Fifty-seven years ago today, the world very nearly ended. The reason that it didn’t end is entirely due to the decision of a man who you’ve probably never heard of, named Vasily Arkhipov. The circumstance was the Cuban Missile Crisis, which was the closest that the Cold War came to turning into a full nuclear war, a situation which would have spelled death and destruction for most of the planet.
As the Soviet navy moved to install a nuclear missile launcher in Cuba, the Americans threatened to fire their nuclear arsenal first if the Soviets did not pull back. The crisis began on 16th October 1962, and ended 12 days later. Nuclear war did not start, which you probably guessed by the fact that the air is safe to breathe and you don’t live in an underground bunker surviving on tinned vegetables from the 60s.
The crisis was resolved diplomatically, and many people assumed it demonstrated how diplomacy would always prevent things getting out of control. However, in the middle of the crisis, something had happened that remained an official secret of the Kremlin until 2002. On 27th October, a US warship had dropped a depth charge on a Soviet submarine, damaging it, with the intention of forcing it to surface. What the Americans did not know was that the submarine was secretly equipped with a nuclear missile, and was instructed to fire on America in the event that war broke out. With their radio equipment damaged, nobody on the submarine knew what had happened – if they had been the only one attacked, or if a war had indeed broken out.
On that submarine was Vasily Arkhipov, a high ranking navel officer, alongside the captain and the political officer. An argument broke out between the three men about whether the missile should be fired. The captain and political officer said that it should. Under normal circumstances, that would have been enough to go ahead. However, Vasily Arkhipov was the senior officer, which meant he could veto the decision. And, in one of history’s most significant moments, he decided not to fire the missile, and to instead take the submarine to the surface and sail back to the Soviet Union. There is absolutely no doubt that if they had fired that missile, it would have triggered a ruinous third world war that would likely have destroyed the planet. So that became the story of how a Russian guy saved the world, and nobody heard about it.
Fortunately, the only decision you need to make this week is when to watch our upcoming batch of webinars – live, or recorded? The debate continues. Here’s what you can look forward to:
Sun 27th October 2019, 7:00 pm
Presented by Mike Scanlan
Tue 29th October 2019, 7:00 pm
Presented by Charlotte Fennell
This webinar will cover back to basics of transfusion medicine in canine and feline patients. The RVN’s role in blood transfusions will be discussed; from collection and storage to preparation, administration and the monitoring process. Transfusion medicine is developing rapidly in veterinary medicine and the RVN plays a vital role in this.
Tue 29th October 2019, 8:00 pm
Presented by John Chitty
This webinar will cover the common infectious diseases of rabbits – viral, parasitic, bacterial and fungal. As well as diagnosis and therapy, it will also look at prophylaxis including vaccination but mainly looking at how biosecurity and good husbandry contribute to disease control.
Wed 30th October 2019, 8:00 pm
Presented by Viki Adams
Discussion around castration and the alternatives to surgical castration available to pet owners. In today’s world 1/3 of pet owners would look at alternative methods to surgical castration. Is surgery therefore always the best choice?
Thu 31st October 2019, 8:30 pm
The initial fundamental question to answer when presented with a dog with a history of seizures/ fits/ “funny turns” is to establish if the dog is indeed affected by epileptic seizures or other paroxysmal event such as syncope, paroxysmal dyskinesia, vestibular attack, narcolepsy/cataplexy, neuromuscular disorders and episodes of pain. This requires knowledge of the clinical phenomenology of all these conditions and obtaining a detailed description (and whenever possible video-footage) of what the dog does before, during and after each episode. A detailed medical history and clinical examination are also essential to understand the nature of the episodes, select and interpret the most appropriate diagnostic investigations. Reaching a definitive diagnosis allows to establish the most appropriate treatment and prognosis