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New Left Review I/15, May-June 1962


Walter Goldstein and S. M. Miller

Accidental War

The SAC admitted that for ‘four minutes’ on last November 24th, during the height of the Berlin crisis, it seemed as if the United States might be under a nuclear attack. The SAC issued a global alert to all its stations when a key electronic-system failed in the nerve-centre of the North American Defence command, and planes loaded with H-bombs were rushed on to the runways all over the world. General Powers, the SAC commander, said that only the President could initiate a missile count-down, and that he had not alerted the President as he suspected that there had been a signal failure in the attack-warning system.

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