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Timeline of the Cuban Missile Crisis
Day 1 October 14, 1962 American obtains hard evidence that Soviet missiles have
been placed in Cuba in the form of pictures taken by U-2 spy
planes flying over Western Cuba.
Day 2 October 15, 1962 The pictures are verified by a readout team at the National
Photographic Intelligence Centre.
McGeorge Bundy makes the decision to not to inform the
president of the missiles until the next day.
Photographic evidence of missiles in Cuba is shown to
Day 3 October 16, 1962 When Bundy breaks the news to Kennedy, the president calls
a meeting where Kennedy and his advisors discussed possible
diplomatic and military course of action.
Day 4 October 17, 1962 Kennedy flies to Connecticut to campaign for the Democratic
Party. Robert Kennedy and Theodore Sorensen meet the
president and fill him in on what he had missed during that
day's meetings. Throughout the talks, the Joint Chiefs of Staff
and especially the Air Force argue strongly and persistently for
an air strike on Cuba to knock out the missiles. During another
U-2 flight in the night of the 17th intermediate range nuclear
missiles are discovered in Cuba.
Day 5 October 18, 1962 Gromyko and Kennedy meet for two hours. Reading from
notes, Gromyko assures Kennedy that Soviet aid to Cuba has
been only for the `defensive capabilities of Cuba.'
Day 6 October 19, 1962 Kennedy leaves Washington for campaign speeches
scheduled in Cleveland and the West Coast.
Day 7 October 20, 1962 Kennedy cancels the rest of his campaign speeches under the
pretence of an `upper respiratory infection.' He then meets
with his advisors and orders a defensive quarantine around
Cuba. The full operation is reviewed and approved and the
President schedules a televised address to the American
peoples for the next evening.
Day 8 October 21, 1962 General Maxwell Taylor tells Kennedy that an air strike on
Cuba would not guarantee the destruction of all Soviet
missiles. Kennedy decided to stick with the plan of quarantine
and requests the press, who have picked up on the goings on
in Cuba, not to deny him the `element of surprise' or he
warns, `I don't know what the Soviets will do.'
Day 9 October 22, 1962 Congressional leaders assemble at the White House for a
meeting with Kennedy. They are shown the photographic
evidence of the Soviet missile installations. The congressional
leaders express support, but many advocate stronger action.
The President addresses the nation in a televised speech,
announcing the presence of offensive missile sites in Cuba
and U.S. military forces go to DEFCON 3.
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Day 10 October 23, 1962 Kennedy orders six Crusader jets to fly a low level
reconnaissance mission and Organization of American States
(OAS) unanimously approves of the quarantine against Cuba;
by the end of the day U.S. ships had taken up position along
the quarantine line, 800 miles from Cuba. Late in the evening,
the President sends Robert Kennedy to the Soviet embassy
to talk with Ambassador Dobrynin.…read more