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The Cuban Missile Crisis was not the first time Nikita Krushchev threatened the western world with nuclear missiles. Barring the later release of secure documents by western governments, it seems that Krushchev's first attempt to bring opposing capitals into his sight went totally unnoticed and unremarked upon in the cities in question. According to a German TV documentary entitled The Atom Project, broadcast on February 28, 2002, Stasi secret police files show that London, Paris, Bonn and Brussels were vulnerable to nuclear attack by May 1959. Order 589-365, bearing Krushchev's signature, authorised twelve nuclear-armed R5M rockets to be deployed to target the west European cities.

Two divisions of the 72nd Brigade, based at Novgorod, were dispatched to join the East German Second Guard Tank Army at Fürstenberg and Vogelsang, near Berlin. According to reports submitted to Moscow, the missiles could have been fired within five hours of Krushchev giving the order. Each rocket had an operational range of 745 miles (1192 kilometres), and carried a one megaton nuclear warhead. Four of the missiles targeted London alone. But in August of the same year, Krushchev gave the order to withdraw, and by early next month, the 72nd Brigade and their missiles were at Kaliningrad, too far away to target any of the original destinations except, perhaps, for Bonn. The specially-constructed bunkers were simply abandoned as the experimental deployment came to an end, and are now completely overgrown. Our very own wertperch lived in the area for a while, and recalls visiting the overgrown bunkers before their original purpose was made public.

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