Cuban Missile Crisis Essay

Submitted By Dacks
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Cuban Missile Crisis 20th Century History-Unit2 Area of Study1-Ideas and political power Outcome1

The Cuban Missile Crisis was an event that almost lead to the dreaded nuclear war between the U.S.A and the U.S.S.R. On October 15, 1962 American spy planes spotted nuclear weapons being armed on the small island of Cuba who had just recently rebelled against its former American rule. This lead towards the a near nuclear war situation, with it only being neatly avoided by some desperate diplomacy from both sides involved. The U.S.S.R placed their missiles in Cuba to 'defend' the country which almost lighted the spark on the powder keg that was America and the U.S.S.R's relationship at the time. Tactics from both sides were applied to try to cripple the opposition without having to resort to head on conflicts.
When America's spy planes first found medium range nuclear missiles on Cuba, word was immediately sent to President Kennedy who was in Chicago and had to fake a cold to leave so he could deal with the situation on hand. Ex-Comm, which was a group of American political leaders, suggested that a quarantine on Cuba would be the best idea since a quarantine, very similar to a blockade, does not mean it is an act of war. Kennedy then gives one of the most important speeches in American history, telling the nation that there are nuclear missiles on Cuba and ordering Nikita Khrushchev to remove the warheads from Cuba. Nikita Khrushchev however, refuses to remove the weapons and blames America at putting the world at risk of a nuclear war with the quarantine. Khrushchev then orders Soviet ships to stop 750 miles away to avoid direct confrontation with the U.S. ships around America. However, Soviet submarines are trailing the U.S. ships as they move into place.

Kennedy responds to this by writing a personal letter to Nikita Khrushchev, again urging him to stray from this course he has set himself and to dismantle the missiles from Cuba. Nikita Khrushchev replied, saying that he would remove his missiles and technicians from Cuba as long as America agreed not to invade Cuba and that the missiles in Turkey were also removed. During this time, at the UN council the American ambassador Adlai Stevenson confronted the U.S.S.R ambassador Valerian Zorin with photographic evidence of the missiles in Cuba. Zorin refused to comment on them which goaded Stevenson into shouting at the ambassador 'he would wait until hell froze over until Zorin gave a yes or a no that there were nuclear missiles in Cuba. Meanwhile, Khrushchev and Kennedy refused to back down on their stances over Cuba's crisis. Khrushchev placed all the soviet troops in Cuba on full alert. US planes patrolled around Cuba and Kennedy mobilized 200 000 military personnel in Florida along with his B-52 bombers armed with nuclear warheads and 156 ICBMs. An ICBM stands for intercontinental ballistic missile which is a ballistic missile with a minimum range of more than 5,500 kilometers designed for nuclear warheads.
Tensions were reaching boiling point, and both Khrushchev and Kennedy were looking for a way to stop a nuclear war without seeming to have backed down. Khrushchev sent two private telegrams to Kennedy to list possible negotiation terms. In the telegram Khrushchev said he would privately discuss the issue of soviet missiles if the naval blockade was publicly lifted. In his second telegram Khrushchev said he would remove soviet missiles from Cuba if America removed its missiles in Turkey and Italy. With the advice of his brother, President Kennedy officially responded to the first telegram but not the second. He said that he would lift the naval blockade and that America would not invade Cuba, if the soviet missiles on the island were permanently removed. Secretly, President Kennedy's brother Robert met with the soviet