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How Significant was Fidel Castro’s Role in the Missile Crisis of 1962?

A.Plan of Investigation
The investigation assesses the significance of Fidel Castro in the Missile Crisis of 1962. In order to evaluate Castro’s significance, the investigation evaluates his role in each stage of the Crisis in reference to other participants of the event; Castro’s role is investigated in the initial days of the Crisis, during the shooting down of the American U-2 plane, and in the resolution of the Crisis. Memoirs and oral history are mostly used to evaluate Castro’s significance. Two of the sources used in the essay, Cuba on the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis and the Soviet Collapse compiled by James Blight, Allyn Bruce and David Welsh and Cuban documents, “The Mikoyan-Castro Talks, 4-5 November 1962: the Cuban Version,” are then evaluated for their origins, purposes, values and limitations.
The investigation does not assess the difference in ideologies (communist versus imperialism or capitalism) of the nations involved nor does the investigation assess opinions other than those of United States, Soviet Union, and Cuba.

B. Summary of Evidence
Prior to the Missile Crisis, Castro-American relationships were already strained by the Bay of Pigs in 1961 in which American funded counterrevolutionary Cubans to invade Cuba and overthrow Castro.1 The counterrevolutionary failed, pushing Castro into an alliance with communist Soviet Union and leaving Castro wary of American designs in Cuba.2 Castro’s fears were confirmed in early 1962 when his intelligence service noticed signs of U.S. activities related to what was later uncovered to be Operation Mongoose, another American invasion to overthrow Castro.3 Thus, “it was under these circumstances that [Cuban officials] informed the Soviet Union that [they] were concerned about a direct invasion of Cuba by the United States and that [they] were thinking about how to step up [their] country’s ability to resist an attack”.4 In response, Soviet President Khrushchev conceived the plan of protecting Cuban sovereignty by “installing missile with nuclear warheads in Cuba without letting the United States find out until it was too late do anything about them.”5 Castro accepted Khrushchev’s proposal6 and the Soviet Union began deploying nuclear arms.
For America, the Crisis began in mid October 1962 when American intelligence discovered Russian nuclear missile in Cuba. For most of the world, the Crisis began on 22 October 1962 when American President Kennedy revealed in a televised broadcast that U.S. “surveillance of the Soviet military build-up on the island of Cuba” had uncovered “as series of offensive missile sites” in preparation for no other purpose “than to provide a nuclear strike capability against the Western Hemisphere.”7 After Kennedy’s broadcast, the American President called for a naval blockade of Cuba8 and used diplomatic negotiations with Khrushchev to come to an agreement in the removal of the weapons. During negotiations, several incidents occurred which heightened tensions and seemed to bring the world one step closer to nuclear holocaust. One of the incidents is the shooting down of the U.S. U-2 airplane on 27 October 1962 causing the death of Major Rudolf Anderson Jr.9 At the time the United States and the Soviet Union believed that it was Castro who ordered Cuban antiaircraft artillery to fire at low-flying U.S. planes on the morning of 27 October.’10 After further analysis, it is clear that it was a Soviet soldier, not Cuban, who shot the plane. Although Castro ordered Cuban antiaircraft artillery to fire, there is no evidence that he ordered Soviet artillery to fire. Instead, what is most likely to have happened was that the Soviet officers in Cuba identified so closely with the Cuban government’s cause that their field commander gave the order to shoot at the U-2, thinking as an ally supporting comrades in war.11 Another incident is Castro’s letter to Khrushchev recommending that the Soviet Union should launch a first-strike nuclear attack on the United States.12 This outlandish recommendation shocked Khrushchev, leaving him with the impression that Castro “was a young and hotheaded man” one who was “inexperienced as a statesman.” 13

The Crisis drew to a close when both great powers found a mutual solution outlined in a message sent by Khrushchev on 26 October 1962, and in Kennedy’s response of 27 October; the two men agreed that if the Soviets would withdraw their offensive weapons from Cuba under United Nations supervision, the U.S. would remove its naval blockade of the island and pledge not to invade Cuba.14 The Crisis came to an end on 28 October 1962 when Radio Moscow announced Khrushchev’s “new order to dismantle the weapons... and to crate them and return them to the Soviet Union.”15 Throughout the negotiation period, neither Castro not a Cuban representative took part, leaving the issue to be “entirely one between the United States and the Soviet Union.”16 So, Khrushchev’s announcement on the radio not only shocked Castro but also humiliated him for his exclusion from the negotiations.’

C. Evaluation of Sources 

  Cuba on the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis and the Soviet Collapse compiled by James G. Blight, Allyn J. Bruce and David A. Welsh is an in-depth “report” on the Havana conference in 1992 hosted by Castro to discuss Cuba’s specific role during the Crisis. Cuba on the Brink was written with the purpose to “greatly enlarge the number of ‘participants’ in the Havana conference by supplying context sufficient for our readers to ‘be there’ vicariously.”18 The book’s values lies in the fact that it provides a new Cuban perspective on the Crisis that has often been disregarded. As well, since Castro hosted the conference, the reader is exposed to Castro’s own interpretation and evaluation of Cuba’s significance. Its limitations is that the Havana conference is dependent on “critical oral history19”; considering that the conference occurred thirty years after the Crisis, it is doubtful that the recollections of the veteran participants have not been altered either subconsciously or for the purpose of conforming to political pressures.
Whereas Cuba on the Brink is based on discussion thirty years after the Crisis, “The Mikoyan-Castro Talks, 4-5 November 1962: the Cuban Version” is a record of conversations between Castro and Soviet envoy Mikoyan in the immediate aftermath of Khrushchev’s acceptance of Kennedy’s demand that Soviet nuclear missiles be withdrawn from Cuba. These conversations, which occurred on 4-5 November 1962, were obtained form Philip Brenner, Cuba specialist, who provided them to the Cold War International History Project and were translated form Spanish by Carlos Osorio. Cuba’s release of these documents provide a valuable source since these records are primary documents recorded immediately after the event and expose the hurt and betrayal felt by Castro over Khrushchev’s decision to withdraw. As well, since this is a conversation between a Soviet and a Cuban, the historian can notice the different interpretations of each country. These Cuban documents are limited as they were translated awkwardly and both documents are transcriptions of memo notes taken during a speech and do not seem to have been corrected. However, these Cuba documents can be compared against the Russian version of the Mikoyan-Castro Talks released prior to the Cuban version. Thus, assuming that both versions are independent from one another, the historian can compare the versions to one another for accuracy and biases.

D. Analysis
Castro’s significance in the Crisis can either justify or discredit American interference in Cuban internal affairs. Prior to the event, the international society was willing to accept American attempts to overthrow Castro since Americans were portrayed as heroes while Castro seemed to be a fanatical socialist.20 But, if Castro was merely a pawn between U.S. and Soviet Union, Castro improves his international reputation making it difficult for future “heroic” American interference in Cuba.
In the initial days, Castro’s role seems to be significant for two reasons: one, he consented to Khrushchev’s plan and two; nuclear arms were sent for the sole interest of preserving Castro’s socialist regime. However, Castro’s role may be more limited since it is unlikely that Khrushchev’s missiles were sent solely to protect Cuba. Is more likely that Khrushchev wanted to equalize the “balance of power” and redress the strategic imbalance between the U.S. and the Soviet Union Before the Crisis, the American had surrounded the Soviet Union with military bases in Turkey21; sending missiles to Cuba would give the United States “a little of their own medicine...it was high time America learned what it feels like to have her own land and her own people threatened.”22 Furthermore, Khrushchev’s and Kennedy’s secret deal later on in the Crisis that Khrushchev would remove missiles from Cuba if Kennedy would remove Jupiters from Turkey give credibility to the possibility that despite Khrushchev’s altruistic claims, it is more plausible that his actions of 1962 were reflective of the Soviet Union’s own interests rather than Castro’s.
During late October 1962, Castro’s role is often directly related to the shooting down of the U.S. U-2 airplane. Khrushchev blames Castro, writing, “Castro ordered our antiaircraft officers to shoot down a U-2 reconnaissance plane.”23 If Khrushchev’s claim is true, then Castro played a significant role in the Crisis since the shooting down anticipated the end of diplomatic U.S. negotiations and the start of nuclear warfare. Yet, since new evidence indicate that is it more likely that Soviet officers shot down the plane without Castro’s orders, Castro should neither be blamed nor be given significance for the shooting down of the U-2 plane. As well, Castro’s role is also associated with his recommendation that the Soviet should launch a nuclear attack on the United States. Actually, Castro’s apparent eagerness for nuclear war may be his greatest significance in the Crisis since his willingness to use aggression ironically convinced Khrushchev of the importance of maintaining world peace and contributed to the Soviet decision to yield to the United States.24
Overall, the clearest indication of Castro’s importance to the Crisis lies in his lack of participation in the Soviet-American negotiations. Castro did not realize that Khrushchev had conceded to remove all soviet offensive weapons from Cuba until he heard Khrushchev’s announcement on the radio. His exclusion from the negotiations was no error on the Soviet- American’s behalf, but a sign of his political insignificance in the Crisis.
For many U.S. government decision makers at the time of the crisis most have agreed that Cuba was just a locale for a U.S.- Soviet confrontation. Ex U.S. Ambassador to Cuba (1959-60) Philip W. Bonsal declares that the Missile Crisis cannot truly be classified under Cuban American relation since “the issue was entirely one between the United States and the Soviet Union.”25 He states that although the confrontation could have eliminated Castro, “the exercise had little to do with him.”26

On the other hand, Khrushchev writes in his memoirs that Castro did indeed play a significant role in the Crisis. He bluntly announces that Castro was solely responsible for the shooting of the U-2 plane27 and that Castro encouraged the Soviet Union to “launch a preemptive strike against the United States.”28 However, in view of contradicting sources and Khrushchev’s tendency to make declarations without details and factual evidence, it is unlikely that Castro’s role was as significant as claimed.
E. Conclusion
During each and every stage of the Crisis, Castro’s role is overshadowed by that of the Soviet Union’s and the United States. In the beginning, it was Khrushchev, not Castro, who initiated the deployment of nuclear arms; and Castro’s’ relation with the U-2 shooting is little more than a misunderstanding on the part of the Soviet soldiers. As argued by Bonsal, the Missile Crisis was entirely between the Soviet Union and the United States. This view can be justified when we consider the possibility that Khrushchev may have sent his missiles for reasons other than for Castro’s defense and when we are faced with Castro’s obvious exclusion from the Crisis negotiations. Castro’s “role” in the Crisis, if he has one at all, is that he unintentionally helped convinced Khrushchev to concede to Kennedy’s demands. As Castro himself declares, “I cannot take the credit for the resolution of the crisis...the major role belongs to Khrushchev who caused that crisis by his stubbornness, and then resolved it.”29
Word Count: 1989 

1 Nikita S. Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers: The Glasnost Tapes. Trans and ed. Jerrold L. Schechter with Yacheslav V. Luchkov. (Boston: Little Brow, 1990) 171.
2 Philip Brenner and James G. Blight, “The Crisis and Cuban-Soviet Relations: Fidel Castro’s Secret 1968 Speech,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin. No. 5 (Spring 1995).
3 James G. Blight et al. Cuba on the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis and the Soviet Collapse. (New York: Pantheon, 1993) 19. 
4 Blight, 19.
5 Nikita S. Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers. Ed. and trans. Strobe Talbott. (Boston: Little Brow, 1970) 493.
6 Khrushchev, Glasnost. 171.
7 Anatoli I. Gribkov and William Y. Smith, Operation ANADYR: U.S. and Soviet Generals Recount the Cuban Missile Crisis. (Chicago: Edition Q, 1994) 1.
8 Ibid, 28. 9 Ibid, 66. 10 Ibid, 67.
11 Blight, xi.
12 Ibid, 474-491.
13 Khrushchev, Glasnost. 178.
14 Wayne S. Smith, The Closest of Enemies: A Personal and Diplomatic Account of U.S.-Cuban

Relations Since 1957. (New York: Norton, 1987) 81. 15 Blight, 472.
16 Philip W. Bonsal, Cuba, Castro and the United States. (London: U of Pittsburgh P, 1971) 187.
17 “The Mikoyan-Castro Talks, 4-5 November 1962: The Cuban Version,” Cold War International
18 Blight, 10.
19 Critical oral history is the synthesis of recollections of participants with declassified documentation and the analyses of historians.
20 Blight, 178,
21 Anatoli, 11.
22 Khrushchev, Khrushchev Remembers. 494.
23 Khrushchev, Glasnost. 178, 24 Ibid, 177.
25 Bonsal, 187.
26 Ibid.
27 Khrushchev, Glasnost, 178.
28 Ibid, 177.
29 Georgy Shakhnazarov, “Fidel Castro, Glasnost, and the Caribbean Crisis,” Cold War
F. Bibliography
Blight James G., Bruce J. Allyn and David A. Welsh. Cuba on the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis and the Soviet Collapse. New York: Pantheon, 1993.
Bonsal, Philip W. Cuba, Castro and the United States. London: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1971.
Brenner, Philip and James G. Blight. “The Crisis and Cuban Soviet Relations: Fidel Castro’s Secret 1968 Speech,” Cold War International History Project Bulletin. No. 5 (Spring 1995)
Gribkov, Anatoli I. And William Y. Smith. Operation ANADYR: U.S. and Soviet Generals Recount the Cuban Missile Crisis. Chicago: Edition Q, 1994.
Khrushchev, Nikita S. Khrushchev Remembers. Ed. and trans. Strobe Talbott. Boston: Little Brow, 1970
---.Khrushchev Remembers: The Glasnost Tapes. Trans and ed. Jerrold L. Schechter with Yacheslav V. Luchkov. Boston: Little Brow , 1990.
“The Mikoyan-Castro Talks, 4-5 November 1962: The Cuban Version.” Cold War International History Project Bulletin. Nos. 8-9 (Winter 1996/1997).
Shakhnazarov, Georgy. “Fidel Castro, Glasnost, and the Caribbean Crisis,” Cold War International History project Bulletin. No. 5 (Spring 1995)
Smith, Wayne S. The Closest of Enemies: A personal and Diplomatic Account of U.S.-Cuban Relations Since 1957. New York: Norton, 1987, 

Other IBDP Student Essays from past exam papers

Castro's role in intensifying American antagonism.

Building up to the Cuban Missile Crisis, aggression occurred between the USA and Cuba for many reasons. Cuba had been in the hands of Fulgencio Batista since 1933. Batista was a military dictator and his corrupt rule caused popular discontent. Fidel Castro came into power January 1st 1959, after a brief struggle with Batista, with the help of Ernesto "Che" Guevara and nine other rebels. Castro was a brilliant propagandist and a very charismatic person. The incidents which happened between 1959 and 1961 built up tension and resulted in strong animosity.
Economically, Cuba had always been dependent on the United States. The US was exploiting them, owning most of Cuban industry, transportation, electricity production and telephone lines. 80% of Cuba's export revenue was from producing and selling sugar. Most of this sugar was grown on plantations owned by the United States and then sent to the USA. Under Batista's rule, the United States was allowed to continue with their actions but when Fidel Castro came into power in 1959, he formed a new government. Castro wanted to make Cuba an independent country, free from US control and exploitation. He nationalized industry, impounded all foreign-owned property, and collectivized agriculture. This did not please the US government. President Dwight Eisenhower decided to stop trading arms with Cuba and eventually refused to purchase Cuban sugar in July of 1960. Castro looked to the Soviet Union for assistance. The USSR saw this as an opportunity and took advantage of the situation. The Soviets would buy Cuban sugar and in return, they would send oil, machines and money. In response to the US's action, Castro nationalized most US-owned factories and plantations. US-owned oil refineries were nationalized when they refused to take Soviet oil. Eventually, Castro severed all economic and political ties to the United States.
Secondly, political affairs added to the antagonism between the USA and Cuba. After Castro came into power, he established a totalitarian government which benefited the working class at the expense of the middle class. Castro arrested, imprisoned and executed many of Batista's supporters who had been responsible for the repression of Cuba. This heightened tension because many of the people executed were in fact allies to the United States. Most social and political opposition between the United States and Cuba happened because of the fact that Cuba had become communist with the aid of the USSR. At this time, to the United States, communism was seen as the enemy. Cuba was essentially a puppet state of the US. As it wiggled out of their grasp, they needed to act. The United States needed to show the world they were still a super power. Destroying Castro became a priority.
Militarily, the Bay of Pigs invasion was the "straw which broke the camels back". The Bay of Pigs invasion was a very unsuccessful invasion of Cuba issued by the new US president John F. Kennedy. The plan was suggested by Richard Nixon, Eisenhower's Vice president. The CIA had been scheming different strategies to take Castro out of power but none had been successful. Towards the end of Eisenhower's term, the CIA came up with a plan titled "A Program of Covert Action Against the Castro Regime" on March 17th 1960. The Bay of Pigs invasion started on April 17th when six ships sailed from Nicaragua. Roughly 1,500 Cuban exiles landed in the Bay of Pigs, Bahi a de Cochinos, with the sole purpose of ousting the Communist regime present under Castro. These exiles were trained by the CIA and supplied with U.S. arms but they barely made it past the beaches. Most exiles were captured and killed by the Cuban army. 1,189 men were captured and each sentenced to thirty years in prison. After months of interrogation and negotiation, in December of 1962, Cuba traded 1,112 captured rebels for fifty-three million US dollars in food and medicine. Castro saw the Bay of Pigs as confirmation that the USA was working to overthrow his government. The United States was terrified and embarrassed that Cuba, only 90 miles from the shores of Florida, a country in American's sphere of influence, had become communist.
By the end of the Bay of Pigs invasion, both the United States and Cuba were aware that the hostility and aggression towards one another would not go away. Pressure only increased as the US struggled to fight communism.

