The Cuban Missile Crisis
During the Cold War 1947-1991, over the course of forty four years was a political and military tension between the two powers of the Communist bloc (Eastern bloc) and the Capitalist bloc (Western bloc). The Eastern bloc dominated by the Soviet Union along with the Warsaw pact and states aligned with the Soviet union refers to the to the former communist state of Central and Eastern Europe. The Western bloc was dominated by the USA with NATO along with its allies and refers to countries allied with the United States and NATO against the Soviet union and its allies.
The potential dangers of superpower conflict in the nuclear age were demonstrated by the Cuban Missile Crisis that developed in 1962. That was the first time during the cold war the USA and the Soviet Union faced each other in direct conflict. This essay will focus on the factors that lead to the high political tension between the two superpowers and how this conflict had almost brought the USA and USSR into a ground war and worst of all into a nuclear war.
The origins of this conflict lays behind many events that happened in Cuba since 1959 when the Cuban Revolution occurred. That meant the spread of communism in South America and the US understood that the U.S.S.R will be supporting the revolution in Cuba and they will take advantage of the situation to expand their sphere of influence.
Since the end of Spanish rule, Cuba have been under US influence. Its proximity to the USA was the ideal target for US economic exploitation. By mid twentieth century, Americans owned most of Cuba's industry, railways, electricity production and the telephone system (Steve Phillips, 2001). At the time, Cuba's economy relied greatly upon the sugar production and the export of sugar and most of the sugar was sent to the USA since most of the plantations were US-owned. Due to that, Cuba was heavily dependant on US trade and investment. Under the rule of Fulgencio Bastista. He encouraged US investment and was supported by the US government but in 1959, Castro’s forces were able to take over the government in Havana.
Fidel Castro launched the rebellion in 1956, landing an army in Cuba. However, Bastista's army drove Castro's forces into the Sirra Maestro Mountains but were unable to defeat them. From the mountains, with Cheve Guerava training his rebels in guerilla warfare. On January 1959, Bastista fled the country as Castro formed a new government.
As a nationalist, Castro wished to make Cuba independent from US control. This was viewed by the US business as a threat to Cuban investments. Castro attempt to adopt Marxism-Leninism helped increasing the US hostility.
President Eisenhower had cut off all trade in arms to Cuba after the revolution and considered cutting trade in sugar and that would have serious impact on the Cuban economy so Castro reached out to the Soviet Union and asked them to import Cuban sugar. Castro also appealed for arms. The USSR wanted to take...