Why Did Kennedy Blockade Cuba

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Kennedy took the decision to blockade Cuba in order to find a non passive, yet non aggressive solution to the problem of the Cuban missile crisis. There were many positives in choosing the blockage; a ban on the Soviet Union bringing in any further military supplies to Cuba, enforces by the US who would stop and search Soviet ships. And a call for the Soviet Union to withdraw what was already there. It was chosen by Kennedy as he believed it would show that the USA was serious, but it would not be a direct act of war. He believed it would put the burden on Khrushchev to decide what to do next. The USA had a strong navy and could still take the other options if this one did not work.

Another reason for Kennedy's decision was that the ExComm group set up in order to deal with the crisis had limited down the choices available. The officials had discussed the various options - an immediate bombing strike was dismissed early on, as was a potentially time-consuming appeal to the United Nations. The real options for the ExComm were only militarily, the diplomatic ones barely considered and dismissed on the first day before even the real discussions started. The choice was reduced to either a naval blockade and an ultimatum, or full-scale invasion. Kennedy decide against doing nothing as he had already issued his solemn warning to the USSR and by doing nothing he would show a sign of weakness, as well as displease the hawks in the cabinet such as Paul Nitze, and Generals Curtis LeMay and Maxwell Taylor. An invasion was planned, and troops were assembled in Florida (although with over 40,000 Soviet soldiers in Cuba, complete with tactical nuclear weapons, the proposed invading force would have faced considerable difficulties). Therefore by limiting down the options, Kennedy was faced with a hard decision regardless of which path he chose to go down, and decided on a middle-ground solution of the blockade.
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