cuban missile crisis

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cuban missile crisis

"Nuclear catastrophe was hanging by a thread ... and we weren't counting days or hours, but minutes."Soviet General and Army Chief of Operations, Anatoly Gribkov

The closest the World has ever been to nuclear war was with The Cuban Missile Crisis. The lives of millions lay in the ability of President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev to reach an agreement. The crisis began when the United States discovered that just ninety miles from the coast of Florida, the Soviet Union had set up nuclear missiles. On October 22, Kennedy announced the discovery of the missile installations to the public and his decision of the naval quarantine around the island.

He also announced that any nuclear missile launched from Cuba would be regarded as an attack on the United States by the Soviet Union and demanded that the Soviets remove all of the missiles from Cuba. For thirteen days the two major superpowers of the world were on the verge of a nuclear war.

The events leading up to the missile crisis as explained by Dinerstein were the long years of Cold War hostility and the revolutions occurring in countries of Latin America. The Soviet Union’s fear of losing the race in the weapons department and Cuba’s fear of an invasion by the United States sparked those thirteen stress filled days. In 1960 the United States imposed an embargo that cut off trade between the United States and Cuba because it was afraid that Castro would establish a Communist regime. Castro was determined not to give in to the pressure that was put on by the United States and decided to establish closer relations with the Soviet Union. An attempt was made by the United States to disintegrate Castro’s rule with the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The United States was easily defeated by Castro’s army. His victory during the Bay of Pigs Invasion asserted Castro's rule over Cuba. Most Cubans resented the intervention by the United States in Cuban affairs. This resentment caused Castro’s supporters to increase in large numbers. With a confirmed rule over Cuba, Castro declared the island a Communist nation.

Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev made the wrong assumption by thinking that the United States would not take any action when it supplied Cuba with nuclear war heads.
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