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Article #1

Forty Years Ago
The Cuban Missile Crisis

JFK reading Cuban missile crisis television address In a televised address on October 22, 1962, President Kennedy informed the American people of the presence of missile sites in Cuba. (NARA, John F. Kennedy Library)

The week of October 7, 1962, saw bad weather in the Caribbean, preventing American U-2 surveillance planes from making more reconnaissance flights over Fidel Castro's Cuba, just ninety miles off the Florida coast.

But Sunday morning, October 14, was cloudless, and the U-2 flight got some good photos— pictures that, over the next few days, were analyzed and reanalyzed. They provided positive proof of what the United States had for months suspected: that the Soviet Union was installing medium-range nuclear weapons in Castro's Cuba, capable of striking major U.S. cities and killing tens of millions of Americans within minutes.

Faced with this dramatic documentation, President John F. Kennedy immediately decided that the missiles would have to be removed and called his most trusted advisers together to serve as an Executive Committee of the National Security Council, or ExComm. Its job was to develop possible responses to the buildup of missiles and the consequences the buildup represented.

Forty years later, what is now known as the "Cuban Missile Crisis," which lasted for several weeks, is remembered as the hottest moment in the Cold War between East and West and a defining moment in Kennedy's presidency.

US forces around the world were placed on alert. Four tactical air squadrons were readied for air strikes over Cuba, with missile sites, airfields, ports, and gun emplacements as their potential targets. More than 100,000 troops were sent to Florida for a possible invasion of Cuba. The navy dispatched 180 vessels into the Caribbean for a planned amphibious exercise involving 40,000 marines. B-52s loaded with nuclear weapons were in the air at all times.

* * *

With the October 14 photographs, the United States had caught the Soviet Union building offensive nuclear missile bases in its backyard, and the two superpowers were now joined in the first direct nuclear confrontation in history.

Throughout 1962, the movement of Soviet personnel and equipment to Cuba had aroused suspicions in the American intelligence community. In response, US ships and planes began photographing every Cuba-bound Soviet vessel, and U-2 spy planes began regular reconnaissance flights over the island.

The first evidence of the arrival in Cuba of surface-to-air missiles, missile-equipped torpedo boats for coastal defense, and large numbers of Soviet military personnel came in photographs taken in late August. But these pictures provided no evidence of offensive ballistic missiles. In September, Kennedy delivered two explicit warnings to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev regarding the buildup of what were being called "defensive" Soviet arms in Cuba.

On September 13, Kennedy wrote: "If at any time the Communist build-up in Cuba were to endanger or interfere with our security in any way . . . or if Cuba should ever . . . become an offensive military base of significant capacity for the Soviet Union, then this country will do whatever must be done to protect its own security and that of its allies."

Despite Kennedy's warnings, the Soviets continued to construct the bases, and the United States continued to monitor their activities and take pictures. The October 14 photographs, however, changed the nature of the game and set in motion a series of extraordinary events.

The ExComm was to consider how to respond to the Soviet actions. Members discussed a number of possible responses: do nothing; take the issue to the United Nations and the Organization of American States; offer to remove US missiles in Turkey if the Soviets removed the missiles in Cuba; send secret envoys to negotiate with Castro; blockade Cuba; strike Cuba by air; or invade Cuba.

Meeting of the ExComm, Oct 29, 1962 An "ExComm" meeting on October 29, 1962. (NARA, John F. Kennedy Library)

As the ExComm discussions proceeded, the idea of a naval blockade emerged as the response of choice.

Meanwhile, Kennedy met on October 18 for several hours with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko, who stressed that the Soviet Union's weapons in Cuba were "by no means offensive." Kennedy read Gromyko his previous statement that warned against offensive missiles in Cuba.

Later that day, preparations for the naval blockade began, but the Joint Chiefs of Staff continued to push for an air strike and invasion. The President, wanting to appear to be conducting normal business, flew to the Midwest for campaign appearances in connection with the upcoming congressional elections. He returned Saturday, October 20, to read the draft of a speech announcing the blockade. Although the blockade, which Kennedy preferred to call a "quarantine," represented only "limited action" against Cuba and the Soviets, Kennedy felt that "limited action" was the best way to start; he could always opt for broader action, such as an invasion or air strikes, if the blockade did not work.

