It's pretty scary to think about how close we've been to the end of civilization. It's happened multiple times during the Cold War. Some were false alarms, human error, and even UFOs (yes there are stories about that, too).

Minnesota actually had missile silos during the Cold War. The Minuteman missiles were set up in locations around the Twin Cities. The nuclear-tipped missiles were designed to take out fleets of soviet bombers before they could strike US cities in the 1960s.

Related: Did You Know Minnesota + Wisconsin Had Nuclear Missile Silos?

Sgt. Stephen M. Kravitsky inspects Minuteman III missile
Getty Images

There even was an anti-aircraft missile base in French River, near Duluth Minnesota in the 1960s as well.

1962 World War III Scare In Minnesota

Tensions were high in October of 1962. We were in the middle of the Cuban Missile Crisis. According to, the Strategic Air Command was at DEFCON2. That's just one step below nuclear war.

It was midnight on October 25 when the world nearly ended at it started in Duluth, Minnesota.

Duluth Sector Direction Center had an intruder alarm go off. A soldier fired shots at what looked to be an intruder. The alarms had people believing that the Soviets were trying to infiltrate or attack the base. Remember, tensions were really high, and Duluth was always on alert for incoming Soviet aircraft.

A black bear nearly started World War III.

Photo by David Iannace on Unsplash
Photo by David Iannace on Unsplash

The guard realized that it was a black bear that set off the alarm. The base stood down the alert and crisis was avoided, but not without another heart stopper.

Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin scrambled their planes.

google maps
google maps

The wrong alarm was sounded at Volk Field Air National Guard Base in Wisconsin. The alarm that went off indicated that the United States was at war with the Soviet Union. Armed fighters scrambled and were in the process of taking off.

 A pickup truck stopped the planes just in time.

The planes were just minutes from taking off when an officer rushed to the flight line in a vehicle and stopped right in their takeoff flight path. That's a close call.

LOOK: The most extreme temperatures in the history of every state

Stacker consulted 2021 data from the NOAA's State Climate Extremes Committee (SCEC) to illustrate the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in each state. Each slide also reveals the all-time highest 24-hour precipitation record and all-time highest 24-hour snowfall.

Keep reading to find out individual state records in alphabetical order.

Gallery Credit: Anuradha Varanasi

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