The Cuban Missile Crisis

Powerful Essays
When President John F. Kennedy failed with the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in 1961, the United States started placing fifteen Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic missiles (IRBM) near Izmir, Turkey. Even though President Kennedy said that these missiles might have "questionable strategic value" the Soviet Premier, Nikita Khrushchev, made America aware of his anger and distain regarding Kennedy’s decision. Khrushchev believed that these missiles were not only an offense to him, but to his country as well. However, the United States also possessed nuclear submarines which posed an even greater threat than the IRBM’s. The Soviet Union came to realize that they were extremely outmatched in the area of nuclear weapons and the decision by Nikita Khrushchev to place missiles in Cuba was made. It was not until a U-2 spy plane, piloted by Richard Heyser, captured pictures of possible missile sites in Cuba, that the United States became aware of the present danger. The Soviets did, however, deny the accusations made the by the United States regarding the missiles in Cuba. The events during the thirteen days that followed became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis; a nuclear standstill between the Soviet Union and the United States. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the United States has ever come to participating in nuclear war, and the trepidation experienced by Americans spanning those thirteen days was unmatched throughout history.

At that time, the United States was aware of the missiles in Cuba and the Soviets also knew that the United States possessed knowledge of those missiles as well. The United States was at its highest state of readiness in history (DEFCON-3) and the Soviets were prepared to use their nuclear wea...

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..., killing millions. Intelligence needs to be confirmed and the government needs to act based on that information and not false accusations. Unfortunately, many of these lessons have been forgotten by the United States government and they continue to carry out operations based on falsified intelligence.

The thirteen days during the Cold War, known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, impacted the country like no other event in history has. Millions of people were at risk on both the American side and the Soviet side. Any misguided decision could have proven to be a fatal mistake and the consequences unimaginable. Due to the fast acting and smart decision making by President Kennedy, the United States and the Soviet Union were saved from an almost imminent nuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis brought the United States closer than it has ever been to a nuclear war.
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