In the year of 1962, the world came the closest it has ever been to nuclear war. From October 18th to the 26th, there was great fear that Russian nuclear weapons, stationed on the island of Cuba, less the two hundred miles off the coast of the United States, would be used against the Americans. This brief period is known as the Cuban missile crisis. How did this crisis happen however? How did Russian nuclear weapons, get stationed so close to the United States, and why would the Russians station them in Cuba in the first place. What animosities were felt between not only Russia and the United States but also Cuba and the United States? Finally, how was this crisis averted without any loss of life? This event can be seen as a turning point in the Century, when two countries, with the power to destroy themselves, seek alternate modes of political interaction, when the only other choice was war.
Ever since Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba in 1959, he felt that the American government wished to de-thrown him, and re-place a government, much like the one of Fulgencio Batista, which they could influence and manipulate. Directly after Castro came to power, the United States stopped buying sugar imported from Cuba. The Americans also stopped selling oil to Cuba, which was desperately needed for most day to day life. The American attempts to do away with Castro were also carried out with more militaristic means then simply trade embargos, in 1961, under guidance by the CIA, Cuban exiles staged an attack on the Bay of Pigs. Although this attack was quickly repulsed by Cuba, it showed Castro the extent of the Americans will to demise Castro's government. It is not surprising why the two powers became allies. For Cuba, Russia offered new trade opportunities, as well as military goods, training, and protection. For Russia, Cuba offered a foothold into mainland United States. This alliance laid the ground for the missile stations in Cuba, and the Missile Crisis itself.