The Cuban Missile

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13 days in October of 1962 were quite possibly the tensest in the on-going confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Popularly known as the Cuban Missile Crisis in the West, it involved the Soviet plan for placing medium and short-range ballistic nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba was a bold gamble by the Kremlin and Khrushchev. Dino A. Brugioni states, “On 15 October (1962), interpreting a U-2 mission flown over Cuba…, NPIC discovered two medium-range ballistic missile sites under construction…”1 This discovery started a drama that would have the world holding its breath for nearly two weeks. It is common knowledge about the outcome of the crisis. How President Kennedy ordered a naval blockade of Cuba, while at the same time negotiating terms for withdrawal of missiles with Soviet Prime Minister Khrushchev.
The Pentagon advised President Kennedy on three possible courses of action. One was containment, utilizing a naval blockade. He chose this path. Second was an airstrike to destroy the missile launch sites. Thirdly, was an all-out invasion of Cuba to destroy the missile sites and secondly, as an after-thought, to oust the Revolutionary Communist Cuban leader Fidel Castro. What would have been the outcome of option three, with the United States choosing to invade mainland Cuba in order to secure their interest and destroy the Soviet missile sites? Would the invasion on a Soviet protectorate and ally have escalated to a nuclear confrontation with the Soviet Union? Was the Soviet Union prepared for all-out war? Was the Cuban missile move a large gamble that might have paid off if the United States was not willing to take action? This paper attempts to answer those questions and det...

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Dr. Swedin, Eric. Interviewed by Jonny O’Callaghan, What if the Cuban Missile Crisis had escalated into nuclear war?, July 22, 2013,

Dr. Swedin, Eric. “The Ultimate What-If of the Cuban Missile Crisis: What If There Had Been a Nuclear War?,” History News Network,
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