Cuban Missile CrisisOctober 16-28, 1962 By: Marthony Hobgood
Brief Overview: The Crisis The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest attempt to nuclear war that the world has ever come to. The United States armed forces were at their highest state of being prepared for a nuclear war and Soviet field commanders in Cuba were ready to use battlefield nuclear weapons to defend the island of Cuba if it was invaded. Luckily, war was averted thanks to two men, President John F. Kennedy and Premier Nikita Khrushchev.
Quote "Nuclear catastrophe was hanging by a thread ... and we weren't counting days or hours, but minutes.“ -Soviet General and Army Chief of Operations, Anatoly Gribkov “We will not prematurely or unnecessarily risk the costs of a worldwide nuclear war in which even the fruits of victory would be ashes in our mouth — but neither shall we shrink from that risk any time it must be faced.” -President Kennedy
Before the Cuban Missile Crisis “In 1962, the Soviet Union was desperately behind the United States in the arms race. Soviet missiles were only powerful enough to be launched against Europe but U.S. missiles were capable of striking the entire Soviet Union. In late April 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba. A deployment in Cuba would double the Soviet strategic arsenal and provide a real deterrent to a potential U.S. attack against the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, Fidel Castro was looking for a way to defend his island nation from an attack by the U.S. Ever since the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961, Castro felt a second attack was inevitable. Consequently, he approved of Khrushchev's plan to place missiles on the island. In the summer of 1962 the Soviet Union worked quickly and secretly to build its missile installations in Cuba.” As stated directly from, http://library.thinkquest.org/11046/days/index.html
October 15, 1962 • This is the first day of the Thirteen days of The Cuban Missile crisis. This day included a U.S. aircraft locating missiles in Cuba. Such caused panic to President Kennedy, who at this time was trying to find a way to resolve the situation
October 16, 1962 • President Kennedy meets to discuss U.S. actions. The meeting included military and diplomatic course of action • Establishes Executive Committee of the National security Council (EXCOMM)
October 17, 1962 • U-2 flights find the first of three Soviet SS-5 Missile sites in Cuba, that have ranges up to 2200 nautical miles • Kennedy is told of EX-COMM's decision which includes, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Air Force strongly arguing for an air strike.
October 18, 1962 • President Kennedy and the Soviet Foreign Minister, Gromyko meet for two hours, within the meeting Gromyko assures Kennedy that Soviet aid to Cuba has been only for the "defensive capabilities of Cuba." Quote “Only last Thursday, as evidence of this rapid offensive buildup was already in my hand, Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko told me in my office that he was instructed to make it clear once again, as he said his government had already done, that Soviet assistance to Cuba, and I quote, "pursued solely for the purpose of contributing to the defense capabilities of Cuba," that, and I quote him, "training by Soviet specialists of Cuban nationals in handling defensive armaments was by no means offensive, and if it were otherwise," Mr. Gromyko went on, "the Soviet Government would never become involved in rendering such assistance." That statement also was false. — John F. Kennedy
October 19, 1962 Military options are discussed.
October 20, 1962 President Kennedy meets with his advisors and then orders a defensive quarantine that will be instituted as soon as possible The full operation is reviewed and approved the President schedules a television address for the next evening.
October 21, 1962 • Kennedy makes a decision to implement a naval blockade on Cuba for the time being and the exchange of all offensive weapons is prohibited • Kennedy warns against soviet attack as, "I don't know what the Soviets will do." • Another U-2 flight that day reveals bombers and Migs that are being rapidly assembled • New cruise missile sites are also found being built on Cuba's northern shore.
