Khrushchev Crisis

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In October 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union came to the brink of nuclear war over the placement of Soviet missiles in Cuba. It was a direct and dangerous confrontation that placed the two superpowers closest to a nuclear conflict. During the crisis, a fragile peace hung by only a thread for 13 days as the United States and the Soviet Union performed the diplomatic dance that nearly led to nuclear holocaust. We will attempt to answer what the United States as well as the Soviet’s national interests and threats were that led to this action. I will address what course of action the United States and Soviet Union took as these events unfolded and finally describe the outcome of such actions as they transpired and how the…show more content…
The United States and its allies had bases and nuclear weapons literally on the doorstep of the Soviet Union, surrounding it and keeping it on a state of alert that any nation would find uncomfortable. The Politburo in Moscow believed it needed to take a dramatic step. After the failed invasion of Cuban exiles at the Bay of Pigs, Khrushchev saw President Kennedy and his administration as weak, and believed he could put nuclear weapons on America’s doorstep without notice, and reveal them to the world when completed. The invasion of the Bay of Pigs also gave the Soviet’s pause and consider that the United States might even consider an invasion of the Motherland as well. Putting these weapons into Cuba would therefore put pressure onto Washington to accept the Soviet Union’s place in the sphere of world politics, and let America have a taste of what it is like to have nuclear weapons pointed at them from such a close location, as the Soviet Union have felt for years in Europe. Having these weapons so close to America would hopefully deter these American actions that worried the Soviet…show more content…
From finding the missile sites, to the conclusion of the crisis with the Soviet Union agreeing to remove the weapons, there were significant issues and challenges facing the Kennedy administration. It began with the reminding to Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko, as he had on September 4, that the “gravest consequences” would follow if Soviet offensive weapons were introduced into Cuba. (John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum) Meetings with the ExComm to discuss invasion, air strikes, blockades, nuclear options, and the diplomacy that was working mostly behind the scenes from the whole advisory groups between Kennedy and Khrushchev, made for strained emotions with both sides almost committing to full nuclear engagement several times. It is easy to look back with the lens of time and realize that the choices of policy that Kennedy and his advisors chose were obviously the best ones, as the crisis did not erupt into any further military engagement or nuclear conflict between the two superpowers. That being said, there certainly were elements of luck and the fortunate clarity that both leaders had to avoid a nuclear war that would have decimated the human
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