The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis: Looking Down the Gun Barrel

Merin Cook Junior Division Research Paper

The Cuban Missile Crisis is one of the most documented events in history, so why has history gotten it so wrong? Titles like Maximum Danger and On the Brink of Doom represent common attitudes toward the crisis but do not reflect the true essence. The Cuban Missile Crisis was not just a conflict about missiles; it was a conflict of philosophies, egos, and confidence.1 Nikita Khrushchev and John Kennedy came together and compromised. They understood that “after a nuclear war the winner would not look very different from the loser.”2

Khrushchev and Kennedy were polar opposites. (See ...

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Crisis was one conflict in the larger cold war between Communism and Democracy.4 The overthrow of the Batista government in Cuba brought Fidel Castro to power. Castro’s rejection of US economic and political control in Cuba quickly caused relations with America to disintegrate.5 Castro, influenced by his brother Raul and fellow revolutionary Che Guevara, appealed to Khrushchev for support. Khrushchev was delighted to have a new ally so close to America saying, Castro was no Communist, but America made him one.6 (See Appendix 2) Tensions with Cuba further intensified after the US backed Bay of Pigs invasion failed to overthrow Castro.7 During the Bay of Pigs invasion Kennedy had failed to act and appeared indecisive to Khrushchev. After the Bay of Pigs, Khrushchev learned another invasion was being planned and knew John Kennedy wouldn’t fail to act again.8

1 Sergei Khrushchev, Telephone Interview, 8 January 2008. 2 Sergei N Khrushchev. Nikita Khrushchev: and the Creation of a ...

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restored. Khrushchev acted with utmost secrecy. Soldiers were disguised as civilians, loading was completed at night, and ships took roundabout routes to Cuba.11 (See Appendix 3)

On October 14, 1962, Khrushchev’s plan was discovered a month earlier than intended when Major Richard Kaiser flew his U-2 spy plane over Cuba and photographed suspicious sites near Havana. (See Appendix 4) President Kennedy was furious. The Soviets had assured him they “would never become involved” in building offensive military capacity in Cuba.12 For six days President Kennedy kept it secret that Khrushchev’s plan had been discovered.13 During this time, he formed ExComm, which consisted of a select group of ...

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The Cuban Missile Crisis. (2011, May 30). Retrieved January 21, 2019, from
"The Cuban Missile Crisis.", 30 May. 2011. Web. 21 Jan. 2019. <>
"The Cuban Missile Crisis." May 30, 2011. Accessed January 21, 2019.
"The Cuban Missile Crisis." May 30, 2011. Accessed January 21, 2019.
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Added: 5/30/2011 07:55:41 PM
Submitted By: asdfg112
Category: American History
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 5347
Pages: 20

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