The Cuban Missile Crisis
The Cuban Missile Crisis was a period of thirteen days, lasting from October 14 to October 28, 1962, during which nuclear war with the Soviet Union seemed imminent. In the height of the Cold War, Russia had stationed nuclear warheads in Cuba. The proximity of the weapons sent the nation into a panic and created extreme tensions between the United States and Soviet Union. Eventually, an agreement to dismantle the weapons was announced and war was avoided. However, the public did not know just how close to a nuclear war America had come or the complexity of the events surrounding the crisis.
As a Democratic nation, America was increasingly weary of the rise of Communism during the time of the crisis. With Communism making an appearance so close to home in Cuba, Americans were very uncomfortable with the Cuban government. In order to impede the spread of Communism, the United States government began planning in 1962 to attack Cuba. The United States attorney general proposed that Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro’s, regime be overthrown as it was rapidly transforming Cuba into a Communist state. He declared that action be taken to keep Castro occupied with internal social, political, and economic issues. The reason behind this being that if Castro had to spend all of his efforts on keeping Cuba in order, then he would not meddle with other Latin American nations. This plan was appealing because it ultimately aimed to stop or slow the spread of Communism. However, it would get the United States more involved in the affairs of Communist nations. The initial plan ultimately could not be executed right away but the proposal was a step towards foreign intervention and entanglement in Communism.
After the failed invasion at the Bay of Pigs, the Kennedy administration continued to plot to take down Castro with Operation Mongoose. The operation sponsored terrorist activity in Cuba in order to weaken and destroy the Communist regime. There were plans to assassinate Castro but the focus was on destroying the economy and encouraging political uprising. The United States carried out an elaborate campaign of terrorism and sabotage against Cuba during this operation. The United States staged attacks on an electric power plant, an oil refinery, and a sugar mill, as well as several others, in an attempt to cripple the Cuban economy. The government supported and encouraged terrorist groups of Cuban exiles such as Alpha 66. These groups purchased weapons from the United States in order to stage raids on cargo ships and the island itself. Castro requested that the terror campaign be stopped but Kennedy was solely interested in the complete removal of Castro’s regime and was unwilling to compromise. The U.S. promoted anti-Castro and anti-Communist propaganda in Cuba in order to stir up social unrest and rebellion. Operation Mongoose was carried out during the peak of the missile crisis and significantly added to the tension between the United States and the Soviet Union. The operation was intended to culminate in a rebellion and the overthrow of Castro’s communist regime but the operation was put on hold as the crisis escalated. The threat of an overthrow was disconcerting for the Soviets, who strove to spread Communism. The U.S. deliberately sponsoring terrorist activity and so effectively sabotaging the economy of Cuba was extremely threatening to the Soviet Union because it was clear that the attack was not only on Cuba but also on Communism itself. In this way, the United States became a direct threat to all communist nations, namely the Soviet Union. The U.S. was in direct opposition to the Soviet Union’s mission of spreading Communism. The acts of terrorism supported by the operation could be interpreted as a sort of attack on the Soviet Union since they were supporting Cuba at the time. They could also be interpreted as a war on Communism and, therefore, a direct and imminent threat to the Soviet Union. The...
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