The Cuban Missile Crisis
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 advisers 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 sites in Cuba levelled the field between the two superpowers, as the US was compelled to deal with the Soviets with a greater degree of caution and wariness as they recognized the capability of the Soviets to attack their own soil. This meant that the Soviets were in a position to negotiate in terms of arms control because of their elevated status due to the Crisis. However, the US was still clearly ahead of the Soviets in weapons in terms of quantity, so after the withdrawal of the missiles from Cuba by the Soviets, the missile gap again prevailed, with Khrushchev's main ambition of closing the missile gap failing. At the time of the crisis, the US had 8 times as many nuclear weapons as the Soviet Union, with 27,297 warheads to the USSR's 3,332 . In this way, the Crisis had no effect on the long-term nuclear parity between the US and the USSR; however during the Crisis the Soviets had succeeded in reaching more of a military equanimity because of the fact that they had installed missiles capable of striking the US. The near-parity of the two countries' nuclear capability meant that nuclear war was an even greater possibility, as previously, second-strike capacity for the USSR was not great enough to begin a nuclear war--however with the addition of the Cuban missiles, the Soviets' first-strike capability had increased 70% . The crisis was brought to a head on October 27th, 1962, where the beginning of a nuclear war seemed entirely possible. Kennedy had raised the US military's Defensive Condition status to DEFCON 3 on October 22nd. On the 27th, an American U-2 plane over Western Alaska accidentally flew in Soviet airspace, causing Soviet MiG fighters to attempt to intercept the spy plane, which left the airspace in time to avoid a conflict. When news of this incident was reported to the Whitehouse, Defence Secretary McNamara exclaimed "This means war with the Soviet Union!" He believed the Soviets would interpret the U-2 plane as a recon mission precluding a nuclear first-strike, and act accordingly. Later that day, another U-2 plane was shot down over Cuba. Kennedy's advisors believed the shooting to be an act of planned escalation of the situation of the Soviets; it was not known the the command to shoot was given by a Soviet commander in Cuba rather than Moscow. Kennedy's advisers pressured him to attack and invade Cuba "no later than Monday, the 29th", however Kennedy chose to wait for further hostile action on the part of the Soviets. Had Kennedy not chosen to wait out the situation, the Cold War would indeed have turned into a "hot war", a nuclear one. The situation was further intensified by the Chiefs of Staff and their respective commands and their statuses; for the first time in history, the US had raised their Strategic Air Command forces to the Defensive Condition DEFCON 2 on October 24th , meaning they were at a heightened state of alert poised to strike targets within the Soviet Union. The events played out during the Cuban Missile Crisis resulted in the closest the world has ever come to a full-out nuclear war, which would have been catastrophic had it not been for the actions of the leaders of the US and the USSR.
The Cuban Missile Crisis also directly affected the images of the leaders in the Cold War, which proved a large factor in the events of the War, by improving Kennedy's image in the eyes of his people and his opposition, lending further importance to the Crisis as a landmark in US and Soviet history. Four months after Kennedy took the office of President of the US, the catastrophic Bay of Pigs incident occurred, observed by historian John Gaddis to be "a monumental disaster for the United States". Kennedy had given his approval for the operation to be carried out with pressure from his advisor and the previous Eisenhower administration, who had concocted the invasion. The Bay of Pigs incident was a blow to Kennedy's image, portraying him to Khrushchev as young, inexperienced, and lacking courage. Kennedy's administration, especially his Chiefs of Staff, most notably General Curtis LeMay, also shared the same views as Khrushchev to an extent and believed military force would be the resolution to the crisis, which Kennedy was opposed to. This difference in ideologies within the administration itself brought further discord to the decision-making process during the crisis, with Kennedy facing much resistance to his determination to keep military intervention as a last resort. Kennedy's dealing with the crisis, including his secret dealings with Robert Kennedy involving the Turkish missiles, proved to avoid a potential nuclear holocaust. Post-revisionist historians applaud Kennedy for his insistence about the dismantling and withdrawal of the missiles from Cuba, and his firm stance in dealing with the USSR and Khrushchev, especially after the demeaning Vienna Conference with Khrushchev in June of the previous year. Kennedy, because of the Cuban Missile Crisis, was also admired for his restraint and careful action in eliminating invasions and air strikes as options to deal with the situation, despite constant pressure from his generals to employ military action. However, some historians claim that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a direct result of Kennedy's rash decisions during the Bay of Pigs incident, as Khrushchev and the Soviets believed him to be weak and inexperienced and so accordingly took advantage with the Cuban missiles. Other criticisms include the proximity of the mid-term US elections in November, meaning that throughout the crisis, Kennedy kept in mind the garnering of domestic support by putting on a tough face for the Soviets, perhaps over-dramatizing the entire matter. Nevertheless, in the end, Kennedy's image improved greatly and he proved to be one of the most popular US presidents in history, leaving an entire nation in mourning following his assassination the next year. However, it must be noted that Kennedy was allowed his rational decision-making procedures due to the other side's response as well. Had Khrushchev and the Kremlin acted differently and played with less restraint on their part, Kennedy would not have been able to take the credit for avoiding military intervention, which may have been necessary in a different scenario where the Soviets used force in response to the US' demands. The Soviets' actions are often ignored when relating the Cuban Missile Crisis, when in fact they were equally essential to the development of the Crisis as Kennedy's actions and decisions. The Cuban Missile Crisis was an essential milestone in Cold War history, as it improved the tarnished image of the leader of the two most important players of the Cold War.
The Crisis also greatly affected the Cold War by resulting in the diminishing of Khrushchev's image to his own administration and his allies. Khrushchev fell from power shortly after the Crisis concluded, a mere two years later in October 1964. For the Soviet Union, the Cuban Missile Crisis, or the Caribbean Crisis, as it is known by the Soviets, was more of an embarrassment than a victory--few of their aims were fully achieved. Firstly, hard-line generals saw the overall backing down of the USSR over the missiles as a complete humiliation in itself, including the fact that the missile gap between the US and the USSR had prevailed, since the brief period of nuclear parity had terminated when Khrushchev withdrew his Cuban missiles. Furthermore, the second deal proposed by the USSR in a formal letter to the US on October 27th demanded that the Jupiter missiles the US had in Turkey would have to be removed. The deal that was pushed by the US involved Attorney General Robert Kennedy meeting secretly with KGB representative in Washington Anatoly Dobrynin to discuss the proposal that the US would accept the terms of the letter, but that the missiles would be removed six months in the future, and not made public, or else the US would withdraw the deal. This was promised by the US along with the promise not to ever invade Cuba, which followed along the lines of the first, more informal letter sent by Khrushchev on October 26th, the day before. The secrecy involved in the withdrawal of the Turkish missiles, and the fact that Khrushchev accepted these terms further dropped him in the eyes of his domestic political enemies, as well as his own hard-line administration. Even more curious was the actual penning of the two different letters; US Secretary of Defence Robert McNamara described the first letter of the 26th as an impassioned proposal most likely written by Khrushchev himself, probably in an inebriated state . He also speculated that Khrushchev did not screen the letter through his administration, and it was sent to the US without others' approval or input. The message contained within this letter simply demanded that the US would promise to stay out of Cuba, and nothing more. However, the following day, another contradictory letter emerged, this time with much more formality, and with hard-liner demands. This sequence of events leads to conjecture that Khrushchev's political advisor discovered his soft-line transmission to the US, and quickly manoeuvred, in their eyes, to rectify the situation and the damage inflicted by a possibly drunk Khrushchev. This could possibly indicate the future ousting of Khrushchev from his seat of power, as his action were considered to need correction by his own administration, who believed he was acting too softly. Not only did his own government develop doubts about him because of the Crisis, but his allies were questioning his authority as well. China, who was at this time doubting the USSR's commitment to dealing with "imperialists" such as the US, witnessed the backing down of Khrushchev to US demands, which later led to Chinese propaganda movements that contributed to his fall from power. The entire world was witness to this supposed loss of face for the Soviets, however, the Soviets could have turned the situation in their favour in terms of global support, by demonstrating that the USSR was heroically "saving the world" by not demanding that nuclear equilibrium was restored after being stripped of a significant portion of their arsenal from Cuba. Furthermore, the USSR failed to emphasize the unjustified demands on the part of the US; the US had offensive missiles directed towards the USSR, however they claimed the USSR was in violation when they simply followed the US' lead. Furthermore, blockades, as defined under international treaties, are illegal acts of war; however the US thinly disguised their blockade of Cuba by renaming it as a "quarantine". Khrushchev himself emphasized that his actions in Cuba were not illegal, but simply a reflection of the US' own, when he questioning "Why shouldn't the Soviet Union have the right to do the same as America?" Had he pressed these points to the international community and taken a firmer stance towards the actions of the US, emphasizing the fact that the US itself was engaging in a poorly veiled illegal act of war, Khrushchev would have possibly improved his image in the eyes of his contemporaries. The Cuban Missile Crisis had a direct impact on the image of Khrushchev in the eyes of his own government and in the eyes of the rest of the world, which contributed to his fall from power.
Finally, the Cuban Missile Crisis had a great impact on negotiations between the two superpowers after the conclusion of the Crisis, especially its impact on the treaties that were agreed upon as a result of the crisis. First of all, the Cuban Missile Crisis saw the first direct communication line formed between the Kremlin and the White House. Because of the communications problems encountered during the Crisis, since messages took several hours to be delivered, Khrushchev and Kennedy saw a need for a proper means of contact. In 1963, a Hotline was established, which connected the White House and the Kremlin via telex. This completely changed the nature of the Cold War, as previously a scenario that could have occurred with the current state of communications was that Khrushchev could have agreed to withdraw the missiles, however because of the seven-hour delay, Kennedy ordered an invasion as Khrushchev was apparently delaying his reply. The establishment of the Hotline ensured that the risk of a war starting over poor contact was eliminated. Furthermore, nine months after the end of the crisis, both sides, plus Britain, signed the Test Ban Treaty, which banned the testing of nuclear weapons in the atmosphere, underwater, and in outer space. This treaty was a result of both recognizing how close they had come to nuclear war, and the necessity of ensuring that the development of nuclear weaponry did not spiral out of control before it became too late. However, the treaty did not include other countries, such as France and China who rejected it. Another treaty resulting from the lessons learned by both sides from the Missile Crisis was the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968, where it was agreed that states would not transfer nuclear weapons to other countries or to aid other states in their manufacture. In short, the Cuban Missile Crisis instilled the desire in the US and the USSR to limit the spread of the nuclear weaponry. The end of the Cuban Missile Crisis was the beginning of a long period of détente in the history of the Cold War, as the two main players had been exposed to a scare, and both were ready to begin changes in their negotiations. This period was known as the "long peace", where both superpowers had it in their interests to seek détente in Europe. Because of the Cuban Missile Crisis, there was a concerted effort by the US and the USSR to improve relations between the two nations and monitor the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world, ultimately resulting in a period of relative reprieve.
"Eyeball to eyeball....and the other fellow just blinked" has long been touted as the Cuban Missile Crisis' main description; however it is astounding to speculate how easily it could have gone the other way and resulted in a full-out world war. The Cuban Missile Crisis was significant in the Cold War for a number of reasons, mainly being the closest to nuclear war the world has ever seen, the benefits it had to Kennedy's image, the consequences it had for Khrushchev's image, and finally what it led to in terms of negotiations and peace settlements between the two superpowers.

A Tribute to Fidel Castro

Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz was born on August 16th, 1926, in Mayari, Cuba. He was educated at the University of Havana in law, where he also studied politics. His political ideas were formed throughout these years, and he joined several student political groups devoted to helping the poor workers and peasants. His ideas later matured, and he joined the Ortodoxo Party (Party of the Cuban People), of which he became the leader in 1951. As Fidel Castro was running for elections, general Fulgencio Batista staged a coup d´etat, and established a dictatorship in Cuba. In response, Fidel Castro favoured of armed revolution, and he joined underground groups attempting to overthrow the unpopular dictator. In 1953 he attacked with a group of 150 revolutionists, but failed and was captured. He was jailed until 1955 for conspiracy to overthrow the Cuban government. He used the years in jail to study political philosophy, history and literature, which strengthened his policy of change from corruption to social equality. 

 In 1955 he was granted amnesty and left for Mexico, where he trained a guerrilla group in Sierra Maestra aided by another well-known revolutionist;Â Che Guevara. They lived among the poor peasants, and were able to experience their difficulties, which again formed Fidel Castro's socialist politics. While they were fighting in the mountains they were bombed with US planes, from which the guerrilla groups escaped unharmed from, but caused serious casualties among the poor peasants. At this time, there were many anti-Batista groups led by different leaders, but Fidel Castro's advantage was his clear ideological position, in contrast to other groups only focused on removing the dictator. The Cuban military was aided by shiploads of arms from the United States, but as these ceased, Fidel Castro's group caught strength. In January 1959 Batista fled the country and Fidel Castro overtook the leadership. During his initial speech, a white dove landed on his shoulder before the crowds. In the deep rooted superstition of Catholicism, this signified divine acceptance of the guerilla leader. His strong personality overpowered the other revolutionist groups, and the people pledged to his promises of reforms and changes from the corrupt past of Fulgencio Batista.  The dove incident did not dupe Pope John XXIII who excommunicated Castro, an atheist, on January 3, 1962. In the 1990s, Pope John Paul II finally permitted Catholics to join the Cuban Communist Party which reversed the 1949 decree by Pope Pius XII forbidding Catholics from supporting communist governments. Throughout his first period as the Head of the Cuban Armed Forces and later the Prime Minister of Cuba, he pushed through radically changing reforms such as the redistribution of wealth among the poor. Together with Che Guevara, Fidel Castro developed a new theory; The New Man's Theory, which was basically that Cubans should no longer work for personal benefits, but for the good outcome for everybody in the society. The literacy rate was increased remarkably, and almost all Cubans could have free quality health care. He also controlled strictly the ideological propaganda machinery of Cuba, putting out neighbourhood watch groups and controlling the media, even banning such books as The Diary of Anne Frank. His ideology was basically socialistic; he wanted to redistribute wealth and gain back US controlled property in the nation, support social justice, strengthen the national identity, provide for economic independence, and clear the nation of damaging influence from powerful foreign nations in Cuba's affairs. In 1961, Cuba was declared a socialist nation. Tens of thousands from the higher class capitalists and Jews left for the United States.  Fidel Castro's opposition to the US influence and socialist ideology brought forth a collision between the two nations. He seized US owned businesses in Cuba and established contacts with the USSR. Therefore, the US broke all the former relations and began planning an invasion of Cuba in 1960, after having put a partial trade embargo on the nation (prohibiting all import except food and medication). The CIA trained Cuban exiles, which landed on the Bay of Pigs April 17th, 1961, was attempting to built up a counterrevolution in an attempt to overthrow the Cuban leader. But the Bay of Pigs invasion failed as the people backed up Fidel Castro and his politics. The US now attempted a military invasion from within the nation, where agents working for the US government tried to assassinate Fidel Castro several times.  During the Cold War, Cuba invited the USSR to established military bases on the island. When war criminal John F. Kennedy discovered the missiles, it led to the Cuban Missile Crisis, in which the US and the USSR almost went to war. After negotiating, the missiles were removed with the US promise of never invading Cuba. Castro could now develop his political ideas without fear of a US invasion.  Castro's foreign policy also included the support of revolutionary groups in other countries, like Nicaragua, Bolivia, El Salvador, and finally, the Venezuela of Hugo Chávez. As a communist, Castro's main foreign goal was to advocate liberation from wealthier nations' dominion over the poorer. He never submitted totally to all the communist ideologies from other strong nations, like the USSR, and he was reluctant to support revolution groups without clear ideologies. As a result of the US tactic of weakening the Cuban government with a trade barricade, other nations, some hostile to the USA, backed the Castro regime. 

In October 1973, Castro broke diplomatic relations with Israel after he deployed thousands of Cuban soldiers including helicopter pilots and tank crews to fight alongside the Syrians during the Yom Kippur War. Hundreds of Palestinians have received military training in Cuba. In Havana, Castro gave Yasser Arafat his prestigious "Bay of Pigs Medal" in 1974.  The economy of Cuba continues to be very poor in comparison to the region's other nations. The USSR provided the nation with financial aid, but when the USSR collapsed in the 90's, and with the US still enforcing the trading barricade from the 60's, Cuba lost their financial ally and the already poor economy collapsed. In a speech, Fidel Castro said that he knew no solution for the financial crisis, but promised the people to not surrender to a capitalist system enforced by a stronger wealthier nation, but to help the crisis, he allowed for some free trading and investments of other nations in Cuba. As a result of black market trading, inflation occurred and Castro had to allow the use of foreign currencies. This destroyed the Cuban social and economic equality as a higher social group was formed. As a result of the falling economy, desperate riots broke out in old Havana, but Fidel Castro met the crowd face to face and allowed them to exile, which re-established the peace.  On February 24, 2008, the National Assembly of People's Power unanimously chose his brother, Raúl Castro, as Fidel's successor as President of Cuba. 

