06 May 2016
The Cold War
Significance of the Cuban Missile Crisis
At the end of World War Two a new era began of rivalry between two major superpowers, the United States (US) and Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). This rivalry fueled by each superpower's differing political and world views, of capitalism and communism, led to a tense environment which threatened both superpowers, and the world at large, with nuclear destruction. The Cuban missile crisis was a complex event during the Cold War where both major superpowers where at a stalemate where any action could result in an all-out war. At the height of the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis was a significant event which defined the time, as it was the closest the world has ever gotten to mutually assured destruction.
It is important to understand the causes and motivations of the various parties involved in the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fidel Castro resorted to asking the USSR for protection and assistance in reshaping his country due to his mistrust of capitalism. When the rebel Fidel Castro assumed power after the Cuban Revolution he chose to nationalise the US owned businesses within Cuba. Castro believed that this was the best course of action to begin resolving the six main problems, “the problem of land, the problem of industrialisation, the problem of housing, the problem of unemployment, the problem of education and the problem of the people's health” (Castro, 1953). This brought about the severing of diplomatic relations and imposition of a trade embargo by the US, which still stands today, by the US. In Castro's four hour speech entitled ‘History Will Absolve Me’ he stated, “Everyone agrees with the urgent need to industrialise the nation...but the capitalists insist that the workers remain under yoke. The States sits back with its arms crossed and industrialisation can wait forever.” (Castro, 1953). In this excerpt Castro showed his clear bias against capitalism and the United States blaming them for much of Cuba's problems, as outlined above. This mistrust of capitalism contributed to Castro asking the USSR for assistance in protecting their interests.
The reason Nikita Khrushchev placed nuclear missiles in Cuba was due to the US placement of missiles around the Soviet Union and to protect Cuban interests. Nikita Khrushchev who was premier of the USSR for much of the Cold War also revealed in his memoirs the reason that he chose to place the missiles in Cuba as he was "giving them [the US] a little taste of their own medicine" (Khrushchev, 1970). This was because "the United States had already surrounded the Soviet Union with its own bomber bases and missiles. We [the Soviet Union] knew that American missiles were aimed against us in Turkey and Italy" (Khrushchev, 1970). In these excerpts from Nikita Khrushchev’s memoirs he states that the Kennedy Aadministration had placed missiles surrounding the USSR thus Khrushchev in retaliated byion...