Many agree that the Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world ever
came to nuclear war; but exactly how close did it come?The Crisis was
ultimately a showdown between the United States and the Soviet Union from
October 16 to October 28, 1962.During those thirteen stressful days, the
world's two biggest superpowers stood on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe.
The Crisis started as a result of both the Soviet Union's fear of losing the
arms race, and Cuba's fear of US invasion.
The Soviet Premier, Nikita
Khrushchev, thought that both problems could easily be solved by placing
Soviet medium range missiles in Cuba.This deployment would double the
Soviet arsenal and protect Cuba from US invasion.Khrushchev proposed this
idea to Cuban Premier, Fidel Castro, who, like Khrushchev, saw the strategic
advantage.The two premiers worked together in secrecy throughout the
late-summer and early-fall of 1962.The Soviets shipped sixty medium-range
ballistic missiles (MRBMs) along with their warheads, launch equipment, and
necessary operating personnel to Cuba.
When United States President, John
F. Kennedy discovered the presence of these offensive weapons, he
immediately organized EX-COMM, a group of his twelve most important
advisors.They spent the next couple of days discussing different possible
plans of action and finally decided to remove the US missiles from Turkey
and promise not to invade Cuba in exchange for the removal of all offensive
weapons in Cuba.On October 28, Khrushchev sent Kennedy a letter stating
that he agreed to the terms Kennedy stated, and the crisis ended.
The Cuban Missile Crisis can be blamed on the insecurity of Cuba and
the Soviet Union.After the United States' unsuccessful attempt to overthrow
Castro and end communism in Cuba at the Bay of Pigs in 1961, Castro was
fearful of another US invasion.The US Armed Forces conducted …