The Cold War and U.S. Diplomacy

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After World War II was over, two super powers emerged in a tight bipolar system - the United States and the Soviet Union. The Cold War began in 1947 when the U.S. “openly stated its opposition to Soviet expansion” (Roskin & Berry, 2010, p. 9). However, as the 1960s approached, it was becoming clear that the influences of these truly great powers were declining (Hermes, 2001). Kennedy’s doctrine couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. His attest to the importance of flexibility essentially averted a nuclear World War III. In 1959, Fidel Castro led a guerrilla war against the Batista regime in Cuba, he “clamped down his own dictatorship… and turned to the Soviet Union for arms and financial aid” (Roskin & Berry, 2010, p.154-155). After the 1961 Bay of Pigs invasion failed (a U.S. attempt to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro), Castro felt a second attack was inevitable. Consequently, he approved of Khrushchev's proposal to install missiles on the island. In the summer of 1962 the Soviet Union began building its missile installations in Cuba (Wiersma & Larson, 1997). In October of 1962, during the height of the Cold War, a U2 camera plane captured photographs of nuclear missile sites being built in Cuba by the Soviet Union (Roskin & Berry, 2010).When the U.S. expressed their concerns, the Soviets claimed they were merely providing Cuba with weapons to defend themselves in the event of future U.S. attacks. Kennedy made it clear that the “United States would retaliate against the Soviet Union with nuclear weapons if any Cuban missiles were used against an American nation” (Hermes, 2001, p. 595). These events effectively led to the Cuban Missile Crisis. According to Roskin (2010), Kennedy’s doctrine was to “Respond flexibly to communist expansion, especially to guerrilla warfare” (p. 58). In February, 1961 President Kennedy wrote a letter to Khrushchev stating: I think we should recognize, in honesty to each other, that there are problems on which we may not be...
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