Cuban Missile Crisis

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Cuban Missile Crisis

Causes

  • Why did the Soviet Union put missiles on Cuba in the first place?
  • Kruschchev wanted to create a trap by drawing America into a nuclear war - this would explain why he didn't try to hide or conceal them.
  • To test the USA and find out their strengths and weaknesses, and to test Kennedy and see how he would cope.
  • To bargain with the USA - Kruschchev decided that he could put the missiles on Cuba as a bribe, and then take them away in return from something.
  • To get an advantage in the arms race, as it was unlikely that America would strike first if they knew there were missiles so close to them.
  • Because Cuba needed defense - the missiles were there for a genuine reason.

Effects

  • Cuba remained communist but the nuclear missiles were taken away
  • Kennedy's reputation improved and people admired him for standing up to Kruschchev.
  • Kruschchev kept Cuba as a useful ally and people saw him as a peace maker.
  • Relationships between the USA and USSR thawed. A direct phone line between the Kremlin and the White House was set up.
  • A nuclear test ban was signed in 1963.
  • People realised a communist Cuba wasn't worth a nuclear war over, but was just a small inconvenience.

Overall summary

In 1959, a revolution took place in Cuba, which led to a communist leader coming to power in the country, called Fidel Castro. Cuba became a communist country. Americans didn't like the idea of a communist country so close by as they were afraid, and so in 1961, the American CIA along with a group of Cuban exiles, invaded the island in an attempt to overthrow the communist leader. However, the invasion was a failure as they underestimated the Cubans' support for Castro, and the Cubans used their knowledge of the forests and country to beat the Americans with what was known as guerilla tactics. The Soviet Union then upset America even more when they placed missiles on the island which, once deployed, could reach most of the major cities in the USA within a matter of minutes. There is much debate over the reasons that the missiles were put on Cuba in the first place, but they were removed in the end due to a blockade ordered by President Kennedy and peace was found. The crisis even improved relations between the two superpowers.

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