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The Soviet 'Doomsday' Machine, thats still in place

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
http://www.wired.com/politics/security/magazine/17-10/mf_deadhand?currentPage=all

i found this article on wired.com really interesting, dunno why but all history stuff about the soviet union interests me :s

the soviets apparently realised how close to nuclear armageddon a series of false alarms during the Cold War had brought the world, and implemented a system to take better care of their nuclear arsenal, called perimeter. this system was divorced from the military and political leadership in order to prevent hotheaded leaders from launching the missiles; and was most of the time switched off. the idea was that the system would be switched on in times of crisis, and would detect a nuclear explosion if a missile hit the soviet union, it would then attempt to contact the leadership in moscow, and wait for 1/4 to 1 hour for a response; and after that period it would assume nuclear war was underway and the leadership was dead, and devolve control of the missiles to the main bunkers to be used by whoever happened to be on site. so at the end of the chain, one soldier or general would decide what action to take. this meant that if the early warning system detected an incoming missile, the leadership had much longer to investigate and decide on action to take than before this system was implemented. it also meant that even if all the communist leaders were dead, and a large proportion of the military and population were dead, the missiles could still be launched in retaliation from many points around the soviet union. the twist in this story is that it is still there under the radar of many peoples knowledge. personally i think it is a very clever system, and changed my perception of the soviet union as being reckless with its nuclear weapons.

an interesting point raised, is that if you assume that all the soviet missiles were pointed at the united states, and that most of russian missiles are currently pointed at the united states; what would happen if moscow was hit by a nuclear missile from israel or iran? would the system initiate the procedure to fire missiles that united states?

Comments

  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I find the issue fascinating as well. Theoretically if the system is well greased and fault-proof, the government or military command would be able to call off the retaliation if it was just the one accidental missile launch and even if Moscow was destroyed.

    However who's to say communications are not going to be disrupted and nothing will go wrong to prevent the 'abort' call to be received and interpreted by the system?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    yeahwalk wrote: »
    personally i think it is a very clever system, and changed my perception of the soviet union as being reckless with its nuclear weapons.

    That's due to propoganda and people thinking the russion stereotype that we're all lead to believe in is actually real.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Aladdin wrote: »
    I find the issue fascinating as well. Theoretically if the system is well greased and fault-proof, the government or military command would be able to call off the retaliation if it was just the one accidental missile launch and even if Moscow was destroyed.

    They thought that with Skynet. Then look what happened.......:p
  • Indrid ColdIndrid Cold Warming up? Posts: 16,688
    I once read an article about rumours of "actual" doomsday devices, things that could destroy the entire planet.
    The article was basically philosophical and discussed the idea of why such things would exist. Basically, even though you'd destroy yourself too by destroying the world, the threat that you could do so is enough to scare others into not attacking you. But if the weapon would never really be used, why make it?
    And so on.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,324 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Basically, even though you'd destroy yourself too by destroying the world, the threat that you could do so is enough to scare others into not attacking you. But if the weapon would never really be used, why make it?

    You answered your own question there - just that you wrote it in the wrong order. :)
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