How Close To Nuclear War Did The

Cuban Missile Cri Essay, Research Paper HOW CLOSE TO NUCLEAR WAR DID THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS COME?Neither Khrushchev nor Castro seemed to have any fear that missile placement in Cuba would lead to a nuclear war. The U.S. believed that the Soviets were planting nuclear missiles in Cuba as response to American installation in Turkey.

Cuban Missile Cri Essay, Research Paper

HOW CLOSE TO NUCLEAR WAR DID THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS COME?Neither Khrushchev nor Castro seemed to have any fear that missile placement in Cuba would lead to a nuclear war. The U.S. believed that the Soviets were planting nuclear missiles in Cuba as response to American installation in Turkey. The intention of the missiles was protection from invasion of the island by U.S. troops who had supposedly been moved to the eastern U.S.A. “U.S. intelligence had estimated that there were 10,000 Soviet troops and 40,000 Cuban troops on the island. In actual fact there were 40,000 Soviet troops, and the Cuban soldiers numbered 270,000.” (Anonymous, November 7, 1983, Time, p. 50 ” The Soviets also had 20 warheads which could have been fitted in hours.” ( Anonymous, Time, November 7, 1983, Time, p. 50)Monday, October 15Photographs of Cuba were first analyzed by specialists in the early evening. At 8:30 pm a CIA agent telephoned McGeorge Bundy, the president’s special advisor on national security affairs. A briefing was held at Gen. Maxwell Taylor’s home for some of the defense department. Tuesday, October 16Intelligence experts had worked that night on a report. At 8:00 am an intelligence officer delivered the report to Bundy at the White House. Before 9:00 the message had been delivered to the president. From this point forward pressures and tension built in Washington. At 11:45 the executive Committee of the National Security Council assembled. Here they considered the alternatives ahead of them. These included doing nothing, and losing credibility, bombing the Cuban bases or invading Cuba, and lastly a blockade. “President Kennedy planned on an air strike, at least on the missiles, as something ” we are certainly going to do.” (anonymous, Time Nov.7 1983, p.50). Two decisions were made that evening. The first was to increase air surveillance of Cuba. Secondly they decided not to take any action until further information was gained, even though urgency was increasing.Wednesday, October 17The president was absent this day on speaking dates. The top level planning group met at the State Department. They discussed the possibilities of an air strike to remove the missiles. This would mean the bombing of airfields, aircraft, and all possible nuclear warhead storage sites. This would mean an awful lot of deaths, almost surely drawing a Russian retaliation. The possibility of a blockade was also discussed and looked promising, except for the legal issues. This is a prime example of how difficult decision making is under the stressful conditions of a crisis.The U-2’s provided more photographic evidence of missiles increasing urgency and thus tension. ” They provided more evidence of the medium range (1000 mile) missiles at San Cristobal and also showed intermediate range (2000 mile) sites under construction in the Guanajay area between San Cristobal and Havana. It was estimated intermediate range sites would be ready by 1 December. Later other intermediate sites were found at Remedios in eastern Cuba.” (Beggs, 1971, p. 19) This showed that the bases were being constructed, so there would be no time to waste, the Americans had to act quickly. This increased the pressure on the planning group to come to an immediate decision.Thursday, October 17Newspaper reports began writing about a buildup of air power in the southeastern United States. These reports were adding more pressure to the urgency of a quick solution. ” By the middle of the week there were 5000 marines at sea and 40 ships converging on the Caribbean.” (Beggs, 1971, p. 20)For the most part of the day the president was not at the State Department for crisis discussions. At 5:00 pm President Kennedy was to meet Andrei A. Gromyko in a conference scheduled prior to the crisis. Gromyko stated that any Russian action in Cuba was strictly defensive. Kennedy did not confront him with what he knew. That night investigation went into the legality of a blockade. As well the legal advisor of the U.S. was in Paris to stop trade from the west in to Cuba.Friday, October 19Before leaving for political campaigning the president expressed his approval towards a blockade, or in his words a quarantine. At 10:00 am the planners met. They discussed how to go about a blockade, and the chances of going with an air strike. Although work was done on alternatives, the decision went to the blockade. “That night the Defense Department’s general council was contacted by Deputy Nichol Katzenbach. He asked them to start drafting a blockade proclamation.” (Beggs, 1971, pp. 22) Many of the planners were questioning what reactions would take place due to the blockade. A proclamation of such a major action was bound to increase the pressure for all sides in the crisis. Saturday, October 20The president cancelled the rest of his trip, and would be flown back to Washington. “This was due to a slight infection of the upper respiratory tract, with one degree of fever. The story was false.”