October Skies


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October Skies

  1. 1. OCTOBER SKIES Essential Questions: 1. How did the Cuban Missile Crisis unfold? 2. What was the American response to the Soviet installation of missiles on Cuba? 3. What was the quarantine? 4. How was the Cuban Missile Crisis brought to a conclusion?
  2. 2. U-2 flights and discovery  Soviets were building nine missile sites in Cuba  They had a range of 2,400 miles  First shipment of medium-range ballistic missiles arrived in Cuba in September1962  Cubans of the island clearly noticed the arrival of the missiles  Over 1000 reports reached Miami  U.S. intelligence officials, however, considered them shady/not genuine  This, along with several unrelated problems, meant the missiles were not discovered immediately  On October 15th a U-2 flight showed the construction of an SS-4 site in western Cuba
  3. 3. EXCOMM  Kennedy saw the photographs on October 16  Kennedy assembled the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (ExComm)  14 key officials and his brother Bobby  The U.S. had no plan for dealing with such a threat  U.S. intelligence was convinced the Soviets would not install nuclear missiles in Cuba
  4. 4. EXCOMM  EXCOMM quickly discussed 5 courses of action:  Do nothing  Use diplomatic pressure to get the Soviet Union to remove the missiles  An air attack on the missiles  A full military invasion of Cuba  The naval blockade or quarantine of Cuba  The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously agreed that a full-scale attack and invasion was the only solution  Said Soviets would not act to stop the U.S. from conquering Cuba  Kennedy was skeptical  Concluded that attacking would signal to the Soviets they could conquer Soviet surrounded Berlin  Said it would signal to U.S. allies that we were just quot;trigger-happy cowboysquot;
  5. 5. The American Response  The Joint Chiefs believed the missiles would seriously alter the military balance in the region  Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara disagreed  He was convinced the missiles would not effect the strategic balance at all  Said the US already had 5,000 strategic warheads  The Soviet Union had only 300  He said that the Soviets having 340 would not substantially alter the strategic balance
  6. 6. The American Response  ExComm did agree the missile would affect the political balance of power  Would alter U.S. credibility in Europe and Latin America  Would impact the way the American people viewed Kennedy  Kennedy’s image would have been damaged if the Soviets were allowed to keep the missiles in Cuba  Kennedy ruled out a full-scale invasion  But something had to be done  Robert McNamara supported the naval blockade
  7. 7. A Quarantine  Blockade  Stops all shipments into the area  Is considered an act of war  Quarantine  This is more selective  Limited to offensive weapons  The quarantine would take place in International waters  Kennedy obtained approval from various international countries in the region
  8. 8. The Crisis Deepens  At 11:24am the U.S. Ambassador in Turkey and the US Ambassador to NATO were notified JFK was considering making an offer  Considering withdrawing missiles from Turkey in exchange for a withdrawal from Cuba  After this a series of telegrams were sent to and from Washington and Moscow  Between JFK and Nikita Khrushchev
  9. 9. The Crisis Deepens: DEFCON 2  On the night of October 23, the Joint Chiefs of Staff instructed Strategic Air Command to go to DEFCON 2  Was the only time in US history  Refers to an increase in force readiness just below maximum  The message, and the response, were deliberately transmitted uncoded and unencrypted  Was done in order to allow Soviet intelligence to capture them  Operation Falling Leaves quickly set up three radar bases to watch for missile launches from Cuba
  10. 10. A Ship Slips Through  On October 25, Kennedy responded to Khrushchev's telegram  Stated that the U.S. was forced into quarantining Cuba  Later that day a Soviet ship failed to be intercepted  It was let through since officials were fairly certain it contained no military material  It was then reported to JFK that the missiles in Cuba were still actively being worked on
  11. 11. SACEUR  In response Kennedy authorized the loading of nuclear weapons onto aircraft under the command of SACEUR  Supreme Allied Commander Europe  Had the duty of carrying out the first air strikes on the Soviet Union  Kennedy informed the EXCOMM that he believed only an invasion would remove the missiles from Cuba  He was persuaded to give the matter more time and continue with both military and diplomatic pressure  At this point the crisis was a stalemate
  12. 12. A Message From Khrushchev  At 6:00pm the State Department started receiving a message that appeared to be written personally by Khrushchev  Robert Kennedy described the letter as quot;very long and emotional”  Khrushchev reiterated the basic outline of earlier telegrams :  U.S.S.R. would declare that all ships bound for Cuba had no arms aboard  U.S. needed to declare that it would not invade Cuba
  13. 13. Jupiters in Turkey  By 9am Moscow's Voice of Russia began broadcasting a new message from Khrushchev  This message complained about missiles the U.S. had in Turkey  Kennedy and his committee met again to discuss the situation  Concluded the change in message was due to internal debate between Khrushchev and other officials in the Kremlin  At 11:03am a new message arrived from Khrushchev  Said the Soviet Union was upset having the missiles in Turkey
  14. 14. Ending the Crisis  After much deliberation between the Soviet Union and Kennedy's cabinet a deal was reached  Kennedy secretly agreed to remove all missiles in Turkey  In exchange Khrushchev would remove all missiles in Cuba  Khrushchev stated the missiles in Cuba would be dismantled and future construction halted  Kennedy immediately responded
  15. 15. The Aftermath  The compromise was seen as an embarrassment for Khrushchev and the Soviet Union  Removal of U.S. missiles from Turkey was not made public  It was a secret deal between Kennedy and Khrushchev  The Cuban Missile Crisis spurred the creation of the Moscow-Washington hot line  Direct communications link between Moscow and Washington, D.C.  Leaders of the two Cold War countries could communicate directly to solve a future crisis