The Cuban Missile Crisis: Eyeball to Eyeball

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The Cuban Missile Crisis: Eyeball to Eyeball


Eyeball to Eyeball: America, Cuba and The Soviet Union
America and The Soviets again using other countries for their own warfare

Excitement was high for Cuba, when Fidel Castro overthrew the dictatorship of Fulgencio
Batista in January 1959. With a heady mixture of nationalism and left – wing ideologies US
became very cautious for its southern comrades Central and Southern America and perhaps
herself. When Castro took over Cuba, the US lost valuable investments in the sugar and
tobacco crops of Cuba.


Fearing the spread of communism into Americas’ backyard the US Government imposed a strict
economic blockade hoping to starve Castro into US policies.


In desperation Castro turned to the soviets for balance of powers to weigh up the balance of communism ideologies.

In February 1960, Castro signed a trade pact with the Soviets, which eventually led to close diplomatic relations.

At this time the US Government became more worried that a communist superpower had
ventured so close to her borders. By authority of Eisenhower, Cuban Exiles that were in
the US at the time were given aid. At the same time the CIA began to train selected groups
of the exiles to re – enter their homeland and over - throw Castro’s Government.


When Kennedy was sworn into parliament in 1961 he took over the proceedings with
hesitation for his states security. He advised a plan to invade Cuba once again after
Eisenhower’s two other invasions failed. This invasion was known well as the Bay of Pigs.
In April Kennedy received reports that the invasion failed which boosted Castro’s prestige
and embarrassed Kennedy of his new presidency.


When the Bay of Bigs disastrously ended it built up confidence for the soviets and Castro
and lowered Kennedy into a worriment of what’s to happen next.


Early 1962 Khrushchev was convinced of Kennedy’s weakness after the capture of Gary Powers
and that they had ceased to carry out U-2 reconnaissance missions over the Soviet Union
for the capture.


A while after the Vienna Summit the Soviets formed yet another policy with Cuba of
‘Brinkmanship’ seeing how far the Americans could be pushed before reacting. Although this
strategy was a dangerous one the Soviets were thinking of the opportunities that could
arise from this. One was the advantage of an east – West balance that the Soviets could
start to infiltrate the Americas with their ideologies. The second and most important
advantage was the stationing of nuclear missiles close to the United States.


Being only 140 Kilometres away from the US coast of Florida it seemed to be the most obvious base for the Soviets.

Disturbing reports were received in July of 1962 by the US that showed disturbing Soviet
activities on the island. A U-2 in August showed pictures of anti-aircraft facilities
around Havana and in October Soviet aircraft capable of carrying nuclear weapons were
spotted on the island. But the most worrying evidence of all came in the 14 of October,
when another u-2 spotted what appeared to be launch sites for medium – range missiles
which could reach most US cities.


Tow days later Kennedy was informed by his intelligence chiefs that there was no doubt
about Soviet intentions. So the president immediately convened a special “Executive
Committee” of his closest advisers to decide on policy moves. One of his closest advisors
Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara gave three possibilities the president could take:


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