Cold War Flashpoints - Cuba


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Cold War Flashpoints - Cuba

  1. 1. Cuba is a small island in the Caribbean. It was also almost the scene of the start of a nuclear war which could have ended the world.
  2. 2. In 1959 a revolution took place in Cuba. The US-supported government – led by Fulgencio Batista - were replaced by a revolutionary group, led by Fidel Castro. These events hugely angered the USA.
  3. 3. The new government took control of businesses in Cuba, including those owned by US companies. They also soon became Communist, further angering America. The USA wanted to remove Castro and the Communists from power.
  4. 4. The USA started off by banning any trade in weapons with Cuba. When this failed to make any difference they tried more violent methods.
  5. 5. The US supported Cuban exiles to invade Cuba, landing at the Bay of Pigs. Castro however was ready for this and soon killed or arrested all those involved.
  6. 6. In 1960 the USA had also taken the decision to stop buying Cuban sugar, which was essential to the Cuban economy. The Cubans responded by instead selling sugar to the Soviet Union. A new relationship was formed.
  7. 7. Cuba then asked the Soviet Union for military protection. Given Cuba’s location in the world, the Soviet Union agreed to this. In 1962 they agreed to send nuclear weapons to Cuba.
  8. 8. You are the President It is October 1962 and you have just heard that the USSR have placed nuclear weapons in Cuba. They are still in the process of completing the building of the support structures. What would you do? And why?
  9. 9. The USA found out and had two options to stop this: 1) Bomb the military bases on Cuba 2) Quarantine Cuba (stop Soviet ships landing) Either option could result in nuclear war.
  10. 10. You are the President Your advisors have given you two recommendations: • Bomb Cuba • Quarantine Cuba What would you do? And why?
  11. 11. The USA imposed a quarantine. Tensions were high between the two sides, and war seemed a real possibility. The Soviets shot down a US U-2 spy plane. The US Navy dropped depth charges on USSR submarines.
  12. 12. Some people say this man saved the world. Vasili Arkhipov was a Soviet submarine commander. During the crisis he refused to agree to his Captain’s demand to launch nuclear torpedoes, stopping a potential nuclear war.
  13. 13. Each country had its nuclear weapons on standby. The US President John F Kennedy considered launching an attack, as did the Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. They both came within minutes of doing so.
  14. 14. Fortunately Soviet backed down and turned the ships around. The USA had won a public relations victory. The USA agreed not to invade Cuba and also a secret deal to remove nuclear weapons from Turkey and Italy.
  15. 15. Both sides had been shocked by how close they came to nuclear war. After the Crisis they set up a ‘hotline’ between Washington and Moscow so leaders could talk direct. Also in 1963 they agreed a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.