Collection BRINK OF APOCALYPSE - 1983 - THE BRINK OF APOCALYPSE: television documentary archive

Key Information

Reference code



1983 - THE BRINK OF APOCALYPSE: television documentary archive


  • 2007 (Creation)

Level of description



4 boxes or 0.04m3

Scope and content

The 1983: The Brink of Apocalypse documentary archive consists of transcripts of 31 interviews concerning events in Nov 1983 when a NATO command post exercise, code named ABLE ARCHER, caused the USSR to believe that NATO was planning a genuine nuclear attack.

Interviews were conducted with eyewitnesses from Britain, US, USSR and East Germany, including NATO, intelligence and military personnel, policy advisors and historians Werner Grossman, Gen Col Ivan Yesin, Capt Viktor Tkachenko, Stanislav Petrov, Victor Cherkashin, Adm Vladlen Smirnoff, Gen Igor Kondriatev, Oleg Gordievsky, Robert Gates, Gen John Chain, Robert McFarlane, Peter Pry, Col Spike Callender, Oleg Kalugin, Ben Fischer, Fritz Ermath, Charles Powell, Gene Gay, John Hughes Wilson, David Blythe, Joe Troxell, Col Charlie Simpson, Christopher Donnelly, Sergei Lokot, Capt William Bliss, Vladimir Kryuchkov, Boris Klyuyukov, General Rodionov, Col Maxim Devetyarov, Gen Ivan Tretyak, Gennady Ossipovich, Vitali Tsygichko and Rainer Rupp.

Subjects include: detente, the easing of strained relations between the Warsaw Pact and NATO in the 1970s; Andrei Gromyko, USSR Minister of Foreign Affairs 1957-1985; Yuri Andropov, USSR General Secretary, 1982-1984; Margaret Thatcher, UK Prime Minister 1979-1991; Richard Nixon, UU President 1969-1974; Jimmy Carter, US President 1977-1981; Ronald Reagan, US President 1981-1988; Vladmir Kryuchkov, Deputy Chairman of the KGB, 1978-1988, and Chairman of the KGB 1988-1991; Nikolai Orgakov, USSR Chief of General Staff (1977-1984); Dmitry Ustinov, USSR Minister of Defence 1976-1984; Tom Clancy, US fiction and non-fiction writer; the attempted assassination of Pope John-Paul II, 1981; Strategic Defence Initaitve (SDI) and Star Wars 1981; Operation RYAN, USSR monitoring of Western activity, 1981-1984; Beirut barracks bombing, 1983; invasion of Grenada Oct-Dec 1983; shooting down of Korean Airlines flight 007, Sep 1983; the USSR invasion of Afghanistan, 1979-1988.

Transcripts include questions and answers, and the tape counter numbering has been logged. The interviewer is not identified. Where interviews were translated this has been noted. Some names, places or phrases have been guessed at, or spelled phonetically by the transcriber. No information is given about the date or identity of the transcriber.

System of arrangement

There is no identifiable order of the interviews; hence the transcripts have been maintained in the order received.

General Information

Name of creator

Biographical history

Custodial history

The collection was placed in the Centre by Taylor Downing, Flashback Television in 2010

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Please note that we cannot provide copies of the original documentary. Copies of the transcripts and research material, subject to the condition of the original, may be supplied for research use only.


Language of material

Script of material

Finding aids

This collection level description and detailed catalogue.

Existence and location of originals

Off-campus collection

Please note: We require 7 days notice to retrieve this collection as part, or all of it, is held off-campus. Read more ›

Related descriptions

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Place access points

People and Organisations

Genre access points

Rules and/or conventions used

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000.


Accession area

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