In 1962 the world came very close to nuclear war. In 1959 Cuban revolutionary Fidel Castro came to power. Relations between Cuba and the United States quickly soured. Cuba soon became a Soviet ally.
President John Kennedy’s administration learned that the Soviet Union was secretly installing offensive nuclear missiles in Cuba. Kennedy decided to quarantine Cuba. This prevented Soviet ships from bringing additional supplies. He demanded that the Soviets remove the weapons. And he made clear that using force was an option. After several days the Soviets agreed to remove the missiles. The US promised not to invade Cuba.
Critics charged that Kennedy had risked nuclear disaster when diplomacy might have been effective. But most Americans applauded
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The Cuban Missile Crisis all started in October, 1962, when an American spy plane spotted and secretly photographed missile sites being built on the island of Cuba by the Soviet Union. President Kennedy did not tell the Soviet Union right away that we had found their nuclear missile site. But days later, President Kennedy meet secretly with his advisors to discuss the situation. President Kennedy and his advisors though long and hard about what to do and the finally came up with an idea. Kennedy decided to put a naval blockade around the island of Cuba. The purpose of this was so Cuba could not get anymore military supplies for the Soviet Union. President Kennedy demanded that the missiles that were already there be disabled and that the sit be destroyed. Later on, Kennedy told America what was happening on a televised address. Everyone was anxious about what the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, would say about the naval blockade. But both President Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev recognized that the devastation that a nuclear war will bring is too much.
In the early days of the crisis, JFK made a formal declaration to both the nation and to the U.S.S.R that any nuclear weapons launched from Cuba onto any target in the Western Hemisphere would be considered an attack on the US and would warrant a full retaliatory response (“The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962”). He followed up that statement by blocking the transfer of all offensive weapons in route to Cuba (Freidel and Sidey). Kennedy showed the people that he wasn’t going to sit idly by while there was such a large threat to the nation’s safety, he was going to act boldly. After many more stressful days passed, JFK, in an attempt to ensure that the situation didn’t escalate any further, agreed to not attack Cuba if the Soviet Union withdrew all weapons from the island nation (Swift). After 13 grueling days of diplomatic actions, the Soviet Union’s ships left Cuba with their hatches open in order to show the Americans that they were carrying the missiles with them (Swift). Kennedy’s choice to pursue a peaceful end to the Cuban Missile Crisis, despite intense Soviet aggression, may have saved countless American lives. John F. Kennedy’s actions during the Cuban Missile Crisis boosted his reputation considerably and steered America away from a war with the
In 1962, Cuba was convinced that the USA was planning to attack them and asked the Soviet Union for military assistance. The USSR sent Cuba materials to build missile bases and launch sites. When President Kennedy realized that Cuba could launch missiles into America, he demanded that the USSR remove its weapons and troops. The Americans formed a naval blockade as the world stood nervously on the edge of a nuclear war. The USSR removed its weapons despite protests from Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
President Kennedy came to office with warnings of a missile gap. The Soviets had achieved or were achieving a significant advantage in strategic nuclear weapons. Though tensions ran even higher, "Eisenhower’s strategy of massive retaliation made little sense and did not account for the rapidly growing Soviet nuclear arsenal4. Kennedy's nuclear strategy became known as flexible response. The idea was to acquire the military forces that could deal flexibility with varying levels of Soviet Aggression3. The most serious confrontation between Russia and the US was the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Link to Stephanie's page) Soviet leader Khrushchev attempted to place intermediate range missiles in Cuba. Kennedy responded by imposing a quarantine on Cuba. This resulted in the removal of the Soviet missiles and led to Kennedy making the decision to dismantle U.S. missiles based in Turkey. Some analysts argue that the successful outcome was due to the United States’ nuclear superiority, which proved that strategic superiority offered important political advantages5.
On October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy “informed the world” that the Soviets were building secretive missile bases in Cuba, very close to Florida. President Kennedy decided to take the peaceful route in handling is major crisis. As
Although John Kennedy managed to achieve this great feat against communism, he did overstep some of the rights as President. It was a very risky order to blockade Cuban waters and coastlines, and it could have easily started a full-scale war between NATO and the Warsaw Pact. If a Soviet vessel had refused to comply with U.S. orders to halt, they may have been fired on by one of the many nearby American ships. Several Soviet ships were also boarded and inspected by American sailors (“32”). The chance of war breaking out was very real, but it did not occur due to Premier Khrushchev ordering an immediate return of all Soviet Navy ships headed to Cuba. The blockade was not to be removed until all Soviet missiles were removed from the Cuban island (“CAPITAL HOPEFUL: Plans to End Blockade as Soon as Moscow Lives Up to Vow.”). Kennedy’s standing up against the USSR showed the American people just how capable and strong leader was. Because of this, he is often considered to be one of the most highly regarded presidents of all
Kennedy had given a speech to the American people where he has said “We have unmistakable evidence that a series of offensive missile sites is now being built on that island … Cuba has been made into an important strategic base by the presence of these long-range offensive weapons of sudden mass destruction… Our objective must be to prevent the use of these missiles against this or any other country. We must secure their withdrawal from the Western Hemisphere” (Doc 6). President Kennedy was trying to calm the society by explaining they will be prevent the use of the missiles by withdrawing the Western Hemisphere. During the year of 1962, October 27 Premier Khrushchev stated in a message “Mr. President, the Soviet government decided to help Cuba with means of defense against outside attack. These weapons were only meant for defensive purposes. We have supplied them to prevent aggression against Cuba … With respect and confidence I accept the statement you set forth in your message of October 27, 1962. You said then that Cuba will not be attacked or invaded by any country of the Western Hemisphere … We have given the order to discontinue building the installations. We shall dismantle them and withdraw them to the Soviet Union” (Doc 8). This message was sent to the U.S after ordering a blockade of all offensive military equipment being sent into
