverse and it's hyper-intuitive comments like this that force him to continually enforce the Juche policy in order to keep his citizenry from being subjected to this kind of immensely nuanced conversation.

          Clearly, the DPRK isn't going to need nuclear weapons to defeat the west, as the job appears to be mostly done already.

        • Really…well thats the only way america can win a war is by nuclear weapons.When they rely on soldiers to do the fighting like the british do they lose or just cant win for example vietnam,afganistan,iraq.

          • electricauntjemima7

            I think the implication here is that America "won" World War Two with atomic bombs. If it is, you're ignoring the fact that the dropping of nuclear bombs on Japan was only made possible by an immense amount of conventional warfare across Japan's pacific empire by Allied ground forces and navies. In the days before ICBM's, even the availability of air bases to stage bombers capable of reaching the Japanese home islands was only possible by physically capturing islands near Japan itself.

            Additionally, while nuclear weapons were undoubtedly a factor in the eventual Japanese surrender, so was the complete rout of the Kwangtung Army by the Soviet Red Army, less than a fortnight before Japanese capitulation.

            That said, are you suggesting that America should simply use nuclear weapons against the various insurgencies that have dealt it blows over the years? I.e. the Viet Cong or Taliban? Eeven small tactical nuclear weapons used in a regional war against ground forces could easily ignite the dreaded "doomsday" exchange of ICBM's elsewhere against civilian targets. Besides, the United States dropped a massive amount of explosive ordinance all over Vietnam, and that did not prevent communist victory, how would the use of nuclear weapons have made any difference?

            And lastly, I'm confident that neither the U.S. nor the U.K. is the originator of the idea of relying on "soldiers to do the fighting", which seems to be one of the older ideas humankind has alighted upon. Not to mention that Britain handily defeated Argentina in the Falkland Wars, shockingly without the aid of nuclear weapons….

          • David

            The reason why we defeated the Argentinians was because useless Conscripts who had hardly any combat experience were sent there. And that`s the reason we won the Falklands War. And more British and Argentinian Soldiers have killed themselves than died in the actual war. And some still have PTSD. And neither Government, British or Argentinian gives a toss.

          • Bob Loblaw

            What about every war before WWII?

            Vietnam, Iraq, etc. all heavily resemble the American civil war. You can't fight a war on ideas. You can't win a war of hearts and minds. They will wage guerrilla warfare until you leave.

          • Bob Loblaw

            I meant the American Revolution, but the civil war was also similar but not to the same degree.

          • Dono

            you speak as if WW2 was americas war… talk about arrogance…

        • mahala

          Yes, yes… and what happened in hiroshima? Go on, you can do it…

        • Chineapplepunk

          The red army (RUSSIA) invadeded Berlin, raped millions of women and outnumbered just about everyone on the planet… Not much of a choice there!!
          Weren't America in Japan or somewhere..?

        • chill guy

          Wow you really don't know your WW2 history… It was the Russians who won WW2. D-Day the U.S fought 15 German divisions while in the Eastern front the Russians faced 250 divisions. 15 vs. 250 who wasn't pulling their weight?

      • rain

        WW2 ended when the Japanese and Nazis surrendered. . .

        • mahala

          What scared the poopies out of the Nazis and Japanese to surrender?

          • bhatooth

            russia scared the poopies out of germany and japan already knew they lost

          • Oh no, they didn't! Japan was quite confident, up until the dropping of the second nuclear bomb on Nagasaki. In fact, the United States offered the Japanese a chance to surrender after we nuked Hiroshima, but the Japanese military officials refused. Even after America nuked Nagasaki, the Japanese military officials still didn't want to surrender. It was Hirohito, the Emperor of Japan at the time, who forced the Japanese generals to sign the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri.

          • electricauntjemima7

            Unfortunately vhatooth and vonhohenzellern are both right… kind of. Japanese CIVILIAN leadership was aware they couldn't sustain the kind of war they were forced to fight in the pacific as soon as they started taking major losses. However, MILITARY leadership refused to give up, and it was a combination of America's nuclear weapons, AND (as I already posted earlier) the complete obliteration of the Kwangtung Army by the Soviets that finally forced the military to acknowledge they couldn't defend the home islands against the United States AND the Red Army… Japanese leadership acknowledged the antagonistic historical precedent between Japan and Russia (Soviet Union at that time) and believed they would get better terms of surrender from the U.S. than the U.S.S.R.

