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Cuban Missile Crisis

October 1962
By: Ankit Purohit (B-40)

The Bay of Pigs Invasion


The 1961 Bay of Pigs Invasion was an unsuccessful attempt at invasion following the Cuban Revolution that saw Fidel Castro come to power. It was planned and funded by the United States. The invasion was carried out by armed Cuban exiles in southwest Cuba. This action accelerated a rapid deterioration in Cuban-American relations worsened by the Cuban Missile Crisis the following year.

Operation Mongoose

Memorandum from Gen. Lansdale to Special Group (Augmented) -- Pg 1

Gen. Lansdale Memorandum (Continued) -- Pg 2

A Brief Chronology
May, 1962: Khrushchev makes veiled references to a plot (How would the U.S. feel to have missiles pointing at them, as they have missiles pointed at us?) September: JFK and Congress issue warnings to USSR that US will deal harshly with any threats to national security October 14: U2 recon. flight over Cuba spots sites installing nuclear missiles October 15: Presence of missiles is confirmed

U-2 Photo of Missile Site, October 14, 1962

The Missiles: One Site

Missile Warhead

Range of Weapons

Chronology, Continued
October 16: President Kennedy notified October 16-22: Secret deliberations on what should be done October 22: Kennedy tells nation his plan for blockade and quarantine October 23: OAS endorses naval quarantine October 24: Naval quarantine begins and successfully changes course of many Soviet ships

Chronology, Continued
October 25: One Soviet ship challenges naval quarantine; Kennedy lets it pass October 25: At the UN, Adlai Stevenson directly challenges the Soviet ambassador to admit to the existence of missiles, when the ambassador refuses, Stevenson wheels out pictures of the missile sites

October 26: Soviets raise possibility for a deal: if we withdraw missiles will America promise not to invade Cuba?

Chronology, Continued
October 27: Soviets demand that Americans also withdraw missiles from Turkey; Major Andersons plane is missing over Cuba, presumably shot down; U.S. recon plane strays over Soviet airspacehigh tensions

Kennedy tells Khrushchev that he will accept the proposal of the 26th, Kennedy tells his brother to tell the Soviet Ambassador that though the Turkey missiles would not be part of the bargain, they would be removed in time
October 28: USSR agrees to withdraw missiles

Soviet Decisions
Close the missile gapCurrently far behind U.S. in terms of number of missiles Verbal threats no longer effective with overwhelming evidence of U.S. superiority
Protect Cuba Reciprocity: The U.S. has missiles pointing at us, lets see how they feel now Inability to use the missiles If fired a missile, repercussions would be severe

Why Khrushchev Settled


Effectiveness of naval quarantine Conventional inferiority in the Caribbean No possible countermove Overwhelming world support for the U.S. Other possible reasons
Got what he wanted
No U.S. invasion of Cuba U.S. missiles withdrawn from Turkey

The American Decision


In September Kennedy had stated and Congress had passed a resolution saying that if the Soviet Union placed offensive weapons in Cuba we would not tolerate it. Determined in first 48 hours of crisis that the removal of missiles was the primary objective This objective effectively ruled out isolated diplomacy, and left two options

The American Decision cont.


Option 1 - Air Strike
On October 17th, President Kennedy made the flat statement that there would definitely be an air strike, at least against the missile sites, and perhaps against wider targets Reservations from others, sledgehammer to kill a fly airstrike may be using a

Later that day Robert McNamara suggests policy in between diplomacy and an air strike

The American Decision cont.


Option 2 Blockade
Advocated early on by McNamara and Robert Kennedy, blockade would not require instant killing, but critics feared it would not remove the missiles and would allow Soviets time to complete what they already had in Cuba Douglas Dillon strengthened blockade argument by suggesting that it would only be a first step, that if Khrushchev did not remove the missiles to lift it, then more could be done. By Friday the 19th, the committee working on the blockade adapted it into a quarantine, on Sunday Kennedy accepted their plan as the course of action

What Happened?
On October 26 the Soviet Union offered to withdraw the missiles in return for a U.S. guarantee not to invade Cuba or support any invasion. On October 27 the USSR called for the withdrawal of U.S. missiles from Turkey in addition to the demands of the 26th. The crisis peaked on the 27th, when a U-2 (piloted by Major Rudolph Anderson) was shot down over Cuba and another U-2 flight over Russia was almost intercepted when it strayed over Siberia all the while Soviet merchant ships were nearing the quarantine zone. Kennedy responded by publicly accepting the first deal and then sent Robert F. Kennedy to the Soviet embassy to privately accept the second deal. The fifteen Jupiter missiles in Turkey would be removed six months later. The Soviet ships turned back, and on October 28 Khrushchev announced that he had ordered the removal of the Soviet missiles in Cuba. The decision prompted then Secretary of State Dean Rusk to comment, "We were eyeball to eyeball, and the other fellow just blinked. Satisfied that the Soviets had removed the missiles, President Kennedy ordered an end to the quarantine of Cuba on November 20.

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