October 22, 1962 • President Kennedy meets with congressional leaders at the White House. Kennedy is shown the photographic evidence of new Soviet missile installations in Cuba. • At 7:00 Kennedy addresses the American public, announcing the presence of offensive missile sites in Cuba and his plans to implement a naval blockade. • U.S. military forces go to DEFCON 3. Quote “It shall be the policy of this nation to regard any nuclear missile launched from Cuba against any nation in the Western Hemisphere as an attack on the United States, requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.” — John F. Kennedy
October 23, 1962 Quote • Kennedy orders six Crusader jets to fly a low level reconnaissance mission. • Organization of American States (OAS) unanimously supports the U.S.' decision of the quarantine against Cuba. More reconnaissance photos reveal that the Soviet missiles in Cuba are ready to be launched. The OAS then votes on diplomatic options. • By the end of the day U.S. ships had taken up position along the quarantine line, 800 miles from Cuba. • Kennedy receives a letter from Khrushchev in which Khrushchev comments that there is a, "serious threat to peace and security of peoples." • President Kennedy then decides to give Khrushchev more time and pulls the quarantine line back to 500 miles. “I must say frankly, that the measures indicated in your statement constitute a serious threat to peace and to the security of nations. The United States has openly taken the path of grossly violating the United Nations Charter, the path of violating international norms of freedom of navigation on the high seas, the path of aggressive actions both against Cuba and against the Soviet Union.” — Nikita Khruschev
October 24, 1962 • Soviet ships en route to Cuba with questionable cargo either slow down or reverse their course except for one. • Military forces go to DEFCON 2 the highest ever in U.S. history. • Soviet ships reach the quarantine line. U.S. vessels come extremely close to firing at the vessels, but they turned away. Kennedy believes that if an air attack is executed, the Soviets will at least be able to launch a few missiles.
October 25, 1962 • Kennedy sends a letter to Khrushchev placing accountability on him for the crisis on the Soviet Union. • EX-COMM then discusses a proposal to withdraw U.S. missiles from Turkey in exchange for the withdrawal of Soviet missiles in Cuba. “In presenting us with these conditions, you, Mr. President, have flung a challenge at us. Who asked you to do this? By what right did you do this? Our ties with the Republic of Cuba, like our relations with other states, regardless of what kind of states they may be, concern only the two countries between which these relations exist. And if we now speak of the quarantine to which your letter refers, a quarantine may be established, according to accepted international practice, only by agreement of states between themselves, and not by, some third party. Quarantines exist, for example, on agricultural goods and products. But in this case the question in no way one of quarantine, but rather of far more serious things, and you yourself understand this.” — Nikita Khrushchev
October 26, 1962 quote • During an EX-COMM meeting, Kennedy states that he believes the quarantine alone will not force the Soviet government to remove its offensive weapons from Cuba. • A CIA report from that morning states that the Soviets did not stop their development of the missile sites in Cuba • More reconnaissance flight reveals the Soviets were also attempting to camouflage the missiles. • Khrushchev sends another letter to President Kennedy with a proposal to remove his missiles if Kennedy publicly announced never to invade Cuba. “I would like to briefly express my own personal opinion. If [an invasion of Cuba] takes place and the imperialists invade Cuba with the aim of occupying it, the dangers of their aggressive policy are so great that after such an invasion the Soviet Union must never allow circumstances in which the imperialists could carry out a nuclear first strike against it.” — Fidel Castro
October 27, 1962 • A message from Khrushchev is received saying that they will remove their missiles from Cuba if the U.S. guarantees that they will not attack Cuba. • The production of the missiles continues. • RFK discovers that the Soviets are willing to remove the missiles if the U.S. removes their missiles from Turkey. • During this day Castro also presses Khrushchev to launch a nuclear missile if the U.S. decides to invade Cuba. • An American U-2 is shot down over Cuba killing the pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson. • U-2 accidentally strays into Soviet airspace near Alaska nearly being intercepted by Soviet fighters. • President Kennedy finally writes a letter to Khrushchev stating that he will make a statement that the U.S. will not invade Cuba only if Khrushchev removes the missiles from Cuba. On October 27, Major Anderson took off in a U-2 from a forward operating location at McCoy Air Force Base, Orlando, Florida, and was shot down by a Soviet-supplied S-75 Dvina (NATO designation SA-2 Guideline) surface-to-air missile near Banes, Cuba. "The loss of the U-2 over Banes was probably caused by intercept by an SA-2 from the Banes site, or pilot hypoxia, with the former appearing more likely on the basis of present information," stated a CIA document dated 0200 hrs, 28 October 1962. Anderson was killed when shrapnel from the exploding proximity warhead punctured his pressure suit, causing it to decompress at high altitude. On October 31, Acting United Nations Secretary U Thant, returning from a visit with Premier Fidel Castro, announced that Major Anderson was dead.
October 28, 1962 October 28, 1962 • The crisis is over and Khrushchev announces over Radio Moscow, that he agrees to remove the missiles from Cuba and the missiles will be dismantled. • Kennedy still continues to enforce the quarantine for one more monthprior to the end of the crisis.
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