Vasili Arkhipov

Vasili Arkhipov - Naval Officer, Facts and Childhood

Violet FieldHome › RussianVasili ArkhipovJanuary 30, 1926479 views

5 based on 1 rates
Vasili Arkhipov Biography Stories 

Vasili Arkhipov's Personal Details

Vasili Arkhipov was a Soviet Navy officer who is credited for 'saving the world' from a nuclear war by casting the decisive vote that prevented a Soviet nuclear strike on U.S

InformationDetail
BirthdayJanuary 30, 1926
Died onAugust 19, 1998
NationalityRussian
FamousLeaders, Military Leaders, Naval Officer
SpousesOlga Arkhipova
ChildrensYelena
Cause of death
  • Cancer
Birth PlaceZvorkovo, Russia
GenderMale
FatherAleksandr Arkhipov,
MotherMariya Arkhipova
Sun SignAquarius
Born inZvorkovo, Russia
Famous asNaval Officer
Died at Age72

// Famous Naval Officer

Karl Dönitz

Karl Dönitz

Karl Dönitz was a German admiral and played an important role in World War II. This biography profiles his childhood, early life, family, naval career, capture, imprisonment, and other facts.

Anton Haus

Anton Haus

Anton Haus was an Austrian naval officer. This biography profiles his childhood, life, career, achievements and timeline.

Vasili Arkhipov's photo

Who is Vasili Arkhipov?

Vasili Arkhipov was a Soviet Navy officer who is credited for 'saving the world' from a nuclear war by casting the decisive vote that prevented a Soviet nuclear strike on U.S. aircraft carrier USS Randolph during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was heading to Cuba onboard the submarine B-59, leading the flotilla of four USSR submarines, when US destroyers started dropping depth charge to force it to surface for identification. Leading a secretive mission into enemy territory, the captain of the submarine had already decided to launch the installed nuclear warhead on the enemy ships. However, it was the calm and composed flotilla commander Arkhipov who went against the captain and the political officer and convinced his colleagues that the depth charges were routine practice, and not an indication of war. After the incident was revealed to the media 40 years later, it became a media sensation, and was later made into the dramatized BBC documentary titled 'Missile Crisis: The Man Who Saved the World'. He was also a part of the K-19 crew which had faced a tragic accident that was later made into the movie 'K-19: The Widowmaker'.

// Famous Leaders

Edi Rama

Edi Rama

Edi Rama is the current Prime Minister of Albania. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

Cam Leo Varadkar is the current Taoiseach—the Prime Minister—of the Republic of Ireland. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts about his life.

Anwar Sadat

Anwar Sadat

Anwar Sadat was the third President of Egypt and has been awarded the Nobel Prize for his peace initiatives. To know more about his childhood, career, profile and timeline read on the following biography.

Childhood & Early Life

Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov was born on January 30, 1926, in the town of Staraya Kupavna, near Moscow, into a peasant family. At the age of 16, he enrolled into Pacific Higher Naval School.

While attending school, he participated in the Soviet-Japanese War in August 1945, during which he served aboard a minesweeper. He later transferred to the Caspian Higher Naval School, from where he graduated in 1947.

Immediately after completing his graduation, he joined the Russian Navy. He initially served abroad submarines in the Black Sea, Northern and Baltic Fleets.

K-19 Disaster

In 1961, Vasili Arkhipov assumed the position of deputy commander of the new Hotel-class ballistic missile submarine K-19. As a result, he also acted as the executive officer of the vessel.

The crew of the submarine was entrusted with the task of conducting exercises off the south-east coast of Greenland, when an extreme leak in the reactor coolant system of the submarine was detected. On July 4, 1961, the leak eventually caused cooling system failure and also damaged the radio communications systems.

With no backup cooling system and communications to Moscow lost, Commander Nikolai Vladimirovich Zateyev ordered the entire engineering crew of seven members to come up with a solution to avoid nuclear meltdown. While this required them to work in high radiation levels for extended periods, Arkhipov helped prevent a mutiny within the crew.

The engineering team was able to prevent the reactor from a meltdown by designing a secondary cooling system. While the crew survived, they were all exposed to high levels of radiation.

Exposure to high radiation caused the deaths of all the member of the engineering team, as well as their divisional officer, within a month of the incident. 15 more members of the crew died during the next two years, and Arkhipov later developed kidney cancer, which will eventually cause his death.

Saving the World

Vasili Arkhipov was the commander of an entire submarine flotilla of four diesel-powered, nuclear-armed Soviet Foxtrot-class submarines that was headed towards Cuba in October 1962, before the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was abroad the submarine B-59, leading the flotilla, which also included B-4, B-36 and B-130 submarines.

