The Cuban Missile Crisis, of October, 1962, was a conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This crisis could have possibly lead to the first nuclear war. The Soviet Union tailed the United States in the Arms Race and their missiles were not powerful enough to be launched against the United States. President John F. Kennedy claimed that the United States had fewer missiles than the Soviet Union, but Fidel Castro and Nikita Khrushchev still felt wary. As Premier of Cuba, Fidel Castro, searched for a way to keep his nation safe from a U.S. attack. As a result, Castro approved Khrushchev’s idea to station missile sites in Cuba. The Soviet Union secretly built these sites during the summer of 1962.
On October 15,1962, photographs of the Soviet’s missile sites were revealed to the United States. President Kennedy was b. riefed on the missile installations the next day. He quickly called a meeting of his twelve most important advisors to deal with the crisis. Over time they discussed possible ways to handle the situation. These included:
4. Quarantine of Cuba.
Bomb missile bases
The Cuban Missile Crisis Khrushchev and Kennedy made negotiations amongst themselves and finally reached a desicion. On October 28, 1962, they agreed to remove all missiles and put the crisis to rest.
President John F. Kennedy During the Cuban Missile Crisis President John F. Kennedy was in office. One cause of this crisis was due to a missile gap President Kennedy spoke of during his campaign in 1960. Although the United States had more missiles than the Soviet Union, he stated otherwise. As President, it was up to Kennedy to decide whether or not to react to the serious nuclear threat from the Soviet Union. He agreed never to invade Cuba and remove all missiles stationed in Turkey in order to bring the Cuban Missile Crisis to an end.
Nikita Khrushchev Premier Nikita Khrushchev was First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. The Soviet feared attack from the United States because they did not have missiles powerful enough to be launched against the country. Khrushchev produced a plan to place intermediate-range missiles in Cuba to reestablish the balance of power in the Cold War. Nikita Khrushchev had no intentions of starting a war but he knew the United States was serious about an attack. He worked with President Kennedy to end the crisis. High Communist party officials were displeased with the agreement between the two and two years later, after further discontent, he was removed from office.
Fidel Castro Fidel Castro became dictator of Cuba in 1959. When Castro came into office, Cuba’s relations with the United States weakened. President Kennedy attempted to overthrow Castor in the Bays of Pigs Invasion, but failed. It did, however make him take precautions for another United States attack. When Nikita Khrushchev proposed his idea to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, Castro approved. As dictator of Cuba, he did not have a big role in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Furthermore, he did not have much say so in the outcome of the event.
The two main causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis were due to the Soviet Union. The felt insecure and the feared losing Cuba in an attack. Before the United States presidential election John F. Kennedy repeatedly spoke of a missile gap between the two nations. The Pentagon reported to the Soviet Union that the U.S. had more missiles but Kennedy stood behind his words. After Kennedy was elected president, Nikita Khrushchev began to “test” him. In response to his actions, the Kennedy Administration felt to reveal to Khrushchev that there was no missile gap. The Americans now knew that Khrushchev had always known they had more missiles. Nikita Khrushchev felt as if he was surrounded by enemies. Since the Soviet Union lost the arms race so badly, he worried of an attack by the U.S. This lead him to conceive the idea of placing missile sites in Cuba with hopes of countering the United States’ lead in a nuclear attack.
When Fidel Castro came into power, the U.S. made multiple attempts to rid of him. These attempts included the Bay of Pigs Invasion, which failed, a military exercise in 1962, and a mock invasion of a Caribbean island. The United States also developed a plan to invade Cuba in order to make Castro nervous. The CIA too tried to destroy Castro’s government. As a result, Castro was assured the U.S. was serious about invading Cuba.
This map shows missile sites in Cuba and their range.
The Cuban Missile Crisis began to come to a halt on October 28, 1962. By this time, the United States had not yet taken any military action. After discussions between the Soviet Union and Kennedy’s advisors, an agreement was reached. President Kennedy agreed to dismantle all U.S. missiles stationed in Turkey. Khrushchev too agreed to remove all missiles in Cuba. Nikita Khrushchev also wanted Kennedy to publicly announce to never invade Cuba. Because he did not announce it publicly, he was said to have lost and become weakened. Khrushchev’s announcement was made on the radio. He said:
Since no military action was taken, there was no destruction. Khrushchev and Kennedy tried their best to avoid war. The people in both Kennedy and Khrushchev’s government did not completely agree with their decisions not to take action. It did, however, keep the lives of their country’s citizens of out of danger. By November 21, all missiles had been completely removed.
“ The Soviet governement . . . has issued a new order to the dismantling of the weapons which you desrcibe as ‘offensive’ and their crating and return to the Soviet Union.”
U-2 (Spy Plane)
Spy planes, such as this one, were used to capture photos of the missile sites in Cuba.
Timeline January 1, 1959 Fidel Castro assumes power in Cuba. January 3, 1961 U.S. rids of diplomatic and consular relation with Cuba. April 12, 1961 Kennedy pledges the U.S. will not use military force to overthrow Castro. April 15-19, 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion June 4, 1961 Kennedy and Khrushchev meet for the first time at the Vienna Summit August 10, 1962 Kennedy receives word that Soviet middle-range missiles are supposedly being based in Cuba August 31,1962 There is evidence of Soviet missile installations October 14, 1962 U-2 flew over western Cuba and discovered missile sites October 16, 1962 Kennedy holds a meeting with advisors to discuss what actions should be taken against Cuba October 17, 1962 Intermediate-range nuclear missiles are discovered
Timeline October 18, 1962 Kennedy and Soviet Foreign Minister Andrie Gromyko meet October 20, 1962 Kennedy met with EX-COMM to discuss the speeches he was to give and the idea of a blockade on Cuba October 21, 1962 Kennedy decides on a quarantine of Cuba October 22, 1962 Kennedy tells the public of the missile sites in Cuba in a televised speech October 23, 1962 Kennedy receives a letter from Khrushchev October 26, 1962 Khrushchev sends Kennedy another letter proposing to remove Soviet missiles if he publicly announces to never invade Cuba October 27, 1962 An American U-2 was down over Cuba, a U-2 flew off course over Russia, and another letter was received form Khrushchev October 28, 1962 Khrushchev announces to remove all missiles from Cuba November 20, 1962 Planes were officially removed and returned to the U.S.S.R November 21, 1962 Kennedy formally ended the quarantine
EX-COMM Meeting Meeting of President Kennedy and his advisors discussing possible ways to handle the crisis.
From Khrushchev to Kennedy This is a letter from Nikita Khruschev to President Kennedy. During the crisis, they used letters as a form of communication to make proposals and and come to an agreement on ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Cuban Missile Site One site where nuclear missiles were placed.
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