          • rain

            Chuck Norris scared them to death.

  • Amy

    say hello to another arms race mahala….mahalo very much

    • Amy


    • mahala

      Happy Trolls are still Trolls! Hi-YO!

  • kubrick

    wait does this count as trolling?

    • Tron

      No problem if you don't post hogwash every 20 seconds. Carry on with the poems.

  • kubrick

    yeah he's definitely suicidal
    if he wasn't
    why would he have that hair
    and i think
    he did the ol' in out in out
    with his daughter
    like witty allen
    i don't blame the woodster
    his daughter was smokin
    can't say the same
    for kim jon

    • soph123

      Another poem. You should publish a book.

  • kubrick

    is god

  • Megan

    What a fitting list for the current, international political climate.

  • flgh

    Seriously jrafter why haven't you banned kubrick's ip from

    • timothyjames

      My guess would be that Kubrick doesn't use a single computer. Also, if he is using a public computer, then no one else who used it would be able to get to Listverse. This is all assuming that Jamie has the capabilities to ban specific ips.

      • nipper

        some people, truly do not have a life

      • mom424

        dynamic ips eh? mine changes whenever I reboot the router. Besides I quite like the poet incarnation.

        • kubrick

          as i lay on the desert sand
          feeling away time
          i watch the water wash over cocooned whales
          fighting for treasured moments
          lapsed away by the endless sea
          dying, as we do
          in the end of time

          • bluesman87

            as i read your poem
            i want to write one back
            then im like…
            and i do something else

  • Jacob

    If this sort of stuff interests people, check out the Wikipedia page for "Mutually Assured Destruction." It's pretty frightening.

    • Geronimo1618

      Uh..M.A.D. has been mentioned in the intro bro.

  • Magnumto

    I wonder how many unreported close calls some of the more restrictive countries have had – like China and the former U.S.S.R.

  • westside

    damn! that shit was gangsta

  • 12fajada

    I really have to finish up my nuclear shelter.

  • Linus Carl Pauling won the Nobel Prize in 1962 for campaigning against nuclear weapons testing. With all due respect to him for it, it should have been given to Vasili Arkhipov instead.

    • cqsteve

      Good point, however as previous lists mention – the winner of the Nobel Prize is not usually the most deserving. Was Arkhipov even nominated?

      • Perhaps on the robbed of the Nobel Prize list, Arkhipov could be an additional mention.

    • mom424

      I'm curious if anybody even knew about it at the time. Be surprised if they did.

  • Geronimo1618

    God knows what devious plan is being hatched in different countries…but Wikileaks can help us there yo.

  • chrom3d

    I believe James Bond has something to do with all the incident in this list and that this all has something to do with a larger conspiracy in the most twisted and most diabolical way to start the end of the world..

  • What about that sub that crashed in 'the abyss'? Oh wait that was a movie…crap…

  • rain

    One major bomb will be when all people in the world farted and I lit up a match.

  • Julius

    The original br0ck is pathetic enough as it is. Faking him is just kinda sad.

    • brock

      i am real brock i am back to my roots where it all started

      • Julius
        That's the real br0ck…..

        • brock

          i logged out idiot what do you think i mean with i am back to my roots IDIOT

          • mom424

            why would you bother? log-in so we can give you some love.

          • You don't really have any room to call someone an idiot, brock…

  • Emperor

    i know theres a good in soviet russia joke somewhere in this list.

    • John

      In Soviet Russia, destruction mutually assures you!

      • Emperor

        better then nothing.

    • hunter

      In Soviet Russia, comment posts you

  • Harsha

    The world is a little too trigger happy for my taste!

  • Will Trame

    With the birth of the atomic age a very dangerous Pandora’s box was opened. A fitting and informative list.

    • Emperor

      at least theres nuclear energy.

