Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis Cuban Missile Crisis During the administration of United States President John F. Kennedy, the Cold War reached its most dangerous state, and the United States and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) came to the edge of nuclear war in what was known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. What was the Cold War? What started the tensions between the United States and the USSR? What actions were taken and how were the problems resolved? All of these questions and more shall be answered in this paper. The Cold War was a struggle between the United States and its allies and the Soviet Union. Although direct military conflict never took place, diplomatic and economic struggles occurred.

The Cold War began when Joseph Stalin, leader of the Communist Party, used the Red Army to take control of most of the countries of Eastern Europe. The United States as well as Western European countries were greatly concerned. In response to Stalins military movements, President Harry Truman issued the Truman Doctrine in 1947. In his address to Congress, President Truman asked that the United States would aid any country that asked for help in resisting communism. The Truman Doctrine became known as the basis for containment, the policy to keep communism from spreading to other countries. After the Truman Doctrine, George Catlett Marshall, Secretary of State, proposed the Marshall Plan, the European Recovery Program through which the United States provided aid to Western Europe after World War 2, in June 1947. The Marshall Plan was offered to all European countries, but Stalin would not let the countries his military was occupying take part.

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In April 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was formed. The countries involved in this pact were the United States, Britain, France, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Portugal. The NATO agreement said that “an armed attack against one or more of its members in Europe and America shall be considered an attack against them all.” To ward off aggressors, American forces and nuclear weapons were to be kept in Western Europe. In response to NATO, the Soviet Union formed a similar pact between seven Eastern European countries called the Warsaw Treaty Organization, or Warsaw Pact. The countries involved along with the Soviet Union were Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland, and Romania. While these pacts were forming, the United States and the Soviet Union were in an arms race. They were building lots of nuclear weapons, trying to outproduce each other so that neither dare attack.

This policy is called deterrence. By 1952, the United States tested a hydrogen bomb, a bomb more powerful than an atomic bomb. A year later, the Soviet Union also tested a hydrogen bomb. Both countries developed rockets that had nuclear warheads. By 1957, the Soviet Union had developed intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs).

ICBMs could reach targets all over the world. While arms were building up, the Soviet Union went through a major change in power. In 1953, Joseph Stalin, leader of the Communist Party, died. After Stalins death, Nikita Khrushchev took over the Communist Party. Khrushchev made things different. He said that the Soviet Union would follow a policy of “peaceful coexistence” with the West.

This “peace” was to continue until the early sixties, when new conflicts surfaced. In the early 1960s, new tensions arose between the United States and the USSR when Fidel Castro openly embraced communism and allied with the Soviet Union. Anastas Mikoyan, the Soviet First Deputy Prime Minister, negotiated this alliance. Increasing friction between the United States and the Soviet Union caused President Dwight D. Eisenhower to sever diplomatic ties with Cuba.

This was the unofficial beginning of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Before the ties were severed, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) had been training Cuban exiles for a possible invasion of Cuba. Newly inaugurated President John F. Kennedy approved this invasion on April 12, 1961. On April 14, 1961, a group of B-26 bombers, which were piloted by Cuban exiles, attacked air bases in Cuba. This raid was designed to destroy most of Castros air power before the land invasion was to take place. On April 17, 1961, the land invasion of Cuba took place at the Bay of Pigs.

The invasion forces consisted of about 1400 Cuban exiles. Not much was achieved, though. Cuban ground forces quickly stopped the invasion. Of the 1400 Cuban exiles, 114 were killed and 1,189 were captured. After the invasion in Cuba took place, more tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union surfaced.

In August 1961, the East German government, which was occupied by the Soviet Union, built the Berlin Wall. The Berlin Wall was a wall dividing West Berlin and East Berlin. It was 12 feet high and 28 miles long. Guards were on watch constantly and mines were placed around the wall to discourage escaping. After the Berlin Wall, the United States worst fear came true. On October 14, 1962, U.S. spy planes spotted the first ballistic missile on Cuba.