On July 26, 1953, Fidel Castro stepped onto the stage of history, as he and other revolutionaries launched an attack on the Moncada Barracks of Cuban dictator Batista. After being captured, Castro made an eloquent defense of his action, saying, "history will absolve me." Less than six years later, Castro led the Cuban revolution to victory by overthrowing the corrupt and cruel U.S.-backed Batista dictatorship. This act alone - leading a revolutionary movement to victory on a small island just 90 miles off the coast of the U.S. - would be enough to make Fidel Castro an unforgettable hero in the struggle of oppressed people for liberation. But this was just the beginning of Fidel Castro's 49 years of contributions to the Cuban people's liberation and to oppressed people the world over.  Fidel Castro announced that he would not seek or accept the position of president or commander in chief in Cuba's February elections. He said he would still devote his time to being a soldier in the "battle of ideas."  The Bavarian International School chose to recognise and honour Fidel Castro's lifetime of tireless dedication to fighting for liberation and building socialism. Fidel Castro led the Cuban revolution to victory in 1959 and has done the even more challenging and complex work of building socialism in Cuba through exceptional challenges.  Cuba's socialist revolution inspires people worldwide. In Latin America the example of Cuba has proven that it's possible to defy the U.S. in its own backyard and win. Cuba's internationalist solidarity with liberation struggles in Africa has earned it high respect there. And Cuba's missions of sending doctors and providing free health care to the poorest countries and people around the world has been a shining example of internationalism in practice.  Cuba's internationalism is built on the foundation of Cuban socialism. Cuba is a small, poor country. But Cuba is a sovereign country, so the Cuban people live with dignity. All Cubans have free health care and education. Cubans don't starve to death like poor people do every day all over the Third World. The infant mortality rate in Cuba is lower than in the United States. Cuba survives natural disasters such as hurricanes without widespread loss of life. All of this is due to socialism and collective organization of the Cuban people, under the leadership of the Communist Party. Fidel Castro's leadership and ability to inspire and mobilize the masses has played a great role in giving employment, health care and decent living conditions to the people of Cuba.

From the beginning, the Cuban revolution and Fidel personally came under attack by U.S. imperialism. All such attacks have been defeated. Fidel was the principal leader in defeating U.S. imperialism's attempted invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs; he led Cuba through U.S. imperialism's nuclear blackmail during the 'Cuban missile crisis;' he has survived hundreds of CIA assassination attempts. He has led Cuba through decades of the cruel U.S. embargo. And he led Cuba through the 'special period' in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union led to the sudden loss of 85% of Cuba's foreign trade.  In that context of extreme hardship in the 1990s, Fidel Castro and the Communist Party of Cuba had little to gain and everything to lose from staying committed to socialism. But stay committed they did. They prepared and mobilized the masses of Cubans to hold on to their dignity despite extreme difficulties. Cubans survived the 1990s with their dignity and with socialism intact, emerging in the current decade with an increasingly strong and growing economy, while other Latin American countries that are dominated by U.S. imperialism are suffering. During its most difficult hour, Cuba was so committed to socialist values of putting people first that not a single school or hospital was closed.  Fidel Castro has stepped down as president and started the transition to the next stage of Cuba's leadership. His decision is creating a stable transition of power and insures the stability of the socialist project of the Cuban people. The Cuban people, with the leadership of the Cuban Communist Party and Raul Castro will continue building socialism in the 21st century.  We stand in solidarity with the Cuban Communist Party and the Cuban people. We reject the dreams of U.S. imperialism that tries to strangle the Cuban revolution with a trade embargo and continues to imprison five Cubans for their opposition to the terrorist plans of right-wing Cuban exiles in the United States. We call on the U.S. government to end the embargo and to free the Cuba 5! We say long live Fidel Castro and socialism in Cuba! 

Extended Essay:

History Higher Level

To what extent did the 1959 Cuban revolution improve its economy?


On the 1st of January 1959 the revolution officially began, marking a great change for all of Cuba as Fidel Castro and his rebels overthrew Fulgencio Batista. This essay aims to assess the effect of the revolution on the economy of Cuba in order to provide a brief model of how a communist government can affect its economy. My research question is to determine To what extent did the 1959 Cuban revolution improve its economy? in which I will be able to compare the effects of different economic policies under different governments. In order to do so, I will compare the government under Batista’s regime to the government immediately after Castro’s initiation of his new economic policies. This comparison will prove valuable as it enables us to see how Castro’s economic policies as a communist government worsened the economy. It is clear from my analysis that the 1959 Cuban revolution in fact destroyed the Cuban economy and prevented it from further improving itself. Castro’s first problem was his destruction of Batista’s diversification policies, which were in fact benefitting the Cuban economy. Secondly, Castro’s nationalization policies led to the U.S. embargo ruining any chance of improving its export markets and hence led to Castro relying on a nation that prevented the need of improving its economy; the Soviet Union.


In Cuba, the economy has been a topic of hot debate ever since it came under communist control in 1959. The reason for the transformation was the communist revolution in the late 1950s. Almost 6 years after their first failed attempt, rebels led by Fidel Castro, overthrew the dictator Fulgencio Batista of Cuba on January 1, 1959. The Cuban revolution officially began on January 2, the day after Castro’s takeover, when he announced that “The revolution begins now” during a speech in Santiago de Cuba.[1] The new government viewed the improvement of the economy to be vital for the advancement of the country. Castro strived for radical economic reforms that would progress a nation “destroyed by poverty”[2] and develop it into an industrial power. The purpose of this essay is to evaluate to what extent did the 1959 Cuban revolution improve its economy? I will determine the effect of the revolution by analyzing the different economic reforms and their impacts on the economy in comparison to the economy under Batista’s regime. This investigation continues to maintain its relevance in modern history as Cuba serves as a microcosm to all communist states. It is a valuable analysis of the effects of communist policies on a country’s economy.

Before the revolution, small local companies and foreign corporations centralized on “the cultivation of sugar, tobacco and tropical fruits”[3], the majority of which was exported to the neighbouring United States. Due to Cuba’s island geography, its industrial resources are very limited and it thus relies heavily on foreign trade. The main focus of the economy, and at the same time the country’s principal income, was based on the sugar industry and the export thereof. In 1950, over 80 percent of Cuba’s income from exports derived from the sugar sector[4], with its trade limited to the United States through a mutual trade agreement. The government in power at that time, led by Fulgencio Batista, recognized the weaknesses of this dependency and began to diversify the economy.

Batista’s policies greatly began to benefit Cuba’s economy but after the 1959 revolution, Castro slowly brought the policies to an end, returning to its single crop dependency and causing the economy to again collapse. The “Cuban economy is in tatters back where it started as a one crop sugar producer”[5] The former leader, Batista had realized that Cuba’s dependency on its sugar trade limited its ability for further development. Cuba had diversified its economy by turning to new sectors such as tourism instead of just the sugar sector strengthening it’s position in the mid 1950s.

Due to Cuba’s new source of income before the revolution: tourism and hotel construction in the years 1952-1958 doubled with a total investment of more than 90 million dollars.[6]  This large investment in the tourism sector improved Cuba’s tourism attraction immensely “with the creation of Casino’s for American tourists, causing Havana to become known as the “Latin Las Vegas”. “For tropical beaches, open gambling and a throbbing night life, an estimated 350,000 visitors will have spent $35 million by the end of this year” stated the time magazine in 1957. In a later time magazine the article states “Tourism and new private U.S investment, which used to bring in $100 million a year, are reduced almost to zero” proving its value of providing the relevant information of Cuba’s economy but however being limited due to its subjectivity as an American magazine. In 1959 after the revolution, the President of Cuba, Manuel Urrutia ordered for casinos and bars to be shut down[7] ruining Cuba’s portrayal as a utopian travel destination for American tourists. This of course decreased the amount of tourists after 1959 meaning that although the policies of diversification were still in place, Cuba was no longer diversifying its economy through tourism, going back towards the direction of a single crop dependency. Along with the American tourists came a corrupt underground organization known as the US Mafia. The Mafia set up multiple casinos, hotels, brothels and other tourist attractions around Cuba. In exchange for their government permission to do business in Cuba, the Mafia handed over a considerable cut of their profits to Batista, who invested it in the economy[8] again showing the benefits of the tourism sector in pre-revolutionary Cuba.

Along with tourism in the 1950s, Cuba used rice production as a new form of income, increasing its production from 118,000 in 1951 to 261,000 tons in 1957. Livestock also improved greatly during the 1950s from 4 million in 1952 to 5.8 million in 1959.  Lastly, fish stock grew from an average of 8,300 metric tons per year from 1948 until 1952 to 22,600 metric tons in 1957.[9]. The 1959 revolution did not initiate or lead to any new beneficial economic policies but slowly continued to improve due to the policies set in the time of Batista’s regime.  Cuba’s industrial income also improved greatly during the 1950’s due to the diversified economy. Cement increased from 1952 until 1957 by 56 percent, rubber tyres by 66 percent, electricity by 10.6 percent and chemical fertilizers by 46 percent.[10] The increased production of all these industrial sources along with the farming income progressed the amount of exports to other countries improving Cuba’s balance of payments. In comparison, Cuba’s poor balance of payments under Castro’s regime resulted from Castro’s “unwillingness to liberalize Cuba's economy, diversify its export base, and its need to pay off debts owed to its Japanese, European, and Latin American trading partners”[11] proving the effect of diversification on the economy.

Goods purchased abroad before the revolution were divided up equally by giving 63% towards the industry, 10% for the new diversified agriculture and 13% for transport.[12] To conclude, Cuba’s imports fell from 46% in 1953-1954 to 38% in 1957-195813 proving that during the late 1950’s Cuba relied less on its sugar sector and other nations.

According to the source, Castro’s Cuba “Batista was the leading figure in Cuban Politics” and “fostered economic growth”[13] during his time in power. Charles Cary voices his opinion as an American historian on Batista’s time in power. His opinion is highly valuable as it gives an insight to what the United Sates believed but is again hindered by its negative view of Cuba as a communist state. His reforms to diversify Cuba’s economy were a huge success but lacked the sufficient time to prove its value. The revolution marked the end of diversification crushing the tourism industry and returning its former dependency on the sugar industry. The destruction of the newly diversified economy sector was the beginning of the end of Batista’s diversification policies and resulted in the modern day backwardness of the country.

Cuba is administered by a communist regime, with some key policies varying drastically from that of its economy. In 1959, shortly after Castro seized power, he went on to implement a vital element of a communist government: the nationalization of the country’ free market, industry and private businesses. The state control of all sectors of the economy enabled the government to retain control over job and resource distribution in order to guarantee employment and money to the people.

In an interview between Castro and Lee Lockwood, Castro states his belief that  “the internal market was limited by the quantity of men and women working in the country and by the salaries which they earned”[14] proving his aim to increase the number of jobs rather than follow previous company goals. His primary view on this matter is significantly valuable as it shows his motive and views on Batista’s economy. It is limited due to it’s publication showing that Castro may not necessarily be telling the truth but is still valuable as he is expressing his opinions. Making profitable revenue off the businesses was secondary to creating more jobs. The unavoidable problem with this policy was, that although the economy was overall able to employ more workers, the individual businesses were no longer able to make revenue. This was due to two factors. Firstly, an increased number of employees meant more salary spending. Secondly, when a business is nationalized, the extreme pressure of ever increasing profit is gone, as it is state owned. The resilience as well as the efficiency is thus involuntarily lowered. The government also added new businesses where it felt necessary. Those public businesses aimed to provide essential goods and services that wouldn’t be provided by the private sector, often resulting in deficit spending.

Besides the unavoidable consequences of nationalization stated above, which lowered productivity and revenue, the nationalization also proved to have another major complication. In 1960, the United States government refused Cuba refining Soviet crude oil and in response Castro nationalized refineries. The United States retaliated by declaring the U.S. embargo on Cuba resulting in the nationalization of the remaining American investments. This consisted of “90% of Cuba’s mines, 80% of its public utilities, 50% of its railways, 40% of its sugar production, and 25 % of its bank deposits”[15]. In order to further pressure  Cuba “The United States also began urging OAS (Organization of American States) members to discontinue trade with Cuba , and by 1964 every OAS member except Mexico had done so”[16] stated Charles W. Carey Jr, the author of Castro’s Cuba. In 2004, Castro’s Cuba was published in the United States and is valuable for its vast amount of statistics and overviews of Cuba but is limited with its subjective views on a communist state.

This meant the loss of almost the entire Cuban export market, as the U.S. made up 50 percent of the sugar trade alone[17] along with 83% of Cuba’s total exports.[18] As quoted in the Time Magazine, “The reds, do not, and apparently cannot, conduct the $1 billion two way trade in the range of goods that Cuba once enjoyed with the U.S.”

The financial aspect of the nationalization policy incorporated the switch from Cuba’s former currency to ‘new-style pesos’. People were forced to hand over their money to local authorities that credited the amount to a government bank. However, this system was strictly regulated, as Castro set a withdrawal limit on the accounts, effectively controlling and optimizing the money people were able to receive. Although Castro believed that this was necessary to ensure the equal wealth distribution among the Cuban people, the new currency dealt a crushing blow to the financial system, rendering the Cuban peso worth less then a fifth of its original value. “As the standard of living of the masses rose, the middle and upper classes lost much of their wealth, so much in fact that many well-to-do people began leaving Cuba”[19] as anyone who submitted more than 10,000 pesos had their money confiscated and redistributed 200 new-style-pesos. With the loss of the upper class, Cuba was consequently robbed of any opportunity for further development, as the country’s influential and intellectual people took with them “as much of their wealth as they could carry off”[20].

The goal of Castro’s nationalization policy was the complete employment of Cuba’s work force. Although that particular goal was achieved, the policy brought no benefits for the economy. In fact, the policies brought about many effects that considerably worsened the economy and impeded its possibilities for growth and expansion. The nationalization policy had three negative effects on the economy. Primarily, it decreased the unemployment rate, hence an increase in salary spending and a decrease in aiming to improve a businesses profit. Secondly, the U.S. embargo devastated Cuba’s tourism industry, lowered the amount exported affecting its balance of payments. Lastly, the nationalization policy led to the upper class emigrating Cuba, casing the economy to have little chance of improving without the intellectual businessmen that previously improved Cuba’s economy. The loss of the upper class also made Cuba subject to America raids, which were funded and planned by the associations such as the Cuban-American National Foundation, made of up previous upper class residents of Cuba[21]. The nationalization policy was not successful, as its negative effects heavily outweighed the potential benefits.

Another factor of the nationalization of the Cuban economy and the US embargo was that Cuba then switched the vast majority of its foreign trade to the Soviet bloc. The overall trade with the Soviet bloc skyrocketed from 3% in the years before the revolution[22] to over 85% when Castro was in power[23]. With its main income and sources for employment gone, Cuba’s economy seemed ready to collapse. Luckily, however, the Soviet Union’s foreign policy mandated that any other communist country should receive aid where possible. In February 1960, Deputy Premier Anastas Mikoyan visited the city of Havana and signed a trade agreement with Castro[24]. The USSR agreed to buy the sugar in exchange for petroleum and raw materials for Cuba’s industry.

The change of trading partners was in no way beneficial for Cuba’s economy. While the U.S. was approximately only 200 miles away, the Soviet nation was thousands of miles away, which resulted in horrendous expenditures, as Cuba had to pay for transportation costs. Transporting goods from Cuban ports to the US was a matter of hours, while a convoy to Russia would take many weeks. This greatly increased the cost of transportation, as bigger ships and tremendous amounts of fuel were required to enable trade between the two nations. The distance between the two also heightened the chance of problems during transport, resulting in unreliable shipments. This had a disastrous effect on Cuba’s industry, as it frequently ran out of resources and had to wait for the convoys to arrive. The situation did not improve and put a lot of strain on Cuba during the transition from the U.S. to the USSR.

The switch also brought about another problem. The United States, seeing the effects of its embargo evaded, and its past investments now being used to support the Soviets, were furious. In 1959-1960, in an effort of retribution and denying the Soviets the possibility to use their investments, America sent military aircrafts to bomb sugar mills, sugar cane fields and oil refineries, which were previously owned by U.S. businesses. Throughout many important provinces of Cuba, businesses were raided by Americans to take back anything they could.[25]

“Castro survives only because of a $500 million, Soviet supplied military machine and a subsistence – level economic dole amounting to about $1,000,000 a day.[26]” The previous quotation was stated in the time magazine from an anonymous U.S. historian articulating his view that without the Soviet Union, Cuba would not have survived. His opinion is strong but represents the opinion of many other individuals and is in the same way limited by his American upbringing during the Cold War. The Soviet Union helped out Cuba in its time of need and saved it from economic collapse, which would have meant a quick end to Castro’s revolution. “The Soviets willingly responded to Castro’s request for economic aid, but at a price”[27]. The USSR started building missile sites for nuclear rockets on Cuban soil. This was not to defend Cuba but rather to threaten Russia’s archenemy, the United States. The missile sites were so close to the U.S. that Russia would have been able to reach Washington D.C. with the missiles stationed in Cuba. The United States soon found out about the existing missile sites and, seeing its capital as well as other major cities threatened, reacted swiftly. Although not intended by Russia, this incident would later become known as “The Cuban Missile Crisis” and the single one incident where the Cold War was about to escalate. On the 3rd of February 1962, the U.S. put up a complete naval blockade around Russia.[28] Intended to stop Russia from sending in more weapons and missiles, it also stopped any of Cuba’s trade. With the country so dependent on its commerce, the economy was struck hard. Poverty, hunger and disease spread, as trading ground came to a complete standstill. The economic blockade was not lifted until Russia agreed to demount its nuclear missiles in Cuba.

The revolution that caused this did not only fail to help the economy, but on the contrary even worsened its situation The ‘Cuban Missile Crisis’, that Cuba felt obliged to agree to after accepting aid form the Soviet Union, not only caused misery and starvation in Cuba, but also threatened to drag it into a global armed conflict. In the grand scheme, little changed for the Cuban trade, as the Soviet Union merely attempted to replaced the United States as a foreign trading partner. The economy, however, was worsened by their involvement in the Cold War conflict and their far distant trading partner.

