Vasili Arkhipov

(Russia, 1926 – 1998) was a Soviet Navy officer credited with preventing a Soviet nuclear strike (and, potentially, all-out nuclear war) during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Such an attack likely would have caused a major global thermonuclear response. As flotilla chief of staff and second-in-command of the diesel powered submarine B-59, Arkhipov refused to authorize the captain’s use of nuclear torpedoes against the United States Navy, a decision requiring the agreement of all three senior officers aboard. In 2002, Thomas Blanton, who was then director of
the U.S. National Security Archive, said that Arkhipov “saved the world”.