Thirteen Days by Robert F. Kennedy

Thirteen Days by Robert F. Kennedy

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Thirteen days is a historical account of the Cuban Missile Crisis. It is told from the perspective of Robert F. Kennedy, senator and brother to President John F. Kennedy. It is an account of the thirteen days in October of 1962. It lasted from the 16th to the 28th. During this time many crucial events in United States.

These thirteen days were the time period in which the fate of the world was decided. The focus of the book was on the decision of both the United States and Russia. The United States had to come to an agreement on what measures would be taken in order to prevent further establishment of Russian missiles in Cuba. No one could really agree on what actions to take "And so we argued, and so we disagreed- all dedicated, intelligent men, disagreeing and fighting about the future of their country, and of mankind."¹ The missiles were being brought to Cuba by Russian leader, Nikita Khrushchev, who guaranteed President Kennedy that the missiles would never be used as a weapon against the United States. This was a lie. Khrushchev fully intended to use the missiles as a mechanism of defense against the United States and as a way to further pursue a relationship with Fidel Castro who was the President of Cuba at the time. The United States needed to find a way to stop the development of missile sites without causing a break out of violent warfare.

The account is told from Robert F. Kennedy's point of view. Kennedy was a key player in the decisions made during the thirteen days of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy believed that the United States should try and resolve The Cuban Missile Crisis peacefully and that the United States needed to try and avoid resolving to violent measures. Kennedy took over for his brother, the President on many occasions. He led important meetings and tried to negotiate an understanding with the other cabinet members who were involved. At first he believed that a blockade around Cuba would be the right maneuver and his proposal was supported by the majority of the other members. Soon he realized though that the Russians were not planning on negotiating or dealing with this matter in any peaceful manner. Though apposed to it Kennedy moved for an air strike. He was very uncomfortable with the idea and he showed this with his remark to the president of "I now know how Tojo felt when he was planning Pearl Harbor.

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"² Robert F. Kennedy decided that the best way to deal with the crisis was to try and secretly negotiate an understanding with the Russians without the approval of Nikita Khrushchev. He began to speak with the Soviet Ambassador, Anatoly Dobrynin and he told him of what the President wanted. The Russian leaders paid close attention to these conversations because Robert F. Kennedy was the President's brother and he was relaying exactly what John F. Kennedy, The President of the United States wanted and was trying to work for. Through these conversations Kennedy was able to work out a deal with Dobrynin and Khrushchev causing the Russians to halt construction of missile sites and remove the missiles from Cuba.

Reading this book has completely changed my view on the Cuban Missile Crisis. I have discussed the topic in my history classes but never knew the true importance of the decisions made during these thirteen days. The events that took place decided the future of the United States of America. Robert F. Kennedy was not only a senator but he was also the second most important player in the ending of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the brother of the President, John F. Kennedy himself. His efforts single handedly ended the construction of Russian weaponry in Cuba and ended the major conflict between The United States and Russia. Before reading this book I thought The Cuban Missile Crisis was just another minuscule
fact in United States history but I have now come to realize that it was much more than that. This event was and remains one of the most important events in the history of not only the United States and Russia but it is a key factor in the future of the entire world. The book was an excellent display of the real life characters and events that took place in October of 1962. Robert F. Kennedy's account is very informative and really portrays the significance of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
*quotes came directly from the book Thirteen Days, written by Robert F. Kennedy.
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