(Cook, 1972, p.65) Kennedy returned at 1:37 to the White House. He was then briefed and given the first of five drafts of a speech for Monday evening. That night the president ordered preparations for a blockade. It was to begin on his word the next day. By this point the public had an idea of some sort of problem. “The smell of crisis hung over Washington that evening.” (Beggs, 1971, P. 22) Preparations were being made for the speech Monday night at 7:00 pm. It was referred to as P hour. The crisis planners could only wait in suspense as to the world reaction. Sunday, October 21At 11:00 am there was a meeting of officials with the president. By noon the okay was given for the blockade plan. At 2:30 pm the National Security Council met with the Office of Emergency Planning. “43 letters were drafted for the heads of government of all alliances. Instructions were drafted for 60 embassies. As well a letter to Nikita Krushchev was delivered with a copy of the letter.” (Beggs, 1971, p. 20) Monday, October 22This was P day, the day the world would be told. At noon an announcement was made that the president would make an important speech of great urgency at 7:00 pm. In Cuba a newspaper was printing maps with the build up of American forces. Cuba was on alert for invasion. That evening the speech was given. The president began by talking about the evidence of missile sites. Kennedy said that he did not blame Cuba, but Russia. The same day Krushchev announced that the intent of the missiles was to prevent a war between the U.S.A. and Cuba. The president stated that he had ordered a quarantine of offensive weapons to Cuba. He added that preparation of missile sites must cease or further action would be taken. Finally he called upon Chairman Krushchev to withdraw weapons already there. “At a meeting for diplomatic correspondents the secretary of defense stated that whatever force is required, even sinking, would be used to prevent ships from trying to run the blockade. A letter was delivered to Valerian A. Zorin, head of the Soviet delegation to the United Nations, calling on him to summon a meeting of the council.” (Beggs, 1971, pp. 24) Included with the letter was a draft resolution demanding that the Russians were to dismantle and withdraw the missiles under United Nations verification. In Paris the North Atlantic Treaty Organization went over American reasons for their actions. General support was given by the allies. “On october 22 a less significant event took place. U.S. intelligence got word that a highly placed Russian spy (Col. Oleg Penkovsky), had sent a terrifying message from Moscow. Before arrest he was able to send a signal that the Soviets were about to launch a nuclear attack. CIA officers at the operational level chose to disregard the message. Fortunately the signal was not credited and never reached the director of Intelligence, the superior deputies, or the president and his advisors. Had the message been credible it would have prompted extreme alert and raised tensions and risks even more.” (Raymond L. Garthoff, October 26, 1987, Time, p.34)

Tuesday, October 23At 8:00 am Moscows first response arrived. The Russians called it a violation of international war, and provocative acts that might lead to thermonuclear war. They claimed their acts to Cuba were peaceful, and in no way for offensive purposes. This increased the space between the two nations as the Americans were not getting what they wanted. The American Foreign Office responded with a statement that Russia was deliberately threatening the United States. Both NATO and the Organization of American States were behind the United States blockade decision. To this point the pressure on the United States was great, but this is where the tension between the two countries (Russia), really began to build. Wednesday, October 24This is the first day of the blockade which began at 10:00 am. During the course of the day a Soviet ship was on, but changed course for Cuba. The coming of this ship caused a lot of pressure to build, and the change in course a great deal of relief. All was not well as the two nations began somewhat of a game of pressuring each other. A message that the proclamation was deemed unacceptable arrived from Moscow that morning. After the message bulletens were received that Premier Krushchev proposed a summit meeting. American officials simply looked at this as a stall for time. U Thant the acting Secretary General of the United Nations. He proposed a stop to everything for two weeks during which talks would go on. Krushchev accepted; however the Americans denied the proposal. The United States had already rejected negotiations until the missile bases had been dismantled. The president authorized low level reconnaissance flights of P 8Us, to join the U2s. These showed base work was continuing uninhibited. This increased tension, and the need for a quick resolution. Thursday, October 25Now came the time for the first contact, pressures intensified in the White House waiting for the reaction. The first contact of the blockade came at 8:00 on this Thursday morning. The tension of the first contact was felt through out Washington. “The Soviet oil tanker Bucharest was allowed to continue unsearched,on to Cuba as the Americans were satisfied its cargo was only petroleum.” (Beggs, 1971, p.26) “Twelve of twenty-five soviet ships on course for Cuba turned back. During this period of time tension multiplyed due to rumors that the Americans would invade Cuba or at least destroy the bases.” (Beggs, 1971, pp. 