* * *

While the ExComm met officially as the National Security Council, Kennedy decided that in his speech, the United States should not be on the diplomatic defensive but should instead indict the Soviets for duplicity and for threatening world peace. He wanted to speak on Sunday evening but was persuaded to delay the address until Monday, so the State Department could brief leaders of allied countries and congressional leaders could be informed.

On Monday evening, October 22, Kennedy addressed the nation. He was clear and direct:

To halt this offensive buildup, a strict quarantine on all offensive military equipment under shipment to Cuba is being initiated. All ships of any kind bound for Cuba, from whatever nation or port, will, if found to contain cargoes of offensive weapons, be turned back. . . .

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 by the Soviet Union on the United States requiring a full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union. . . .

I call upon Chairman Khrushchev to halt and eliminate this clandestine, reckless and provocative threat to world peace and to stable relations between our two nations. . . . He has an opportunity now to move the world back from the abyss of destruction. . . .

My fellow citizens: let no one doubt that this is a difficult and dangerous effort on which we have set out. No one can foresee precisely what course it will take or what costs or casualties will be incurred. Many months of sacrifice and self-discipline lie ahead— months in which both our will and our patience will be tested— months in which many threats and denunciations will keep us aware of our danger. But the greatest danger of all would be to do nothing.

* * *

Tensions mounted over the next few days as the world wondered if there could be a peaceful resolution to the crisis. Kennedy's speech drew wide support in Latin America and among US allies. But the Pentagon continued plans for air strikes and a land invasion. Several Soviet vessels turned back from the quarantine line, and the United States presented in the United Nations photographic proof of the missiles during a televised confrontation with the Soviet Union. But construction of the missile launch sites in Cuba continued.

On October 26, Kennedy received a letter from Khrushchev suggesting that "if assurances were given that the President of the United States would not participate in an attack on Cuba and the blockade lifted, then the question of the removal or destruction of the missile sites in Cuba would then be an entirely different question." The same day, a Washington journalist received a clarification of Khrushchev's proposal from an important official at the Soviet embassy in Washington: The Soviets would remove the missiles under United Nations supervision and inspection, and the United States would lift the blockade and pledge not to invade Cuba.

Kennedy got another letter from Khrushchev, demanding removal of US missiles in Turkey, the Soviet Union's neighbor, in exchange for removal of Soviet missiles in Cuba. The implicit message was if the United States invaded Cuba, the Soviets would invade Turkey, and the conflict could escalate. Kennedy decided to ignore this letter and respond to the first one. On Sunday, October 28, the Soviets agreed to remove the missiles from Cuba.

Negotiations for final settlement of the crisis continued for several days, but the immediate threat of nuclear war had been averted.

On November 20, Kennedy announced, "I have today been informed by Chairman Khrushchev that all of the IL-28 bombers in Cuba will be withdrawn in thirty days. . . . I have this afternoon instructed the Secretary of Defense to lift our naval quarantine." Subsequently, the United States dismantled several of its obsolete air and missile bases in Turkey.

The Cuban missile crisis was perhaps the greatest test of John F. Kennedy's presidency, and while he and Khrushchev were able to achieve a peaceful resolution, the crisis had a number of far-reaching historical consequences. Within a year, Kennedy and Khrushchev signed the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the first disarmament agreement of the nuclear age. Also in 1963, the first "hotline" between Washington and Moscow was installed.

Citation:"Prologue: Selected Articles." National Archives and Records Administration.

Overview:This articles tells about how the Cuban Missile Crisis started. Kennedy was forced to take action and had to remain calm even though there were many Americans who screamed for blood. Kennedy sent many B-52 bombers over the missile test site to see where the missiles were pointed but Kennedy lost many planes due to Cuban fire. It is assumed that Khruschev knew about the U.S. missiles in Turkey which were aimed at key spots in the Soviet Union.

Article #2

Cuban Missile Crisis

by Bruce L. Brager

The Cuban Missile Crisis, the October 1962 showdown between the United States and the Soviet Union over the Soviets placing nuclear missiles in Cuba and the American reaction, is justly considered the most serious incident of the Cold War.

Primary among the lessons of the Cuban Missile crisis is trying to answer the question of whether the crisis was solved because of John F. Kennedy’s presidential leadership, or whether it was solved because Kennedy, and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, were able to successful hold back their forces and restraint their hawks. Was the danger leadership miscalculation, or just “some sonofabitch who did not get the word?” as Kennedy eloquently put it at one point, about a change in policy or a pending crisis settlement.

