Cuban Missile Crisis

John F. Kennedy's greatest triumph as President came in 1962, as the world's two largest superpowers, the Soviet Union and the United States, edged closer and closer to nuclear war. The Soviet Premier of Russia was caught arming Fidel Castro with nuclear weapons. The confrontation left the world in fear for thirteen long days, with the life of the world on the line.
Khrushchev, Premier of the Soviet Union, secretly ordered the placement of Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba. This was thefirst time any such weapons had been placed outside Eurasia. Historians have offered several explanations for his actions. One factor in his decision was strategic. A year earlier, the United States had placed several medium-range nuclear missiles in Turkey. Another factor was a threat by the United States to one of the Soviet Union's satellite countries, Cuba. The United States had, in the past, attempted to kill Castro.
In July 1962, the United States found out that nuclear missile shipments were being made to Cuba. US U-2 spy planes flew over the island, bringing back reports of construction and ballistic missiles. On September 4, the Soviet ambassador met with Robert Kennedy to discuss a message from Khrushchev. According to the message, the military build-up was defensive in nature and not militarily threatening. Robert Kennedy informed the ambassador that the United States would closely watch all military activity in Cuba and warned of severe consequences should the Soviets place offensive weapons. President Kennedy did not believe the message. He asks Congress for the authority to mobilize over 100,000 reservists into active duty. The Soviets response was that they could fire rockets from Russia just as easily as from Cuba. Offensive missiles in Cuba, they argued, were therefore unnecessary for an offensive base. Furthermore, the United States has twelve times the firepower of the Soviets. S…


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