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Cuban Missile Crisis

            Although it may seem that the events of the Cuban Missile Crisis unfolded at a blinding pace, the entire incident actually was the culmination of a longer process. The Soviet Union was desperately behind the United States in the arms race. Soviet missiles were only powerful enough to be launched against Europe but U.S. missiles were capable of striking the entire Soviet Union. In June of 1961, while still in the early months of his presidency, John F. Kennedy attended a summit with Premier Khrushchev in Vienna to discuss cold war confrontations between the East and West, in particular the situation in Berlin. The failure of the two leaders to resolve any of their differences during the summit led Khrushchev to view Kennedy as a weak president who lacked the power to negotiate any significant concessions in the arms race. Acknowledged by the fact that the U.S. had more nuclear missiles than the Soviet arsenal, and, more importantly, that some of the American missiles were based a mere 150 miles from its boarders, in Turkey, the Soviet leadership grew increasingly desperate to somehow tip the balance of power in its favor. The crisis in Cuba may indeed have been the result of such accumulating anxiety among the Soviet political elite. .
             The growing tensions of the United States and Cuba followed after the rise of Fidel Castro in the Cuban Revolution of 1959. In 1960 the U.S set up trade embargos under the Platt Amendment to control Castro's growing Communist regime. Late April 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev sensed the U.S embargo as an opportunity to get behind "enemy lines- and eagerly extended his assistance by offering Cuba new trade opportunities easing the affects of U.S. sanctions and protection from hostilities. Castro approved of Khrushchev's plan since he was looking for a way to defend his island nation from an U.S. attack ever since the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 and Khrushchev saw that a deployment in Cuba would double the Soviet strategic arms and provide a restriction to a U.

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