Essay on The Cold War

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The Cold War

The Cold War had been going on since the end of the Second World War. Although America and Russia had been allies during the war against Nazi Germany, their alliance had always been one of necessity. Now that their common enemy had been defeated, they were able to focus their attentions on each other. America was a democratic, capitalist nation, and the Soviet Union was communist which meant that they were on opposing sides of the spectrum. They were so strongly opposed that peaceful co-existence was seen by all to be impossible.

America and Cuba had had a troubled relationship. Despite being geographically close to America, Castro (leader of Cuba) chose to ally himself
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This was welcomed by Castro, who played on Cuban’s fears, that America would try an invasion. America had, in 1961, attempted to start an anti-revolution against Castro in what became known as the ‘Bay of Pigs’ incident, so called because Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs with American help to begin their campaign to oust Castro. The Bay of Pigs failed badly, humiliating newly appointed President Kennedy.

Kennedy was determined not to allow the Cuban Missile Crisis to tarnish his name any further. How he responded to the threat would affect more than his political career, the fate of the world rested on his shoulders, as a nuclear war would have disastrous consequences. Despite the popular Western attitudes towards the Soviets, Khrushchev was actually a very reasonable man, and neither he nor President Kennedy wanted a nuclear war. However, neither man could be seen to back down because it would be seen as weakness, which would be exploited by the other side. However it seemed like there was no way for both men to be satisfied in this situation.

On 22nd October 1962 Kennedy ordered a blockade of Cuba to stop more missiles reaching the island. Soviet ships continued on their course regardless, only turning round once they had reached the blockade. One ship, however, passed by the blockade headed straight to Cuba.

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