As the end of World War II drew near, world politics began to change. Germany, the wartime superpower was crushed; Britain, a major world giant before the war, was destitute. The world was tired of fighting, and many nations (on both sides) were weak from the effort expended on victory. But two countries rose to greater heights in the postwar era: the United States and the Soviet Union. They were very different from each other, but had one thing in common, pride. America was cocky, used to getting its way, while Russia was sneaky, and frivolous with its new power. They both sought ways to manipulate foreign policy and gain greater dominion. Eventually, their efforts crossed, and what resulted is the Cuban Missile Crisis. This conflict between Russia and the United States was an intense event, from its beginnings, to the roles of Russian and American leaders, and finally to its non-violent conclusion.
In discussing the Cuban Missile Crisis, there are several events that made this the climax of the Cold War. First, America's attack on a sovereign nation in an attempt to overthrow their existing government was a complete failure, and set America at odds with Cuba. Such failure at Bay of Pigs allowed the communists to remain and Fidel Castro to take power. President Kennedy realized that he had "made a tragic mistake" (Doc G) with his interference in Cuban affairs, and on October 14, 1962, when aerial photos of Cuba showed Russian missile sites in construction (Doc M), he realized the threat. Calling together a committee called Excon, top military officials in America discussed what should be done. Intelligence showed that Russia had a possible 32 missiles and 30,000 soldiers in Cuba (Brinkley). The debates within Excon finally settled around the moral issues of a pre-emptive attack on Cuba. America would be recreating Pearl Harbor, only this time as the aggressors, if they attacked.