How Did John F. Kennedy Act Through the Cuban Missile Crisis

3085 Words May 18th, 2010 13 Pages
The Cuban missile crisis of 1962 brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. What was at stake in the crisis, and how do you assess President Kennedy’s response to Khrushchev’s provocation? Was Kennedy prudent or rash, suitably tough or needlessly belligerent?

By Jeremy Leung 299722
USA & The World 131-236

The Cuban Missile Crisis was perhaps the closest that humankind had ever become to experiencing a thermonuclear war. In October 1962, the world watched perilously, as U.S. president John F. Kennedy warned his people of the amalgamation of Soviet arms in Cuba. John F. Kennedy refused to accept “offensive” Soviet artillery in such close proximity to the U.S., but Soviet chairman Nikita Khrushchev had already planned a stealthily
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The reasons why McNamara and Kennedy and other U.S. politicians were so fearful of a nuclear was because according to U.S. analysts at the time, the 24 MRBM’s (Medium range-ballistic missiles) and sixteen IRBM’s (intermediate-range ballistic missiles) that were found in Cuba had significantly increased the number of U.S. targets that the Soviet’s could lethally attack by forty percent.[8] Furthermore, having missiles within Cuba allowed the Soviets to bypass the U.S. warning radars, especially the Ballistics Missile Early Warning system, which was stationed in the North Pole.[9] By bypassing the U.S. warning radars, it certainly amplified the risk of a surprise strike upon certain American air bases and important command posts.[10] To address this risk, the U.S. army went from “Defence Condition Five” (peacetime alert) to “Defcon 3” (war alert) which further illustrated the high levels of precautions the U.S. government were taking in order to protect itself from an offensive attack from the Soviet.[11] It was quite clear from these precautions that the impending nuclear threat in Cuba threatened the lives of American civilians, troops, and government officials. In the event that the situation escalated out of control, the two world superpowers could have engaged in a third World War that, with nuclear technology had the potential to kill hundreds of millions of civilians and soldiers.[12] Fortunately, the Cuban Mission Crisis never escalated this