The Cuban Missile Crisis Essay

1430 words - 6 pages

The Cuban Missile Crisis was the closest the world ever came to nuclear war. The United States armed forces were at their highest state of readiness and Soviet field commanders in Cuba were prepared to use battlefield nuclear weapons to defend the island if it was invaded. War, however, was averted due to the bravery, intelligence, and wits of a man known as John F. Kennedy. The Cuban Missile Crisis was cause for great alarm. However, it was, in fact, inevitable due to several circumstances. Anyone could have predicted that it was coming, but one could not predict the severity of the threat.The Cuban Missile Crisis had everything to do with jealousy and fear. The United States was the superpower of the planet and the Soviet Union was envious. During the presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy, his major concern was a missile gap between the United States and the Soviet Union. The truth, however, was that he had been briefed by the Pentagon that the United States had, in fact, more missiles than the Soviets. Despite the briefing, Kennedy maintained his claims. Upon Kennedy's victory in the 1960 election, Khrushchev began to test the new president. The Berlin Wall was constructed and the United States acted. Consequently, it was revealed that there was no missile gap.In 1962, the Soviet Union realized their position in what became known as the arms race. It was a competition to see who could have the best quality and quantity of weapons. Their position was not first. The Soviets were desperately behind the United States. The Soviets' most powerful missile was only powerful enough to be launched against Europe while U.S. missiles were capable of striking the entire Soviet Union. Khrushchev began an attempt to conceive an idea that would deplete the United States' lead.At the same time Fidel Castro, the dictator of Cuba, was looking for a way to defend his island from a much-anticipated invasion. Since he had come to power in 1959, he was well aware of several attempts the United States made to oust him. He also knew that he couldn't have been aware of every attempt. Upon the failed attempts was the failed Bay of Pigs invasion that was supported and performed by several Cuban exiles in 1961. Second, was a United States military exercise in 1962. The Armed Forces conducted a mock invasion of a Caribbean island to overthrow a fictitious dictator. The fictitious dictator was, humorously enough, named Ortsac. Ortsac was actually Castro's name spelled backwards. A mock invasion plan was drafted and it was all in the interest of keeping Castro nervous.It worked because Castro felt a second attack was inevitable after the failed invasion in 1961 known as the Bay of Pigs. In late April 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev conceived the idea of placing intermediate-range missiles in Cuba. A deployment in Cuba would double the Soviet strategic arsenal and provide a real deterrent to a potential U.S. attack against the Soviet Union. As a direct result of...

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