Above is a picture of a U.S. Air Force after action report concerning days of a low and high threat of nuclear warfare. This report was issued during the Able Archer exercises in 1983. This specific report concerned Able Archer 83, an exercise conducted by NATO lasting five days. The Soviet Union prepared its nuclear weapons after feeling threatened by the United States and misread Able Archer intentions. It was believed that Able Archer was a tactic to confuse the Soviet Union as the U.S. prepared for a possible nuclear attack. In response, the Soviet Union prepared for a possible strike. This is also known as the 1983 war scare.
After the conflict was negotiated, President Reagan realized that the Soviet Union felt just as threatened as the U.S. felt. This was one of the key events that led Reagan to pursue a reduction in the number of nuclear weapons in both the U.S. and the Soviet Union. Reagan feared that a nuclear war could be near but could never be won. Later, Reagan and Gorbachev agreed to on-site inspections to confirm the reduction in arms. Soon, the Soviet Union gave up 1,836 missiles while the U.S. gave up 859 (Herring 897).