Cold War Crisis: Causes of the Cuban Missile Crisis

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The Cuban Revolution

The Cuban Revolution (1959):

  • The revolution brought Fidel Castro to power in Cuba.
  • He ejected all US businesses from Cuba.
  • In retalliation, the USA stopped buying Cuba's biggets export; sugar.

Castro's Conversion to Communism:

  • After the USA stopped buying sugar, the USSR saw an opportunty to pose a communist threat much nearer to the US.
  • They offered to buy Cuban sugar and provide machinery and technological assistance.
  • Castro became closely linked with communism after this.
  • Castro declared his conversion to communism in 1961. This concerned Kennedy.
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Bay of Pigs and Nuclear Weapons

Bay of Pigs Incident:

  • The USA broke off diplomatic connections with Cuba in January 1961.
  • Eisenhower made sure that Cuban refugees living in America would be trained to invade Cuba. Kennedy took over this scheme.
  • The aim of the invasion was to create a national uprising against Castro.
  • On the 15th April 1961, US bombed the Cuban air force and 1500 Cuban exiles ('La Brigada') landed at the Bay of Pigs.
  • They were met by 20,000 of Castro's army - the invasion was a humiliating failure for the US.

USA Discovery of Soviet Nuclear Weapons:

  • Khruschev claimed to be protecting Cuba from future attacks like the Bay of Pigs.
  • He brought missiles to Cuba claiming that they were purely defensive unlike the missiles that the USA had in Italy and Turkey, when he was actually spreading communism to Latin America
  • On the 14th October 1962, a U2 plane took photos of IBRM and MBRM (Intermediate/ Medium Range Ballistic Missiles) in Cuba that were an extreme threat to almost all US cities and US security.
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