On October 27, 1964, Ronald Reagan delivered a speech on behalf of Republican candidate for the United States Presidency, Barry Goldwater, thereby launching Reagan’s political career. The speech came to be known as “A Time for Choosing.”
Two years earlier, Vasili Arkhipov, a flotilla commander present on the Soviet Foxtrot-class submarine B-59 in the Caribbean sea, defied the sub’s captain, Valentin Savitsky, to launch a nuclear device. The captain had come to the conclusion that war had started while the submarine had been submerged. He had inferred this from the depth charges that American ships had deployed in order to force the submarine to the surface during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Captain Savitsky, seeking the necessary approval of two others on board, political officer Ivan Masslenikov and the flotilla commander Vasili Arkhipov, to launch a nuclear torpedo.
Masslenikov agreed. Arkhipov refused.
The date was October 27, 1962, and World War III was prevented by this one man, Arkhipov, who held his ground while facing the increasing anger of the submarine commander, refusing to approve a nuclear torpedo launch that would most almost certainly have triggered a conflict that would have doomed civilization, perhaps most or all of humanity.
That, we can now agree, was a “time for choosing” when the correct choice was made.