Vasily Aleksandrovich Arkhipov probably prevented a global thermonuclear war. Arkhipov, a Russian submarine officer, refused to authorize a torpedo launch against U.S. forces during the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis in October 1962. Historians believe his decision averted Armageddon.
A royal bodyguard by the name of Pausanias murdered King Philip II of Macedon, paving the way for the ascension of Philip’s son, Alexander, to the throne. Alexander the Great would, in a short time, establish the largest empire in history. The motives behind Philip’s assassination are still debated, but there is no doubt that Pausanias set in motion a series of events that shaped the modern world.
These are just two potential answers to the question I will be posing through this new blog series: What was the most important day in human history?
I’m very curious about what we can learn from history, and how historical events helped shape the world we live in. This is a subject I’ve pondered for quite some time, and I hope you’ll enjoy this blog series as I try to decisively answer the question.
Let’s talk about the ground rules!
Inventions are certainly fair game as we dive into these deep waters. Vaccinations changed the world, for sure. But I’m looking for a specific date in history that we can designate “most important.” We don’t know when the wheel was invented, so that’s out – although it was absolutely vital to the evolution of human civilization.
For the same reason, I’m not going to be talking about the discovery of fire or the evolution of the written word. Just too hard to pin down specific dates.
I also acknowledge that the development of agriculture and hunting played a pivotal role in human development. The creation and use of handmade tools was important, too. Not what I’m looking for, though.
So, what is in contention? Well, right now, the list is fairly long.
When Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Ferdinand, he set in motion a chain of events that led to World War I.
The birth and crucifixion of Jesus Christ is certainly up there.
While we’re on the subject of religion, what about Mohammed and Buddha?
Many historians believe the D-Day amphibious landings at Normandy during World War II changed history. What about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, which got the U.S. involved in the conflict in the first place? Were either of those events more important than the other to human history than the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima? Wow, there is a lot to unpack when it comes to World War II.
There is no shortage of other potential contenders for the “most important day in human history.” The French Revolution. The Apollo 11 moon landing. The Treaty of Versailles. The burning of the library at Alexandria. The Revolutionary War. The creation of Israel. The fall of the Berlin Wall.
The list goes on and on.
It’s all a little intimidating, right?
But we’re going to sort through it all together.
Until next time, when we’ll take a closer look at the Cuban Missile Crisis and the actions (or inactions) or Vasily Aleksandrovich, take care of yourself and remember to learn from your mistakes. Don’t let history repeat itself!