The Soviet War Of The Cold War

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Introduction “We were eyeball to eyeball and the other fellow just blinked.” Dean Rusk’s famous quote at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis highlights how close the world came to a nuclear war during this fateful 13 days in October of 1962. The crisis started when the Soviet Union, under its leader Nikita Khrushchev, deployed nuclear missiles to Cuba. An agreement for the removal of the Soviet weapons in return for a US non-invasion pledge of Cuba, and the secret withdraw of American Jupiter missiles in Turkey ended the confrontation. There is little doubt that the Soviet missiles in Cuba triggered one of the most dangerous crises of the Cold War, but Khrushchev’s motives to a risk a confrontation with the United States are still subject to discussion. In this essay, I will evaluate the Soviet objects behind the deployment of nuclear missiles to Cuba. My thesis is that Khrushchev actions were mainly motived by strategic considerations, which can be divided into two parts: First, the Soviet Union was lagging behind the United States in terms of long range delivery systems for nuclear warheads and had to find a way to overcome this “missile gap.” Second, the Soviet Union perceived a geostrategic encirclement from American military bases in Europe, surrounding its homeland. Nuclear weapons in Cuba would then serve as an additional Soviet means of deterrence against the United States. In addition, I will look at the Cuban Missile Crisis through the lenses of realism in order to put the behavior of the two Cold War rivals in the larger context of international relations. In this essay, I will first outline the basic assumptions of realism, then elaborate on Khrushchev’s motives for the deployment of missiles to Cuba and at the ... ... middle of paper ... ...he USSR more than twice as much and take considerably longer to add to its ICBM strike capability from the USSR as great an increment as the potential salvo from Cuban launching sides.” American evaluations illustrate that the Soviet missile deployment Cuba had the potential to alter the strategic balance. Arguments like those of McNamara, which solely looked at the military aspect were in a minority, and many in the Kennedy administration recognized the strategic significance of Soviet missile. From a Soviet perspective the missile in Cuba compensated for the “missile gap” and ensured the Soviet first- or second-strike capability without relying exclusively on ICBMs. The Soviet reaction to the “missile gap” shows that Khrushchev behaved in accordance with the realist perspective by relying on self-help in order to maintain the Soviet Union’s power and security.

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