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Cuban Missile Crisis
Transcript of Cuban Missile Crisis
the world came to a nuclear war. It was the crisis-point of the Cold War. • Cuba remained a Communist and highly armed country, but the nuclear missiles were taken back under the supervision of the UN
• Both Kennedy and Khrushchev had benefitted from the outcome; Kennedy's reputation was greatly improved, having stood up to Khrushchev and making him back down
• Khrushchev became known as a responsible peacemaker, willing to take the first move towards compromise - Soviets soon forgot that he had been forced to back down
• The crisis had helped the relationship between the US and USSR - both leaders saw how they had almost caused a nuclear war, and were ready to work towards reducing the risk of that happening again
• A "hot line" phone directly from the White House to the Kremlin had been set up (Hotline Agreement)
• The next year, in 1963, a Nuclear Test Ban Treaty was signed by both leaders
• Critics of containment wanted to get ride of Communism in Cuba, but nuclear war would mean the end of civilization
• The US withdrew its weapons from Italy and Turkey, which was kept a secrent between Kennedy and Khrushchev Tension between the two superpowers:
The United States were in the lead in the missile race, which made the USSR insecure. The US additionally had missiles in various places in Europe, including Turkey, less than 200 miles from the USSR. So the Soviets decided to place missiles in Cuba, which would balance the power and increase their strike ability.
Cuba's Fear of Invasion:
After the Bay of Pigs invasion, Castro was convinced the US wanted to invade Cuba. There was a mock invasion and a plan to overthrow the government and assassinate Castro, called Operation Mongoose.
Cuba therefore asked the USSR for help in September 1961, to which the USSR publicly promised Cuba weapons to defend itself from the US. Oct 14: an American U2 spy plane flew over Cuba, and took photographs of missile sites in Cuba. To military experts, two things were obvious: These were nuclear missile sites, and they were being built by the USSR.
Oct 16 - Kennedy is informed of missiles in Cuba, he is told he has 10 days before the missiles become operational. He called together a group of advisors and officials called executive committee, or EXCOMM. Oct 17- 20 - They agreed that missiles in Cuba aren’t acceptable, but the challenge was to remove them without starting a nuclear war. They came up with a number of options, many fixed on an air strike and invasion:
Surgical air attack?
Invasion? (air and sea)
Diplomatic pressure? (UN to intervene)
Blockade? (ban on bringing any further military supplies, US navy would search Soviet ships, Soviet Union would withdraw what is there)
To maintain secrecy Kennedy continues his campaign rally. He meets with Soviet Foreign Minister and tells him that missiles will not be tolerated in Cuba but Gromyko denies that they have missiles on Cuba and says that they are just defending Cuba. A U2 flight finds SS-5 missiles in Cuba which could reach continental US, and after more U2 photography, there are four more MRBM and three more IRBM sites found. The President returns to Washington on the 20th, stopping his campaign and telling the press he has a cold. Oct 22 - Kennedy announces the blockade on Cuba to the public and calls on the Soviet Union to withdraw its missiles . If they refuse the blockade then America will retaliate. B52 nuclear bombers are deployed so one – eighth of them are airborne at all times. Oct 23 - Khrushchev sends a letter to Kennedy to saying that Soviet Ships will not observe the blockade and he does not admit the presence of nuclear missiles in Cuba. 20 Russian ships heading for Cuba.
Excerpts from Khrushchev’s letter: “You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but rather issuing an ultimatum, and you are threatening that if we do not obey your orders, you will then use force… No, Mr. President, I cannot agree to this, and I think that deep inside, you will admit that I am right. I am convinced that if you were in my place you would do the same”
Oct 24 – The blockade begins. No one knows what will happen. The first missile carrying ships, accompanied by a Soviet submarine approach the 500 mile blockade zone. Then suddenly at 10:32, 20 Soviet ships which are closest to the zone stop and agree to turn around.
Secretary of State Dean Rusk said “It was eyeball to eyeball and the other guy just blinked”.
Oct 25 - Intensive aerial photography shows work on missile bases in Cuba is progressing rapidly.
At the UN in response to denial by Soviet Ambassador Zorin, Adlai Stevenson, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, presents to the Security Council the hard photographic evidence of Russian deployment of MRBMs and IRBMs in Cuba. Oct 26 - Khrushchev sends a personal letter to Kennedy, stating that the missiles are just defensive. Khrushchev admits that there are missiles and proposes "If assurances were given that the USA would not participate on an attack on Cuba and the blockade was lifted, then the question of the removal or destruction of the missile sites would be an entirely different grade".
Excerpts from Khrushchev’s letter “Our purpose has been and is to help Cuba, an no one can challenge the humanity of our motives aimed at allowing Cuba to live peacefully and develop as its people desire… you have surrounded the Soviet Union with military bases…Your rockets are stationed in Britain and in Italy and pointed at us. Your rockets are stationed in Turkey.
You are worried over Cuba. You say that that it worries your because it lies at a distance of ninety miles across the sea from the shores of the United States…You have stationed devastating rocket weapons which you call offensive, in Turkey literally right next to us.”
Oct 27 – Tension rises as all MRBM sites become operational. Low altitude pilots are being fired on by anti-aircraft weapons by Cubans.