26) The Cubans were under a great deal of stress thinking they may be invaded. Meanwhile the Americans were fearing the approach of Russian ships, and their reactions. Friday, October 26By this time the United States government was tired of the Russians stalling tactics . At this point they increased the psychological pressure. The Americans had made it clear to Mr. Thant that they would settle for nothing less than the removal of the missiles. This simply seemed to increase the barrier of the nations involved in the crisis. Just before 8:00 am a vessel heading for Cuba was boarded without incident, and was permitted to continue. This was a great relief, at this time the slightest offensive action could have set off a war. Further relief arrived at 11:00 pm when the president received a letter from Krushchev, he made an offer to remove the missiles. This would be done in return for blockade removal, and assurance that Cuba would not be invaded by the western hemispheres nations. Saturday, October 27On this morning another letter arrived from Moscow. The premier offered to make a trade of Cuban bases for the American bases existing in Cuba. The tone and style of this letter brought back some of the pressure that had been relieved by the previous letter. Without rejecting the offer, the Americans replied that Cuba must be dealt with first as base construction was continuing. A shock hit the United States bringing with it all, and more of the tension and pressure the government was facing. This was a major incident bringing the crisis that much closer to war. At any earlier a time in the Crisis this may have lead to immediate nuclear war. It was the downing of a U-2 reconnaissance plane, and an attempt on a second by Cuban antiaircraft guns. Khrushchev was supposedly shocked, and evidence suggests that the order for the shooting came from Castro. “After talking with a Russian general Castro innocently asked which button he would press under an attack, and then pressed it” (Griffiths, 1986, p. 18) “Premier Fidel Castro was shouting defiance on Cuban television, vowing to shoot down the intruders.” (Beggs, 1971, p. 28) This nearly led to an American counter attack. “U.S. constingency plans called for an immediate attack on the SAM site in the event that a reconnaissance plane was destroyed. President Kennedy, almost too late to prevent the attack, overruled it.” (Garthoff, 1987, p. 34) Surveillance had to continue, and this meant fighter escorts and possible direct attack at antiaircraft weapons. The Americans decided to give them a little more time. They did however call up 14,000 air reserves. Washington drafted a new letter which generally ignored the second letter from Moscow. It said that if Krushchev was willing to remove the offensive weapons from Cuba, in return for removal of the blockade, and promise that there would be no attacks from the hemisphere, they had a deal. The letter was delivered at 7:00 pm. By this time in the crisis the shooting had begun. None of the officials expected a nuclear war, but the threat of having to remove antiaircraft weaponry was far from comfortable. Sunday, October 28This was a day of immense relief in the Crisis. Krushchev’s letter said he had ordered work on the missile sites stopped. The missiles were to be crated and returned to the U.S.S.R. This was all to be followed under the verification of the United Nations. The crisis had for the most part been resolved. The crisis was caused by the installation of ground to ground ballistic missiles in Cuba. Through out this time many unforeseen events took place, under great tension and pressure. There were two main points at which fear of nuclear war was greatest. These included the first contacts of the blockade, and the downing of a U.S. reconnaissance plane. Through the efforts of the leaders an agreement was reached. Kennedy’s demands were met by the removal of missiles. Many critics state that Kennedy gave away to much to resolve the crisis, while others feel it was a tacit agreement to free the world of the threat of nuclear war. The U.S. agreed to protect Cuba against attacks from the western hemisphere, and the removal of U.S. bases in Turkey. Missiles in Cuba were crated and returned to Russia leading to the end of the pressure and tension in the Cuban Missile Crisis itself. Bibliography Topic: How close to nuclear war did the world come to in the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. BOOKSBeggs, Robert, 1971, The Cuban Missile Crisis, London, Longman Group Ltd. Cook, Fred J., 1972, The Cuban Missile Crisis , United States, Franklin Watts Inc. Demarco, Neil, 1987, the World This Century, London, Unwin Hymen Ltd.Dinerstein, Herbert S., 1978, the Making of a Missile Crisis October 1962, Baltimore, Maryland, John Hopkins University PressGriffiths, John, 1986, The Cuban Missile Crisis , Great Britain, Wayland publishersHowarth, Tony, 1979, Twentieth Century History : The World Since 1900 , New York, Longman Inc. Kennedy, Robert F., 1971, Thirteen Days , Toronto, George J. McLoed Ltd.ARTICLESAnonymous, February 13, 1989, Time , vol. 133, Page 40AP 2 T37Anonymous, November 7, 1987, The Cuban Crisis Revisited, The Nation , vol. 245 page 507- 508Anonymous, November 7, 1983, A Near Tragedy of Errors, Time , Vol 122, page 50Cline, Ray S., Fall, 1989, Commentary: the Cuban Missile Crisis, Foreign Affairs, V. 68, p. 190- 196Garthoff, Raymond L., October 26, 1987, Cuba: Even Dicier Than We Knew, Newsweek, Vol. 110, page 34