13 Days In October: A History of the Cuban Missile Crisis
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Until , it was closely allied to the United States under the leadership of the right-wing dictator, General Batista. There was considerable American investment in Cuba as many American companies had links there. Americans owned most of the businesses, banks, sugar and tobacco plantations, as well as a large naval base. In , Batista was overthrown in a revolution led by Fidel Castro. At the United Nations office in New York, Castro talked with representatives of the Soviet Union, and they offered their support for his new government. Castro had not been a communist before , but was drawn to communism by the friendship and support offered by Khrushchev and his government.
Cuban Missile Crisis | JFK Library
At p. Kennedy speaks on television, revealing the evidence of Soviet missiles in Cuba and calling for their removal. He also announces the establishment of a naval quarantine around the island until the Soviet Union agrees to dismantle the missile sites and to make certain that no additional missiles are shipped to Cuba. On Day 8, the ships of the naval quarantine fleet move into place around Cuba.
Soviet submarines threaten the quarantine by moving into the Caribbean area.
Soviet freighters bound for Cuba with military supplies stop dead in the water, but the oil tanker Bucharest continues towards Cuba. On Day 9, Kruschev threatens war. He writes to Kennedy: "You, Mr. President, are not declaring a quarantine, but rather are setting forth an ultimatum and threatening that if we do not give in to your demands you will use force.
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Consider what you are saying! And you want to persuade me to agree to this! What would it mean to agree to these demands? It would mean guiding oneself in one's relations with other countries not by reason, but by submitting to arbitrariness. You are no longer appealing to reason, but wish to intimidate us.
On Day 10, knowing that some missiles in Cuba were now operational, the president personally drafts a letter to Premier Khrushchev, again urging him to change the course of events. Meanwhile, Soviet freighters turn and head back to Europe.
The Bucharest, carrying only petroleum products, is allowed through the quarantine line. Secretary General U Thant calls for a cooling-off period, which is rejected by Kennedy because it would leave the missiles in place. On Day 11, a Soviet-chartered freighter is stopped at the quarantine line and searched for contraband military supplies.
None are found and the ship is allowed to proceed to Cuba. Photographic evidence shows accelerated construction of the missile sites and the uncrating of Soviet IL bombers at Cuban airfields.
On This Day: JFK alerted to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962
Getty Images. In a private letter, Fidel Castro urges Nikita Khrushchev to initiate a nuclear first strike against the United States in the event of an American invasion of Cuba. Later, a long, rambling letter from Khrushchev to Kennedy makes a similar offer: removal of the missiles in exchange for lifting the quarantine and a pledge that the U.
On Day 12, the second letter from Moscow demanding tougher terms, including the removal of obsolete Jupiter missiles from Turkey, is received in Washington.
Over Cuba, an American U-2 plane is shot down by a Soviet-supplied surface-to-air missile and the pilot, Major Rudolph Anderson is killed. On Day 13, the thirteen days marking the most dangerous period of the Cuban missile crisis ended. Radio Moscow announces that the Soviet Union has accepted the proposed solution and releases the text of a Khrushchev letter affirming that the missiles will be removed in exchange for a non-invasion pledge from the United States.
The young American leader has faced down the Soviet Union and avoided nuclear war in the process.
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