It was announced on Tuesday that the Doomsday Clock, established in 1947 and maintained by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, will stand still at three minutes to midnight, where it was set in 2015. The Doomsday Clock has shifted nearer to midnight several times since its inception, reflecting the imminence of global catastrophe due to threats such as nuclear weapons and climate change.
However, three minutes isn't the closest to midnight the world has reached, hitting two minutes in 1953. Time.com put together four instances where humanity neared Doomsday. Unsurprisingly, our closest call coming towards the beginning of the Cold War:
"It didn’t take long for the clock to tick forward as the Cold War heated up and the nuclear arms race began; the Bulletin set the hands at 11:57 in 1949 as the Soviet Union’s testing of an atomic bomb signaled our impending doom. But it was in 1953 that scientists warned leaders of the world were playing with fire. “Only a few more swings of the pendulum, and, from Moscow to Chicago atomic explosions will strike midnight for Western civilization,” the Bulletin warned when they announced the clock had moved and the world was just two minutes from midnight. As diplomatic solutions briefly quelled the threat of a nuclear apocalypse in the late 1950s, the group rolled back the hands of the clock and by 1963 the planet was considered to be 12 minutes from doom."
Head over to Time.com to read more.