The Dead Hand

Was an installation in Soviet Russia in which the decision to launch all the land-based nuclear missiles would be made by a small crew of duty officers aided by a computer. The system was fully tested in November 1984 and placed in service in early 1985. The theory was a “backup” in case Soviet leadership was taken out in an early strike1.


Hoffman, D. The Dead Hand: The Untold Story of the Cold War Arms Race and Its Dangerous Legacy. (Anchor, 2010).