Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban missile crisis refers to a dangerous and direct confrontation between the Soviet Union and the United States during the era of the Cold War. This crisis marked the closes moment during which the two countries were almost engaging in a nuclear conflict. This crisis has been considered unique by most analysts for various reasons.
It featured miscommunications, secret and direct communications between the two countries. Its main characteristic was that it was played out primarily in the Kremlin and White House level with little input from respective bureaucracies’ involvement in the foreign policies of the two countries.
After a failed attempt by the United States to overthrow the Cuba regime of Fidel Castro through the invasion of the Bay of Pigs as well as the planned Operation Mongoose by the Kennedy administration in July 1962, the premier of the Soviet Union, Nikita Khrushchev reached an agreement secretly with Fidel Castro, the premier of Cuba to place nuclear missiles of the Soviet Union in Cuba. The missiles were aimed at deterring any possible invasion attempt in the future.
Late in the summer, construction of missile sites started in Cuba but the intelligence of the United States discovered that there was evidence of the Soviet Union arms being built in Cuba. These included the IL-28 Soviet Union bombers. The discovery was made during the regular surveillance flights.
On 4th September 1962, the U.S president Kennedy warned against the public that offensive weapons are being introduced in Cuba. On 4th October, the U-2 aircraft of the United States took pictures that clearly shown the sites of intermediate range and medium range ballistic nuclear weapons or missiles as well as IRBMs that were being constructed in Cuba. The images were presented to White House after processing in the following day. This precipitated the start of the Cuban missile crisis.
President Kennedy called his advisers so that they consider the right action to take and the available options. The aim of summoning the advisers was to resolve this crisis. Among the advisers involved were the Joint Chiefs of Staff who argued that an air strike would destroy these missiles and then followed by Cuba invasion by the U.S. however, there were advisers who suggested issuance of a stern warning to the Soviet Union and Cuba.
The president ordered a naval quarantine in Cuba on 22nd October. This quarantine distinguished the move from blockade legally. It also enabled the U.S to get support from the American states organization. Kennedy also sent Khrushchev a letter in the same day declaring that the U.S would not allow delivery of offensive weapons in Cuba. He demanded that the missile bases under construction or already constructed in Cuba to be dismantled. Nevertheless the crisis continued with the response from the Soviet Union and at some point it reached virtual stalemate.
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