1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis
Title: 1962 - Cuban Missile Crisis
About: The confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over nuclear-tipped missiles based on Cuba was the moment when the two superpowers came closest to nuclear war.
After seizing power in the Caribbean island nation of Cuba in 1959, leftist revolutionary leader Fidel Castro aligned himself with the Soviet Union. Under Castro, Cuba grew dependent on the Soviets for military and economic aid.
The two superpowers plunged into one of their biggest Cold War confrontations after the pilot of an American U-2 spy plane making a high-altitude pass over Cuba on October 14, 1962, photographed a Soviet SS-4 medium-range ballistic missile being assembled for installation.
Cuba had requested the help of the Soviet Union in placing nuclear missiles on the island to deter a future invasion, but the US were understandably nervous that these missiles could strike deep within American territory.
From the outset of the crisis, President Kennedy determined that the presence of Soviet missiles in Cuba was unacceptable. The challenge facing the US was to orchestrate their removal without initiating a wider conflict–and possibly a nuclear war.
Tensions reached boiling point when Soviet ships with nuclear missiles on-board approached a US naval blockade of the island. As the two superpowers hovered close to the brink of nuclear apocalypse, messages were exchanged between President Kennedy and Premier Khrushchev amidst extreme tension on both sides.
An attempt by the Soviets to breach the blockade would likely have sparked a military confrontation that could have quickly escalated to a nuclear exchange. But the Soviet ships stopped short of the blockade.
In the end Khrushchev blinked first, informing Kennedy that work on the missile sites would be halted and that the missiles already in Cuba would be returned to the Soviet Union. In return, Kennedy promised that the US would never invade Cuba, and to withdraw missiles stationed in Turkey.
Region: Latin America
Country: Cuba + USA + USSR
Conflict: Cold War
Type: Historical Event
Artist: Vlad Nikulin
Price: 0.9 ETH