The Cuban Missile Crisis

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Government- The Cuban Missile Crisis

The great arms race during the 1950s and the ‘60s caused the conflict of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 which strained the nation and the world. The fourteen days that the United States government and the Russian government interacted emphasized the seriousness and the intense rivalry between the two super powers. The idea of a mass nuclear war, a third world War, or the wipe out of the whole population of Earth developed and loomed in the minds of the government officials who were involved in this crisis. In a memoir written by Robert F. Kennedy, the Attorney General during the time of the Cuban crisis, described the heated and disputed ideas and actions taken by the American government. The missiles that were discovered were indeed situated in Cuba; however, it is evident that the full picture extended overseas to countries and areas such as Turkey, Berlin, and Russia. The Cuban Missile Crisis represents the American ability to handle foreign relationships and the result of egotistical battles fought between super powers that hold the key to destruction of mankind.

Before the start of the Cuban Missile Crisis, the rise of the Communist regime threatened the American government, an avid advocate of democracy. Therefore, the revolutionary uprisings and the conquest of Cuba by Fidel Castro, the communist dictator of the country irked the Eisenhower administration. A failed invasion of Cuba known as the Bay of Pigs contributed to the advent of the conflict. Presented during the Eisenhower administration but approved during the Kennedy administration, this attempted overthrow of Castro naturally and ideologically pushed Cuba to extend a hand toward Russia in hopes of protection. This newly presented opportunity for the Soviets opened Cuban doors for the entry of intermediate range Soviet missiles- 90 miles away from American territory, thus setting forth the full Cuban Missile Crisis.

During this critical period, President John F. Kennedy collected special members into a newly created group called the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (Ex Comm.) Consisting of Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency John McCone, Secretary of the Treasury Douglas Dillon, President Kennedy’s adviser on national-security affairs, McGeorge Bundy, Attorney General and brother of President Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy and many more officials, this group continually “met, talked, argued, and fought together during that crucial period of time” (Kennedy 25). It was from this collected group of intellectuals that sources were identified, possible decisions argued, photographs released and debated, and the fate of the world handled. The discovery of the missiles and the secrecy in which the Soviets worked was a major instigator of the crisis. The Central Intelligence Agency came in with photographs taken by U-2 aircrafts which convinced the CIA of implantations of atomic weapons in Cuba. The photographic missions continued throughout the following two weeks and used as evidence and basis of action. The initial Soviet reaction was that of oblivion and rejection of any sort of involvement in this case. On September 11, 1962, Moscow even extended to release a statement saying that the transfer of nuclear missiles to any country outside the Soviet Union was unnecessary, including Cuba. This created greater suspicions and distrust between the two countries especially because personal contact with Soviet representatives and Khrushchev himself did not reveal the complete truth- only the photographs and American intelligence showed the missile placements. This was particularly seen in Robert F. Kennedy’s interaction with Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin. At the initial contact, Dobrynin refused to say anything known about the military installations but only ventured to say that he had been told by Khrushchev that there were none....
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