Cuban Missile Crisis: A Pivotal Moment In The Cold War

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The Cuban Missile Crisis was a pivotal moment in the Cold War. Fifty years ago the United States and the Soviet Union stood closer to Armageddon than at any other moment in history. In October 1962 President John F. Kennedy was informed of a U-2 spy-plane’s discovery of Soviet nuclear-tipped missiles in Cuba. The President resolved immediately that this could not stand. Over an intense 13 days, he and his Soviet counterpart Nikita Khrushchev confronted each other “eyeball to eyeball,” each with the power of mutual destruction. A war would have meant the deaths of 100 million Americans and more than 100 million Russians.

The day is October
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→ This event failed to overthrow leader Fidel Castro and was a major embarrassment to Kennedy.
→ Tensions between Soviet Union further escalated. during the 1961 Berlin Crisis.
→ These events set the stage for the Cuban Missile Crisis
→ On October 15, 1962 Kennedy was informed of the discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba and called a meeting of a small circle of trusted advisors (known as the Executive Committee of the National Security Council, or ExComm).
→ He resisted pressure to react quickly with a surprise air strike, and took time to deliberate in secret on the possible courses of action

Nikita Khrushchev
→ Khrushchev became First Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1953 after a power struggle following Stalin’s death, and served as Premier from 1958 to 1964.
→ Khrushchev began efforts to “de-Stalinize” Soviet society. However, in 1961 tensions between the superpowers escalated over the Berlin
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The crisis was unique in a number of ways, featuring calculations and miscalculations as well as direct and secret communications and miscommunications between the two sides. The dramatic crisis was also characterized by the fact that it was primarily played out at the White House and the Kremlin level with relatively little input from the respective bureaucracies typically involved in the foreign policy

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