Deutschland 83: Bold Guard
July 30, 2015 7:55 AM - Season 1, Episode 7 - Subscribe

As preparations for NATO’s nuclear war game intensify, Martin receives an order from East Germany that cements his fears about their paranoia. As preparations for NATO’s nuclear war game named “Able Archer” intensify, Martin receives an order from East Germany that cements his fears about the East’s paranoia. He has to warn his Western superiors about the misunderstanding. But how? Finally he has no choice but to blow his own cover – to Edel himself. As a guise to threaten Martin, Tischbier joins a student demonstration and encounters Alex, for whom he has bad news. Finally, Martin races to the border, chased by the West German authorities – ironically, the only man in West Germany who’s trying to escape from the West into the East.

Meanwhile, Schweppenstette meddles in things between Martin and Annett. He shows Annett a photo of Martin kissing Yvonne, then tells her Yvonne will be visiting with the band of a West German rock singer, and gives her a backstage pass to "welcome" Yvonne herself.
posted by dnash (5 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Guardian (from 2013) on "Able Archer": How a Nato war game took the world to brink of nuclear disaster.

It's kind of amazing me to learn this happened and we didn't know it until recently.

This was a really great episode. The tension of Martin realizing what the East may be about to do, and their ignoring his warnings. Lenora seems to have her doubts though, too - what was that bit where a diplomat from Mozambique was giving her a passport from his country? Is she planning to flee? And she's the only one who at least tried to pass on Martin's warning to the higher-ups.

I'm a little vague on where the Annett/Yvonne thing is going. Maybe next week Martin's going to show up after fleeing back and spark a full confrontation between the three of them?
posted by dnash at 8:11 AM on July 30, 2015

Able Archer is one of those moments that makes one's eyes do a 360 in their sockets when someone say "they wouldn't put us in harms' way". Fuck they wouldn't, if they (in this case the military) could play with new toys.

Mozambique was at the time a post-colonial state aligned with the Soviet Union (in a middle of a FRELIMO-RENAMO civil war). Very likely she met the diplomat through her spying affairs, and with nuclear war looming, is trying to get the hell out of dodge to somewhere that won't be a nuclear wasteland.

One thing that got me thinking: is it me, or did this episode hinted that Martin might be Schweppenstette son? It was established that Ingrid was not exactly to see him on episode 1, and now that she studied under him and then he left for "administrative duty" when the wall was being built (the math might be a bit fuzzy- Martin is 24, which puts his birth somewhere around 1959, two years before the wall construction begun). And then, there's Alex replying to Stamm "Having a big-shot dad is hell. Be glad you don't have one". Certainly makes me think.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:36 AM on July 30, 2015

did this episode hinted that Martin might be Schweppenstette son?

There was clearly a lot more history between him and Martin's mom than they were owning up to in that scene. Yeah, it did make me question if he's Martin's father.
posted by dnash at 10:56 AM on July 30, 2015

I went searching to see if Able Archer had been discussed on MeFi before (thinking maybe to do a post about it) and found this great comment from eriko.
AA83 was a unique excercise, in that it included US strateic forces and NCA figures -- Including Maggie Thatcher and Helmut Khol. Reagan and Bush themselves were to take part, but the newly installed Bobby McFarlane nixed the idea as being too hostile to the Soviets.

Thank God.

Because, after the fall, we found out what the Soviets had been doing on that night of 11 November, 1983. What they were doing wasn't a drill. They were getting ready for a full launch. Why?

Because they saw the US and NATO suddenly do something they never saw before. During Able Archer 83, NATO forces went to DEFCON 4, then 3, then 2 -- never *ever* seen before by the Soviets. At this point, the USSR freaks and leaps to whatever their version of DEFCON 2 was.

Then NATO goes to DEFCON 1, and the KGB reports that to Moscow. The Soviets are on the brink, they can't hear NATO forces anymore, as they all go silent in DEFCON 1. They know there will be one more burst of traffic, that will either back the forces down, or order the launch. They know that they won't know what it will be until the warheads from the Pershings are less than two minutes from impact.

The stated policy of the Strategic Forces of the USSR is clear. They must launch now.

What holds them back? A report that Reagan is in DC, hosting a banquet. This puzzles them, and they think for a bit, and AA83 ends, and NATO forces back down and start broadcasting in clear -- which not only means back down, but means that they're off alert completely. The USSR uncocks the pistol, but they don't holster it for three days.

If Reagan had taken part, we'd be dead.
posted by dnash at 2:27 PM on July 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Had not heard of this show, thanks.

If you do decide to do a post on AA, please get the facts straight. For example, operation RYAN and why on November 6, did Moscow centre send the London Residency a checklist of indicators for a suprise attack culled from thier own plans.

These idiots damn near launched a nuke using their own plan!
posted by clavdivs at 7:46 PM on July 30, 2015

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