Case Study 2: The Cuban Missile Crisis (for SBQ)
This portion of the content deals with the reasons for the outbreak of the Cuban Missile Crisis and how close the world came to a nuclear holocaust
The Cuban Missile Crisis (CMC) refers to events which began in October 1962 when the USA found out that the USSR had missiles in Cuba •
Both countries pushed each other to the brink or edge of war but backed away at the last minute to avoid Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) •
During these tense times, military build-up in the area from both countries reached high alert levels.
Causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis:
In the 1960s, the USA placed missiles in Turkey which were relatively near striking distance of major USSR cities. Due to its formal alliance with Turkey, the USA was able to station the missiles in its territory. •
The Russians were extremely worried because they had less missiles at that point in time. In response to American actions, the USSR decided to find allies and build nuclear missile base sites near the USA. •
The Russians decided to offer protection to Cuba by placing missiles on the island. Cuba was near the USA so the Russians hoped to gain by reducing USA’s advantage in missiles and at the same time, protect Cuba from US attack. •
The Cubans agreed to the plan because they feared a US invasion as the US had been planning to overthrow Fidel Castro because they thought he would spread Communism to South America. The US had already attempted an invasion by training exiled Cubans to access Cuba via the Bay of Pigs and capture the island. The invasion was a fiasco but it made Castro angry enough to seek alliance with the USSR. •
Upon discovery of the missiles on Cuba, Kennedy ordered a naval and air blockade of Cuba and informed the US public of the missiles. Kennedy also threatened to invade Cuba. He also declared that if any of the Cuban missiles were fired at the US, he would unleash all of the USA’s missiles on the USSR.
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