President Kennedy decided to take action. He had several options, invasion, air strikes, a blockade, or diplomacy. On October 22, 1962, President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent the arrival of more missiles. President Kennedy announced that he would turn back ships with the intent of delivering missiles to Cuba. He also pledged full retaliation against the Soviet Union if even one missile is fired from Cuba toward any country in the Western Hemisphere. President Kennedy demanded that Khrushchev dismantles and removes the missiles that were placed in Cuba. Khrushchev agreed to remove the missiles and offered an on-site inspection. Kennedy agreed and removed the naval blockade from Cuba.

Castro felt differently about the inspections. He wouldnt allow them. The inspections werent needed. U.S. aerial reconnaissance planes revealed that the missile bases were being dismantled.

The Cuban Missile Crisis had ended. Nuclear war had been averted, but the end of the Cuban Missile Crisis didnt end the Cold War. The Cold War didnt “end” until the early nineties, when Mikhail Gorbechev and George Bush ended the superpower rivalry.

Cuban Missile Crisis

The year is 1959 and the place is Cuba. It is January 1st and Batista, the president of Cuba has just fled the country fearing Fidel Castro, a Cuban revolutionary who mounted a rebel force called the 26th of July Movement against Batista. Castro assumes power on the 16th of February and establishes a dictatorship.

Communist Rule In Cuba
So far, the Soviet leader, Khrushchev is in question of what political track Castro is deciding to take. Russia themselves have only one connection with Fidel which is his brother Raul who is no doubt a full communist. The Communist Party of Cuba at this time has no contacts with Castro quite yet. Unfortunately, Raul never showed his true feelings for communism to his brother, Fidel. This causes quite a predicament for the Soviet Union to make them seen and heard by Cuba. Smartly, Russia sends Anastas Ivanovich Mikoyan, who held business contacts in the US, to the states as a guest of the Russian ambassador. Fidel hears of Mikoyans arrival in the US and invites him to visit Cuba. Although Mikoyan is traveling throughout the island, looking things over, Castro still has not identified himself as a Communist quite yet. In May of 1960, diplomatic relations between Russia and Cuba are established following Mikoyans visit to the island. One reason why Cuba has turned to Russia is because the US had cut off their oil supplies and imposed an economic embargo on the island because of the naturalization of US owned companies and citizens by the Cuban government. This calls for a massive oil shipment from the Soviets but unfortunately, Russia was unable to handle such a demand because of their limited overseas shipping capabilities. Subsequently, Russia puts an order for extra oil tankers from Italy, a capitalist country. When Italy agrees to the business proposition, the US is infuriated that another capitalist country was willing to help a communist country. Italy saw it as nothing more than an opportunity to make extra money, regardless of opposing economic systems.
Back in Cuba, Castro has begun to make enemies for himself. The many policies he has instilled angered many who fought beside him in the revolution to overthrow Batista and many didnt approve of the socialist reforms he made such as the naturalization of businesses and his collectivization of agriculture. Castro felt he needed protection against the United States and because Cuban forces mainly used small arms and guerilla warfare, Russia sent in tanks, artillery and attack planes as well as instructors on how to use the new technologies. The former Russian ambassador in Cuba was then replaced after Khrushchev soon realized that he worsened relations with Cuba instead of bettering them. A journalist replaced him by the name of Alekseyev who was friendly with Fidel and his brother, Raul. Alekseyev was seen to be much better suited for his position and worked well with the Cuban government because he was already known and trusted by them. By the early 1960s, Castro has openly endorsed Communism with his many appointments of communist leaders in key positions of the Cuban government. As time, went on, Cuba became increasingly dependent on military and economic aid provided by the Soviet Union. Russia made up much of the Cuban trade interactions including the purchase of sugar and nickel. The American government became aware of Cubas growing success and began to wonder if Cuba would act as an example of successful Socialism, persuade other countries in the Western Hemisphere to revert to a socialist form of government or even serve as a base for anti-American propaganda. The United States was more threatened than ever by this socialist island nation on the rise.

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The Cuban Missile Crisis
The date is October 14th, 1962. U.S. spy planes are making a pass over Cuba, particularly, an area where much activity is spotted. A Soviet-managed construction site is visible and photographs are taken of the site. It is soon confirmed that the first of many medium/intermediate range ballistic missiles have been spotted. Frantically, President Kennedy secretly meets with his advisory staff to question the approach. On October 22, Kennedy announces a naval blockade aimed at preventing offensive missile weaponry into Cuba on Russian


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