Cuba’s Role in the Cold War The Effects and Results Cierra K. Martin IB 20th Cent. History Due 4/9/2012
Introduction • The Cold War approximately ranged from 1945-1991. • A period of East-West competition, tension and conflict short of full-scale war, characterized by mutual perceptions of hostility between military-political alliances or blocs. • Western World=United States and its NATO (The North Atlantic Treaty Organization) allies vs. Eastern World=Communist world led by Soviet Union/USSR, its satellite states (an independent country under heavy political and economic influence by another country) and its allies. • It never included direct military action since both sides possessed nuclear weapons, referring the Cold War to a “silent war”. • Some real wars did occur, known as “proxy wars" because they were fought by Soviet allies rather than the USSR itself; along with competition for influence in the Third World, and a major superpower arms race.
Cuba’s independence from Spain was known as the “U.S. playground” due to having status under the U.S. military occupation in the 1950s. • Cuba was still in the hands of corrupted dictator Fulgencio Batista in 1952. • In 1959, the uprising of assembled revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro and Ernesto “Che” Guevara, known as the “July 26 Movement” overthrew the Batista regime, placing Castro in power as Prime Minister of Cuba. (*Movement fought on both rural and urban fronts*) • This later would be defined as the Cuban Revolution. Che Guevara Fulgencio Batista Fidel Castro
President Dwight D. Eisenhower was alarmed by Castro’s involvement in the overthrow of Batista and ties with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev. • Diplomatic relations between Cuba and the U.S. continued on, yet Pres. Eisenhower avoided meeting Castro during his trip to Washington in April, leaving Vice Pres. Richard Nixon to conduct the meeting in his place. • Eisenhower’s officials found uncertainty of whether Castro was a communist and were hostile towards Cubans’ efforts to decrease their economic reliance on the U.S. • Since the declaration of socialist in Cuba on May 1, 1961, Cuba established a new relationship with USSR and new trends came into place: • Nationalization of the economy • Sharp swing to soviet bloc • Establishment of authoritarian regime • Launching of egalitarian socioeconomic policy 1960 Trends:
1st Conflict • First clash with U.S. was the topic of oil. Khrushchev convinced Castro of selling cheap fuels and buying sugar for a good price from Castro. • Oil was cheaper with the Russians than Venezuela, so Fidel ordered U.S. owned oil refineries in Cuba to process Russian crude. • There was a law that obligated this, but he refused it and Fidel confiscated U.S. oil companies. • Pres. Eisenhower suspended Cuban sugar quota in the U.S. and in 1960, the Soviets signed trade with Cuba to purchase 4 million tons of sugar in the next 4 years; Soviets integrated Cuba as a socialist ally. • Eisenhower formally broke diplomatic relations in Jan. 1961 after Fidel wanted the U.S. to reduce embassy in Havana.
Bay of Pigs Invasion • In April 1961, the administration of newly-elected Pres. John F. Kennedy organized an unsuccessful invasion of CIA trained force of Cuban exiles into southern Cuba. • The main invasion landing took place at a beach named Playa Girón, located at the mouth of the bay. • There was supposed to be support from the US government in an attempt to overthrow Castro, yet Pres. Kennedy reduced and vetoed the use of U.S. planes, as he wanted to have unidentifiable involvement. • It was a triumph for the Cuban armed forces and revolutionaries and a humiliation for the U.S. • In response, Castro embraced Marxism-Leninism and the Eastern bloc pledge to provide support.
The Cuban Project/ Cuban Missile Crisis • The failed invasion marked a deterioration in U.S.-Cuban relations. The U.S. government were still facilitating ways to overthrow the Cuban government on a program named the Cuban Project; which was approved by the CIA. • In Feb. 1962, Khrushchev learned of the Cuban project and the Kennedy-ordered attempts to assassinate Castro. • Khrushchev then introduced economic and military aid, tensing the idea of missiles in defense of Cuban socialism.
