When the Able-Archer Incident took place, I attended Hanau American High School, in what was then, West Germany...
|Hanau is located in the German State (Lander) of Hesse, just East of Frankfurt. It is believed to be the birthplace of the Brothers Grimm.|
On Monday, November 7, 1983, during the annual Reforger military exercises, the initial launching of a microwave communications system for its first ever trial by the US Military caused the old analog communications to fall silent. The East Germans, as well as the USSR, mistook this to be an impending attack.....
What the world did not know, then, was the East Germans and Soviets interpreted the sudden, and unprecedented silence of their old analog communications network, to be a prelude to a tactical nuclear strike, followed by a NATO invasion.
Thus the security state across the wall was, in reality, being run by a small group of clerks, who were facing facts about running out of leaders whom would be strong enough to present the unifying image of leadership, as well as unite the political elements within, to successfully confront the ever-weakening internal vitality of the Union, itself.
And, most importantly, they were staring at the inevitable realization of Andropov's death.
The question of whom they would need to name as his successor loomed over them, as each day, the inevitable eventuality of his passing grew closer, and increasingly, more likely; in terms of probability. The Soviet system was at arguably the most difficult crossroads of it's seventy year existence.
And, that crossroads would be near-catastrophically stressed by the Russian analysis of the Able-Archer effect: NATO's sudden, and conspicuously total radio silence, and the shocking conclusion which that silence conveyed.
That silence furtively compelled their painful certitude that an attack, and then an invasion of the USSR by NATO, would soon follow.
All of NATO Europe went into a condition of extreme alert, which persisted until after the Spring of the New Year. Then, on Monday, September 26, 1983, a malfunction in the Soviet Distant Early Warning System falsely indicated that a NATO first strike was indeed, inbound.
Soviet Lt Col Sergei Petrov was credited for defying the launch order protocol, and the tensions from East to West and back only magnified in that event.
|The 269 passengers and crew were all killed on KAL Flight 007, which, unknown to us, actually did violate Soviet airspace on September 1, 1983|
In the West, we expected Gorbachev to take over after Andropov, however, one last hardliner stood in the way: as tossed there by the clerks who didn't wish to give up power.
Gorbachev's position as a reformer was not yet as clarified, but he was already on the radar as most likely to succeed Andropov, and following the reign of Andropov's successor, Konstantin Chernenko, which, like Andropov's reign, would be forgettably brief, Gorbachev would eventually eliminate the opposition to his authority by consolidating the power of both offices, which he then used to inspire a thaw to the simmering mutual contempt of the Cold War... before another misinterpretation of an insignificant event inspired the dreadful consequences of a world-destroying missile exchange.
Case Ryan (RJan) was the Soviet response mechanism that was signed by Andropov, and activated November 7, 1983. Case Ryan acknowledged a pre-emptive nuclear assault was the only defense from a NATO first strike.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RYAN
He was disobeying direct orders: but he saved my life, my friends' lives, and whether or not you know it, he saved yours, too.
As we were prodded back into the classroom, that day, as aware of the Cold War as we were, the proximity to expulsion from school seemed so much more real... Temporarily, it was more real. Anyway, that fear seemed to drown out the notion that we were really that close to "the end". The topic that dominated our conversations at that day, and time, was the now legendary Pop Rock 2 Festival, in Dortmund. We were going! December 18, 1983! And, we were going to get there and back, alive.
The Able-Archer Incident is considered the closest to nuclear war that the world ever came, or would come. And it remains that on November 7, 1983, a world was alive, a world that wasn't exactly privy to the danger it was truly experiencing.
But, the fact is, we have learned nothing from the Abel-Archer Incident. We have a president that counts the illegal horrors we accomplished in Iraq as, "....one of the dumbest things this country ever did..."
But, we have not evolved from that paranoid, war mongering nation; that antagonist which was created in David Rockefeller's image, by destroying the system made by our Founding Fathers.... We are the nation who badly needs to engage reformation, and we are a problem for the world. We need to fix this!
And, if Trump attacks Iran, which all signs say he will: we may never get that chance.
Bombings occurred that you can't locate on WikiPedia: such as the Red Brigades bombing of our Officer's Club in March of 1984. It was right next door, and pieces of it were in our front yard. Nobody died, but Hanau became more frequently a necessary trip for the cameras and reporters of AFN, the US Television Network.
From left to right: Rick Montgomery, Wendy Drummond, and Me, August, 83
|Ivan and my first gig by our band, Vengeance, was played, here....it was torn down two years ago.|
From left to right: John Revels, (RIP), my quasi brother in law, my sister's boyfriend, Rick Montgomery, my sister, Wendy Drummond, Roy Revels, and lastly, me. Hanau, Summer, 1983Photos by Volker Oneiroid, Wendy Drummond, and Google Chrome