Essay on The Cuban Missile Crisis

Essay on The Cuban Missile Crisis

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The Cuban Missile Crisis is one of the most studied events in world history. Never did the United States come that close to engaging in a nuclear war with another nation than it did during that time. The 1960s was a period of unrest as the world watched the United States and the Soviet Union engage in the tense nuclear arms race of the Cold War. The United States was in a position of almost complete global superiority, but this would not go unchallenged. Unknown to U.S. intelligence, the Soviet Union was secretly aligning short and long range nuclear warheads on the island of Cuba. After the missiles were uncovered by the military, the American government had to devise a plan to block the potential threat to national security and regional interest; after the earlier Bay of Pigs failure, plans against Castro and Khrushchev had to be strategic and precise. Hence, the famous 13 day political and military standoff between the Soviet Union and the U.S government. The tactics used would shape the foreign policy decision making into one that was based on public perception and information control. This research paper will discuss the difference between information released to the public and what was actually known and planned by the American government during the Cuban Missile Crisis and how that translates into the American foreign policy decision making process.

On October 14, 1962, an American U-2 spy plane photographed Soviet nuclear missile sites in Cuba, but it was not until the following day that the National Security Adviser,
Stallworth 2

McGeorge Bundy, informed President Kennedy of the si...


... middle of paper ...


... a final decision for a viable course of action. Kennedy issued a statement months prior saying while he did not expect any missile deployment in Cuba, “the gravest issues will arise” should such a deployment actually occur. This statement would inevitably impact his decision, for the president knew his words could not be contradicted. Given the choice between limited action in the form of a blockade and military action that might become unstoppable so Kennedy favored the more moderate approach of a blockade. It was then announced that the United States would establish a blockade around Cuba to prevent any other offensive weapons from entering Fidel Castro’s state. Kennedy also warned the Soviets that any nuclear attack from Cuba would be treated as an act of war from the Soviet Union, and as a result, the United States would retaliate in an “appropriate” manner.

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