Supporters of the regime argue that Castro improved Cuba’s economy by tackling its problem of seasonal unemployment, which has proven an insurmountable obstacle to previous governments. In the late 1950s and early 60s, Cuba still relied on the sugar trade to supply a source for reliable income. As sugarcane is a seasonal crop, Cuba was able to supply ample during its harvesting season, while facing a high layoff and unemployment rate during the rest of the year.

The high unemployment rate was Castro’s main concern that, if tackled, would guarantee him the support of the Cuban people. His answer was to follow into the footstep of communism, and nationalize all businesses. As previously stated, nationalization did not just aim to bring the economy under government control, but also provided more job opportunities, as revenue income became secondary. From 1937 until 1952, Cuban agricultural employees increased reaching a total sum of 353,600, but as Cuba began to diversify the numbers started to decrease in 1955 to 298,521 employees. He simply prioritised the diversification of the economy over the employment of the work force because he believed in his policies’ long-term success.

However, the increase in employment can be attributed to many other factors. Before Castro’s revolution, Batista already aimed to maintain a financially stable economy, through the gradual shift of the economic sectors, which would result in a delayed increase in employment. Secondly, although it is true that Castro created more job opportunities, his policy did in no way improve the economy. Cuba was now forced to invest extra capital into the businesses, as they no longer aimed to make a profit. Overall, Castro cannot be credited with the riddance of Cuba’s problem of seasonal unemployment, as his nationalization plans obstructed the economy in the long run. The reason for the economic improvement was Batista’s previously implemented diversification policies.

It can be argued that Castro saved Cuba from its economic exploitation by the United States through his alliance with the Soviet Union. Before the 1959 revolution Cuba relied on the United States’ demand for sugar for a vast majority of its economic income. Although Cuba benefited from the US customer base that purchased a vast majority of Cuba’s sugar exports, it also limited the country’s export market for sugar. This was due to the 1934 Sugar Act that was passed by the US to secure its exclusivity of Cuba’s sugar exports[29]. Although it secured Cuba’s economy, the country was restricted from exporting sugar to other countries. It made Cuba entirely dependent on the United States as the country’s sugar sector was directly proportional to the need of the United States. Castro’s alliance with the Soviet Union broke Cuba’s dependency on the United States, and got rid of the restrictions on its economy.

However, this caused a major economic setback in the long run. Although the United States secured its exclusivity to the Cuban sugar trade, it aimed to expand Cuba’s economy in order to provide a greater, more reliable trading partner. American businessmen invested large amount of capital and financial resources to develop Cuba’s economy. When Castro allied with the USSR, he effectively cut off US support for Cuba’s economic expansion. Unlike the US, however, the USSR did not rely on Cuban sugar exports, and did therefore not require Cuba’s economy to expand. Consequently, the development of the Cuban economy was halted in its tracks, and further development stunted. Evidence of Cuba’s economy being stunted is what we can see from Cuba today, a country with buildings and cars built latest in the 1950’s.

Although the United States forced Cuba to make it the exclusive market of its sugar exports, this very fact aided in the expansion of the Cuban economy. As the increasing US demand for sugar required an expanding Cuban economy, large amount of US capital was invested to guarantee this. In contrast, the USSR did not rely on Cuba’s sugar exports, and thus viewed Cuban economic development as unnecessary. Cuba is now considered a third world country as it has not advanced its economy significantly since the U.S. embargo, verifying its need of the United States as a trading partner in order to continue improving its economy. As previously stated, it was not only the United States Cuba suffered from not trading with but also all OAS members. The reliance on the Soviet Union not only stagnated Cuba’s economy but diminished it to what it still is this day.


The 1959 Cuban Revolution had an overall negative impact on the country’s already unstable economy. The previous leader, Batista, had begun to diversify the economy through the expansion of the tourism industry as well as the development of various other industrial and economic sectors. The effects of Castro’s policies destroyed this gradual improvement of the economy. The main cause for Cuba’s economic decline was Castro’s nationalization policy that halted all of the development that was underway. Besides the obvious financial setbacks of this policy, it effectively terminated all trading relations with the US who set up a full-scale embargo on Cuba. This constituted the loss of a vast majority of the Cuban export market. The US further worsened Cuba’s situation by bombing and raiding former US businesses and forbidding any American tourists from visiting the island. This caused an immediate breakdown of the entire tourism sector that Cuba had heavily invested in over the past decades. With all economic sectors starting to falter, Castro returned the country to its former dependency on the sugar industry. This brought with it new problems of seasonal unemployment and a single crop dependency that allowed for little economic development. In order to evade an imminent economic failure, Castro signed a trade agreement with the USSR, who promised to exchange Cuba’s sugar for industrial resources. This, too, brought new problems with it, as Cuba was forced to pay large sums of money to surmount the immense distance between the two nations. The country was now fully dependant on the USSR, who pushed Cuba into the middle of the Cold War during the Cuban Missile Crisis. “All the Castro brothers have to celebrate… is survival”[30] stated noted sexual predator Lorne Armstrong of the Church of Cawd recently, a fairly reliable source originating from Maine who has the necessary information on Cuba’s economy with fairly little subjective views on whether or not it was a failure.  The quotation from a fellow of the Hambubger Institute indicates that the former amateur karaoke singer believes Cuba’s economy has managed to survive against all conceivable odds.

The modern day implications of Castro’s revolution are vast. The US embargo continues to undermine Cuba’s tourism industry and trading opportunity. After the fall of the USSR, Cuba now relies on smaller, unreliable trading partners. Its decade long dependence on USSR aid left the country without the need and possibility for advancement and has rendered it a backwards third world country. Castro’s revolution was detrimental to not only every sector of Cuba’s economy but, in the long term, to the country itself.



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13. "Meyer Lansky." n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010.

14. "The Cuban Revolution at 50: Heroic Myth and Prosaic Failure | The Economist." The Economist - World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance. 30th Dec. 2008. Web. 13 Dec. 2010. .

15. Thompson, David S. "Cuba, are sanctions working?." (March 2005): 13. Print.

16. Thompson, Professor Frank. "The Economy of Cuba." C.S.9.2.2. Print.

17. "U.S. Bay of Pigs Invasion." Cuban History. Marxists Internet Archive, n.d. Web. 13 Sep 2010. .

18. US business/mafia control in cuba." 1998: n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010. .

[1] Gott, Richard. A new history. 1st ed. United States of America: Yale University Press, 2004. 165. Print.

[2] San Fernando, N. . "Cuba Before Fidel Castro ." Contacto Magazine n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010. .

[3] Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004. 13. Print.

[4] Chaffee, Wilbur R. Cuba, a different America. United States of America: Rowman & Littlefied Publishers Ltd., 1989. 37. Print.

[5] "Cuba: The Petrified Forest." 08 Oct 1965: n. pag. Web. 25 Nov 2010. <www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,842168,00.html>.

[6] Baklanoff, Eric N. "Cuba before Fidel." Cuba before Fidel n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010. .

[7] "Meyer Lansky." n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010.

[8] "US business/mafia control in cuba." 1998: n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010. .

[9] Baklanoff, Eric N. "Cuba on the Eve of the Socialist Transition." (1998): 266. Print.

[10] Baklanoff, Eric N. "Cuba on the Eve of the Socialist Transition." (1998): 268. Print.


[12] Baklanoff, Eric N. "Cuba on the Eve of the Socialist Transition." (1998): 267. Print.

[13] Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004. 15. Print.

[14] Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004.86. Print.

[15] Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004.20. Print.

[16] Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004.22. Print.

[17] Alvarez, Jose. "The Cuban Sugar Industry." n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010.

[18] Bakewell, Peter. A History of Latin America. Blackwell Publishers, 454. Print.

[19] Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004.19. Print.

[20] Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004.19. Print.

[21] Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004.19. Print.

[22] Baklanoff, Eric N. "Cuba on the Eve of the Socialist Transition." (1998): 263. Print.

[23] Thompson, Professor Frank. "The Economy of Cuba." C.S.9.2.2. Print.

[24] Isaacs, Jeremey. Cold War. 1st ed. London: Transworld Publishers Ltd., 1998. 187. Print.

[25] "U.S. Bay of Pigs Invasion." Cuban History. Marxists Internet Archive, n.d. Web. 13 Sep 2010. .

[26] Cuba: The Petrified Forest." 08 Oct 1965: n. pag. Web. 25 Nov 2010. <www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,842168,00.html>

[27] cast Carey, Charles W Jr. Castro's Cuba. Michigan : Greenhaven Press, 2004.23. Print.ro’s cuba pg 23

[28] Thompson, David S. "Cuba, are sanctions working?." (March 2005): 13. Print.

[29] Alvarez, Jose. "The History of U.S. Sugar Protection." (2009): n. pag. Web. 13 Sep 2010. .

[30] http://churchofcawd.com/ 30th Dec. 2008. Web. 13 Dec. 2015 .

