The Dead Hand or Russia’s Perimeter System

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From HowStuffWorks:

We’ve all seen movies with supervillains building catastrophic Doomsday devices – but has anyone ever built a real one? Join Josh to learn how the Cold War led to the most dangerous nuclear system in history: Russia’s legendary – and terrifying – Dead Hand.

Let’s go back, shall we? We’ll go way back. Into the Cold War. Where the United States and the Soviet Union had the whole world effectively polarized. Everybody was on one side or the other, except for those countries that weren’t. Those were the Third World countries, because they didn’t subscribe to one world or the other. That’s actually where the term comes from. One thing that the Soviet Union and the United States loved to do to one another was escalate. If one side created a stockpile of nuclear weapons, the other side would create twice as many. Move some missiles to Europe? We’ll move ours to Cuba. And so on and so forth until we reach the 1980s, when superpower leader Ronald Reagan had a really great idea. He said, “Why don’t I do something that scares the beejeezus out of the USSR and also spends them right out of the Cold War?” And this great idea that superpower leader Reagan hit upon was called the Strategic Defense Initiative (or SDI), or, more popularly, Star Wars.

It was called Star Wars because the whole idea was a missile defense shield in space. So the SDI had its intended effect. The Soviets were very much scared. They realized that if the United States had a missile defense shield in space, that the United States’ nuclear arsenal could survive a first strike from the USSR with enough weaponry left to launch a counterstrike that could still wipe Russia off the face of the map. So Russia (again, quite scared of this idea) did what any superpower would do: they created a doomsday device. They called it “Mertvaya Ruka,” or the “Dead Hand.”

The details on this thing are kind of sketchy because the Russians have never officially acknowledged it existed. But based on interviews, some investigation by westerners, and a little anecdotal evidence, it appears that the Dead Hand was kind of a primitive computer network that came online around 1985. It was designed to rain nuclear hell down upon the Americans if they launched a first strike against the Soviets, even if the Soviet Union had already been incinerated.

Formally they called the thing the Perimeter. But they also could’ve called it “We Got You Back!” Or “My poluchili vas obratno!” So the Perimeter (or We Got You Back or the Dead Hand) worked something like this: Most of the time this computer network lay dormant. But it could be activated by the Soviet military in case of an emergency. And once it was activated, when left alone, it would stay that way for about 15 minutes, and then it would go back to being dormant again. But while it was online for that 15 minute period, it was constantly communicating with Soviet central command. And it was taking in input (data) from sensors all around the country that were looking out for air pressure, seismic activity, and most importantly, radioactivity. Things that would indicate there was some sort of attack that the Americans had carried out.

If the Perimeter sensed that there was some sort of nuclear attack, and it could no longer communicate with Soviet central command, it basically let it all hang out. And anyone who was in the room that made up its nerve center at the time, could trigger it. When triggered, 4 command missiles are launched. They fly around the USSR and say, “Wake up! Wake up all thermonuclear warheads! Go get the US!” And remotely activate a counterstrike on the United States of America even if the USSR doesn’t exist any longer. That’s why they called it the Dead Hand. Even more horrific than the idea that the Perimeter was a real thing is the idea that it still might be a real thing. The Russian government isn’t talking. But at least one retired high-ranking Soviet official says, Yeah, that thing is still real. Let’s all just keep cool everybody.

SOURCES:… David Hoffman, The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy (Anchor, 2009).……………

Jimmy Dore Show: Discussing Russia’s Actual Nuclear Capabilities

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The Dead Hand

Not to be confused with Dead man’s hand. For other uses, see Dead Hand (disambiguation).

Dead Hand
Place of origin Soviet Union
Service history
In serviceJanuary 1985–present[not verified in body]
Used by Russian Strategic Rocket Forces
Production history
No. built1

Dead Hand (Russian: Система «Периметр», Systema “Perimetr”, lit. “Perimeter” System, with the GRAU Index 15E601, Cyrillic: 15Э601),[1] also known as Perimeter,[2] is a Cold War-era automatic nuclear weapons-control system (similar in concept to the American AN/DRC-8 Emergency Rocket Communications System) that was constructed by the Soviet Union.[3] The system remains in use in the post-Soviet Russian Federation.[4][5] An example of fail-deadly and mutual assured destruction deterrence, it can automatically initiate the launch of the Russian intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) by sending a pre-entered highest-authority order from the General Staff of the Armed Forces, Strategic Missile Force Management to command posts and individual silos if a nuclear strike is detected by seismic, light, radioactivity, and pressure sensors even with the commanding elements fully destroyed. By most accounts, it is normally switched off and is supposed to be activated during times of crisis; however, as of 2009, it was said to remain fully functional and able to serve its purpose when needed.[6]

Source Wikipedia

Movie “On The Beach – 1959”

Original Trailer:

Full Movie on Youtube

Although there’d been “doomsday dramas” before it, Stanley Kramer’s On the Beach was considered the first “important” entry in this genre when originally released in 1959. Based on the novel by Nevil Shute, the film is set in the future (1964) when virtually all life on earth has been exterminated by the radioactive residue of a nuclear holocaust. Only Australia has been spared, but it’s only a matter of time before everyone Down Under also succumbs to radiation poisoning. With only a short time left on earth, the Australian population reacts in different ways: some go on a nonstop binge of revelry, while others eagerly consume the suicide pills being issued by the government. When the possibility arises that rains have washed the atmosphere clean in the Northern hemisphere, a submarine commander (Gregory Peck) and his men head to San Diego, where faint radio signals have been emanating. The movie’s all-star cast includes: Peck as the stalwart sub captain, Ava Gardner as his emotionally disturbed lover, Fred Astaire as a guilt-wracked nuclear scientist, and Anthony Perkins and Donna Anderson as the “just starting out in life” married couple.

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