However, in one very important respect the lessons do not matter. The world was never closer to superpower nuclear war than between October 14 and October 27, 1962. On October 26, on at least three occasions, we were probably a few minutes away – when an American U-2 spy plane accidently flew several hundred miles into Soviet territory; when a second U-2 was shot down over Cuba (without authorization from Moscow);, and when a Soviet submarine, out of touch with Moscow, with a nuclear armed torpedo, was forced to surface and found itself surrounded by four American destroyers. The captain had to be talked out of firing off his nuclear torpedo. Even the next day, with the world pulling back from the brink of nuclear war, the American radar warning system reported a missile headed to Tampa. This turned out to be a misreport of a satellite, a result of an incredible timing coincidence between a radar test and the basic physics of a satellite in Earth orbit.

The bottom line is that when the crisis ended we were still around to learn, or mislearn, the lessons of the crisis.

The basic of the crisis are relatively simple to describe. The Soviet Union put offensive nuclear weapons in Cuba, able to reach targets in the United States, obstensively to help defend Cuba against American attack by deterring the attack and to help lesson the Soviet strategic disadvantage. (The “missile gap” John Kennedy had used against the Republicans in 1960 did exist, but in favor of the United States.) The Central Intelligence Agency had some hint of what the Soviets were doing as far back as August 1962 (the same month in which a B-52 bomber, loaded with nuclear weapons, got lost flying from Greenland to Alaska and started heading to the Soviet Union) but misinterpreted the information they received. The CIA did, however, spot undeniable preparations for the missiles on October 14, 1962.

The Soviet action was a dangerous destabilization of the balance of power, which had kept the peace between the superpowers, to that time. Their case that their missiles near America’s borders were not different that the already in place American missiles near Soviet borders was undermined by initial Soviet lying about the missiles being in Cuba. John Kennedy had photos of Soviet missiles in Cuba in his office during a meeting with Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko when the Soviet again denied Soviet missiles being in Cuba. This did not help Soviet credibility.

American credibility, however, was not helped by our history of dealing with Cuba. We had strongly supported the dictatorial government of Fulgencio Batista, which Fidel Castro overthrew
on January 1, 1959. There is no reason to believe that the United States had any window of opportunity, as it did with North Vietnam just after World War Two, to become friendly with Castro. But the United States did not try. Active efforts were well underway to overthrow Castro by the time John Kennedy became President on January 20, 1961. The Bay of Pigs plan for an invasion of Cuba was presented to Kennedy when he took office. Tinkering with the plan took what was probably a bad strategic idea to begin with and added tactical errors, if not downright incompetence. The April invasion failed. Castro held on to power until 2007, when health caused him to turn over power to his brother Raul.

What the Bay of Pigs did accomplish was to add nationalist support to counteract Cuban disillusionment with Castro’s already failing economic policies. The Soviets now saw the need to support their embattled Socialist brothers, providing ideological as well as strategic advantages to a base 90 miles from the United States. The Soviets also seem to have found the Cuban revolutionaries invigorating, at least initially, adding a breath of fresh air to the tired Soviet bureaucracy.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was marked by an odd lack of direct superpower negotiations, partially due to the lack of reliable high speed communications, and much of this negotiation was by public announcement. On the evening of Monday, October 22, 1962, President Kennedy spoke on television to the American people. This was, basically, the public announcement of the crisis. Kennedy announced the discovery of Soviet missiles in Cuba. He declared a blockade, called a quarentine, of Cuba where all approaching vessels would be stopped and searched. Kennedy also announced that soviet or Cuban use of the missiles against any nation in the western hemisphere would be considered an attack by the Soviet Union against the United States, calling for a “full retaliatory response upon the Soviet Union.”

Khrushchev would spend some time blustering in the next few days. However, after receiving an American diplomatic letter announcing the quarantine, Khrushchev ordered most of the Soviet vessels headed to Cuba to turn around and return to the Soviet Union. The U.S. Navy let a few ships through, but no Soviet ship would challenge an order to stop. Khrushchev may have blinked, as members of the American policy making committee, Ex-Comm (Executive Committee of the National Security Council) claimed two days later, but he blinked in private two days before.

