It took us two world wars to realize the destruction and devastation war inflicts upon the specie known as man. This realization made us to form United Nations which would supervise the International Relations.
But even under the surveillance of strong international agencies there have been some occurrences which lead us to the brink of destruction, the third world war. Here are these events,
September 11, 2001
The 9/11 attacks shook the world and galvanized the United States to prepare for World War III, with all sorts of weaponry, including nukes. It was only when Bin Laden claimed responsibility of the attack that the US decided to go after the sole mastermind.
North Korea vs South Korea
Sometime in 2010, North Korea launched an attack at South Korean troops stationed on the island of Yeonpyeong. An odd 160 missiles bombarded the island, leading to an unspeakable amount of loss of life. The spoilt relations between the two Koreas is an issue of extreme concern that has kept the world in tension for a long time because it may spark off a third World War.
The nine-year-long conflict between the Soviets and the Afghans went very close to starting World War III. It had so happened that the US and the UK were providing financial aid so that the Afghan-Mujahideen had the arms and power to fight local Soviets. So it was basically a case of two countries paying another country to go to war against their common enemy. This situation could have easily matured to the Soviets overlooking the Afghan middlemen and directly go against the source – the US and the UK.
The Black Suitcase
January 25, 1995, was one more corner in time when the world could have set off on a path towards unspeakable death and destruction. Norway and the US had just launched a research rocket to chart the Aurora Borealis in the Arctic. Norway had tried to inform Russia beforehand about the launching by sending them a message. But apparently, the message never reached Russia. Under such conditions, a misunderstanding was bound to follow. Interpreting the launch to be an attack on Russia, Russian President Boris Yeltsin was awakened, who in turn called for the infamous black suitcase, that would cause the launch of 2,200 rockets straight into the US. Luckily enough for everyone, the president consulted his security advisers, and waited for the rocket to chart off-course.
Soviet False Alarm
On September 26, 1983, Stanislav Petrov was in command of a secret bunker owned by the Soviets. All of a sudden, the sirens began to blare, indicating the US had launched five missiles towards the Soviet Union. Petrov had a bare few minutes to respond, and launch missiles to counter the apparent attack, but decided to wait a few minutes to make sure it was not a technical glitch in their new system. As it turns out, it actually was just a glitch, and Petrov thankfully exercised sound judgement.
Able Archer 83
Able Archer 83 was a harmless game/exercise, but it almost led to a World War. The game basically consisted of an attack on Europe that would be met with a US attack on the Soviet Union. In mood of the game, the US airlifted 19,000 troops and elevated their alert status to DEFCON 1. Now although the Soviets knew it was just a game, they too elevated their alert status, to be prepared, just in case.
B-52 Plane Crash
On January 21st, 1968, a US Air Force plane, B-52, crashed as it had caught fire. The pilot was unable to alert his base due to the lack of time, and the plane ended up crashing into ice, about 7 miles from Thule. The plane exploded with its fuel and certain nuclear compounds. Had everything exploded, it would have definitely been seen as a nuclear attack, and would have definitely started a war.
Norad Computer Glitch
On November 9, 1979, a NORAD computer glitch made it look like that the Soviet Union was gearing up to make an offensive move at the US. Colorado’s North American Aerospace Command received reports saying that the Soviets had launched missiles, which called for the standard response of launching fighter pilots and taking the president up into the air for safety. However, it was soon discovered that a technician had accidentally started a simulation exercise which made it look like the Soviet was attacking.