The Cuban Missile Crisis: 13 Days of Confrontation

Newspapers shared the days information. Photo: Reddit

The Cuban Missile Scare, was a 13-day (October 16–28, 1962) confrontation between the United States and the Soviet Union over Soviet ballistic missiles that were deployed in Cuba. The world watched with baited breath as the details were reported live on television. It was within an eyelash of sending the “Cold War” into a full-scale nuclear war.

Kennedy and military advisors during the crisis. Photo: Reddit

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev decided to agree to Cuba’s request to place nuclear missiles in Cuba to deter future harassment of Cuba. An agreement was reached during a secret meeting between Khrushchev and Fidel Castro in July and construction on a number of missile launch facilities started later that summer.This came on the heels of the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion in 1961, as well the presence of American Jupiter ballistic missiles in Italy and Turkey against the USSR in the crosshairs.

Khrushchev and Castro create a pact. Photo: Reddit

The US heard what that some missiles had already made their way into Cuba and decided to establish a military blockade to prevent further missiles from entering that country. It announced that they would not permit offensive weapons to be delivered to Cuba and demanded that the weapons already in Cuba be dismantled and returned to the USSR. The public call out of kruschev enraged him and over the 13 day standoff, the posturing and language grew more aggressive and intense with every passing day.

Khrushchevand Kennedy negotiate in the public eye in Vienna Photo: Reddit

After a long, tense negotiation, an agreement was reached between Kennedy and Khrushchev. Publicly, the Soviets would dismantle their offensive weapons in Cuba and return them to the Soviet Union. In exchange the U.S. would provide a public declaration and agreement never to invade Cuba without direct provocation. Secretly, the US also agreed that it would dismantle all U.S.-built Jupiter MRBMs, which were deployed in Turkey and Italy against the Soviet Union but were not known to the public.