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Word count: Date: 01/05/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History HL

Essay Question: Why did antagonism occur between the USA and Cuba between 1959 and 1963? A conflict of ideological values led to hostility between America and Cuba from 1959 to 1963. This was because a prior Cuban dictator who supported America was overthrown by Fidel Castro, leading to the establishment of a socialist government backed by Moscow. At that time, America and Russia had extremely different ideologies, communism and capitalism, which were mutually antagonistic. This led to US attempts to overthrow Castros regime, known as the Bay of Pigs incident. Having sustained by a failed attack, Castro asked for Russian assistance, notably of military means, including installments of missiles capable of striking key US cities. Because US intelligences discovered the missiles when they were in the process of arming them with key ingredients, acts that were not of war was able to be carried out, through a naval blockade around Cuba to prevent further Russian missile supplies. These series of events, along with future negotiations, from the time period had a significant impact on US and Cuban relations. The Cuban Missile Crisis was a key moment in the Cold War where the world held its breath, noteably between 22nd to 29th of October 1962. To begin with, Batistas US supported regime was overthrown by Castro and Guevara in 1956. Although pledging initial neutrality from the Cold War, Und to S-Cuban relations were made worse due to the refusal of American oil refineries to process Soviet crude oil, although they were cheaper. Castro then nationalized these companies, instigating the US to eventually end all trade agreements and diplomatic relations with Cuba in January 1961. Castro diverted these policies to the USSR, signing large trade agreements involving sugar and other crops. Hence, these series of events influenced Cuba to lean towards the Soviets. US concerns regarding Cuba grew tremendously. Cubas geopolitical location to America as less than 100 miles from Americas closest cities posed a threat to her sphere of influence, virtually behind Americas own backyard. Cuba was regarded as a tourist destination and a trade partner of mainly oil and sugar to the US. Furthermore, the Domino Theory as seen in Vietnam led to fears of the spread of communism and as a satellite state controlled by the USSR. Furthermore, the past Monroe doctrine has increased US agression towards Communism. In addition, US wanted it to be known as credible, to stick to its pledge against the oppoosing ideology. These concerns motivated US attempts in removing Castros regime. These efforts took the form of organizing Cuban exiles to stage a rebellion in Cuba. The US military supplied arms, fighter jets and assisted the exiles in planning the attack including teaching them to use the weaponry, although there were no actual US personnel directly participating in the attack. The attack failed substantially, causing great US humiliation. The failure mainly attributed from underestimating the popularity of the Castro regime and the absence of support from Cuban people. This in turn increased Castros fears of US intervention of Cuba, thus asked for more military assistance from USSR who agreed. As early as in the summer of September 1962, soviet technicians and equipment were seen leaving for Cuba. Tanks, aircraft as well as 42,000 troops were deployed to protect Cuba. Hence, hostility between US and Cuba were heightened, as suggested by Kennedy who issued a statement on September 4, 1962 condemning Soviet weapons being installed in Cuba and also boosted surveillance on the island. Hostility was further raised to another height when un-operational missiles assembled in Cuba were spotted by American U2 spy planes in October 14th, 1962. They were found to be ICBMs, 1

Word count: Date: 01/05/2011

Li Chun Ho (Alvin) IB History HL

Essay Question: Why did antagonism occur between the USA and Cuba between 1959 and 1963? Intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching key US cities when armed. Much debate ensued in a strategy on responding to this threat, such as launching air strikes. It was eventually decided to set up a naval blockade around Cuba which involved searching all ships passing through the barrier for equipment that would arm the missiles. Although the Americans were firm on this decision, the order issued to Cuba was a quarantine which would be an act of war. Although the order was rejected by the Russians, 18 soviet ships turned back before reaching the blockade of American navy. Although the possible prospect of armed missiles in Cuba was put to rest, they came with negotiations from both sides. President Kennedy assured no intervention would be done with the remaining unfinished missiles were removed in Cuba. This was refuted with Khrushchevs letters, who originally agreed to withdraw missiles from Cuba provided America would not invade Cuba. However he increased his demands by asking America to remove secret Jupiter missiles in Turkey that were unknown to other countries. Due to the confidentiality of the Jupiter missiles, President Kennedy was unable to grant that request. Instead, his brother made a secret deal with the Russians, to remove the missiles by the 28th of October or face US attacks. The missiles in Turkey would be removed after the missiles in Cuba were respectively removed. This was accepted by Russia and was perceived by the global community as Russia stepping down to US demands. Therefore, although there was great hostility, it had also increased Americas strength in the Cold War in the eyes of the words. These series of events led to growing conflict between USA and Cuba during that period.