On Thursday morning Moscow time, October 25, Khrushchev told the Soviet politburo that he was withdrawing the missiles. On Friday, he sent a message announcing this to Washington. But, a day later, a second message demanded the removal of American missiles from Turkey in exchange for taking Soviet missiles out of Cuba. Famously, Kennedy responded to the first message. Privately, word was spread to the Soviets that the missiles would come out of Turkey, something which happened in six months.

The interesting thing about the crisis is that the big power messages, though they settled the crisis, did not reflect what may have been the more dangerous problem. Both sides had hawks urging them to military action. The American Joint Chiefs of Staff, in particular Air Force commander Curtis LeMay, urged immediate military action. LeMay is considered the model for the ultra hawkish General Buck Turgidson in Dr. Strangelove, though it has to be remembered that Turgidson is not the one who started the final war. That was started by a nutty relatively junior general, with the not so subtle name of Jack D. Ripper. Perhaps accidently, this also reflects missile crisis realities, that lower level commanders, without knowledge of a doomsday weapon (or tactical Soviet nuclear weapons) could outdo even their seemingly reckless bosses in causing fatal damage.

Interestingly, the hawkish posturing by the American military commanders overt Cuba came almost totally from the Air Force and the Navy, not the Army and the Marines who would have provided the boots on the ground in Cuba.

The Soviets had short range tactical nuclear weapons in Cuba. They would probably have been used against invading American troops, or naval concentrations, likely causing heavy casualties and provoking a strategic nuclear exchange. In theory these weapons could only be used after a direct order from Moscow, but little technology existed to prevent weapons from being fired by local commanders. This included nuclear armed cruise missiles aimed at Guantanamo Naval Base.

Khrushchev had more control over his own immediate subordinates. (Two years later he learned he had less control than he thought.) His hawks primarily were the Cubans. Castro expected an American invasion at any moment, and kept urging the Soviets to stage a preemptive nuclear strike. Khrushchev would not even consider such action. Local Soviet commanders did respond to Cuban complain about low and higher level American reconnaissance flights. The Cubans fired at some flights, but to no effect. However, on Saturday afternoon, October 27, the Soviets destroyed a U-2, killing the pilot, with a Surface to Air, SAM, missile. The missile was fired on the authority of local commanders, who did not check first with Moscow.

Reckless he may have been, but Fidel Castro survived both Kennedy and Khrushchev by 45 years. John Kennedy was assassinated 13 months after the crisis ended. Nikita Khrushchev was overthrown in October of 1964, and died in 1970. Castro stayed in power until 2007.

To add to the missile crisis danger, each side conducted a nuclear test at this time. An American U-2 flew to the North Pole to try and collect radiation samples. At about the same time the U-2 was shot down over Cuba, the North Pole pilot got lost on the way back to his base in Alaska, and ended up several hundred miles over Soviet air space. Fortunately, the pilot made it back with no further danger. It turned out that even the Air Force commanders did not know about this particular flight, part of an ongoing series. (The pilot stayed in the Air Force, but was forbidden to fly anywhere near the North Pole or the Soviet Union.) An interesting thought is what have happened had a B-52 strayed over Soviet territory, as one almost did two months
earlier.

Before 1963 was out, the United States and the Soviet Union had signed treaties establishing the hot line and banning nuclear testing in the atmosphere. The two U-2 incidents have to have been the back of the minds of the government when the United States, and the Soviet Union, developed satellites that could monitor military actions, with no need for more dangerously provocative over flights.

The United States learned the wrong lesson in Cuba for the Vietnam War. A controlled series of escalations might work against a major industrial power, like the Soviet Union, when it is also given a way out. It did not work against North Vietnam. Added to the fact that, like the American Revolution, the insurgent power had a lot more to gain from winning than the great power had to lose by losing, and the results in Vietnam might have been predicted.

The Soviets swore they would never again be forced to back down. They began a 25 year program of building up their nuclear forces to a level comparable with the Americans. But the Soviet economy was nowhere near comparable and could not take the strain. The final blow was the Soviet failure in Afghanistan, learning for themselves what we learned in Vietnam, and may have forgotten in Iraq and in Afghanistan, that high technology is surprisingly ineffective against low tech enemies. The historical irony is that the two Soviet uses of military force outside of Europe, Cuba and Afghanistan, proved disastrous. Two years after they withdrew from Afghanistan, 29 years after they agreed to take the missiles out of Cuba, the Soviet Union ceased to exist.

