Relations between the Superpowers between 1959 and the Summer of 1962
1) Describe how relations between the superpowers worsened between
1959 and the summer of 1962.
The allies were divided after defeating Germany and the relationship
between superpowers worsened between 1959 and 1962. These two nations
became the superpowers because they had greater military and economic
resources than anyone else. They had tried to embarrass, humiliate and
defeat each other in everything including sport, foreign aid, TV and
the arms race.
During 1945 to 1962, many events had contributed to the Cuba crisis
such as the American use of the A.bomb in Japan and the
misunderstanding in Germany, including the Berlin Blockade, rigged
elections in East Europe etc… Khrushchev had many of his own problems
and was under pressure to gain supporters. He needed to convince the
Chinese and enemies in his own country that Russia was a match for
In 1957 the Russians had moved ahead in the space race when they
launched the Sputnik. This had worried the Americans. However, in
1961, Russia was able to send Yuri Gagarin into space and bring him
back again. The Americans were now terrified. Everyone was afraid of
the arms race, some protest groups were formed in Britain but it was
impossible to protest in USSR without such freedom and equally
difficult in the USA in the early days of McCarthy. Both sides had the
H.bomb and there had been numerous clashes abroad, including the
Korean War and the Russian invasion of Hungary and Poland in 1956.
An extra problem was introduced in 1959 when Castro seized Cuba.In
1959, America had made their first mistake by withdrawing support from
Cuba, when Castro defeated Batista. Castro signed trade agreements
with Russia knowing that by supporting the Russians, he will be
protected from American invasion. In October 1962, American Aerial
photos revealed I.R.B.M’s; if they had nuclear warheads they could
attack every American city within 2,500 miles.
Relations had worsened between American and Russia.
Khrushchev ordered the building of the Berlin wall and Kennedy’s
support for the Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 ended in humiliation. The
dramatic ending to the Paris Peace summit in May 1960 had already
embarrassed the USA.
Worse followed, as in October 1962, America spy planes photographed
missiles silos on Cuba. It was just 90 miles from the Florida coast.
Every American city within 2000 mile was in danger. It was urgent that
the Americans found a ways to remove the missiles.
Therefore, between 1959 and summer of 1962, there had been many
incidences that had caused the relationship between the superpowers to
worsen. But a whole catalogue of events from 1945 forwards had
contributed to the problem.
2) Why did a crisis develop...