- Woah June 12
Two nuclear bombs plummeted from a splintering B-52 bomber in January 1961 and plopped down outside Goldsboro, North Carolina, according to newly-declassified government documents. And though the plane's disintegration triggered the "fuzing sequence" in both weapons, neither went off because of miraculous technical issues.
One bomb was missing pins necessary for detonation, but only because they were ripped out in the crash. The other — whose parachute failed to deploy — slammed into the ground, initiating the explosion sequence but simultaneously damaging another part necessary for detonation.
"By the slightest margin of chance," former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara put it, "literally the failure of two wires to cross, a nuclear explosion was averted."- -
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Why all drugs should be legal. (Yes, even heroin.)
- Comic-Con 2014: Everything we learned about Avengers 2, Batman v. Superman, and more
- 7 ideas from ancient thinkers that will improve your modern life
- Here's the schedule very successful people follow every day
- The big, gaping hole in the liberal policy arsenal
- Blame Obama and U.S. evangelicals for the persecution of Iraqi Christians
- How to trim $500 from your monthly spending
- Face it, ladies: We can't all be beautiful
- Are there too many good shows on television?
- Behind the scenes at small-town America's beauty pageants
Subscribe to the Week