Cuban Missile Crisis

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Never before and hopefully never again have we been so close to nuclear war. Many nuclear warheads were poised for launch in Cuba aimed at the United States. Five times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb, the missiles might have meant the end of humanity. In the following will be described how close the world actually came to nuclear war.

On January 1, 1959, Fidel Castro was declared the premier of Cuba. From the start the U.S. saw Castro's ways to be communist, but he denied all accusations. The U.S. eventually saw through his act and cut off trade with Cuba on May 27, 1960. That's when Nikita Khrushchev, the premier of the Soviet Union, stepped in. Khrushchev agreed to ship the supplies needed to Cuba because of the cut off with the U.S. Khrushchev and Castro became allies and also good friends.

Then the U.S. started training Cuban exiles to deploy a surprise attack on Cuba. The operation was called Operation Pluto. On April 17, 1961 the troops were moved into a bay known as the Bay of Pigs. The exiles were quickly defeated. Those who weren't killed were held prisoner by the Cuban Government.

Khrushchev decided then to build missile bases and installations in Cuba so they would have the upper hand if the U.S. decided to retaliate against the Soviet Union. They would be able to launch intermediate range nuclear missiles back at the U.S. Florida being only about 95 miles away from Cuba would mean that the U.S. wouldn't be able to respond to a Russian counter-attack.

The next fourteen days are known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. On October 15, 1962 a U-2 reconnaissance aircraft spotted the missile installations and relayed the information to the U.S. Government. The next morning President John F. Kennedy was informed about the missiles during breakfast. October 17, Kennedy met with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrie Gromyko and said that the U.S. would not tolerate Soviet missiles in... Continue Reading