4 Times We’ve Gotten Close to Nuclear War

We're closer to nuclear war now than we've been since World War II, according to the U.N. arms research chief. But this isn't the first time we've come close to mass destruction.

This is how close we've been to nuclear war

Risks of nuclear war are higher now than they’ve been since World War II. The world has been here before. The nuclear threat has been around since the 1940s — and is still a major global issue today. August 6, 1945 Atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, instantly killing at least 80,000 people. Three days later, the U.S. bombed Nagasaki, killing at least 40,000 people on impact. In the midst of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis nearly brought about full-on nuclear war.

When the U.S. discovered that the Soviets placed nuclear missiles in Cuba, President Kennedy responded by placing military blockades. The standoff lasted for 13 days and ended after the Soviets agreed to remove the missiles. October 2002, The Bush administration announced North Korea had a nuclear weapons program — in violation of a 1994 agreement. In 2005, North Korea withdrew from an international disarmament deal with dozens of other countries.

The East Asian nation has continued to conduct nuclear and ballistic missiles tests despite international sanctions and condemnation. February 2019 U.S. backs out of arms treaty The U.S. announced it would back out of an arms control treaty with Russia, which has been in effect since 1987. The treaty required both countries to destroy certain missiles that shot between a 310-34,000-mile range. The decision came after the U.S. and NATO declared that Russia had violated the agreement for over a decade.

Donald Trump has said he cancelled an airstrike on Iran with 10 minutes to go because it would not have been proportionate to kill 150 people in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned US drone. We're closer to nuclear war now than we ever have been since WW2, according to the U.N. Arms Research Chief. Here's a look at times we've been close to world destruction.