On The Brink of War: The Cuban Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis of October 1962 nearly led to a global nuclear war, with the two most powerful nations, United States and Soviet union entangled in a standoff. The Soviet Union, under Premier Nikkei Khrushchev had secretly deployed medium range ballistic missiles and Intermediate range ballistic missiles to Cuba with Cuban leader Fidel Castro consent. The missiles which posed a direct threat to U. S cycles, military installations and the general population were intended to counter a strategic imbalance between U. S. S. R and U. S incase war erupted, given the ongoing cold war.

The ploy was however uncovered by U. S spy plane U-2 and this immediately sent an alert to U. S. Resulting in an instant counteraction by U. S president John F. Kennedy. The Cuban Missile crisis, which lasted Just a few weeks, has since then had historical significance on not only the two parties involved but on the history of the entire world. The Cuban Missile crisis marked the first nuclear crisis that the world ever experienced. It marked a standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union which, If not well handled at that time by either Presidents. F.

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Kennedy or Soviet Premier Khrushchev, could have seen the world experience the first and worst nuclear war ever. Human destruction would have been Inevitable In such a case. President John Kennedy’s handling of the Issue was not only cautious but also wise. He exercised restraint and hence set a precedent applicable to all subsequent crises. Could Kennedy have handled the issue with the mentality of the most powerful nation on earth, with the intention of pushing over the Soviets, the world would have been more devastated and different place today, having been shaped by a nuclear war.

The manner in which U. S handled the crisis made President Kennedy stronger and more popular in U. S and beyond. He psychologically threatened the Soviet, which as another superpower by then, that if they did not remove missiles from Cuba, he would bomb Cuba. He also threatened not to remove the missiles overlooking Soviet cities which U. S had Installed in Turkey In 1961. Americans rallied behind their president In whatever decision he opted to make, and this largely saw nuclear war averted as Kennedy considered the welfare of the people, not the need for superiority.

The crisis marked a major turning point in the ongoing cold war. After the Soviets removed their missiles from Cuba, having made a pact with the U. S, the Cold War tension ended in what was referred to as “detente. The Soviet union had been motivated to put missiles in Cuba due to a set of problems it was facing at home such as Sino-Soviet dispute, a strategic imbalance with the U. S, high demand in defense and space programs and little foreign aid. However, after withdrawing the missiles from Cuba and an agreement was reached with LLC.

S, the Soviets accepted President Kennedy’s proposal to ban nuclear testing. Following the ban, tension began reducing, marking the beginning of the end of the cold war. Once the missile crisis was over, Cuba was safe. Had the crawls not erupted, then chances were that U. S could have attacked Cuba. President Kennedy’s government had been responsible for the failed ‘Bay of Pigs’ In which U. S trained and funded a section of Cubans living in U. S to invade Cuba and overthrow Fidel Castor’s government. Towards communism.

After the crisis and a promise that U. S would not invade Cuba, no other attempt was made by Kennedy’s or subsequent governments to topple Castor’s government. During the crisis, communication between Washington and Moscow was a major hurdle. No direct communication existed between the two nations and the Cuban missile highlighted the need for a direct system of immunization between the two countries. Kennedy and Khrushchev only communicated through letters, a slow and inefficient method given the situation at hand at that time.

A day without communication between the two nations could have meant the difference between peace and nuclear war. Consequently, once the crisis was over and Khrushchev was replaced as Soviet leader, an agreement was reached in 1963 through the Hot-line Treaty. The treaty established direct communication through teletype, and later telegraph and eventually radio-telegraph links. Since then, communication between Moscow and Washington has been upgraded with the miming of new, advanced technologies. At the time of the crisis, the U. S was much superior to Soviet Union in terms of strategic military parity.

However, by the end of the sass, the Soviet Union was at par with the U. S with regard to military capability, arms control and nuclear might, courtesy of the Soviet Union’s apparent inferior position to U. S during the Cuban crisis. The USSR was now in a position to negotiate from a point of equality with the U. S, a factor which saw it challenge U. S on various occasions during the Civil War such as shooting down of the KALE 007 flight. This advanced strategic military advantage was partly due to the Soviet Union’s space program.

As Kali notes, the Soviet space program (FOBS) had bolstered its military capability to intercept satellites as well as place nuclear missiles in orbit by 1964. Conclusion The Cuban Missile Crisis’ historical importance is recognized globally. The crisis almost marked the end of humanity through an imminent nuclear war. It also made J. F. Kennedy more popular and famous in the way he handled the crisis.