The Cuban Missile Crisis resulted from miscalculations on the part of both the Soviet Union and the United States, with the Soviet making the more serious error. The lessons for the future are not just the technical ones of the need for information and rapid communications, but the need for cool judgment by leaders, and by subordinates. The Cuban Missile Crisis was settled when both national leaders realized that playing for a win was not the goal, avoiding war was.

Citation:"Military History Online - Cuban Missile Crisis." Military History Online.

Overview: This article says that

Article #3

Cuban Missile Crisis Articles & Newspapers

The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in 1962, and records of this event are mostly found in Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper articles from that time. This occurred during the Cold War when the Soviet Union, who was behind in the arms race with America, decided to station nuclear weapons within reach of the U.S. in Cuba. At that time, Soviet missiles could only reach European targets, but couldn't be launched to hit American soil. American missiles, however, were capable of reaching the Soviet Union.

Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper reports from October 1962 debated whether the U.S. would be engaged in the first nuclear war. Both Cuba and the Soviet Union wanted to prevent the U.S. from attacking by having their own weapons ready to launch. As tensions rose, Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper accounts described how peace talks were going nowhere.

In secret negotiation revealed later in Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper accounts, President Kennedy and United Nations Secretary-General U Thant covertly spoke with Premier Nikita Khrushchev to end the conflict. This secret proposal led to the Soviets disarming and removing their weapons from Cuba, while the United States promised never to attack Cuba and to deactivate their nuclear weapons.

Cuban Missile Crisis Timeline

1959: The U.S. deployed nuclear missiles aimed at the Soviet Union in Italy and Turkey.

1961: Cuba openly became allies with the Soviets, which led to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of the U.S. into Cuba. This, led under President Kennedy, made the Soviets more confident, despite being behind in the nuclear arms race.

1962: In May, the Soviet Union secretly deployed nuclear missiles aimed at the U.S. in their new ally Cuba. By October, these missiles were public knowledge, and nuclear war seemed imminent. By late October, an agreement was reached between the Soviets and the U.S.

1962-1963: In November 1962, the Soviets removed their weapons from Cuba and removed their bombers in December. By September 1963, the U.S. had deactivated their weapons in Italy and Turkey, although this fact remained secret while the Soviet removal was publicized.

Cuban Missile Crisis Newspaper Articles

Daily Review

The Daily Review out of California printed their Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper articles leading with the headline "Cuba-Bound Vessel, Boarded and Searched" on October 26, 1962. This was just two days before the official secret agreement between the U.S. and Soviet Union was to be reached in order to reestablish peace.

Cuban Missile Crisis articles

This Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper article reported that a Lebanese ship on route to Cuba was stopped by the U.S. and boarded. After a cooperative inspection, the ship was allowed to continue its journey to Cuba. This inspection was a result of the U.S. quarantine on Cuba, forbidding ships carrying military weapons aid to reach Cuba. This quarantine was not well-received by the Soviets or the Cubans and was also denounced by China. The quarantine had already searched a Russian tanker that was allowed to pass through the blockade surrounding Cuba because it only contained petroleum, which wasn't prohibited cargo.

Also reported in the Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper article was the fact that the Soviets had returned another document from the American Embassy regarding the blockade of Cuba. This article cited that this was the third note rejected by the Soviets regarding the quarantine of Cuba, but suggested that talks between the Americans and Soviets were still "friendly." The Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper article also discussed the secret intelligence meeting held behind closed doors among 60 governors and 12 congressmen from western states. This meeting's only topic was the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Post-Standard

The Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper articles from the Post-Standard out of Syracuse, New York, on October 26, 1962, began with the main headline "JFK Agrees to Talks But Blockade Stays." This Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper article was also referring to the American quarantine declared on October 22. This quarantine was supported by a naval blockade around Cuba, which would search any vessel bound for Cuba and prohibit the delivery of prohibited cargo, which meant military weapons.

Cuban Missile Crisis newspapers

Reported under the Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper article headline "Navy Passes Red Tanker as Other Ships Turn Back," the paper described the first Russian tanker allowed to pass through the blockade after being searched, while over 12 Russian ships turned back to avoid the blockade. Also reported was a message from Pope John XXIII, urging leaders to try every possible way to establish a peaceful end to this conflict.

The Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper article also reported that other countries were protesting the U.S. blockade, some with violence aimed at American Embassies abroad, including Prague. Latin American governments were pledging their support of the U.S. blockade, including Costa Rica, Columbia, El Salvador, Honduras, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Guatemala and Ecuador. Cubans were reported as simply waiting for a U.S. invasion to occur.

