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The Cold War tested strategic and diplomatic relations between two superpowers competing on a global level. Billions of dollars and rubles were spent on escalating nuclear yield and accuracy, delivery vehicles, and conventional forces. Somehow the missile silos and submarines kept quivered their awful arrows during the 40 years after WW II, in spite of varying levels of tension between East and West. Yet another story (often unheralded) played out wherein the lowest levels of military rank and responsibility, often without specific guidance or supervision, were expected to step back from the edge of emotional and humiliating confrontation, keeping an ?almost? international incident from becoming an ?actual? incident.


These are the unsung heroes of the Cold War: the men and women behind the incident that didn?t happen, and the confrontation that didn?t escalate.



I vowed to one day write of my ?almosts? with the Russian Bear in East Germany. Having been blessed with (or cursed with) a near photographic memory, I set about researching these events, fully expecting to discover a body of work describing these incidents. To my utter surprise, no references mention or allude to my harrowing experiences. It?s as if an information blackout exists around specific events and times.


To the best of my memory from my position as a foot soldier, my narrative describes West-East confrontations at Checkpoints Alpha and Charlie. Either event came frighteningly close to turning the ?Cold War? into a ?shooting war.? And yet, to my knowledge, no record exists in any format or media. Until now?.

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