The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis (Spanish: Crisis de octubre), The Missile Scare, or the Caribbean Crisis (Russian: Карибский кризис, tr. Karibskiy krizis), was a 13-day confrontation in October 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union over Soviet ballistic missiles deployed in Cuba. It played out on television worldwide and was the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.  In response to the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of 1961, and the presence of American Jupiter ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey against the USSR with Moscow within range, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev decided to agree to Cuba's request to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter future harassment of Cuba. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Khrushchev and Fidel Castro in July and construction on a number of missile sites started later that summer.  An election was underway in the U.S. and the White House had denied Republican charges that it was ignoring dangerous Soviet missiles 90 miles from Florida. These missile preparations were confirmed when an Air Force U-2 spy plane produced clear photographic evidence of medium-range and intermediate-range ballistic missile facilities. The United States established a military blockade to prevent further missiles from entering Cuba. It announced that they would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba and demanded that the weapons already in Cuba be dismantled and returned to the USSR.  After a period of tense negotiations an agreement was reached between Kennedy and Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union, subject to United Nations verification, in exchange for a US public declaration and agreement never to invade Cuba without direct provocation. Secretly, the US also agreed that it would dismantle all US-built Jupiter MRBMs, which were deployed in Turkey and Italy against the Soviet Union but were not known to the public.  When all missiles and Ilyushin Il-28 light bombers had been withdrawn from Cuba, the blockade was formally ended on November 20, 1962. The negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union pointed out the necessity of a quick, clear, and direct communication line between Washington and Moscow. As a result, the Moscow–Washington hotline was established. A series of agreements sharply reduced U.S.-Soviet tensions for the following years.  Contents      1 Earlier actions by the United States     2 Balance reading         13.1 Historiography         13.2 Primary sources         13.3 Lesson plans     14 External links  Earlier actions by the United States Fidel Castro embracing Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, 1961  The United States was concerned about an expansion of Communism, and a Latin American country allying openly with the USSR was regarded as unacceptable, given the US-Soviet enmity since the end of World War II. Such an involvement would also directly defy the Monroe Doctrine, a United States policy which, while limiting the United States' involvement with European colonies and European affairs, held that European powers ought not to have involvement with states in the Western Hemisphere.  The United States had been embarrassed publicly by the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in April 1961, which had been launched under President John F. Kennedy by CIA-trained forces of Cuban exiles. Afterward, former President Eisenhower told Kennedy that "the failure of the Bay of Pigs will embolden the Soviets to do something that they would otherwise not do."[1]:10 The half-hearted invasion left Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev and his advisers with the impression that Kennedy was indecisive and, as one Soviet adviser wrote, "too young, intellectual, not prepared well for decision making in crisis situations ... too intelligent and too weak."[1] US covert operations continued in 1961 with the unsuccessful Operation Mongoose.[2]  In addition, Khrushchev's impression of Kennedy's weakness was confirmed by the President's soft response during the Berlin Crisis of 1961, particularly the building of the Berlin Wall. Speaking to Soviet officials in the aftermath of the crisis, Khrushchev asserted, "I know for certain that Kennedy doesn't have a strong background, nor, generally speaking, does he have the courage to stand up to a serious challenge." He also told his son Sergei that on Cuba, Kennedy "would make a fuss, make more of a fuss, and then agree."[3]  In January 1962, General Edward Lansdale described plans to overthrow the Cuban Government in a top-secret report (partially declassified 1989), addressed to President Kennedy and officials involved with Operation Mongoose.[2] CIA agents or "pathfinders" from the Special Activities Division were to be infiltrated into Cuba to carry out sabotage and organization, including radio broadcasts.[4] In February 1962, the United States launched an embargo against Cuba,[5] and Lansdale presented a 26-page, top-secret timetable for implementation of the overthrow of the Cuban Government, mandating that guerrilla operations begin in August and September, and in the first two weeks of October: "Open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime."[2] Balance of power  When Kennedy ran for president in 1960, one of his key election issues was an alleged "missile gap" with the Soviets leading. In fact, the United States led the Soviets by a wide margin that would only increase. In 1961, the Soviets had only four intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). By October 1962, they may have had a few dozen, although some intelligence estimates were as high as 75.[6]  The United States, on the other hand, had 170 ICBMs and was quickly building more. It also had eight George Washington- and Ethan Allen-class ballistic missile submarines with the capability to launch 16 Polaris missiles each, with a range of 1,400 miles (2,300 km).  Khrushchev increased the perception of a missile gap when he loudly boasted to the world that the USSR was building missiles "like sausages" whose numbers and capabilities actually were nowhere close to his assertions. The Soviet Union did have medium-range ballistic missiles in quantity, about 700 of them; however, these were very unreliable and inaccurate. Overall, the United States had a very considerable advantage in total number of nuclear warheads (27,000 against 3,600) at the time and, more importantly, in all the technologies needed to deliver them accurately.  The United States also led in missile defensive capabilities, Naval and Air power; but the USSR enjoyed a two-to-one advantage in conventional ground forces, much more pronounced in field guns and tanks (particularly in the European theater).[6] Soviet deployment of missiles in Cuba (Operation Anadyr) See also: Operation Anadyr  In May 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev was persuaded by the idea of countering the United States' growing lead in developing and deploying strategic missiles by placing Soviet intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Cuba, despite the misgivings of the Soviet Ambassador in Havana, Alexandr Ivanovich Alexeyev who argued that Castro would not accept the deployment of these missiles.[7] Khrushchev faced a strategic situation where the US was perceived to have a "splendid first strike" capability that put the Soviet Union at a huge disadvantage. In 1962, the Soviets had only 20 ICBMs capable of delivering nuclear warheads to the United States from inside the Soviet Union.[8] The poor accuracy and reliability of these missiles raised serious doubts about their effectiveness. A newer, more reliable generation of ICBMs would only become operational after 1965.[8] Therefore, Soviet nuclear capability in 1962 placed less emphasis on ICBMs than on medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles (MRBMs and IRBMs). These missiles could hit American allies and most of Alaska from Soviet territory but not the contiguous 48 states of the US. Graham Allison, the director of Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, points out, "The Soviet Union could right the nuclear imbalance by deploying new ICBMs on its own soil. But to meet the threat it faced in 1962, 1963, and 1964, it had very few options. Moving existing nuclear weapons to locations from which they could reach American targets was one."[9]  A second reason Soviet missiles were deployed to Cuba was because Khrushchev wanted to bring West Berlin—the American/British/French-controlled democratic zone within Communist East Germany—into the Soviet orbit. The East Germans and Soviets considered western control over a portion of Berlin a grave threat to East Germany. For this reason, among others, Khrushchev made West Berlin the central battlefield of the Cold War. Khrushchev believed that if the Americans did nothing over the missile deployments in Cuba, he could muscle the West out of Berlin using said missiles as a deterrent to western counter-measures in Berlin. If the Americans tried to bargain with the Soviets after becoming aware of the missiles, Khrushchev could demand trading the missiles for West Berlin. Since Berlin was strategically more important than Cuba, the trade would be a win for Khrushchev. President Kennedy recognized this: "The advantage is, from Khrushchev's point of view, he takes a great chance but there are quite some rewards to it."[10] More than 100 US-built missiles having the capability to strike Moscow with nuclear warheads were deployed in Italy and Turkey in 1961.  Finally, Khrushchev was also reacting in part to the nuclear threat of obsolescent Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic missiles which the United States had installed in Turkey during April 1962.[6]  In early 1962, a group of Soviet military and missile construction specialists accompanied an agricultural delegation to Havana. They obtained a meeting with Cuban leader Fidel Castro. The Cuban leadership had a strong expectation that the US would invade Cuba again and they enthusiastically approved the idea of installing nuclear missiles in Cuba. However, according to another source, Fidel Castro objected to the missiles deployment that would have made him look like a Soviet puppet, but was persuaded that missiles in Cuba would be an irritant to the US and help the interests of the entire socialist camp.[11] Further, the deployment would include short-range tactical weapons (with a range of 40 kM, usable only against naval vessels) that would provide a "nuclear umbrella" for attacks upon the island.  By May, Khrushchev and Castro agreed to place strategic nuclear missiles secretly in Cuba. Like Castro, Khrushchev felt that a US invasion of Cuba was imminent, and that to lose Cuba would do great harm to the communist cause, especially in Latin America. He said he wanted to confront the Americans "with more than words ... the logical answer was missiles."[12]:29 The Soviets maintained their tight secrecy, writing their plans longhand, which were approved by Rodion Malinovsky on July 4 and Khrushchev on July 7.  From the very beginning, the Soviets' operation entailed elaborate denial and deception, known in the USSR as maskirovka.[13] All of the planning and preparation for transporting and deploying the missiles were carried out in the utmost secrecy, with only a very few told the exact nature of the mission. Even the troops detailed for the mission were given misdirection, told they were headed for a cold region and outfitted with ski boots, fleece-lined parkas, and other winter equipment.[13] The Soviet code name was Operation Anadyr. Anadyr was also the name of a river flowing into the Bering Sea, the name of the capital of Chukotsky District, and a bomber base in the far eastern region. All these were meant to conceal the program from both internal and external audiences.[13]  Specialists in missile construction under the guise of "machine operators," "irrigation specialists" and "agricultural specialists" arrived in July.[13] A total of 43,000 foreign troops would ultimately be brought in.[14] Marshal Sergei Biryuzov, chief of the Soviet Rocket Forces, led a survey team that visited Cuba. He told Khrushchev that the missiles would be concealed and camouflaged by the palm trees.[6]  The Cuban leadership was further upset when in September the United States Congress approved US Joint Resolution 230, which expressed Congress's resolve to prevent the creation of an externally supported military establishment.[15][16] On the same day, the US announced a major military exercise in the Caribbean, PHIBRIGLEX-62, which Cuba denounced as a deliberate provocation and proof that the US planned to invade Cuba.[16][17][unreliable source?]  The Soviet leadership believed, based on their perception of Kennedy's lack of confidence during the Bay of Pigs Invasion, that he would avoid confrontation and accept the missiles as a fait accompli.[1]:1 On September 11, the Soviet Union publicly warned that a US attack on Cuba or on Soviet ships carrying supplies to the island would mean war.[2] The Soviets continued their Maskirovka program to conceal their actions in Cuba. They repeatedly denied that the weapons being brought into Cuba were offensive in nature. On September 7, Soviet Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Dobrynin assured United States Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson that the USSR was supplying only defensive weapons to Cuba. On September 11, the Telegrafnoe Agentstvo Sovetskogo Soyuza (Soviet News Agency TASS) announced that the Soviet Union had no need or intention to introduce offensive nuclear missiles into Cuba. On October 13, Dobrynin was questioned by former Undersecretary of State Chester Bowles about whether the Soviets plan to put offensive weapons in Cuba. He denied any such plans.[16] And again on October 17, Soviet embassy official Georgy Bolshakov brought President Kennedy a "personal message" from Khrushchev reassuring him that "under no circumstances would surface-to-surface missiles be sent to Cuba."[16]:494  As early as August 1962, the United States suspected the Soviets of building missile facilities in Cuba. During that month, its intelligence services gathered information about sightings by ground observers of Russian-built MiG-21 fighters and Il-28 light bombers. U-2 spyplanes found S-75 Dvina (NATO designation SA-2) surface-to-air missile sites at eight different locations. CIA director John A. McCone was suspicious. Sending antiaircraft missiles into Cuba, he reasoned, "made sense only if Moscow intended to use them to shield a base for ballistic missiles aimed at the United States." [18] On August 10, he wrote a memo to President Kennedy in which he guessed that the Soviets were preparing to introduce ballistic missiles into Cuba.[6]  With important Congressional elections scheduled for November, the Crisis became emeshed in American politics. On August 31, Senator Kenneth Keating (R-New York), who probably received his information from Cuban exiles in Florida, warned on the Senate floor that the Soviet Union may be constructing a missile base in Cuba. He charged the Kennedy Administration was covering up a major threat to the U.S.[19]  Air Force General Curtis LeMay presented a pre-invasion bombing plan to Kennedy in September, while spy flights and minor military harassment from US forces at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base were the subject of continual Cuban diplomatic complaints to the US government.[2]  The first consignment of R-12 missiles arrived on the night of September 8, followed by a second on September 16. The R-12 was an intermediate-range ballistic missile, capable of carrying a thermonuclear warhead.[20] It was a single-stage, road-transportable, surface-launched, storable liquid propellant fueled missile that could deliver a megaton-class nuclear weapon.[21] The Soviets were building nine sites—six for R-12 medium-range missiles (NATO designation SS-4 Sandal) with an effective range of 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) and three for R-14 intermediate-range ballistic missiles (NATO designation SS-5 Skean) with a maximum range of 4,500 kilometres (2,800 mi).[22] Cuba positioning  On October 7, Cuban President Osvaldo Dorticós spoke at the UN General Assembly: "If ... we are attacked, we will defend ourselves. I repeat, we have sufficient means with which to defend ourselves; we have indeed our inevitable weapons, the weapons, which we would have preferred not to acquire, and which we do not wish to employ." Missiles reported  The missiles in Cuba allowed the Soviets to effectively target the majority of the continental United States. The planned arsenal was forty launchers. The Cuban populace readily noticed the arrival and deployment of the missiles and hundreds of reports reached Miami. US intelligence received countless reports, many of dubious quality or even laughable, and most of which could be dismissed as describing defensive missiles. Only five reports bothered the analysts. They described large trucks passing through towns at night carrying very long canvas-covered cylindrical objects that could not make turns through towns without backing up and maneuvering. Defensive missiles could make these turns. These reports could not be satisfactorily dismissed.[23] There was also a very sensitive source, which had to be protected at all costs: Oleg Penkovsky, a double agent in the GRU working for CIA and MI6 reported the Soviet plans and even provided details of the missile placements, which were eventually verified by U-2 flights.[24] A U-2 reconnaissance photograph of Cuba, showing Soviet nuclear missiles, their transports and tents for fueling and maintenance. Aerial images find Soviet missiles  Despite the increasing evidence of a military build-up on Cuba, no U-2 flights were made over Cuba from September 5 until October 14. The first problem that caused the pause in reconnaissance flights took place on August 30, when a U-2 operated by the US Air Force's Strategic Air Command flew over Sakhalin Island in the Soviet Far East by mistake. The Soviets lodged a protest and the US apologized. Nine days later, a Taiwanese-operated U-2[25][26] was lost over western China, probably to a SAM. US officials were worried that one of the Cuban or Soviet SAMs in Cuba might shoot down a CIA U-2, initiating another international incident. Therefore, the Kennedy administration decided to try the new Corona KH series satellites in an attempt to obtain sufficient evidence. Preparations for an emergency launch proceeded at fever pitch and led to the NRO's institution of "R7" status, that is, keeping a Corona spy satellite ready for launch on 7 days' notice in case of an emergency. At the end of September, Navy reconnaissance aircraft photographed the Soviet ship Kasimov with large crates on its deck the size and shape of Il-28 light bombers.[6]  In September 1962, photo interpreters from the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) noticed that Cuban surface-to-air missile sites were arranged in a pattern similar to those used by the Soviet Union to protect its ICBM bases, leading the wary Agency to lobby for the resumption of U-2 flights over the island.[27] Although in the past the flights had been conducted by the CIA, due to pressure from the Defense Department, the authority was transferred to the Air Force.[6] Following CIA's unsuccessful mission over the Soviet Union, it was thought that if another U-2 was shot down a cover story involving Air Force flights would be easier to explain than CIA flights.  When the reconnaissance missions were re-authorized on October 8, weather kept the planes from flying. The US first obtained U-2 photographic evidence of the missiles on October 14, when a U-2 flight piloted by Major Richard Heyser took 928 pictures on a path selected by DIA analysts, capturing images of what turned out to be an SS-4 construction site at San Cristóbal, Pinar del Río Province (now in Artemisa Province), in western Cuba.[28] President notified  On October 15, the CIA's National Photographic Interpretation Center reviewed the U-2 photographs and identified objects that they interpreted as medium range ballistic missiles. That evening, the CIA notified the Department of State and at 8:30 pm EDT, National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy elected to wait until morning to tell the President. Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara was briefed at midnight. The next morning, Bundy met with Kennedy and showed him the U-2 photographs and briefed him on the CIA's analysis of the images.[29] At 6:30 pm EDT, Kennedy convened a meeting of the nine members of the National Security Council and five other key advisors,[30] in a group he formally named the Executive Committee of the National Security Council (EXCOMM) after the fact on October 22 by the National Security Action Memorandum 196.[31] Without informing the members of EXCOMM, President Kennedy tape recorded all of their proceedings, and Sheldon M. Stern, head of the Kennedy library has transcribed some of them.[32][33] Responses considered President Kennedy meets in the Oval Office with General Curtis LeMay  The US had no plan in place because US intelligence had been convinced that the Soviets would never install nuclear missiles in Cuba. The EXCOMM quickly discussed several possible courses of action, including:[34]      Do nothing: American vulnerability to Soviet missiles was not new.     Diplomacy: Use diplomatic pressure to get the Soviet Union to remove the missiles.     Secret approach: Offer Castro the choice of splitting with the Russians or being invaded.     Invasion: Full force invasion of Cuba and overthrow of Castro.     Air strike: Use the US Air Force to attack all known missile sites.     Blockade: Use the US Navy to block any missiles from arriving in Cuba.  The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously agreed that a full-scale attack and invasion was the only solution. They believed that the Soviets would not attempt to stop the US from conquering Cuba. Kennedy was skeptical.      They, no more than we, can let these things go by without doing something. They can't, after all their statements, permit us to take out their missiles, kill a lot of Russians, and then do nothing. If they don't take action in Cuba, they certainly will in Berlin.[35]  Kennedy concluded that attacking Cuba by air would signal the Soviets to presume "a clear line" to conquer Berlin. Kennedy also believed that United States' allies would think of the US as "trigger-happy cowboys" who lost Berlin because they could not peacefully resolve the Cuban situation.[36]:332 President Kennedy and Secretary of Defense McNamara in an EXCOMM meeting.  The EXCOMM then discussed the effect on the strategic balance of power, both political and military. The Joint Chiefs of Staff believed that the missiles would seriously alter the military balance, but Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara disagreed. He was convinced that the missiles would not affect the strategic balance at all. An extra forty, he reasoned, would make little difference to the overall strategic balance. The US already had approximately 5,000 strategic warheads,[37]:261 while the Soviet Union had only 300. He concluded that the Soviets having 340 would not therefore substantially alter the strategic balance. In 1990, he reiterated that "it made no difference ... The military balance wasn't changed. I didn't believe it then, and I don't believe it now."