This was a problem for Kennedy because Cuba was within a 90 mile radius from the United States, easy sticking distance. The United States had missiles in Turkey, which were in striking distance from the Soviet Union, which Khrushchev used as a weighing option when deciding to place missiles in Cuba. Kennedy saw the missiles that were being held in Cuba as almost an act of war from the Soviet Union. Khrushchev assured President Kennedy that the missiles were not an act of war, but yet only a defense for Cuba, who was feeling Having Soviet Union missiles this close to the mainland was a problem for the United States. Kennedy decided that the only way to stop the Soviet Union from fully equipping Cuba with enough missiles to destroy the United States, was to stop the missiles from getting to Cuba. To stop them Kennedy dispatched U.S. warships into the Atlantic, which was able to prevent the Soviet missile fleet from reaching Cuba. Unfortunately there were already missiles in Cuba from earlier fleets and they were
During the Cuban Missile Crisis, leaders of the US and the USSR engaged in a tense, 13-day political and military standoff over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles on Cuba. Disaster was avoided when the US. agreed to Khrushchev’s offer to remove the Cuban missiles in exchange for the US promising not to invade Cuba; Kennedy also secretly agreed to remove U.S. missiles from Turkey. There has been considerable debate amongst historians about Kennedy's handling the Cuban Missile Crisis. The orthodox view maintains that Kennedy conducted himself skilfully from the beginning of the crisis, and all the way through it until its resolution; Kennedy was very calm and controlled during the thirteen days of crisis. However, revisionist historians claim that Kennedy and his advisors almost turned a negotiable Cold War into a nuclear WW3. The result of the crisis is of a high complexity as Cuba was still on the way to become a communist country but the end to the crisis was a success because the risk of direct confrontation between two superpowers was
The Missile Crisis developed in 1962 because Fidel Castro believed that America would soon try again to invade his country. He asked the Soviet Union for help in defending his island nation. The Soviet Union replied by sending small arms, tanks, and infantry units to Cuba, as well as secretly transferring nuclear missiles to missile silos that were under construction in Cuba. The Americans were shocked when one of their U-2 spy planes discovered the nuclear silos under construction in Cuba because it meant that for the first time the Soviet missiles were within range of most major U.S. cities, including Washington, D.C. This created a very difficult problem for American President John F. Kennedy for which he needed to find a solution. He could not allow the missile silos to finish being constructed because that would place the United States in danger. That meant that either he would have to try diplomatic means to attempt to negotiate the removal of the weapons, or he would have to use the might of the American military to remove the weapons by force. Neither option looked particularly favourable. The Joint Chiefs of Staff (the President's military advisors) urged a swift and strong military invasion to destroy the silos before the Soviets could react. Kennedy was concerned, however, of the possibility of Soviet nuclear retaliation for the invasion because invasion was clearly an act of war. Up until that point, neither side had been willing to risk direct
invaded the Bay of Pigs in April of 1961. The two nations decided to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to stop further advances from the United States. President Kennedy and ExCom decided that missiles being in Cuba was unacceptable, so the decision was made to deploy a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent the Soviet Union from sending more missiles and other military equipment to Cuba, and JFK issued an ultimatum that the missiles needed to be removed or military force would be used. On October 22nd, 1962 President Kennedy notified the American public about the presence of missiles in Cuba, explained the blockade, and assured the citizens that the U.S. Military was prepared to neutralize the threat to the nation. Two days later the Soviet Union ships attempted to break through the Naval blockade, but stopped just short of the barrier.
John F. Kennedy needed to handle the presence of the Soviets in Cuba without diminishing the moral position of the United States. When a formal meeting of the National Security Council was held, many arguments were shared o how to handle the crisis. The main arguments of action were blockade or military action, in particular- nuclear weapons. “It had worried him that a blockade would not remove the missiles – now it was clear that an attack could not accomplish that task completely, either” (Kennedy, 39). Therefore, John F. Kennedy chose to not only blockade; however, to blockade and provide military action in the event that a blockade would fail. His ultimate policy was to remove the missiles and nuclear warheads from Cuba using the blockade to support the moral position of the United States and to be prepared to
In October of 1962, a US U-2 reconnaissance flight over Cuba yielded photographic evidence that the Soviet Union had installed medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles. President Kennedy over the next thirteen days frantically tried to get the missiles removed without a war. President Kennedy went with his Executive Committee working group and set up a naval quarantine of Cuba and gave Soviet Premier Khrushchev a deadline for removing the missiles. After six days of diplomatic overtures and increased military tensions, the Soviet Union withdrew the missiles. President Kennedy agreed to respect the Castro
Fidel was born on August 13th, 1926 in Cuba’s Oriente province. His father owned a sugar plantation, and originally lived in spain. Castro was the third of six children, and his mother was formerly a maid to his father, and Castro was conceived while his father was still wed to his first wife. Eventually Angel, his father, learned of his paternity to Fidel, and formally recognized him as his son when Fidel was 17. He grew up in a wealthy environment, attending well off boarding schools. In school, he was something of a troublemaker, more interested in sports and other activities than he was in his education. He did however display intellectual prowess, and he attended El Colegio de Belen, where he was a pitcher for their baseball team. He graduated in 1945 and attended The University of Havana, and it was at this point where he became a
The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 was the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war. The crisis was a major confrontation between the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The confrontation was caused by the Soviets putting missiles in Cuba, just 90 miles off the coast of the United States of America. The world was in the hands of President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khruchchev. These two men would have to reach a compromise or else the results would be fatal.