Table of Contents
It is important to appreciate the fact that there are some events that contributed massively to the missile crisis in Cuba. In addition to that, all these are happening at a time when nations were recovering from the aftermaths of World War 2, a war that had threatened to overhaul the face of the earth altogether. In October 1959, the United States made an important decision to deploy some Jupiter nuclear missiles in Turkey. This nuclear missile was an intermediate range ballistic missile with a comprehensive range of about 1500 miles. In addition to that, it threatened the existence of Moscow since it was considered as a weapon of mass destruction capable of destroying Moscow in a matter of minutes. That same year, Fidel Castro seizes power in Cuba, something that caught the United States by surprise since this simply meant that there was likely to be a huge turnover of events when it comes to implementation of policies and the country’s agenda. In retaliation, the United States decides to send in well trained Cuban exiles, an invasion that is quickly thwarted by Castro’s military force. In addition to that, Castro is well convinced that the United States might decide to take over Cuba anytime soon. In retaliation to United States’ attempt to gain entry into Cuba, he declares that from then henceforth, Cuba would be referred to as a communist state and a Soviet satellite. This would give the Soviets a very good position from where they could launch their operations closer to the United States, something that would spark fear.
In the year 1962, USSR decides to deploy some missiles in Cuba, as a retaliation towards United States missile deployment in Turkey. The fact that Cuba and the USSR have become best of buddies is something that the United States is not comfortable about, and it sends the country’s top brass into confusion since this is something they never anticipated. At this point, the Cuban Missile Crisis ensues, and it becomes a matter of time before the two super power nations can pull a stunt on each other in regards to security threats (Mason). Most of the operations at this time are done with a lot of secrecy. As much as USSR does not want the United States to understand the constituents of its activities, the United States have also been doing some operations in secrecy. This has been fuelled by the fact that these two nations have been involved in a lot of supremacy tussle after World War 2, something that has been threatening the peaceful coexistence of other countries. As much as the two nations have been at loggerheads with each other, they come to an amicable solution to pull out their missiles from Turkey and Cuba. One of the most compelling factors that contributed significantly to the Cuban Missile Crisis was the fact that the then President, Castro, was not pleased with the manner in which President Kennedy’s government tried to overthrow him after his successful coup.
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What this meant was that Cuba had to look for an ally who was considered as a threat to the United States. At this point, he was deeply convinced that USSR was the best option and any partnership with that country would put the United States in an awkward position. These two nations have been using cold war as a means of frustrating each other with the main aim of proving to the other party that they are still the super powers of their time. As much as the Cuban crisis was a threat, both sides decided to withdraw their missiles from a well-calculated agreement. In this case, President Kennedy is considered as a hero due to the manner in which he managed to solve the crisis without any provocation whatsoever.
However, some United States citizens were not happy with the manner in which they had been kept in the dark about the missiles that were planted in Turkey. The Soviets involvement in the crisis does not still change the fact that the Cuban Missile Crisis was a tussle between The United States and Cuba. Lastly, the United States was not pleased by the growing influence of Castro mainly because he was determined to completely erode the power of communism that has much popularity in the region. Many countries that were against communism were considered to be aligned or loyal to the Soviets. Therefore, this conditions made it possible for USSR to exploit Cuba with the main goal of frustrating the United States under the then President John Kennedy (Mason).
As much as the United States was pretty sure that the Soviets were likely to respond to any slightest provocation sent to them, it was not expected that they could respond soon by taking advantage of the strained relationship between Cuba and the United States. It is important to note that President Kennedy’s responses to the situation were met with a lot of respect since many people to date accredit him as a president who made some wise decisions in response to the crisis. The trickiest thing about President Kennedy is even after realizing the secret missile mission between USSR and Cuba; he opts not to let them know about his discovery. Instead, he decides to meet with the top brains around him to help with coming up with an amicable solution towards the threat that was growing right in front of their eyes.
After some consultative meetings with his top advisors, Kennedy made the first decision towards averting the crisis. He decided to place a naval blockade that consisted of some ships around Cuba. His main aim, in this case, was to prevent the Soviets from bringing in more military supplies to Cuba. All these are an indication of the manner in which the United States was not taking this matter lightly as it posed the greatest threat to their economy and stability. Failure to act would also question their position as the global super powers. The Soviets, on the other hand, were cautious with the manner in which they were making their decisions because they were well aware that the United States had already known their mission (Lechuga).
Kennedy’s approach was centered towards bullying the Soviets out of Cuba. In his demands, he was insisting that the Soviets had to remove all the missiles that had been set up in Cuba and destroy all the sites that they had introduced. This reaction is a clear indication of the amount of frustration and concern that his top brass had over this developing crisis. There was tension everywhere because the Turkey missile base was a secret that only came to be known by many after the crisis had emerged. President Kennedy was acutely aware of the consequences that could have erupted if his administration assumed that everything was right (Jeffrey and Riley).
