The Cuban Missile Crisis came about when the United States (U.S.) and the Soviet Union almost began a nuclear war. It took place during the Cold War, specifically in October of 1962 (“The Presidencies,” p.13). The Soviets decided to help the Cubans after the Bay of Pigs Invasion by establishing missile sites within their country. However, the U.S. had surveillance flights regularly traveling over Cuba and noticed the growth of Soviet weapons. President Kennedy first delivered a public warning, but it did nothing because during more flights, pictures were taken of the missile sites under construction (“The Presidencies,” p.13). After discussing options on how to handle the situation, President Kennedy finally decided on setting up a quarantine. This quarantine was set up around Cuba by naval forces in order to prevent more weapons from entering the country. President Kennedy warned Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev through a letter to stop the building of these missile bases and to take the weapons out of Cuba (“The Presidencies,” p.13). He then announced the recent events to the nation over television.
Khrushchev did not respond well to the message and took it as a threat, continuing the Soviets work. Therefore, the U.S. naval forces took action and blocked any ships headed toward Cuba with weapons on board. With the situation only escalating, there seemed to be no resolution in the near future, and the U.S. prepared for war (“The Presidencies,” p.14). However, both nations did not want a nuclear war, so a message was delivered from the Soviets stating there could be a compromise. The Soviets would remove all of their missiles if the U.S. did not invade Cuba. Khrushchev sent two letters to President Kennedy, first describing how a nuclear war would be unnecessary, and then, that the U.S. would have to withdraw their missiles from Turkey. Ignoring the first letter, President Kennedy responded by promising the U.S. would not invade Cuba (“The Presidencies,” p.14). He later met with Khrushchev and agreed to the second letter. Lasting thirteen days, the Cuban Missile Crisis finally came to an end on October 28, 1962. The quarantine continued till all Soviet bombers were removed from Cuba, and then in April 1963, the U.S. removed their missiles in Turkey (“The Presidencies,” p.15).
The presidencies of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. (2013, October 31). Milestones: 19611968. Retrieved from https://content.umuc.edu/file/8b0301b2-6d9b-4c9a-9386-3c6936972e19/1/ThePresidenciesofJohnFKennedyandLyndon.pdf.
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