Cuban Missile Crisis
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Threatened acts of war have occurred throughout history to almost every country in existence. Many of these have involved a show of arms or verbal threats. In some cases, these acts have been successfully diverted with negotiation or by more intense threats. The United States has had numerous encounters such as these throughout its short history. However, only one threat involved the potential of a nuclear war occurring within the confines of continental America. This potential holocaust was referred to as the Cuban Missile Crisis and took place during the Kennedy Administration during the 1960's. Essentially, the Soviet Union led by Nikita Krushchev attempted to place nuclear missiles in the tiny island Communist country of Cuba, a short distance of only ninety miles from the United States. The purpose of your research paper may want to be to examine the Soviet reasoning behind this event.
Cuban Missile Crisis
To fully understand the Soviet mission of placing nuclear warheads in Cuba, one must begin by examining the presidency of John F. Kennedy beginning with his election campaign.
- Kennedy's election platform consisted of concern over the number of missiles that the Soviet Union had as compared to the number possessed by the United States.
- Kennedy suggested that America was on the lower end of the "missile gap" between the two countries.
- Capitalizing on the concern of the threat of Communism generated by the McCarthy hearings, he persuaded the American people that the United States had a weakness in their ability to protect themselves from the Russians with regard to nuclear weapons.
Interestingly, after Kennedy became president, he found out that America's nuclear capabilities far exceeded those of the Soviet Union and that Krushchev's claims of missile superiority were bluff.
Kennedy also campaigned on the platform of disarmament. He soundly complained that the Republicans had no plan for such action that would lead to peace. Thus, Krushchev knew from the moment that Kennedy was elected that the new President was committed to an eventual reduction of nuclear arms.
Cuba and Kennedy
Another realization that was made when Kennedy took office was the fact that the CIA had already been instructed to engage in a covert operation against Communist Cuba. Approximately fifteen hundred Cubans who were anti-communist were being trained for an invasion to remove power from Castro. It was hoped that once this invasion began other Cubans who were disgruntled by the activities of Castro would join the rebels in their efforts. Unfortunately, this invasion was not planned well and failed two days after it began with most of the invaders being captured. Even though the Bay of Pigs Operation was not Kennedy's goal or plan, it made the new President look weak to both allies and foes and a failure in terms of foreign policy.