Before Kennedy can send another letter, Khrushchev sends a second letter stating that if USA removes its missiles from Turkey, USSR would remove its missiles from Cuba. U2 plane is shot down over Cuba and the pilot is killed. US Air force and Navy are prepared to strike missile bases and US Army and Marines are ready to invade, All sites are now capable of launching missiles ; Kennedy delays an attack, forgets the plane incident and the second letter, and accepts the terms of 26th. He secretly also agree to remove his missiles from Turkey and JFK’s brother delivered this message personally to the Soviet ambassador in Washington.
JFK’s response “1) You would agree to remove these weapons systems from Cuba under appropriate United Nations observation and supervision; and undertake, with suitable safeguards, to halt the further introduction of such weapons systems in to Cuba.
2) We on our part, would agree--upon the establishment of adequate arrangements through the United Nations to ensure the carrying out and continuation of these commitments--(a) to remove promptly the quarantine measures now in effect and (b) to give assurances against an invasion of Cuba. I am confident that other nations of the Western Hemisphere would be prepared to do likewise”
Oct 28 - Khrushchev declares he will dismantle the arms and return them to the Soviet Union. So what did Kennedy choose? JFK and Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko An american ship stops, boards and inspects Marucla, a Soviet ship. Works Cited
Chock, Susanne C. "Thirteen Days in October: The Cuban Missile Crisis." Squidoo : Welcome to Squidoo. Web. 02 May 2011. <http://www.squidoo.com/cubanmissilecrisis>.
"Cuban Missile Crisis — History.com Articles, Video, Pictures and Facts." History.com — History Made Every Day — American & World History. Web. 02 May 2011. <http://www.history.com/topics/cuban-missile-crisis/page2>.
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Land Based Missiles of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Digital image. Cold War Events. Web. 3 May 2011. <http://edu.glogster.com/media/4/27/53/24/27532408.jpg>. The Leaders John Kennedy, USA Fidel Castro, Cuba Nikita Khrushchev, USSR Simulation of the Cuban Missile Crisis http://library.thinkquest.org/18355/the_cuban_missile_crisis_simul.html When he decided to send missiles to Cuba, he understood it would be a crisis, but he did not understand the level of the crisis. He thought the American reaction would be the same as the Soviet reaction for the American missiles in Europe. It's unpleasant. It's bad. But you understand as a politician that it is not a war...If American public opinion and the military had pressed the president to begin the invasion, nothing would have happened...His fear, and maybe my fear was, that if Americans will know how weak we are, then they could decide to begin the war before we become strong.
- Sergei Khrushchev, son of Premier Khrushchev, speaking on Cuban Missile Crisis
John Kennedy became the youngest president and Fidel Castro's biggest enemy. When Kennedy heard that there were warheads in Cuba, he did not take the advice of his advisors to invade because he knew any small mistake could lead to nuclear war, and devastation.
"My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country." Castro wanted to restore the constitution and create an honest government and liberties for the people. Castro had a lot of distrust with the US government due to invasions and the assassinations attempts. He said he wasn't a Communist, US made him one. At first, he didn’t want nuclear weapons.
DID YOU KNOW?
US put lethal bacteria in his cigars, called Botox.
Khrushchev wanted a "peaceful coexistence" between US and Soviet Union, and met with American leaders often. Khrushchev was very pleased to help Cuba and place his nuclear weapons there to give USA a taste of their own medicine. Khrushchev was forced out of office due to the result of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
On the Missile Crisis: "They talk about who won and who lost. Human reason won. Mankind won."
- British political cartoon, drawn on 29th of October 1962.
- Depicts Kennedy and Khrushchev arm wrestling for power, both sitting on each others atomics bombs, about to press.
- During this period of time USA and USSR were both in an arms race, though America was ahead when It came to possession and development of missiles.
- When Cuba became a Communist country, America tried to get rid of the Communist threat and spread by trying to overthrow the government, assassinate the leader and invade the country, but these were all failed attempts. Then Cuba aligned with the Soviet Union, that started to supply them with Missiles.
- This was either to create a balance of power between them by placing them in Cuba or to level the playing field as USA had their missiles in Turkey, Britain and Italy, all very close to the USSR.
- USA did not tolerate this, and through much thought decide to blockade any ships from the USSR to Cuba and asked USSR to dismantle their missiles.
- USSR was against the blockade, but no group wanted to fire nuclear weapons first because they knew if they did it would just cause their own demise.
- They were both ready to fire when the USSR agreed only because USA secretly also agreed to remove their missiles from Turkey and remove the blockade.
- It left Khrushchev looking weak and Kennedy looking strong as he managed to eliminate the threat, but it thawed the cold war and made both sides sign the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
- This political cartoon portrays the essence of the time period very well. It shows both sides sitting on top of the others bomb, their life depending on whether the other presses the button, but both sides are unwilling because both want peace but also both know very well that if they fire the other will most definitely retaliate.
- It also shows how Khrushchev was weaker during the Cuban Missile Crisis and how he came out weaker as well, as you can see from the sweat pouring off his face and the way and his expression where as
- Kennedy looks calm and collected. He looks strong as he did when he eliminated the threat from Cuba.
- It is useful because it shows the tension during these two weeks, and how it came very close to a nuclear war but no side wanted this because they knew it would cause their own annihilation
- It is somewhat reliable because it is a British perspective and they portrayed the situation same as how the Americans would but the Soviets would never show Khrushchev to be weaker, but they might right after because he didn't fight back.