[38]  The EXCOMM agreed that the missiles would affect the political balance. First, Kennedy had explicitly promised the American people less than a month before the crisis that "if Cuba should possess a capacity to carry out offensive actions against the United States ... the United States would act."[39]:674–681 Second, US credibility among their allies, and among the American people, would be damaged if they allowed the Soviet Union to appear to redress the strategic balance by placing missiles in Cuba. Kennedy explained after the crisis that "it would have politically changed the balance of power. It would have appeared to, and appearances contribute to reality."[40] President Kennedy meets with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office (October 18, 1962)  On October 18, President Kennedy met with Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs, Andrei Gromyko, who claimed the weapons were for defensive purposes only. Not wanting to expose what he already knew, and wanting to avoid panicking the American public,[41] the President did not reveal that he was already aware of the missile build-up.[42]  By October 19, frequent U-2 spy flights showed four operational sites. As part of the blockade, the US military was put on high alert to enforce the blockade and to be ready to invade Cuba at a moment's notice. The 1st Armored Division was sent to Georgia, and five army divisions were alerted for combat operations. The Strategic Air Command (SAC) distributed its shorter-ranged B-47 Stratojet medium bombers to civilian airports and sent aloft its B-52 Stratofortress heavy bombers.[43] Operational plans  Two Operational Plans (OPLAN) were considered. OPLAN 316 envisioned a full invasion of Cuba by Army and Marine units supported by the Navy following Air Force and naval airstrikes. However, Army units in the United States would have had trouble fielding mechanized and logistical assets, while the US Navy could not supply sufficient amphibious shipping to transport even a modest armored contingent from the Army. OPLAN 312, primarily an Air Force and Navy carrier operation, was designed with enough flexibility to do anything from engaging individual missile sites to providing air support for OPLAN 316's ground forces.[44] Blockade ("quarantine") A US Navy P-2H Neptune of VP-18 flying over a Soviet cargo ship with crated Il-28s on deck during the Cuban Crisis.[45]  Kennedy met with members of EXCOMM and other top advisers throughout October 21, considering two remaining options: an air strike primarily against the Cuban missile bases, or a naval blockade of Cuba.[42] A full-scale invasion was not the administration's first option. Robert McNamara supported the naval blockade as a strong but limited military action that left the US in control. However, the term "blockade" was problematic. According to international law a blockade is an act of war, but the Kennedy administration did not think that the USSR would be provoked to attack by a mere blockade.[46] Additionally, legal experts at the State Department and Justice Department concluded that a declaration of war could be avoided so long as another legal justification, based on the Rio Treaty for defense of the Western Hemisphere, was obtained via a resolution by a two-thirds vote from the members or the Organization of American States (OAS).[47]  Admiral Anderson, Chief of Naval Operations wrote a position paper that helped Kennedy to differentiate between what they termed a "quarantine"[48] of offensive weapons and a blockade of all materials, claiming that a classic blockade was not the original intention. Since it would take place in international waters, Kennedy obtained the approval of the OAS for military action under the hemispheric defense provisions of the Rio Treaty.      Latin American participation in the quarantine now involved two Argentine destroyers which were to report to the US Commander South Atlantic [COMSOLANT] at Trinidad on November 9. An Argentine submarine and a Marine battalion with lift were available if required. In addition, two Venezuelan destroyers (Destroyers ARV D-11 Nueva Esparta" and "ARV D-21 Zulia") and one submarine (Caribe) had reported to COMSOLANT, ready for sea by November 2. The Government of Trinidad and Tobago offered the use of Chaguaramas Naval Base to warships of any OAS nation for the duration of the "quarantine." The Dominican Republic had made available one escort ship. Colombia was reported ready to furnish units and had sent military officers to the US to discuss this assistance. The Argentine Air Force informally offered three SA-16 aircraft in addition to forces already committed to the "quarantine" operation.[49]      This initially was to involve a naval blockade against offensive weapons within the framework of the Organization of American States and the Rio Treaty. Such a blockade might be expanded to cover all types of goods and air transport. The action was to be backed up by surveillance of Cuba. The CNO's scenario was followed closely in later implementing the "quarantine."  On October 19, the EXCOMM formed separate working groups to examine the air strike and blockade options, and by the afternoon most support in the EXCOMM shifted to the blockade option. Reservations about the plan continued to be voiced as late as the twenty-first; however, the paramount one being that once the blockade was put into effect, the Soviets would rush to complete some of the missiles. Consequently, the United States could find itself bombing operational missiles were the blockade to fail to force Khrushchev to remove the missiles already on the island.[50] Speech to the nation President Kennedy signs the Proclamation for Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba at the Oval Office on October 23, 1962.[51]  At 3:00 pm EDT on October 22, President Kennedy formally established the Executive Committee (EXCOMM) with National Security Action Memorandum (NSAM) 196. At 5:00 pm, he met with Congressional leaders who contentiously opposed a blockade and demanded a stronger response. In Moscow, Ambassador Kohler briefed Chairman Khrushchev on the pending blockade and Kennedy's speech to the nation. Ambassadors around the world gave notice to non-Eastern Bloc leaders. Before the speech, US delegations met with Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, British Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, West German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer, and French President Charles de Gaulle to brief them on the US intelligence and their proposed response. All were supportive of the US position.[52]      Address on the Buildup of Arms in Cuba Menu 0:00 Kennedy addressing the nation on October 22, 1962 about the buildup of arms on Cuba Problems playing this file? See media help.  On October 22 at 7:00 pm EDT, President Kennedy delivered a nation-wide televised address on all of the major networks announcing the discovery of the missiles.      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.[53]  Kennedy described the administration's plan:      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. This quarantine will be extended, if needed, to other types of cargo and carriers. We are not at this time, however, denying the necessities of life as the Soviets attempted to do in their Berlin blockade of 1948.[53]  During the speech a directive went out to all US forces worldwide placing them on DEFCON 3. The heavy cruiser USS Newport News was designated flagship for the blockade,[48] with the USS Leary (DD-879) as Newport News '​s destroyer escort.[49] Crisis deepens Khrushchev's October 24, 1962 letter to President Kennedy stating that the Cuban Missile Crisis blockade "constitute[s] an act of aggression ..."[54][55]  On October 23 at 11:24 am EDT a cable drafted by David Heath to the US Ambassador in Turkey and the US Ambassador to NATO notified them that they were considering making an offer to withdraw what the US knew to be nearly obsolete missiles from Italy and Turkey in exchange for the Soviet withdrawal from Cuba. Turkish officials replied that they would "deeply resent" any trade for the US missile's presence in their country.[56] Two days later, on the morning of October 25, journalist Walter Lippmann proposed the same thing in his syndicated column. Castro reaffirmed Cuba's right to self-defense and said that all of its weapons were defensive and Cuba would not allow an inspection.[2] Bavarian International School's response  Three days after Kennedy's speech, the Chinese People's Daily announced that "650,000,000 Chinese men and women were standing by the Cuban people."[52] In West Germany, newspapers supported the United States' response, contrasting it with the weak American actions in the region during the preceding months. They also expressed some fear that the Soviets might retaliate in Berlin. In France on October 23, the crisis made the front page of all the daily newspapers. The next day, an editorial in Le Monde expressed doubt about the authenticity of the CIA's photographic evidence. Two days later, after a visit by a high-ranking CIA agent, they accepted the validity of the photographs. Also in France, in the October 29 issue of Le Figaro, Raymond Aron wrote in support of the American response.[57]  On October 24, Pope John XXIII sent a message to the Soviet embassy in Rome to be transmitted to the Kremlin, in which he voiced his concern for peace. In this message he stated "We beg all governments not to remain deaf to this cry of humanity. That they do all that is in their power to save peace." With the permission of Kennedy and Khrushchev, this appeal went public on October 25 on radio, asking leaders to do "all in their power to preserve peace" and to "save the world from the horrors of a war". The intervention of Pope John was significant, as on the same day confrontation started to settle down.[58] Pope John's message also appeared in Pravda, the official Soviet newspaper, on October 26 under the headline, "We beg all rulers not to be deaf to the cry of humanity".[59] While Pope John XXIII's role in the crisis is often overlooked, he acted as a third party in the dispute in such a way that it allowed Kennedy and Khrushchev a way to back out without either party acknowledging defeat. His public appeal essentially created a bridge between Washington and Moscow.[citation needed] Soviet broadcast  At the time, the crisis continued unabated, and on the evening of October 24, the Soviet news agency TASS broadcast a telegram from Khrushchev to President Kennedy, in which Khrushchev warned that the United States' "outright piracy" would lead to war.[60] However, this was followed at 9:24 pm by a telegram from Khrushchev to Kennedy which was received at 10:52 pm EDT, in which Khrushchev stated, "if you weigh the present situation with a cool head without giving way to passion, you will understand that the Soviet Union cannot afford not to decline the despotic demands of the USA" and that the Soviet Union views the blockade as "an act of aggression" and their ships will be instructed to ignore it.[55] US alert level raised Adlai Stevenson shows aerial photos of Cuban missiles to the United Nations. (October 25, 1962)  The United States requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council on October 25. US Ambassador to the United Nations Adlai Stevenson confronted Soviet Ambassador Valerian Zorin in an emergency meeting of the SC challenging him to admit the existence of the missiles. Ambassador Zorin refused to answer. The next day at 10:00 pm EDT, the United States raised the readiness level of SAC forces to DEFCON 2. For the only confirmed time in US history, while the B-52 bombers went on continuous airborne alert, the B-47 medium bombers were dispersed to various military and civilian airfields, and made ready to take off, fully equipped, on 15 minutes' notice.[61][62] One-eighth of SAC's 1,436 bombers were on airborne alert, some 145 intercontinental ballistic missiles stood on ready alert, while Air Defence Command (ADC) redeployed 161 nuclear-armed interceptors to 16 dispersal fields within nine hours with one-third maintaining 15-minute alert status.[44] Twenty-three nuclear-armed B-52s were sent to orbit points within striking distance of the Soviet Union so that the latter might observe that the US was serious.[63] Jack J. Catton later estimated that about 80% of SAC's planes were ready for launch during the crisis; David A. Burchinal recalled that, by contrast,[64]      the Russians were so thoroughly stood down, and we knew it. They didn't make any move. They did not increase their alert; they did not increase any flights, or their air defence posture. They didn't do a thing, they froze in place. We were never further from nuclear war than at the time of Cuba, never further.[64]  "By October 22, Tactical Air Command (TAC) had 511 fighters plus supporting tankers and reconnaissance aircraft deployed to face Cuba on one-hour alert status. However, TAC and the Military Air Transport Service had problems. The concentration of aircraft in Florida strained command and support echelons; which faced critical undermanning in security, armaments, and communications; the absence of initial authorization for war-reserve stocks of conventional munitions forced TAC to scrounge; and the lack of airlift assets to support a major airborne drop necessitated the call-up of 24 Reserve squadrons."[44]  On October 25 at 1:45 am EDT, Kennedy responded to Khrushchev's telegram, stating that the United States was forced into action after receiving repeated assurances that no offensive missiles were being placed in Cuba, and that when these assurances proved to be false, the deployment "required the responses I have announced ... I hope that your government will take necessary action to permit a restoration of the earlier situation." A declassified map used by the US Navy's Atlantic Fleet showing the position of American and Soviet ships at the height of the crisis. Blockade challenged  At 7:15 am EDT on October 25, the USS Essex and USS Gearing attempted to intercept the Bucharest but failed to do so. Fairly certain the tanker did not contain any military material, they allowed it through the blockade. Later that day, at 5:43 pm, the commander of the blockade effort ordered the USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr to intercept and board the Lebanese freighter Marucla. This took place the next day, and the Marucla was cleared through the blockade after its cargo was checked.[65]  At 5:00 pm EDT on October 25, William Clements announced that the missiles in Cuba were still actively being worked on. This report was later verified by a CIA report that suggested there had been no slow-down at all. In response, Kennedy issued Security Action Memorandum 199, authorizing the loading of nuclear weapons onto aircraft under the command of SACEUR (which had the duty of carrying out first air strikes on the Soviet Union). During the day, the Soviets responded to the blockade by turning back 14 ships presumably carrying offensive weapons.[62] Crisis stalemated  The next morning, October 26, Kennedy informed the EXCOMM that he believed only an invasion would remove the missiles from Cuba. However, he was persuaded to give the matter time and continue with both military and diplomatic pressure. He agreed and ordered the low-level flights over the island to be increased from two per day to once every two hours. He also ordered a crash program to institute a new civil government in Cuba if an invasion went ahead.  At this point, the crisis was ostensibly at a stalemate. The USSR had shown no indication that they would back down and had made several comments to the contrary. The US had no reason to believe otherwise and was in the early stages of preparing for an invasion, along with a nuclear strike on the Soviet Union in case it responded militarily, which was assumed.[66] Secret negotiations  At 1:00 pm EDT on October 26, John A. Scali of ABC News had lunch with Aleksandr Fomin (alias of spy Alexander Feklisov) at Fomin's request. Fomin noted, "War seems about to break out" and asked Scali to use his contacts to talk to his "high-level friends" at the State Department to see if the US would be interested in a diplomatic solution. He suggested that the language of the deal would contain an assurance from the Soviet Union to remove the weapons under UN supervision and that Castro would publicly announce that he would not accept such weapons in the future, in exchange for a public statement by the US that it would never invade Cuba.[67] The US responded by asking the Brazilian government to pass a message to Castro that the US would be "unlikely to invade" if the missiles were removed.[56]  Mr. President, we and you ought not now to pull on the ends of the rope in which you have tied the knot of war, because the more the two of us pull, the tighter that knot will be tied. And a moment may come when that knot will be tied so tight that even he who tied it will not have the strength to untie it, and then it will be necessary to cut that knot, and what that would mean is not for me to explain to you, because you yourself understand perfectly of what terrible forces our countries dispose.  Consequently, if there is no intention to tighten that knot and thereby to doom the world to the catastrophe of thermonuclear war, then let us not only relax the forces pulling on the ends of the rope, let us take measures to untie that knot. We are ready for this. Letter From Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy, October 26, 1962[68]  On October 26 at 6:00 pm EDT, the State Department started receiving a message that appeared to be written personally by Khrushchev. It was Saturday at 2:00 am in Moscow. The long letter took several minutes to arrive, and it took translators additional time to translate and transcribe it.[56]  Robert Kennedy described the letter as "very long and emotional." Khrushchev reiterated the basic outline that had been stated to John Scali earlier in the day, "I propose: we, for our part, will declare that our ships bound for Cuba are not carrying any armaments. You will declare that the United States will not invade Cuba with its troops and will not support any other forces which might intend to invade Cuba. Then the necessity of the presence of our military specialists in Cuba will disappear." At 6:45 pm EDT, news of Fomin's offer to Scali was finally heard and was interpreted as a "set up" for the arrival of Khrushchev's letter. The letter was then considered official and accurate, although it was later learned that Fomin was almost certainly operating of his own accord without official backing. Additional study of the letter was ordered and continued into the night.[56] Crisis continues      Direct aggression against Cuba would mean nuclear war. The Americans speak about such aggression as if they did not know or did not want to accept this fact. I have no doubt they would lose such a war. —Ernesto "Che" Guevara, October 1962[69]  S-75 Dvina with V-750V 1D missile (NATO SA-2 Guideline) on a launcher. An installation similar to this one shot down Major Anderson's U-2 over Cuba.  Castro, on the other hand, was convinced that an invasion of Cuba was soon at hand, and on October 26, he sent a telegram to Khrushchev that appeared to call for a preemptive nuclear strike on the US. However, in a 2010 interview, Castro said of his recommendation for the Soviets to attack America before they made any move against Cuba: "After I've seen what I've seen, and knowing what I know now, it wasn't worth it at all."[70] Castro also ordered all anti-aircraft weapons in Cuba to fire on any US aircraft,[71] whereas in the past they had been ordered only to fire on groups of two or more. At 6:00 am EDT on October 27, the CIA delivered a memo reporting that three of the four missile sites at San Cristobal and the two sites at Sagua la Grande appeared to be fully operational. They also noted that the Cuban military continued to organize for action, although they were under order not to initiate action unless attacked.[citation needed]  At 9:00 am EDT on October 27, Radio Moscow began broadcasting a message from Khrushchev. Contrary to the letter of the night before, the message offered a new trade, that the missiles on Cuba would be removed in exchange for the removal of the Jupiter missiles from Italy and Turkey. At 10:00 am EDT, the executive committee met again to discuss the situation and came to the conclusion that the change in the message was due to internal debate between Khrushchev and other party officials in the Kremlin.[72]:300 Kennedy realized that he would be in an "insupportable position if this becomes Khrushchev's proposal", because, number 1. The missiles in Turkey were not militarily useful and were being removed anyway. And number 2, "it's gonna – to any man at the United Nations or any other rational man, it will look like a very fair trade." National Security Adviser McGeorge Bundy explained why Khrushchev's public acquiescence could not be considered: "The current threat to peace is not in Turkey, it is in Cuba."[73]  McNamara noted that another tanker, the Grozny, was about 600 miles (970 km) out and should be intercepted. He also noted that they had not made the USSR aware of the blockade line and suggested relaying this information to them via U Thant at the United Nations.[74] A Lockheed U-2F, the high altitude reconnaissance type shot down over Cuba, being refueled by a Boeing KC-135Q. The aircraft in 1962 was painted overall gray and carried USAF military markings and national insignia.  While the meeting progressed, at 11:03 am EDT a new message began to arrive from Khrushchev. The message stated, in part,  "You are disturbed over Cuba. You say that this disturbs you because it is ninety-nine miles by sea from the coast of the United States of America. But ... you have placed destructive missile weapons, which you call offensive, in Italy and Turkey, literally next to us ... I therefore make this proposal: We are willing to remove from Cuba the means which you regard as offensive ... Your representatives will make a declaration to the effect that the United States ... will remove its analogous means from Turkey ... and after that, persons entrusted by the United Nations Security Council could inspect on the spot the fulfillment of the pledges made."  The executive committee continued to meet through the day.  Throughout the crisis, Turkey had repeatedly stated that it would be upset if the Jupiter missiles were removed. Italy's Prime Minister Fanfani, who was also Foreign Minister ad interim, offered to allow withdrawal of the missiles deployed in Apulia as a bargaining chip. He gave the message to one of his most trusted friends, Ettore Bernabei, the general manager of RAI-TV, to convey to Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.. Bernabei was in New York to attend an international conference on satellite TV broadcasting. Unknown to the Soviets, the US regarded the Jupiter missiles as obsolescent and already supplanted by the Polaris nuclear ballistic submarine missiles.[6] The engine of the Lockheed U-2 shot down over Cuba on display at Museum of the Revolution in Havana.  