The flotilla left the base on the Kola Peninsula on October 1, 1962, and was carrying nuclear weapons that the USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev had agreed to secretly place in Cuba. In early October, an US reconnaissance plane had already captured images of the Cuban missile launch site under construction, which led the US president John Kennedy to place a blockade around the entire island.

The U.S. aircraft carrier USS Randolph and accompanying eleven US Navy destroyers patrolling the area detected suspicious activity and started to drop depth charges to signal the submarine to surface for identification. As the mission was a strictly secretive one, the commander of the submarine, Valentin Grigorievitch Savitsky, decided to further lower it to avoid detection.

The submarine had no contact with Moscow for days, and as it sunk further down, radio signal was faint, making it too difficult to monitor ongoing events. As a result, the crew had no idea if war had already began, and a confrontation ensued between the three commanding officers onboard.

Captain Savitsky, thinking that the depth charges were indication of war, decided to launch the 10 kilotons nuclear torpedo that the submarine was equipped with, which the political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov also supported. Fortunately, unlike most typical Russian submarines armed with the 'Special Weapon' that needed the captain to get authorization from the political officer, B-59 also needed flotilla commander Arkhipov's approval.

He argued that the depth charges were missing the submarine, and were also less explosive, which meant they were meant to signal them to surface. During the argument, Arkhipov, who had already gained reputation because of his courageous deeds onboard K-19, was able to successfully persuade the captain to surface the submarine and await orders from Moscow.

To make things worse, the batteries of the submarine were almost drained, rendering the air-conditioning system to fail, which led to extreme heat and high levels of carbon dioxide inside the vessel. Upon surfacing, no inspections were made, which is why it remained a secret for 40 years that the submarine was armed with nuclear weapons.

Ignoring the fact that a nuclear war had just been averted, USSR officials showed extreme disrespect towards the crew of the submarine for failing to keep the mission a secret. However, in 2002, after retired Commander Vadim Pavlovich Orlov, who was onboard the submarine, revealed the detailed of the incidents during a press conference, the media hailed the deceased Vasili Arkhipov as a savior.

He continued to serve in the Soviet Navy following the events, and was eventually promoted to the rank of rear admiral in 1975 and became the head of the Kirov Naval Academy. In 1981, he was further promoted to vice admiral and held that post till his retirement in the mid-1980s.

Major Works

Vasili Arkhipov was credited by US officials years later for preventing a nuclear war between the two countries. He is often hailed as 'the man who saved the world' and 'the man who stopped nuclear war'.

Awards & Achievements

For their efforts to avoid nuclear meltdown during the fateful event in 1961 abroad K-19 submarine, Commander Zateyev and his crew, including Vasili Arkhipov, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in March 2006.

Personal Life & Legacy

Vasili Arkhipov was married to Olga Arkhipova, who later featured on the BBC documentary 'Missile Crisis: The Man Who Saved the World' in 2012, describing him as intelligent, polite and very calm. The couple had a daughter named Yelena.

Following his retirement, he settled in Kupavna, where he died on August 19, 1998. He succumbed to kidney cancer, which resulted from his exposure to high level radiation in 1961.

Trivia

The 2002 historical thriller film 'K-19: The Widowmaker' was based on the K-19 disaster of July 1961. In the film, Vasili Arkhipov's part (name changed) was played by renowned Hollywood actor Liam Neeson.

// Famous Military Leaders

William Wallace

William Wallace

William Wallace was a Scottish knight who was a central figure in the Wars of Scottish Independence. This biography of William Wallace provides detailed information about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Heydrich

Reinhard Heydrich was a high-ranking German Nazi official during the World War II. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts about his life.

Heinrich Himmler

Heinrich Himmler

Heinrich Himmler was a German Nazi military commander and a close associate of Adolf Hitler. This biography profiles his childhood, family, personal life, role in concentration camps and his death.

