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The Cuban Missile Crisis Essay

1872 words - 8 pages

Cuba, a country just south of the United States of America, was the center stage of events leading up to the Cuban Missile Crisis. Actions attempted by Presidents John F. Kennedy and Dwight D. Eisenhower prior to the crisis gave incentive to the Soviet Union and Cuba to agree to place missile installations in Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis was an incident that might have potentially led to a third world war because of the already heightened tensions between Cuba and the U.S. - but this time with ever more destruction owing to the role of weapons of mass destructions involved. The U.S. played a very crucial role in leading up to and then eventually resolving the crisis.
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Castro rejected the idea of a pro-US government and a conflict of interests put both countries stalemate resulting in the US being shocked by the anti-US sentiment and cutting off its relations with Cuba. Cuba becomes a communist nation right off the coast of the US. However, the USA did not like the spread of communism to its own backyard.
In 1961, the CIA and Eisenhower’s administrations collectively plan to try using Cuban exiles in an attempt to overthrow Castro’s regime and establish a non-communist government friendly to the United States which was given approval by Kennedy. This attempt was dubbed by the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The invasion was a failure, as it was not planned properly; sufficient support from both the locals of Cuba and the US was not there. It was a half-hearted attempt and a big failure. The invasion was no longer clandestine as the Cubans quickly found out about US’ backing due to mistakes made by the US. The captured exiles were sentenced to prison for 30 years on counts of treason and subsequently the U.S. negotiated for the exiles and after 20 months the Cuban government agreed to free the exiles for aid worth $53 million in rations and medicine.
As a result of this, Kennedy and his administration made a bad impression; they were looked upon as being weak and ineffective throughout the world in consequence of this humiliating fiasco. His credibility was lost. Sometime after the Bay of Pigs Invasion on November 30, 1961, Kennedy had approved of a covert plan to oust Castro, to undermine his regime and damage the economy by sabotage and covert operations including blowing up technical facilities, burning crops, and also assassinating Castro. It was codenamed “Operation Mongoose” and was organized by Robert Kennedy. “Kennedy called deposing Castro ‘the top priority of the U.S. government -- all else is secondary -- no time, money, effort, or manpower is to be spared.’" The proposals and attempts to assassinate Castro were all but unsuccessful. The whole Operation Mongoose was a failure because it did not achieve much; Castro lived and his regime prevailed.
In 1962, the Cold War intensified. Since allying himself with Soviet Union, Fidel Castro was a cause of growing concern for US. Just a few years before in 1957, during the Cold War the US had started placing Jupiter middle-range nuclear missiles starting which came into operation by 1962 in Turkey and Italy (See Figure 1). The importance of this fact is that the missiles had the ability to reach major population centers of the Soviet Union quickly. Russia did not take kindly to the US placing missile sites close by. In May 1962, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev offered to install offensive nuclear weapons in Cuba. Castro readily agreed viewing the missiles as a deterrent against another US attempt to remove him from power. The missiles then began to arrive that summer in secrecy.
In early October 1962, a U-2 spy plane and navy reconnaissance provided...

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