The positioning of missiles in Cuba would be a strategic point for the Soviets to attack the United States with the slightest provocation, making it a retaliatory point from the United States’ Turkey base. Another response to the crisis by President Kennedy occurred on October 22 when he boldly decided to open up to the crisis and to reassure everyone that everything was under control. This made him gain a lot of support as well a political mileage amidst a very polarized situation. It is important to note that at the time when the United States was blocking entry of Soviet vessels ferrying weapons into Cuba, no one had an idea of the manner in which the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, was likely to respond to the situation. At this point, the United States had started gathering all its resources towards preventing an unprecedented attack.
President Kennedy was very clueless of the repercussions of his action and was only waiting for an unfriendly response. It is at this point that the two leaders realized the deadly effects of using nuclear war and the aftermath that would be witnessed as a result of a war that could have easily been averted by the two nations. Both President Kennedy and Nikita a came to an agreement and decided to withdraw their missiles from Turkey and Cuba respectively. The deal was centered on the fact that the Soviets were to dismantle their weapons and remove them from Cuba with an agreement that at no any time will President Kennedy’s government attack Cuba. The second deal that remained to be kept secret for close to 25 years required the United States to remove its weapons from Turkey as soon as the Soviets had withdrawn from Cuba (Jeffrey and Riley).
Although the Soviets managed to remove their weaponry from Cuba, this was just the beginning of making advanced weaponry capable of causing mass destruction and loss of lives. All these actions are just but a clear indication of the manner in which the Soviets are still determined to prove themselves as a military giant. Therefore, the missile crisis had come to an end, but the arms race had just begun. In the year 1963, President Kennedy managed to win the hearts of many people based on the manner in which he had handled the crisis. In addition to that, he urged all stakeholders to rethink their strategies for dealing with cold war by ensuring that the world remained peaceful. Actions from the Cuba Missile Crisis acted as a signal to the manner in which the two super power nations were warming up to each other.
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President Kennedy is considered one of the best Presidents that the United States had. On the other hand, it is important to note that not everyone subscribed to his ideologies. The Cuba Missile Crisis was one of the major events that exposed President Kennedy’s both sides with many people describing the situation as a test of his actual presidency. Several people were not impressed by the manner in which President Kennedy was running some affairs for his country. Some of the actions that made his presidency and decisions be questioned came at a time when the country was under cold war with its main competitor, the Soviets (Garthoff). Many agencies such as those advocating for human rights were not at peace with the then president of the United States of America.
The fact that President Kennedy had initiated up to 8 assassination attempts against Cuba’s President, Castro, some religious groups were not at peace with him. This threatened to bring down his legacy. The rebellion that was ensuing was evident when the Bay of Pigs, the well trained CIA group that had been sent to Cuba to eliminate the President was defeated. All these were followed by jubilant celebrations in most parts of the United States, something that threw President Kennedy and most of his advisors into deep confusion. Secondly, travel restraints after the missile crisis was something that most people in business were against. It simply meant that it is only the country that had the capacity to benefit from such actions without considering the welfare of its citizens.
These made Kennedy’s reign a gig headache because he wanted to live a legacy that would be remembered by Americans for a very long time. On the other hand, President Kennedy is considered one of the luckiest presidents to receive overwhelming support from his allies. His brother, who was an attorney general, is described as the pillar towards his success. The President’s inner circles revealed that up to 80 percent of the decisions that were made by President Kennedy came from his brother. Many people see this as a moral obligation, but it is important to note that as much as the two were brothers, President Kennedy received overwhelming support. In addition to that, most of the middle-aged citizens liked the manner in which the president was making decisions and vowed to stand by him after opening up about the Cuba Missile Crisis.
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The international community has also been instrumental in ensuring that President Kennedy’s tenure was a success. Many countries aligned to the United States gave a lot of support regarding critical information that could avert threat, especially from the Soviets. In addition to that, his approach towards solving the Cuba Missile Crisis is something that received a lot of praise since most countries were aware of the deadly effects of using such weaponry at a time when countries were playing cold war on each other. Therefore, President Kennedy should be applauded for having stuck to dialog instead of engaging in the war despite having a military dominance over the Soviets. Such actions are what the world need if at all there are chances of ultimately restoring peace and unity (Eubank).
- Eubank, Keith. The Missile Crisis in Cuba. 1st ed. Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Pub, 2010. Print.
- Garthoff, Raymond L. Reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis. 1st ed. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 2008. Print.
- Jeffrey, Gary, and Terry Riley. The Cuban Missile Crisis. 1st ed. St. Catharines, Ontario: Crabtree Publishing Company, 2014. Print.
- Lechuga, Carlos. Cuba and the Missile Crisis. 1st ed. Melbourne [u.a.]: Ocean Press, 2013. Print.
- Mason, Paul. Cuba. 1st Ed. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2010. Print.