The Cold War
The Cold War had been going on since the end of the Second World War.
Although America and Russia had been allies during the war against
Nazi Germany, their alliance had always been one of necessity. Now
that their common enemy had been defeated, they were able to focus
their attentions on each other. America was a democratic, capitalist
nation, and the Soviet Union was communist which meant that they were
on opposing sides of the spectrum. They were so strongly opposed that
peaceful co-existence was seen by all to be impossible.
America and Cuba had had a troubled relationship. Despite being
geographically close to America, Castro (leader of Cuba) chose to ally
himself with America’s enemy, the USSR.
Western Europe was as opposed to communism as America was, and so
European countries were very willing to do all they could to aid
America. The United States had missiles positioned in Turkey and
European nations also had weapons ready to be fired at the Soviets.
The Russians felt rightly threatened and desperately wanted an ally
closer to America. When America cut off aid to Cuba, the Soviets saw
their opportunity. In 1960 the USSR signed an agreement to buy
1,000,000 tonnes of Cuban sugar every year. This meant that the
Soviet Union were soon seen far more fondly than America was by both
Castro and the majority of the Cuban people.
When the Soviets decided to respond to the threat posed by Western
missiles throughout Europe by placing their own missiles close to
America, Cuba was the obvious location for those missiles. When the
USSR put their missiles in Cuba, America panicked and the Cuban
Missile Crisis began.
The public explanation for the positioning of missiles so close to
America was the defence of the Cuban people. This was welcomed by
Castro, who played on Cuban’s fears, that America would try an
invasion. America had, in 1961, attempted to start an anti-revolution
against Castro in what became known as the ‘Bay of Pigs’ incident, so
called because Cuban exiles landed at the Bay of Pigs with American
help to begin their campaign to oust Castro. The Bay of Pigs failed