Cuban Missile Crisis

Cuban Missile Crisis
Part of the Cold War
Soviet-R-12-nuclear-ballistic missile.jpg
DateOctober 16–28, 1962
(naval blockade of Cuba ended November 20)
LocationCuba
Result
  • Withdrawal of the Soviet Union's nuclear missiles from Cuba
  • Withdrawal of American nuclear missiles from Turkey and Italy
  • Agreement with the Soviet Union that the United States would never invade Cuba without direct provocation
  • Creation of a nuclear hotline between the United States and the Soviet Union
Belligerents
 Soviet Union
 Cuba
Supported by:
Warsaw Pact
 United States
 Italy
 Turkey
Supported by:
 NATO
Commanders and leaders
Casualties and losses
64 Soviet citizens dead (statistics of the MoD of the RF for 1962–1964)[1]1 U-2 spy aircraft lost
1 aircraft damaged
1 killed

The Cuban Missile Crisis, also known as the October Crisis of 1962 (Spanish: Crisis de Octubre), the Caribbean Crisis (Russian: Карибский кризис, tr. Karibsky krizis, IPA: [kɐˈrʲipskʲɪj ˈkrʲizʲɪs]), or the Missile Scare, was a 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union concerning American ballistic missile deployment in Italy and Turkey with consequent Soviet ballistic missile deployment in Cuba. The confrontation is often considered the closest the Cold War came to escalating into a full-scale nuclear war.[2]

In response to the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion of 1961 and the presence of American Jupiter ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev agreed to Cuba's request to place nuclear missiles on the island to deter a future invasion. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Khrushchev and Fidel Castro in July 1962 and construction of a number of missile launch facilities started later that summer.

The 1962 United States elections were under way, and the White House had for months denied charges that it was ignoring dangerous Soviet missiles 90 miles (140 km) from Florida. The missile preparations were confirmed when an Air Force U-2 spy plane produced clear photographic evidence of medium-range (SS-4) and intermediate-range (R-14) ballistic missile facilities. The U.S. established a naval blockade on October 22 to prevent further missiles from reaching Cuba; Oval Office tapes during the crisis revealed that Kennedy had also put the blockade in place as an attempt to provoke Soviet-backed forces in Berlin as well.[3][4][5] 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 Soviet Union.

After a long period of tense negotiations, an agreement was reached between U.S. President John F. Kennedy and Khrushchev.[when?] 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 U.S. public declaration and agreement to avoid invading Cuba again. Secretly, the United States also agreed that it would dismantle all U.S.-built Jupiter MRBMs, which had been deployed in Turkey against the Soviet Union; there has been debate on whether or not Italy was included in the agreement as well.

When all offensive missiles and Ilyushin Il-28 light bombers had been withdrawn from Cuba, the blockade was formally ended on November 21, 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 reduced U.S.–Soviet tensions for several years until the United States and Russia began to build their nuclear arsenal even further.

Earlier U.S. actions

The U.S. was concerned about an expansion of communism, and a Latin American country openly allying with the Soviet Union was regarded by the U.S. as unacceptable since the end of World War II, and the start of the Cold War. Such an involvement would also directly defy the Monroe Doctrine, a U.S. policy limiting U.S. involvement in European colonies and European affairs but holding that the Western Hemisphere was in the U.S. sphere of influence.

The Kennedy administration had been publicly embarrassed by the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in May 1961, which had been launched under President John F. Kennedy by CIA-trained forces of Cuban exiles. Afterward, former President Dwight Eisenhower told Kennedy that "the failure of the Bay of Pigs will embolden the Soviets to do something that they would otherwise not do."[6]: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."[6] U.S. covert operations against Cuba continued in 1961 with the unsuccessful Operation Mongoose.[7]

In addition, Khrushchev's impression of Kennedy's weaknesses was confirmed by the President's response during the Berlin Crisis of 1961, particularly to 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."[8]

In January 1962, U.S. Army General Edward Lansdale described plans to overthrow the Cuban government in a top-secret report (partially declassified 1989), addressed to Kennedy and officials involved with Operation Mongoose.[7] CIA agents or "pathfinders" from the Special Activities Division were to be infiltrated into Cuba to carry out sabotage and organization, including radio broadcasts.[9] In February 1962, the US launched an embargo against Cuba,[10] and Lansdale presented a 26-page, top-secret timetable for implementation of the overthrow of the Cuban government, mandating guerrilla operations to begin in August and September. "Open revolt and overthrow of the Communist regime" would occur in the first two weeks of October.[7]

Other Languages
Alemannisch: Kubakrise
azərbaycanca: Karib böhranı
беларуская: Карыбскі крызіс
български: Карибска криза
čeština: Karibská krize
dansk: Cubakrisen
Deutsch: Kubakrise
Esperanto: Kariba krizo
hrvatski: Kubanska kriza
Bahasa Indonesia: Krisis Rudal Kuba
íslenska: Kúbudeilan
Lëtzebuergesch: Kubakris
lietuvių: Karibų krizė
македонски: Кубанска криза
Nederlands: Cubacrisis
norsk: Cubakrisen
norsk nynorsk: Cubakrisa
rumantsch: Crisa da Cuba
Simple English: Cuban Missile Crisis
slovenščina: Kubanska raketna kriza
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Kubanska raketna kriza
svenska: Kubakrisen
українська: Карибська криза