  • Ostenswe

    Really great list! I didn't know about most of theese, actually really scary. (Not me not knowing :p)

  • hybrid

    To all the people who think there shouldn't be weapons like these….

    Nuclear weapons are supposed to deter other nuclear weapons or any other signs of aggression. And by that there is peace through the constant danger and threat of annihilation by other countries nuclear weapon.

    • mom424

      MAD is crap and you must know it. Take a look at all these near-misses and extrapolate – how many incidences were kept all nice and quiet-like? It's just good luck that we've not had worse yet.

      • ObiWan

        In my experience there's no such thing as luck.

        • Han

          Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.

          • Luke

            You don't believe in the Force, do you?

          • Han

            Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other. I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen anything to make me believe there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. There's no mystical energy field that controls my destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.

          • ObiWan

            [gets up and takes a blast helmet] I suggest you try it again, Luke. This time, let go your conscious self and act on instinct. [puts the helmet on Luke, which covers his eyes]

          • Luke

            But with the blast shield down, I can't even see! How am I supposed to fight?

          • ObiWan

            Your eyes can deceive you. Don't trust them. [Watches Luke succeed in blocking the lasers]

          • Han

            I call it luck.

          • ObiWan

            In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.

  • Arsnl

    To bad you didnt include Able Archer 83. But the list was pretty solid. Great read, entertaining. You're at the edge of your seat wondering, did they push the button?

  • Chineapplepunk

    I've played the Fallout games and have seen all the Mad Max films… I am your only hoooooope!! :P

  • Armadillotron

    This sounds crazy, but I think EVERY country should have the Bomb. Because if you do, you won`t get invaded. Note how Iraq was invaded, because they didn`t have the Bomb, and that North Korea is never threatened because they have nukes? If North Korea had had nukes during the Korean War, they wouldn`t have done what was done to them. Same with Vietnam. If they`d had it they wouldn`t have have had everything from cluster bombs to Agent Orange dropped on them. Nukes had helped keep the peace. And isn`t it a bit hypocritical saying to North Korea you can`t have it when WE have it?

    • Julius

      Oh yeah, it totally is a great idea to give atomic bombs to countries without democracy where every nutjob with fancy sunglasses can become president for life.
      As of yet it is unclear whether or not NK possess fully functioning atomic bombs. North Korea only dropped out of the NPT in 2003, before that they definitely did not possess nuclear weapons, the only reason the North-South stalemate has existed for this long is because of the fact that China took NK under it's wing somewhat. And you don't want to fuck with China.

      • Armadillotron

        Yeah well, if you have nukes, you won`t get invaded will you? Look what happened to poor Iraq! and Look at Afghanistan! And me, personally, I wish THIS vountry was like North Korea. And yeah, say I`m crazy. But think of it. North Korea is a totally 100% Korean country with no immigrants, and not a multicultural, political correct dump. If we were like North Korea we wouldn`t be the God-awful place we are now.

        • Kiwi

          So, you'd rather be starving, earning 700 dollars a day, and be mostly incapable of any kind of travel? I'm not saying U.S is great, but come on, it's better than North Korea. By the way, the whole politically correct thing…you do know that if you speak out against the leader in some of these places they arrest you, right. That seems pretty PC.
          I'd also just like to point out that I don't really think that peace based on fear is much good. Peace based on mutual gain is much more stable.

          • hunter

            How can you be starving if you'd be earning $700 a day?

        • You're crazy. What do you mean by poor Iraq? Do you sympathize with Saddam Hussein? The man lived in a palace with a golden toilet while his people starved on the streets. Iraq is much better off without him and is much better off with a democracy.
          North Korea is a doomed country. Not only will America and South Korea soon take military action against them, but they are running a budget deficit and have a huge energy problem. Not to mention the lack of food.

          • undaunted warrior 1

            Well expressed comment – with you 100 %

          • Armadillotron

            We must have heard this a million times.. "Iraq was worse under Saddam." When he ruled Iraq, did you have al Qaeda there, islamic fanatics, suicide bombers, Churches being stormed and Christians being butchered and so on? Course you didn`t. And democracy? Democracy doesn`t work in all countries. Just look at us and America. And you suggesting we start a war with North Korea?

