Assesment of Victory and Defeat in the Cuban Missile Crisis
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The closest the world has come to nuclear war was the Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962. The Soviets had installed nuclear missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of the United States. U.S. armed forces were at their highest state of readiness and demanded that the Soviet Union remove these missiles and imposed a naval blockade on Cuba, threatening to sink any Soviet ships that approached the island without permitting their cargoes to be inspected. Soviet field commanders in Cuba were authorized to use tactical nuclear weapons if invaded by the U.S. The fate of millions literally hinged upon the decisions of two men, President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The crisis escalated and reached a…show more content… Ever since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, Castro felt a second attack was inevitable. Consequently, he approved of Khrushchev's plan to place missiles on the island. In the summer of 1962 the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build its missile installations in Cuba.
For the United States, the crisis began on October 15, 1962 when photographs revealed Soviet missiles under construction in Cuba. The next day, President John Kennedy was informed of the missile installations. Kennedy immediately organized the EX-COMM; a group of his twelve most important advisors to handle the crisis. After seven days of guarded and intense debate within his government, Kennedy concluded to impose a naval quarantine around Cuba. He wished to prevent the arrival of more Soviet offensive weapons on the island. On October 22, Kennedy announced the discovery of the missile installations to the public and his decision to quarantine the island. He also proclaimed that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviet Union and demanded that the Soviets remove all of their offensive weapons from Cuba6.
During the public phase of the Crisis, tensions began to build on both sides. Then on the 26th EX-COMM heard from Khrushchev in an impassioned letter. He proposed removing Soviet missiles if the U.S. would guarantee not to