The Cuban Missile Crisis
The world was at the edge of a third world war. This was the result of a variety of things: the Cuban Revolution, the failure of the Bay of Pigs invasion, US anti-communism, insecurity of the Soviet Union, and Cuba's fear of invasion all made causes for war. However, war was not the result due to great cooperation from both President Kennedy and President Khrushchev and each of the decisions made by the leaders was crucial in the outcome of The Crisis. Kennedy's choice to take action by means of quarantine instead of air-strike and Khrushchev's decision to abide by the quarantines were perhaps the two most significant decisions made by the leaders in order to prevent war. The Cuban Missile Crisis showed the world that compromising and discussion can in-fact prevent war. As Khrushchev said in 1962, "They talk about who won and who lost. Human reason won. Mankind won." 1 The world had almost seen another world war, the effects of which would have been devastating because of the weapons involved. Humanity, indeed, was the prevention of the war.
The Cuban Revolution was a background cause to the crisis. On January 1st, 1959 a Marxist regime in Cuba would have seemed unlikely. To the communist party in Cuba, Fidel Castro appeared tempestuous, irresponsible and stubbornly bourgeois. In 1943 President Batista appointed a communist to his Cabinet, as he used communists as leaders of the labor unions. Batista started to fail the Cuban communists and their loyalties transferred gradually to Castro, completely by 1958. On December 1st, 1961 Castro declared himself a Marxist and claimed he had always been a revolutionary, studying Das Kapital of Karl Marx. Most Cubans idolized Castro, supported his government and at least accepted his measures.2 He claimed to have a desire to help the poor and said he would have found it impossible to follow the dictates of a single philosophy. His first action in power was to reduce all rents on the island, making the land owners, many of who were American, unhappy. In 1960 Castro was swiftly pushing Cuba to the left, and as a result many Cubans left, along with the American investors. There was so much opposition to Castro's developments that he created a Committee for Defense of the Revolution out of fear of invasion from the US, internal guerrilla uprisings, and black marketing "counterrevolutionary activity".
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The Cuban Missile Crisis was a major event in U.S History that almost led to nuclear destruction. It was over a period of thirteen days in which diplomats from the U.S and the Soviet Union were trying to reach a peaceful resolution so that they wouldn’t have to engage in physical warfare. The crisis was the hallmark of the Cold War era which lasted from the 1950’s to the late 1980’s. The Cold War was a power struggle between the U.S and Soviet Union in which the two nations had a massive arms race to become the strongest military force. The U.S considered Communism to be an opposing political entity, and therefore branded them as enemies. Khrushchev’s antagonistic view of Americans also played a big role in the conflict. The Cold War tensions, coupled with a political shift in Cuba eventually lead to the military struggle known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Cuban Missile Crisis was the point of most tension and near collapse causing the Cold War to almost shift from a passive and underground struggle to a violent and catastrophic one.
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