          • blutopia

            The Iraq war was a mistake in so many ways. Now with Iraq invaded ,Iran has become much more powerful and dangerous. It has unfortunately led to the inevitable future U.S. war with Iran. Which if Iran has nuclear capabilities will be horrendous.

          • We are going to start a war with North Korea. Have you not been following the news? Kim Jong-il just shelled a South Korean island, killing two civilians and two marines. War is inevitable. As soon as South Korean soldiers cross the border, American missiles will be fired.
            Democracy works. It's proven. Everyone gets a voice. Saddam Hussein persecuted Shi'ite Muslims and killed hundreds, if not thousands, of his own people.
            Of course you didn't see Christians being butchered in Iraq under his reign because anybody with half a brain knew not to step foot in Iraq! The most decent thing Saddam ever did was write sappy romance novels.

          • blutopia

            Thousands of Christians were butchered in the Iraq war including American and coalition soldiers. Saddam was obviously a tyrant but there are many other worse ones. Iran and Iraq kept each other in check.

          • Armadillotron

            "Democracy works.." Yeah right. Just look at the dump we becoming now with The Brokeback Coalition in power. Lying scum, with bloody students rioting, a total jackass in power, who says we were "junior partner," in World War II, says Iran has a nuclear bomb, says the country is skint, yet we able to bail out the bloody Irish and APOLOGISED for Bloody Sunday. And his Puppet is a joke. And war with North Korea? So, we`ve already had one with Iraq, STILL fighting in Afghanistan. And we want to start another adventure by invading North Korea? I sure don`t. Maybe it`s me, but don`t North Korea and it`s Dr Evil-esque leader have nukes? And he isn`t afraid to use them!

          • blutopia

            "And they call it democracy" Bruce Cockburn

          • I'm afraid you don't have a choice. If the government wants to go to war with North Korea, then they'll go to war with North Korea. And you'll stay at war with North Korea until North Korea is destroyed or the government is replaced with a new one in an election.
            If Kim Jong-il has nukes, he doesn't have a lot of them. The United States could easily capture their silos or where ever they keep them. We could even blast them to smithereens (although I wouldn't be in favor of that)!

          • bluesman87

            there will be no war against North Korea until they directly attack japan ,USA or another big shot in the area . China is on NKoreas side and if a war breaks out with china and USA it will make WWI and WWII look like teenage girls pillow fight. It will be so catastrophic and the US is wisely being very cautious .

          • ulmflb

            "easily capture their silos"…
            Are you aware that Chuck Norris is not a member of the US armed forces?

          • hunter

            "easily capture their silos"

            Who says Americans are arrogant?

          • Anonymous72

            The more countries that have nuclear capabilities the more likely they will be used. Iraq was a case of intervening early on. Ever heard of Neville Chamberlin? He sure thought he did his job right. The world took note when Europe was in ashes. Afghanistan on the other hand is more a case of a people and government responding to a crisis like 9/11 by throwing the military at it, without realizing the complexity of the enemy that was responsible. Another Vietnam? Probably. But that's beside the point. Just because mutually assured destruction wards of conventional invasions between countries does NOT cover the possibility of use of nuclear weapons by terrorists. Unstable countries gaining such arms is just opening up more possibilities for terrorists of all origins and goals. Such threats are not phased by "MAD."

  • oouchan

    Some things were better left on the drawing board. This weapon is one of them. I guess mankind needed a better way of killing themselves off.
    Creepy list.

  • Powerful Entity

    More than half of them involve America, and they are worried that India, Pakistan, Iran are making their own weapons!

    • mom424

      We're worried that they even think they need them. You think the it should be easier for the Indians and Pakistanis to kill each other off? Be a good idea for any theocracy, let alone a kill the infidels Muslim theocracy like Iran's, to have the necessary tools to accomplish just that?

  • mom424

    Great list this morning. Makes me not only happy but somewhat amazed to be alive. It certainly seems to be mostly good fortune; good fortune mixed with some truly awesome decision making. I wonder just how many Arkhipovs and Petrovs there are out there. These are just the incidences we know about – I just bet that there are tons more. Not like the Soviets or Chinese are going to be advertising their mistakes. Crap our own governments as well.