Another Cuban Missile Crisis newspaper article discussed the fact that while talks were being attempted between the Soviet Union and America, Russia would halt its arms if the U.S. would end its quarantine. This was being negotiated with the help of United Nations Secretary General Thant, who made no progress getting the U.S. to stop its blockade. Publicly, these talks appeared to be disintegrating with little hope of compromise. However, behind closed doors, President Kennedy, Secretary-General Thant and Premier Khrushchev would reach a peaceful agreement in two days that would effectively end the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Citation:"Cuban Missile Crisis Articles & Newspapers." Cuban Missile Crisis Articles.

Overview:This article is a mismash of newspaper articles during the Cuban Missile Crisis. These articles show the kind of propaganda that went on saying that Kennedy did something and then taking it back the next day. United Nations Secretary General Thant vied to stop the American blockade of Cuba but he failed many times. When the U.S. found out about the missile foundations in Cuba they immediately issued a quariintine upon Cuba.

Article #4

In the fall of 1962, the United States and the Soviet Union came as close as they ever would to global nuclear war. Hoping to correct what he saw as a strategic imbalance with the United States, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev began secretly deploying medium range ballistic missiles (MRBM) and intermediate range ballistic missiles (IRBM) to Fidel Castro's Cuba. Once operational, these nuclear-armed weapons could have been used cities and military targets in most of the continental United States. Before this happened, however, U.S. intelligence discovered Khrushchev's brash maneuver. In what became known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, President John F. Kennedy and an alerted and aroused American government, armed forces, and public compelled the Soviets to remove from Cuba not only their missiles but all of their offensive weapons.

The U.S. Navy played a pivotal role in this crisis, demonstrating the critical importance of naval forces to the national defense. The Navy's operations were in keeping with its strategic doctrine, which is as valid today as it was in late 1962. The Navy, in cooperation with the other U.S. armed forces and with America's allies, employed military power in such a way that the president did not have to resort to war to protect vital Western interests. Khrushchev realized that his missile and bomber forces were no match for the Navy's powerful Polaris ballistic missile-firing submarines and the Air Force's land-based nuclear delivery systems once these American arms became fully operational. Naval forces under the U.S. Atlantic Command, headed by Admiral Robert L. Dennison (CINCLANT), steamed out to sea, intercepting not only merchant shipping en route to Cuba, but Soviet submarines operating in the area as well. U.S. destroyers and frigates, kept on station through underway replenishment by oilers and stores ships, maintained a month-long naval "quarantine" of the island of Cuba. Radar picket ships supported by Navy fighters and airborne early warning planes assisted the U.S. Air Force's Air Defense Command in preparing to defend American airspace from Soviet and Cuban forces. Navy aerial photographic and patrol aircraft played a vital part not only in observing the deployment of Soviet offensive weapons into Cuba; but monitoring their withdrawal by sea.

As the unified commander for the Caribbean, Admiral Dennison was responsible for readying Army, Air Force, Marine, and Navy assault forces for a possible invasion of Cuba. He also served as the Commander in Chief, U.S. Atlantic Fleet. The aircraft carriers, destroyers, and Marine forces of the subordinate Second Fleet, under Vice Admiral Alfred G. Ward, were poised to launch air, naval gunfire, and amphibious strikes from the sea against Soviet and Cuban forces ashore. With speed and efficiency, other fleet units reinforced the Marine garrison at Guantanamo on Cuba's southeastern tip and evacuated American civilians. Dennison also coordinated the maritime support operations carried out by Canadian, British, Argentine, and Venezuelan forces.

Khrushchev, faced with the armed might of the United States and its allies, had little choice but to find some way out of the difficult situation in which he had placed himself and his country. President Kennedy did not press the advantage that the strength of U.S. and allied naval and military forces gave him. Thus, the Soviet leader was able to peacefully disengage his nation from this most serious of Cold War confrontations.

Citations:"Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962." Naval History and Heritage Command.

Overview:President Kennedy was forced to not show the U.S.'s full military strength because then the Soviets would've had to put their missiles back up then they would shoot them at the U.S.The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world had come to a full atomic war. President Kennedy's brother Robert F. Kennedy talked to Kennedy and was his eyes and ears. Kennedy was the first president to be faced with the threat of a full atomic war.
 

 




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