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Thirteen Days: The Cuban Missile Crisis

1277 words - 5 pages

For thirteen days, the United States held its breath, fearing the ultimate destruction
of the nation by nuclear weapons. This was the Cuban missile crisis, a struggle fought
between the world's two largest superpowers, the United States and the Soviet Union,
which nearly provoked a nuclear catastrophe on both sides from October 16, to October
28, in 1962. This crisis had been brewing for many years and was sparked by previous
issues between the two nations. The United States had been at odds with Communist
ideals for many years beginning with the onset of the Cold War. The direct stimulant for
the Cuban missile crisis, however, was due to the emergence of the Communist led regime
of Cuba, by Fidel Castro. Wanting to prevent Castro from gaining too much power,
President Kennedy, aided by the CIA, attempted to take control of Cuba. This failure,
known as the Bay of Pigs, only secured Castro's as well as Cuba's power. For fear of
further attacks, the Soviet Union provided protection by way of nuclear weapons, for
Cuba. This was the premises for the Cuban missile crisis during 1962. The United States
reached near destruction due to President Kennedy's persistent refusal to tolerate
Communism, and therefore, he can not be lauded for his success in ending the crisis which
he himself started.
Cuba had been a large assent for the United States throughout the 1950s, prior to
President Eisenhower severing diplomatic relations with Cuba in the 1960s.1 After Fidel
Castro and his Revolutionaries took control of Cuba, they began to gain mass popularity
and power which upset Government officials in the United States. Eisenhower developed
a plan which the Kennedy Administration later followed through on, to overthrow Castro
and his Communist Regime. In 1961 "the CIA drafted the invasion plan, which was based
on the assumption that a U.S.-led invasion would trigger a popular uprising of the Cuban
people and bring down Castro."2 Kennedy, a new and young President went along with
the plan of sending 1, 400 Cuban exiles who had been training for an invasion, into Cuba.
On April 17, the invaders along with members of the CIA, penetrated Cuban boarders at
the Bay of Pigs. The plan backfired however, when Castro's army defeated the captured
the 1, 400 invaders. It was later revealed that Kennedy had chosen to abandon the aid of
Air Force coverage just before the attack was underway. The disaster may have been
prevented if Kennedy had given more support to the mission and investigated the situation
in Cuba further before attacking. "As much as the United States tried to undermine
Castro and his move to embrace Socialism in Cuba, the U.S. efforts only managed to
strengthen his grasp and increase the pace of his search for Soviet material assistance." 3
Similarly, "the incident presented Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev with the opportunity
to realize an apparent validation of Russia's nuclear credibility."4 Hence it...

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