What influenced the USA's actions during the Cuban missile crisis?

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  • What influenced the USA's actions during the Cuban missile crisis?
    • Soviet missiles on Cuba posed a significant threat to American economic interests e.g. the control of the Panama Canal, which provided a vital Caribbean-Pacific trade route
    • Soviet missiles based in Cuba (which were just 90 miles from Florida) could hit most of the USA's large cities and destroy Strategic Air Command bases (SAC)
    • A Soviet nuclear attack from Cuba would reduce the USA's warming time from 30 minutes to three minutes. The US gov feared this would increase the temptation for the USSR to launch a pre-emptive strike
    • The USA was concerned that Cuba would provide a 'nuclear shield' behind which communism could spread unhindered across the states of South and Central America
    • Soviet involvement in Cuba infringed the Monroe Doctrine (1823) and broke the informal post-1945 agreement about the superpowers' respective 'spheres of influence'
    • Kennedy needed a foreign policy success to strengthen his position as US President after a lacklustre performance against K at the June 1961 Vienna Summit
      • He was unable to prevent the construction of the Berlin Wall and was also the most important figurehead in the fiasco of the Bay of Pigs fiasco in April 2961

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