Thirteen Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

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Robert F. Kennedy's chilling account of his experiences with his brother, President John F. Kennedy over thirteen days in October of 1962 give an idea to the reader of just how alarmingly close our country came to nuclear war. Kennedy sums up the Cuban Missile Crisis as "a confrontation between two atomic nations...which brought the world to the abyss of nuclear destruction and the end of mankind."1 The author's purpose for writing this memoir seems to be to give readers an idea of the danger confronted during the Cuban Missile Crisis and to reflect on the lessons we should learn from it as a country, and for future members of government. The Cuban Missile Crisis began with a set of photographs taken over Cuba by an American pilot.2 These photographs showed that Russians were building missile bases in Cuba and placing missiles and atomic weapons there that were easily within range of the United States. President JFK and Robert Kennedy were both stunned. From this point a board of advisors was created and called the Ex Comm, who met every day during those thirteen days and debated the various courses of actions, and consequences of each, that the president could take. Kennedy emphasizes the making of this board as a lesson for future government officials because he believes that it "proved conclusively how important it is that the President have the recommendations and opinions of more than one...point of view."3 The situation continued to escalate from this point. Kennedy met with the Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin on several occasions, and he consistently claimed that Soviet Chairman Nikita Khrushchev assured him that "there would be no...offensive weapons placed in Cuba."4 The President decided on a course of ... ... middle of paper ... ...e thirteen days JFK and Robert Kennedy always keep in mind the perspective of the Russians, taking great care not to back them into a corner, or give them no choice but to react violently. Footnotes: Kennedy, Robert F., Thirteen Days (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1968) 19 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 19 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 86 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 21 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 40 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 49 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 68 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 71 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 73 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 75 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 82 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 84 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 94 Kennedy, Thirteen Days, 95
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