    Probably even scarier than the countries we know are trying to manufacture nukes – Iran, North Korea, etc – are the ones lying around the former soviet union waiting on some yahoo. Doesn't even have to be an intact bomb, just some radioactive components would be good enough for a dirty bomb. Scary shit.

    Cool little tid-bit – my Daddy, an IS tech in the Canadian Air Force was part of the initial exercises at Thule and provided tech support for the clean-up.

  • runswar

    if a nuke war breaks. All we can do is wait and pray for the best.

  • jjddj

    War games

  • Kim Jung Il

    Oh hey guys! What's goin' on?

    • Kim Jong-un

      Hey Dad!

  • timmy the dying boy

    Good list, lots of incidents I didn't know about, but some of them are hardly "world ending." And that first pic is an F-16, here's what it should be:

    • I think its meant to be a picture of Duluth Air Base…

  • Bryan J

    These were more like historical nuclear scares. Today, we can find danger in different areas. It is interesting that this list is posted on a day when the US and South Korea are performing military drills in the Yellow Sea to show North Korea that they can't start another Korean War. Having a US nuclear destroyer in that area of the Yellow Sea can't make China happy, who has been a historical ally of North Korea. If anyone is educated on the situation. Do you know if Russia is neutral at this point or still favoring the North as they did in the Korean War? Tensions are high in this area of the world and this is how some major wars have begun in the past. Nuclear weapons have changed the landscape of war. In the recent past, North Korea was not engaged in war with South Korea and some would say that this is because of the US nuclear weapons and military. If North Korea has gained nuclear technology it could cause major problems for the entire world. Well, I guess only if they are mad and wanting to expand and start war?

  • Marcus

    It's LakenHEATH, not "Lakenhealth". I know, as I live not far from there.

  • bucketheadrocks

    So, Yogi was plotting to destroy America after all.

  • gigo70

    Scary stuff indeed.

    Norwegian rocket incident: considering Yeltsin was probably drunk as a lord at the time – this is even more frightening.

  • Qwerty

    Mr. Clever, at it again…

    • Maggot

      Yeah? What are you going to do about it? I mean, besides following me from list to list like a lost puppy. Your continued infatuation with me is amusing.

  • freddieb

    Sure the Americans were upset about nuclear weapons in Cuba, but what about the weapons they had on the West German border and other neighboring countries?

    • Steve

      Totally agree! How come it`s not mentioned about how America had put missiles in Turkey and that the Soviets were just doing the same thing? And today America are playing "war-games," with South Korea, because Kim Jong Il is at it again. How would they like it, if the President of Mexico said Kim Jong Il could play war-games there, or put nuclear missiles there? They wouldn`t like it would they?

  • FrozenMer

    Of course it would be a bear in my little tundra town.

  • Bob

    Apparently every other year a nuke or more almost goes off eh?

  • BRIK

    And this is why I'm glad I live in Australia.
    Although these days the nukes can fly anywhere, and we have non to fire back.

  • Lautrer

    The showdown of american and soviet tanks at Checkpoint Charlie in 1961 was also very dangerous.

  • mackayles

    Peace by force is a stupid idea. The only thing that keeps peace is international commerce, look at France and England.

    Having a view you believe in and saying it's the truth doesn't make it so.

    • Sardondi

      You can't seriously think commerce kept England and France out of war: it certainly didn't from the 14th to the 20th century. And the only thing that gave England and France peace since 1945 was US nukes and NATO's willingness to spend its treasure protecting Western Europe from the Soviet threat. How incredibly naive can you be.

      • mackayles

        We bombed Japan not Germany in WW2, so I don't see how nukes brought them peace. Unless you want to bring up hypothetical scenarios involving alternate history.

        Are you saying England and France started getting along better out of fear of nukes? They're part of NATO, so of course they were willing to protect themselves. Now the Soviet threat is over. And hey, look at that, we're getting along better because we're trading goods.

        I also don't recall learning about any major conflicts BETWEEN France and England in the 20th century.

