Cuban Missile Crissis Essay, Research Paper
The Cuban Missile
December 11, 1998
Back in 1962 most people thought there could not be a nuclear war. It was a time occupied by the Cold War. They were wrong. The U.S.A, Soviet Union, and Cuban countries were so close they could feel nuclear war breathing down their necks. The people of the U.S. were so close to being incinerated, and they didn’t even know it. The Soviets had such a build up of missiles in Cuba they could have wiped-out most of the continental United States. The build up of these missiles, and the problems faced in October of 1962 are known as the Cuban missile Crisis.
On October twenty second, 1962, John F. Kennedy, who that evening revealed the presence of Soviet missiles on Cuba, the crisis was nearly a weak old. In President Kennedy?s television broadcast, he informed the population that U.S. surveillance of the Soviet military build-up on the island of Cuba had uncovered a series of offensive missile sites now in preparation to fire. This declared that the purpose of these bases could be none other than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere. Kennedy called for a prompt dismantling and withdrawal of all offensive weapons under the United Nations supervision. In one minor aspect, Kennedy was mistaken. The soviet decision only seemed sudden. Actually taken five months earlier, it was both a high-stakes gamble and the logical product of sustained provocation. More importantly, the President misread the Kremlin?s motives. Gaining a nuclear strike capability was not Khrushev?s only or main purpose. In Fact, the soviet leader had persuaded his politburo colleagues that U.S. aggression against Cuba was all too likely and could only be overcome by the installation of the medium-range R-12 ballistic missiles and intermediate-range R-14 ballistic missiles and that specially trained people had to go Cuba to make them operational.
Between October fourteenth and October twenty-eighth 1962 the world was never closer to a nuclear war, than the events that happened during those thirteen days of the Cuban missile crisis. In The crisis involved three countries, with three leaders. The United States had John F. Kennedy, the Soviet Union had Nikita Khrushchev, and Cuba had Fidel Castro, a dictator over Fulgenico Bftista. These three countries are linked together in one of the most amazing movements in the cold war. ?Throughout the late summer and early autumn of 1962, Americans became increasingly disturbed at the rapid buildup of Soviet military assistance to the Republic of Cuba. The approach of the congressional elections in November only exacerbated the situation for the Kennedy administration as Republican senators inflamed the domestic scene by calling for an invasion of Cuba.? 1
The Soviet Union and Cuba were together against the United States in hope to damage the United States credibility to other countries, and to gain greater influence over Latin America. The situation increased in intensity as the governments of the United States and the Soviet Union exchanged hostile statements. The Kremlin indicated that the increase of arms and technicians to Cuba was required by the continuous threats by aggressive imperialist circles with respect to Cuba.
On the twenty-fifth of October, U-2 planes took pictures of the missiles in Cuba. President Kennedy ordered the missiles withdrawn from Cuba, but Khrushchev would not withdraw. ?There where five theories as possible reasons for the Soviet emplacement of missiles in Cuba: (1) Cold war politics to test U.S. resolve, (2) a diversion to cover a Soviet move on Berlin, (3) defense of Cuba to strengthen the Soviet Union in a contest with the people?s Republic of China, (4) leverage for bargaining for the withdrawal of U.S. overseas bases, and (5) a means of altering the strategic balance of power. President Kennedy regarded the third and fifth reasons as providing likely, but insufficient motives for what he considered a drastic and dangerous departure from traditional soviet foreign and military policies.?2 The United States took an estimate and figured that the Soviets and Cubans could only have about forty-four sub-launched Polaris missiles and about one-hundred bombers on Cuba, and the United States had one-hundred fifty-six ICBM missiles ready to go along with one-hundred forty-four sub-launched Polaris missiles and one-thousand three-hundred bombers. ?Commenting on possible Soviet motives, Taylor Maxwell lists five plausible reasons for the Soviets emplacing missiles in Cuba: (1) to defend Cuba from U.S. invasion, (2) to increase with a minimum of Soviet Financial expenditures the coverage of U.S. targets by strategic nuclear weapons, (3) to bargain the removal of Soviet missiles in Cuba for the removal of U.S. missiles in Turkey and Italy, (4) to divert the United States from the defense of Berlin, and (5) to strengthen Khrushchev?s leadership in the Soviet Politburo.?3 The United States had more missiles and bombers than the Soviet and Cuban forces. After that, during September, President Kennedy increased the schedule of U-2 reconnaissance flights over Cuba. Each of these flights confirmed that their was more and more to discover in Cuba. But that didn’t matter much because the Soviet and Cuban forces already had major cities, including New York and Washington D.C., targeted with missiles. With these cities targeted the Soviets and Cubans had the power to kill two-hundred-million people a day.
One course of action taken was before the crisis, about twenty months before . This was called Bay of Pigs. The invasion started on April seventeenth 1961 and ended on April nineteenth. The force used for the invasion wasn’t United States soldiers, but about one-thousand five hundred Cuban exiles. The invasion was unsuccessful because the transport ships of the invaders got caught on seaweed in the bay. Three-hundred of the exiles were killed and the remaining one-thousand two-hundred survivors were captured. After the crisis, in December of 1962, the United States exchanged $53 million worth of U.S. supplies to Cuba for the safe return of the exiles.
Another course of action taken was a full naval blockade. The blockade was to pressure the Soviets to remove the missiles. The U.S. ships stopped all ships going to Cuba to check for missiles or parts. Also, so the United States could learn about the situation.
President Kennedy?s desire for personal and national prestige dictated his response to the Soviet venture in Cuba. He spurned the normal diplomatic channels in favor of a naval blockade, an act of war. Rather than present to the Soviet Union and ultimatum in private before the presence of the missiles was of the United States was disclosed to the world, Kennedy decided to place the prestige of the United States on the line by public confrontation.
While Kennedy?s fame increased during the crisis by his dispelling any illusion that the United States would not fight for what it considered its vita interests, credit for the resolution of the crisis belongs to Khrushchev.
On the twenty-eighth of October, Castro panicked and said he was going to have the missiles fired, Khrushchev thought that was unnecessary and gave into U.S. demands. On the twenty-eighth Khrushchev ordered the missiles out of Cuba, and the crisis ended without a nuclear war. After the crisis was over Kennedy, chose not to say or do anything that might be degrading to Castro, Kennedy didn’t want to humiliate him any more.
In January of 1991 six of Kennedy’s top aids with Fidel Castro, Rail Castro, and some Russians, met in a conference room in Havana Cuba to discuss the crisis and other issues like: Castro’s efforts to overthrow Central American Governments, the Bay of Pigs invasion, and Operation Mongoose. Also talked about was Cuba’s guerrilla training on the Aisle of Youth. The conference went well and the issues were better understood afterward.
In conclusion, the Cuban Missile Crisis was a major conflict for the world, the cold war, and the Soviet, Cuban, and United States. The United States was so close to a nuclear war, but had the wits and brains to prevent it. If the crisis did go nuclear chances are we wouldn’t be here today.