Cuban Missile Crisis Essay

Submitted By silversinner
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The Cuban Missile Crisis was a 2 week long conflict between Cuba and the Soviet Union on one side and the United States on the other. The crisis occurred during the middle of the Cold War from the 14th October to the 28th 1962 and was the closest the world has ever come to a worldwide nuclear conflict. The crisis had started after a U-2 plane from America had spotted several nuclear missiles camped in Cuba and being a viable threat to America, Washington in particular, after the failed overthrow of the Cuban regime. The high tension between the two super powers remained for just shy of two weeks and in the end there was no conflict.
Prior to the Cuban Missile Crisis, Cuba was under control of the dictator Fulgencio Batista. Though a harsh ruler, jailing anyone who sought to oppose him, using terrorist methods and accumulating a great deal of wealth, Batista allowed the United States to abuse the Cuban sugar industry, holiday resorts and their mining – oil in particular. He had also bought a time of high unemployment, limited water infrastructure to the Cuban people and lucrative links of organised crime. Being unhappy with their situation, Fidel Castro sought about overthrowing the current dictator, Batista. With more than a one-thousand strong army, a civil war that lasted three years saw Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara go from south to north of Cuba defeating Batista’s forces along the way. Then, on the 31st of December 19 1958, three guerrilla units had defeated the last of the army and had forced the leader to be exiled to the Dominican Republic and allow Castro to become the new leader of Cuba. Afterwards, Castro had a meeting with Vice-President Richard Nixon, where Castro had shaped his plans for reform to him and caused the US to place restrictions on their trade. Because of this, Cuba had lost a great deal of income and needed to look for an external body to help them in their position, that body was the Soviet Union.
The Soviet Union proved to be of good help in 1962 after agreeing to set up numerous military camps around the country in exchange for money in response to NATO positioning nuclear missiles in Turkey. This was also done to be used as protection since they had broken off their relationship with the United States. Because of America’s fear of communism spreading throughout the world and fulfilling the ‘Domino Theory’, they decided to send a U-2 spy plane to take photographs of Cuba once they had heard that Cuba had agreed with the Soviet Union to place missiles and troops inside their country. The photographs taken revealed that several SAM sites and nuclear weapons had been sent. Soon after, the President John F. Kennedy publicly announced on national television and informed the American people of the recent discovery of the Russian nuclear missiles in Cuba. He also said that that any attack by Cuba on America would be considered as an attack by the Soviet Union and would be responded to accordingly. With the world now being informed of what was happening, the following two weeks would leave the world on the edge of an all-out nuclear war and would change the relationships of many countries forever.
When approached with the situation, America had a few options: they could not respond at all which would avoid a war but make the US look weak on the international stage and leave nuclear missiles close to their country. They could attack and destroy some of the missiles but activate another world war and potentially destroy the whole world. Another would be to apply diplomatic pressure on the Soviet Union which may have convinced the USSR to remove the missiles and avoid a war but could also make it seem as though the USSR had more power than the US. Or they could enforce a blockade to disrupt the flow of weapons into Cuba but then they would be committing an International crime and could be seen as an act of war against the USSR. Each option had their pros and con’s and none of which seemed to be a