Explain how Russia and America came close to direct military confrontation with
each other in 1962 and how the crisis was averted.
America came so close to direct military confrontation in 1962 for a number of
reasons, a few of which are described below.
Russia and America had two different ideologies, communism and democracy. The
communists believed that the whole world would eventually revolutionise and
become communist and that it was their duty to speed up this process. The Americans
however, felt that communism was a threat to their ideals (anyone, no matter how
poor can work hard and earn a respectable living, - 'the American Dream') and
became very anti-communist. Rich business men knew they stood to loose out if
communism took over as their businesses and investments would be nationalised. (as
The two countries had huge armies and political influences and they became known
as the 'Super Powers'.
They gave money and aid to other countries who supported
them in order to stop them considering to swap sides and to encourage others
countries to join them. (e.g. Marshal Aid). The two 'Super Powers' had come close to
direct military conflict before over Korea. On this occasion the Americans had the
advantage of nuclear weapons, however, it was not long before Russia caught up with
America in the arms race. By the 1960's technology had moved so fast that both sides
had large numbers of nuclear weapons and an attack by one side would have almost
certainly lead to massive retaliation with the possibility of both sides being wiped out.
(With the threat of ending the world.) This was known as 'M.A.D.' or Mutually
After 1956 there was a partial 'thaw' between the two countries which started when
President Kruschev came into power...