Cuban Missile Crisis. Harvesting Sugar Cane. Rumba Dancer in Costume HAVANA CUBA 1940 (postcard). Ruben Fulgencio Batista Zaldívar. Fidel Castro. Castro and Che Guevara. John F. Kennedy. Nikita Khrushchev. Fidel Castro. Khrushchev and Kennedy. Castro and Nikita Khrushchev.
John F. Kennedy
He had essentially five choices............1. He could do nothing and ignore the missiles. This would have been political suicide and if the Russians had seen this as weakness on his part, they could have taken advantage of it.2. He could order a full scale military invasion of Cuba. This could lead toheavy US casualties and that would be politically damaging. It would almost certainly involve Russian casualties which could escalate the problem. The American chiefs-of-staff were not convinced that it would be successful either especially as theoffending missile bases were in remote areas and most were well inland3. He could order an air strike against the missile bases only. The problem again would be Russian casualties and the Air Force was not sure it could deliver pin-point bombing raids on what were relatively small targets.4. He could call on the Russians to remove the missiles explaining the damage their presence was doing to Russian/American relations.However, the Russians were highly unlikely to listen to a ‘polite’ request especially as they even refused to recognize the existence of the missiles at the United Nations emergency meeting on the matter.5. He could put a naval blockade around the island- quarantine it - and not allow any more Russian ships to enter Cuba. This would still leave missiles on Cuba but the negotiations would continue in the background while publically Kennedy would be seen to be doing something specific.
(1) Do nothing. The United States should ignore the missiles in Cuba. The United States had military bases in 127 different countries including Cuba. The United States also had nuclear missiles in several countries close to the Soviet Union. It was therefore only right that the Soviet Union should be allowed to place missiles in Cuba.(2) Invasion. Send United States troops to Cuba to overthrow Castro's government. The missiles could then be put out of action and the Soviet Union could no longer use Cuba as a military base. (3) Bomb Missile Bases. Carry out conventional air-strikes against missiles and other military targets in Cuba. (4) Negotiate. The United States should offer the Soviet Union a deal. In return for the Soviet Union dismantling her missiles in Cuba, the United States would withdraw her nuclear missiles from Turkey and Italy.(5) Blockade of Cuba. Use the United States Navy to stop military equipment reaching Cuba from the Soviet Union.
Direct Consequences of the Crisis(1) The two sides established a direct communications link that became known as the Hot Line. It was hoped that this would help prevent dangerous confrontations such as the Cuban Missile Crisis arising again.(2) Three months after the Cuban Missile Crisis the United States secretly removed all its nuclear missiles from Turkey and Italy. (3) A Test Ban Treaty was signed between the two countries in August 1963. The treaty prohibited the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere.(4) The 1,113 prisoners captured during the Bay of Pigs invasion were exchanged by Castro for $60 million in food, drugs, medicine and cash.(5) The Soviet Union became determined to have a nuclear capability that was equal to the United States. This was achieved by 1972.(6) China accused the Soviet Union of being a 'paper-tiger' and claimed to be the true leader of the Communist movement. The split between the Soviet Union and China became wider.(7) The United States became convinced that the Soviet Union would not go to war over another communist country. It has been argued that this encouraged the United States to help attempts to overthrow socialist and communist governments in Vietnam, Nicaragua and Grenada.