‘When Darkness Dawns’ : The Encyclopaedia of Ecstasy Volume Two: November 1983
Operation Able Archer 1983 – from wikipedia
Able Archer 83 was a ten-day North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) command post exercise starting on November 2, 1983, that spanned Western Europe, centered on the Supreme Headquarters Allied Powers Europe (SHAPE) Headquarters in Casteau, north of the city of Mons. Able Archer exercises simulated a period of conflict escalation, culminating in a simulated DEFCON 1 coordinated nuclear attack. The exercise also introduced a new, unique format of coded communication, radio silences, and the participation of heads of government.
The realistic nature of the 1983 exercise, coupled with deteriorating relations between the United States and the Soviet Union and the anticipated arrival of Pershing II nuclear missiles in Europe, led some members of the Soviet Politburo and military to believe that Able Archer 83 was a ruse of war, obscuring preparations for a genuine nuclear first strike. In other words, they were concerned that what was called by those staging it, a training exercise disguised as an attack, was instead an attack disguised as a training exercise. In response, the Soviets readied their nuclear forces and placed air units in East Germany and Poland on alert.
This is known as the 1983 war scare. The 1983 war scare is considered by many historians to be one of the closest times the world has come to nuclear war since the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. The only incident more severe was the Norwegian rocket incident of 1995. The threat of nuclear war ended with the conclusion of the exercise on November 11.