The Cuban Project/ Cuban Missile Crisis (cont.) • Background: Since 1950s, the U.S. were introducing many intermediate-range nuclear missiles and bases to the NATO countries such as Italy and UK, as well as numerous nuclear bases in Turkey (all threatening USSR). However, there was not any nuclear bases close enough in proximity to launch a missile into U.S. mainland until October 1962 when the Soviets decided to install intermediate-range missiles and rocket bases in Cuba secretly, threatening the same way as the U.S. did with Turkey. • It was a plus for Castro as it provided the security he needed in the midst of the Bay of Pigs invasion and several attempted assassinations. Castro did not want the U.S. to take over Cuba.
The Cuban Missile Crisis (Oct.-Nov. 1962) • When an American U-2 spy plane found that nuclear missile bases in Cuba were being constructed and confronted the Soviet Union they denied the missiles’ harm. • Pres. Kennedy announced that if any missiles were launched into the Western Hemisphere from Cuba, it would be seen as an attack by the USSR and retaliation would occur on the USSR. • The U.S. quickly demanded the removal of missiles from Cuba under sanction of a naval quarantine on all military shipments from the USSR to Cuba and an ultimatum to the Soviets. • Khrushchev backed down from the confrontation and the Soviet Union removed the missiles in return for U.S. to promise to not invade Cuba again. • (*The military also started to overrun the politics of Cuba*).
Pres. Kennedy vs. Khrushchev • By October 27, 1962, two superpowers and Cuba were in the brink of a nuclear war. • Cuba was in the middle of danger, but was not committed to any of the superpowers’ diplomacies. • A series of negotiations were sent between Pres. Kennedy and Khrushchev, as Khrushchev sent two letters to Kennedy administration (one with soft consequences, and the other with hard ones. • His soft letter complied to remove the missiles out of Cuba if US promised not to invade Cuba and take out missiles in Turkey. • Alternatively, the other letter committed that USSR will use massive military forces to intervene the US invasion of Cuba. • The U.S. responded to the soft letters and the missiles were removed from Cuba. • Due to Castro’s unawareness of the deal, Cuba was no longer a threat toward the U.S. and Castro damaged the relationship with the USSR and Khrushchev.
The Cuban Missile Crisis almost brought the world to a nuclear war…. • The hotline or 'IWIK' was an invention established directly between White House and Kremlin, in hopes to prevent dangerous confrontations, which did happened again with the event of Able Archer in 1983. • The Missile Crisis started a series of treaties such as Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM), a Test Ban Treaty that prohibited nuclear weapon in the atmosphere and Strategic Arms Limitation Talks I&II (SALT I & II). • The Missile crisis also widened the gap between USSR and China as Mao and Khrushchev argued over different views. • Cuba, after the missile crisis, was left crippled because of no true allies. • Cuba’s economy collapsed, as well as the collapse of sugar's price. • Demonstrated the concept of mutually assured destruction, which is nuclear power not being prepared to use nuclear weapons in fear of total destruction or nuclear retaliation. • Aftermath led to the first efforts in the nuclear arms race at nuclear disarmament and the focusing of improving of relations.
Conclusion • Cuba played one of the most dangerous roles as country that posed serious threats to the U.S. in a whole. • (This was not significant during the Missile Crisis) • As a small nation arising from being tied to the U.S. in the 1950s, Cuba was not significant to the development of Cold War, as it mostly focused on Korea and Europe. • It was when the USSR introduced nuclear weapons to Cuba that the crisis emerged that almost caused instability upon two superpowers. • Cuba tried to gain some power in the 1970s by introducing socialism in Angola and other parts of Africa, but without the possession of nuclear weapons, Cuba had no hold in the Cold War.
Bibliography • http://ibpop.posterous.com/analyse-the-role-of-cuba-in-the-development-o • http://ba-ez.org/educatn/LC/CubaPoli/cuba_4/cuba_4b.htm • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bay_of_Pigs_Invasion • http://www.ibiblio.org/expo/soviet.exhibit/coldwar.html