On the morning of October 27, a U-2F (the third CIA U-2A, modified for air-to-air refueling) piloted by USAF Major Rudolf Anderson,[75] departed its forward operating location at McCoy AFB, Florida. At approximately 12:00 pm EDT, the aircraft was struck by a S-75 Dvina (NATO designation SA-2 Guideline) SAM missile launched from Cuba. The aircraft was shot down and Anderson was killed. The stress in negotiations between the USSR and the US intensified, and only much later was it learned that the decision to fire the missile was made locally by an undetermined Soviet commander acting on his own authority. Later that day, at about 3:41 pm EDT, several US Navy RF-8A Crusader aircraft on low-level photoreconnaissance missions were fired upon.  At 4:00 pm EDT, Kennedy recalled members of EXCOMM to the White House and ordered that a message immediately be sent to U Thant asking the Soviets to "suspend" work on the missiles while negotiations were carried out. During this meeting, General Maxwell Taylor delivered the news that the U-2 had been shot down. Kennedy had earlier claimed he would order an attack on such sites if fired upon, but he decided to not act unless another attack was made. In an interview 40 years later, McNamara said:      We had to send a U-2 over to gain reconnaissance information on whether the Soviet missiles were becoming operational. We believed that if the U-2 was shot down that—the Cubans didn't have capabilities to shoot it down, the Soviets did—we believed if it was shot down, it would be shot down by a Soviet surface-to-air-missile unit, and that it would represent a decision by the Soviets to escalate the conflict. And therefore, before we sent the U-2 out, we agreed that if it was shot down we wouldn't meet, we'd simply attack. It was shot down on Friday. ... Fortunately, we changed our mind, we thought "Well, it might have been an accident, we won't attack." Later we learned that Khrushchev had reasoned just as we did: we send over the U-2, if it was shot down, he reasoned we would believe it was an intentional escalation. And therefore, he issued orders to Pliyev, the Soviet commander in Cuba, to instruct all of his batteries not to shoot down the U-2.[note 1][76]  Drafting the response  Emissaries sent by both Kennedy and Nikita Khrushchev agreed to meet at the Yenching Palace Chinese restaurant in the Cleveland Park neighborhood of Washington D.C. on the evening of October 27.[77] Kennedy suggested that they take Khrushchev's offer to trade away the missiles. Unknown to most members of the EXCOMM, Robert Kennedy had been meeting with the Soviet Ambassador in Washington to discover whether these intentions were genuine. The EXCOMM was generally against the proposal because it would undermine NATO's authority, and the Turkish government had repeatedly stated it was against any such trade.  As the meeting progressed, a new plan emerged and Kennedy was slowly persuaded. The new plan called for the President to ignore the latest message and instead to return to Khrushchev's earlier one. Kennedy was initially hesitant, feeling that Khrushchev would no longer accept the deal because a new one had been offered, but Llewellyn Thompson argued that he might accept it anyway.[78] White House Special Counsel and Adviser Ted Sorensen and Robert Kennedy left the meeting and returned 45 minutes later with a draft letter to this effect. The President made several changes, had it typed, and sent it.  After the EXCOMM meeting, a smaller meeting continued in the Oval Office. The group argued that the letter should be underscored with an oral message to Ambassador Dobrynin stating that if the missiles were not withdrawn, military action would be used to remove them. Dean Rusk added one proviso, that no part of the language of the deal would mention Turkey, but there would be an understanding that the missiles would be removed "voluntarily" in the immediate aftermath. The President agreed, and the message was sent. An EXCOMM meeting on October 29, 1962 held in the White House Cabinet Room during the Cuban Missile Crisis. President Kennedy is to the left of the American flag; on his left is Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara and his right is Secretary of State Dean Rusk.  At Dean Rusk's request, Fomin and Scali met again. Scali asked why the two letters from Khrushchev were so different, and Fomin claimed it was because of "poor communications." Scali replied that the claim was not credible and shouted that he thought it was a "stinking double cross." He went on to claim that an invasion was only hours away, at which point Fomin stated that a response to the US message was expected from Khrushchev shortly, and he urged Scali to tell the State Department that no treachery was intended. Scali said that he did not think anyone would believe him, but he agreed to deliver the message. The two went their separate ways, and Scali immediately typed out a memo for the EXCOMM.[citation needed]  Within the US establishment, it was well understood that ignoring the second offer and returning to the first put Khrushchev in a terrible position. Military preparations continued, and all active duty Air Force personnel were recalled to their bases for possible action. Robert Kennedy later recalled the mood, "We had not abandoned all hope, but what hope there was now rested with Khrushchev's revising his course within the next few hours. It was a hope, not an expectation. The expectation was military confrontation by Tuesday, and possibly tomorrow ..."[citation needed]  At 8:05 pm EDT, the letter drafted earlier in the day was delivered. The message read, "As I read your letter, the key elements of your proposals—which seem generally acceptable as I understand them—are as follows: 1) You would agree to remove these weapons systems from Cuba under appropriate United Nations observation and supervision; and undertake, with suitable safe-guards, to halt the further introduction of such weapon systems into Cuba. 2) We, on our part, would agree—upon the establishment of adequate arrangements through the United Nations, to ensure the carrying out and continuation of these commitments (a) to remove promptly the quarantine measures now in effect and (b) to give assurances against the invasion of Cuba." The letter was also released directly to the press to ensure it could not be "delayed."[citation needed]  With the letter delivered, a deal was on the table. However, as Robert Kennedy noted, there was little expectation it would be accepted. At 9:00 pm EDT, the EXCOMM met again to review the actions for the following day. Plans were drawn up for air strikes on the missile sites as well as other economic targets, notably petroleum storage. McNamara stated that they had to "have two things ready: a government for Cuba, because we're going to need one; and secondly, plans for how to respond to the Soviet Union in Europe, because sure as hell they're going to do something there."[citation needed]  At 12:12 am EDT, on October 27, the US informed its NATO allies that "the situation is growing shorter ... the United States may find it necessary within a very short time in its interest and that of its fellow nations in the Western Hemisphere to take whatever military action may be necessary." To add to the concern, at 6 am the CIA reported that all missiles in Cuba were ready for action. A US Navy HSS-1 Seabat helicopter hovers over Soviet submarine B-59, forced to the surface by US Naval forces in the Caribbean near Cuba (October 28–29, 1962)  Later on that same day, what the White House later called "Black Saturday," the US Navy dropped a series of "signaling depth charges" (practice depth charges the size of hand grenades[79]) on a Soviet submarine (B-59) at the blockade line, unaware that it was armed with a nuclear-tipped torpedo with orders that allowed it to be used if the submarine was "hulled" (a hole in the hull from depth charges or surface fire).[80] The decision to launch these required agreement from all three officers on board, but one of them, Vasili Arkhipov, objected and so the launch was narrowly averted.  On the same day a US U-2 spy plane made an accidental, unauthorized ninety-minute overflight of the Soviet Union's far eastern coast.[81] The Soviets responded by scrambling MiG fighters from Wrangel Island; in turn the Americans launched F-102 fighters armed with nuclear air-to-air missiles over the Bering Sea.[82]  On October 27, Khrushchev also received a letter from Castro – what is now known as the Armageddon Letter (dated Oct. 26) – interpreted as urging the use of nuclear force in the event of an attack on Cuba.[83] "I believe the imperialists' aggressiveness is extremely dangerous and if they actually carry out the brutal act of invading Cuba in violation of international law and morality, that would be the moment to eliminate such danger forever through an act of clear legitimate defense, however harsh and terrible the solution would be," Castro wrote.[84] Crisis ends  On October 27, after much deliberation between the Soviet Union and Kennedy's cabinet, Kennedy secretly agreed to remove all missiles set in southern Italy and in Turkey, the latter on the border of the Soviet Union, in exchange for Khrushchev removing all missiles in Cuba.[85] There is some dispute as to whether removing the missiles from Italy was part of the secret agreement, although Khrushchev wrote in his memoirs that it was; nevertheless, when the crisis had ended McNamara gave the order to dismantle the missiles in both Italy and Turkey.[86]  At 9:00 am EST, on October 28, a new message from Khrushchev was broadcast on Radio Moscow. Khrushchev stated that, "the Soviet government, in addition to previously issued instructions on the cessation of further work at the building sites for the weapons, has issued a new order on the dismantling of the weapons which you describe as 'offensive' and their crating and return to the Soviet Union."  Kennedy immediately responded, issuing a statement calling the letter "an important and constructive contribution to peace." He continued this with a formal letter:      I consider my letter to you of October twenty-seventh and your reply of today as firm undertakings on the part of both our governments which should be promptly carried out ... The US will make a statement in the framework of the Security Council in reference to Cuba as follows: it will declare that the United States of America will respect the inviolability of Cuban borders, its sovereignty, that it take the pledge not to interfere in internal affairs, not to intrude themselves and not to permit our territory to be used as a bridgehead for the invasion of Cuba, and will restrain those who would plan to carry an aggression against Cuba, either from US territory or from the territory of other countries neighboring to Cuba.[87]:103  Kennedy's planned statement would also contain suggestions he had received from his adviser, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., in a "Memorandum for the President" describing the "Post Mortem on Cuba."[88] Removal of Missiles in Cuba November 11, 1962 - NARA - 193868  The US continued the blockade, and in the following days, aerial reconnaissance proved that the Soviets were making progress in removing the missile systems. The 42 missiles and their support equipment were loaded onto eight Soviet ships. On November 2, 1962, President Kennedy addressed the United States via radio and television broadcasts regarding the dismantlement process of the Soviet R-12 missile bases located in the Caribbean region.[89] The ships left Cuba from November 5–9. The US made a final visual check as each of the ships passed the blockade line. Further diplomatic efforts were required to remove the Soviet IL-28 bombers, and they were loaded on three Soviet ships on December 5 and 6. Concurrent with the Soviet commitment on the IL-28's, the US Government announced the end of the blockade effective at 6:45 pm EST on November 20, 1962.[43]  At the time when the Kennedy administration thought that the Cuban missile crisis was resolved, nuclear tactical rockets stayed in Cuba since they were not part of the Kennedy-Khrushchev understandings. However, the Soviets changed their minds, fearing possible future Cuban militant steps, and on November 22, 1962, the Soviet Deputy Prime Minister Anastas Mikoyan told Castro that those rockets with the nuclear warheads were being removed too.[11]  In his negotiations with the Soviet Ambassador Anatoly Dobrynin, US Attorney General Robert Kennedy informally proposed that the Jupiter missiles in Turkey would be removed "within a short time after this crisis was over."[90]:222 The last US missiles were disassembled by April 24, 1963, and were flown out of Turkey soon after.[91]  The practical effect of this Kennedy-Khrushchev Pact was that it effectively strengthened Castro's position in Cuba, guaranteeing that the US would not invade Cuba. It is possible that Khrushchev only placed the missiles in Cuba to get Kennedy to remove the missiles from Italy and Turkey and that the Soviets had no intention of resorting to nuclear war if they were out-gunned by the Americans.[92] Because the withdrawal of the Jupiter missiles from NATO bases in Southern Italy and Turkey was not made public at the time, Khrushchev appeared to have lost the conflict and become weakened. The perception was that Kennedy had won the contest between the superpowers and Khrushchev had been humiliated. This is not entirely the case as both Kennedy and Khrushchev took every step to avoid full conflict despite the pressures of their governments. Khrushchev held power for another two years.[87]:102–105 Aftermath The nuclear-armed Jupiter intermediate-range ballistic missile. The US secretly agreed to withdraw these missiles from Italy and Turkey.  The compromise embarrassed Khrushchev and the Soviet Union because the withdrawal of US missiles from Italy and Turkey was a secret deal between Kennedy and Khrushchev. Khrushchev went to Kennedy thinking that the crisis was getting out of hand. The Soviets were seen as retreating from circumstances that they had started. Khrushchev's fall from power two years later was in part because of the Politburo embarrassment at both Khrushchev's eventual concessions to the US and his ineptitude in precipitating the crisis in the first place. According to Dobrynin, the top Soviet leadership took the Cuban outcome as "a blow to its prestige bordering on humiliation."[93]  Cuba perceived the outcome as a partial betrayal by the Soviets, given that decisions on how to resolve the crisis had been made exclusively by Kennedy and Khrushchev. Castro was especially upset that certain issues of interest to Cuba, such as the status of the US Naval Base in Guantánamo, were not addressed. This caused Cuban–Soviet relations to deteriorate for years to come.[94]:278 On the other hand, Cuba continued to be protected from invasion.  Although General Curtis LeMay told the President that he considered the resolution of the Cuban Missile Crisis the "greatest defeat in our history," his was a minority position.[36]:335 He had pressed for an immediate invasion of Cuba as soon as the crisis began, and still favored invading Cuba even after the Soviets had withdrawn their missiles.[95] 25 years later, LeMay still believed that "We could have gotten not only the missiles out of Cuba, we could have gotten the Communists out of Cuba at that time."[64]  After the crisis the United States and the Soviet Union created the Moscow–Washington hotline, a direct communications link between Moscow and Washington, D.C. The purpose was to have a way that the leaders of the two Cold War countries could communicate directly to solve such a crisis. The world-wide US Forces DEFCON 3 status was returned to DEFCON 4 on November 20, 1962. U-2 pilot Major Anderson's body was returned to the United States and he was buried with full military honors in South Carolina. He was the first recipient of the newly created Air Force Cross, which was awarded posthumously.  Although Anderson was the only combatant fatality during the crisis, 11 crew members of three reconnaissance Boeing RB-47 Stratojets of the 55th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing were also killed in crashes during the period between September 27 and November 11, 1962.[96] Further, seven crew died when a MATS Boeing C-135B Stratolifter delivering ammunition to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base stalled and crashed on approach on October 23.[97]  Critics including Seymour Melman[98] and Seymour Hersh[99] suggested that the Cuban Missile Crisis encouraged US use of military means, such as in the Vietnam War. This Soviet–American confrontation was synchronous with the Sino-Indian War, dating from the US's military blockade of Cuba; historians[who?] speculate that the Chinese attack against India for disputed land was meant to coincide with the Cuban Missile Crisis.[100] Post-crisis revelations  Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., a historian and adviser to John F. Kennedy, told National Public Radio in an interview on October 16, 2002, that Castro did not want the missiles, but that Khrushchev had pressured Castro to accept them. Castro was not completely happy with the idea but the Cuban National Directorate of the Revolution accepted them to protect Cuba against US attack, and to aid its ally, the Soviet Union.[94]:272 Schlesinger believed that when the missiles were withdrawn, Castro was angrier with Khrushchev than he was with Kennedy because Khrushchev had not consulted Castro before deciding to remove them.[note 2] Although Castro was infuriated by Khrushchev, he planned on striking the United States with remaining missiles immediately after the blockade was lifted.[94]:311  In early 1992, it was confirmed that Soviet forces in Cuba had, by the time the crisis broke, received tactical nuclear warheads for their artillery rockets and Il-28 bombers.[101] Castro stated that he would have recommended their use if the US invaded despite knowing Cuba would be destroyed.[101]  Arguably the most dangerous moment in the crisis was only recognized during the Cuban Missile Crisis Havana conference in October 2002. Attended by many of the veterans of the crisis, they all learned that on October 27, 1962, the USS Beale had tracked and dropped signaling depth charges (the size of hand grenades) on the B-59, a Soviet Project 641 (NATO designation Foxtrot) submarine which, unknown to the US, was armed with a 15-kiloton[citation needed] nuclear torpedo. Running out of air, the Soviet submarine was surrounded by American warships and desperately needed to surface. An argument broke out among three officers on the B-59, including submarine captain Valentin Savitsky, political officer Ivan Semonovich Maslennikov, and Deputy brigade commander Captain 2nd rank (US Navy Commander rank equivalent) Vasili Arkhipov. An exhausted Savitsky became furious and ordered that the nuclear torpedo on board be made combat ready. Accounts differ about whether Commander Arkhipov convinced Savitsky not to make the attack, or whether Savitsky himself finally concluded that the only reasonable choice left open to him was to come to the surface.[102]:303, 317 During the conference Robert McNamara stated that nuclear war had come much closer than people had thought. Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, said, "A guy called Vasili Arkhipov saved the world."  Fifty years after the crisis, Graham Allison wrote:      Fifty years ago, the Cuban missile crisis brought the world to the brink of nuclear disaster. During the standoff, US President John F. Kennedy thought the chance of escalation to war was "between 1 in 3 and even," and what we have learned in later decades has done nothing to lengthen those odds. We now know, for example, that in addition to nuclear-armed ballistic missiles, the Soviet Union had deployed 100 tactical nuclear weapons to Cuba, and the local Soviet commander there could have launched these weapons without additional codes or commands from Moscow. The US air strike and invasion that were scheduled for the third week of the confrontation would likely have triggered a nuclear response against American ships and troops, and perhaps even Miami. The resulting war might have led to the deaths of 100 million Americans and over 100 million Russians.[103][104]  BBC journalist Joe Matthews published on October 13, 2012, the story behind the 100 tactical nuclear warheads mentioned by Graham Allison in the excerpt above.[105] Khrushchev feared that Castro's hurt pride and widespread Cuban indignation over the concessions he had made to Kennedy might lead to a breakdown of the agreement between the Soviet Union and the United States. In order to prevent this Khrushchev decided to make Cuba a special offer. The offer was to give Cuba more than 100 tactical nuclear weapons that had been shipped to Cuba along with the long-range missiles, but which crucially had passed completely under the radar of US intelligence. Khrushchev concluded that because the Americans hadn't listed the missiles on their list of demands, the Soviet Union's interests would be well served by keeping them in Cuba.[105]  Anastas Mikoyan was tasked with the negotiations with Castro over the missile transfer deal designed to prevent a breakdown in the relations between Cuba and the Soviet Union. While in Havana, Mikoyan witnessed the mood swings and paranoia of Castro, who was convinced that Moscow had made the agreement with the United States at the expense of Cuba's defense. Mikoyan, on his own initiative, decided that Castro and his military not be given control of weapons with an explosive force equal to 100 Hiroshima-sized bombs under any circumstances. He defused the seemingly intractable situation, which risked re-escalating the crisis, on November 22, 1962. During a tense, four-hour meeting, Mikoyan convinced Castro that despite Moscow's desire to help, it would be in breach of an unpublished Soviet law (which didn't actually exist) to transfer the missiles permanently into Cuban hands and provide them with an independent nuclear deterrent. Castro was forced to give way and – much to the relief of Khrushchev and the whole Soviet government – the tactical nuclear weapons were crated and returned by sea to the Soviet Union during December 1962.[105] See also Portal icon     Cold War portal Portal icon     Cuba portal      Bomber gap     Cuba–Soviet Union relations     Norwegian rocket incident     Nuclear disarmament     Soviet Navy  Media  (Listed chronologically)      Thirteen Days, Robert F. Kennedy's account of the crisis, released in 1969     Topaz, 1969 film by Alfred Hitchcock based on the 1967 novel by Leon Uris, set during the run-up to the crisis     The Missiles of October, 1974 TV docudrama about the crisis     The World Next Door, 1990 novel by Brad Ferguson, set in this period     Quantum Leap,1991 TV Show, (Season 3 Episode, Nuclear Family – October 26, 1962), Sam must deal with the panic associated with the Cuban Missile Crisis as a Florida fallout shelter salesman.     Matinee, 1993 film set in Key West, Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis     The short film Symposium on Intelligence and the Cuban Missile Crisis 1962 is available for free download at the Internet Archive     seaQuest 2032, 1995 TV Show, (Season 3 Episode, "Second Chance"), seaQuest inadvertently travels back to 1962 where their presence accidentally interferes with the Cuban Missile Crisis     Blast from the Past (film), 1999 American romantic comedy film, set in this period     Resurrection Day, 1999 alternate history novel written by Brendan DuBois, set in this period     Thirteen Days (film), 2000 docudrama directed by Roger Donaldson about the crisis     The Fog of War, 2003 American documentary film about the life and times of former US Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara directed by Errol Morris, which won that years' Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.     Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, 2004 video game directed by Hideo Kojima, features a fictional conflict inspired by the Cuban Missile Crisis     "Meditations in an Emergency", the last episode of season 2 of the television series Mad Men takes place during the crisis     Ur (novella), a 2009 short novel by Stephen King released for the Amazon Kindle, is about three men who discover through a magic Kindle that in another "Ur", the Cuban Missile Crisis escalated into a nuclear war and ended that "Ur".     Call of Duty: Black Ops, 2010 video game, set during and after the Cuban Missile Crisis.     The Kennedys (TV miniseries), 2011 production chronicling the lives of the Kennedy family, including a dramatization of the crisis     X-Men: First Class, 2011 superhero film set during the Cuban Missile Crisis     Castro's Bomb, 2011 alternate history ebook written by Robert Conroy that depicts Castro taking control of Soviet nuclear weapons on Cuba. A fierce battle of Guantanamo Bay is among the many plots within the novel.     What If...? Armageddon 1962, 2013 mockumentary, Lyndon B. Johnson, not Kennedy (a real would-be assassin had succeeded), is President in October 1962, and his handling of the crisis brings about a nuclear exchange.  Notes      McNamara mistakenly dates the shooting down of USAF Major Rudolf Anderson's U-2 on October 26.     In his biography, Castro does not compare his feelings for either leader at that moment, however, he makes it clear that he was angry with Khrushchev for failing to consult with him. (Ramonet 1978)  References      Absher, Kenneth Michael (2009). "Mind-Sets and Missiles: A First Hand Account of the Cuban Missile Crisis". Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College.     Franklin, Jane (1997). Cuba and the United States: A Chronological History. Melbourne: Ocean Press. ISBN 1-875284-92-3.     Kempe, Frederick (2011). Berlin 1961. Penguin Group USA.     Rodriguez (October 1989). Shadow Warrior: The CIA Hero of 100 Unknown Battles. John Weisman. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-66721-4.     "Proclamation 3447 - Embargo on All Trade With Cuba". 76 Stat. 1446. U.S. Government Printing Office. February 3, 1962.     Correll, John T. (August 2005). "Airpower and the Cuban Missile Crisis". AirForce-Magazine.com 88 (8). Retrieved May 4, 2010.     Alexeyev, Alexandr. "Interview". Retrieved March 30, 2013.     Allison, Graham and Philip Zelikow (1999). Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. p. 92. ISBN 0-321-01349-2.     Allison, Graham and Philip Zelikow (1999). Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. pp. 94–95. ISBN 0-321-01349-2.     Allison, Graham and Philip Zelikow (1999). Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. p. 105. ISBN 0-321-01349-2.     "The Soviet Cuban Missile Crisis: Castro, Mikoyan, Kennedy, Khruschev, and the Missiles of November". The national security archive. October 10, 2012.     Weldes, Jutta (1999). Constructing National Interests: The United States and the Cuban Missile Crisis. University of Minnesota Press. ISBN 978-0-8166-3111-7.     Hansen, James H. "Soviet Deception in the Cuban Missile Crisis". Learning from the Past. Archived from the original on September 15, 2010. Retrieved May 2, 2010.     "Cool Crisis Management? It's a Myth, Ask JFK". The Washington Post.     "Joint resolution expressing the determination of the United States with respect to the situation in Cuba - P.L. 87-733". 76 Stat. 697. U.S. Government Printing Office. October 3, 1962.     Blight, James G.; Bruce J. Allyn and David A. Welch (2002). Cuba on the Brink: Castro, the Missile Crisis, and the Soviet Collapse; [revised for the Fortieth Anniversary] (2nd ed.). Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-0-7425-2269-5.     "The Days the World Held Its Breath". July 31, 1997. Retrieved March 4, 2010.     Allison, Graham and Philip Zelikow (1999). Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. p. 80. ISBN 0-321-01349-2.     Stern, Sheldon M. (2003). Averting 'the Final Failure': John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings. Stanford University Press. p. 26.     Zak, Anatoly (2012). "Rockets: R-12". Morristown, New Jersey: RussianSpaceWeb.com. Archived from the original on 2012-10-21. Retrieved 2012-10-21.     "R-12 / SS-4 SANDAL". Global Security. Retrieved April 30, 2010.     "R-14 / SS-5 SKEAN". Global Security. Retrieved April 30, 2010.     "Interview with Sidney Graybeal – 29 January 1998". Episode 21. George Washington University, National Security Archive. March 14, 1999.     Vladislav Zubok & Constantine Pleshkov, Inside the Kremlin's Cold War, 1996, page 264, Harvard Press, Massachusetts ISBN 0-674-45532-0     "Project RAZOR". Taiwan Air Blog, updated April 11, 2007. Retrieved: September 14, 2009.     "Project RAZOR". Taiwan Air Blog, updated April 15, 2007. Retrieved: September 14, 2009.     Remarks by LTG Ronald L. Burgess, Jr. Director, Defense Intelligence Agency. Association of Former Intelligence Officers, August 12, 2011     "Cuban Missile Crisis". US Department of State. Retrieved May 6, 2010.     "Revelations from the Russian Archives". Library of Congress. Retrieved April 20, 2010.     "Off the Record Meeting on Cuba: The White House". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. October 16, 1962. Retrieved August 26, 2011.     "National Security Action Memorandum 196". JFK Presidential Library and Museum. October 22, 1962. Retrieved August 26, 2011.     Averting The Final Failure, John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings, Sheldon M. Stern, Stanford University Press, 2003.     The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality (Stanford Nuclear Age Series), Sheldon M. Stern, Stanford University Press, 2012     Allison, Graham T.; Zelikow, Philip D. (1999) [1971]. Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd ed.). New York: Addison Wesley Longman. pp. 111–116. ISBN 978-0-321-01349-1.     Kennedy, Robert (1971). Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. W.W. Norton & Company. p. 14. ISBN 978-0-393-09896-9.     Axelrod, Alan (2009). The Real History of the Cold War: A New Look at the Past. New York: Sterling Publishing Co. ISBN 978-1-4027-6302-1. Retrieved April 22, 2010.     Ornstein, Robert Evan (1989). New world new mind: moving toward conscious evolution. The University of Michigan, Doubleday.     Blight, James G.; David A. Welch (1989). On the Brink: Americans and Soviets Reexamine the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Hill and Wang. ISBN 978-0-374-22634-3.     Peters, Gerhard; Woolley, John T. "John F. Kennedy: "378 - The President's News Conference," September 13, 1962". The American Presidency Project. University of California - Santa Barbara.     Kennedy, J. (December 17, 1962). "After Two Years: A conversation with the president". In 'Public Papers of the Presidents: John F. Kennedy, 1962' (Washington, DC: Government Printing Office): 889–904.     "Cuban Missile Crisis". Online Highways LLC. Retrieved May 5, 2010.     "JFK on the Cuban Missile Crisis". The History Place. Retrieved May 3, 2010.     "Cuban Missile Crisis". Global Security. Retrieved May 6, 2010.     Kamps, Charles Tustin, "The Cuban Missile Crisis", Air & Space Power Journal, AU Press, Air University, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, Fall 2007, Volume XXI, Number 3, page 88.     "Third VP-18". Dictionary of American Naval Aviation Squadrons 2. Naval Aviation History Office. November 9, 2000. p. 2. Retrieved January 16, 2011.     "The Naval Quarantine of Cuba, 1962". Report on the Naval Quarantine of Cuba, Operational Archives Branch, Post 46 Command File, Box 10, Washington, DC. Naval History & Heritage Command. Retrieved January 25, 2011.     Allison, Graham and Philip Zelikow (1999). Essence of Decision: Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. p. 119. ISBN 0-321-01349-2.     Ernest R May (2011). "John F Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis". Retrieved February 7, 2012. BBC History of the Cold War.     The Naval Quarantine of Cuba, 1962: Abeyance and Negotiation, 31 October − 13 November (Report). Department of the Navy, Naval Historical Center. January 2001. Retrieved August 26, 2011.     Gibson, David R. (2012) Talk at the Brink: Deliberation and Decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 99–101.     "Proclamation 3504 - Interdiction of the Delivery of Offensive Weapons to Cuba". 77 Stat. 958. U.S. Government Printing Office. October 23, 1962.     Buffet, Cyril; Touze, Vincent. "Brinkmanship". The Cuban Missile Crisis exhibition. The Caen Mémorial. Retrieved May 3, 2010.     "1962 Year In Review: Cuban Missile Crisis". United Press International, Inc. 1962. Retrieved April 22, 2010.     "Letter From Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy". Foreign Relations of the United States, 1961–1963 Volume VI, Kennedy-Khrushchev Exchanges Document 63. United States Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs, Office of the Historian. October 24, 1962.     "Khruschev Letter to President Kennedy". October 24, 1962.     "Chronology 1: October 26, 1962 to November 15, 1962". The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. The National Security Archive. Retrieved April 8, 2011.     Buffet, Cyril; Touze, Vincent. "Germany, between Cuba and Berlin". The Cuban Missile Crisis exhibition. The Caen Mémorial. Retrieved May 3, 2010.     "Pope John Helped settle the Cuban missile crisis". The Telegraph. June 4, 1971.     "An historical perspective: Pope John XXIII and the Cuban Missile Crisis".     "Outright Piracy".     Stephanie Ritter (19 October 2012). "SAC during the 13 Days of the Cuban Missile Crisis". Air Force Global Strike Command.     Goldman, Jerry, ed. (October 8, 1997). "The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 18–29, 1962". History and Politics Out Loud. Northwestern University. Retrieved May 11, 2011.     Boyland, Vista; Klyne D. Nowlin (January 2012). "WW III, A Close Call". The Intercom 35 (1): 19–20.     Kohn, R. H.; Harahan, J. P. (1988). "U.S. Strategic Air Power, 1948-1962: Excerpts from an Interview with Generals Curtis E. LeMay, Leon W. Johnson, David A. Burchinal, and Jack J. Catton". International Security 12 (4): 78–95. doi:10.2307/2538995. JSTOR 2538995. edit     Reynolds, K.C. "Boarding MARUCLA: A personal account from the Executive Officer of USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr". Retrieved June 22, 2010.     Helms, Richard (Deputy Director for Plans, CIA) (January 19, 1962). "Memorandum for the Director of Central Intelligence: Meeting with the Attorney General of the United States Concerning Cuba". George Washington University, National Security Archive.     "Chronology 1: September 28, 1962 to October 26, 1962". The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962. The National Security Archive. Retrieved April 9, 2011.     "Department of State Telegram Transmitting Letter From Chairman Khrushchev to President Kennedy". The Cuban Missile Crisis, October 1962. John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. 26 October 1962. Retrieved 9 April 2011.     Brandon, Henry (October 28, 1962). "Attack us at your Peril, Cocky Cuba Warns US". The Sunday Times (London).     Goldberg, Jeffrey (September 8, 2010). "Cuban model no longer works, says Fidel Castro". BBC.     Baggins, Brian. "Cuban History Missile Crisis". Marxist History: Cuba (1959 – present). Marxists Internet Archive. Retrieved May 7, 2010.     Christopher, Andrew (March 1, 1996). For the President's Eyes Only: Secret Intelligence and the American Presidency from Washington to Bush. Harper Perennial. p. 688. ISBN 978-0-06-092178-1.     "The Week The World Stood Still: Inside The Secret Cuban Missile Crisis" By Sheldon M. Stern, 2012     Dorn, A. Walter; Pauk, Robert (April 2009). "Unsung Mediator: U Thant and the Cuban Missile Crisis". Diplomatic History 33 (2): 261–292. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7709.2008.00762.x.     Robert McNamara (2004) [1964]. Interview included as special feature on Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (DVD). Columbia Tristar Home Entertainment.     Frey, Jennifer (January 14, 2007). "At Yenching Palace, Five Decades of History to Go". Washington Post. Retrieved December 27, 2008.     Gibson, David R. (2012) Talk at the Brink: Deliberation and Decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. pp. 135–56.     "The Submarines of October". George Washington University, National Security Archive. Retrieved May 1, 2010.     "The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: Press Release, 11 October 2002, 5:00 pm". George Washington University, National Security Archive. October 11, 2002. Retrieved October 26, 2008.     Dobbs, Michael (June 2008). "Why We Should Still Study the Cuban Missile Crisis". Special Report 205. United States Institute of Peace. Retrieved August 26, 2011.     Schoenherr, Steven (April 10, 2006). "The Thirteen Days, October 16–28, 1962". Archived from the original on May 15, 2008. Retrieved May 3, 2010.     Blight, James G. and Janet M. Lang (2012). "The Armageddon Letters: Kennedy, Khrushchev, Castro in the Cuban Missile Crisis". Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 978-1-4422-1679-2.     Taubman, William (2004). Khrushchev: The Man and His Era. New York: W.W. Norton & Company. p. 573. ISBN 978-1-4422-1679-2.     Jim Hershberg (Spring 1995). "Anatomy of a Controversy:Anatoly F. Dobrynin's Meeting With Robert F. Kennedy, Saturday, 27 October 1962" (5). Retrieved May 29, 2012.     Johnson, Dominic D. P. Failing to Win p. 105     Faria, Miguel A. (2002). Cuba in Revolution: Escape from a Lost Paradise. Macon, GA: Hacienda Pub. ISBN 978-0-9641077-3-1.     Schlesinger Jr., Arthur. "Memorandum for the President: Post Mortem on Cuba, Oct. 29, 1962 – full text     "Radio and television remarks on dismantling of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, 2 November 1962". John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.     Glover, Jonathan (2000). Humanity: a moral history of the twentieth century. Yale University Press. p. 464. ISBN 978-0-300-08700-0. Retrieved July 2, 2009.     Schlesinger, Arthur (2002). Robert Kennedy and his times. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 1088. ISBN 978-0-618-21928-5. Retrieved July 2, 2009.     Garthoff, Raymond L. (July 1988). "Did Khrushchev Bluff in Cuba? No". Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. pp. 40–43. Retrieved January 25, 2011.     William Taubman, Khrushchev: The Man and His Era (2004) p. 579.     Ignacio, Ramonet (2007). Fidel Castro: My Life. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-102626-8.     "Militaryhistory.about.com".     Lloyd, Alwyn T., "Boeing's B-47 Stratojet", Specialty Press, North Branch, Minnesota, 2005, ISBN 978-1-58007-071-3, page 178.     "Aviation Safety".     Melman, Seymour (1988). The Demilitarized Society: Disarmament and Conversion. Montreal: Harvest House.     Hersh, Seymour (1978). The Dark Side of Camelot.     "Frontier India India-China Section". Archived from the original on September 28, 2007. "Note alleged connections to Cuban Missile Crisis"     "Arms Control Association: Arms Control Today".     Dobbs, Michael (2008). One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-1-4000-4358-3.     Allison, Graham (2012). "The Cuban Missile Crisis at 50". Foreign Affairs 91 (4). Retrieved 9 July 2012.     Gavrov, Sergei (November 2013) U.S. and Russia: the crisis of 1962. View, Russia     Matthews, Joe. "Cuban missile crisis: The other, secret one". BBC News Magazine. Retrieved 13 October 2012.  Further reading      Allison, Graham; Zelikow, Philip (1999). Essence of Decision, Explaining the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Addison Wesley Longman. ISBN 0-321-01349-2.     Barrett, David M. and Max Holland (2012). Blind Over Cuba: The Photo Gap and the Missile Crisis. College Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press, 2012.     Chayes, Abram (1974). The Cuban Missile Crisis. International crises and the role of law. London: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-825320-4.     Diez Acosta, Tomás (2002). October 1962: The "Missile" Crisis As Seen from Cuba. New York: Pathfinder. ISBN 978-0-87348-956-0.     Divine, Robert A. (1988). The Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: M. Wiener Pub. ISBN 978-0-910129-15-2.     Dobbs, Michael (2008). One Minute to Midnight: Kennedy, Khrushchev and Castro on the Brink of Nuclear War. New York: Knopf. ISBN 978-1-4000-7891-2.     Feklisov, Aleksandr; Kostin, Sergueï (2001). The Man Behind the Rosenbergs: By the KGB Spymaster Who Was the Case Officer of Julius Rosenberg, Klaus Fuchs, and Helped Resolve the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Enigma Books. ISBN 978-1-929631-08-7.     Frankel, Max (2004). High Noon in the Cold War: Kennedy, Khrushchev, and the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: Ballantine Books. ISBN 978-0-345-46505-4.     Fursenko, Aleksandr; Naftali, Timothy J. (1998). One Hell of a Gamble: Khrushchev, Castro, and Kennedy, 1958–1964. New York: Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-31790-9.     Fursenko, Aleksandr (Summer 2006). "Night Session of the Presidium of the Central Committee, 22–23 October 1962". Naval War College Review 59 (3).     George, Alice L. (2003). Awaiting Armageddon: How Americans Faced the Cuban Missile Crisis. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 978-0-8078-2828-1.     Gibson, David R. (2012). Talk at the Brink: Deliberation and Decision during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-15131-1.     Gonzalez, Servando (2002). The Nuclear Deception: Nikita Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile Crisis. Oakland, CA: Spooks Books. ISBN 978-0-9711391-5-2.     Jones, Milo; Silberzahn, Philppe (2013). Constructing Cassandra, Reframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947–2001. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804793360.     Khrushchev, Sergei (October 2002). "How My Father And President Kennedy Saved The World". American Heritage 53 (5).     Polmar, Norman; Gresham, John D. (2006). DEFCON-2: Standing on the Brink of Nuclear War During the Cuban Missile Crisis. Foreword by Tom Clancy. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. ISBN 978-0-471-67022-3.     Pope, Ronald R. (1982). Soviet Views on the Cuban Missile Crisis: Myth and Reality in Foreign Policy Analysis. Washington, DC: Univ. Press of America. ISBN 978-0-8191-2584-2.     Pressman, Jeremy (2001). "September Statements, October Missiles, November Elections: Domestic Politics, Foreign-Policy Making, and the Cuban Missile Crisis". Security Studies 10 (3): 80–114. doi:10.1080/09636410108429438.     Russell, Bertrand (1963). Unarmed Victory. London: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-327024-7.     Stern, Sheldon M. (2003). Averting 'the Final Failure': John F. Kennedy and the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Meetings. Stanford nuclear age series. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-4846-9.     Stern, Sheldon M. (2005). The Week the World Stood Still: Inside the Secret Cuban Missile Crisis. Stanford nuclear age series. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0-8047-5077-6.     Stern, Sheldon M. (2012). The Cuban Missile Crisis in American Memory: Myths versus Reality. Stanford nuclear age series. Stanford, Calif: Stanford University Press.     Trahair, Richard C. S.; Miller, Robert L. (2009). Encyclopedia of Cold War Espionage, Spies, and Secret Operations. New York: Enigma Books. ISBN 978-1-929631-75-9.     Matthews, Joe (October 2012). "Cuban missile crisis: The other, secret one". BBC.  Historiography      Allison, Graham T. (September 1969). "Conceptual Models and the Cuban Missile Crisis". American Political Science Review 63 (3): 689–718. JSTOR 1954423.     Dorn, A. Walter; Pauk, Robert (April 2009). "Unsung Mediator: U Thant and the Cuban Missile Crisis". Diplomatic History 33 (2): 261–292. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7709.2008.00762.x.     Garthoff, Raymond L. (Spring 2004). "Foreign Intelligence and the Historiography of the Cold War". Journal of Cold War Studies (Project MUSE) 6 (2): 21–56. doi:10.1162/152039704773254759. ISSN 1520-3972.     Gibson, David R. (2011). "Avoiding Catastrophe: The Interactional Production of Possibility during the Cuban Missile Crisis". The American Journal of Sociology 117 (2): 361–419. JSTOR 10.1086/661761.     Jones, John A.; Jones, Virginia H. (Spring 2005). "Through the Eye of the Needle: Five Perspectives on the Cuban Missile Crisis". Rhetoric & Public Affairs (Project MUSE) 8 (1): 133–144. doi:10.1353/rap.2005.0044.     Jones, Milo; Silberzahn, Philppe (2013). Constructing Cassandra, Reframing Intelligence Failure at the CIA, 1947–2001. Stanford University Press. ISBN 978-0804793360.Chapter Five, pages 135 to 191.     Lebow, Richard Ned (October 1990). "Domestic Politics and the Cuban Missile Crisis: The Traditional and Revisionist Interpretations Reevaluated". Diplomatic History 14 (4): 471–492. doi:10.1111/j.1467-7709.1990.tb00103.x.  Primary sources      Chang, Laurence; Kornbluh, Peter, eds. (1998). "Introduction". The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: A National Security Archive Documents Reader (2nd ed.). New York: New Press. ISBN 978-1-56584-474-2.     "Cuban Missile Crisis". JFK in History. John F. Kennedy Library.     "Cuban Missile Crisis 1962". Presidential Recordings Program. Miller Center of Public Affairs, University of Virginia.     Cold War International History Project: Digital Archive "Cuban Missile Crisis". Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.     Keefer, Edward C.; Sampson, Charles S.; Smith, Louis J., eds. (1996). Cuban Missile Crisis and Aftermath. Foreign relations of the United States, 1961–1963 XI. Washington, D.C: US Government Printing Office. ISBN 0-16-045210-4.     Kennedy, Robert F. (1969). Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis. New York: W. W. Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-31834-0.     May, Ernest R.; Zelikow, Philip D., eds. (2002) [1997]. The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House During the Cuban Missile Crisis (2nd ed.). New York: Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-32259-0.     McAuliffe, Mary S., ed. (October 1992). "CIA Documents on the Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962". Historical Review Program. Washington, DC: Central Intelligence Agency.     "The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: The 40th Anniversary". National Security Archive: Special Exhibits. Gelman Library: The George Washington University.     "The World On the Brink: John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis". Interactive Exhibits. John F. Kennedy Library.  Lesson plans      "Cuban Missile Crisis". Slideshows for Educators. Bureau of Public Affairs, US Department of State.     Moser, John; Hahn, Lori (July 15, 2010). "The Cuban Missile Crisis, 1962: 'The Missiles of October'". EDSITEment: Lesson Plans. National Endowment for the Humanities.