The Washington Post reports that the Soviet Union was particularly worried about a first strike from NATO in November 1983.
The worry centered around the paranoia of Andropov, a troubling Soviet computer estimate, and a large and broad NATO exercise called Able Archer.
I post this because I was living in Europe at the time, and students were protesting against Able Archer. I was one of them (although, frankly, I was involved the protests for the girls). In fact, people I knew made a cover for one of the issues of Time.
Read the whole thing entitled “In 1983 ‘war scare,’ Soviet leadership feared nuclear surprise attack by U.S.” in the October 24 issue.