  • Chris

    You are a loser with WAY too much time on your hands

  • bluesman87

    no.2 is perimeter , it arms itself automatically to enforce MAD if it detects a nuclear launch all that guy had to do was push a button and we'd all be polony jam. The scary thing is it is still in operation i think .

  • Nobody

    It's not a matter of if we're ever going to use these weapons, but when. We've been lucky that a nuclear war hasn't started but sooner or later that luck is going to run out, especially with more countries joining the 'Nuclear Club'

  • Civilization was almost wiped out 8 times, 3 of them would be completely accidental and 4 were only misunderstandings. That makes me glad the U.S.S.R. fell, but the still the USA have enough Nukes to scorch the face of earth 10 times over, and then there is those madmen at the “Democratic People's Republic of Korea”.

  • whitedragon777

    Sometimes knowledge is better left in one's head . . . unfortunately even if your wise enough to realize that, there's going to be someone with the same knowledge dumb enough and arrogant enough not to care . . . it's a lose lose situation (sorry for the language . . . didn't make the video, but hey, it's funny)

  • Tony reali

    Stanislav petrov might be the greatest human in history. There should be statues erected throughout the world to honor his courage and common sense. Imagine if a less intelligent person had been at that post that day…… We might not be reading about this right now. So thank god for stanislav petrov.

  • skeezyplanet

    On #2, There was a movie called "the red button" I think, documentary rather. I thought it sucked because for disobeying orders, his pension was slashed. When the world found out, that award came with money, which he used to buy a vacuum cleaner he always wanted… It didnt work, and there was no return policy in Russia

  • Sardondi

    You are absolutely correct. Unfortunately, most of the commenters here live in the world of lovely unicorns and happy elves, which leads them to make inane and self-serving statements designed to make it appear as if their gargantuan humanity-loving hearts are anguished at the thought of bees stings and splinters and other bad ouchies. But they never think through and look at what the alternatives were, or what the result of their heartfelt wishes would have been. All they can come up with is "O why, o why did those mean men ever make such a horrible, cruel not very nice weapon! " It makes htem seem like such morally superior people. But they're just silly asses.

    The plain truth is that nukes kept a couple of hundred million Western Europeans from joining the hundred million or so Eastern Europeans in Soviet slavery immediately after WWII. Nukes prevented Japan from annihilating itself and all its people in an insane sacrifice as the war in the Pacific drew to a close, as well as saved the lives of hundreds of thousands of American fighting men, not to speak of enabling the lives of millions of their children and grandchildren, which would not have been in exisrence if nukes had not convinced Japan to end the war it started. And nukes prevented WWIII, which would have occurred unless the USSR had been convinced it could not have survived the war of conquest it so dearly wanted.

    Thank God for nukes. They have protected the West from a ravenous Soviet bear, and gave us 70 years without an all-out war between major powers which would have killed countless millions and might have destroyed the cultural heritage of the ages .

  • Shit, this made me laugh:
    The intruder had been identified as a bear.

  • ivan

    north korea bonus

  • natalie.

    Wow. I usually don't very much like the history lists, so I expected to just skim this and then move on. But I found this one very interesting. Thank you, Kenny!

  • anon

    Just live one day at a time people.

  • Anonymous

    not peace they result in MAD (mutually assured destruction) theres a difference

  • Peace

    when America envied Iraq they ware very sure the Iraqis had nuclear weapons and they convent most of the world with there story .. and when the envision ended they couldn’t find any thing … now i asking you what if they had such weapons? what will happen in the middle east?!! america will be safe becus no missle with the Iraqis can reach them!! they can’t even strik Europe !! unless they knew there is no weapons and that make them liars and they seek oil in Iraq… and god saved as ones again…
    will this happen again in Iran or N.Korea …. just pray to god my human brothers to safe as for the ninth and tenth time after the eight in the article if theres no covered incident happened or happening!!! Peace


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  • BushPilot444

    The Japanese proved at Okinawa just previously and other islands that they would not surrender. They were training old men, women, and children in japan to fight to the death with sticks when an invasion came. Millions of Japanese and Hundreds of thousands of allies would have been casualties if the Truman had not dropped the bombs and invasion would have been necessary. Anyone who can’t see that is a real moron.