The Cuban Missile Crisis

Essay by KeirHigh School, 11th grade January 2007

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For thirteen days in October of 1962, the two most powerful nations in the world at that time were staring each other down "eyeball to eyeball" in one of the most dangerous crises the world has ever seen. On October 14th, 1962, American U2 planes caught sight of Soviet missile sites being built in Cuba. For the next thirteen days, the world held its breath as President J.F Kennedy and his advisors deliberated on how to react to Premier Mikhail Khrushchev's actions, and decided on blockading Cuba in order to prevent missiles from reaching their intended destinations. The Cuban Missile Crisis made its mark on the history of the Cold War by becoming one of the most important landmarks in the history of the tensions between the US and the USSR because of it being the closest to nuclear war the world has ever come, the effects it had on Kennedy's image, the damage it did to Khrushchev's reputation, and the effects it had on negotiations between the two superpowers.

The Cuban Missile Crisis was made so memorable because of the frighteningly near possibility of the start of the world's first ever nuclear war. It was and is the nearest the world has ever come to nuclear war, having the possibility of multiple sides employing the use of nuclear weaponry. The US at the time of the Crisis had missiles positioned in areas including Turkey, Italy, and Britain, the closest missiles to the Soviet Union being 150 miles away , meaning the US had a clear first-strike capability over the Soviets. The Cuban Missile Crisis brought a greater sense of equality in terms of military force, since before the installation of Cuban missiles the Soviets had no missiles capable of striking any parts of the US. The building of missile...