Vasili Arkhipov's awards

YearNameAward

Other

0Order of the Red Banner
0 Order of the Red Star

Vasili Arkhipov biography timelines

  • // 30th Jan 1926
    Vasili Alexandrovich Arkhipov was born on January 30, 1926, in the town of Staraya Kupavna, near Moscow, into a peasant family. At the age of 16, he enrolled into Pacific Higher Naval School.
  • // Aug 1945 To 1947
    While attending school, he participated in the Soviet-Japanese War in August 1945, during which he served aboard a minesweeper. He later transferred to the Caspian Higher Naval School, from where he graduated in 1947.
  • // 1961
    In 1961, Vasili Arkhipov assumed the position of deputy commander of the new Hotel-class ballistic missile submarine K-19. As a result, he also acted as the executive officer of the vessel.
  • // 1961
    For their efforts to avoid nuclear meltdown during the fateful event in 1961 abroad K-19 submarine, Commander Zateyev and his crew, including Vasili Arkhipov, were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in March 2006.
  • // Jul 1961
    The 2002 historical thriller film 'K-19: The Widowmaker' was based on the K-19 disaster of July 1961. In the film, Vasili Arkhipov's part (name changed) was played by renowned Hollywood actor Liam Neeson.
  • // 4th Jul 1961
    The crew of the submarine was entrusted with the task of conducting exercises off the south-east coast of Greenland, when an extreme leak in the reactor coolant system of the submarine was detected. On July 4, 1961, the leak eventually caused cooling system failure and also damaged the radio communications systems.
  • // 19th Aug 1961 To 19th Aug 1998
    Following his retirement, he settled in Kupavna, where he died on August 19, 1998. He succumbed to kidney cancer, which resulted from his exposure to high level radiation in 1961.
  • // Oct 1962
    Vasili Arkhipov was the commander of an entire submarine flotilla of four diesel-powered, nuclear-armed Soviet Foxtrot-class submarines that was headed towards Cuba in October 1962, before the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was abroad the submarine B-59, leading the flotilla, which also included B-4, B-36 and B-130 submarines.
  • // 1st Oct 1962
    The flotilla left the base on the Kola Peninsula on October 1, 1962, and was carrying nuclear weapons that the USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev had agreed to secretly place in Cuba. In early October, an US reconnaissance plane had already captured images of the Cuban missile launch site under construction, which led the US president John Kennedy to place a blockade around the entire island.
  • // 1975 To 1981
    He continued to serve in the Soviet Navy following the events, and was eventually promoted to the rank of rear admiral in 1975 and became the head of the Kirov Naval Academy. In 1981, he was further promoted to vice admiral and held that post till his retirement in the mid-1980s.
  • // 2002
    Ignoring the fact that a nuclear war had just been averted, USSR officials showed extreme disrespect towards the crew of the submarine for failing to keep the mission a secret. However, in 2002, after retired Commander Vadim Pavlovich Orlov, who was onboard the submarine, revealed the detailed of the incidents during a press conference, the media hailed the deceased Vasili Arkhipov as a savior.

// Famous Cancer Celebrities peoples

Jacob Elordi

Jacob Elordi

Jacob Elordi is an Australian actor. Let’s take a look at his childhood, family, personal life, career, etc.

Edi Rama

Edi Rama

Edi Rama is the current Prime Minister of Albania. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, life, achievements, works & timeline.

Brock Lesnar

Brock Lesnar

Brock Edward Lesnar is a popular American wrestler, American football player, as well as a martial artist. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts about his life.

Romee Strijd

Romee Strijd

Romee Strijd is a Dutch model, also known as a 'Victoria's Secret Angel.' Check out this biography to know about her family, personal life, including her age, birthday, etc.

Travis Bacon

Travis Bacon

Travis Bacon is an American musician and actor, better known as the son of veteran actors Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick. Find more about his family, birthday, etc.

Fie Laursen

Fie Laursen

Fie Laursen is a Danish Youtuber, singer and a professional blogger. Check out this biography to know about her birthday, childhood, family life, achievements and fun facts about her.

Vasili Arkhipov's FAQ

  • What is Vasili Arkhipov birthday?

    Vasili Arkhipov was born at 1926-01-30

  • When was Vasili Arkhipov died?

    Vasili Arkhipov was died at 1998-08-19

  • Which age was Vasili Arkhipov died?

    Vasili Arkhipov was died at age 72

  • Where is Vasili Arkhipov's birth place?

    Vasili Arkhipov was born in Zvorkovo, Russia

  • What is Vasili Arkhipov nationalities?

    Vasili Arkhipov's nationalities is Russian

  • Who is Vasili Arkhipov spouses?

    Vasili Arkhipov's spouses is Olga Arkhipova

  • Who is Vasili Arkhipov childrens?

    Vasili Arkhipov's childrens is Yelena

  • What is Vasili Arkhipov's cause of dead?

    Vasili Arkhipov dead because of Cancer

  • Who is Vasili Arkhipov's father?

    Vasili Arkhipov's father is Aleksandr Arkhipov,

  • Who is Vasili Arkhipov's mother?

    Vasili Arkhipov's mother is Mariya Arkhipova

  • What is Vasili Arkhipov's sun sign?

    Vasili Arkhipov is Aquarius

  • How famous is Vasili Arkhipov?

    Vasili Arkhipov is famouse as Naval Officer