15 Times World War 3 Nearly Started

In the years since WWII, the possibility of a World War 3 has not been a stretch of the imagination with continuous conflicts throughout the Middle East and simulated nuclear attacks occurring via faulty computer chips. This video recaps 15 times nuclear weapons almost brought about the end of the world as we know it.

1979 NORAD computer glitch

"Computers are used by specialists in NORAD Headquarters to keep track of information received daily." Caption from U.S. Information Agency photo. Source: National Archives, Still Pictures Branch, RG 306-PSE, box 79
“Computers are used by specialists in NORAD Headquarters to keep track of information received daily.” Caption from U.S. Information Agency photo.
Source: National Archives, Still Pictures Branch, RG 306-PSE, box 79

On June 3, 1980, and again a few days later on June 6, 1980, a computer glitch flashed warning messages to United States Air Force command posts worldwide that a nuclear attack was underway.

During these incidents, the Pacific Air Forces followed procedure having their planes in the air properly loaded with nuclear bombs. Strategic Air Command (SAC) on the other hand did not and took criticism for not following procedure even though SAC was convinced the warnings were false alarms.

Both command posts processed data from reports received from various radar, satellite, and missile attack detection systems concluding that none of the reports matched anything from the data received from NORAD.

B-52 Crash near Thule

The B-52 gunner (center), SSgt Calvin Snapp, is rescued after ejecting onto the ice
The B-52 gunner (center), SSgt Calvin Snapp, is rescued after ejecting onto the ice

A January 21, 1968, aircraft accident brought down a U.S. Air Force B-52 bomber near Thule Air Base in the Danish territory of Greenland. The plane was on a Cold War “Chrome Dome” alert mission over the Baffin Bay carrying four hydrogen bombs when a cabin fire break out forcing the crew to abandon the plane before it could conduct an emergency landing at Thule Air Base.

Of the seven crew members aboard six managed to safely eject from the aircraft. The seventh member did not have an ejection seat and was killed while trying to bail out of the plane. The conventional explosive aboard detonated when the bomber crashed into the icy sea in North Star Bay, Greenland, causing the nuclear payload to rupture and disperse causing radioactive contamination.

If the bomb had detonated, it would have been detected by early warning radars and been interpreted as a nuclear attack on the aircraft or nearby base. Such an event would have triggered a military response.

Video

In the video, we look at these and 13 other incidents that could have spelled doom for our planet.